13 January 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: Psalm 8A
Confession of Sin
Most holy and merciful Father; We acknowledge and confess before You; Our sinful nature prone to evil and slothful in good; And all our shortcomings and offenses. You alone know how often we have sinned; In wandering from Your ways; In wasting Your gifts; In forgetting Your love. But You, O Lord, have pity upon us; Who are ashamed and sorry for all wherein we have displeased You. Teach us to hate our errors; Cleanse us from our secret faults; And forgive our sins for the sake of Your dear Son. And O most holy and loving Father; Help us we beseech You; To live in Your light and walk in Your ways; According to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Assurance of Pardon: 1 John 1:6-9
Hymn of Preparation: 501 “LORD, Speak to Me, That I May Speak”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 119:97-104
New Covenant Reading: Romans 7:7-13
Sermon: Holy, Righteous, and Good
Hymn of Response: Psalm 119M
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 500 “Father, I Know That All My Life”
OT: 1 Kings 1:1-10
NT: Luke 22:24-30
Grasping at Vanity
Shorter Catechism Q/A #74
Q. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
Monday (1/7) Read and discuss Romans 7:7-13. James Montgomery Boice writes:
The first thing the law accomplishes, according to verse 7, is to reveal sin as sin. The verse says, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’”
There are two problems here, and it is important to understand both. The first problem is that if left to themselves, people never naturally think they are sinners. Take Geneses 6:5 as an example. It says that prior to the flood “the LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” That is a description of sin as God sees it – every inclination of the thoughts of our hearts only evil all the time. But who really believes that? Who believes that his or her every inclination is to do evil? No one believes it apart from a supernatural illumination of his or her mind by the Holy Spirit.
Or take Romans 3:10-12, which we studied earlier: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” No one natural believes that unless God reveals it to the person [And one of the ways the LORD reveals this is through the Holy Spirit applying His perfect Law to our hearts].
The second problem is this: Even if, by some means, we are able to admit that we have done bad things, we are never able to recognize those things as “sin” unless we can also be shown that they transgress the law of God. If we do things against the law of nature, or disregard standards of fair play or other moral criteria most people acknowledge, we may recognize those acts to be “wrong” We may violate the legal code of the country in which we live and recognize our acts to be “criminal.” But we do not call either the morally wrong behavior or the criminal acts “sin” unless we see that these also violate God’s law [That is, the Law makes clear that we are not merely “less than perfect.” We are, in fact, offending a Holy God].
Read or sing Psalm 8A Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in China as they live with an increased government crackdown in Christianity.
Tuesday (1/8) Read and discuss Philippians Romans 7:1-6. In today’s passage, Paul speaks of being married to the Law. Believers were never supposed to be married to the Law in either the Old or New Covenant. Believers are supposed to be married to Christ. Rather than humbly loving God, these men were trying to use the Law to both produce and to exhibit their own righteousness. They seem to have fooled many of their contemporaries, but they weren’t fooling God. The LORD says that this sort of behavior is in fact spiritual adultery – because we are supposed to be married to God not to the Law and we are supposed to be seeking His glory rather than our own. In one sense, these respectable ways of rebelling against God are far more dangerous to us than when we give ourselves over to what our society recognizes as wicked behavior. The person who is a drunk or who cheats on his wife will rightly have people tell him that He needs Jesus. But we tend to not say that to the man with a good job, who lives a clean life as a pillar of the community, and who may even be a Deacon at First Baptist Church. For this reason, committing spiritual adultery with religion can be far more dangerous than committing spiritual adultery with drugs, greed, and sexual immorality. Nevertheless, this outward self-provided righteousness – which might look rather impressive in the eyes of the world – is an utter stench in the nostrils of God. For it all runs smack against the greatest of all God’s laws: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” To use the Law of God as a tool to make yourself look good in the eyes of man rather than as a guide for what loving God is to crassly commit spiritual adultery. For, Almighty God has taken us to Himself that He would be our husband and that we would be His faithful and loving bride. Read or Sing 501 “LORD, Speak to Me, That I May Speak” Prayer: Please lift up the Session of our church and also the Hospitality Committee as they meet this evening.
