21 October 2018 – Mark Marquis preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
Confession of Sin
O eternal God and merciful Father, we humble ourselves before your great majesty, against which we have frequently and grievously sinned. We acknowledge that we deserve nothing less than eternal death, that we are unclean before you and children of wrath. We continually transgress your commandments, failing to do what you have commanded, and doing that which you have expressly forbidden. We acknowledge our waywardness, and are heartily sorry for all our sins. We are not worthy to be called your children, nor to lift up our eyes heavenward to you in prayer. Nevertheless, O Lord God and gracious Father, we know that your mercy toward those who turn to you is infinite; and so we take courage to call upon you, trusting in our Mediator Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Forgive all our sins for Christ’s sake. Cover us with his innocence and righteousness, for the glory of your name. Deliver our understanding from all blindness, and our hearts from all willfulness and rebellion, we pray through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 1:18
Hymn of Preparation: 157 “When Morning Gilds the Skies”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 16
New Covenant Reading: Colossians 2:4-17
Sermon: Complete in Christ
Hymn of Response: 291” O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 476 “It Is Well with My Soul”
OT: 2 Samuel 22:21-31
NT: Matthew 7:1-5
The God Who Cares About Human Character
Shorter Catechism Q/A #62
Q. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.
Monday (10/15) Read and discuss Colossians 2:4-17. The cross of Christ reveals an amazing paradox. At the very point when Jesus was being publicly shamed in His crucifixion, He was freeing His people and disarming and shaming the evil forces that are arrayed against us. How can this be? In the words of the beloved hymn, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”, Jesus “breaks the power of cancelled sin”. We see in verse 14 that Jesus cancelled “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” This was the greatest weapon that Satan and the demons held against us. They could bring accusations against us of cosmic treason and demand the death penalty. This fear of death, and the judgment that would follow, is the fear that all tyrants exploit. Yet, by bearing the full penalty of our sin on the cross, this weapon of our enemies has been utterly taken away. Second, the LORD gives us new life by His Spirit. Notice that we are “made alive together with Him (v. 13).” Christ’s own life is a guarantee of our everlasting life with God. Not only that, the Holy Spirit is given to us so that we are no longer in bondage to the power of sin as we were before. We are now enabled by the Spirit to “more and more die unto sin and to live unto righteousness.” Read or sing Hymn 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: We frequently and rightly pray for the physical and financial needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but their spiritual needs are more important. Take some time today to pray for the spiritual growth and sanctification of some specific members of our church family.
Tuesday (10/16) Read and discuss Romans 5:1-5. Commenting on verse 5, Michael Bird writes:
The capacity to endure under duress and grow in the faith is not solely due to one’s own resilience, but to the Holy Spirit’s enabling. While there are certain imperatives, certain virtues that believers should strive to cultivate, the imperatives are rooted in an indicative, namely that God’s Spirit has been given to believers. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift of love. The Spirit is a personified form of divine love that wells up inside believers. “God’s love” (literally, “love of God”) could be either a love for God or a love from God. There is no reason why it cannot be both. The Spirit is a wellspring of affection for the things of God and for God’s people.
Read or Sing Hymn 157 “When Morning Gilds the Skies” Prayer: Ask the LORD to lead you to run the race He has set before you with greater zeal and joy.
Wednesday (10/17) Read and discuss Psalm 16. his Psalm can seem difficult to interpret until we see how David’s prophesy about the resurrection of the Messiah undergirds the confidence he has in both this life and the life to come. This Psalm can be outlined like this:
- Verses 1-2 David’s Relationship to God.
- Verses 3-4 The Immediate Result of David’s Relationship with God.
- Verses 5-9 David’s Present Blessings
- Verses 10-11 David’s Future Hope
Where interpreters tend to get tripped up is in seeing how verses 10-11 relate to the rest of the Psalm. Some think that, since verses 1-9 relate to David’s personal experiences, verses 10-11 must focus on David’s personal experiences as well. But the Apostles Peter and Paul both quote verse 10 and both state that it applies specifically to Jesus and not to David (Acts 2:25-31; 13:35-36). Other interpreters wrongly assume that because verse 10 applies to Jesus that the whole Psalm must also be about him and not about David. While this is a more plausible interpretation it is probably better to see the Psalm as arising out of David’s own experience of being abandoned by men with David rejoicing that He will never be abandoned by His Lord. How does the idea that the Psalm arises out of David’s own abandonment fit together with the truth that verse 10 is a prophesy about Jesus? The answer is to recognize that David’s confidence for the future was not based upon God’s unmediated relationship with David but upon the mediated relationship that David had with God through the LORD’s Messiah. David looked forward (as we look back) to the coming Messiah who would fight Satan, sin, and death on his behalf. The vindication of the Messiah through the resurrection would therefore be David’s vindication as well. In this life David was guided by God (v. 7), guarded by God (v. 8), and gladdened by God (v. 9). All of this rested on the simple confidence He had that Jesus would be triumphant. As those who live on this side of the empty tomb we should be able to say with even greater confidence: “Jesus has won! Lord, You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Prayer: Ask the LORD to send visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with us and whose gifts would build up our church family.
