Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Summary & Song

In the readings for this week, we find the apostle Philip meeting an Ethiopian eunuch who asks to be baptized (Acts 8:26-40). We read of the psalmist offering praise in the great congregation; praise to the Lord, his deliverer (Psalm 22:25-31). The apostle John exhorts us to love one another. He reminds us that we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:7-21). Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches. He encourages us to aide in him (John 15:1-8).

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 1) | Multitracks

God Is Love

Words by Paxson Jeancake / Music by Paxson and Allison Jeancake, 2018
Based on 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8

We love you God because You first loved us; this is the wonder of the cross.
The hardest heart is not too far for grace; this is the wonder of the cross.
This is the wonder of our God.

The Spirit dwells in us that we may love through the power of the cross.
And we confess the Son of God is Lord through the power of the cross.
O the power of our God.

If we abide in love, we abide in God. He will be with us, God is love.
You sent Your only Son, on the cross He hung; O the love, perfect love, God is love.

May Your word abide in us to love for the glory of the cross.
May we bear the fruit of life in You for the glory of the cross.
For the glory of our God.

Your perfect love can cast away our fear; behold the wondrous cross.
To know the God of love is to live the love of God: behold the wondrous cross.

Lectionary Readings

Acts 8:26-40

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
    and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
        so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
        For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip[c] baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 22:25-31

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
    May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
    saying that he has done it.

1 John 4:7-21

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

John 15:1-8

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 22:27-28

All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

Prayer of the Day

Based on John 15:1-8

Lord God,
you are the vine and we are the branches;
teach us to abide in you throughout each new day.
Show us how to love our neighbors,
and give us a hunger for your Word.
Prune all that leads us away from you
and the areas of our lives that do not bear fruit.
Guide us, we pray, through the abiding power
and witness of your Spirit. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 1 John 4:7-16

Why are we called to love one another?
Because love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

How was God’s love revealed among us?
God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 
In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

How do we know that we abide in him and he in us?
Because he has given us of his Spirit. 
And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. 
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Reflection Questions

1. What do we learn about the sovereignty of God from Acts 8:26-40? Do you see God’s hand in bringing Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch together at just the right time? Have you experienced such divine appointments in your own life? Would you be prepared to share the gospel and talk about Jesus with someone if the opportunity were to arise?

2. As we reflect on Psalm 22:27, what role do we play as individuals and as the church in fulfilling the reality that “all the nations of the earth” shall worship before the Lord? How are we passing on the gospel to future generations?

3. What does it mean that “God is love” in 1 John 4:16? What connections does John make between our love for God and our love for others?

4. What does it mean to abide in God as Jesus describes in John 15:4? What benefits do we gain from abiding in God? What do we lose by not abiding in God?

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required