6th Sunday of Easter, 01 May: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psa 67; Rev 21:10ff; John 14:23-29 ~ Help is on the way

Sixth Sunday of Easter

As the Easter Season moves towards its second climax at Pentecost, we take heed of the Lord’s final words to his disciples, and look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

Great and loving Father, your will for us in Jesus is the peace the world cannot give; your abiding gift is the Advocate he promised. Calm all troubled hearts, dispel every fear. Keep us steadfast in love and faithful to your word, that we may always be your dwelling place. Grant this through Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, who lives and reigns with you now and always in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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“The Church’s One Foundation”


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A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 (NLT)
[An early controversy in the Church concerned whether Jewish observances should bind those who were not Jewish by birth: today’s reading describes how this dispute was settled.]

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles

While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question.
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Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. This is the letter they took with them:

“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

“We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8 (NLT)

May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere.

May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you.
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May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you.
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Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us.
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Psalm 67 in Hebrew with English translation by Tal Hermon (a family worship).


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A Reading from the Revelations of John: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 (NLT)
[In John’s vision, the light of God’s presence in heaven is so bright that every other light seems pale in comparison.]

New Jerusalem

So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone — like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
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I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.
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A Reading from the Gospels: John 14:23-29 (NLT)
[The Lord speaks of the gifts available to believers – the gift of peace, the gift of the Spirit.]

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative — that is, the Holy Spirit — he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

“I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
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Hymn: “Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul” – Indelible Grace


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Intercessory Prayer:

Loving Father, we approach your mercy seat with confidence that you will hear and respond to our concerns:

+ That nations thirsting for peace may receive the Spirit’s gift of harmony…. Lord, hear us.
+ That in every culture on earth, women may be honored and respected…. Lord, hear us.
+ That Christians being persecuted may keep their heavenly reward before their eyes…. Lord, hear us.
+ That in our own country during this political season, peace and reconciliation may grow…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the sick and dying may be cared for and comforted by Spirit-filled believers…. Lord, hear us.
+ That our friends and family who have died in Christ may find the gates of the new Jerusalem open wide to receive them…. Lord, hear us.

God of power and might, you graciously bless your people: give us confidence that our needs are heard and answered, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
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Hymn: “12 Gates To The City” – Robert Plant Band Of Joy

Benediction:

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. (Revelation 21:20-12)

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ, Life in Our Family

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