THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 4th SEPTEMBER 2022

Cost of Discipleship - Heavens Citizens Christian Center

OPENING SENTENCE
Light shines in the darkness for the upright.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Sue Turner

COLLECT

Almighty and eternal God,

make us grow in faith, hope and charity:

and that we may be worthy of your promises,

cause us to love what you command;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING
JEREMIAH 18: 1-11 read by Annette Beagrie

The Potter and the Clay

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

174,273 Pottery Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you, from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

SECOND READING
PHILEMON 1-21 read by Billy Dewar Riddick

Salutation

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To our beloved co-worker Philemon, to our sister Apphia, to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church in your house:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

I thank my God always when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the partnership of your faith may become effective as you comprehend all the good that we share in Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Philemon 1:21 WEB - Having confidence in your obedience, I write to

For this reason, though I am more than bold enough in Christ to command you to do the right thing, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me so that he might minister to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for the long term, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING
LUKE 14: 25-33 read by Rev Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Luke chapter 14 beginning at verse 25

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

The Cost of Discipleship

RUTH; A Product of Pain by Jeremiah Knoop

Now large crowds were travelling with him, and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

Apologia LIVE: The Cost of Discipleship - YouTube

Daily, we see on the news boats of migrants coming into the UK. Death is a risk they are willing to take. Crossing the channel in crowded small boats is highly dangerous and they risk everything, their very lives in coming to the UK. What would we be willing to risk our lives for, in other words what would we be willing to die for? What matters so much to us that we would risk our very lives? For the migrants they risked everything for freedom and safety. Most parents would risk everything for the well- being of their children. Regularly people, like firemen and mountain rescue teams risk their lives for the sake of others. In our gospel reading we are invited to ask ourselves the question would we be willing to risk everything, if it came to it, even our very lives, for Christ?

That is what Jesus is asking when he says “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus does not offer the crowds, that gather, any fantasies of discipleship as being an easy life. He does not play on their needs or appeal to their prejudices. Instead of mollifying them in any way, Jesus turns and confronts them. If previously they had found identity and refuge by clinging to their family, they must relinquish that, to follow him. If they had loved life itself and let this absolute value guide their every decision and action, they must give up that allegiance. Jesus is their centre and there is no room for competing loyalties.

The Cost of Discipleship: New Edition: Amazon.co.uk: Bonhoeffer, Dietrich: 9780334053408: Books

It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” This dying is death to the immediacy of this world and all its distractions. It is not about martyrdom, which we are never to seek. Nor is Jesus’ comment about hating our dearest to be taken literally but it is saying that if the crunch comes, we need to put Jesus first, and if need be, we need to be willing to put our lives at risk for the sake of the gospel. It’s a bit like this, a volunteer approached an organisation that helps with refugees in Central America. The leader said to her: “Before you say you wish to join us, let me pose some questions. Are you ready to have your phone tapped by the government? Are you prepared to have your neighbours shun you? Are you strong enough to have your children ridiculed and harassed at school? Are you ready to be arrested and tried, with full media coverage? If you are not prepared for these things, you may not be ready yet to join our organisation. For when push comes to shove, if you fear these things, you will not be ready to do what needs to be done for the refugees. The woman decided to think it over. She needed to count the cost of following Jesus.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said to follow Christ is not cheap grace but costly grace. He goes on to say that “cheap grace means grace is sold on the market like the cheapjack’s wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sins, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the church’s inexhaustible treasury. It is grace without a price, grace without cost. The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it infinite.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer is saying that the sacrifice of Christ is treated as cheap grace but it is actually costly grace. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, whereas costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, and for the sake of it a man will go gladly and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy for which the merchant will sell all his goods. Costly grace is being willing to make Jesus the centre of our lives for he is worthy of our complete loyalty.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quote: “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church.  We are fighting today

It is possible as William Barclay says to be “a follower of Jesus without being a disciple: to be a camp- follower without being a soldier of the king: to be a hanger on in some great work without pulling one’s weight.” Once someone was talking to a famous professor about a young man and asked: so and so tells me that he is a student of yours. Is that correct? To which the professor replied: “The man did indeed attend my lectures, but believe me he was never a real student of mine.”

Am I a true follower of Jesus? That was a question in my twenties that troubled me What if Jesus said to me when I go to heaven- “Go away, I never knew you.” I now realise that as long as my desire and my effort are there to follow Christ then he will welcome me and you in heaven. But we need to take our discipleship and commitment seriously. We need to weigh up the cost of following Christ.

