Third Sunday after Pentecost
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sovereign God, ruler of our hearts, you call us to obedience and sustain us in freedom. Keep us true to the way of your Son, that we may leave behind all that hinders us and, with eyes fixed on him, walk surely in the path of the kingdom, where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
“I am Free” – Newsboys
A Reading from the New Testament: Gal 5:1,13-25 (NLT)
Freedom in Christ
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Living by the Spirit’s Power
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 9:51-62 (NLT)
Opposition from Samaritans
As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.
The Cost of Following Jesus
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Almighty God: You have created a new people for Your very own possession through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. And, You have set us free from sin and shame to love and serve You and to live as citizens of Your coming Kingdom through the power of Your Spirit at work in us. Hear our prayer, gracious God, for all those who follow Jesus –
+ That all church leaders may faithfully and courageously proclaim the coming of Your Kingdom….
+ That all church leaders may receive the gifts they need for the ministries You have given them….
+ That all believers may follow Jesus wholeheartedly as guided and empowered by Your Spirit….
+ That all believers may grow in grace and visibly demonstrate the good fruit of Your Spirit in their lives….
+ That all who are fearful and anxious may receive Your support through the loving-kindness of believing friends….
+ That all believers suffering persecution may be delivered from evil and receive help, healing and hope….
+ That all believers on vacation may travel safely and be renewed by the wonders that You show them….
+ That all believers may receive Your mercy and help where we need it most….
Almighty God, our Refuge and our Strength: Hear our prayers and work Your perfect will in our lives, we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“No Longer Slaves” – Jonathan David & Melissa Helser
Closing: – Psalm 16 (excerpts)
You are my inheritance, O Lord. Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge…
You are my inheritance, O Lord. I bless the LORD who counsels me…
You are my inheritance, O Lord. Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices…
You are my inheritance, O Lord. You will show me the path to life…
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen