New Year’s Eve 2021 Worship Service


Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

Grace Lutheran Church is grateful to have the opportunity to share with you the blessings of our Christ-centered ministry this evening.    We welcome you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.   To family and friends who know us, we renew our welcome, and to our first-time guests we extend it most sincerely.    It is our goal to focus our attention on the record of God’s gracious accomplishments that have secured for us our eternal destiny with Him.   May the certainty of His mercy help to brighten the year ahead and to supply you with resolve for living in 2022 and beyond as God’s child and as an heir of everlasting life.


Prayer Upon Entering Church           


I cannot bear the cross alone    Which You, Lord, place on all Your own;

Nor can I see Your face that shines    Beyond affliction’s darkened lines.   

Lord, take my hand;   Please be my Guide,

 And keep me ever near Your side.   


I cannot walk a single day     The paths that mark life’s rugged way;    

Nor can I rest secure from fear      Unless I feel Your presence near.  

Uphold me with Your outstretched arm   

And shield me from every harm.  


I cannot walk the way alone      That leads to my celestial home;    

Nor can I face my dying hour      Unless supported by Your power.    

Grant me Your strength, Lord, through this strife

      And bring me to eternal life.   Amen.


Facing the Future as we have Lived out the Past

….Confidently Putting our Faith in the Lord….


            As December 31st annually arrives, it can be said by us about any and every year: “In some ways this has been a long, hard year, but still also a good year under God’s grace.”   It’s continued to be a long year for our country politically, with both major parties fighting in Washington rather than serving the nation as a whole.  Great changes continue to take place in our society due to Covid and its effects.   Gas and food prices, among others, are soaring as inflation – the likes of which we haven’t seen in the US in over 40 years – continues to eat away at savings and income.  Government spending is astonishing, to say the least.   Is it any wonder that taxes are rising?   (And, as one politician remarked years ago, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”)   As one year gives way to the next employers continue to go begging for employees, but many eligible workers simply choose not to work…and receive government money each month instead.  Churches nationwide remain “less-than-full” – affected on the one hand by Covid fears, but moreso by a growing Spiritual apathy that tonight sees over 30% of the adult population confidently claiming “no Spiritual affiliation whatsoever”….and those unaffiliated aren’t bothered at all (and probably won’t be…..until they stand before God for judgment).              During 2021 each of us grew another year older, and the same aging  activity will take place in 2022.   Irritations and inconveniences that frustrated us before will do so yet again, just as there will be many pleasant surprises and successes in the year to come.  Many of us will still be living here at the end of 2022, but as has been the case each year, some dear friends will move away to work and live elsewhere.   Health situations and challenges will be as much a part of 2022 as they have been for us in 2021…..from colds to cancer, from acid-reflux  to arthritis, from headaches to heart disease, and from sciatica to surgery.   And death will visit our lives again this year as before.  Yet we also want to thank God for our good health that He has maintained for  many and restored for others in 2021;   may He continue to bless us with health, healing and happiness in the new year!  

            In spite of living in an increasingly violent and dangerous society, during 2021  physical harm and danger have been kept from many of our homes and lives…..often without our ever having been aware of the divinely-given protection we received.   Again, we pray that God will continue to protect and preserve us in the future as He has in the past.  As in years’ past, we also know that as a church family we will lose some church members even as this congregation will gain and rejoice in incoming brothers and sisters in Christ. 

            We’ll also deal with the reality that even as we are maturing Christians, we are nevertheless accomplished sinners in our words, deeds, and thoughts….. sinners who will daily depend upon and delight in the Gospel of forgiveness full and free in Christ.   Finally, we trust that just as the Lord to this point  has prospered our congregation, materially and – most important – spiritually, according to His will He can do so in ever-increasing measure in 2022.  Once again we ask that He will allow us to worship in peace, to regularly receive the assurance of sins forgiven and salvation assured through Jesus Christ, to serve Him in a variety of ways, to enjoy each other’s fellowship and spiritual support, to grow in the Word of our Lord, and to see our faith increase.  


