22 April 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 1 “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”
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: Romans 6:23
Hymn of Preparation: 52 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 92:1-15
New Covenant: Ephesians 1:3-14
Sermon: The LORD Who Makes Glad
Hymn of Response: 635 “How Good It Is to Thank the LORD”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 242 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”
OT: 2 Samuel 8:1-18
NT: Revelation 15:1-8
David the Conqueror
Shorter Catechism Q/A #36
Q. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
Monday (4/16) Read and discuss Psalm 92:1-15. Calvin writes:
The Psalmist compares the stability of God’s throne with the fluctuating and changeable character of this world, reminding us that we must not judge of Him by what we see in this world, where there is nothing of a fixed and enduring nature. God looks down undisturbed from the altitude of heaven upon all the changes of this earthly scene, … And this the Psalmist brings forward with another view than simply to teach us to distinguish God from His creatures, and put due honor upon the wonderful and mysterious providence of God, to lift our conceptions above ourselves and this world, since it is only a dark and confused view which our earthly minds can take up. It is with the purpose of leading us into a proper discovery of the Divine judgments which are not seen in the world, that the Psalmist, in making mention of the majesty of God, would remind us, that He does not work according to our ideas, but in a manner corresponding to His own eternal Being. We, short-lived creatures as we are, often thwarted in our attempts, embarrassed and interrupted by many intervening difficulties, and too glad to embrace the first opportunity which offers, are accustomed to advance with precipitation; but we are taught here to lift our eyes unto that eternal and unchangeable throne on which God sits, and in wisdom defers the execution of His judgments. The words accordingly convey more than a simple commendation of the glorious being of God; they are meant to help our faith, and tell us that, although His people may sigh under many an anxious apprehension, God himself, the guardian of their safety, remains on high, and shields them with His everlasting power.
Read or sing 1 “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” Prayer: Please pray for the suffering people of Venezuela.
Tuesday (4/17) Read and discuss Read Psalm 90:1-17. Our lives here on earth stand in stark contrast to the eternal life that God has in Himself. While God is eternal, our lives are fleeting. And just as our culture conspires to keep us focused on things which are urgent, though relatively unimportant. Our culture also conspires to convince us that life is not fleeting. When you get sick, or have an accident, you go to your doctor or to the hospital. What are you expecting to happen next? I know what I’m expecting. I’m expecting them to fix whatever is wrong. Almost the very last thing to cross my mind is that medical professionals won’t be able to do anything to restore me to something like excellent health. That is a wonderful testimony to the great advances in medical care that the LORD has blessed us with right here in New England. We ought to regularly give thanks for this blessing. On the other hand, it may also be a sign that we are ignoring reality. For, in spite of the remarkable advances in medicine that we enjoy; the ratio of deaths to births remains painfully close to one-to-one. And no matter how well we eat, how much we exercise, or how many times people tell us that 60 is the new 40 – Moses is absolutely right: Our lives on earth are fleeting. In light of eternity, our days pass with the blink of an eye. Even 1,000 years in God’s sight are just like day that quickly passes or the few hours that a soldier might have to stand watch in the middle of the night. It doesn’t always look that way. But appearances can be deceiving. Have you ever watched a video of a dam breaking … or a monster tsunami like the one that hit Japan back in 2011? Before the tsunami hit, all these buildings seemed like they would be standing there for at least another 100 years. But in a flash, an enormous wall of water just washed them all away. Moses is saying that is what our lives are like. We may feel at the moment like we will live forever, but our lives will be washed away in a moment like when a great flood sweeps everything from its path. We are like grass that springs up in the morning which gets scorched and withers before the night falls. Whose lives are like this? All of our lives are like this! As Isaiah puts it:
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
The fleeting nature of our lives becomes easier and easier to grasp as we get older. Yet, this passage is meant for young and old alike. The LORD wants us to grasp the fleeting nature of our lives – not because He wants us to think that our lives are insignificant – but because He has created us and redeemed us so that our lives would truly matter. Read or Sing Hymn 52 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty” Prayer: Ask the LORD to teach you to rightly number your days.
