12 August 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 219 “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 8:1-4
Hymn of Preparation: 503 “From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 36:1-12
New Covenant Reading: Romans 3:9-20
Sermon: None Righteous, Not Even One
Hymn of Response: 507 “Thy Mercy, LORD, Is What I Need”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 204 “A Parting Hymn We Sing”
REMINDER: The Hymns for AM Worship are from the new Trinity Psalter-Hymnal. Why not read them over and familiarize yourself with them before morning worship this Sunday?
OT: 2 Samuel 18:1-18
NT: 1 John 2:15-17
Shorter Catechism Q/A #52
Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.
Monday (8/6) Read and discuss Romans 3:9-20. N.T. Wright comments:
In Paul’s world, if you were on trial and had nothing more to say in your defense, you put a hand over your mouth as a sign. Sometimes court officials would strike the prisoner on the mouth to indicate that their mouths ‘should be stopped’, in other words, that they were obviously guilty and should not be attempting to defend themselves. So when Paul says ‘that every mouth may be stopped’ he is imagining not only that the Jews have joined the Gentiles in the dock but that all of them together are left without any defense. The whole world is accountable to God: all people are obviously guilty, and must now face God as their judge.
This, then, is the main point of the present passage: to finish off the job of rounding up the whole human race before its Creator and finding it guilty.
Read or sing Hymn 219 “O Worship the King” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering through a terrible crisis in Venezuela.
Tuesday (8/7) Read and discuss Romans 3:1-8. Paul is insistent. How could you imagine that God was not a great giver who extended extraordinary privileges to His covenant people – when He entrusted them with His very own words? Let give you an illustration. Not far from here stands Harvard University which is arguably the finest university in the entire world. A few of you may have studied there and all of us have a sense of just how competitive it is to get in. Imagine that Harvard changed its admission policy so that it was it was still incredibly competitive to get in for most people, but if you were the child of an alumni you would both be admitted automatically and given a free four-year scholarship to attend the school. If you were one of those children, wouldn’t you consider that to be an extraordinary privilege and blessing? I hope that you would. But what if you heard a few children of other alumni grumbling that this wasn’t much of a privilege after all. One of them told you that when her acceptance letter came in the mail she just burned it up – and she didn’t understand why some people were so excited about being the children of Harvard alumni since it never did her the slightest bit of good. Then you heard another young adult tell you that he was admitted, but he just drank beer and refused to study – and he never learned a thing at Harvard. Would these sorts of experiences lead you to conclude that the privilege was no big deal, or would you conclude that these people had foolishly tossed away something that was incredibly valuable? Well Paul is saying: “Do you know what is far more valuable than going to Harvard and listening to the words of some really highly educated human beings? It is coming to Church week after week and hearing the words of the Living God.” And God gives you this privilege to all of you who were born into a family with one or more believing parents apart from anything that you have done or could do. Do you see that LORD is good and His gifts are exceedingly valuable? At the very top of this list, Paul says chiefly that we have been entrusted with the very words of God. Read or Sing Hymn 503 “From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee” Prayer: Ask the LORD to fill you with gratitude for the wonderful blessings that He has given to you.
Wednesday (8/8) Read and discuss Psalm 36:1-12. James Montgomery Boice writes:
The conclusion of the psalm is a prayer in which David prays for others who know God and are upright (v. 10) and for himself that he may be preserved from evildoers (v. 11). So confident is he of this final deliverance that the psalm closes with a prophetic glimpse of the wicked who, in his vision, “lie fallen –thrown down, not able to rise” (v. 12).
What is the final application of the psalm? It is what we have already seen in verse 7. What distinguishes the righteous from the wicked are not the good deeds of the godly (though they inevitably express their right relationship to God by good deeds), but rather that they, in distinction from the wicked, have taken refuge under the shadow of God’s wings. The words “find refuge” mean to flee for refuge, like a man guilty of manslaughter fleeing from the avenger of blood. They mean to flee with haste and intensity, stopping for nothing, until by the full thrust of our entire natures we find safety and deliverance beneath the wings and in the unfailing mercy of Almighty God.
That mercy is to be found in Jesus Christ. He said of Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). The masses of Jesus’ day missed that great blessing and perished. The masses miss them today. Do not be one of them. Come to Jesus now.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to work in all the children of our congregation that they would long to be gathered to Christ under the shelter of His wings.
