13 May 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 14 “New Songs of Celebration Render”
Confession of Sin
Almighty God, Who are rich in mercy to all those who call upon You; Hear us as we humbly come to You confessing our sins; And imploring Your mercy and forgiveness. We have broken Your holy laws by our deeds and by our words; And by the sinful affections of our hearts. We confess before You our disobedience and ingratitude, our pride and willfulness; And all our failures and shortcomings toward You and toward fellow men. Have mercy upon us, Most merciful Father; And of Your great goodness grant that we may hereafter serve and please You in newness of life; Through the merit and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: John 1:29
Hymn of Preparation: 599 “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us”
Old Covenant Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-10
New Covenant Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Sermon: The King’s Messenger
Hymn of Response: 650 “I Will Sing of My Redeemer”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 426 “Till He Come”!
OT: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
NT: James 1:12-15
David and Bathsheba
Shorter Catechism Q/A #39
Q. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.
Monday (5/7) Read and discuss Romans 1:1-7. Michael P. Middendorf writes:
The “Good News” did not begin with the coming of Jesus. Instead, God promised it long beforehand through his prophets, who wrote it down in the Holy Scriptures. The referent of the “holy writings” is the entire OT, all of which is prophetic, that is given “through his prophets.” Paul himself expresses this by quoting from throughout the OT at least fifty-one times in Romans. Paul’s apostolic calling is for the Good news, which he makes clear at the outset is in continuity with the OT. This becomes especially critical for his argument in Romans 9-11. So, while Paul desires to be the first to proclaim [the gospel of God] into the lives of people, even then he is simply heralding the fulfillment of what was promised of old.
Rom 1:3 further defines God’s Good News by specifying in whom these promises now stand fulfilled. The [Gospel of God] is about “his Son.” While [his Son] certainly indicates Jesus’ divine nature, the remainder of 1:3 defines this Son by affirming his human nature, “from the seed of David.” This links back to “he promised beforehand” in 1:2. One of the many things promised through the prophets (here Nathan) was that one of David’s offspring would reign eternally because God would “establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” From that time on, promise concerning the seed, offspring, or line of David recur throughout the OT. Finally, Mary is specifically told this about her son: “the LORD will give to him the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there will not be an end” (Lk 1:32-33). For Paul, in fact, Jesus is the “seed” of Abraham (and David) in whom all prophetic promises are centered and fulfilled.
Read or sing Hymn 14 “New Songs of Celebration Render” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has revealed Himself to us and that He has given us His word in our own language.
Tuesday (5/8) Read and discuss Read Ephesians 1:11-14. Clinton Arnold writes:
Christ preexisted with the Father and has now been revealed as the means of redemption and the source of intimacy with God. This passage portrays the Father in eternity past as not alone, but jointly planning with Christ the redemption of humanity. This plan involved making Christ the means for atonement by his death and then the connection point of a relationship with God. Paul emphasizes this in 1:3-14 with his repeated emphasis on “in Christ.” Some form of this expression occurs eleven times in these twelve verses. Paul thus prefigures this as a major them throughout this letter.
It is also a principle theme in Paul’s theology that speaks of our participation in Christ. It refers objectively to our participation in his death, resurrection, ascension, as well as to his present position of power and authority at the right hand of God. Because of this identification with the victorious Lord, those who are “in Christ” will have power for living lives of obedience and for engaging in spiritual warfare. But “in Christ” also refers to the present dynamic experience of closeness and unity with Christ, who cherishes them, nourishes them, provides for them, and gives them direction.
Read or Sing Hymn 599 “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” Prayer: Please pray for the spread of the Gospel in Israel.
Wednesday (5/9) Read and discuss Jeremiah 1:1-10. How did someone get to be a Prophet in the Old Testament or an Apostle in the New? If we didn’t know better, we might imagine that the LORD searched until He found the most remarkably godly and capable people for these critical jobs. The false prophets sometimes presented themselves like this, but all the true Prophets from Moses on protested how inadequate they were for this high calling. True to form, Jeremiah makes this protest in verse six. But rather than disqualifying him for service, the LORD gives Jeremiah three reasons why Jeremiah’s personal sense of inadequacy is no hindrance in his calling:
- First, everything that Jeremiah is came about through God’s plans and providence. In verse 5 the LORD says: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
- Second, in verses 7 and 8, the LORD makes clear that what matters is not the one sent but the One doing the sending – and the LORD promises Jerimiah that he will deliver him from his foes.