Thursday (10/18) Read and discuss Matthew 7:1-5. Some Americans have made “Judge not lest ye be judged” their favorite verse in Scripture and they use this verse ruthlessly to judge and condemn anyone who disagrees with them or who discerns between right and wrong. The renowned Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy, went so far as to proclaim that these verses mean no Christian could ever serve as a civil judge and that courts of law were intrinsically contrary to what Christ is teaching. Clearly these “interpretations” are not what Jesus had in mind in giving this teaching. God not only established the judicial system in Israel, the context of today’s passage makes clear that Christians are supposed to make discerning judgments. In the very next verse, Matthew 7:6, Jesus tells His disciples that they shouldn’t “cast their pearls before swine”. This would require His disciples to determine that some people were swine-like in their behavior or character – which is not the most flattering conclusion someone might reach about another person. What Jesus is forbidding is a judgmental and condemning spirit that assumes the worst in other people (while, of course, assuming the best about ourselves). Verse 3 makes this application clear: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Each of us needs to take this teaching to heart because we all (yes ALL) have the tendency to minimize our own sins while being far more easily appalled by the sins and shortcomings of others. What does conforming ourselves to this teaching look like? A wonderful explanation of this can be found in the Larger Catechisms explanation of the ninth commandment:
Q. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.
This gives us an immensely helpful (and challenging!!) test to see whether we have a condemning and judgmental spirit about any particular individual or situation: Are we “sorrowing over (with a disposition to cover) their infirmities?” If not, we had better check our motives before we open our mouths or hit the “send” button on our computers. Read or sing Hymn 291” O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would give you a greater sense of sorrow over and desire to cover the infirmities of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friday (10/19) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 22:21-31. Dale Ralph Davis writes:
The teaching of verses 21-31 is not some strange new wrinkle on your Bible page. It’s been there all along. It is mainstream doctrine. Those who faithfully follow Yahweh and esteem His word by obeying it are who can expect His blessing; those who don’t can’t (see Lev. 26 and Deut. 28). One can catch the flip side of 2 Samuel 22:21-31 in Judges 10:6-14, Psalm 50:16-23, or Jeremiah 2:26-29. Why should those who reject Yahweh’s lordship and despise His law (and therefore despise Him) expect His rescue? Such folks have no ongoing commitment to Yahweh, only a temporary need for Him. They want no covenant relation with Yahweh; they only crave His [intervention in] their immediate crisis. They do not seek God but a bomb shelter.
Read or sing Hymn 476 “It Is Well with My Soul” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus has provided us with everything we need as a pure gift.
Saturday (10/20) Read and discuss Colossians 2:4-17. Paul Deterding writes:
Paul begins this pivotal section of the letter with a call to faith and faithfulness. For their own spiritual wellbeing, his readers need to remain faithful to all that they were taught. The content of that teaching is authoritative, for it comes from Christ via His apostle and encompasses the whole of God’s revelation, as Christians know it from the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures.
The apostle also warns his readers against the “philosophy” that tis enticing them. This philosophy is deceptive, not necessarily because it is insincere, but because it is in error – an error that is spiritually deadly. The apostle states that this philosophy appeals to the human way of thinking but is inimical to divine truth: it is “in accord with the tradition of men” but is “not in accord with Christ.” In fact, its origin and content are contrary to what is divine, for more than simply being the imaginations of men, this philosophy ultimately derives from and is driven by “the elements of the world” – spiritual powers that are fallen away from and hostile toward God.
In contrast to all this, Paul directs his readers to the all-sufficient Christ. In the person of Jesus of Nazareth is to be found all that makes God to be God. The fullness of Deity dwells in Him bodily, for He is God become man. As the One who is risen from the dead subsequent to His redemptive work, He continues to be both God and a man of flesh and blood. As the resurrected one who embodies God Himself, Christ is supreme over all creation, including all spiritual powers, also those which are hostile to Him. Those individuals who are in Him through faith by way of the means of grace have an intimate relationship with Him who is head over all things. Those individuals make up the church, which is the body of Christ.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.