22 July 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 48 “O LORD Most High With All My Heart”
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: Ephesians 1:7-10
Hymn of Preparation: 100 “Holy, Holy, Holy!”
Old Covenant Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-21
New Covenant: Romans 2:17-24
Sermon: You Who Teach Others
Hymn of Response: 460 “Amazing Grace!”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 598 “Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah”
OT: 2 Samuel 16:1-14
NT: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
Under the Mighty Hand of God
Shorter Catechism Q/A #49
Q. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Monday (7/16) Read and discuss Romans 2:17-24. John Stott writes:
Paul’s fifth rhetorical question is again more general: “You who brag about the law (which the Jews did, see verse 17) do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written, ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” This quotation seems to combine Isaiah 52:5 and Ezekiel 36:22. In both texts God’s name had been mocked because his people had been defeated and enslaved. Could Yahweh not protect his own people? Just so, moral defeat, like military defeat, brings discredit on the name of God.
The argument of verses 17-24 is the same in principle as that of verses 1-3, and is just as applicable to us as to first-century critical moralizers and self-confident Jews. If we judge others, we should be able to judge ourselves. If we teach others, we should be able to teach ourselves. If we set ourselves up as either teachers or judges of others, we can have no excuse if we do not teach or judge ourselves. We cannot possibly plead ignorance or moral rectitude. On the contrary, we invite God’s condemnation of our hypocrisy.
Read or sing Hymn 48 “O LORD Most High With All My Heart” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at Pleasant Mountain Presbyterian Church in Bridgton, Main. Pray that the LORD would both raise up godly men to serve as officers in this congregation and for wisdom as they seek to call their first pastor when they particularize as a distinct local church.
Tuesday (7/17) Read and discuss Romans 2:12-16. Let’s start by remembering our need to be humble. This is a difficult passage and my interpretation of it, just like yours, may be wrong either in part or in whole. Let’s not split the Orthodox Presbyterian Church over what these three verses mean. Thankfully, the applications I want to draw from this passage are clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. So, paradoxically, these two applications are more certain than our exegesis of this particular passage can be:
- First, let’s be grateful for the privileges that that LORD has poured out on us rather than boasting in them as though they reflect some sort of achievement on our part. All of these blessings are meant to lead us to faith in Jesus Christ and to give us a desire to live for the glory of God. May God cause us to respond in precisely those two ways.
- Second, let’s celebrate the extraordinary blessings we enjoy by being members of the New Covenant. You will probably not have to deal very frequently with the specific problem Paul was addressing. More than 19 centuries later, there are not a lot of people in the church who imagine that being Jewish – or observing the outward marks of the Old Covenant – makes them first class Christians who are somehow a cut above the ordinary Gentile Christians. Although, you might experience something like this – because it can creep into those movements and communities that often call themselves Messianic Judaism. Nevertheless, the principle extends beyond this immediate application. It has not been uncommon in the history of the church for one group of Christians to look down on another group of Christians because of their ethnicity, politics, social standing, or gender. But don’t you see how wicked that is now that Christ has come. But as Paul had previously written to the Galatians:
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Read or Sing Hymn 100 “Holy, Holy, Holy!” Prayer: Ask the LORD to grant you both humility and excitement for the extraordinary blessing of being placed into the New Covenant.
Wednesday (7/18) Read and discuss Ezekiel 36:16-21. Iain Duguid writes:
What Israel had done while they lived in their land was to turn it into a permanent place of death, thoroughly defiling it by means of bloodshed and idolatry, making it a place unfit for divine habitation for the living God. God had no choice but to bring them among the nations, just as he had threatened when they first entered the land (Deut. 29:22-28).
This action, however, created a new problem for God. He had promised to bring this people, who were called by his name, into the land of Canaan to possess it. He had established a relationship between himself, his people, and the land. Yet now the nations could see that the LORD’s people were absent from his land. That three-way relationship had been broken. The conclusion drawn by the surrounding nations would be natural: The LORD’s power was insufficient to bring about that which he promised. He had given up on his people as a bad job. The final elimination of those people for their sins – what Moses had feared in Numbers 14:15-16 and had prayed against – had finally become a reality.
