27 May 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 457 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
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: Matthew 1:18-21
Hymn of Preparation: 460 “Amazing Grace!”
Old Covenant Reading: Habakkuk 1:5-2:4
New Covenant: Romans 1:8-17
Sermon: Not Ashamed
Hymn of Response: 505 “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 463 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”
OT: 2 Samuel 12:15b-31
NT: 2 Corinthians 7:2-13
Death, Life, and Triumph
Shorter Catechism Q/A #41
Q. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.
Monday (5/21) Read and discuss Romans 1:8-17. N.T. Wright comments:
But why should Paul say he is ‘not ashamed’ of the gospel? In today’s Western world, people are often ashamed of the Christian gospel. It is so often mocked, sneered at and dismissed in newspapers, and on the radio and TV, that many Christians assume that they had better keep their faith secret. That, of course, is just what is wanted by the triumphalist secular world around us. But in Paul’s day there was a different challenge. As we have already seen, his world was dominated, and the roman church in particular was to be dominated, by a culture focused on one city and one man. Caesar claimed to rule the world; God’s gospel claimed that Jesus did. What was a Christian to do? Practice the faith in private in case it offended someone? Certainly not. Paul may have had in mind a passage like Psalm 119:46: ‘I will speak of your decrees before kings, and I shall not be ashamed.’ That was what he intended to do. ‘At the name of Jesus,’ he wrote in another letter, ‘every knee shall bow’ (Philippians 2:10). That included Caesar.
Wright is correct to point out how first century Christians faced different challenges than we do with respect to Caesar, the Emperor cult, and the cult of Rome; but with the rise of the Messianic State in the modern West we would be wise to learn from their experience – for we are increasingly facing similar challenges. Read or sing Hymn 457 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Prayer: Ask the LORD to keep you from ever being ashamed of the Gospel.
Tuesday (5/22) Read and discuss Read Romans 1:8-15. The language of obligation or debt may be puzzling to you at first. How could Paul be in debt to all these people whom he has never even met? And we can’t answer this question simply by inserting that His debt was to God. For, in verse 14, Paul clearly tells us that his debt is to “the Greeks and to the barbarians, … to the wise and to the foolish.” So, how could Paul be in debt to all these people whom he has never even met? Well, there are two ways that I can have an obligation to give you $100. The first way is for me to borrow $100 from you. If I do that, I have the obligation to pay you back. The second way is for someone to entrust $100 to me that I am supposed to give you on their behalf. That is the obligation that Paul is talking about here. None of these strangers had lent anything to Paul that Paul needed to pay back. But the LORD had entrusted Paul with the gospel, not simply for his own benefit and pleasure, but so that he would preach it to others. Paul was therefore constrained to fulfill this ministry. That didn’t turn Paul’s work into a miserable grind. He was excited to be part of God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself in Jesus Christ. Paul understood, that he had been blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others. Indeed, being called to be a blessing to others – in a mission that cannot fail – was itself one of the greatest blessings that Paul experienced. Read or Sing Hymn 460 “Amazing Grace!” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would grant you great joy as you enter more fully into the Great Commission.
Wednesday (5/23) Read and discuss Habakkuk 1:5-2:4. F.F. Bruce writes:
Two opposed attitudes to God and his promises are set in contrast. There are those whose heart is not right in relation to God: instead of trusting in him they hold aloof in a spirit of self-sufficiency, trusting in themselves. Their souls are inflated: they lack either substance or stability, and a pin prick will make them collapse.
On the other hand, the righteous person will maintain life because of faithfulness to God – an attitude that includes both loyalty and that trust in his word that waits patiently until it is time for him to act. The phrase spirit is not right in them is generic (applying to all, whether Israelite or non-Israelite, who reckon without God). So too “the righteous” is generic: no one person in particular is referred to, but those who, like Habakkuk, trust in God are included. The righteous lives by God’s own standard of righteousness, the forensic aspect of the term is not prominent here. …
In Hebrews 10:38 the words are applied to those who steadfastly look for the coming of Christ, when their faith will win them eternal life. But it is Paul whose use of them is most distinctive. He takes their meaning to be “the one who is righteous by faith will live” and in Galatians 3:1 and Romans 1:17 he cites them as the basic text for the gospel of justification by faith, illustrating them by the example of Abraham, who “believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Please note: In spite of F.F. Bruce choosing one particular meaning for Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:17, we should never drive a wedge between receiving life through faith and living by faith in our day to day lives. Habakkuk, Romans, and Hebrews all hold these two truths together – and so should we. Prayer: Lift up the young people in our congregation as they transition from their Spring semester of school to Summer work and other activities.
