Repentance Takes Work, But It Isn’t a Work

As Bible-believing Christians, we know that we are not saved by our works. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. So, we want to make sure that no one misunderstands what is about to take place.

Each week we confess our sins as a congregation. God requires that we confess our sins—but these confessions do not save us. Our repentance is not a good work that earns us merit or favor. Our faith in Christ is not a work that saves us from God’s wrath. When we say that we are not saved by works we really mean that there is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to God.

Do not believe that your weekly or daily confession of sins earns you anything before God. We cannot, by our confession or good deeds put God in our debt. He is the one saving us. He is the one cleansing us. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that even our repentance—our turning from sin—even that is a gift of God’s grace. Our salvation was the Father’s design. The execution of that salvation is the work of Christ the Son. Our embrace of that salvation comes through the enabling work of the Holy Spirit. And, having been born again by the Spirit, we now confess our sins because we love God and his law. As a result, God receives the credit and glory.


Election Day Confession


As we approach the midterm elections on Tuesday many are asking themselves, “How did our nation get here? How did we get to the point of denying what a human is or installing a Supreme Court Justice who says she can’t define the word “woman?” Abraham Kuyper tells us how we got here when he said:

In any successful attack on freedom, the state can only be an accomplice. The chief culprit is the citizen who forgets his duty, wastes away his strength in the sleep of sin and sensual pleasure, and so loses the power of his own initiative.

Kuyper reminds us that while it is true that the nation voted itself into our current situation and fixing it will require voting ourselves out of this situation, the chief culprit is not the leaders we have elected. We are not a good nation with wicked leaders. We are not a righteousness people who’ve had a string of bad luck.

No. We, the nation, are in this situation because we, the nation, have sinned our way into this situation. We have not recognized Christ as King and Lord. We have forgotten him, dismissed him, and silenced him. We have not lived according to his commands but instead have become a law unto ourselves.

And this means that while electing good leaders is necessary to get us out of this situation, it is not sufficient. The only sufficient way out is through the cross of Christ. The only way out is to repent of our sin, repent of our worship of man, and receive God’s pardon for sin which can only come through faith in the crucified and risen Christ.

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

This promise was made to the nation of Israel, but the principle it contains is applicable to us in the church. The only hope for any person or any nation is humility, turning from sin, and turning to the Living God and his Christ.


Almighty God and Father,
Your Word calls us to humble ourselves, to turn from our wicked ways, and to turn to you trusting in your salvation. (2 Chron. 7:14) So, we come agreeing with your Word: we are sinners. We have all turned aside. All we like sheep have gone astray, and each of us has turned to his own way. (Isa. 53:6) You are the fountain of living water, but we have forsaken you and dug out for ourselves broken wells which can hold no water. (Jer. 2:13)

As a nation, we have neglected confession and repentance for so long. In our prosperity, we have said, “We shall never be moved.” (Ps. 30:6) We have encouraged our souls to relax, to eat and drink and be merry as if we had goods laid up for many years when perhaps this night our souls will be required of us. (Luke 12:19-20)

As a nation, we’ve trusted in our vast wealth, our military might, and our own reason and wisdom. We have forgotten that all of these are on loan from you, and you require us to serve you with these gifts. (Deut. 6:12) We confess that we have been given much, and much has been required of us, yet we have forsaken you. (Luke 12:48)

Father, we know that we are accountable to you, and therefore you might justly be angry with us until you consume us. (Rom. 3:19; Ezra 9:14) If you kept a record of sins, we know that we could not stand. But we also know that with you there is forgiveness. (Psalm 130:3, 4)

Father, forgive the sins of our nation, that your kindness might lead us to repentance. (Rom. 2:4) Wash us from all the filth of sin and cleanse us from every stain of evil. Be merciful by convicting us of our sin and showing us our need for forgiveness. Open our eyes that we might see Christ crucified for sinners, full redemption made available to us. Father, blot out our transgressions like a cloud and our sins like a mist. Though our sins have been like scarlet, let them be as white as snow.

We know that if we in the church say “Amen” to this prayer, while still holding onto our sin, this prayer will have no effect, so hear us as we confess our individual sins to you now in silence.

Hear our prayers.

In the strong and mighty name of Jesus, we pray, Amen!


17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself (2 Cor 5:17-18)

Your All-Seeing Eyes

Our God and Father,

We gather this morning to bless your name and to tell of your greatness to all the earth. Father, we want every tribe, tongue, and nation to hear of your glory.

You are the God who knows all things. You see everything visible and invisible. You see our actions and hear every word we speak. But you also know all our thoughts and every motivation in our hearts.

The clouds in the sky might obscure our vision of the Sun, but they do not obscure your vision of the earth. The nighttime might cause us to stumble in the dark, but even the darkness is as light to you.

Any knowledge we might have we borrow from you. And while we forget many things, you never lose any knowledge. Things that happened a thousand years ago are as present and fresh to you as if they had happened only one minute ago.

And if that were not enough, you see a thousand years into the future because you work all things according to the counsel of your will.

Truly, Father, there is nothing outside of or beyond your knowledge. There is nothing hidden to you. There is no secret that can be kept from you. You have written down every word, every deed, every thought. Every treasure buried under the earth or resting at the bottom of the deepest ocean is clear and present in your mind.

Every day of our lives has been lived under your all-seeing eyes, and we take great comfort knowing that you see us. Father, we praise your vast and perfect knowledge, and we worship you now, through the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, in the power of your Spirit granted to us who believe.


Knocking on the Door of Glory – Prayer of Praise

Our Father in Heaven,

You have directed us to ask and seek and knock, and have promised that we will find, and the door will be opened to us. And so, we come in the name of Jesus, knocking on the door of your glory asking that we might have more.

Our Lord, your dominion is an everlasting dominion, and your kingdom endures from generation to generation. We know that you do everything according to your will and there is no one who can stay your mighty hand.

You are the one who raised your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave, and when he ascended to your right hand you enthroned him in the heavenly places so that he might fill all things. And we recognize Christ as our Lord. We recognize that indeed he does fill all things. He is Lord over the big things like his church, and he is Lord over the smallest things like the dishes in our sinks. And we know that because he is King over it all, then it all matters.

Lord God, we rejoice that the true government under which we dwell has an immortal ruler as its head. We know that the nations of this world rage against Christ, and that they plot in vain to chip away at his authority. We know that even now you are in heaven laughing at their foolishness. We see that high above every capitol building of the world there rises the mountain of Zion.

Father, we take refuge in Christ today. We find our shelter and our safety in his shed blood. And our hope rests in his resurrection. May we worship you in Spirit and in truth as we sing, pray, and preach. All praise to you Father, through Christ our Lord, in the power of your Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

All in All

CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 97:1-9

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;  let the many coastlands be glad! 

Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 

Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 

His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. 

The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. 

All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols;  worship him, all you gods! 

Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord. 

For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. 


Father Almighty,

Our greatest joy in life is enjoying your presence and gathering here to serve you with gladness. And there is no comfort in anything apart from you.

You are all in all. And you are infinitely wise and can do no wrong. Father, we praise you that all things concerning us are at your disposal. You number our days and the hairs on our head. Our lives, our homes, our families, and every circumstance surrounding us rests in your sovereign hand. 

Father, the knowledge of your sovereignty in all things would terrify us, if we did not also know of your infinite goodness to us. We see your love put on full display in the cross of Christ, slain for us that we might receive your pardon, forgiveness, and welcome into your family.

Father, what can we do for you or give to you for everything you have given to us? What could we place into your hands that you had not first placed into ours. Even if we gave every breath we drew into our lungs, we would only be returning what already belongs to you. 

You are the author and the perfector of our faith, and the whole work of redemption is yours alone. Even the good works we do is the result of your mercy and power working within us.

So, Father, all things are from you, and through you, and to you. We offer our praise this morning through the name of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

One God in Three Persons, forever and ever. Amen.

Glorious Deeds, Safe Refuge

CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 33:1-9

33 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 

Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. 

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. 

He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. 

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 

For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 


Our Great and Glorious Father,

We’ve come today in obedience to your call to come and worship. And we come with confidence into your presence by the blood of Jesus—we know that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—and that no one will see you except through him.

So, we come in Jesus’ name, made alive by his death, forgiven because he bore the punishment for our sins, and we turn now, with undivided attention to behold your glory.

Father, we praise you for you are the only living and true God. There is none like you. The gods of the nations are no gods at all. You alone are the everlasting King and ruler. You alone are truly immortal and you dwell in unapproachable light.

Father, our eyes are dazzled by the colorful display of leaves that are falling—and which will soon turn to dirt and dust. How much more dazzling is your glory which has no end? How much greater is your power, which has made every living thing that is on the earth, in the skies, and in the depths of the oceans?

If we climbed to the top of world, your glory would still be above us, and if we sank into the deepest trench of the sea, your glory would be deeper still. From everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You are the one who spoke the universe into existence with a Word and you hold galaxies in the palm of your hand. How great, how awesome are your deeds.

Father, we praise you for you have made us. We are not our own but are yours. We are your people, the sheep of your pasture. In your hand is our breath, and it is because of your enduring love that we have not been cut off.

Father, we take refuge in you. For you alone, our souls wait in silence—for you are our Rock and our Salvation. Some trust in their intellect, others in their strength, but we trust in you. Some trust in governors, and some in kings, but our hope has been set on the throne that is higher than all others.

So, we turn toward heaven, and lift our gaze, and know that you are there, overruling and undertaking for your people. Give us now, lips that praise, and holy hands to raise, and hearts that are near to you in love.

We worship you Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God, world without end. And Amen.

Piles of Anxiety


Deuteronomy 5:12–14 (ESV): 12 “ ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

What would it be like for you to completely cease all of your work for 24 hours? No spreadsheets or Zoom meetings. No mopping or laundry. A full stop. A dead halt.

Of course, there would be volumes of work piling up for you at the end of that day, but right next to the work… for many of us… we’d also feel volumes of anxiety piling up right alongside the work. In fact, we may even fear the piles of anxiety more than the work.

In other words, work is how we fight off the anxiety of our hearts. It’s the sandbag levee holding back the fear that we aren’t significant or valuable. And, anxiety is simply another word for unrest. An anxious heart is a heart that isn’t resting… which is the very thing God commands us to do in the Sabbath. This shows us that the command to cease working goes far deeper than our actions.

You see, God’s commands don’t just challenge our external behaviors, they challenge our idols, which is to say, they challenge all of the unseen rival and rebellious loves operating in our hearts. When God commands us to cease from our work for one day a week, he isn’t just shaking up our behavior, he’s shaking up our heart. He’s revealing how our hearts have found rest in what we accomplish more than we find our rest in him alone. He’s showing us that our inability to stop working has less to do with our love for others and more to do with our love of self. 

By revealing our restless heart, he’s saving us not simply from physical exhaustion due to overwork, he’s also saving us from the eternal exhaustion of making our productivity the center of our worth and value.

Isaiah 43:1 (ESV): But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 

You are not what you do. You are God’s if you belong to Christ. This is your identity. This is your worth. So, with this encouragement, let’s confess our sins to God.


Our Gracious God and Father,

You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. We confess that we often look to our own work, our productivity, and the execution of our plans as the supreme evidence of our worth. We even bristle at your commands to rest from our work, and this too shows that we still consider ourselves the boss of our lives. It reveals that we don’t trust you to provide everything we need.

Father, we want you to bless the work we do. We want our work to be a blessing to others, and so we know that our work must be done in faith and obedience. Forgive us for where we fail in that obedience, and cause us to trust that your commands for us are good.

We know that if we say “Amen” to this pray and yet regard sin in our heart this prayer will be ineffectual, so we confess our individual sins to you now in silence. Hear our prayers.

In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!


16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Your Holiness is a Fire

CALL TO WORSHIP – Isaiah 25:1, 3-4

1 O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,


Almighty Father,

WE have gathered today because you have called us to do so, and we are able to gather because we are in Christ Jesus, your Son. We do not come on our own merits and accomplishments. We come because Christ has died in our place and was raise for our justification.

Our desire is to bring you glory and to enjoy your presence. We praise you that you are the most-high God, and there is none like you. The gods of the nations are not gods, but are idols made in our own image. You alone are God.

We know that in singing your praises we cannot add any glory to you. Your glory is essential to you just as light is to the Sun, and because you are infinite, you are infinite glory. 

So, we gather and sing and pray and preach not to make you more glorious, but to explain and proclaim your glory among the nations. We join the global testimony of the communion of the saints who are lifting up your name in the world and magnifying your name to our neighbors.

You are eternal and unchanging, all-knowing and all-powerful. You are good, loving, merciful, holy, righteous, jealous, and you hate all sin.

Your holiness is a fire which none can approach. Your truth is a lamp lighting our paths. Your majesty is a lion and your protection of us is a strong tower. You are the faithful bridegroom of your people; the Father to the children you’ve adopted. You are the judge and the king over all the earth, and you are a man of war who defends his people. You are the great physician who heals our diseases, and you shepherd your flock.

Father, these are only a part of your ways, and we have only heard a little portion of who you are.

We pray that in our songs and prayers, our confessions and our preaching we would see and understand more and more of all that you are.

So, we worship you Father, through Christ the Son, in the power of the Spirit. One God. Forever and Ever. Amen.

The Everlasting God


Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, 

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; 

worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. 

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; 

the God of glory thunders, 

the Lord, over many waters. 

The voice of the Lord is powerful; 

the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; 

the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 

He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, 

and Sirion like a young wild ox. 

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; 

the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth 

and strips the forests bare, 

and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; 

the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 

11 May the Lord give strength to his people! 

May the Lord bless his people with peace! 


Father Almighty,

Your name is holy, and you alone are Most High over all the earth. The heavens declare your glory, O God, and the sky above proclaims your handiwork. We praise you for your eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. And, therefore, we draw near to you, believing that you exist and that you reward those who diligently seek you.

Father, we praise your greatness. You are the everlasting God. All of the heavens cannot contain you, much less this small building that we have built. You are beyond time and space, and our minds cannot begin to fathom your depths.

Father, we marvel that one so great would call us into your presence. We marvel at your mercy and your compassion on us. We marvel that you know our names. You know the hairs on our head. You have numbered our days. 

Father, while all of our life ought to be lived for your name and your renown, we pray that this hour would be set apart wholly to you. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing and acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. 

And so we worship you Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, who rules and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God, world without end. And amen.

Innumerable Company

CALL TO WORSHIP – Romans 11:33-36

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, 

or who has been his counselor?” 

35 “Or who has given a gift to him 

that he might be repaid?” 

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 


O God, you are our God, and early we seek you. You are the God of our fathers and we will exalt you.

The gods of the nations cannot compare with you, and no one among men can be likened to you. You are slow to anger and rich in love, punishing the guilty, yet showing mercy to sinners.

The earth is yours and everything in it. In your hand are the deep places of the earth, and the strength of the mountains belongs to you.

All of the nations are like a drop in a bucket to you, and the kings of the earth are like grains of sand. Your dominion is everlasting. Your throne is from generation to generation.

The angelic hosts surround your throne. Ten thousand times ten thousand stand before you and obey your voice. And we have come, through your mercy, into a spiritual communion with that innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

Some today trust in princes and governors, kings, and senators. But we, with the Psalmist, declare, “Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is no one on earth that we desire but you. When our flesh and our heart fail you are the strength of our heart and our portion forever.

So, Holy Father, be magnified today in the hearts of your people. Jesus Christ receive our praise for you died for us. Indwelling Spirit, enable us to hear and receive the Word that is proclaimed.

All glory to you, Blessed Trinity, One God. Forever and ever, and Amen.