Our Worship Service For This Evening

            We’ve gathered here on this New Year’s Eve, 2021, to praise our Lord because of the “ups” and “downs” we’ve faced this past year and come through under His grace.  But we’re here especially because, regardless of what we encounter in the future – good or bad, and no matter how short or long our earthly future is –, we want to grow in the confident faith that our Lord loves us with an everlasting love in Christ, and that He will graciously sustain us here in a sinful world, until – at the time of His choosing – He takes us to a perfect home in heaven for Jesus’ sake.

            As you examine this worship flyer and the hymn board tonight, do take notice of the hymns which have been selected for our this evening’s service.  They will serve as a reminder both of your God’s faithful help in the past and His guaranteed support for the future (# 441)….as a prayer and statement of praise recalling God’s many mercies to us in the past, and imploring His grace for the year ahead (#69)… a statement of Christian commitment and confidence in God as our Strength and Stay through life (#200)… an expression which recognizes the forgiveness of sins conveyed to us by the Lord’s body and blood, in-with-and under the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper (# 315)…..and a closing prayer asking for God’s continued blessings and protection through the coming night (#588)

            Our series of Scripture readings for tonight have all been drawn from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, written under divine inspiration almost 19 and a half centuries ago.   If you have the time before worship begins, please make use of the introduction/ back-ground materials for Romans which follows these service notes.   They have been provided so that you might better understand and benefit from tonight’s readings, as well as to get a better appreciation for  this key book of Scripture.  Through them we’ll be reminded of the power of God’s Word at work in our hearts which has brought us to faith;   of His forgiveness and justification of us through the redeeming work of Jesus;   that we still need God’s mercy and strength daily because of our spiritual weakness;   that  we have been called, as His redeemed, to live Godly lives in this world;   and that one day, God will give us the ultimate goal of our faith, eternal life in heaven, for which we patiently and fervently wait.   Finally, through our Sermon we’ll be encouraged to approach the new year with the confidence that God will provide and protect us in the future, just as He has graciously done in the past.


Paul’s Letter to the Romans


Author:         Under divine inspiration, the writer was the Apostle Paul (1:1).   The testimony of the early church overwhelmingly supports this.  Paul probably wrote Romans in 57 AD, from Corinth, during his 3rd missionary journey.


The Recipients:    The church at Rome (1:7);  the beginnings of the congregation in Rome are not recorded in Scripture.  The Pentecost account indicates that “visitors from Rome” were among the Jews who heard Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:10).  In all probability they took the gospel back with them to Rome.   In a short time, Gentiles outnumbered the Jews in the congregation (1:13;  11:13,30,31).

The Purposes of Romans:      1)  To give Paul an opportunity to introduce himself and to prepare the congregation for his planned visit to Rome (1:11-13; 15:24);   2)  To impart “some spiritual gift” (1:11), that is necessary Christian instruction and encouragement, to the Roman Christians;    and  3)  To lay the ground work for Paul’s planned trip to Spain (15:24-28).


Theme:     Paul presents the theme of his letter in 1:16,17.  The Gospel is the power God employs “for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  “Righteousness from God” is at the heart of the Gospel.


Luther on Romans:     “This Epistle is truly the chief part of the New Testament and the purest gospel, being so valuable altogether that a Christian might well not only memorize it word by word, but keep in touch with it every day, as with the daily bread for his soul.  For it can never be read or considered too much or too well, and the more it is handled, the more precious does it become, and the better does it taste.”


