26 August 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
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: Hebrews 10:19-22
Hymn of Preparation: 227 “How Great Thou Art”
Old Covenant Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:10-22
New Covenant: Romans 3:27-31
Sermon: God Over All
Hymn of Response: 229 “Holy God, We Praise Your Name”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 351 “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
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 19:8b-43
NT: Luke 16:1-9
Shorter Catechism Q/A #54
Q. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.
Monday (8/20) Read and discuss Romans 3:27-31. One of the important things about putting together a hymnal is that the tunes must match the words of the hymns. Believe it or not, you can sing Amazing Grace to the tune used for the Coca-Cola jingle – but doing so radically distorts what John Newton was intending this hymn to convey. If we think of the Old Testament Torah as the Hymn, we can see that Paul was now singing that hymn to a very different tune than he had sung as a Pharisee. The Pharisees, and many other Jews of his day had sung this hymn as though keeping the Law was the means by which they would be justified on the last day. When they heard Paul singing the same Hymn to the tune of grace alone through faith alone they accused him of abandoning the Hymn – that is abolishing the Law – but nothing could be further from the truth. N.T. Wright comments:
Are we abolishing the law? No, of course not! We are setting it to a far better tune, a tune that in fact God himself has written for it. It was never meant to be fulfilled ‘by works’ in the way that the Pharisees and others had attempted. It was always designed to be sung to the tune called ‘faith.’ Paul is often imagined to have had a negative view of the law, but one of the reasons he writes Romans is to make clear that that is wrong. The law always was God’s law, and it is not abolished. Instead, it is fulfilled in a way [that had been lost to the majority of Jews in Paul’s day]. This is the tune that makes the best sense of the words.
Read or sing Hymn 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Providence OPC in West Lebanon, NH.
Tuesday (8/21) Read and discuss Romans 3:21-26. Outside of church, you will probably never hear the word “propitiation.” But you are going to have to learn it – since there really isn’t a satisfactory alternative. Some translators, out of a good desire to translate the Bible into language that we are familiar with, have tried alternatives such as “sacrifice of atonement” and “expiation.” But, in addition to not really getting across what the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul; when is the last time you were trying to buy a hotdog at a baseball game and you heard someone in line talking about “a sacrifice of atonement” or “expiation”? Unless you are going to the ballpark with Dan, I suspect the answer is “Not very often.” So, let’s be grateful that we need to learn far fewer technical words to understand the Bible than we do to learn Physics or Chemistry. And let’s buckle down and learn this word – which is one of the most important words that you will ever come to know. In the Bible, a “propitiation” is something that makes God look upon a person or group of people with favor and delight. When God puts forward Jesus as a propitiation, He is putting away your sins. But He is not simply bringing you from under His holy wrath to some sort of neutral position. Because of the redemption that has been accomplished for you in Jesus Christ, the moment you believe in Jesus you are transformed from being a child of wrath to being a child whom God the Father profoundly loves and with whom He is well pleased.” What does Almighty God think when He thinks about you? If you are in Christ by faith, then God thinks that – as to your legal standing – you are perfectly righteous; and as to your person – He delights in and loves you. He really does! Read or Sing Hymn 227 “How Great Thou Art” Prayer: Give thanks for the astonishing grace which you have received in Christ Jesus your Lord.
Wednesday (8/22) Read and discuss 1 Chronicles 29:10-22. Andrew Bowling writes:
David leads in corporate prayer by reciting a psalm. Its theme, the sovereignty of God, occurs frequently in Chronicles. Greatness, power, majesty, authority, and wealth; all these belong to God. This is the God whom David is praising and to whom David and the people give their offerings.
Having praised God with a psalm, David offers a prose commentary on the incongruity of feeble insignificant men “giving” to an infinitely wealthy, powerful, sovereign God. The insignificance of man is stated in powerful graphic language. David and the people are merely returning to God what is already his. David prays that deep sincerity in the people’s ritual life will continue.
Prayer: Please pray for our missionaries who are working with the Karamojan people in Uganda.
Thursday (8/23) Read and discuss Luke 16:1-9. David Garland writes:
The children of this age are smarter than the children of light when it comes to acting in their best interests. They are motivated by self-interest and self-preservation and concern themselves only with this world. The sons of light should be concerned about the world to come, but they act more like the rich man in the parable that follows. If the children of light understood what their true self interest is, they would be motivated by it to act no less decisively and boldly than the children of this age, and they would then concentrate their energies on serving others. They would use whatever worldly opportunities they have to attain otherworldly ends by helping the needy in this world.
