Welcome to the Hill Community and Friendship Baptist Church Good Friday service. Or maybe we should call it, the annual Friendly Hill Community Baptist Church joint Good Friday service.
We are so glad you could join us. Our church moved in a little before this time last year and I am so thankful for how God is continuing to knit the hearts of our congregations together. It feels like I’ve known some of the brothers and sisters at FBC my entire life. There is a lot of work to do in this city and around the world to advance the kingdom of God and I am grateful to the Lord for giving me partners in the gospel.
Why do we call it GOOD Friday? The death of the Son of God should be called Terrible Friday, or Tragic Friday. It’s good only because what preceded it was really bad. Same with the gospel, the gospel is called good news. Why? Because what preceded the gospel was really bad news. Here’s the bad news. God is holy. We are not. We are unholy. We are sinful. And there is nothing we can do to remedy this situation. This is seriously bad news. Hopeless news. We are cut off from God and His wrath is about to be poured out. But, this is where the good news come in. God sent His Son to die on a cross for your sins and mine so that those who repent and believe can be forgiven and reconciled.
That’s why, for me, Easter weekend is a two part weekend. There is no Easter without Good Friday. There is no resurrection without the death and burial. There is no celebration without mourning over sin. In other words, there is no good news without first confronting the bad.
In a moment, I’m going to invite Pastor Smith to say some opening words and lead us in prayer. But before I do, here’s a quick breakdown of the program.
The first item in the program is a clip from the Passion of the Christ. It’s about 15 min long and I have to warn you that it is not easy to stomach, but we wanted to give you a visual picture of what Christ suffered because of sin, not sin in an abstract kind of way, but sin with your name on it and mine.
As soon as the clip is over, we are going straight into prayer time. The service tonight is going to be primarily a prayer service.
I’m sure we are all familiar with the main characters in the Passion account and their sins. Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal, Pilate’s wavering indecision, the fickle nature of the crowds, Thomas’ doubt. I found that I am so familiar with these characters that it has become harder over the years to really identify and repent along with their sins. It’s like when you hear something so familiar, it’s easy to tune out. I found the same thing happening regarding the Passion account.
So this year, the slides will be geared toward very specific sins. I asked God to show me some verses about sin, and I don’t know why, maybe because I am such a great sinner, but he gave me verse after verse. And after a while, I said to the Lord, I get the point. I need to repent. So personally, I am really looking forward to this prayer time.
One way of viewing prayer is–it’s like taking out the garbage. Garbage piles up and you can get by for a day or two, but eventually, it fills up and spills over. And it stinks. Everyone knows they are sinners at a high level. But do you know that you are a sinner in terms of how you view others, or how you spend your time, or in your attitudes? We can say, yes, I’m a sinner at a high level, but sins pile up unless we can name them one by one and take out one by one to the dumpster.
Each slide generally contains 2 parts. The first part is identifying specific sins in our lives. The second part is about receiving God’s forgiveness. Think of it as breathing. Breathing out sin. Confessing sin. Breathing in forgiveness. Receiving grace.
There will be slides projected that match what’s on the handouts that you received when you walked in. There are 19 slides and there will be background music. There will be 1 slide per song and each song is about 2 minutes. So you can follow along with the slides projected on the screen and you’ll know that a new slide has come up when the previous song ends and a new song begins. Make sense? Or, you can pray at your own pace using the handout.
After the prayer time, we’re going to observe the Lord’s Supper.
Then, I want to give a chance for people to come forward to make any type of public decision: salvation, church membership and baptism, rededication, or you just want to be prayed over. Leaders from both churches, if you see someone you know, please come forward and pray with them.