SHELTER-IN-PLACE WORSHIP GUIDE
SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2020
Welcome to First AME Zion Church San Jose. Social distancing cannot keep us from drawing nearer to God.
The Call to Worship and Invocation
Blessed Lord, you are great, the heavens speak of your glory. You do wonders in heaven and we see the signs on earth. We the work of your hands worship you today, accept our worship in Jesus name. As we continue in today’s service, we want to see your great power move. Let every one of us encounter you in a different way. Bless us and give us everlasting joy in you.
Morning Hymn – We Have Come Into This House
Scripture Reading (Romans 8:12-17 )
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen, Amen.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
The third day he rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic* Church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Altar Call/Pastoral Prayer – Bless Me
We are praying for you,
Rev. Keith Johnson, Octavian Rodriquez, Angelikka Carter, James Spaulding, Rev. and Mrs. Braxton, Dwaine Giggans,
Johnie Mae Williams, Christine Ferguson, Rev. Michael Henderson, Rev. Veronica Buckner, Curtis and Faye Bomar, Jean Wilson and Family, Pinkie Westry, Paula Westry, and Brother Daniel
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before Your Holy Presence with adoration in our hearts. You have been so gracious and loving to us and You have been better to us than we have been to ourselves. It is Your grace and mercy that have brought us through this trying time.
Lord, we bow today to pray for those who need You to heal their bodies. We pray for those who are troubled in their minds. We ask for special grace for our sisters and brothers who don't know how they will make it financially in this critical time in their lives. We pray for the homeless and for the hopeless. You are a shelter in the time of a storm, a bridge over troubled water, and You are our refuge and strength. We are leaning and depending on you to provide for us, even when we have become doubtful. Father, You know all about us and You know what we stand in need of. Thank You Jesus for supplying our needs and keeping Your loving arms of protection around us. Amen.
Song of Praise -- I Give Myself Away
Tithes and Offerings
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2nd Chronicles 9:7
Visit our Gift section on the Gift tab. You may give via credit cards, PayPal Givelify.com (Download Givelify to your Smartphone). If you prefer, mail your tithes and offerings to First AMEZ Church, 95 S. 20th Street, San Jose CA 95116
Givelify.com (Download Givelify to your Smartphone) or mail your tithes and offerings to First AMEZ Church, 95 S. 20th Street, San Jose CA 95116
The Board of Bishops has announced that the 51st Quadrannium General Conference will be rescheduled for a later date. Details will be provided at a future time.
Please check your text messages and email for further updates on the events and news about the schedule for all local AMEZ services. In accordance with the directives of the City of San Jose, our on-site services are suspended until further notice. This includes Bible Study and choir rehearsals. Our next on-site service to be announced.
Sermonic Scripture Reading -- Romans 12:1-5
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Sermon -- A Living Sacrifice - Part 1
This week's message is part 1 of a 2-part discourse on submitting our lives as a living sacrifice unto God.
As we go through our life, we see many examples of people who have all the outward signs of success. But, when we look closely at these people, we discover that many of them make destructive, and oftentimes, fatal mistakes.
Such contradictory behavior is usually rooted in the fact that people do not understand their own humanity and subjection to guidelines and rules of fair play. In other words, there are people who destroy their lives by breaking the law – simply because they do not understand the law.
More than anything else, people in today’s society do not understand that their lives are not their own to do with as they please. They can’t grasp the truth of 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 20 that says:
“19 What? Know ye not that that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.”
1st Corinthians 7:23, goes further and tells us, “Ye are bought with a price: be not ye the servants of men.”
I need to stop right here to make it plain that this morning’s sermon is not directed at people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong.
Today, I’m focusing on people who believe that they are holy and righteous.
I’m talking about people who know all the rules – but their own greatness makes them believe that the rules don’t apply to them.
I’m talking about those who profess to be following Christ.
I’m talking about those who talk the bible but walk in a different direction.
I’m talking about the devout churchgoers, who, when you examine their lives, show that going to church doesn’t have much effect on them.
We see these people everyday. They claim to be Christians. They go to church every Sunday – But Monday through Saturday, they are card-carrying members of Satan’s Hell’s Angels Club. So, it is because of these kinds of people that Paul saw the necessity of writing to the Church at Rome. And, if anyone was qualified to write on this subject, it was Paul.
You will recall that, before Paul was changed on the Damascus Road, he was determined to destroy the church. But, after his transformation, Paul became a Living Sacrifice in his commitment to spread the Gospel throughout the world.
You can see that, when Paul wrote this letter, he was definitely aware of the problems that existed for Christians in his day. He recognized that even though people accepted Christ, it did not mean that they always understood the difference between what was wrong and right. Paul also understood that people did not automatically quit doing what was wrong. This is probably what inspired Paul to write to the church at Rome with an earnest and sincere plea, based on the mercy that God had shown them.
