10 June 2018 – Dan Borvan Preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 80 “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee”
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: Romans 3:21-26
Hymn of Preparation: 568 “In the Hour of Trial”
Old Covenant Reading: Numbers 22:1-41
New Covenant Reading: 2 Peter 2:10b-16
Sermon: The Way of the Wicked
Hymn of Response: 670 “If thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 388 “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”
OT: Daniel 1:1-21
NT: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Shorter Catechism Q/A #43
Q. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Monday (6/4) Read and discuss 2 Peter 2:10b-16. J.C. Ryle writes:
You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are around you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.
To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.
Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. … Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. … You are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. … I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals, and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar with lighthouses or charts. … You are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of those clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.
Let me add one thing: Wouldn’t it be great if there were a well-organized, very reliable, way to learn theology that was already broken down into bite-sized chunks for easy study? There is! We call it the Shorter Catechism. Let me encourage you to do something that Americans don’t seem to do with anything anymore: Memorize the Catechism. Our education system has molded most of us so that we are prone to read over the Catechism until we think we have the gist of it – but then we are unable to effectively use it in our day to day lives. Memorizing just two questions and answer per week will lead to you memorizing the entire Shorter Catechism in just 54 weeks. Read or sing Hymn 80 “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee” Prayer: Pray for the teenagers in our congregation that they would find stability in the LORD during what is frequently a confusing time of life.
Tuesday (6/5) Read and discuss Psalm 1:1-6. The first Psalm is so important to the Christian life that it is well worth memorizing so that you can meditate upon it throughout the day. Allen P. Ross explains the central message of the psalm:
By drawing a contrast between the righteous and the ungodly, the psalmist instructs believers not to live the way the world lives, not to take spiritual, moral, or ethical advice from unbelievers, and not to join them in their profane enterprises; rather, believers must study the word of God in order to live an untarnished and productive life for God, and that life will be evidence of a living faith that will see them through the judgment, when God judges the wicked. …
For believers, the application is obvious: they must spend time meditating on God’s word so that they may live a distinct and productive spiritual life for God, and in the process find assurance that God knows them and will preserved them through the judgment. To unbelievers the message is urgent: they must come to faith in the Lord, because if they live their lives without faith in him or his word, not even their good deeds will count and they will not survive the judgment to come.
Read or Sing Hymn 568 “In the Hour of Trial” Prayer: Give thanks for the beauty of New England this time of year.
Wednesday (6/6) Read and discuss Numbers 22:1-41. Ligon Duncan comments:
There are some things that you don’t have to pray about. What do I mean by that? What I mean is this: When God has said no in and by His word, you do not have to pray to know what His will is.
Now all the way back in verse 12, in answer to Balaam’s query, ‘Can I go and earn some big bucks from Balak by cursing Your people?’ God has said ‘No, you may not go with them, and no, you may not curse My people.’ And you know what? Balaam doesn’t really need to pray about that any more. God has already said it in His word. He does not have to pray to ascertain the will of God. God’s will has been made crystal clear, unambiguously, in and by His word. And so, my friends, when God has spoken in His word, we don’t have to pray about it.
And yet so very often we find ourselves doing just that. The Lord has given us a command that doesn’t quite cotton with us, or He’s given us a prohibition and our hearts are yearning to do the thing that He has prohibited. And we begin to entertain the prospect of seeking His guidance through prayer to ascertain what He would have us do. That is a wasted prayer. There are some things that you don’t have to pray about. When God has told you in His word no or yes, He means it. Surely that is one of the lessons that we find out when Balaam is going back a second time after having been offered more money to curse, and asking God again. Surely that is wasted breath and effort, because he already knows what God wants him to do. And what he’s actually doing is revealing the power of the sinful desires of his heart.
Prayer: Please pray for our Session as it meets this evening.
Thursday (6/7) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. Who were the Corinthians? Strabo, writing in 7 B.C. tells us:
Corinth is called “wealthy” because of its commerce, since it is situated on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors, of which the one leads straight to Asia, and the other to Italy; and it makes easy the exchange of merchandise from both countries that are so far distant from each other.
