3 June 2018 – Dan Borvan Preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 5 “God, My King, Thy Might Confessing”
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: 2 Chronicles 7:14
Hymn of Preparation: 42 “El- Shaddai”
Old Covenant Reading: Genesis 6:11-22
New Covenant Reading: 2 Peter 2:4-10a
Sermon: The Preservation of the Righteous
Hymn of Response: 44 “How Great Thou Art”
Confession of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A #1
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 242 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”
OT: Psalm 72:1-20
NT: Ephesians 1:1-14
Salvation Belongs to the LORD
Shorter Catechism Q/A #42
Q. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A. The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.
Monday (5/28) Read and discuss 2 Peter 2:4-10a. Richard Niebuhr famously described liberal theology in these words:
A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.
As today’s passage reminds us, the desire to cover over God’s holiness (and therefore His just judgment against sin) was not an invention of the twentieth century. In fact, Peter begins by promising that there will always be such false teachers who arise from withinthe Church. The subtlety of such false teaching is that it is normally couched in desirable terms such as “reaching our culture for Christ.” If unbelievers find God’s judgment of sinners so repellant (and they do) then perhaps we can repackage our presentation of who God is by focusing entirely on the fact that God is love. Just this year Rob Bell has released a book with the title Love Wins that follows precisely this script. Without explicitly affirming universalism, Rob Bell opens the possibility that everyone will be saved including all those who have refused to submit to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We should be clear that such teaching does not flatter the love of God by portraying Him as a kinder and gentler sort of deity. This language flatters the sinner by covering over the wickedness of our sin and rebellion against our holy Creator. Given how clearly Jesus warns us about the wrath to come, we dare not shy away from calling such false teaching by its proper name: unbelief. Such false teachers don’t merely need to be corrected they need to be saved. In verses 2-3 Peter tells us that such false teachers distort God’s truth because of their sensuality and greed. He then assures us that such false teachers (unless they repent) will receive a just and certain judgment from our King. God doesn’t need to be repackaged to make Him more acceptable to us; we need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb to be made acceptable to Him. A proper understanding of the wrath of God magnifies both the LORD’s holiness and the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ who bore this judgment in our place. We need to remember what verse 19 tells us about such false teachers: “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” False teachers promise the “freedom” to indulge in sin free from judgment. Yet they themselves are enslaved by their passions and their judgment is certain. Jesus Christ actually gives true freedom to His people by bearing the just wrath of God against such sin in our place and increasingly breaking the power of sin in our lives. Let us commit to choosing the true freedom of following Christ. Read or sing Hymn 5 “God, My King, Thy Might Confessing” Prayer: Ask the LORD to grant you the discipline to consistently study His word and the courage to take your stand on what you learn.
Tuesday (5/29) Read and discuss Read Romans 1:8-17. R.C. Sproul writes:
The word euangelion, which means “good message” or “good news,” has a rich background in the Old Testament. There, the basic meaning of the term gospel was simply an announcement of a good message. If a doctor came to examine a sick person and afterward declared that the problem was nothing serious, that was gospel or good news. In ancient days when soldiers went out to battle, people waited breathlessly for a report from the battlefield about the outcome. Once the outcome was known, marathon runners dashed back to give the report. That is why Isaiah wrote, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isaiah 52:7).
Let me add that it can be very helpful to memorize a sound explanation of key terms like “justification,” “sanctification,” and “gospel.” The Shorter Catechism provides wonderful definitions for most of these terms, but oddly it never defines “gospel.” I have therefore coined the following Catechism like definition to help you grasp this central biblical truth: The Gospel is the good news of the victory of God in Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, and death, on behalf of His people. I would encourage you to memorize that definition. Read or Sing Hymn 42 “El-Shaddai” Prayer: Please lift up the United States Supreme Court in prayer.
