14 January 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 38 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
Confession of Sin
Most merciful God, Who are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and hast promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; We come before You with a humble sense of our own unworthiness, acknowledging our manifold transgressions of Your righteous laws. But, O gracious Father, Who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon us, we beseech You, in mercy, and forgive us all our transgressions. Make us deeply sensible of the great evil of them; And work in us a hearty contrition; That we may obtain forgiveness at Your hands, Who are ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior and Redeemer. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 130:3-4
Hymn of Preparation: 184 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 75:1-10
New Covenant Reading: John 18:1-11
Sermon: Shall I Not Drink the Cup?
Hymn of Response: 498 “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 305 “Arise, My Soul, Arise”
OT: 2 Samuel 1:1-27
NT: Romans 13:1-7
Be Subject to the Governing Authorities
Shorter Catechism Q/A #22
Q. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
Monday (1/8) Read and discuss John 18:1-11. Chuck Swindoll writes:
Their destination was their customary retreat, a walled garden on the Mount of Olives, perhaps on the Western slope overlooking the Holy City. The Synoptic Gospels tell us that He went there to pray and to prepare Himself for the awful ordeal He was about to endure. …
According to Matthew, Jesus prayed approximately three hours, after which Judas arrived with a small army of Roma soldiers and temple guards. The Greek word speira, translated “cohort,” is a technical term used to designate a specific subgroup of fighting men within the Roman army. At the time of Jesus, a “cohort” consisted of 480 fighting men, not including officers and support personnel. … The fact that these troops were combined with officers of the temple guard is no insignificant detail. The authority of the temple enforced its will through the might of Rome. Moreover, the fact that they came with lanterns and torches tells us the mount was shrouded in darkness, perhaps around three or four in the morning.
Naturally, they never would have known Jesus’ whereabouts were it not for Judas. The temple officials had tried to seize Him on several other occasions, but He eluded their grasps in the temple, or multitudes of witnesses discouraged His would-be abductors, or He kept His movements a secret. Once they found an inside man willing to betray Jesus, however, they could seize Him without witnesses.
Had they succeeded earlier, the temple authorities might have simply ambushed and murdered Jesus and few would have noticed Him missing. But just days earlier, Jesus had entered the city with multitudes shouting, “King of Israel!” and “Hosanna!” which means “Save [us] now!” to murder Him would implicate them in wrongdoing and turn Jesus into a martyr. He had become too popular. First, they would need to discredit Him and turn the common man against Him.
Read or sing 38 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: Please pray for the people of Iran during this tense time in their country. Ask the Christians in Iran would gain greater freedom of religion.
Tuesday (1/9) Read and discuss Read John 17:20-26. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most powerful. The Shorter Catechism tells us that the chief purpose of our lives is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But how exactly do we do that? This isn’t simply one of many purposes for our lives. To glorify and enjoy God is the chief purpose for our lives. But unless we move from stating this truth to figuring out how to put it into practice – it will simple remain an abstract principle … or an answer to a theological question … that has little impact on how we live. How do we live so that we will “glorify God and enjoy Him forever”? Here is the simple but powerful truth: Because God the Son took to Himself a true human nature, the chief end of the man Christ Jesus is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. We can therefore see what glorifying and enjoying God looks like – by seeing how Jesus does it. Naturally, this doesn’t simply mean that we are called to imitate Jesus. After all, Jesus glorified God by walking on water, raising the dead, and dying for the sins of the world. You are neither called nor able to do any of those things. Nevertheless, in today’s passage, Jesus reveals three specific ways in which He is seeking to glorify and enjoy God both so that we can take comfort from His work and so that we can also align ourselves with His purposes. It is that second application which I wish to drive home this morning. If we align ourselves with our Lord’s purposes in this passage we will concretely be working to fulfill the chief purpose for which we were created and redeemed. Read or sing Hymn: 184 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” Prayer: Pray for a greater manifestation of the genuine unity in Christ that is enjoyed by believers.
