3 February 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You”
Confession of Sin
O great and everlasting God, Who dwells in unapproachable light, Who searches and knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart; We confess that we have not loved You with all our heart, nor with all our soul, nor with all our mind, nor with all our strength; Nor our neighbors as ourselves. We have loved what we ought not to have loved; We have coveted what is not ours; We have not been content with Your provisions for us. We have complained in our hearts about our family, about our friends, about our health, about our occupations, about Your church, and about our trials. We have sought our security in those things which perish, rather than in You, the Everlasting God. Chasten, cleanse, and forgive us, through Jesus Christ, who is able for all time to save us who approach You through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Colossians 1:11-14
Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 22C
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 54:1-10
New Covenant Reading: Romans 8:1-4
Sermon: We Couldn’t, God Did!
Hymn of Response: 265 “In Christ Alone”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 325 “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”
OT: Psalm 2
NT: Acts 4:13-31
Why Do Heathen Nations Rage?
We will be singing Psalm 2A
Shorter Catechism Q/A #76
Q. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Monday (1/28) Read and discuss Romans 8:1-4. Michael Bird writes:
Paul’s climatic assertion is that for those in Christ there is “no condemnation.” The verdict of the final day has been declared and the verdict is “righteous” for those belonging to Christ. The verdict cannot be changed, and thus we face the judgement day with complete assurance that what lies ahead of us is not a life-or-death assessment of our deeds but the divine disclosure of acquittal.
The concept of assurance is close to the heart of the Protestant faith. Indeed, for the Reformers, a major part of their protest against medieval Catholicism was their claim that it was possible for persons to have a complete sense of assurance that the Father loved them, the Spirit was in them, and Christ truly died for them. They could really, truly, deep own, and fully know without any hesitation that they were saved. God’s love in Christ, stretching from eternity to eternity, had seized hold of them and would never let them go. Such assurance was the joy and comfort of those who believed in Jesus Christ. The ground of assurance is not in ourselves or even in our experiences, but in the gospel, in the grace offered us in Christ, and in the mercy of God. We can rest rather than be restless about our eternal state. We can have assurance rather than carry anxiety about the future. We can be at peace rather than worry ourselves to pieces about how it will turn out for us before our Judge and Maker. We can take our final breath knowing that all will be well [emphasis added].
Read or sing Hymn 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You” Prayer: Give thanks that you can know right now that you will be secure in Christ’s love forever.
Tuesday (1/29) Read and discuss Romans 7:14-25. Romans 7:14 through 25 are not a description of what we were like before we were converted. Nor should we see this as a description of the immature Christian as opposed to the more spiritual Christian of chapter 8. Chapters 7 and 8 are “not two successive stages but two different aspects, two contemporaneous realities, of the Christian life, both of which continue so long as the Christian is in the flesh (C.E.B. Cranfield).” This should become clear over the next few weeks as we grapple with God’s word together. But please allow me to make just one observation from chapter 8 that may help cement this truth in your thinking right now. Romans 8 verse 1 is one of the best-known verses in all of Romans. It reads:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Instead of drawing a dark black line with marker to divide chapters 7 and 8, Paul logically connects them with the word “therefore.” Romans 8 flows seamlessly out of Romans 7 in Paul’s letter, because they belong together in the Christian life. And together they teach us that …
- … every Christian will struggle with sin from the moment we are converted until the moment the LORD calls us home to glory. …
- But thankfully they also teach that, by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, our struggle against sin is a struggle unto certain and absolute victory.
Read or Sing Psalm 22C Prayer: Ask the LORD to lead you to more and more die unto sin and to live unto righteousness – and that you would do so with the confident joy the that when Christ calls you home that you will be entirely free from any remaining corruption.
Wednesday (1/30) Read and discuss Isaiah 54:1-10. R. Reed Lessing writes:
There is an abrupt shift in the addressee from 53:12 to 54:1. Although not mentioned by name, Zion is addressed throughout chapter 54. For a woman not to bear children [in ancient Israel] was a great shame. To lose children [then as now] would cause great grief. To be abandoned by a husband would produce great fear. Zion’s needs are great indeed! Now these are addressed. She will be reconciled with Yahweh, and this will bring with it companionship, children, a home, and hope, and a future! There could be no other way, for Yahweh’s relationship with Zion is an affection of the heart (cf. Deut 7:7). Her children will be miraculously born (54:1), will be empowered to grow (54:2-3), and will have a mother who is cherished and cared for forever (54:4-5).