- Third, in verses 9 and 10 the LORD puts His words in Jeremiah’s mouth while granting Jeremiah all the authority he needs to accomplish his mission.
As we are beginning our study of Romans, think about these three truths in the life of the Apostle Paul. Prayer: Ask the LORD to give you the humility and the courage to serve Him faithfully wherever He would send you.
Thursday (5/10) Read and discuss James 1:12-15. Doug Moo writes:
A trial is an outward circumstance that can pose difficulties to our faith. A temptation is the inner enticement to sin. What James is concerned about is that his readers will confuse these two and attribute temptation to God. Scripture indicates that God does “test” or put his people through trials (cf. Gen. 22:1). But, James emphatically asserts, God never tempts his people. He never entices them to sin or desires that they fail in the trials he may bring. Believers must never excuse their sin by blaming God for the temptation. Rather, James points out, the believer need look no further than within himself for the problem. It is our own “evil desire” that is the real source of temptation (v. 14). Like the bait that lures the fish and the hook that snares it, sin entices and seeks to entrap us. That James does not here mention Satan does not mean that he ignores the power of “the tempter” (see 4:7). His point here is to lay responsibility for sin clearly at the door of each individual.
As Professor Moo’s own language points out (Moo calls Satan “the tempter”), while James is focusing on temptation coming from within the person’s own fallen nature – it isn’t wrong to say that someone outside of us (e.g. the devil) is tempting us. A critical distinction that Moo doesn’t mention is motivation. The purpose of tempting someone is that they would fall. The purpose of the LORD, for example, testing Abraham in Genesis 22:1 was to reveal Abraham’s faith. Read or Sing Hymn 650 “I Will Sing of My Redeemer” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Second Parish OPC in Portland, ME.
Friday (5/11) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 11:1-27. The state of our hearts is often most profoundly revealed when we are convicted of sin. What do we do then? Dale Ralph Davis writes:
Apparently it’s all over but the weeping. Bathsheba (but note how the writer deliberately calls her ‘the wife of Uriah’) receives the letter of notification and condolence from the army and engages in the usual mourning rites. We don’t know whether her grief was perfunctory or acute; the writer gives no hint about how she really felt. But mourning periods always end, at least official ones do, and after Bathsheba’s David has her brought to the royal household as his wife, where she bears David a son. Hence nine months have passed, and that is that.
Well, almost. There is the bottom line: ‘The thing David had done was evil in Yahweh’s eyes.’ My literal translation is deliberate. If one also translates literally David’s message to Joab in verse 25 the contrast becomes clear. David soothed Joab with ‘Don’t let this thing be evil in your eyes.’ Certainly reverses are lamentable in this business, Joab, but you mustn’t brood over them; they’re part of the territory, as we say; you must brush them off and press on.’ But Yahweh will not brush it off. David may take a casual view, but ‘the thing … was evil in Yahweh’s eyes.’ And that is the bottom line.
The force of the ‘bottom line’ comes from the fact that it is is literally the bottom line, the last line of the chapter. The writer relates his whole sordid tale of lust and sex and deceit and murder without pausing to make marginal moral notations along the way. He details every step of the story as if God was nowhere involved. David (as we said above) was in control. This silence about God, however, only serves to accentuate the lone statement in verse 27b. It is as if David can vent his glands and weave his cover-up without any interference – until he runs smack into he judgment of God. It was evil in Yahweh’s eyes. That’s what Yahweh thought of it.
Read or sing Hymn 426 “Till He Come”! Prayer: Ask the LORD to lead you to repent quickly from known sins.
Saturday (5/12) Read and discuss Romans 1:1-7. John Stott writes:
If we bring verses 1 and 3 together, by omitting the parenthesis of verse 2, we are left with the statement that Paul was set apart for the gospel of God regarding His Son. For the gospel of God is ‘the gospel of his Son’ (9). God’s good news is about Jesus. As Luther put it in his gloss on this verse: ‘Here the door is thrown open wide for the understanding of Holy Scripture, that is, that everything must be understood in relation to Christ.’ Calvin writes similarly that ‘the whole gospel is contained in Christ.’ Therefore, ‘to move even a step from Christ means to withdraw oneself from the gospel.’
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.