17 February 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 248 “All Creatures of Our God and King”
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: Micah 7:18-20
Hymn of Preparation: 283 “Fairest Lord Jesus”
Old Covenant Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14
New Covenant Reading: Romans 8:5-11
Sermon: Life and Peace in the Spirit
Hymn of Response: 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty”
Confession of Faith: Q/A 1 Heidelberg Catechism (p. 872)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 350 “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
OT: 1 Kings 1:41-53
NT: Luke 12:1-7
Like a House of Cards
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 78
Q. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.
Monday (2/11) Read and discuss Romans 8:5-11. Doug Moo writes:
[With verse 9] Paul signals a shift in direction by turning directly to his readers: “You, however, are controlled not by the flesh but by the Spirit.” Paul’s “two-regime” theological framework is evident here. What he says, literally, is that “you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” Flesh and Spirit are two of the main powers belonging respectively, to the old regime and the new. By God’s grace in Christ, Christians have been taken out of the realm dominated by “flesh” – the narrowly human outlook that leads to sin – and place in the realm dominated by God’s Holy Spirit. I tis clear, then, that the “in flesh”/”in Spirit” language is metaphorical – a way of indicating that people are dominated by one or the other of these forces.
This becomes even clearer at the end of verse 9, where Paul shifts to the opposite metaphorical concept: We are “in the Spirit” if the Spirit “lives in” us. In whom does the Spirit live? In every person who is genuinely a Christian. Not to have the Spirit of Christ is not to belong to Christ at all. The New Testament teaches that the gift of the holy Spirit is an automatic benefit for anyone who knows Christ. We must then, give full force to the indicative mode of verse 9: Every Christian really is “in the Spirit” – under his domination and control. We may not always reflect that domination, but it is a fundamental fact of our Christian existence and the basis for a life of confidence and obedience to the LORD.
Read or sing Hymn 248 “All Creatures of Our God and King” Prayer: Ask the LORD to keep His people from being caught up in the excessive divisiveness of contemporary politics in America.
Tuesday (2/12) Read and discuss Zechariah 4:1-10. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? That may seem like an odd question to ask. Doesn’t a person have to believe in the Holy Spirit to be a Christian at all? Don’t churches all over the world regularly confess “I believe in the Holy Spirit” when they recite the Apostles Creed? Well yes, but based on how people actually live – it is not clear that many professing Christians truly believe in the Holy Spirit. They believe that He exists but they are not trusting Him to act in their daily lives. What about you? In Zechariah chapter 4 we hear the LORD give a word of encouragement specifically for Zerrubabel who was serving as the Governor in Jerusalem. Zerrubabel was raised up to serve at this challenging time as a small number of Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity and set to rebuilding the Temple. The problems seemed so insurmountable that they are described as being like a great mountain. Yet, the LORD promised Zerrubabel that the project of rebuilding the Temple would come to completion on his watch. In fact, God was going to so dramatically work that, instead of appearing to be a mountain, all his problems would appear to be nothing but smooth level ground. The key to all of this is found in verse 6:
This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
This call to rely on the life-giving power of God is made to all Christians as well. This is not a blank check from God that promises He will accomplish whatever we set our minds to. Rather it is a promise that when we labor at carrying out His will – then the Holy Spirit will accomplish in that work far more than we would ask for or even imagine. Let’s make our belief in the Holy Spirit not only a word on our lips but the habit of our hearts as well. Read or Sing Hymn 283 “Fairest Lord Jesus” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would give you a greater reliance upon and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday (2/13) Read and discuss Ezekiel 37:1-14. Iain Duguid writes:
This passage is about the divine work of re-creating Israel through the prophetic word and Spirit. Though God’s people have been justly judged and handed over into the realm of death for their sins, so that, humanly speaking, there is now no hope for them, yet God can bring life out of death. Because of His wrath, their death is real; because of His grace and sovereign will to have a people of His own, however, their future prospect of life may be equally real. It is this that the prophet is called to proclaim to them. What he has first experienced himself he now announces to others: life in the Spirit through the power of the word of God. The new creation that was begun in him will assuredly be brought to fulfillment by God.
