THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 27, 2020

First Presbyterian Church, Fargo
The Session and members of First Presbyterian Church, extend a sincere welcome to you! We welcome all persons regardless of race, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. This includes an open invitation to membership, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, marriage, funerals, memorial services, and to serve as an officer of the church.

Prelude and Preparation for Worship

Prayer of the Day
Gracious God, we thank you for being ever present with us. We know that we are never alone. Your mercies have been faithful and rich. Pour out your Spirit upon us, that we might do the work of your will. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
Praise the Lord who is our provider.
The Lord is our hope. Our trust is in God. 
God brought us out of bondage and has made us free.
The Lord is our hope. Our trust is in God.
Glorious are the deeds of our God, and mighty are his acts.
The Lord is our hope. Let us worship God.
Moment for Stewardship
Hymn — All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name!
Singers: Penny Andrist, Kayla Bones, Pam Burns, Tori Hughes, Jack Lawrence, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!
 
2 Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
ye ransomed from the fall,
hail him who saves you by his grace,
and crown him Lord of all!
Hail him who saves you by his grace,
and crown him Lord of all!
 
3 Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!
To him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!
 
4 O that with yonder sacred throng
we at his feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown him Lord of all!
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown him Lord of all!

Call to Confession
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor, trusting in the promise of forgiveness.

Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, we have been wandering in the wilderness of sin. We have complained in the face of your mercy. We have been selfish and conceited in the face of your sacrifice. We have not done your will. Teach us humility. Teach us gratitude. Infuse your spirit into our beings so that we might be reconciled to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.



Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson Philippians 2:1-13
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 
who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited, 
but emptied himself,
  taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, 
   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross. 
 
Therefore God also highly exalted him
   and gave him the name
   that is above every name, 
so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father. 
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Lesson Matthew 21:23-32
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 
‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

Sermon                  On Whose Authority?
Hymn — What Wondrous Love is This
1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul!

3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
while millions join the theme, I will sing!

4 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
and through eternity I’ll sing on.

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith                                       A Brief Statement of Faith

In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. 

We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church. In a broken and fearful world, the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayers of the People, ending with 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, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Call for the Offering, ending with the Prayer of Dedication

Bearing the Word into the World

Hymn — I Danced in the Morning
1 I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth.
At Bethlehem I had my birth.
 
Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.
 
2 I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
but they would not dance and they would not follow me.
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John.
They came with me and the dance went on. [Refrain]
 
3 I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame.
The holy people said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
and left me there on a cross to die. [Refrain]
 
4 I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black.
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone,
but I am the dance and I still go on. [Refrain]
 
5 They cut me down and I leapt up high.
I am the life that will never, never die.
I'll live in you if you'll live in me,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he. [Refrain]

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE