29 April 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 75 “O Father, You Are Sovereign”
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: Proverbs 28:13
Hymn of Preparation: 554 From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 130:1-8
New Covenant Reading: Romans 8:18-25
Sermon: Wait on the LORD!
Hymn of Response: 559 “Father, I Know That All My Life”
Confession of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A #1
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 429 “Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured”
OT: 2 Samuel 9:1-13
NT: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
David the Faithful Friend
Shorter Catechism Q/A #37
Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.
Monday (4/23) Read and discuss Psalm 130:1-8. Alec Motyer writes:
Yahweh has three companions. They never leave His side; He never comes without them. First mentioned is ‘forgiveness’ (verse 4), a word always used of sin and divine forgiveness – a word therefore of relationship. Yahweh has been offended by our actions, but has pardoned the offence and restored the broken relationship. Then there is the personal word, ‘committed love’ (verse 7). Unlike its companion word, [meaning] ‘compassion’, which refers to ‘being in love,’ … [this term] is the love which makes a promise for life, the love which stays the same ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.’ Yahweh’s third companion is ‘ransom’ (verse 7), the sufficient price which covers the need, buys back the kidnapped one, satisfies any lawful claim. We can call it, for convenience, the legal word. Of course, when we call these Yahweh’s companions, we really mean that they are part and parcel of Yahweh Himself; they declare what He is. When we come to Him in all our sin and unworthiness, we enter a rich company. When He comes to us in our sin, He comes not to condemn but to love, ransom, and forgive – and that is the proper ‘order’ of the words: the personal (love), the legal (ransom), and the relational (forgiveness). Everything else flows from the inexplicable basis: He loves us; and because He loves us He Himself provides and pays the ransom price, so that forgiveness full and free floods over our guilty souls.
Read or sing Hymn 75 “O Father, You Are Sovereign” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus pays it all so that salvation is entirely free and secure for you.
Tuesday (4/24) Read and discuss Read Psalm 92:1-15. The stately date palms and majestic cedars form a sharp contrast with the transient grass that typifies the wicked. The wicked sprout up like grass in the desert, but they quickly become scorched and wither away. But the LORD causes His children to persevere in faith and therefore to grow tall in the forests of the righteous – with the Holy Spirit producing much fruit for His Kingdom … until we are called home – to dwell in the house of the LORD forever. God is promising us both. The LORD is promising us a glorious life forever with Him in the age to come; and a life filled with meaning and significance in this present age. Let’s get a picture of a date palm and of a cedar of Lebanon fixed firmly in our minds. Both trees are symbolic of strength and longevity and both were very desired in the ancient world. The date palm is a magnificent tree. It grows remarkably straight and as tall as ten story building. Once date palms are mature, they can produce up to 300 pounds of dates per year. But what strikes me most about the palm tree is the deep and strong roots that it puts down into what is frequently dry and sandy soil. You have probably seen palm trees in Florida being bent over by hurricanes. But instead of breaking or being torn out by their roots, after the storm passes the palm tree normally returns to standing upright in just a week or so. Isn’t that a wonderful picture of the person who has been grafted into God’s family? We may be buffeted by the storms of this present evil age – but the LORD is both willing and able to make us stand! Or consider the Cedars of Lebanon. Unlike the date palms, the cedars grow not in hot sands but on mountains where they endure the bitter snows of winter. These cedars grow even taller than date palms and they can have a massive circumference of up to 50 feet around. The wood is prized for its fine grain, for the lack of knots, and for the fact that it is impervious to insects or to rotting. And astonishingly, it seems that some cedar trees can live for up to 3,000 years. That means that there may be a few cedar trees from the time of David which are still alive today! What a remarkable picture of strength, beauty, and longevity. When we take these two trees together, don’t they provide a wonderful portrait of the devoted saint as he or she grows into the latter years of life? If these trees would flourish so dramatically in the wild, how much more will the people of God who are planted, not in sand or snow, but in the House of the LORD and in its Courts? Read or Sing Hymn 554 From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee” Prayer: Ask the LORD to do what He has promised by making your life significant in the present and eternally secure in His house.