Ever since Yahweh assured Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son, Israel was called to live by trust in Him. The alternative was to accept the present reality and get lost in a world of darkness and death. But why do that? The Promiser delivers! From Sarah’s barren womb came the seed that Yahweh built into a great nation with “offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” Afeter a seventy-year separation in Babylon, the returners will be reunited with Yahweh. The Servant will come and reconstitute Israel as the church, which will be fruitful and multiply. Zion’s “children”, Yahweh’s “taught” disciples, and His “servants” are different names for this same group. The impossible becomes possible. These children will be Zion’s honor in place of her shame, her fullness instead of her emptiness, and her joy replacing acute sorrow. A baby boom is on the horizon! And we are part of this growing family. Paul writes, quoting 54:1:
For it is written,
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of the promise. (Gal. 4:27-28 ESV)
Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Amoskeag Presbyterian Church in Manchester as they search for a pastor.
Thursday (1/31) Read and discuss Acts 4:13-31. Eckhard Schnabel writes:
The proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a duty. Peter and John assert that they are obligated to speak about Jesus in public and in private. Believers have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel locally and to the ends of the earth, and they must obey that calling. They need to obey Jesus, who commanded them to speak as his witnesses; thus, they cannot obey those who command them to be quiet. Believers have seen the reality of the risen Jesus Christ, the reality of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and thus the reality of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ with others.
Most importantly, the obligation to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ is grounded in the fact that Jesus is the only Savior of the entire world. There are no other paths to salvation. Many religions allow for a variety of journeys that can be traveled to achieve peace and salvation. This was true in antiquity, this was true in the Middle Ages, and it is true today. Some evangelical voices have suggested that v.12 need not be interpreted in an exclusive sense. [But] it misses the point to claim that the text expresses the incomparable power of the name of Jesus that saves people who hear and who respond, but does not comment on the fate of the Gentiles. While this is correct on the surface of the texts, it is obvious that Peter connects salvation, including salvation in God’s final judgment, to confessing faith in Jesus Christ.
Read or Sing Hymn 265 “In Christ Alone” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in China.
Friday (2/1) Read and discuss Psalm 2. Allen P. Ross writes:
The psalm’s clear application is for people to believe the word of God and submit to the authority of his Son before He comes to judge the world and establish His reign. This application would not be for believers, for they have already submitted to Christ as their King and Lord. It is a warning for people in the world who foolishly try to throw off the authority of the LORD’s anointed king, for by doing so they are actually rebelling against God. Many claim to worship the one true God, but they cannot do so and reject the Son of God, the Messiah.
For believers the message is one of great comfort. The antagonism in the world to God in general and to Christianity specifically will end. The outcome is not in question, even though it seems it is. Believers then can be strengthened in their faith in God’s plan that Christ shall come to put down all wickedness and rule the world. Related to this point is a second application for believers: just as the psalmist exhorted people to submit to the Messiah, so too Christians should warn the world not to act foolishly but to submit to the Christ and escape the wrath to come.
Read or sing Hymn 325 “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” Prayer: Lift up someone you know who has yet to profess Christ and pray that he or she would quickly bow the knee before the King.
Saturday (2/2) Read and discuss Romans 8:1-4. John Stott writes:
Verse 4 is of great importance for our understanding of Christian holiness. First, holiness is the ultimate purpose of the incarnation and the atonement. The end God had in view when sending his Son was not our justification only, through freedom from condemnation of the law, but also our holiness, through obedience to the commandments of the law. Secondly, holiness consists in fulfilling the just requirements of the law. This is the final answer to antinomians and adherents of the so-called ‘new-morality.’ The moral law has not been abolished for us; it is to be fulfilled in us. Although law-obedience is not the ground of our justification (it is in this sense that we are ‘not under law but under grace’), it is the fruit of it and the very meaning of sanctification. Holiness is Christlikeness, and Christlikeness is fulfilling the righteousness of the law. Thirdly, holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 7 insists that we cannot keep the law because of our indwelling ‘flesh;’ Romans 8:4 insists that we can and must because of the indwelling Spirit.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.