Lectionary for Ordinary Sunday 13 Year C (Revised 2013)

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2 Kings 2:1-2,6-14 Elijah departs and his mantle passes to Elisha
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord
Galatians 5:1,13-25 The fruit of the Spirit
Luke 9:51-62 Claims of discipleship

Possible Hymns (numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book) (see below for selected numbers in Together in Song)
30 Through all the changing scenes of life
66 God is love, his mercy brightens
82 God, who made the earth
112 God, who stretched the spangled heavens
146 Let him to whom we now belong
206 Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
252 Alone you once went forth O Lord
357 Come dearest Lord, descend and dwell
427 Jesus, we thus obey
450 Now let us from this table rise
467 Who would true valour see
477 God of all power and truth and Grace
487 A charge to keep I have
500 I heard the voice of Jesus say `Come unto me and rest'
514 O Jesus I have promised
528 Make me captive Lord
547 O day of God draw nigh

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Sermon Summary Pentecost 4 Year C (Click here for complete sermon)

Freedom and Self-control

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. -- Galatians 5:13. One of the saddest things is that so often people are led to believe that the Christian life is one of following restrictive rules. So critics often say `It is love the matters, not the rules'. That is very strange, because it is exactly what St. Paul said -- you were called to freedom. Paul understood the work of Christ as liberating. [Galatians 3:23-26; 5:1]

The struggle for freedom
Paul had been fighting a battle with traditional teachers who wanted to have new Gentile Christians placed under the strictures of the old Jewish law. It was a cause of exasperation for Paul [Galatians 2:21-3:3]. The old law and `the flesh' were similar in their capacity to imprison people. Both were contrasted by Paul with the freedom of the Spirit that comes through faith. Liberation was a very powerful experience of early believers, just as it has been the experience of new converts in recent times when people, for example in Papua New Guinea, have been liberated from fear of witchcraft and evil spirits [Galatians 4:8-9].

The results of self-indulgence and the fruits of the Spirit
Devotion to the flesh was any kind of self-indulgence:... do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence; ... [see also Galatians 5:14-15]. The Spirit desires love in the service of one another, while devotion to the flesh is self seeking and exploitative [Galatians 5:17;19-23]. The fruit of the Spirit, bringing liberation, includes self-control.

Fruit of self-control
According to St Paul, one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control.  It is an expression of freedom; and that fruit itself has fruit in human well-being.  There is very good scientific evidence for this, and I would like to share some of it with you. Self-control, or what psychologists tend to call self-regulation, is an aspect of the ways in which we can take control of our own lives, to be self-directed and exercise personal freedom without being blown about the changes and chances of everyday life.  It is a key factor in the beneficial effects of religious faith and practice on human health and well being, and there is scientific evidence for those benefits. People with above average levels of religious participation were found in large investigation to live longer than others. One study concluded that, “Prayer, meditation, religious imagery, and scripture reading all appear capable of serving self-regulatory functions.” In a study of personal loss, it was found that recovery from psychological trauma such as the death of a loved one, or a broken intimate relationship, or loss of a job, was positively related to recovery of personal meaning, and among the strongest factors that went with recovery were “the spiritual goals of achieving salvation, pleasing God, and engaging in religious traditions.” On the opposite side there is very strong evidence for what the researchers have called “The high cost of materialism.” All over the world a strong relative focus on materialistic values is associated with low levels of well-being.  In other words, self-indulgence, what St Paul called the way of the flesh, does you no good, but fruits of the spirit, including self-control, are likely to make you a happier and healthier person.  So says scripture, and so says science.

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. Galatians 5:13

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Order of Service O13 Year C
(Hymn numbers are for Together in Song

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP
Let us worship God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.
HYMN 112 Through all the changing scenes of life
PRAYER OF ADORATION
CONFESSION [In three parts, concluding ...] Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS
The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. -- 1 Timothy 1:15
Hear then Christ's word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
DOXOLOGY: Hymn 771 Now to him who loved us

Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: Called to freedom, and self-control
Your word, O Lord is a lamp to our feet: a light to our path
EPISTLE Galatians 5:1,13-25 The fruit of the Spirit
GOSPEL Luke 9:51-62 Claims of discipleship
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
HYMN 163 God, who stretched the spangled heavens
SERMON
HYMN 604 Make me a captive Lord
OFFERING
SHARING TIME [Notices, Celebrations and requests for intercessions]
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE In peace, we pray to you, Lord God. Hear us Lord.
THE LORD'S PRAYER

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN 560 All my hope on God is founded
WORD OF MISSION
BLESSING
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord: In the name of Christ. Amen.

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