Wednesday (5/30) Read and discuss Genesis 6:11-22. Jeff Niehaus writes:
The flood has an end in two senses. It has an end or goal in view: the extermination of all God’s foes and of the environmental system (the world) that sustained them. But it also has an end in the sense that it comes to an end. And when it does, the dry land emerges once again, just as it did in Genesis 1. The parallel is real and not merely literary. When God brought the Flood, he returned the globe to a pre-emergent state – that is, the state in which it found itself before God caused the dry land to emerge from the waters. Only after the land emerged did life appear on it. By bringing the Flood, God has reversed the condition of the earth and made it what it originally was. So now, again, there are no land creatures in existence except for Noah “and those with him in the ark” (Gen. 7:23). When God causes dry land to reemerge from a global ocean, it will be an act of recreation, a making of a new earth, and this act is introduced with an evocative term: “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded” (Gen 8:1). The term for wind here is the word that can also mean “spirit/Spirit”, and it appears in the creation account when the “Spirit from God hovered over the face of the deep before God separated the land from the water (Gen. 1:2). The narrative seems to allude to God’s original act and thereby indicate the “new creation” aspect of the Flood waters’ retreat.
Prayer: Please lift up brothers and sisters at Immanuel Chapel our OPC congregation in Upton, MA.
Thursday (5/31) Read and discuss Ephesians 1:1-14. 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.
Read or Sing Hymn 44 “How Great Thou Art” 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.
Friday (6/1) Read and discuss Psalm 72:1-20. Allen P. Ross writes:
Here a psalm has been included hat looks to the future of the monarchy. The petitions in this prayer reflect the needs of the nation, for the nation never had a king that did these things. In fact, there has never been a truly righteous king or a righteous government in the history of the world. And the world needs a righteous king.
So this is a prayer that God will so bless the future king that his reign will be a righteous reign. But since the descriptions used in the petitions are found throughout the prophets and the psalms as descriptions of the coming messianic age, this prayer becomes eschatological. That is, it is a legitimate prayer expressing a legitimate need, but it will only be fulfilled in the Messiah. The Messiah will reign over a kingdom on earth in which righteousness and justice will thrive, the land will produce its bounty in abundance, and all the nations of the earth will submit to his authority and be blessed through him. The prayer of this psalm draws in some of the great prophesies of the reign of the Messiah on earth, which the New Testament confirms will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ when he returns to earth at his second coming. While he now sits enthroned at the right hand of the Majesty on High, as Scripture depicts it, he has not yet put all things under submission, righteousness does not fill the earth, and the whole world groans, waiting for the day of redemption. The petitions of this psalm, for one, will be fulfilled in the coming messianic kingdom.
Read or sing Hymn 242 “Not All the Blood of Beasts” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus will come again to fully establish His Kingdom on earth.
Saturday (6/2) Read and discuss 2 Peter 2:4-10a. Gene Green writes:
It is not so evident why Lot is called “righteous,” given that he chose to settle in Sodom, outside the land of promise, and especially since he offered his daughters to the men who clamored for the celestial visitors to be brought out so that they might “know them.” The claim that Lot was righteous may be attributed to Abraham’s dialogue with the messengers, in which he seeks deliverance for the city if there are a sufficient number of righteous residents. While not enough righteous were found to spare Sodom, Lot himself was delivered, implying that at least he was righteous. …
Many authors have decried the reprehensible nature of Lot’s action and have demonstrated that his character was ambiguous at best, even as it is presented by the Genesis narrative. … The principal flaw with viewing Lot as a wholly righteous man is that it does not deal with the increasingly negative characterization of Lot in the preceding narratives … and in his subsequent actions concerning his daughters. In each of the texts Lot is portrayed as selfish and as increasingly absent from the promise made by YHWH to Abraham – he takes the good land around Sodom outside the land of the promise, Canaan. To suddenly see him now as a paragon of virtue is suspicious to say the least.
Instead of focusing on the balance of Lot’s actions, it is better to see that he was in fact a genuine believer in Yahweh and that he was, therefore, justified by faith. Lot’s life, then, serves both as an encouragement and as a warning. It wouldn’t surprise us to see the LORD rescue Abraham but it is encouraging to see Him rescue someone like Lot who made such a mess of his life. On the other hand, Lot’s life serves as a warning that it is possible for genuine believers to waste their lives by acting on the lust for those things which can be seen. Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.