Sunday 22 November 2020 is the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and Christ the King Sunday.
The Lectionary readings for this week are: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 & Psalm 95:1-7a;
Ephesians 1:15-23 & Matthew 25:31-46.
The passage from Matthew – The Sheep and the Goats, and its references to the Final Judgement – is the basis of Geoff’s sermon. As usual, below you will find the Scriptures, Prayers, Audio Sermon and Musical Selection forming this week’s virtual service.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 (New International Version)
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
The Lord has become King, clothed with majesty; the Lord is robed, girded with might. Psalm 93: 1
Almighty God, reveal to us the greatness of your power, that we may see your presence among the lowly and the lost and know the authority and sovereignty of your love in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is also our humble brother.
And so, Lord Jesus, Judge of the nations, we confess that we have not seen your face among our neighbours in need. We have not shared our food with the hungry; we have not offered clothes to the destitute or shelter to the homeless. We have not welcomed the stranger, nor have we visited prisoners. We have not paid attention to these, your sisters and brothers, and in our neglect we have failed to serve you.
Lord, forgive us; open our eyes to recognise your beloved family, and give us the blessing of sincere repentance that we may know the joy of eternal life with you and all the saints in this world and in the world to come.
Almighty God, you raised Christ from the dead and established him as Lord over every rebellious power. Give us grace to serve him wisely and faithfully that the world may see his glorious inheritance among the saints and recognise the freedom of joyful obedience in Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
Almighty God, we give you thanks and praise for your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Accept our offering in union with Christ’s offering for us. Confirm in us the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, that we may testify to the sovereignty of his love.
Lord God, we live in a world of plenty in which the poor struggle for daily bread. We pray for those who lack the basic necessities of life and those who willingly share the resources you have given. Correct those who hoard resources out of anxiety, ignorance, or selfishness. Open their eyes to your presence among the poor of the world and free them for joyful giving. For the poor, the benevolent, and the hard-of-heart, compassionate Lord, receive our prayer.
God, you direct us to offer hospitality to the stranger and to welcome the weary. We pray for travellers, for those who emigrate to new lands, for refugees of political and religious wars, and for those who have no place to call home.
Bless those who offer refuge to the wayfaring stranger. Convict the conscience and open the heart of any who would raise walls of self-preservation and isolation. For the stranger, for those who minister to them, and for those who would refuse them, compassionate Lord, receive our prayer.
Lord God, you hear the cry of all who are in distress. Heal those who are sick in body, mind, or spirit. Comfort them in their need and help those who care for them. We also pray for those who abandon the sick and suffering out of fear. Teach us to serve our sisters and brothers and to share the burden of disease of body, mind, and heart. For the sick and those in distress, for those who care for them and those who are afraid to offer fellowship to them, compassionate Lord, receive our prayer.
Lord God, Jesus our Lord was a prisoner of Rome before his execution, and he instructed his disciples to visit those in prison. We pray for those who are incarcerated: for those who are guilty of crime and for those who may be unjustly imprisoned. Save the lost, reprove the haughty, liberate the captive, and let your disciples be a sign of your forgiving, liberating love. We also pray for those who work in prisons, that they may respect the humanity of the women and men they guard and not be overwhelmed by the moral dangers of their employment. For prisoners, for those who minister to them, and for those who guard them, compassionate Lord, receive our prayer.
Almighty God, confirm our prayer with the dedication of our lives to ministry; in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who taught us to pray together…..
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
King of Kings, Majesty
This beautifully-written song by Jarrod Cooper is sung in many languages across the world. The greatness of God is expressed in this song and also the deep desire to humbly worship the King of Kings with all our hearts, as we lay everything before him in adoration.