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Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 11 February 2018

11 February 2018

Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3

Opening Hymn: 5 “God, My King, Thy Might Confessing”

Confession of Sin

Almighty God, Who are rich in mercy to all those who call upon You; Hear us as we humbly come to You confessing our sins; And imploring Your mercy and forgiveness. We have broken Your holy laws by our deeds and by our words; And by the sinful affections of our hearts. We confess before You our disobedience and ingratitude, our pride and willfulness; And all our failures and shortcomings toward You and toward fellow men. Have mercy upon us, Most merciful Father; And of Your great goodness grant that we may hereafter serve and please You in newness of life; Through the merit and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Colossians 1:11-14

Hymn of Preparation:  251 “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”

Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 22:1-31

New Covenant Reading: John 19:16-27

Sermon: The King of the Jews

Hymn of Response: 254 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)

Doxology (Hymn 732)

Closing Hymn: 310 “Rejoice, the Lord is King”

PM Service

OT: 2 Samuel 3:20-39

NT: Matthew 5:21-26

David Mourns for a Wicked Man

Shorter Catechism Q/A #26

Q. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (2/5Read and discuss John 19:16-27.  Edward Klink writes:

It is fitting that just inches above the head of Jesus, as if it were a crown, rested a sign – intentionally called “a title” (v. 19) by the narrator – which declared in every necessary language … that Jesus was the King. The ironic reality of the title above the cross is clear. The political gerrymandering and rhetorical wrangling between the authorities of Jerusalem and Rome ended with a climatic, Scripture-like declaration that was so true that only the reader could comprehend its fullness: the crucifixion of Jesus is his exaltation (cf. 3:14). This declaration of the kingship of Jesus was the simultaneous announcement of the judgment of the world and the victory of God. The cross announces that “the LORD reigns” and “will judge the peoples with equity” (Ps 96:10). For this reason, Christians speak of Jesus as both Savior and Lord, for the cross is both the source of redemption and the scepter of his rule, through which he “hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). One day people from every nation and government, both slave and sovereign, will bow their knees and confess with their tongues that Jesus Christ is Lord – not in spite of the cross but because of it.

Read or sing 5 “God, My King, Thy Might Confessing” Prayer: Lift up someone who doesn’t know the LORD and pray that he or she will bow the knee and confess Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Tuesday (2/6Read and discuss Read John 19:1-15. Verses 10 and 11 read:

So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

In effect, Pilate is saying: “How dare you? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know how much power I have over you? Caesar is the true Lord over this world and I represent Caesar to you.” Jesus replies:

“You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

There are three things to pay attention to in Christ’s reply:

  1. First, while Pilate imagines that his authority comes from Rome. Jesus is making clear that Pilate’s power ultimately comes from God – and therefore it is to God that he will give an account.
  2. Second, Pilate notes that because the authority rulers have comes from the true God; he who handed Jesus over to Pilate – whether this is simply the High Priest or the religious leaders taken collectively has the greater sin. Why would this be so? It is because to whom much is given much is required. Israel and her religious leaders had a special responsibility to represent God. After all, they – like we in the Church – were entrusted with the very word of God.
  3. But third, please notice that Jesus also convicts Pilate of sin. That is, Jesus is putting Himself in the place of Judge over Pilate and declaring Pilate to be guilty.

Now we see the profundity and power of our Lord’s response. Pilate was saying: “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know how much power I have over you? Caesar is the true Lord over this world and I represent Caesar to you.” Jesus responds by saying: “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know how much power I have over you? Yahweh is the true Lord over this world and I represent Yahweh to you. … And I am declaring that you are guilty of sin.” Read or sing Hymn: 251 “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus is the true Lord of this world.

Wednesday (2/7Read and discuss Psalm 22:1-31. Today’s psalm begins with jarring abruptness: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from the cry of my groaning?” We are naturally drawn into the psalmist’s agony and wonder what he could have done that led the LORD to abandon him like this. Then we come to the cross and find these very lips on the lips of Jesus – the only intrinsically righteous man who has ever lived – and we are dumbfounded. Why? How could it be that He would suffer like this? The great sixteenth century Anglican, Richard Hooker, answers this question perhaps as well as is humanly possible:

Let men count it folly, or frenzy, or whatever. We care for no knowledge, no wisdom in the world but this, that man has sinned and God has suffered, that God has been made the sin of man and man is made the righteousness of God.