Thus, as long as Israel was scattered among the nations, they continually profaned the divine name. This was now not because of anything particular they were doing, although there is no suggestion that the shock of exile in and of itself brought about a radical change in their behavior. Rather, they profaned God’s name simply by being in exile instead of the land of promise.
All of which brings Ezekiel to the reasons for God’s future mercy. If there had been no other reasoning involved for God than the necessity of dealing with Israel’s sin, permanent wrath would have sufficed. Israel could simply and deservedly have been blotted out from the pages of history of an example of the power of God’s holiness and his anger against sin. It is not God shrinks from dealing out such judgment that he stays his hand from crushing Israel comprehensively and finally. After all, he had earlier repeatedly declared that he would not have compassion on sinners. As was the case for the people of Noah’s day, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the Amorites living in the land at the time of Joshua’s assault, those whose sins were full could simply have been totally destroyed.
However, the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day were not completely destroyed. Why not? Because [even if he had] no compassion on them, God will nevertheless have concern for his name, which he had inextricably linked to Israel by entering covenant with them. Because of that sovereign irrevocable act, mercy not only may but must be shown to Israel. The honor of God’s name will be vindicated by a show of power among the nations when he brings Israel back to her land. The LORD will act, not for Israel’s sake, but for the sake of his own name.
Prayer: Please pray for the U.S. Senate as they deliberate over whether or not to confirm Judge Brett Kavenaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thursday (7/19) Read and discuss 2 Timothy 2:1-13. A line in redemptive history was being crossed. In this letter Paul had written, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The Apostle knows that his time is short, and he is handing on the baton to his trusted and beloved protégé. This is always an important transition, but between Paul and Timothy it is literally an epochal event. The Church was moving from the Apostolic to the post-apostolic age. The stakes could scarcely be higher. What guidance would Paul leave with Timothy for after he was gone? The Apostle focuses on three things:
- “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, …” This specifically has in view Timothy’s (and our!) persevering in ministry in the face of persecution and suffering.
- Focus on the long term spread of the Kingdom of God: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
- “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, …” One might wonder how Christians could fail to “remember” Jesus Christ, but the history of the Church has been littered with the corpses of dead churches who drifted from having the person and work of Christ at the very center of their mission.
As those who continue to live and work in the post-apostolic era, this guidance is as applicable to us as it was to Timothy. Let’s take it to heart. Read or Sing Hymn 460 “Amazing Grace!” Prayer: Ask the LORD to keep Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, at the pulsating heart of your thinking.
Friday (7/20) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 16:1-14. Commenting on the cursing from Shimei at the end of today’s passage, John Woodhouse writes:
The abuse coming from Shimei was a small thing to David, when his “own son” was seeking his life. “My own son” is literally “my son who came out from my belly.” David was echoing precisely the promise the LORD had given him: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come out from your belly.” (7:12) [If one of his son’s] was now seeking David’s life, the curses of the crazy Shimei were a minor matter.
Most important of all, David’s acceptance of the LORD’s will was not a matter of stoic resignation. He did not know how, and he did not know when, but he hoped expectantly that he would receive “good” form the LORD. That much of verse 12 is clear. This expectation had been expressed in David’s words to Zadok in 15:25. Of course, it was a hope that depended on God’s grace. … That is what “It may be … that the LORD will …” means here. Nonetheless, it is clear that David knew God’s grace toward him.
Read or sing Hymn 598 “Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at First Church in Merrimack, NH.
Saturday (7/21) Read and discuss Romans 2:17-24. R.C. Sproul writes:
Can we not extrapolate the critique that Paul gives to his kinsmen, Israel, and apply it to today’s church? We rely on the Word of God and on our doctrine. We are confident in our calling as guides to the blind, as lights to those who are perishing in darkness. We instruct the foolish; we are the teachers of infants. We have the form of knowledge and truth. Elsewhere Paul rebukes people for having a form of godliness but lacking the substance of it (2 Tim 3:5). The outward form is there, but that form is an empty shell, and once God bores through that shell and examines the heart beneath eternal form, there is no internal reality. That is the judgment that Paul is giving to Israel, but it also has application to us.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.