Thursday (8/9) Read and discuss 1 John 2:15-17. Karen Jobes writes:
Preachers have the reputation of railing against society’s evils by identifying specific behaviors that are destructive and sinful – things such as drunkenness, addictions, or sexual immorality. While it is true that those behaviors are not of God, John’s thinking in this passage strikes at a much deeper level. The three evils he lists are not to be narrowed to three specific vices – as if “the desire of the flesh” was all about illicit sex and pornography – but John insists instead that we question the reigning value system of all of contemporary life at its roots. It is not enough to say that sexual immorality is wrong, or that pride is wrong, or that we must not covet material possessions. While all that is true, they are only symptoms of the much deeper problem of “the world’s” alienation from God. All human values, ethics, and morality that are defined by fallen people are fatally flawed because they are built on false premises about reality.
People who reject the knowledge that “God is light” reject God’s sovereign prerogative to define the standard of human values and morality. Even if not an atheist at the philosophical level, anyone who rejects God’s rule of life in some aspect of their behavior is to that extent an atheist in practice. The underlying problem is a radical autonomy of the human spirit that insists on being its own god. And the result is each person “doing what is right in their own eyes” (cf. Judges 21:25) in a world that no longer has a uniform basis for law and morality. That is the way of “the world” as John uses the term.
His first imperative is, therefore, foundational for all others that will follow: do not love the world. Do not adopt the world’s attitudes and ways of life with respect to God. For the attraction to human autonomy is a rejection of and therefore, a failure to love God. There is no love for God in the one who loves the unbridled desires of the flesh for food, drink, and sex. There is no love for God in the one who places the highest value on material things of this life that can be bought and sold but who undervalues the invisible things like love, faithfulness, and goodness. There is no love for God in the one who feels so self-satisfied and secure in the life they have built on their own accomplishments and wealth that they have no need for God.
Read or sing 507 “Thy Mercy, LORD, Is What I Need” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at Providence OPC in West Lebanon, NH.
Friday (8/10) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 18:1-18. Dale Ralph Davis writes:
Absalom happened to find himself in front of some of David’s men (v. 9). He didn’t intend the appearance; but shrub and forest make normal military movements torturous and all sorts of harum-scarum surprises occur. It was an unplanned disaster, an accident our common parlance calls it. And it led to an accident, for as Absalom hurries off he and his mule go under a large terebinth or oak and – was he looking back? – Absalom’s head is slammed into the fork of some large, low branches and only the mule keeps going.
Who knows how severely injured he was? But he dangles safely until Joab arrives. Joab shoves three shafts or darts into Absalom’s mid-section – the wounds are surely mortal, but the coup de grace is left for Joab’s adjutants. They ‘heaved him into a deep pit in the forest and piled over him a very high heap of stones.’
There may be more than meets the eye in this note about Absalom’s burial place in verse 17. McCarter’s comment is to to the point:
This is the burial of an accursed man. Compare: (1) Joshua 7:26, where Achan, having been stoned to death for his sacrilege (Joshua 7:15), is buried under ‘a large pile of stones’; (2) Joshua 8:29, where the king of Ai, having been hanged on a tree, is thrown into a pit and covered with ‘a large pile of stones’; (3) Joshua 10:27, where five enemy kings, having been put to death and hanged from trees, are thrown into a cave, the mouth of which is then covered with large stones. Abishalom [sic] is accursed as a fratricide and rebel, and he too was hanged on a tree (cf. Deut 21:23).
Read or sing Hymn 204 “A Parting Hymn We Sing” Prayer: Please pray that the LORD would send revival and reformation to New England.
Saturday (8/11) Read and discuss Romans 3:9-20. R.C. Sproul writes:
From our perspective, there are good deeds, but if we define goodness the way God does, the verdict comes out a little differently. From a biblical standpoint, there are two aspects to a good deed. When God weighs our actions, he weighs whether they correspond outwardly to his law. God requires honesty, and we are honest if we do not cheat on our income taxes or steal. It is good that we do not steal; it is good that we do not cheat – so far, so good. We have that external conformity to the law of God. However, when God evaluates our behavior not only does he judge the outward action, but he also considers the work, the inward motivation. Therefore, for people to do good in God’s sight, they not only have to do something that externally conforms to his law, but they also must be motivated in that action by a heart that is trying to please God, a heart that loves him completely, with the whole mind.
Nobody, apart from God’s grace ever does this. Therefore, the unbeliever sins in ever thought and deed that he or she ever has or does. But, we should also note that as Christians – are deeds do not have to be perfect in order to be considered good. Our Confession of Faith 16.6 puts it like this: “Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections. (emphasis added)” Therefore, Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.