1 April 2018
Call to Worship: Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
Opening Hymn: 276 “Up from the Grave He Arose”
Confession of Sin
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But You, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; According to Your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father; For His sake; That we may hereby live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 44:21-23
Hymn of Preparation: 283 “Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 8:1-9
New Covenant Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-28
Sermon: The Last Enemy
Hymn of Response: 289 “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing”
Confession of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A #1
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 277 “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”
OT: 2 Samuel 6:16-23
NT: 1 Peter 5:1-11
David and Michal
Shorter Catechism Q/A #33
Q. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Monday (3/26) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. First Corinthians contains a lengthy section where Paul is simply going point by point correcting errors in doctrine or practice that he has heard exist within the Church at Corinth. The problem is quite straightforward. Some members of the Corinthian church were denying the resurrection (v. 12). It is helpful to remember that Corinth is a city in Greece and most of the congregation would have absorbed parts of the Greek philosophical tradition without even thinking about it. One strikingly anti-Biblical aspect of much Greek philosophy is that it denigrated the physical in favor of the spiritual. Some Greeks actually referred to the human body as a tomb that was encasing and holding down the person’s spirit. The ultimate goal in such a worldview was to become liberated from this tomb as a disembodied spirit. Paul engages the Corinthians with a simple argument. If there is no resurrection of the body è then Christ wasn’t bodily raised either (v. 16). According to verses 17-19, what are the consequences for believers if Christ has not been raised? The surprising thing, given the Biblical emphasis on the bodily resurrection of both Christ and believers, is that the resurrection has frequently been marginalized in Christian thinking. In our own day it is still common to hear Christians speak about souls being saved instead of people being saved. Furthermore, if you ask many Christians for their view of life after death – they rarely get past heaven. But as Bishop N.T. Wright likes to put it, “Heaven is important, but it’s not the end of the world.” Here is a glorious truth: Christ is not rescuing disembodied souls from a sinking ship as though the material creation wasn’t good. The victory of Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, and death on behalf of His people includes the promised redemption of all creation. As Paul says elsewhere, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22-23)”. The twin pledges we have for this sure hope are that (1) Christ has already been bodily raised and glorified in history; and (2) God has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment of the redemption to come. Read or sing 276 “Up from the Grave He Arose” Prayer: Please pray for our young children that they would all embrace the glorious truth that Christ has been raised for our justification and even now sits enthroned at the Father’s right hand.
Tuesday (3/27) Read and discuss Read John 21:1-14. Christ performs a miracle, in today’s passage, which is the mirror image of the miracle He performed when He first called the twelve to be a distinct group of disciples. By essentially repeating this miracle, Jesus was making clear that His call on their lives to serve as authoritative witnesses, that is Apostles, had not disappeared just because of their cowardice during the hour of our Lord’s greatest need. In chapter 20, Jesus restored His Disciples in terms of their personal relationship with Him. In chapter 21, Jesus restores His Disciples in terms of their vocation as Apostles. Intriguingly, there are not only obvious similarities between the two miracles, there are also some differences. One of these differences is particularly significant. After the first miracle, Peter fell down at Christ’s knees and said “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” This time, Peter jumps into the water and swims to Jesus as fast as he can. What has changed? Well, during the time between these two encounters, Peter had rebuked Jesus, Peter had served as Satan’s spokesman telling Jesus that He shouldn’t go to the cross, and Peter had three times denied that He was one of Christ’s disciples – even before a servant girl. Peter had far more to be ashamed of now than he did some three years earlier. Yet, Peter jumps in the water to get to Jesus as fast as possible. What had changed? Peter had become even more aware of his sin. But Peter had also come to know that God’s grace to him in Jesus Christ was greater than his sin. Jesus wants you to learn that lesson too. Some of you, who have been Christians for a long time, have come to realize that your sins are far more odious than you grasped when you first came to faith. Hopefully your understanding of God’s grace for you in Jesus Christ has increased even more. As Paul would later write to the Romans: “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s not just true in general. If you are trusting in Jesus, that is true of you. Beloved, don’t flee from Jesus. Flee to Him. Read or sing Hymn: 283 “Alleluia! Alleluia!” Prayer: Ask the LORD to give you a fuller vision for how Jesus has trampled your sins underfoot and cast all your guilt into the sea of forgetfulness.
