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The apostle Paul gives us today's prayer of praise:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves (Ephesians 1:3-6).
We join with all creation to praise God for his greatness and grace as we sing "The Earth Is Yours" with Gungor:
Praise in Word and Song:
When the apostle Paul wrote to his apprentice minister on the isle of Crete, he spoke some of the sweetest and truest words ever written:
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:4-5).
ToGather focuses us this week on the kindness and love of God, highlighted by our Verse of the Day, the most famous verse of the Bible:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
As we worship, we respond to God's love as the refrain in Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 urges us to respond:
Let [us] give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
So, we join together to sing "God So Loved" with We The Kingdom as we celebrate God's love:
Focusing on the Scriptures:
To prepare our hearts to receive our message from the Scriptures, let's sing "The Love of God" with Mercy Me:
Phil's message, "From Say It to Display It," emphasizes that God's love is not just something he says to us, but it is the truth that God has repeatedly demonstrated to us:
As Phil reminds us, God doesn't just say he loves us; he consistently demonstrates his love through his loving actions. The reality of our love must not be limited only to what we say. We must display our love to others to love others as God does. The necessity of demonstrating our love is powerfully emphasized in Jesus' parable of the judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) and emphasized again by Jesus' disciple, John, as he focused on our need as disciples to love each other in his letter to believers toward the end of the first century (1 John 3:16-18, 4:7-12).
Sharing The Supper:
Communion is our powerful reminder: We should share the love that God lavished on us with each other:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:16-18).
Fred Spain reminds us of the drama of this love, and Jesus' example of love, present during the Last Supper:
Closing with Praise and Admonition:
We celebrate the victory of love over the power of sin, death, and hell, as we sing "Death Was Arrested," led by North Point InsideOut featuring Seth Condrey:
Because God has so graciously loved us, let's live as Jesus' agents of love and kindness in our broken world — just as Paul encouraged the disciples in Colossae, and us, to love each other:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).
Our closing song is "You Have Made Me Glad," led for us by Charity Gayle:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).
Special thanks to The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for images related to the ministry of Jesus.
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