Summary:     This epistle begins with a declaration that all people, Jew and Gentile alike, stand condemned and are without excuse before God (chs 1-2).  But because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, the whole world stands acquitted before God.  This judicial act of God, “Justification,” is something that God put into effect for the whole world.  It is appropriated [becomes our own] personally, or individually, through faith (chapter 3).   This teaching is in perfect harmony with the Old Testament’s teaching about justification (chapter 4).  This is God’s way of creating a new Israel from Himself.    After reviewing and restating this fundamental teaching of the Christian faith (chapter 5), Paul proceeds to show that “righteousness from God” creates a new life for God’s people by freeing them from the curse of sin (chapter 6), obligation to the law as the means for ones salvation (chapter 7), and punishment of eternal death in hell (chapter 8).   In chapters 9-11 Paul relates how the Gospel creates a new Israel out of both Jews and Gentiles, demonstrating in the process that God has not reneged on His promises to the Jews.  God’s justice is not compromised in His rejection of ancient Israel.  God’s wisdom is demonstrated in His creation of the new Israel of God.  The concluding chapters (12-16) relate how God involves His new Israel in a new way of worship by inviting His people to offer all of life as a faith-response to God as a “spiritual act of worship” (12:1).  The righteousness God’s people claim for themselves in Christ is a righteousness to be practiced in our relationships with fellow Christians in the church (chapter 12), in our attitudes toward society, especially leaders in civil government (chapter 13), and in our dealings with matters of adiaphora [things neither commanded nor forbidden by God, but open to Christian freedom and love] (chapters 14-15).  The conclusion (15:14-16:27) provides a fitting insight into the gospel at work in the church.


Significant Passages:  1:18-32   The depravity and damnation of the unrepentant unbelievers who pervert the natural knowledge of God;   2:1-16   The truth that ones conscience, unless led by Scripture, is not a totally reliable guide;  3:9-22   Our total depravity and universal guilt according to our sinful nature;   5:12-21   The curse of Original sin, inherited by us all from Adam;      5:18,19  The doctrine of Universal/ Objective justification is presented  (that Christ died for the world’s sins) articulated;  6:1-11  The Christian’s identification with Christ and His resurrection;   6:23  The consequences for us because of both the sin we inherited and the sins we commit;   7:7-25  The internal, on-going struggle between our Old Adam (the sinful nature  in us)  and our new man (the believer in us);  8:28-39   The comforting assurance that in all things God works for the good of His children, plus the positive assurance of salvation…..that nothing can separate us from God’s love;   12:1,2   All of the Christian’s life is to be an expression of faithfulness (which is a way of worshiping the Lord);   Chapter 13    The Christian’s respect for and responsibility to civil government, including capital punishment and taxes;   Chapter 14  A discussion of Christian liberty/freedom;    16:17-18   An urgent warning to beware of false teachers. 



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                      Pre-worship music


We Praise Our God


The Opening Hymn                                                                      Hymn 441  “Our God, Our Help In Ages Past”


1 O God, our help in ages past,          Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,   And our eternal home,


2 Under the shadow of your throne      Your saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is your arm alone,   And our defense is sure.


3 Before the hills in order stood   Or earth received its frame,

From everlasting you are God,   To endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in your sight   Are like an evening gone,

Short as the watch that ends the night   Before the rising sun.


5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,   Soon bears us all away;

We fly, forgotten, as a dream   Dies at the op’ning day.


6 O God, our help in ages past,   Our hope for years to come,

Still be our guard while troubles last    And our eternal home!



The Invocation “We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen” 


The Evening Prayer


Lord God, You Who divided the day from the night,   +   You have brought us safely to this hour of evening worship.   +   We thank You for providing all that we need for body and life.   +   Bless us who have gathered here in Your name.   +   Forgive us our sins.   +  Speak to our hearts and spirits.   +   Fill us with a Spirit of gratitude for Your many blessings given to us.   + Dispel our sorrows with the comfort of Your Word,  +   and receive our hymns of thanks and praise to You;   +   through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,   +  Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   as the one true God, now and forever. + Amen.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor – I now ask you before God, who searches your heart, do you confess that you have sinned against God  and deserve His wrath and punishment?  Then declare so by saying, “I do confess.”


Congregation – “I do confess.”


Pastor               Truly you should confess, for the Holy Scriptures say, “If we claim to be without sin, we

                        deceive    ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

                        Second, do you, with all your heart, repent of all your sins, committed in thought, word, and   deed?  Then declare so by saying, “I do repent.”


Congregation – “I do repent.”


Pastor                           Truly, you should repent, as other penitent sinners have done:  King David, who prayed for a

                         contrite heart;  Peter, who wept bitterly;  the sinful woman, the prodigal son, and others.

Third, do you sincerely believe that God, by

grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive you all your sins?  Then declare so by saying, “I do believe.”