Youth Group Lessons on Discipleship | Ministry to Youth

To help us weigh up the cost of discipleship, Jesus tells us the story of the tower and the battle. The tower which the man was going to build was more than likely a vineyard tower. Vineyards were often equipped with towers from which watch was kept against thieves who might want to steal the harvest. An incomplete tower would be useless and humiliating. By this parable of the tower, the Lord teaches us that once we have chosen to follow him, we should always guard this resolution we have made. We should not lay down the foundation, that is, begin to follow Christ, without being ready with sufficient zeal to finish the task.

build a tower | Parables, Parables of jesus, How to memorize things

The next story is about a king and war. If kings are wise, and they go to battle, they first sit down and determine whether they have enough soldiers to win the fight. If they don’t, they go to battle and lose. Many of their soldiers are killed, their cities could be plundered, and their nation could be conquered. But kings don’t always know the size of the enemy army…until that army is heading toward them. At that point if the king looks at the approaching army and recognizes he does not have enough soldiers to win, then look what he does…And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. The King tries to make peace with the opposing king. He also tries to do this as early as possible: notice the words while the other is yet a great way off. The king seeking peace doesn’t want the other king to get very far and be angry about the long trip he just took with his army. The earlier the other king seeks peace the better chance the approaching king will give him favourable terms. But if the opposing king makes it very far, he might say, “No, you wanted to go to battle and I came all this way, so we are going to fight.” The spiritual application from both of these parables is that it is best to figure out as early as possible whether we really want to follow Christ.

Discipleship | Our Lady of Good Voyage

There is no denying that the cost of discipleship is high but we do not travel on this path of discipleship alone. We have God’s Holy Spirit who gives us strength in difficult situations. The Holy Spirit offers us wisdom in our decision making; guides us in confusing times; instructs us in God’s ways and truths and never abandons nor forsakes us.

40+ Best Collections Blessings From God Bible Verse - Poppy Bardon |  Blessings Pictures

In counting the cost, you need to remember also the blessings. Where would we be without Christ’s love and forgiveness? In a world confused by identity, we have our identity secure in Christ and are assured of his unconditional love. In our world that requires us to judge people and give an evaluation of that person, even after a shopping experience, we are not judged by God in that way but rather forgiven and granted new opportunities. In a world that is self -focussed and self-orientated and full of indifference, God looks upon us with compassion and concern. In a fickle world where we are stabbed in the back and gossiped about, God sees our potential and goodness and delights in us. In a world full of anxiety and worry, God gives us peace and strength. In a world of hopelessness and restlessness God gives us purpose and meaning. In a world that is transient, God gives us our anchor in him and promises that we will spend eternity with him.

As C.T. Studd, the famous cricketer and missionary, said if “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” C.T Studd mirrors true discipleship and this is the discipleship path we are invited to walk along. Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

Jesus, Holy One, you are the Word of Eternal Life.

Strengthen and encourage your church in discipleship.

Keep us faithful in proclaiming the gospel

no matter how difficult it is in our increasingly secular age.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Ephesians 6:10 Be Strong in the Lord - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads -  Bible Verses To Go

Jesus, Holy One surround with your spiritual armour

all who defend the vulnerable and powerless.

Give courage to leaders to advance the cause of all

for equality, respect and dignity.

Sustain the integrity of those under pressure

where conflict or selfishness would threaten to destroy.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus, Holy One, you knew the companionship of friends

and the pain of people turning away.

Be with the lonely

and those who have been abandoned.

strengthen them in you,

and draw significant others around them.

Deepen their security and identity in you,

and assure them of your presence and power.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Holy One, speak your word of peace

to any whose mind is troubled.

Where there is despair bring hope,

where there is hated bring love,

where there is worry bring your calm.

Be our strength whatever our distress

and may our ears be ever open to our cry.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

9 Inspiring Quotes from St. Francis of Assisi | Guideposts

Jesus the Holy one, we bring to you the heartache

that we are witnessing on our screens in Ukraine.

We pray for wisdom in negotiations

and ask that peace and stability would come

We pray that hostilities in different countries would cease

and that diplomacy would triumph.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Holy one, enfold in your love

those struggling with sickness at this time.

In the quiet we lift to you people known to us

in this church and in the wider community.

Be their strength and shield,

healer and Guide.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Holy One, be near to the broken hearted.

Raise up those who have died in faith

and grant that they may dwell in your house forever.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Abide in Me (AM) on Vimeo

Jesus the Holy One, abide with us on our journey of discipleship,

and strengthen us by your Holy Spirit,

that we might complete the race with perseverance and joy.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

BLESSING

The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.