We're glad you joined us for ToGather.church as we worship our Father through songs, prayers, Communion, praise, and Scripture. We pray that God will bless you as we worship together. (Find out more about ToGather.)
Opening with Praise in Word and Song:
We begin our ToGather.church worship celebrating our assured status as God's children. We are victorious because Christ Jesus our Lord was victorious. Our lives are joined with his, and we are co-heirs with Christ of God's blessings (Romans 8:17). Let's sing "More Than Conquerors" with Rend Collective to celebrate our victory — victory both in this life now and eternally:
Let's affirm what we just sang by saying aloud John's words of encouragement to first-century believers:
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome [every adversary] because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Sharing The Supper:
Our Savior tasted the worst of our world, died on a cross while being ridiculed, but rose from the grave three days later. We celebrate Jesus as our "Living Hope" as we join with Phil Wickman in singing this song of faith:
We share with Brad Carter, from African Christian College in eSwatini, in a Communion of hope. When Brad and his friends first recorded this video over a year ago, we all thought COVID-19 would soon pass, and we would all be fine. The intervening year and the Delta and Lamda variants' eruption have struck with a vengeance, leaving many of us more confused and vulnerable than ever before. As we remember that Jesus is our living hope, let's share the Supper with Brad and our brothers from Africa, remembering our reasons for hope!
One of our greatest reasons for hope is that Jesus is present with us and in us through the Holy Spirit. He promised never to abandon us. Let's remind ourselves of this truth as we sing "Christ Above Me" with the Zoe Group:
Focusing on the Scriptures:
We are living in troubled times. As God's people, many of us face persecution, illness, financial distress, grief, family division, pressures to compromise our character, and isolation and loneliness. Despite these difficulties, we can rest assured of God's love and our triumph in Jesus (Romans 8:28-39). We must remember that God has not forgotten us, his beloved children (Romans 8:9):
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:14-17).
This passage says that our adoption has already happened and that "we are God's children" as evidenced by the Spirit while the next passage says "we wait eagerly for our adoption." As the last few lines of this next passage indicate, it is talking about the final stage when Jesus takes us into the presence of the Father.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:18-25).
But, waiting is very hard for us, isn't it? So, God has blessed us with his Spirit. The Spirit lives within us and helps us face our present difficulties as we wait for our glorious future to be unveiled. Until then, we speak honestly with God about our deep yearning for our ultimate deliverance, and the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26-27). We speak our yearning to God this day as we sing "As Deep Calls To Deep" with The Zoe Group:
Our Verse of the Day comes from the apostle Paul from Romans 8:
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children (Romans 8:15-16 NIV84).
Let's have our Bibles and notepads available as Phil's message speaks about the Holy Spirit's presence within us that assures us that we are God's children. Phil wants us to have absolute assurance about being children of God and for that assurance to lead us to live boldly for him:
As Phil reminded us, God's promises still stand. We can believe God will do great things in us, through us, and for us, through the Holy Spirit within us. Let's remind ourselves of this confidence by singing "Do It Again" with Elevation Worship:
Closing with Praise:
Great is our Father's faithfulness to work through his Spirit within us and be near us. Let's close with this prayer of praise adapted from Ephesians 3:20-21:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)