Sunday, April 26, 2020
Opening Hymn           “This Is My Father’s World”…UMH 144
Opening Prayer
      Oh Lord, our God, we gather together today to give You thanks and declare Your greatness. We declare Your mighty works to the whole world. We praise You for Your wonderful deeds. Your power is limitless, Your wisdom is unparalleled, Your grace is overwhelming, Your love is never failing.    AMEN
 Psalter…..Psalm 85           UMH     806 + Bible
Gloria Patri…..Page 77 UMH
Hymn …….Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus…UMH 462
Celebrations and Concerns…Covid 19
Lord’s Prayer
The Doxology…UMH 95
Prayer of Illumination  “Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that, as the Scriptures are read, and Your Word proclaimed, we may hear with joy what You say to us today. Amen”
Gospel Reading ….John 14:27
Sermon Text…Romans 5: 1-11
Sermon…….”Peace and Joy”

Almost every Christian preacher has prepared a “serious” sermon that seeks to explain one of the mysteries of faith. Most pastors have figured out that it is a good idea to insert some humor or a good story to “lighten” such a sermon.

     I don’t know why, but it seems that many church goers have a limited tolerance for heavy sermons. I believe that the Apostle, Paul understood that.
     Perhaps this is the reason he inserts this passage from Romans into the middle of his most theological New Testament letter.
Romans 5:1-11 is a mini-sermon on why Christians should be joyful. The preceding chapters focus on sin, death, atonement, and justification.
     Paul’s point is a simple one….Christians should be joyful because God had provided a way for them to become justified and reconciled.
     Because of God’s act of grace in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Christians can look forward to the day when God’s glory will be fully revealed. Some critics of Christianity have criticized Christians for being too future-focused.
     Some say, “Christians are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” Their charge is that Christians ignore the challenges of living in the world of tears.
     Many times, we find that suffering is necessary for the development of joy It seems to me that Paul sees the development of joy as a progressive experience. We suffer, and this suffering develops perseverance; our perseverance through suffering develops character; character produces hope; and then hope leads to joy.
     In addition, Paul points out that even when Christians suffer, they do not lose hope because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who encourages us.
     More than once, I have looked at a possible situation and thought that there was a great amount of joy or peace involved. But when  I got involved in a situation, I realized that the real joy would be going back where I started. I am sure that we have all been in this situation.      Christians have the unique ability to be able to rejoice in the face of suffering because of what Christ has done for them by dying for our sins.
     Since God loved us, when we were His enemies, it is  obvious that His love for us is even greater now that we have turned to Him.
     We are saved by Christ’ death, but we are also saved by Christ’ life. The risen Christ gives us reason to hope and has shown us how to redeem suffering and turn it into joy.
     Christians then live a life of on-going joy, joy now, and joy in the life to come. Complete peace will only come when Christ returns.
Heavenly Father,
     Thank You for the hope and joy that You give us every day.
Affirmation of Faith…Apostles Creed  UMH 881
Closing Hymn…”Jesus is All the World to Me”..UMH  469
Benediction..”.Go forth in peace. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”


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