18 February 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 679 “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
Confession of Sin
O eternal God and merciful Father, we humble ourselves before your great majesty, against which we have frequently and grievously sinned. We acknowledge that we deserve nothing less than eternal death, that we are unclean before you and children of wrath. We continually transgress your commandments, failing to do what you have commanded, and doing that which you have expressly forbidden. We acknowledge our waywardness, and are heartily sorry for all our sins. We are not worthy to be called your children, nor to lift up our eyes heavenward to you in prayer. Nevertheless, O Lord God and gracious Father, we know that your mercy toward those who turn to you is infinite; and so we take courage to call upon you, trusting in our Mediator Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Forgive all our sins for Christ’s sake. Cover us with his innocence and righteousness, for the glory of your name. Deliver our understanding from all blindness, and our hearts from all willfulness and rebellion, we pray through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 103:8-10
Hymn of Preparation: 259 “Hark! the Voice of Love and Mercy”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 34:1-22
New Covenant Reading: John 19:28-37
Sermon: That You May Believe
Hymn of Response: 257 “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 261 “What Wondrous Love is This”
OT: 2 Samuel 4:1-12
NT: Hebrews 10:19-31
The Murder of Ish-Bosheth
Shorter Catechism Q/A #27
Q. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.
Monday (2/12) Read and discuss John 19:28-37. Edward Klink writes:
With one word (in Greek), his final word, Jesus declares the completion of the work assigned to Him by the Father. Done! Finished! Jesus completed it all. His “thirst” is what gives us complete satisfaction. By giving up His spirit, we have received the Spirit. The person and work of Jesus has fulfilled the OT Scriptures. To the smallest detail it is completed – all things for all people for all time. … With one word all sin is paid in full. With one word the ruler of this world is defeated. With one word creation regains its hope. With one word death is defeated. With one word life is redefined. With one word the love of God is made manifest. Everything makes sense because of this one word. At the moment the Word of God spoke this single word, a new creation “happened,” just as it did at the original creation.
Read or sing 679 “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod.
Tuesday (2/13) Read and discuss Read John 19:16-27. Let’s look at the end of verse 24 through verse 27:
So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
One of the most horrible things for a parent to contemplate or experience is the death of a beloved child. I can’t even imagine the anguish that Mary endured watching her eldest son having His life snuffed out through a brutal death on the cross. Nevertheless, the focus of these verses is not the pain that Mary endured by what Jesus did about it. As William Barclay observes:
There is something infinitely moving in the fact that Jesus in the agony of the Cross, in the moment when the salvation of the world hung in the balance, thought of the loneliness of His mother in the days when He was taken away.
And yet, I think it is important for us to notice that Jesus doesn’t call Mary His mother. Once again, Just as He had done before He turned the water into wine – Jesus calls Mary “woman.” This is a polite and honorable term – but it also reframes the relationship. Jesus is not primarily speaking to Mary as her Son – but as her Savior and Lord. His brothers haven’t yet come to a living faith, so Jesus commits Mary to the care of His beloved disciple – and from that very hour – John took Mary into his care. It is remarkably touching, that with the salvation of the world hanging in the balance, Jesus pressed through His own agony to provide for the needs of Mary as she endured an anguish that goes beyond words. Please don’t think of this as a touching extra. This is, in fact, a crucial aspect of what Christ was doing. Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t you see that I am engaged in this massive cosmic business. I don’t have time to worry about the care of each one of My sheep by name.” For the cosmic work of Christ was designed precisely to meet the deepest personal needs of each and every one of us. Jesus didn’t simply die for the sins of the world in the abstract. He died for each of you by name. Read or sing Hymn: 259 “Hark! the Voice of Love and Mercy” Prayer: Give thanks that Almighty God loves you personally.
Wednesday (2/14) Read and discuss Psalm 34:1-22. Gerald Wilson writes:
We too often identify divine blessing with “getting the goods” in one way or another. “How blessed” we think is the one who is financially secure or well respected, or whose family is well balanced and happily trouble free. We thank God for the blessings of health, comfortable living, and even national security. In doing so we rightly acknowledge how much all aspects of our lives depend on God.
The trouble is that we may come to associate divine blessing exclusively with such external evidence. The people of Jesus’ day struggled with this sort of thinking. If a child was born blind, it had to mean that someone had sinned, because certainly God would not visit such pain and suffering on the righteous (John 9:1-12). Jesus’ answer is shocking, both to his hearers and those of us who read the account now: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned … but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (9:3). The blind man was not suffering as the consequence of his sin but so that his suffering could serve a deeper divine purpose and significance.