Congregation – “I do believe.”


Pastor                           Truly you should so believe, for the Holy Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that He

                         gave His  one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

           Fourth, do you promise that with the help of the Holy Ghost, you will, from this time forward,  reform your sinful life?  Then declare it by saying, “I do promise.”


Congregation – “I do promise.”


Pastor                           Truly, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord says:  “Let your light shine before men, that they  may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”                                                                          

                         Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive from God the  forgiveness of all your sins?   Then declare it by saying, “I do believe.


Congregation – “I do believe.”


Pastor   Upon this, your confession, I because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word, I announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place, and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I    forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Peace  be with you.  Amen.



The Psalm for this Evening                                                                                                                   Psalm 90


P:         Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

C:        Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world,   +   from everlasting to everlasting You are God.


P:         You turn men back to dust, saying “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

C:        For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by,  +   or like a watch in the night.


P:         You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

C:        All our days pass away under Your wrath;   +   we finish our years with a moan.


P:         The length of our days is seventy years —   or eighty, if we have the strength;   

C:        yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,   +  for they quickly pass, and we fly away.


P:         Who knows the power of Your anger?   For Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due You.

C:        Teach us to number our days aright,   +    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.


P:         Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

C:        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.          


After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


Selected portions of Scripture from Paul’s letter

to the Romans, each of which is fitting for us as Christians to hear

as, under God’s grace, we both close the old year and begin a new year


This is a time to thank God for His Word

as the Foundation for our Christian Faith                                                                                   Romans 1:1-17


1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised in advance through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3 This gospel is about his Son—who in the flesh was born a descendant of David, 4 who in the spirit of holiness was declared to be God’s powerful Son by his resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ, our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and the call to be an apostle on behalf of his name, to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, 6 including you, who were called by Jesus Christ.   7 To all those loved by God who are in Rome, called to be saints:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


8 First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ concerning all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 To be sure, God, whom I serve with my spirit by proclaiming the gospel of his Son, is my witness to how constantly I make mention of you. In all my prayers, 10 I always ask if perhaps at last a way might be opened, if God wills, for me to come to you. 11 I certainly long to see you, in order that I may deliver some spiritual gift to you, so that you are strengthened— 12 that is, when I am with you, that we will be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, yours and also mine.   13 I do not want you to be unaware of the fact, brothers, that I have often planned to come to you but have been prevented from doing so until now. I wanted to have some fruit among you in the same way as I did among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I have an obligation both to Greeks and non-Greeks, to the wise and to the foolish. 15 That is why I am eager to proclaim the gospel also to you who are in Rome.   16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed by faith, for faith, just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”


A Hymn                                                                                     Hymn 69   “Across the Sky the Shades of Night”

                                                                                                                                                             verses 1-2


1 Across the sky the shades of night   This New Year’s Eve are fleeting.

We deck your altar, Lord, with light,   In solemn worship meeting,

And, as the year’s last hours go by,   We raise to you our earnest cry,

Once more your love entreating. 


2 We gather up in this brief hour   The mem’ry of your mercies.

Your wondrous goodness, love, and pow’r   Our grateful song rehearses,

For you have been our strength and stay   In many a dark and dreary day

Of sorrow and reverses.



Tonight is a time to praise God

for forgiving and justifying is in Christ                                                                                     Romans 3:21-4:8


21 But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all who believe.  In fact, there is no difference, 23 because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God publicly displayed as the atonement seat through faith in his blood. God did this to demonstrate his justice, since, in his divine restraint, he had left the sins that were committed earlier unpunished. 26 He did this to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so that he would be both just and the one who justifies the person who has faith in Jesus.


27 What happens to boasting then? It has been eliminated. By what principle—by the principle of works? No, but by the principle of faith. 28 For we conclude that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law. 29 Or is he only the God of the Jews? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised person by faith and the uncircumcised person through the very same faith. 31 So are we doing away with the law by this faith? Absolutely not! Instead, we are upholding the law.


