All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 25 March 2018

25 March 2018

Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3

Opening Hymn: 75 “O Father, You Are Sovereign”

Confession of Sin

Almighty and everlasting God, Glorious Creator of all things, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; We have sinned against Your holy Name, by failing to glorify You in our lives as your redeemed children. Our unthankfulness extends to every thought and deed, as well as to our failure to thank you with our lips. We have not lived to the praise of the glory of Your grace. We have not esteemed the reproach of Jesus Christ our Savior to be greater than the riches of this world. We have failed to estimate the infinite cost of the salvation won for us at the cross through the shed blood of Jesus. We have not been faithful to You as You have been faithful to us in all things. Father, forgive us for our ingratitude through the reconciling sacrifice of Jesus Christ our all-sufficient Mediator, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Colossians 1:11-14

Hymn of Preparation:  184 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”

Old Covenant Reading: Judges 6:11-24

New Covenant: John 21:1-14

Sermon: Breakfast with Jesus

Hymn of Response: 616 “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”

Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)

Doxology (Hymn 732)

Closing Hymn: 388 “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”

PM Worship

OT: 2 Samuel 6:1-15

NT: Philippians 4:4-9

From Anger to Dancing

Shorter Catechism Q/A #32

Q. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (3/19) Read and discuss John 21:1-14. In verse 7, Peter puts on his coat, jumps in the water, and hurries off to meet with Jesus. R.C. Sproul comments:

Do you notice something strange about Peter’s actions in this verse? When people spontaneously decide to go swimming, what do they do? They take their clothes off, they don’t put them on. The Greek text indicates that Peter was naked, or close to it. He may have had his outer cloak draped over his body while the disciples were fishing, but when he decided to go to Jesus, he covered himself – but not to keep out the cold. In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to cover their nakedness because of their shame under the gaze of the holy God. Now Peter was going to face the Savior he had denied and betrayed, so he covered himself and plunged into the water.

The fact that Peter wanted to go to Jesus marks a major difference between this incident and the other great catch of fish recorded in Luke 5. On that occasion, when Jesus told Peter where the fish were, he and his partners caught so many fish they filled two boats to the point of sinking. I have to say, if I had been in Peter’s shoes, being a professional fisherman and now seeing the greatest catch of fish I had ever witnessed, I believe I would have said to Jesus: “Let’s make a deal. Just one day a week, You come down here and do this little trick again, and I’ll give you fifty percent of the business, because we are going to make a killing.” However, that is not what Peter did.

When Peter saw the great catch of fish, he had a very strange response. He looked at Jesus and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” This is the universal response of people when they recognize the character of Jesus. It is the universal response of the creature who beholds the unveiled glory of the holy. Our basic nature is to put as much space between Christ and ourselves as we can. When Peter realized the One with whom he was dealing, he was overwhelmed with a sense of his guilt. He wanted relief from that guilt more than anything else, and that meant he wanted space between Jesus and himself. So he said, “Jesus, please leave, I can’t stand it.”

That was how Peter reacted early in the ministry of Jesus. But that was not what he did when Jesus gave this second great catch of fish. This time, even though he had so much more to be ashamed of, so much more to be embarrassed about, instead of trying to put distance between himself and his Savior; he dove in the water and swam as quickly as he could. He couldn’t wait to get to the shore, where Jesus stood.

Read or sing 75 “O Father, You Are Sovereign” Prayer: Please lift up the U.S. Congress in prayer.

Tuesday (3/20) Read and discuss Read John 20:24-31. In verse 28 we encounter one of the greatest confessions of faith in the Bible:

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas does not simply rejoice in how good it was to see his friend again, fully alive, after He had been brutally put to death. Thomas calls Jesus both “My Lord” and “My God.” As Tom Wright points out, Thomas is the very “first person in this book to look at Jesus of Nazareth and address the word ‘God’ directly to Him.” How could a first century Jew say such a thing? Two thoughts:

First, it is important for us to see that Thomas is genuinely calling Jesus his God. This is what John’s Gospel has moving toward from the beginning. In the opening of John’s account of the Gospel we read:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John begins with a confession that Jesus is God, and the whole book, in one sense, has been unfolding how the original disciples came to see that – and why we should embrace this truth too. And in case there was any doubt that John meant that Jesus was the fullness of Deity, he continues His prologue by making clear that Jesus was the Creator of all things. He writes:

He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Now Thomas has come to make this confession of the risen Christ: “My Lord and My God.”

Second, notice that Thomas’ confession is personal. This does not diminish the universality of Christ’s lordship or deity. Jesus is the Lord and the But Thomas is confessing this as his own personal and deeply held commitment.

Read or sing Hymn: 184 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Immanuel Chapel, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Upton, MA.

Wednesday (3/21) Read and discuss Judges 6:11-24. Andrew Bowling writes:

Israel’s deliverance and restoration begin with the appearance of the angel of the LORD. God calls Gideon, his chosen deliverer, at Ophrah, a sacred site as indicated by the presence of altars, the offering of sacrifices, and the possible presence of a sacred tree, “the oak” (v. 11). Gideon is a Manassite from the clan of Abiezer. When the angel appears to him, Gideon is threshing his small harvest in secret to hide it from the horde. The angel tells Gideon that the LROD is with him. The title might warrior probably anticipates Gideon’s future stature more than his present status. It may also be the proper title for any member of the aristocracy.