Wednesday (1/9) Read and discuss Psalm 119:97-104. Allen P. Ross writes:
This meditation reminds us that true wisdom and understanding comes from the knowledge and study of the word of God and will be displayed in a life of obedience to God. Those who cultivate wisdom and understanding from God’s instruction will be wiser than those who gain their knowledge and insights from what may be called conventional wisdom. It is often the sad case that even those entrusted to teach the word of God fail to gain spiritual wisdom and understanding from it (see Malachi 2:1-9). In the secular world, teachers of subjects like ethics and qualities like integrity, often approach the subject from pragmatic or culturally-oriented theories, frequently nullifying holy Scripture. Faithful believers in the LORD, however, live according to a higher standard, and the wisdom they gain from the word of God is superior and eternal. They may learn much from secular sources, but it is the divine instruction that will teach them how to please God. Paul says that the wisdom of the world does not know God; and even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. But God takes the foolish things of the world and makes them wise, so that they may confound those who think they are wise. Therefore, all our boasting should be in the LORD (1 Cor. 1:20-31). … Similarly, the psalmist knows that godly wisdom was superior to the worldly wisdom of the wicked who were trying to destroy him.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to grant you the true humility that you would boast only in Him.
Thursday (1/10) Read and discuss Luke 22:24-30. David Garland writes:
There is a danger for some to misconstrue Jesus’ words and think that He wants us to abdicate leadership roles and abandon the use of power to become humble servants of all. We are not to grasp for power, but refusing to exercise power that is given to us creates a perilous vacuum. What Jesus is concerned about is how power that is lawfully granted is to be used.
Jesus’ teaching particularly applies to those who aspire to authority in the church. His words about service do not mean that He is averse to the exercise of power and authority. Service does not imply servitude. He is only opposed to domineering others and oppressing them. He does not reject authoritative leadership but authoritarian leadership, the modus operandi of the world’s despots.
Read or Sing Psalm 119M Prayer: Pray for our brothers and sisters at Jaffrey OPC that they would be effective in reaching out in to the surrounding community and that the LORD would lead new people to this church.
Friday (1/11) Read and discuss 1 Kings 1:1-10: John Woodhouse writes:
Adonijah was the very opposite of what his father David had been as the LORD exalted him and made him king. Consider the portrait of Adonijah we have seen: his high opinion of himself; his aspiration to be important; his love of displaying his own importance; his gathering of like-minded people around him; his avoidance of those who did not share his view of himself.
Hear Jesus’ call: “But it shall not be so among you. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” This is as important as anything that a leader among God’s people needs to hear.
Read or sing Hymn 500 “Father, I Know That All My Life” Prayer: Please lift up the Congress of the United States and pray that our elected officials would exhibit selfless wisdom in managing he affairs of State.
Saturday (1/12) Read and discuss Romans 7:7-13. The fourth century church father, Ambrosiaster, writes:
Paul shows that the law is not sin but the yardstick of sin. For Paul demonstrated that sins lie dormant in us and that they will not go unpunished by God. When a man finds this out he becomes guilty and thus does not thank the law. For who would be grateful to someone who tells him that he is running the risk of punishment. …
Paul takes on a particular role in order to expound a general principle. For the law forbids covetousness, but because it is a matter of desire it was not previous thought to be sin. For nothing could be easier than to covet something which belongs to a neighbor; it is the law which called it sin. For to men of the world nothing seems more harmless and innocent than desire.
As we sometimes say: “The more things change, the more they remain the same. More than sixteen centuries after those words were written we live at a time when most Americans assume that desires of any sort are essentially harmless. In fact, desire is now given a status in our society where – at least in some contests – the presence of that desire demands that no restricts or condemnations be put on those who act on those desires. Instead of leaving us to be surprised by judgment, the LORD graciously gives us the measuring stick of His law so that we can see how mistaken these self-flattering lies really are. Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.