4 What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered according to the flesh? 2 If indeed Abraham had been justified by works, he would have had a reason to boast—but not before God. 3 For what does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  4 Now to a person who works, his pay is not counted as a gift but as something owed. 5 But to the person who does not work but believes in the God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.  6 This is exactly what David says about the blessed state of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:   7 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.



A Hymn                                                                                     Hymn 69   “Across the Sky the Shades of Night”

                                                                                                                                                                 verse 3


3 Before the cross, subdued, we bow,   To you our prayers addressing,

Recounting all your mercies now   And all our sins confessing.

We ask you, Lord, this coming year   To keep us in your faith and fear

And crown us with your blessing.



New Year’s Eve is a time Acknowledge our continuing spiritual

 fragility and need for God’s on-going support                                                                          Romans 7:14-25

14 Certainly we know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. 19 So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me.


21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22 I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, 23 but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. 24 What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!



A Hymn                                                                                     Hymn 69   “Across the Sky the Shades of Night”

                                                                                                                                                                 verse 4

4 And while we pray, we lift our eyes   To dear ones gone before us,

Safe home with you in Paradise,   Where Jesus will reign o’er us,

And ask of you, when life is past,   To reunite us all at last

With those who’ve gone before us.



Let us also Recognize God’s Call

To Us to Live Lives of Faithfulness                                                                                            Romans 12:1-21


Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy and pleasing to God—which is your appropriate worship. 2 Also, do not continue to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you test and approve what is the will of God—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.  3 So by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think in a way that results in sound judgment, as God distributed a measure of faith to each of you. 4 For we have many members in one body, and not all the members have the same function. 5 In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.   6 We have different gifts, according to the grace God has given us. If the gift is prophecy, do it in complete agreement with the faith. 7 If it is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach. 8 If it is encouraging, then encourage. If it is contributing, be generous. If it is leadership, be diligent. If it is showing mercy, do it cheerfully.


9 Do not just pretend to love others. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with brotherly love. Think of others as deserving more honor than yourselves. 11 Do not be lagging behind in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, as you continue to serve the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope. Endure trials patiently. Persist in prayer. 13 Share with the saints who are in need. Be quick to welcome strangers as guests.


14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who are rejoicing; weep with those who are weeping. 16 Have the same respect for one another. Do not be arrogant, but associate with the humble. Do not think too highly of yourselves.


17 Do not pay anyone back evil for evil. Focus on those things that everyone considers noble. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, maintain peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But:   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”      21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


A Hymn                                                                                     Hymn 69   “Across the Sky the Shades of Night”

                                                                                                                                                                 verse 5

5 Then, gracious God, in years to come,    Whatever may betide us,

Right onward through our journey home,   Oh, stay at hand to guide us,

Nor leave us till, at close of life,   Safe from all peril, toil, and strife,

Heav’n shall enfold and hide us.

We also eagerly await the glorious transformation that will take place in us on the

Last Day for Jesus’ sake, Trusting that our Lord will protect and preserve us until then          Romans 8:18-39


18 For I conclude that our sufferings at the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 In fact, creation is waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope 21 that even creation itself will be set free from slavery to corruption, in order to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.


22 For we know that all of creation is groaning with birth pains right up to the present time. 23 And not only creation, but also we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 Indeed, it was for this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for something we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patient endurance.


26 In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that are not expressed in words. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to God’s will.


28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified.


31 What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?   33 Who will bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies! 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus,[g] who died and, more than that, was raised to life, is the one who is at God’s right hand and who is also interceding for us! 35 What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 Just as it is written:   “For your sake we are being put to death all day long.

We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”   37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Sermon Hymn                                                                          Hymn 200   “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”


1 A mighty fortress is our God,   A trusty shield and weapon;

He helps us free from ev’ry need   That has us now o’ertaken.

The old evil foe   Now means deadly woe; 

Deep guile and great might   Are his dread arms in fight;   On earth is not his equal.


2 With might of ours can naught be done;   Soon were our loss effected.

But for us fights the valiant one   Whom God himself elected.

You ask, “Who is this?”   Jesus Christ it is, 

The almighty Lord.   And there’s no other God;   He holds the field forever.