This does not mean that we never suffer as a consequence of our own distorted decisions and sinful actions. Certainly alcoholism, uncontrolled rage, deceit, sexual promiscuity, and dishonesty – to name but a few of our sinful failings – can pay back severe and destructive consequences on us and all those around us. But to equate all suffering with the consequences of sin is to miss the point Jesus made so long ago, both in the account of the blind man and in the Beatitudes: The righteous suffer undeservedly, but in their suffering they have opportunity to glorify God and to receive his blessing!
Prayer: Please lift up the Supreme Court of the United States in prayer.
Thursday (2/15) Read and discuss Hebrews 10:19-31. Verse 25 warns us to not neglect the gathering of ourselves today as is the manner of some. N.T. Wright comments:
So, then, we are to come to worship God – not just in private, though private worship and prayer is enormously important, but in public as well. The danger of people thinking they could be Christians all by themselves was, it seems, present in the early church just as today, and verse 25 warns against it. This may well not be due to people not realizing what a corporate thing Christianity was and is, nor yet because they were lazy or didn’t much like the other Christians in their locality, but because, when there was a threat of persecution (as will become clear later in this chapter) it’s much easier to escape notice if you avoid meeting together with other worshippers. Much safer just not to turn up.
There’s no place for that, declares Hebrews. Every Christian needs the encouragement of every other Christian. Everyone who comes through the door of the place of worship, whether it be a house in a back street or a great cathedral in a public square, is a real encouragement to everyone else who is there. This is part of the way, along with an actual word of encouragement when necessary, in which we can ‘stir up one another’ to work hard at the central actions of Christian living, ‘love and good works’ (a deliberately broad phrase to cover all sorts of activities). And we need this encouragement all the more, as verse concludes, as we believe that we are drawing closer to the great day when, with Jesus’ reappearance, God will complete his work of new creation.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to help you focus on giving even greater encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ as you join them for corporate worship this weekend.
Friday (2/16) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 4:1-12. David, like all of us, was a flawed human being. But his life is also marked out by a devotion to the LORD. Unlike Saul before him and Solomon after him David never deviated from worshipping Yahweh and Yahweh alone. What was the key to David’s fidelity? One likely answer is that David cultivated the virtue of gratitude. Note well his words in verse 9: “Yahweh, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity.” When David thought about the LORD, he thought about how the LORD had delivered him. That is a great practice for us to cultivate as well. Dale Ralph Davis writes:
Kings have no corner on the principle that gratitude nurtures fidelity; it has always proven the safeguard for all Christ’s flock. About AD 155 Polycarp of Smyrna was arraigned before the authorities and required to call Caesar ‘Lord’ and burn the requisite pinch of incense. Polycarp refused. The consul assured him that he had wild beasts and would feed Polycarp to them if he refused. ‘Send for them,’ Polycarp replied. ‘If you despise the wild beasts,’ threatened the consul, ‘I will send you to the fire; swear and I will release you: curse the Christ.’ This stirred Polycarp’s stellar response: ‘Eighty and six years have I served Christ, and he has done me now wrong; how then can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?’ The words are different; the principle is the same; the result is the same. Gratitude provides an excellent antidote for idolatry.
Read or sing Hymn 257 “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” Prayer: Please pray for our new book studies which begin tomorrow.
Saturday (2/17) Read and discuss John 19:28-37. R.C. Sproul writes:
The Jews were concerned because it was a preparation day for the Sabbath, and the next day was a high Sabbath. If the bodies of the condemned men hung on their crosses overnight, the land would be defiled (Deut. 21:23), and that would have major repercussions for the Sabbath observances. So the Jews asked Pilate to order the soldiers to break the men’s legs. With their legs broken, the crucified men would not be able to elevate their chests and gain any breath, so they would die quickly from asphyxiation. The Jews were not concerned with putting Jesus out of His misery; they were concerned about the purity of the feast. They had just killed the One for whom the feasts were established in the first place, but they did not want to be guilty of violating the Old Testament law against bodies hanging on crosses overnight on the preparation day.
Pilate granted the Jews’ request in this instance, so the soldiers broke the legs of one of the robbers, then broke the legs of the other. But when they came to Jesus, they found He was already dead, having died much sooner than was normal in crucifixion. Thus, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers jammed his spear into Jesus’ side, perhaps to ensure that He was dead, and blood and water poured out.
Read or sing Hymn: 261 “What Wondrous Love is This” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.