Knowing Your Future

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Introduction 

As we come before God today, let us pray that he might be at work within us 

God our Father, we pray that the message of your Son will dwell richly among us we hear from your word and sing with thankfulness in our hearts to you. And whatever we do, in word or deed, may it be done in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and for his glory.  Amen. 


Praise  

Hebrews 13:15 encourages us with these words: 

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 

We will now be led in praise by our musicians! 


Bible Reading 

Let us pray as we turn to the Bible  

Gracious Lord, you have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, encouraged and supported by your Holy Word, we may embrace and always hold fast the joyful hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Ecclesiastes 7:1-8:1


Wisdom

A good name is better than fine perfume,
    and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,
    because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
    than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
    so is the laughter of fools.
    This too is meaningless.

Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,
    and a bribe corrupts the heart.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
    for anger resides in the lap of fools.

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions.

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
    and benefits those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom is a shelter
    as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
    Wisdom preserves those who have it.

13 Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten
    what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.

15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—
    why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins.

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
    or you may hear your servant cursing you—
22 for you know in your heart
    that many times you yourself have cursed others.

23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said,

“I am determined to be wise”—
    but this was beyond me.
24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
    who can discover it?
25 So I turned my mind to understand,
    to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
    and the madness of folly.

26 I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.

27 “Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered:

“Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
28     while I was still searching
    but not finding—
I found one upright man among a thousand,
    but not one upright woman among them all.
29 This only have I found:
    God created mankind upright,
    but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Who is like the wise?
    Who knows the explanation of things?
A person’s wisdom brightens their face
    and changes its hard appearance.


We’ll now encourage one another with the words of the 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 being with the Father; through him all things were made.  

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. 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 and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who 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. 


Sermon 

Mark Carpenter will now preach the sermon entitled “Knowing Your Future” 

Knowing Your Future

 
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Confession and Prayers 

After our prayers we will share in Holy Communion. When we share the cup of the Lord and break bread together, we express our common participation in the benefits of Jesus’ death for us. We should examine ourselves before we eat the bread and drink the cup, confessing our sins to God, acknowledging the need to care for one another, and renewing our trust in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you are merciful and kind, but we have gone our own way, not loving you as we ought, nor loving our neighbours as ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed and in what we have failed to do. We deserve your condemnation. Father, forgive us. Help us to love you and our neighbour, and to live for your honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

In Titus 2:14 we read of Jesus, our saviour and redeemer… 

…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 

Jesus has purified us from our sins! Amen!  

Let’s conclude our time of prayer with the Lord’s Prayer 

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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours  now and for ever. Amen. 


Communion 

Martin will now lead us in Holy Communion 


Song 

Our musicians will lead us in responding to God’s mercy with a song of praise 


Conclusion 

Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the Throne, and to the Lamb. 

Praise and Glory, wisdom and thanks, honour, power and strength, be to our Godfor ever and ever. Amen. 

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 

In the name of Christ. Amen. 

Thanks for sharing with us! See you next Sunday.  

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