Why was He forsaken? Jesus chose to be forsaken for you. As we meditate on this prophetic psalm, written a millennium before the cross, we enter into the horror of what the King of glory suffered for His people. Yet that isn’t the end of the story. We should remember that Psalm 22 begins with our Lord’s cry of dereliction but that is not how it ends. Verse 23 calls the people of God to praise “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard (v. 24).” Indeed, the last nine verses of the psalm are a celebration of the Lord’s victory. Surely Jesus knew this when He cried in agony from the cross. As unfathomable as His suffering was; Jesus knew that it was a suffering unto victory. Prayer: Please pray for those in our congregation who are suffering from physical infirmities.

Thursday (2/8Read and discuss Matthew 5:21-26. Sinclair Ferguson writes:

Animosity is a time bomb; we do not know when it will ‘go off.’ We must deal with it quickly, before the consequences of our bitterness get completely out of control. Most human relationships that are destroyed could have been preserved if there had been communication and action at the right time. Jesus says that the right time is as soon as we are conscious that we are at enmity with our brother (Matthew 5:23).

One further point should be noted from this section. Jesus urges us to seek reconciliation when “your brother has something against you” (5:23), or when “your adversary … is taking you to court” (5:25). Jesus is telling us that we should, as far as possible, remove all basis for enmity. But He is not urging us to share every thought in our hearts during the process of reconciliation. Our secret thoughts and sins will not be sanctified by telling others about them. Doing so has led many Christians (and those they have spoken to) into unhappy situations. Jesus is not telling us to “hang out our dirty linen in public,” but rather to deal urgently and fully with all breakdowns in fellowship before they lead to spiritual assassination.

Prayer: Ask the LORD to send visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family and whose gifts would build up our congregation.

Friday (2/9Read and discuss 2 Samuel 3:20-39. Tony Cartledge writes:

Abner’s death was a blow to David not only because of his apparent appreciation for the man who had once been David’s own commanding officer, but because of the serious complications that Abner’s assassination brought to his quest for kingship. A lesser man than David might not have recovered from the blow, but the narrator wants us to understand that David is no ordinary man.

David is both wise and quick-witted. As a result, he engineers a brilliant recovery, turning Abner’s earth to his own advantage by publicly cursing Joab (without removing his valuable general from office), and by engaging in loud lamentation for Abner as he honored the fallen enemy with a state funeral fit for a king. Trouble reared its ugly head before him, but David found a way to rise above it.

How could David continue his remarkable pattern of facing difficulty and actually gaining strength from it? The narrator does not say, but the implication is clear: It is because Yahweh is with him. David can overcome even the roughest of obstacles, can walk through the valley of the shadow of death, because the LORD is with him.

The Apostle Paul underscored the same reality when he said, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). Even bad things can work together for good, but only when we are working together with God.

Read or sing Hymn 254 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” Prayer: Give thanks that Christ is building His Church!

Saturday (2/10Read and discuss John 19:16-27. R.C. Sproul writes:

The passage is full of indignities. Notice first of all that the soldiers divided Jesus’ clothes among themselves. They were able to do this because Jesus had been stripped. Prisoners were crucified naked. This practice stemmed from the ancient notion that the worst form of humiliation that could be imposed on an enemy was to strip him of his clothing. Frequently, when the Romans were victorious in battle, they paraded the officers of the conquered army through the streets bare naked to reduce them to total shame. If you can bear it, in all probability the Son of God was made a public spectacle in the shame of nakedness, following the ancient custom.

A prisoner who was executed normally had five articles of clothing. The tunic, which was a seamless garment, was the undergarment. The four soldiers divided Jesus’ other articles of clothing among themselves, but the tunic presented a problem for them. Because the tunic had been made with no seam, it was significantly valuable, and they didn’t want to lessen its value by cutting it into four pieces. Therefore, they decided to cast lots for it, winner take all.

The indignity also was prophesied (Ps. 22:18). John does not say that the Roman soldiers got together and said, “We should gamble for His garments His clothes and we want to make sure that the Scriptures are fulfilled down to the last detail.” No, this is John’s editorial comment, pointing out that the soldiers, when they went through this act of gambling for the garments of Christ, unknowingly and involuntarily were fulfilling the precise details of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the death of the Messiah. John is zealous to help his reader understand that what happened on the cross was not an accident of history, but it came to pass through the invisible hand of a sovereign Providence.

Read or sing Hymn: 310 “Rejoice, the Lord is King” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.

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