Thursday (5/24) Read and discuss 2 Corinthians 7:2-13. Scott Hafemann writes:
The joy described in this passage is the reflex of repentance. Ironically, the joy born of repentance thus owes its very existence to the grief that motivates the change of attitude and action. In turn, the source and goal of such a “godly sorrow” is God. “Godly” is much more than an adjective thrown in for effect. The chain of Christian experience stretches back from joy to repentance to grief to God. Whether or not God is the qualification of our grief makes all the difference in the world – and in eternity. Unfortunately, the downsized view of God that permeates so much of modern theology makes it increasingly difficult to discern whether our grief is genuine remorse for our offenses against a holy Lord or whether it is mere embarrassment or the transitory loss of opportunity.
The difficulty is compounded by our temporary substitution of sentimentality for the grief that arises according to God. As a result of this confusion, the pastoral authority and intervention exhibited in this passage are passing from the scene. For example, the chair of a pulpit search committee recently asked me if I knew of anyone with a “certain skill set” that would enable him to “speak to the congregation” without giving the impression that he was telling them what to do. This is a teddy-bear view of the pastor as someone who dispenses comfort without confrontation, for whom the Scriptures contain merely historical information and helpful advice.
It is hard to believe that we have departed so dramatically from the biblical portrait of ministry reflected in our present passage, with its joy over repentance and sorrow over sin, with its integrity in the midst of controversy and comfort in the midst of adversity, and with its prophetic voice and loving heart, all driven by commitment to proclaim the gospel even when it hurts.
Read or Sing Hymn 505 “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Jaffrey Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Jaffrey, NH.
Friday (5/25) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 12:15b-31. John Woodhouse writes:
The extraordinary sequence of events that began in 11:1 and because of which David’ kingdom was never the same again conclude: “The David and all the people returned to Jerusalem” (v. 31b).
We will soon see that a sense of foreboding is not out of place. Great troubles lay ahead for David and his kingdom, troubles flowing from his own wickedness. But at this point the amazing things is that the king and his people “returned to Jerusalem.” They were safe (for now). David was still king (for now).
David’s restoration as a man and as a king was remarkable. It was not perfect, and it was not complete. But it was enough to point us to the kingdom of God in which all things will be put back in their proper order. That is what the death of Jesus was about (see Colossians 1:20). At the very heart of the restoration of all things is the forgiveness of sins. The Lord Jesus Christ restores people who come to him, just as he will one day gloriously restore all things.
Read or sing Hymn 463 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” Prayer: Please pray for our Christ & Culture book studies as they meet tonight and tomorrow.
Saturday (5/26) Read and discuss Romans 1:8-17. Back in verse 2, Paul declared that the gospel was “promised beforehand through the prophets in the Old Testament Scriptures.” He will go on to quote or clearly allude to the Old Testament nearly 60 times in Romans. In fact, the quotation in today’s passage from Habakkuk sets out the theme for the rest of the book. This has important ramifications for how we understand the Old Testament and also for how we understand the gospel. R.C.H. Lenski writes:
What Paul thus states is not at all a new doctrine but only a restatement of the one that is as old as the Old Testament. Thus, out of and unto faith the gospel revealed God’s righteousness to the old covenant saints and gave them life and salvation. The Old Testament was the Bible of the Roman Christians, was read constantly at their services, taught to all, and expounded on all vital points, especially on this critical point as to how the sinner is justified by faith alone.
Freely and frequently Paul thus quotes the Old Testament to the Romans. This does not indicate that most of them were former Jews and would thus understand. Would Paul neglect the former Gentiles? He knew that all would understand. “Even as it has been written” means that what Paul says is in perfect accord with what Hab. 2:4 has recorded.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.