Wednesday (4/18) Read and discuss Ephesians 1:3-14. John Stott writes:
The doctrine of election is an incentive to holiness, not an excuse to sin. True, the doctrine gives us a strong assurance of eternal security, since he who chose and called us will surely keep us to the end. But our security cannot be used to condone, still less to encourage, sin. Some people seem to imagine a Christian talking to himself in such terms as these: ‘I’m one of God’s chosen people, safe and secure. So there’s no need for me to bother about holiness. I can behave as I please.’ Such appalling presumption finds no support in the true doctrine of election, however. Rather the reverse. For Paul here writes that God chose us in Christ in order that we should be blameless and holy before him (verse 4). … ‘Holy and blameless’ as a couplet recurs in 5:27 and Colossians 1:22, where it points to our final state of perfection. But the process of sanctification begins in the here and now. So, far from encouraging sin, the doctrine of election forbids it and lays upon us instead the necessity of holiness. For holiness is the very purpose of our election.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to make your security in His love a motivation in your life for pursuing righteousness rather than an excuse for just drifting through life.
Thursday (4/19) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 8:1-18. Robert Chisholm writes:
The narrator’s positive portrayal of King David continues in [chapters 8-10]. Once David became king over all Israel he conquered the Jebusite stronghold of Jerusalem and then turned the tables on the Philistines. He brought the ark to Jerusalem and intended to build a house (Temple) for it. But then he LORD surprised David by announcing that He intended to build a house (dynasty) for David. He promised to establish David’s throne and assured him that, even if his descendants are disobedient, this will not nullify the promise. Armed with the LORD’s assuring promise to make the nation secure, David now embarks on more military campaigns, and the LORD demonstrates His commitment to David by giving him still more victories. David in turn demonstrates his loyalty to the LORD by adhering to some Deuteronomic regulations pertaining to kingship, ruling in a just manner over Israel, and acting with goodwill toward Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth and Nahash’s son Hanun. Still more military successes follow, but the conflict with Ammon sets the stage for a shocking turn of events in chapter 11.
Read or Sing Hymn 635 “How Good It Is to Thank the LORD” Prayer: Please lift up our building committee in prayer as they continue to engage in the quiet but important work of trying to locate a more permanent home for our congregation.
Friday (4/20) Read and discuss Revelation 15:1-8. N.T. Wright observes:
Now, in a fresh visionary twist, John sees that the heavenly throne room which is also the heart of the heavenly temple has a ‘tabernacle of witness’ within it. This ‘tabernacle’ has been opened, not to let Moses or anyone else in, but to let out the angels who were carrying the seven last plagues, not for Egypt but for Babylon and for the world that had fallen for her seductions.
As with the Tabernacle in Exodus, as with Isaiah’s vision in the Temple (Isaiah 6), and as with Solomon’s dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8), the presence of God is shrouded in smoke, making it impossible for ordinary comings and goings. This is a solemn moment. The new song is exuberant, and heartfelt. Deliverance has occurred. But now we are homing in on the greatest showdown of them all. We left the dragon and the two monsters behind, two chapters ago. They have drawn many into their destructive ways. It is time, now, for the destroyers to be destroyed. This is the purpose of the seven last plagues, and of the cataclysmic judgments which followed them.
Read or sing Hymn 242 “Not All the Blood of Beasts” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would cause His name to be hallowed – on your lips, in your home, and in your school or workplace.
Saturday (4/21) Read and discuss Psalm 92:1-15. Allen P. Ross writes:
There is a fundamental reason why God preserves and blesses the lives of His people in this world. It is so that they will proclaim His righteousness to the world. And Psalm 92 shows us how to do that through praise. Unfortunately, believers today have all but abandoned individual or corporate praise of this kind. When this happens, the basic witness of the church is seriously weakened.
Psalm 92 is filled with praise for the mighty works of God, which the world in its foolishness fails to understand. The goodness of God preserves and blesses the lives of believers in many amazing ways. Unbelievers may flourish for a while, but it is not the same. Ultimately the righteousness of God will judge them and give eternal victory to His faithful people. …
The obvious application of the Psalm, then, would be to praise and acknowledge the LORD for His mighty works so that the world will hear. In praising God’s glory and grace, as Paul would phrase it, we would be proclaiming the goodness of God to a world that is unwittingly facing the judgment of the righteous God. The good news is that they can enter into the blessing of God as we have done, and enjoy His eternal blessings.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.