All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 30 September 2018

30 September 2018 – The Rev. Gary Moore Preaching

Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3

Opening Hymn: 233 “O Father, You Are Sovereign”

Confession of Sin

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But You, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; According to Your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father; For His sake; That we may hereby live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 78:38-39

Hymn of Preparation: 536 “Jesus Calls Us”

Old Covenant Reading: Luke 5:1-11

New Covenant Reading: Exodus 3:1-11

Sermon: The Calling of Simon

Hymn of Response: 272 “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”

Confession of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A #1 (p. 872)

Doxology (Hymn 568)

Closing Hymn: 466 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”

OT: 1 Samuel 12:1-25

NT: Luke 14:24-33

Marks of a Disciple

Shorter Catechism Q/A #59

Q. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (9/24) Read and discuss Luke 5:1-11. What causes a man or woman to recognize his or her sinfulness and to fall on his or her knees before God? Many Christians would respond to this question by suggesting that it is the preaching of the law. There is some truth in this – but only some. First of all, we face the problem that sinners often subvert God’s law by turning into an abstract morality. J. Gresham Machen points out this paradox to us:

As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens. Mr. Legality has indeed in our day disguised himself somewhat, but he is the same deceiver as the one of whom Bunyan wrote. “Making Christ Master” in the life, putting into practice “the principles of Christ” by one’s own efforts – these are  the new ways of earning salvation by one’s own obedience to God’s commands. And they are undertaken because of a low view of a lax view of what those commands are. So it always is: a low view of law always brings legalism in religion; a high view of the law makes a man a seeker after grace.

At the heart of the difference between a low and a high view of the law is whether or not we see the glorious Lawgiver behind that word. It is a vision for the majesty of God which causes men to fall to their knees. This is true whether the entrance to that revelation comes from law or from grace. In fact, in the mystery of God’s providence, far more people seem to be broken of their self-righteousness by an understanding of God’s grace than by an understanding of the law. In today’s passage, Peter gains a glimpse into the otherness of Jesus when his nets are filled to bursting. This vision causes Peter to recognize, not only Christ’s inherent greatness, but also his own sinfulness. Luther writes:

Peter is to become a different man; and a greater miracle is to be wrought in him than in the draught of fishes. The sermon which Christ had previously preached form the boat now first began to have its effect upon him.

Read or sing Hymn 233 “O Father, You Are Sovereign” Prayer: Please pray for revival and reformation right where we live in New England.

Tuesday (9/25) Read and discuss Romans 4:16-25.  In verse 17, speaking of Abraham, Paul continues …

… as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Please etch this truth into your thinking. What does Abraham believe? Paul is still talking about Genesis 15, before Abram had his name changed to Abraham and while Abraham was still childless. The LORD appeared to Abram in a vision and said:

“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

So, what exactly was it that Abram believed? We could say that Abram believed the promise of God, but please notice that both Genesis 15 and Romans 4 say not “What?” but “Who?” Abraham believed God. Saving faith is not simply believing things about God. It is trusting God Himself that He is both able to perform what He said and faithful to the promises which He makes. Intellectual assent to specific truths is essential but by itself it is insufficient. It is not enough to believe things about God – you must personally trust the LORD. Read or Sing Hymn 536 “Jesus Calls Us” Prayer: Please pray for someone you know who has yet to make a public profession of faith that the LORD would lead him or her to truly embrace Jesus by faith.

Wednesday (9/26) Read and discuss Exodus 3:1-15. Doug Stuart writes:

By authorizing Moses to say, “I AM/CAUSE TO BE” has sent me to you,” God made Moses his ambassadorial representative, that is, prophet, assigned to speak on his behalf to the Israelites. They would have recognized, if they perceived the situation correctly, that what he said was not of his own making but was the word of Yahweh, the God of their forefathers.

What had just been revealed in terms of the divine name was now reiterated [in verse 15] with connection to the Patriarchs, so that the Israelites in Egypt would be able to properly draw the conclusion that Moses was no coming to them in the name of a new god but the true God of old, the God their own ancestors worshiped, and thus the God who should logically be their national deliverer. God also made clear that the third-person form of his name, Yahweh, was to be employed immediately (since no human could use it properly in the first-person form) and would identify him to his people for the generations thereafter.