The agent in this parable only thinks in terms of how to make his life in the here and now comfortable after he has to give an account of his earthly stewardship. Christians know that all will have to give an account to God. We should focus our energies on doing what is pleasing to God.
Read or sing Psalm 85 Prayer: Please lift up the college students in our congregation as they get ready to begin their Fall semester.
Friday (8/24) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 19:8b-43. Tony Catledge writes:
David’s encounter with Shimei is an example of both personal discipline and political agility. Shimei had cursed David on his departure from Jerusalem, but now he comes to beg David’s forgiveness. The reader might like to think that David freely offered a pardon from the goodness of his heart, but the fact that Shimei was accompanied by 1,000 Benjaminites cannot be overlooked. Even if David did not fear the possibility of battle with Shimei’s allies, he could not risk alienating such a significant segment of his support. So his public oath to not harm Shimei came under some obvious duress. It was, however, an astute move. David was able to put aside his personal affront for the sake of the larger goal.
David’s meeting with Mephibosheth tested his patience as well as his wisdom. As Solomon would later be challenged to choose between two women with competing stories, David was faced with two men who told opposing tales: Ziba had insisted that Mephibosheth remained in Jerusalem when David fled because he had hoped that Absalom would return the throne to the house of Saul. Mephibosheth, on the other hand, now came to claim that he stayed in Jerusalem only because he was crippled and the treacherous Ziba had refused to saddle his mount. Mephibosheth had carefully neglected his personal hygiene as evidence of his betrayal. David had grated to Ziba all Mephibosheth’s estate in their earlier exchange, but ow he was uncertain what to do. Unable to decide between them and unwilling to devote more time to a peripheral matter, David pronounced that Ziba and Mephibosheth should split the land.
Read or sing Hymn 351 “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” Prayer: Ask the LORD to grant you wisdom for some particular area of your life that you are struggling with.
Saturday (8/25) Read and discuss Romans 3:27-31. James Montgomery Boice writes:
The most pernicious ground of all for human boasting is faith. This is a particular danger for the evangelical. For the most part the evangelical knows that he (or she) is not saved by works – he has been taught that since his youth. Unusually he does not trust in his feelings, though he thinks rather highly of them. He is even willing to give upon on extensive biblical knowledge or sound doctrine as ground for his hope. But it is entirely different with faith. Faith is the distinguishing mark of the evangelical. So even though he does not want to boast – and it really pains him to do so – when pressed in his doctrine the evangelical will admit that in the final analysis the reason he is going to be in heaven, and another person is not, is that he believe God and trusted Jesus while those who are perishing spurned him.
Sometimes evangelicals express their ideas in the following fashion. They say that God first gave the law to see if anyone could keep it. But since no one did or can, God now comes to us with a slimmed-down or much facilitated gospel, as if he were saying: “I know you can’t keep my law. So let me ask instead for something you can do. Just believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus I will save you.”
I am sure that by now you can see clearly what is wrong with that idea. If that is the way God operates, faith becomes a work – something you or I do on the basis of which we are saved – and there is ground for boasting. We may not want to boast. But if we are in heaven a million years from now and someone comes up to us and asks why we are there and another person is not, and if we are pressed about it, we will have to admit that we are there because we had faith and the other person had none. Faith is our distinguishing mark. So, although we may not want to boast, honesty will compel us to boast just a little.
But that is not what faith is. Listen to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on this subject:
Faith is nothing but the instrument of our salvation. Nowhere in Scripture will you find that we are justified because of our faith; nowhere in Scripture will you find that we justified on account of our faith. The Scripture never says that. The Scripture says that we are justified by faith or through faith. Faith is nothing but the instrument or the channel by which this righteousness of God in Christ becomes ours. It is not faith that saves us. What saves us is the Lord Jesus Christ and his perfect work. It is the death of Christ upon Calvary’s Cross that saves us. It is his perfect life that saves us. It is his appearing on our behalf in the presence of God that saves us. I tis God putting Christ’s righteousness to our account that saves us. That is the righteousness that saves; faith is but the channel and the instrument by which his righteousness becomes mine. The righteousness is entirely Christ’s. My faith is not my righteousness and I must never define or think of faith as righteousness. Faith is nothing but that which links us to the Lord Jesus Christ and his righteousness.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.