Wednesday (1/10) Read and discuss Psalm 75:1-10. The LORD’s sovereignty is a great comfort to the people of God. Therefore, this truth is one that we should not only learn it is one that we should sing. Allen P. Ross writes:
Psalm 75 makes it clear that the LORD sets his appointed time of justice when He puts the wicked to shame and lifts up the righteous. Judgment and salvation, then, are the two aspects of divine justice. And they will be realized, not only from time to time, but ultimately at the end of the age when God will judge the entire world. In the meantime, the faithful must endure the arrogance and wickedness of the world. But as Kidner puts it, “patience and suffering are not the end of the story: there will be a time for power without aggression, and glory without pride.” For the righteous praise the LORD; and because of this the righteous warn the people of the world. One way to word an expository idea is to say: Because God has set a time to destroy the wicked of the world and exalt the righteous, the righteous should praise him for his mighty works and warn the world of the coming judgment. The righteous, people who have humbled themselves and put their faith in the LORD, can look back through time and see how God has held wickedness in check by His mighty acts, how He has frequently delivered His people, and how he has often reversed the situations of the arrogant and the humble. This not only builds up their confidence for the future deliverance, but provides them with enough reason for praise. But each of these judgments was also a harbinger of the great judgment to come, and so the wicked, those who have refused to submit to the LORD by faith, must be warned that there is an end.
Prayer: Please lift up the young people of our congregation as they get going on their second semester of school.
Thursday (1/11) Read and discuss Romans 13:1-7. Michael P. Middendorf writes:
With the coming of Christ, the people of God are no longer identified with a specific national or ethnic group as was true of Israel in OT times. A Paul rites, this transformed community of faith exists in numerous places under the civil control of a wide variety of local authorities, all currently subordinate to the auspices of imperial Rome.
“Paul thus approached the relation of church and state not as a Sadducee who lived from the advantages of the state, nor as a Zealot who lived to overthrow the state, nor as a Pharisee wo divorced religion from the state, nor as a roman citizen for whom the state was an end in itself (James R. Edwards).”
Instead, Paul insists that a higher authority exists from whom all governments derive their power and to whom governing authorities remain accountable. And believers clearly owe their ultimate allegiance to God. Yet Paul reinforces the divine role of authorities in their earthly sphere of influence. He calls believers to be not only submissive (13:1, 5) but also supportive.
Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod.
Friday (1/12) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 1:1-27. Dale Ralph Davis writes:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was not bashful about putting his views on child-rearing into print (e.g. his Emile), and he alleged that no one enjoyed playing with children more than himself. When then did he abandon the five babies he had by his mistress Therese? In Rousseau appearance and reality, publication and practice, did not mesh.
It was the same with the Amalekite who came panting and heaving into David’s outpost at Ziklag. He wore all the signs of genuine grief – clothes torn, dirt on his head (v. 2). He had come from the Philistine-Israelite conflict on Mt. Gilboa, located about eighteen miles southwest of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. The Philistines had carried the day and had trounced Israel. King Saul had been severely wounded and, not wanting the Philistine to have the delight of slowly torturing him to his end, had fallen on his own sword. It was a dark, dark day for Israel. Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s friend, was killed. Life was bleak and dark and bloody and grey in the kingdom of God.
And everything about this Amalekite seemed to reflect Israel’s disaster. After all, no one will traipse over eighty miles unless one is in earnest about something. The trip would have taken him several days. But it doesn’t take David long to conclude he is a murderer, and it doesn’t take the reader long to find out that he is, more accurately, a liar. Not that he wasn’t sincere. He was – about getting a government job.
This passage raises the question David faced in 1 Samuel 24-26: How is the kingdom go come into David’s hands? Will he wait for it to come as Yahweh’s gift or seize it by his own initiative? Apparently, the Amalekite held that there were times when Yahweh’s promises (if he knew of them) required a slight push (v. 10). Neither David nor the narrator agrees with this position. The story as we have it seems to say that kingdom principles must govern kingdom life, and we see several of those principles operating in this text.
Read or sing Hymn 498 “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!” Prayer: Ask the LORD to guide you so that you would not only seek to achieve the right goals but that you would seek to achieve them in a way that honors the LORD.
Saturday (1/13) Read and discuss John 18:1-11. Edward Klink writes:
The narrative depicts with clarity and precision the purpose and authority of Jesus as he is approached by a collection of Jewish and Roman (and satanic) authorities who seek to arrest him. According to the Gospel of John, no external authority arrested and bound Jesus in the garden east of Jerusalem, for Jesus surrendered himself by his own authority and according to his own plan. Through this [passage] the reader is introduced to the start of “the hour” (2:4) of Jesus Christ and is given insight into the nature and purpose of his sacrificial death on the cross.
Read or sing Hymn: 305 “Arise, My Soul, Arise” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.