So, in this scripture, Paul says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
The image of a living sacrifice that Paul uses in this scripture comes straight out of the Old Testament.
Imagine for a moment that you are an ancient Israelite.
You believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
You try to live, as best you can, by God’s law. But you are honest with yourself!
You know deep, down in your heart that you have failed to do the right thing – not once – but time and time again!
The problem you’re facing is what do you do about it? You know what the law requires. This is the procedure of that day.
You go out to your herd of sheep or calves and pick out an animal for sacrifice. It should be the best animal that you have.
Let’s just say you chose a lamb. You take that “sacrificial lamb” to the priest.
The priest sacrifices the lamb on your behalf.
Once the lamb has been slain and its life has been offered up to God, you return to your home, having made your peace with your Lord.
Now, as we can see from this scenario, the Israelite sacrificial system had a lot going for it.
It reminded people of their duty to God.
It demanded that they give their best.
It allowed them to feel that they had re-established their relationship with their creator.
From this, we can see that this sacrificial system was good! But, believe me, it had some real flaws!
The main flaw was that – no matter how much these Israelites sacrificed, they always came home feeling like it wasn’t much of a sacrifice when you consider all that they had done wrong.
Of course, the Lord himself knew that this “ceremony” of sacrifice was flawed, and we could never make a sacrifice that would cover the multitude of our sins – so one day he made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He sent His Son to die to demonstrate the real meaning of sacrifice. The sacrifice of God’s Son showed us that, if we would accept His sacrifice, we would never have to make animal sacrifices again. And, a lot of us accepted the sacrifice of Christ, and foolishly called it EVEN!
Here is where the problem comes in. Paul says, calling it “even” is where we make our mistake.
Some people say that, “If God himself made the ultimate sacrifice, then there is nothing left for us to do. That is why they call it ‘even’.” Paul says that this way of thinking is WRONG. We can never call it EVEN.
The message for us is that sacrifice is just as important today as it ever was. Only now, it is the sacrifice of our lives and it is a sacrifice made out of love and gratitude -- instead of a sense of duty. Let me say that again – today we are called to sacrifice our lives for the cause of Christ and that sacrifice is made out of love and gratitude -- instead of a sense of duty. You need to say, because God cared enough to send His Son down to die for my sins, I will give him the best of my service. The life that we offer to God is to be as spotless and as blameless as that perfect lamb that was offered up by the early Israelites. Our lives must be the best that we can offer.
I’m sure some of you may be thinking – Rev., this sounds good, but “How do I offer my life as a living sacrifice?”
Well, there are some things to consider:
First of all, we cannot conform to this world.
The Word says, But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Now, in this age in which we live, being a conformist is much easier than being a NON-conformist. Living in today’s world is not easy and there is a danger in allowing our lifestyles and life choices – morally and ethically – to conform to those of the world.
One thing that causes problems among church people is that we often depend on others to set the standard for our living. Unfortunately, the standard and tone for living are mostly set by people outside the church.
Perhaps if our standards were set by great missionaries or statesmen, we might not have so many problems. But the reality is that most of our standards of behavior are set by celebrities and people who believe that the highest priority in life is the attainment of fame and fortune. And even those who base their lives on wealth – don’t really want it for the sake of being wealthy. They want wealth because it sets the stage for the fake lives that they live based on what they can buy, who can have the most facelifts, tummy tucks, and look the best. They want wealth because it allows them to live in huge houses and drive fast cars.
We live in a world where the greatest virtues are to have fame, fortune, and beauty. We live in a world where the greatest sins in life are to be POOR and UNATTRACTIVE.
But, Paul tells us that we can’t have it both ways. You can’t allow yourself to conform to the standards of this world, and still hope to present your body as a living sacrifice to God. Now I’m sure that you realize that I’m not talking about wealth in the sense of financial stability. Nor am I talking about your body in the physical sense. I’m talking about the spiritual YOU, in terms of your mind. It is not enough that we refuse to conform our actions to this world. That leaves us pretty much in “neutral” territory.
Paul says, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Isn’t it interesting that Paul says that our minds will have to be changed? Surely he was saying to us that, no matter how much we change our outward appearance, until we make up our minds that a change is going to take place, a change will never come for us.
Becoming a living sacrifice takes a complete change of mind. A person who has not had his life transformed by the renewing of their mind will never know peace. Paul said this himself in another context. He said, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Church, the only mind that brings peace is the mind of Christ. Until we have the same mind in us as the mind of Christ, we will never really be able to make our lives the living sacrifice that God would have us to make. Amen.
Performed by Sonia Da Silva and Church of All Nations Choir
Performed by Pastor E. Dewey Smith
Song of Preparation -- I Really Love the Lord
Performed by First Baptist Church, Glenarden
Performed by Pastor Reginald Sharpe, Jr.