Wednesday (3/28) Read and discuss Psalm 8:1-9. Commenting on verses 6-9 Calvin writes:
From the dominion over all things which God has conferred upon men, it is evident how great is the love which he has borne towards them, and how much account he has made of them. As he does not stand in need of anything himself, he has destined all the riches, both of heaven and earth, for their use.
It is certainly a singular honor and one which cannot be sufficiently estimated, that mortal man, as the representative of God, has dominion over the world, as if it pertained to him by right, and that to whatever quarter he turns his eyes, he sees nothing wanting which may contribute to the convenience and happiness of his life. Now there is no doubt, that if there is anything in heaven or on earth which is opposed to men, the beautiful order which God had established in the world at the beginning is now thrown into confusion. The consequence of this is, that mankind, after they were ruined by the fall of Adam, were not only deprived of so distinguished and honorable an estate, and dispossessed of their former dominion, but are also held captive under a degrading and ignominious bondage. Christ, it is true, is the lawful heir of heaven and earth, by whom the faithful recover what they had lost in Adam; but he has not yet actually entered upon full possession of his empire and dominion. What is here said by David will not be perfectly accomplished until death be abolished. There remains the hope of a better state than the present.
Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at Amoskeag Presbyterian Church in Manchester, NH.
Thursday (3/29) Read and discuss Philippians 4:4-9. Gordon Fee writes:
For many who were raised in evangelical traditions, verse 8 ought to be a breath of fresh air. Contrary to what is often taught, implicitly, if not explicitly, there is a place in Christian life for taking into serious account the best of the world in which we live, even though it may not be (perish the thought!) overtly Christian. Or to put it another way, it is decidedly not Paul’s view that only what is explicitly Christ (be it literature, art, music, movies or whatever) is worth seeing or hearing. Truth and beauty are where you find them. But at all times the gospel is the ultimate paradigm for what is true, noble, or admirable. Or perhaps you have not noticed that many truly great moves find their greatness because they tell our story probably without even knowing it.
There is nothing else like verse 8 in Paul’s extant letters. It reflects a world with which the Philippians were familiar before they had ever become followers of Christ and friends of Paul; for although some of these words are common stock in Jewish wisdom, they are especially the language of Hellenistic moralism. In effect Paul tells the Philippian believers to take into account the best of their Greco-Roman heritage, as long as it has moral excellence and is praiseworthy. Verse 9 puts that into perspective: they comply with the first set of exhortations by putting into practice what they have learned from Paul as teacher and have seen modeled in his life. The whole concludes with the promise of God’s abiding presence as the God of peace.
Read or Sing Hymn 289 “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing” Prayer: Ask the LORD to sanctify your thinking by leading you to meditate on that which is true, that which is noble, and that which is admirable.
Friday (3/30) Read and discuss 1 Peter 5:1-11. We will all face the temptation to be anxious at some point, and probably many points in our lives. Commenting on verse 7, Calvin writes:
All those who do not rely on God’s providence must necessarily be in constant turmoil and rush violently up against others. We ought to dwell all the more on this thought, that God cares for us, first, in order to have peace within, and secondly, in order that we may be humble and meek towards men.
We are not bidden to cast all our care on God, as though God wished us to have stony hearts, and to be void of all feeling, but in case fear or too much anxiety should drive us to impatience. In like manner, the knowledge of divine providence does not free men from every care, so that they can indulge themselves carelessly, for it ought not to encourage the laziness of the flesh, but to give rest to faith.
Read or sing Hymn 277 “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD calls us to cast our cares on Him because as our loving Father He does not want us to lead lives filled with anxiety but lives filled with peace, love, and deep joy.
Saturday (3/31) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner write:
Having delineated the consequences which would follow if there were no resurrection of the dead (as some Corinthians had affirmed), Paul now moves from that negative argumentation to a positive exposition of the meaning and significance of the fact that Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. As Wright points out, this passage “takes the form of a small apocalyptic account of the coming of God’s kingdom, establishing God’s rule over the world and defeating all the enemies of his kingdom, much as Daniel 7, itself drawing on the creation account in Genesis, in which the human race was set in authority over the beasts, envisages YHWH’s kingdom as a new creation.” Paul’s discussion reflects a contrasting typology in which Christ, the ideal human and final representative of the human race, reverses the corruption introduced by the first human and original representative of the human race and restores things to the way they were originally intended, with God’s dominion perfectly expressed in the restored creation such that he is perfectly glorified as the one who is “all in all.”
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.