23 September 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 234 “The God of Abraham Praise”
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: John 14;1-3
Hymn of Preparation: 447 “Christ, of All My Hopes the Ground”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 115:1-18
New Covenant: Romans 4:16-25
Sermon: That the Promise Might Stand
Hymn of Response: Psalm 115A
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”
OT: 2 Samuel 21:15-22
NT: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Mighty Men and the Lamp of Israel
Shorter Catechism Q/A #58
Q. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.
Monday (9/17) Read and discuss Romans 4:16-25. James Montgomery Boice writes:
The first attribute of God that Abraham fixed his mind on was God’s truthfulness, the fact that God does not lie. Later, Paul will write this to his friend and co-worker Titus, saying explicitly that our faith is in “God, who does not lie” (Titus 1:2). The truthfulness of God is an underlying assumption in these verses from Romans, and certainly in the life of Abraham as a whole. The truthfulness of God was basic to Abraham’s faith in God’s promise. If God were not truthful, the promise would have meant nothing to Abraham and would mean nothing to anyone else. It would be only empty words. But because God is truthful, the promise is true and can be trusted implicitly.
Abraham was willing to act on his conviction that God is always truthful. When God told Abraham (Abram) to leave his own land and go to a land that he would show him, Abraham believed God and “set out from Haran.”
When God promised him that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven, saying “so shall your offspring be,” Abraham “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
When God renewed the promise of a son in Abraham’s old age, Abraham believed God again and accepted his name changes, as well as the rite of circumcision, to show that he believed Him.
Confidence in the truthfulness of God contributed to Abraham’s victory in the greatest test of his life: the demand by God that he sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah. Abraham reasoned that since God had promised a numerous posterity through Isaac and since Isaac had not yet married or had children, to keep His word God would have to raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham proceeded on the basis of this faith and was about to perform the sacrifice when God stopped him.
Such complete confidence is vital to any individual’s proper relationship to God, since we cannot know, come to, or please God unless we have faith in or believe Him (cf. Heb. 11:6).
Read or sing Hymn 234 “The God of Abraham Praise” Prayer: Please pray for our neighbors in North Andover, Lawrence, and the surrounding towns who are suffering so deeply from last week’s gas fires and explosions.
Tuesday (9/18) Read and discuss Romans 4:13-15. For example, in Genesis 17 the LORD makes this promise:
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
Did you notice whom the LORD promised to give the land of Canaan to? He didn’t say, “to you, that is to your offspring” as though the promise was only going to be fulfilled to Abraham in his offspring. The LORD explicitly says: “to you” and “to your offspring.” So here is the key question: “When did Abraham receive the Promised Land?” … The answer is: “Not yet.” Abraham was not having “his best life then” … or as certain false teachers might say: “His best life now!” The LORD was promising Abraham the Land of Canaan far off in the future after the LORD would raise him from the dead. As Hebrews 11 puts it:
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.” … And then skipping down a few verses
… “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
In order to rightly understand the Land Promise that God made to Abraham, we have to understand that it was not of a transient possession in this life – but of an eternal possession in the age to come. The physical possession of the Promised Land by Jews in the Old Testament was not the fulfillment of the Promise, in its fullest sense, it was merely a pointer and a type of what God had planned and promised for Abraham and all were of the faith of Abraham in the future. If you get this one big point, everything else should fall quickly into place. Read or Sing Hymn 447 “Christ, of All My Hopes the Ground” Prayer: Ask the LORD to help you live today in light of eternity.
Wednesday (9/19) Read and discuss Psalm 115:1-18. Commenting on verse 3a, “Our God is in heaven”, John Calvin writes:
The faithful, when they place God in heaven, do not confine him to a certain locality, nor set limits to his infinite essence, but they deny the limitation of his power, its being shut up to human instrumentality only, or its being subject to fate or fortune. In short, they put the universe under his control; and, being superior to every obstruction, he does freely everything that may seem good to him. This truth is still more plainly asserted in the subsequent clause; he does whatever pleases him. God, then, may be said to dwell in heaven, as the world is subject to his will, and nothing can prevent him from accomplishing his purpose.