Gideon’s answer may be taken in one of two ways. First, either in sincere misunderstanding or in a deliberate misapplication of the angel’s words, Gideon applies the promised presence of G to the nation rather than to himself and asks why their fate is so dismal of God is actually with them. It is extreme presumption either to assume or infer God’s effective presence with an unfaithful, apostate nation. It is also presumptuous to ask why the people are suffering the consequences of sin when both their sin and the inevitable evil results of sin should have been very clear. Second, Gideon’s words could be taken as a subtle wish that God could be present with his people despite their apostasy. This again disregards the holiness of God, Removal of sin must precede the presence of God. …

In spite of the numerous assurances of victory and signs, Gideon asks for confirmation of his call. This is one of the relatively few occasions in the Old Testament when miraculous fire devours a sacrifice; perhaps the occurrence of this sign marks the gravity of the situation. Gideon’s reaction to the presence of God is instructive for an age when men have lost sight of the profound significance of God’s presence: Gideon fears for his life. Gideon marks the spot as being sacred to Yahweh by building (or rebuilding) an altar. The name of the altar, “Yahweh is Peace,” commemorates the “peace,” “soundness,” or “wholeness” which God brings to his people.

Prayer: Ask that the LORD would cause His name to be hallowed on our lips, in our families, and in our workplaces and schools.

Thursday (3/22) Read and discuss Philippians 4:4-9. In light of what Christ has done for us, how then should we think? Because believing the right things is so important, we naturally want to emphasize that we should think in such a way as to embrace the truth and to shun errors and lies. That is where Paul begins but it is not where he ends. Consider what you think about in a typical day and compare that to what Paul calls us to meditate on: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” If we take this seriously we will realize that there are many things which are true that we should avoid filling our minds with. A significant portion of the modern news industry is designed to entice us to watch/see commercials for things we don’t need by telling us true but often degrading stories that offer nothing of value to our lives. This is frequently the case with social media as well. The problem is that we become what we think about. If we fill our minds with defiling and dishonorable images we will fail to become the type of people who lift others up. Paul is not calling Christians to stick our heads in the sand. Because we have glimpsed the holiness of God, Christians should be more aware of the wretchedness of a fallen world than anyone else. Yet, it is one thing to recognize filth it is another thing altogether to roll around in it. Here is the hard part: Modern American culture promotes filling your mind with things that are worthy of shame. We cannot respond rightly to Paul’s admonition unless we do so self-consciously. Take a few minutes to think about the shows you watch, the news and web pages you regularly read, and the music you listen to. Then compare what you are now filling your mind with to what God wants you to fill your mind with.  If you need to make some changes (we all do!) – why not start today? Read or Sing Hymn 616 “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” Prayer: Ask the LORD to lead you to keeping more of your thoughts focused on those things which are true, honorable, just, and holy – and to keep out the junk that would distract you from walking closely with Jesus.

Friday (3/23) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 6:1-15. Andrew Steinmann writes:

The consequence of failing to respect God’s instructions concerning transportation of the ark came at the threshing floor when the oxen stumbled. Uzzah’s reaction was probably not a conscious decision to touch the ark but simply an impulsive reaction to steady it. Nevertheless, Yahweh was justified in striking down Uzzah, because he and his brother had disregarded the regulations regarding the holy objects of the tabernacle, including the ark. They had transgressed God’s commands in the Torah in at least three ways:

  1. They were transporting the ark on a cart instead of carrying it by hand on poles (Ex 25:12-15; Num 4:15; cf. Deut 10:8).
  2. They were taking charge of the procession although they were Judahites, not Kohathite Levites, who had been given that privilege (Num 4:1-15; cf. Deut 10:8).
  3. Uzzah touched the ark, although even the Kohathite Levites were not to touch it: “They must not touch the holy things, lest they die” (Num 4:15)

Read or sing Hymn 388 “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” Prayer: Pray for the young people in our congregation that they would grow in understanding the holiness of God.

Saturday (3/24) Read and discuss John 21:1-14. Edward Klink writes:

In this [passage] the true catcher of fish was Jesus, not the disciples; the narrative makes this very clear. Yet Jesus makes an important statement when he commands the disciples to bring to him “the fish that you caught just now” (v. 10). Certainly, the disciples cannot claim much responsibility for this catch of fish, for Jesus was the one primarily responsible. Even more, Jesus had no apparent need for them, for he already had a fish of his own cooking on the fire. The narrative does not intend to present a contradiction but the paradoxical reality of life in God and by His Spirit. Through the narrative, the reader is instructed regarding the life lived by the knowledge of Christ and the ministry done by “the power of His resurrection” and even “participation” in the fullness of His person and work (Phil 3:10).

In this way, the lesson of the narrative is clear. While the church is to be faithful in its participation in the mission and work of God, it also knows full well that its success is entirely dependent upon God. Calvin offers the correct theological explanation of this paradox: “Thus we call it our bread, and yet, by asking that it may be given to us, we confess that it comes from God’s blessing.” If our life in Him finds its source and success in God, so also must our life for Him, the church’s ministry: “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!”

Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.