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Summary: This sermon gives instruction and teaching on our up coming Solemn Assembly (week of repentance)

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You were Shaped For Serving God February 15, 2004

Ephesians 2

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Because of the way that we do evangelism these days, we often think that we are saved by God for our own sake. It is true that Jesus died for us because he loves us dearly, It is true that there is great benefit for us in Christ, but we are saved in order that we might serve God! We are a new creation in God, and Paul says that we are “created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We are not saved into leisure, we are called into the freedom of serving our creator. Jesus gave his life to us, and we in turn give our lives to him, not by dieing, but by living for him, placing our lives before him and doing his biding here on earth.

1 Cor 6: 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Bob Dylan – “You Gotta Serve Somebody”

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Romans 12 - MSG

1So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

We need to go to God and ask “how am I doing?” How are we doing” It is like looking for a divine “staff evaluation!”

This is what we are doing as a community with the Solemn Assembly that we have called for the week of the 22nd to the 28th

What is a Solemn Assembly?

Our Solemn Assembly is a week when we invite God to search us as individuals and as a church to bring things to the surface that need to be confessed, repented of, or just gotten rid of to free us up to be the people and the church he wants us to be. We will have meetings every evening to pray together, seek God and worship Him. Our simple prayer will be from Psalm 139,

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

The church will also be open during the day for quiet reflection and prayer.

Why a Solemn Assembly, why now?

Over the past 6 months we have heard God calling us into deeper repentance and deeper holiness. The Solemn Assembly is a step toward that.

The idea for a Solemn Assembly is taken from Joel 2, where the people are called to gather in repentance in response to a harsh word from God. The Lord answers with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit that the church experienced at Pentecost.

Joel 2:

12 "Even now," declares the LORD ,

"return to me with all your heart,

with fasting and weeping and mourning."

13 Rend your heart

and not your garments.

Return to the LORD your God,

for he is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and abounding in love,

and he relents from sending calamity.

14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity

and leave behind a blessing-

grain offerings and drink offerings

for the LORD your God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,

declare a holy fast,

call a sacred assembly.

16 Gather the people,

consecrate the assembly;

bring together the elders,

gather the children,

those nursing at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his room

and the bride her chamber.

17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD ,

weep between the temple porch and the altar.

Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD .

Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,

a byword among the nations.

Why should they say among the peoples,

’Where is their God?’ "

18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land

and take pity on his people.

19 The LORD will reply [1] to them:

"I am sending you grain, new wine and oil,

enough to satisfy you fully;

never again will I make you

an object of scorn to the nations.

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