A Fresh start
Continued worship through unity, focused progress, sacrificial giving and praise
Call to worship
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. (Daniel 2:20-21)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. (Galatians 1:3-4)
Hymn No 51: “Holy, holy, holy”
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)
Hymn No 160: “There’s not a friend like our Saviour”
Scripture Reading Acts 2:42-47
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Declaration of pardoning
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
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. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
Hymn No 315: “A new commandment I give unto you” (repeat)
Offering and Dedication
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading Ezra 3:1-6; 10-13
Hymn 327: “Lord Jesus when your people meet” (Tune 344)
Sermon Continued worship
Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the Lord by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. (Leviticus 23:33-36)
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem. (Ezra 3:1)
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:24-26)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. (Acts 4:34-35)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. (Ezra 3:3)
Persecution: fear for the people of the land.
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. (Acts 4:18-21)
Morning and evening sacrifices: a burnt offering of two lambs of a year old together with a grain offering and flour and olive oil, as well as a drink offering, which were daily sacrificed in the name of the whole Israelite people upon the great altar, the first at dawn of day, and the second at evening or more correctly, “between the two evenings.” This was a pleasing aroma before God and symbolized the communion with God. With it prayers were offered to God. (Numbers 28:3-8)
Feast of the tabernacles: This festival was observed on the 15th day of the seventh month to celebrate the completion of the autumn harvest. Features of the celebration included a holy convocation on the first and eighth days, and the offering of many animal sacrifices. The Israelites were also commanded to live in booths made of palm and willow trees during the festival to commemorate their period of wilderness wandering when they lived in temporary shelters. This feast is also known as the Feast of Booths.
Burnt offerings: It was termed “whole” (Lev. 6:22) because the entire offering was to be burnt upon the altar. It was termed “continual” (Ex. 29:38–42) to teach the nation of Israel that their sinfulness required a complete and continual atonement and consecration. This sacrifice, offered every morning and evening, pointed to Christ’s atoning death for sinners (2Cor 5:21) and His total consecration to God (Luke 2:49). The burnt offering spoke of Christ’s passive obedience and His submission to the penalty required by human sinfulness. It also refers to His perfect obedience to God’s law by which He did for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.
New Moon Festivals: The law specified that two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, and one kid were to be offered in connection with this celebration. Grain mixed with oil accompanied the offerings; a trumpet blast introduced this feast. The sins committed and not expiated during the previous month were covered by the offerings of the New Moon.
Free-will offerings: These were the beyond-and-above offerings. These offerings were supposed to express special thanksgiving for continued blessing from God – and God required as in the case of all other offerings, that these would be without blemish and defect.
• According to their abilities (Ezra 2:68-69)
• Selling what they had (Acts 2:45)
• The honour of God who saved from sin
• The common good of the body of believers
Praise and joy
– Trumpet (Ezra 3:10)
– Praise and thanksgiving (Ezra 3:11)
– Joy and weeping (Ezra 3:13)
• Weeping: Lost glory through sin
• Joy: Restoration by grace