Wednesday (4/25) Read and discuss Romans 8:18-30. C. Marvin Pate writes:
The groaning of the cosmos is both positive and negative: negative because creation suffers under the curse of Adam’s sin, but positive because it longs for the new creation. And Christians understand that the dawning of the age to come at the first coming of Christ ensures for them a future body like Jesus’ glorified body. So believers’ groaning is negative in that they are subject to Adam’s sin, but positive in that they know their destiny is celestial. Furthermore, the Spirit’s groaning is testimony to the overlapping of the two ages. The Spirit groans within believers because they struggle over what to pray for in this present evil age. This is the negative aspect of the Spirit’s groaning. But such intercession of the Spirit on behalf of believers is also positive in that the heavenly Father knows the mind of the Spirit as to what is best for each struggling Christian and answers accordingly.
Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod.
Thursday (4/26) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5. N.T. Wright comments:
Paul once again turns to the church and its needs. They will, he is confident, continue to live in the way that he has taught them, incredible though it may seem that a group who a few months ago had never thought of living a Christian lifestyle should continue to do so. What they need, if they are to be able to sustain this life, is, once more, the rooting of their hearts and lives, not in any pressure, not in any agenda from another human being, but in the love of God and the patience of the Messiah. Go on focusing heart and mind on Jesus Himself, Paul says, and as you meditate on His patience, and His strength under suffering, something of that patience will be given to you.
Read or Sing Hymn 559 “Father, I Know That All My Life” Prayer: Please pray for the men of the Presbytery as they complete their final preparations for meeting next week in Rochester, NY.
Friday (4/27) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 9:1-13. Tony Cartledge writes:
The story of David and Mephibosheth, for all of its possible political machinations, is a story about loyalty. The skeptical reader may find in David’s actions a kind of self-service, but the author writes as if David’s intent were singular and sincere: to live out the pledge of love he had made to Jonathan.
Loyalty is expressed in one way or another throughout this story. David desires to demonstrate loyalty to Jonathan by showing kindness to Jonathan’s descendants. The earnest favor that David bestowed upon Mephibosheth inspired Saul’s action to turn his loyalty to David and led Ziba to show loyalty to both of them, serving both David and Mephibosheth.
Modern negotiators and business leaders are always looking for the proverbial “win/win” situation. Here is an ideal model: the mutual loyalty shown by David, Ziba, and Mephibosheth served to benefit all parties involved. David gained greater security in knowing that Mephibosheth would be no political threat, while the handicapped son of Jonathan gained the security in knowing that David meant him good, not harm. David gained the good will of the people through his kind treatment of a possible rival, while Mephibosheth gained an honored place and his family’s land. In the process, Ziba won a royal appointment as the steward of Saul’s considerable estate.
In a very subtle way, …, the narrator reminds us that such loyalty as this has its roots in Yahweh. In v. 3, David asks if there is yet a survivor of Saul’s house to whom he may show “the kindness of God.” The history of Yahweh and His people was a history of Yahweh’s continued faithfulness, even when Israel was colored by the multivalence of the [Hebrew] term chesed which can mean “lovingkindness” on the one hand and “loyalty” or “faithfulness” on the other. This is the way God is, and this is the way God calls His people to be. When we are loyal to Yahweh, we will demonstrate our commitment through kindness to others. Our kindness, in turn, is a witness of God’s love, leading others to respond with faith, trust, and loyalty of their own.
Read or sing Hymn 429 “Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured” Prayer: Please lift up the young people in our congregation and pray that they would finish the school year well and with great joy.
Saturday (4/21) Read and discuss Psalm 130:1-8. Calvin writes:
Although God may seem to dissemble for a time, yet He never forgets His righteousness, so as to withhold relief from His afflicted people. Paul in like manner adduces the same reason why God will not always suffer them to be persecuted (2 Thess. 1:6-7) – [“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.”] It is a point worthy of special notice, that the welfare of the Church is inseparably connected with the righteousness of God. The prophet, also, wisely teaches us that the reason why the enemies of the Church did not prevail, was because God brought to nothing their enterprises, and did not suffer them to go beyond what He had determined in His own mind.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.