3 Though devils all the world should fill,    All eager to devour us,

We tremble not, we fear no ill;   They shall not overpow’r us.

This world’s prince may still   Scowl fierce as he will,

He can harm us none.   He’s judged; the deed is done!    One little word can fell him.


4 The Word they still shall let remain,    Nor any thanks have for it;

He’s by our side upon the plain    With his good gifts and Spirit.

And do what they will –   Hate, steal, hurt, or kill —

Though all may be gone,   Our victory is won;    The kingdom’s ours forever!

The Sermon                                                                                                                           Philippians 3:12-14


12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus also took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it yet, but there is one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and straining toward the things that are ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Paul’s Guidelines for a Godly New Year


Pastor               And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received tonight through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those watching this worship service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can go to our website ( and use the giving option.

At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

The Prayers for this New Year’s Eve


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 trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us;    And lead us not into temptation;  But deliver us from evil;    For Thine is the Kingdom   and the power   and the glory   forever and ever.   Amen.



We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


The Consecration of the Elements  –  Pastor


A Confessional Address, In Preparation For Receiving the Sacrament


The Distribution of the Elements  (Pastor)


The Distribution Hymn                                                                                                                       Hymn 309

                                                                                                    “Draw Near And Take The Body Of The Lord”


1 Draw near and take the body of the Lord,   And drink the holy blood for you outpoured.

Offered was he for greatest and for least,   Himself the victim and himself the priest.


2 He that his saints in this world rules and shields   To all believers life eternal yields,

With heav’nly bread makes them that hunger whole,   Gives living waters to the thirsty soul.


3 Come forward, then, with faithful hearts sincere,   And take the pledges of salvation here.

Before your altar, Lord, your servants bow;   In this your feast of love be with us now.




We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


At the Pastor’s invitation the Congregation will rise for


The Closing Prayer


The Benediction –         The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.


The Closing Hymn                                                                                                                               Hymn 588

                                                                                                           “Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide”


1 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide.   The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,   Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!


2 Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;   Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.

Change and decay in all around I see;   O thou who changest not, abide with me!


3 Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,   But kind and good, with healing in thy wings,

Tears for all woes, a heart for ev’ry plea;   Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.


4 Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,  

And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,  

Thou hast not left me oft as I left thee.   On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.


5 I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour.   What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?

Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?   Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me!


6 I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;   Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?  I triumph still if thou abide with me.


7 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;   Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;     In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!




A Bible Study and Devotion To Start the New Year


            January 1st is traditionally recognized as the “Eighth Day of Christmas” and so – following the Old Testament custom of circumcising Hebrew boys on the 8th day  – the Christian Church (at least that part which follows the historic Christian “Church Year” calendar….as we do) observes January 1st as “The Day of the Circumcision and Naming of our Lord.”  Because we will not be gathering for public worship here tomorrow morning, and so that we do not entirely “lose” the spiritual significance of January 1st, I’d like to share with you this brief Bible study for New Year’s Day in the hope that you will take it home to use devotionally — whether just personally, or with family and friends – as a means to both build your faith and knowledge, and to “start the new year” off in the best way possible: in study of God’s Word and prayer to our Lord.   (Note….the titles/names that follow are just some of the many names and terms used to describe Jesus.  Likewise, the passages cited in connection with the titles below should not be considered an exhaustive list of their usages.)


Here are Just Some of the Names given

 to Jesus which are found in Scripture


Immanuel – A transliteration of the Hebrew, “Immanu-El” which literally means “with us, God.”  Coming from the

 prophesy in Isaiah 7:14, we also find it used to describe Jesus in Matthew 1:23.


The Alpha and the Omega – (Revelation 1:8)  these are the names of the letters which begin and end the Greek alphabet.    In Revelation 22:13  these words are followed by the explanation, “The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End” and are used to refer to Christ’s eternal character.   As the everlasting, timeless God, He has no beginning and no end, but exists forever.   What a thought for us to ponder as we “mark the passage of time” this New Year’s.   And while we are not eternal, since we each have a beginning somewhere in past time, we will enjoy everlasting life in heaven through faith in Jesus.


Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come – Interestingly, the number three is often used in Scripture in connection with the Lord (Isaiah 6:3; Numbers 6:24-6).  We find it being used here in the second part of Revelation 1:8 as an indication both of Christ’s timelessness, expressing the concept that He has always existed, and of His deity as the One, True God.


Messiah (Hebrew) / Christ (Greek) – both terms mean “The Anointed One” and indicate that Mary’s (and God’s) Son was uniquely designated, or set apart from all others, to be the One and Only world’s Redeemer.  “Messiah” and “Christ” are less formal names and more of a “title” for Jesus.   Occasionally He directly acknowledge that He was the Messiah, for example….in His conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26).  The use of this title is consistent with the OT-era ancient practice of publicly anointing a king or prophet with oil in order to show that he had been especially selected and set apart for a particular task or role.   We can see Jesus being manifestly set apart as “the Messiah/Christ” for His saving work at the time of His baptism, in Matthew 3:13-17.  We also know that His mission of redemption, for which He had been set apart, was constantly uppermost in His mind throughout His ministry (John 5:36; John 9:4).   Here are some other passages where these titles are used in reference to Jesus:   John 1:41;  Luke 2:11; John 7:26-27, 41-44; Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29


Son of God – (Luke 1:35; Matthew 4:3,6;  Mark 1:1;  John 10:33-39)  Though not used nearly as much as the term which follows (“Son of Man”), this title simply and accurately describes Jesus’ divine nature.  While not using this title, the writer to the Hebrews (1:1-4) and Paul in Colossians (2:9-10) both testify to Jesus’ divine nature.   John calls Him “the Son of God” and “the true God” in I John 5:20.  And so we Christians believe that Mary’s Son IS the eternal Son of God.


The Holy One of God – John 6:69 – Another simple statement about Christ’s character, this title describes the perfection that is inherently His as the righteous, sinless God – a sinlessness which He retained (and on which our salvation depended, so that He might be a perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins – John 1:29) after He took upon Himself our human nature…..see Hebrews 4:15.


Son of Man – an oft-used title which gives us an indication of Christ’s fully human nature.  It is used  over 80 times

 in the NT in reference to Jesus.    Examples include:   Matthew 9:6;  Matthew 16:13; Mark 2:10, 28;   Luke 12:10;   Luke 24:7;   John 3:13;    John 9:35)


The Root and the Offspring of David – (Revelation 22:16)  A reference to Christ having come from David’s line.  As will be the case with a number of names and titles given to Him, we can see here that Jesus Christ is the Messiah because he fulfilled the prophecies about the One Who was to come.  See also Micah 5:2, indicating that the Christ would come from David’s hometown of Bethlehem.   Similar portions of Scripture refer to Christ’s being an ancestor of David and his father, Jesse.   Some of those references are: Isaiah 11:1’s  Branch from the stump of Jesse, and  Jesus’ “family history” (genealogy) from chapter one of Matthew’s Gospel (vv 5-6).


Son of David – (Matthew 9:27; Matthew 12:23; Mark 9:47) Another title used to describe the direction connection between Jesus and His great forebearer, David, to whom the LORD had promised that a Descendant would one day sit on his throne Who would reign forever over the house of Israel (Psalm 110;  Mark 13:36).  This term is used frequently in the NT in connection with Christ.


The Bright Morning Star – From Revelation 22:16, this title gives us a glimpse of the brightness, the glory that Christ possesses as the almighty God.  We will personally behold that glory one day with our own eyes (Job 19:27), even as we already see that glory now through the eyes of faith (John 1:14)


LORD (Yahweh, in Hebrew) – actually a verb which means “I AM” – whenever you see this word capitalized in the

 OT it refers to the God of free and faithful grace, and so is a reference to the entire Trinity.   See Exodus 34:5,6.   When Jesus’ disciples called Him “Lord” they were acknowledging that He was (and is) the One True Almighty God, Who is One with the Father and the Spirit in power, authority, and honor.   Jesus used this term “I Am” occasionally (John 8:58, Mark14:62)  to describe Himself, to immediate charges of blasphemy from opponents because He “dared” to make himself equal to God.


