8 July 2018 – Silas Schreyack Preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 2 “O Worship the King”
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 5:6-8
Hymn of Preparation: 24 “Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 19
New Covenant Reading: Romans 10:14-18
Sermon: Our God, the God of Creation and the World
Hymn of Response: 138 “The Heavens Declare Your Glory, LORD”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 518 “Christ of All My Hopes the Ground”
OT: 2 Samuel 15:1-12
NT: 1 John 2:15-17
Shorter Catechism Q/A #47
Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.
Monday (7/2) Read and discuss Psalm 19. How much should we hold teachers accountable for the success of their students? The extremely complex network of factors that impact student success make this a hot question for school boards, colleges, and even in our national politics. But what if God is the teacher? Is it ever God’s fault that people don’t come to know and carryout His will for their lives? Psalm 19 can reasonably be divided into three sections. In verses 1-6 David meditates upon God’s revelation through nature. The key point is that the LORD reveals His glory through nature and He reveals this glory everywhere. No one will ever be able to argue on the final day that they didn’t have enough evidence to commit themselves to God. The rejection of God isn’t due to a lack of evidence but to the fact that sinners, apart from God’s grace, don’t like the God who is there and who is revealing Himself to them. As Paul would later put it in Romans chapter 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
In verses 7-11 David meditates on the perfection, sweetness, purity, and enduring value of God’s special revelation that we now have collected in the Christian Bible. David is grateful for this extraordinary gift. He realizes that any failure to appropriate this gift and to walk in its light is entirely his own fault. Therefore, David asks the LORD in verses 8-14 to forgive and turn him even for where he is wandering from the path without realizing it (“cleanse thou me from secret faults” – KJV). He prays that God would protect and keep him, and that the LORD would make David’s words and thoughts pleasing in His sight. That should be the prayer of each and every one of us. Read or sing Hymn 2 “O Worship the King” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in China as the deal with increased persecution.
Tuesday (7/3) Read and discuss Romans 2:1-11. Verse 4 reads:
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
That may be the most important question that you will hear all week: “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Frequently, people imagine that the LORD’s kindness toward them means that they are living a life that God approves of. I once had someone, someone very close to me, tell me something that may sound shocking. He said: “Nobody can tell me that having sex before marriage is wrong. Just look at the beautiful son that God has given to me.” Because God graciously both withheld wrath and gave him a son this person assumed that his behavior must have been pleasing to God. I said that this “may sound shocking” to you. But if you think about it, people think and act this way all the time. And Paul is saying: Put two and two together and come up with the number four. In chapter one I laid out that Almighty God is pouring out His wrath against all unrighteousness. You know that you are duty bound to obey and worship this God – and you know that you are duty bound to turn from your rebellion and to ask Him for forgiveness. Now, as you consider the fact that God is being kind to you – even while you are rebelling against Him – don’t you think that this good and kind God will accept you if you by His grace repent? The kindness of God is not a stamp of approval on your behavior. It is a sign of the generous character of the God whom you are spurning – and that kindness is itself a call for you to turn from your sins to find life in Jesus Christ. Read or Sing Hymn 24 “Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would keep turning you away from your sins and back to Jesus Christ.
Wednesday (7/4) Read and discuss Romans 10:14-18. Commenting on verse 16, R.C. Sproul writes:
The gospel is being proclaimed widely, not only to Israel but also to the Gentile nations. Paul’s point is that not everybody who hears the gospel obeys or embraces the gospel. At the beginning of the epistle Paul established that the gospel is “the power of God to salvation.” Elsewhere, Paul writes that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching as his method to save the world (1 Cor 1:21). When we considered the doctrine of election, or predestination, we saw that God ordains from all eternity not only the ends of people and nations but also the means to those ends. We saw that the primary means God uses to awaken faith in the hearts of the elect is the preaching of the gospel. Faith comes through the Word, specifically, the preaching of the Word.
Earlier, I distinguished between a necessary condition and a sufficient condition. A necessary condition for igniting a fire is the presence of oxygen. If all the oxygen is removed, the flame goes out. Thankfully, oxygen is not a sufficient condition for a fire; otherwise, every time we draw in a breath of air we would set our lungs on fire. A sufficient condition is one in which something need only be present for the effect to take place. If we apply that to what Paul is saying, the preaching of the Word is a necessary condition for faith but it’s not a sufficient condition. You can’t have faith without it, but you can have unbelief even with it.
Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Providence OPC in West Lebanon, NH.
Thursday (7/5) Read and discuss 1 John 2:15-17. If you knew that your house was going to burn down next week you wouldn’t spend this week installing new hardwood floors and stainless-steel appliances. If you knew that a business was going to go bankrupt you wouldn’t take your hard-earned money and use it to buy stock in that company. Wouldn’t it be great if someone would warn us about such calamities before they happen? John does precisely that in today’s passage. In verse 17 he tells us that the world, and its lusts, is passing away. The term “world” in this passage does not primarily refer to trees, buildings, and rivers. It isn’t so much describing a material reality as an ethical one. The term “world” has a range of meanings in the New Testament. Sometimes it is used in a neutral way to describe the physical world. For example, in John 21:25 we are told that if all the deeds of Jesus were to be written down that “the world itself could not contain all the books that would be written.” Sometimes “world” simply refers to the created order (John 3:16). Yet, most commonly, the NT uses “world” to refer to those people and forces which are in opposition to God (it may mean this in John 3:16 as well). That is what John has in view here and he is saying that everyone and everything which is attached to the people and forces which are in opposition to God are doomed. No matter how appealing “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions” are made to look they are merely the accoutrements on eternity’s Titanic. John’s message for us is simple: Don’t pay the fare to board a sinking ship. Read or Sing Hymn 138 “The Heavens Declare Your Glory, LORD” Prayer: Ask the LORD to help you and those whom you love to live in view of eternity.
Friday (7/6) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 15:1-12. John Woodhouse writes:
As the conspiracy gained strength, the disasters that Nathan had announced as consequences of David’s crimes began to overwhelm King David. Certainly, we may suppose that he was weakened by his own failures. In earlier and better days it is difficult to imagine a plot like Absalom’s getting off the ground. But it is important to see that David’s kingdom was not threatened by someone “better” than him (as Saul’s had been, 1 Samuel 15:28). On the contrary, Absalom represented the very opposite of the one whom David had previously foreshadowed – the one who came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
As we watch the ways of Absalom (beautiful, charming, grand, popular, pleasing, clever, deceiving, and ruthless), let us hear the words of Jesus: “It shall not be so among you” (Matthew 20:26).
Read or sing Hymn 518 “Christ of All My Hopes the Ground” Prayer: Please lift up the Supreme Court of the United States in prayer.
Saturday (7/7) Read and discuss Psalm 19. This psalm beautifully refutes one of the most common errors in our day regarding the Law of the LORD. Reformed Christians speak of three uses of the law. The first use of the law is that it serves as both a mirror for our performance and a measuring line of perfect righteousness. As such, the law drives self-righteous people away from themselves and to Jesus Christ. Regretfully, the law-gospel distinction has been distorted in many Lutheran and Reformed circles (along with others) to teach that when the law reveals how far we fall short of God’s standards; it drives us away from the law and to the gospel. If enough qualifiers are added to this assertion it turns out to be true – but without the qualifiers it can lead us to a fundamentally mistaken understanding of God’s law. Thankfully, Psalm 19 corrects this misunderstanding. Please look once again at verses 7-11 with a few key words highlighted:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
You will see that God’s law is portrayed in the most positive light. Rather than destroying us, God uses it to revive our souls (v. 7). Instead of causing us to flee from the law to the gospel, Psalm 19 portrays God’s law as something to be desired. Indeed His laws are sweeter than honey to the believer. Is the law to be valued only in that it reveals our inability to keep them and therefore reveal our need for Christ? By no means! Verse 11 tells us that “in keeping them there is great reward”. The LORD does graciously use the law to drive people from self-sufficiency back to Christ. But when we come to Christ we discover that He has not left us to figure out everything for ourselves. He gives us His law so that we might know what loving God and our neighbor actually looks like – to the end that we would actually do so. Verses 6 through 11 are a helpful safeguard against the idea that faith is just checking a box that doesn’t have any impact on the rest of your life. Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.