Yet, in spite of its choice location, Corinth was a relatively young city. It had been destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC and was not rebuilt until Julius Caesar re-founded the city in 44 BC. Many of the colonists were former slaves who were trying to advance their economic and social standing. As Richard Hays reminds us:
In our reading of Paul’s letter, it will be useful to remember that he was writing to a church in a city only a few generations removed from its founding by colonists seeking upward social mobility. In this respect there is a significant analogy between Paul’s Corinthian readers and the American readers of this commentary.
Paul, however, was not so focused on the Corinthians past but on their present and future in Christ. God had called them to be set apart (“saints”) and has grafted them into His universal Church (“called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”). The idea behind being called to be saints only secondarily refers to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives which we call sanctification. The primary meaning has to do with being set apart to God for His service like Israel’s priests or the instruments in the Temple. As Exodus 19:5-6a puts it: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Richard Hays insightfully comments:
Thus, when Paul addresses the Corinthians as “sanctified in Christ Jesus”, he introduces a tension that will play itself out throughout the letter, for the Corinthians actual conduct seems to be terribly out of synch with their vocation to be God’s covenant people. At this point, however, the tension remains unexpressed; the emphasis in the letter’s salutation remains on God’s initiative in calling and sanctifying this community.
Read or Sing Hymn 670 “If thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee” Prayer: Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Israel and for the spread of the gospel there.
Friday (6/8) Read and discuss Daniel 1:1-21. One of the purposes of the book of Daniel is to show us how to live by faith when times are tough. Daniel and his friends had been taken captive by the Babylonians and were being put through a type of re-education camp. The purpose of this training was to shift the way these Jewish boys thought about the world and to have them embrace the Babylonian culture. While Christians in North America have not undergone this sort of persecution, as Iain Duguid points out, we still need to wrestle with the very same issues:
As citizens of heaven, Christians live as aliens and strangers in a land that is not their own, and there are times when the world’s enmity to the people of God becomes evident. The hostility of the world is often shown in the efforts it makes to squeeze us into its mold. It wants to make us conform to its values and standards and not to stick out from the crowd. The pressure is on us, in school and at work, to be like everyone else in the way that we dress and the language that we use. We are expected to laugh at certain kinds of jokes and gossip about certain kinds of people. If we want to get on and be promoted in the world of business, we are pressured to leave our values and religious beliefs at the front entrance and to live a lifestyle entirely assimilated to the business community. We are expected to value the things the surrounding culture values, to pursue passionately its glittering prizes, and generally to live in obedience to its idols. We have to choose daily whether to be part of this world in which we live, or to take the difficult path of standing against it.
How do you cope in the midst of the brokenness and alienation that is life here on earth? What truths can you cling to when the jagged edges of existence are twisting against you and cutting into your flesh? What do you need to know to live a life of faith in an alien world, a world that is frequently a place of sickness and pain, of broken relationships and bitter tears, of sorrow and death? These are the questions to which the Book of Daniel will give us the answers. It is a book written to God’s Old Testament people, Israel, when they were experiencing the brokenness and pain of life in exile, far away from home. It was designed to encourage them in their walk with God, who was with them in the midst of their pain.
Read or sing Hymn 388 “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus is your Good Shepherd.
Saturday (6/9) Read and discuss 2 Peter 2:10b-16. Gene Green writes:
In 2 Peter 10b-16, Peter brings a series of denunciations against the false teachers. He highlights that the heretics are not only in communion with members of the Christian community but also seek to lure others into following their way. In denouncing their sin, Peter focuses on their arrogance, irrationality, dedication to pleasure, enticement of others through sexual desire, and their greed. Their avarice and use of sexual sin as a means to persuading the members of the church suggest the misdeeds of Balaam who, though he could not curse Israel, laid out the means by which they could be tempted to sexual sin. Peter’s denunciation of the heretics is highly dependent on Jude 10-12. But Peter reworks the material significantly as he tailors it to address the heretics that trouble the churches. Peter’s indictment of the heretics will be repeated even more vividly in the following section (2:17-22)
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.