That God can do whatsoever he pleases is a doctrine of great importance, provided it be truly and legitimately applied. If we would derive advantage from this doctrine, we must attend to the import of God’s doing whatsoever he pleases in heaven and on the earth. And, first, god has all power for the preservation of his Church, and for providing for her welfare; and, secondly, all creatures are under his control, and therefore nothing can prevent him from accomplishing all his purposes. However much, then, the faithful may find themselves cut off from all means of subsistence and safety, they ought nevertheless to take courage from the fact, that God is not only superior to all impediments, but that he can render them subservient to the advancement of his own designs. This, too, must also be borne in mind, that all events are the result of God’s appointment alone, and that nothing happens by chance. This much it was proper to premise respecting the use of this doctrine, that we may be prevented from forming unworthy conceptions of the glory of God, as men of wild imaginations are wont to do. Adopting this principle, we ought not to be ashamed frankly to acknowledge that God, by his eternal counsel, manages all things in such a manner, that nothing can be done but by his will and appointment.
Prayer: Rejoice that the God who rules heaven and earth has become your Father in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thursday (9/20) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3. John Stott writes:
Paul asks for prayer that he and his missionary companions may be delivered from wicked and evil men. It is one thing for the gospel to win friends who embrace it; it is another for the evangelists to be rescued from its enemies who oppose it. Since he uses the definite article, Paul seems to have a particular group in mind, perhaps the Jewish opponents of the gospel in Corinth … The reason they reject the gospel is that not everyone has faith or (because of the definite article) ‘the faith’. The latter is an objective body of belief, the former the faculty of believing it. But, Paul adds immediately, the Lord (i.e. Jesus) is faithful. In Greek, as in English, there is a deliberate play on the words faith and faithful. Indeed, by this contrast Paul is expressing his conviction that the faithlessness of human beings cannot possibly overturn the faithfulness of God, as shown in his covenant commitment to his people and his word.
God’s faithfulness to His word is a recurring theme in the Old Testament. It was written of Samuel, for example: ‘The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and He let none of his words fall to the ground.” Again, God said to Jeremiah at the time of his call: “I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled.” He had made a similar promise to Isaiah: ‘My word … will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ Paul shares this assurance. True, there was opposition from ‘evil men’, and behind them from ‘the evil one’ himself. True also, they were engaged in spiritual warfare and so needed spiritual weapons: Paul had to preach and the Thessalonians needed to pray. Yet behind his preaching and their prayers stood the faithful Lord Himself, who watches over His word, and who confirms it by His Spirit in the hearers’ hearts, so that it works in them effectively.
Read or sing Psalm 115A Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has given us His word and that we have accurate translations of this word in our own languages.
Friday (9/21) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 21:15-22. Today’s passage is just a simple listing of battles that Israel won against the Philistines, but it also functions as a testimony to the faithfulness of the LORD. The LORD had promised that He was raising up David to defeat the Philistines and these four battles are added to the others where David defeated the Philistines. The success that David had in defeating the Philistines can be seen in the fact that they never invade Israel during Solomon’s entire reign. We also see that David had inspired a remarkable degree of loyalty from some very capable men. Tony Cartledge writes:
The love of David’s men for their leader is made especially evident in 21:15-17, where Abishai comes to David’s rescue and saves him from death at the hands of the Philistine Ishbi-benob. “Then David’s men swore to him, ‘You shall not go out with us to battle any longer, so that you do not quench the lamp of Israel.’” David’s supporters knew that their love for David also benefitted the kingdom as a whole. David, like a beautiful oil lamp, managed to bring the light of God’s hope for Israel into focus as no one had before. Their service to David was also service to God.
Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at Jaffrey Presbyterian Church.
Saturday (9/22). Read and discuss Romans 4:16-25. N.T. Wright comments:
The last verse of the chapter anticipates something Paul is going to do throughout chapters 5 through 8. He rounds off every stage of the argument in this section with a reference to Jesus. This isn’t a mere pious gesture, smuggling in a mention of Jesus in case we thought he’d forgotten about him. It shows, rather, what the whole argument is all about. It brings us back home to the source and power of Paul’s thought. In this case, it draws together what has been underneath the whole of the previous four chapters. Jesus was handed over because of our trespasses; in other words, the massive human evil which has disfigured the world came together and, in the cross, was dealt with as I deserved, in judicial condemnation. He was raised because of our justification, our being declared ‘in the right’, when Jesus was raised from the dead god was not only saying ‘he really was my son,’ bur also ‘all those who believe in Him really are My people’
Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.