28 October 2018
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 157 “When Morning Guilds the Skies”
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 2:17-18
Hymn of Preparation: 431 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”
Old Covenant Reading: Exodus 34:1-9
New Covenant: Romans 5:6-11
Sermon: While We Were Still Sinners
Hymn of Response: 286 “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 436 “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place”
OT: 2 Samuel 22:32-51
NT: 1 Peter 1:3-12
Hallelujah to the Holy Warrior King
Shorter Catechism Q/A #63
Q. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Monday (10/22) Read and discuss Romans 5:6-11. Michael Bird writes:
If the wonderous gift of the Holy Spirit filling our hearts was not proof enough of God’s love, there is another, more excellent demonstration: Christ’s death for sinners. Paul states: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The movement of thought pertains to how Christ died for ungodly sinners, followed with an aside remark that someone might conceivably die for a good person, so Christ dying for unworthy persons is a sure sign of God’s extraordinary love.
Read or sing Hymn 157 “When Morning Guilds the Skies” Prayer: Please pray for the covenant children in our congregation, who have yet to make a public profession of faith, that the LORD would work in their hearts a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ.
Tuesday (10/23) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 12:21-31. What makes something a work of art? What qualities does a work of art need to possess before we consider it a masterpiece? From a traditional point of view, beauty requires both diversity and harmony. Art isn’t always presented that way. I remember as a child going to the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in NYC and walking into an orange room. Three sides of the room had been painted by the museum staff while one side had been painted by an apparently well-known artist. To anyone who was willing to point out that “the king had no clothes” the four walls looked identical. Calling the “artist’s” orange wall a work of art was a bad joke that disfigured the meaning of the word art. True beauty requires diversity that comes together in way that is greater than the parts by themselves. That is precisely what God is doing in the Church. The LORD is both gifting individuals and giving individuals to and for His Church that we would become not simply a work of art but a masterpiece. This unity and diversity can be seen in the way that the Bible describes believers both as individuals and as a corporate body. The word which is commonly translated “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 is actually the word that we derive “poem” from in English. So while the word denotes something that God created it connotes something that God created for harmony and beauty. We could even say that it represents God’s artwork or masterpiece. Let’s see how Ephesians 2:10 reads when rendered this way:
For we are his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
In a similar vein, let us consider how Revelation 21 portrays the Church as a whole:
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Amazingly, the Church is not simply God’s masterpiece – we are God’s living masterpiece. He therefore calls us to diligently seek gifts that will bless the body, to live in light of the fact that each of us is a gift to the body, and to love both the whole Church and each of its members. Read or Sing Hymn 431 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” Prayer: Please pray for the Foreign Missions Committee of our denomination.
Wednesday (10/24) Read and discuss Exodus 34:1-9. Doug Stuart writes:
God’s instruction to Moses to prepare two new stone tablets and his promise to write the Ten Words/Commandments on these new tablets just as he had on the former ones conveys a most welcome message: God had decided to forgive the Israelites and accept them once again as his covenant people, and he would renew his covenant with them, through which all sorts of blessings would once again be theirs. Like an employer saying to a previously dismissed employee, “Welcome back to the company. Let me show you to your work station” or a judge saying to a person whose punishment has been completed, “You’re free to go and resume your former life,” God said to Moses and through him to Israel, in effect: “Bring some new tablets. Let’s put the covenant back in force.”
Prayer: Please lift up those in our congregation who are caring for elderly parents.
Thursday (10/25) Read and discuss 1 Peter 1:3-12. Simon Kistemaker writes:
When we learn that our names are mentioned in a will, we know that we have a share in an inheritance described in that will. Often we do not know the value of that inheritance. We have to wait for the death of the testator and for legal transactions and financial settlements. After the period of waiting is over, however, the value of the inheritance often has diminished. Also, the distribution of the inheritance frequently causes jealousy and strife.
By contrast, our eternal inheritance is a constant source of happiness. From the moment of our salvation we are filled with joy. Granted that we possess our inheritance in principle now, we know that when we leave this earthy scene we receive our full inheritance. We are unable to comprehend the value of this inheritance, for “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Furthermore, we cherish that gift in perfect harmony with all believers in the presence of our living testator, Jesus Christ.
Read or sing Hymn 286 “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” Prayer: Ask the LORD to send visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family.
Friday (10/26) Read and discuss 2 Samuel 22:32-51. Commenting on verses 44 through 46, John Woodhouse writes:
This king will rule the world. His rule will extend to all nations.
Before we hear the closing lines of David’s song, let me remind you that David, at the very height of his power, only ruled over a small Middle Eastern empire. Was he getting just a little carried away with himself in this song? “the head of the nations” (v. 44)? Who is he kidding?
This is not megalomania. It is David understanding what God had promised. The promises were not fully realized in David’s own lifetime, but as the promise said, there would be a son of David in whom it would be realized.
This song of David makes sense fully when we realize that the one it really fits is Jesus Christ. He is the son of David who is everything that David failed to be. Like David he was threatened with destruction. This culminated in the cross. Like David he called upon God His Father in His distress, and the Father rescued Him from His strong enemy by raising Him from the dead. He is the perfectly righteous, blameless, pure one. He is the Lord to whom all authority in Heaven and [on] earth has been given. The news of His kingdom is going into the nations of the world. He will overthrow all who make themselves enemies of His kingdom.
Read or sing Hymn 436 “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at our Pleasant Mountain mission work in Bridgton, ME.
Saturday (10/27) Read and discuss Romans 5:6-11. N.T. Wright comments:
Verse 11 comes as something of a surprise. The key word, here translated ‘celebrate,’ [ESV ‘rejoice’] is the clue. It looks back to what Paul said in 2:17 and 3:27. Those who lived under the law of Moses, as Paul himself had done, ‘celebrated’ the fact that the creator God was their God. They ‘boasted’ (the same word can have both a good and a bad sense) that their possession of the law guaranteed them this special status. Paul has shown this celebration to be hollow, this boast to be empty. But in the gospel of Jesus, precisely because it has cut all human pride down to the ground, and because it is embraced in the midst of suffering (5:3), there is reason to say once more, with the Psalmist, ‘this God is our God for ever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14), and, with Paul himself, ‘if God is for us, who can be against us?’ (8:31). The fact that this can appear intolerably arrogant, and is indeed bound to appear like that in today’s easy-going relativism, should not put us off from embracing it, from the always-surprising celebration of the personal love of God which alone enables us to make those claims.
In fact, the resistance to such claims may well come from the constant impulse to resist the Lordship of Jesus, the one through whom it is accomplished. Paul lived in a world where other ‘lords’ reigned supreme, and resented alternative candidates for their position. So do we.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.