Prayer: Please pray for the teenagers in our congregation that they would grow in their commitment to Christ and that the LORD would be using them to impact their peer groups for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Thursday (9/27) Read and discuss 1 Samuel 12:1-25. Rick Philips writes:

We might honor Samuel’s legacy by recounting all the things that made him great. But a better way to honor him would be to look through him to see reasons why Jesus Christ is a better Savior, King, and Mediator, in whom we may find all that we need for the eternal salvation of our souls.

First, while the people asked Samuel to mediate on their behalf with God, we have the privilege of approaching God’s throne through the mediation of Jesus. For all his virtue, Samuel remained a sinner; even he could not ultimately stand before God on his own merits. … Jesus is no mere holy man; he is the God-man. Immanuel, which means “God with us,” God the Son who took up flesh to bring his people to God. By virtue of who Christ is and what he has done, Paul states, “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the one completely sinless man, who does not need his own Savior before the holy law of God, and who as the Son of God is therefore able to offer his death for the forgiveness of everyone who believes in him and calls on God’s name through his salvation.

Second, Jesus is a better mediator than Samuel because he never grows old and feeble. Under Israel’s monarchy, even the best of kings grew old and ultimately died, so the people had to tremble at what awaited under the new regime. But the kingdom of God knows no such anxiety. Jesus our King, who died for our sins, has risen from the grave into eternal resurrection life. The writer of Hebrews thus exults that Jesus’ priesthood is eternal, and the same is true of his offices as Prophet and as King; he reigns “permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Read or sing Hymn 272 “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for you and for all of His sheep.

Friday (9/28) Read and discuss Luke 14:25-33. William Hendriksen writes:

What the Savior demands in Luke 14:26 and other passages is complete devotion, the type of loyalty that is so true and unswerving that every other attachment, even that to one’s own life, must be subjected to it.

What an alien wishes to become a citizen of the United States of America he must renounce allegiance to his native land and take an oath of loyalty to the country of his choice. This does not mean that he cannot continue to think highly of the nation to which he has said Farewell, but it does mean that from now on he must serve “the land of the free and the home of the brave. Even far more absolute and unconditional must be the loyalty which citizens of the kingdom of God sustain toward their heavenly country and its “Lord of Lords and King of kings.” If a person is unwilling to tender that unconditional devotion, then, says Jesus, “he cannot be my disciple.”

Read or sing Hymn 466 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” Prayer: Please pray for the Rev. Gary Moore, who will be preaching for us this weekend.

Saturday (9/29) Read and discuss Luke 5:1-11. Arthur A. Just writes:

The teaching of Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish bring Peter to his knees before Jesus; he confesses that he is a sinful man. He, like the demons in 4:34, recognizes that Jesus is “the Holy One of God.” But God has come in Jesus not to condemn, but to bring about a new creation. As in the infancy narrative, where the presence of God moves from the temple to the person of Jesus, the evangelist is suggesting to the hearer that there is a shift here in the location of the presence of God. He is now in the boat! Peter wants Jesus to leave because Peter is a sinner. While being drawn to Jesus through the miracle, Peter also wants Jesus to depart from him, because he knows he is unworthy to be in Jesus’ presence. Awe has gripped Peter – indeed everyone who saw the great catch (James and Jon are named in particular). Jesus’ response, “Do not fear,” is His word of absolution to Peter. The miracle of bringing fish into the boat is the miracle of making the unworthy sinner fit to stay in the presence of the holy God. It is the miracle of the forgiveness of sins. …

Luke concludes the call of Peter by showing that Jesus’ absolution was received in faith, for Peter and for some of the others perform their first act of discipleship. Because Jesus is moving on, the church goes with Him, and these newly called disciples desire to be with Jesus. The focus of Luke’s ecclesiology is now on Jesus, the Anointed One.

Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.