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Below the video you will find the liturgy for today along with the prayers and Scriptures.

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Call to Worship: Psalm 24

Singing: Come Thou Fount

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the name! I’m fixed upon it

Name of Thy redeeming love


Oh to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above


Oh that day when freed from sinning

I shall see Thy lovely face

Full arrayed in blood-washed linen

How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry

Bring Thy promises to pass

For I know Thy pow’r will keep me

Till I’m home with Thee at last

Invitation to Confession: Psalm 51:1-10

Hear the Good News, the Assurance of Pardon! Titus 2:11-14

Prayer

  • God’s mercy for those affected by this virus and their families.
  • God's protection for healthcare workers and first responders.
  • God's wisdom for political and healthcare leaders.
  • God's guidance for believers to respond with grace and truth in the face of people's fears and to bear witness to the hope of the Gospel.

The Lord's Prayer

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:8 (Living in the Kingdom of God: A Study of the Sermon on the Mount)

1. What Does Jesus Mean by being Pure in Heart?

From a Biblical perspective, the heart isn’t just a euphemism for one’s emotions or desires, it is seen as the very center, the core of who that person is and what that person does.

  • Jeremiah 17:9
  • Matthew 5:8
  • Jeremiah 31:31-33
  • Ezekiel 11:19–20
  • Matthew 23:23-28
  • Proverbs 4:23-27
  • Luke 6:45
  • Romans 4:3–8

2. The Blessing of Being Pure in Heart

The disciple who mourns over sin will desire to be pure in heart because the greatest blessing of being pure in heart is the satisfaction of seeing God Himself, as He is, undiluted by lesser things.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:12
  • 1 John 3:2

Conclusion:

The words of Jesus, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” are not a challenge or a call to action but are the confirmation of His covenant promise to purify His people through His blood.

  • John 13:3-10
  • Hebrews 10:22–23

Singing: Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above

I have a strong and perfect plea

A great high Priest whose name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on His hand

My name is written on His heart

I know that while in heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart

No tongue can bid me thence depart


When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin

Because a sinless Saviour died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the Just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me


Behold Him there, the risen Lamb

My perfect spotless righteousness

The great unchangeable I Am

The King of Glory and of grace

One in Himself, I cannot die

My soul is purchased by His blood

My life is hid with Christ on high

With Christ my Savior and my God

With Christ my Savior and my God

Benediction


Pastoral letter about "home communion"

Brothers and sisters,
I wanted to write to you briefly to address a specific question that has arisen as a result of our temporary cancellation of Sunday morning face to face worship. Some have asked if we will make some type of accommodation so that we can partake of communion together while self-isolating in our homes. Some churches, across denominational lines, have chosen to instruct people to take the elements of bread and juice or wine in the privacy of their homes at a specific moment during their livestream or online gathering. Our denomination, the EPC, has issued a statement to ministers stating that while they think the practice is permissible, they are leaving this decision to individual Sessions. Our Session believes that it is not spiritually healthy to accommodate the practice of “home communion”. Here is why.

First, without face to face fellowship, one aspect of the meaning of the Lord’s supper is lost. Outside of the Gospel accounts of the last supper (Matt. 26:26-29, Mk. 14:22-25, Lk. 14:14-23), the main Biblical text we have is found in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. This church had many issues that needed pastoral guidance. One of which was their abuse and misuse of the Lord’s Supper. Five times in chapter 11:17-34, the phrase “when you come together” is used in connection to the Lord’s supper (verse17, 18, 20, 33, 34). Verse 18 says “when you come together as a church”. The word for church in that context is the word ekklessia, which simply means gathering. The implication is clear, communion properly happens in the visible gathering of God’s people, the church, for corporate worship. One may reply, “But communion is about my relationship with God through Christ’s sacrifice!” And certainly this is true… but it is not an exhaustive explanation of communion. That is because the significance of communion is about both the body of Christ offered once for all on the cross and the body of Christ manifest through His church. This is the double meaning of the phrase “discerning the body” in 1 Corinthians 11:29.

Additionally, we believe the uniqueness of our circumstances do not authorize us to change the Lord’s supper. We must remember that this meal was given to us as a gift of God, it is not ours to change or alter. Of course, all of us would prefer to meet in person on Sunday mornings. But we understand that certain aspects of the way we gather together must change as a result of the current pandemic. And we have attempted to make those accommodations through our Sunday morning livestream. However, if partaking of the Lord’s supper requires physical, face to face fellowship (which we believe it does), there can then be no way to accommodate what could be described as “virtual” or “home” communion. Not only would doing so mean changing the very meaning of communion itself but I believe it may lead to a misunderstanding of the nature of the church in many people’s minds; many people who already view the gathering together of the visible church as an optional component of their spiritual lives

In conclusion, our decision to wait to celebrate the Lord’s Supper until we can physically gather together again in worship is not because we are taking the sacrament too lightly but because we are attempting to treat it with the weight and significance which God declares it to have. According to God’s word in 1 Corinthians 11:27, 29-30, we believe that taking the body and blood of the Lord in an unworthy manner can actually do real harm, both spiritually and physically, to the individual believer and to the church as a whole. And that is the last thing we want for the people of God here at Grace Community Presbyterian Church. We believe that our first Sunday back in face to face fellowship should be a joyous celebration to end to our time of fasting from gathering together. And I can think of no better way to celebrate that union together than to celebrate the Lord’s supper for the first time when God chooses to bring us back together again in communion and unity with our church family. Let us pray for God to bring that day of celebration soon. Until then, we will gather virtually on Sunday mornings for worship and a time in God’s word, we will pray for one another’s needs and the needs of our community and world, we will make an effort to strengthen our fellowship through phone calls, texts, emails, and notes, we will seek to love and serve our neighbors with our acts of mercy and the truth of the Gospel, and we will joyfully anticipate the day we can gather to do all those things in person, and then celebrate the Lord’s supper together once again!
Peace and Rest, Pastor Nick Welch