Wonderful Counselor – from Isaiah 9:6, the One Who revealed the truth about God to us, and Who showed us (by earning for us) the way to heaven and eternal life.   See also John 14:1-6.


Mighty God – from Isaiah 9:6, an indication of the power and authority that Christ possessed as the almighty, Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth.    Also see Matthew 28:18 and Matthew 19:26, where Christ’s “omnipotence” (all-powerful character) is highlighted.


Everlasting Father – from Isaiah 9:6.   See also John 10:30.   Another affirmation of the unity and equality that exist between the 1st and 2nd Persons of the Trinity.  (Those who today claim that Jesus is, in every way, inferior to the Father – such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses – have an obviously difficult time “reinterpreting” or “interpreting away” the very clear indication here that the Father and the Son are one and the same in their divine essence.


Prince of Peace – from Isaiah 9:6          This is not the peace (from warfare or politically between countries) that the world seeks, but the infinitely more needed and spiritually significant peace that now….for Jesus’ sake and because of His reconciling work (II Cor 5:14-21)….exists between our perfect God and sinful mankind.   The angels sung about it in Luke 2:14, and Paul spoke about it in Philippians 4:7.


Mediator – Paul describes Jesus as “the Mediator between God and men” in I Timothy 2:5.   For us the significance of this name is found in the fact that Jesus continues to serve us now in heaven as our Great High Priest by being our Go-Between/Mediator, pleading for us and insuring that our prayers are heard and favorably answered.   We “confess” this truth every time we offer our prayers “in Jesus’ name.”   (John 16:23)


Good Shepherd – one of the most endearing portraits of Christ found in the Bible.   David first gave us this picture in “the world’s most beloved Psalm,” Psalm 23.    In John 10 (1-6, 11-18, 22-30 ) Jesus speaks at length about Himself as the Good Shepherd, Who not only protects His flock but willingly sacrificially lays down His life for His sheep.     Likewise,  in the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7) Christ speaks in shepherd’s terms about His work in seeking out and saving those who are spiritually lost.   


The Gate – often overlooked because it comes at the start of the “Good Shepherd chapter,” this title from John 10:7 declares to us that entrance into heaven comes ONLY through faith in Jesus.  Peter would later affirm this fact in Acts 4:12:  “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name, under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.”   Can you also see Him as “the Gate” in Matthew 7:13-14?


The Resurrection and the Life  – John 11:25.  Jesus performed three miracles raising others from the dead:   the son

 of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:23-26; Luke 9:40-56), and Lazarus (John 11).   In addition, in connection with His Good Friday death, many dead people were raised from their graves (Matthew 27:52-53).   The even greater miracles of resurrection in which Christ was/will be involved were when He raised Himself from the grave (John 10:18….but see I Peter 3:18 where the Spirit is also involved in Christ’s resurrection) and when He will call our bodies forth from our graves on the Last Day (I Thessalonians 4:17-18; John 5:28).   For the believer, then, the death of my body is never something to be feared, since my soul will live forever and even my dead body will one day be raised imperishable from my grave.    (I Corinthians 15:20, 50-54)


Jesus (Jeshua, in Hebrew) – An example is found in Matthew 1:21.  The name means “The Lord Saves” and is used in excess of 1274 times in the New Testament in connection with Christ.   This name, clearly, puts an exclamation point on the principal work which He came to accomplish:   our souls’ salvation.


Savior – (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Jude 1:25; Titus 3:6) As with the remarks above, in connection with the name “Jesus,” this title describes what Christ achieved for us through His perfect substitutionary life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection:   He saved us from the curse of our sins, from eternal death, and from the Devil’s power.  Put more “positively,” He saved us for eternal life in heaven with Him.   This term is used at least 24 times in the New Testament in connection with Jesus.


Finally, see Philippians 2:6-11, especially verse 11, which tells us that even if many today do not recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior, the day (of Judgment) will come when everyone will bow down before Him and acknowledge that He is the God of all and the world’s Redeemer.   Aren’t you grateful that God has already given you the faith to believe in Him as your Savior?



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831