What precisely does re-creating Israel mean, however? Does it directly anticipate the formation of the present political state of Israel, as some have supposed? To argue in this way is to miss the spiritual significance of the prophecy. For what is in view here, as the connections back to 36:24-38 make clear, is something more than political autonomy for the descendants of Abraham. It is nothing short of the fulfillment of all Old Testament anticipations of eschatological fullness, all of which are fulfilled in Christ. It is in Him that the new Spirit-filled Israel of God takes shape, an identity that is no longer governed by ethnic origins and circumcision, as the old Israel was, but rather by faith in the cross of Christ.
Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD doesn’t simply offer us a new plan but that He gives us new life.
Thursday (2/14) Read and discuss Luke 12:1-7. Ligon Duncan comments:
The fear of God is something that has been almost lost from the vocabulary of evangelical religion in our own time. In fact, when we hear the phrase, “fear of God,” you may have a negative response to that. In the Old Testament, the fear of God was the way you summed up the essence of heart religion. Think of passage that perhaps you’ve memorized from Proverbs – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The fear of God is one of those seminal ideas in the Old Testament that encapsulates the very heart of a human being’s relationship with God. When you hear the word fear, don’t hear “fear” like a woman might think of who has an alcoholic father who flies into tyrannical and inexplicable rages without any prediction whatsoever. Have you ever talked with someone who’s experienced that kind of irascible, erratic, unpredictable behavior? It wreaks havoc on their life, doesn’t it? That’s not the kind of fear that’s being spoken of here. It’s not saying, “Now remember to treat God like an irascible, unpredictable, erratic tyrant.” No, what is being said here is to reverence God more than anything or anyone else, to care more about what He thinks than anybody else thinks, to love Him more than anything else, to value Him more than anyone else, to treasure Him above everything else — that is to fear God. It is to revere Him, to desire Him, to long for Him, to hold Him in awe, to adore Him, to treasure Him, to delight in Him, to acknowledge Him to be high and exalted and above everything else – this is the fear of God. And Jesus says, “As long as there’s anything in this world or anyone in this world that you fear more than God, you are going to be a slave to fear. If you fear man, you’ll be a slave to fear. But if you fear God, then you will be free, for if you fear God there’s nothing else to fear.”
Read or Sing Hymn 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty” Prayer: Ask the LORD to liberate you from those things and people who would tyrannize you by cause you to fear Him far above mere mortals.
Friday (2/15) Read and discuss 1 Kings 1:41-53. John Woodhouse writes:
The news (like the sound that had accompanied it, 1:40) was earth-shattering. In this it was again like the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is certainly good news. But it is devastating news as well. Follow what happened to those who heard Jonathan’s gospel.
Jonathan’s news had an immediate impact on Adonijah’s guests at the En-rogel festivities: “Then all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose, and each went his own way” (v. 49). All at once they recognized that what had been going on at En-rogel had been a big mistake. If they had thought that the whole Adonijah thing was legitimate, the news that Solomon was the true king was shattering. They had been wrong
It is easy to be sincere but wrong. The seriousness of being wrong about the big questions of life is not assuaged by honestly believing that you are right. IF I sincerely believe that I am healthy when I am dying of cancer, my sincerity will not save me. If I genuinely trust a con man selling a phony cure, my trust is misplaced no matter how deeply it is felt. The sincerity can make the realization that I was wrong even more devastating.
The immediacy of the response by the guests at En-rogel, with no suggestion of defying King David’s will by sticking with Adonijah, shows that King David still had their allegiance [Or at least they realized that they had no hope of opposing him]. For them, like Jonathan, David was still “our lord King David” (vv. 43, 47). … The news of King David making Solomon king made them tremble with fear. They had made a big mistake. It is striking how quickly they abandoned Adonijah: “each wen his own way.”
Read or sing Hymn 350 “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod.
Saturday (2/16) Read and discuss Romans 8:5-11. F.F. Bruce writes:
To be “in the Spirit” is for Paul the opposite of being “in the flesh.” All believers, according to him, are “in the Spirit”: “you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit”, he tells the Roman Christians, “if the Spirit of Christ really dwells in you. Anyone who has not the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him (Romans 8:9).” … It appears, then, that there is no difference between the indwelling of the Spirit and the indwelling of the risen Christ, so far as the believer’s experience is concerned, although this does not mean that Paul identified the risen Christ with the Spirit outright. There is a dynamic equivalence between them, but they are nevertheless distinguished. The Spirit conveys the resurrection life of Christ to believers, and in doing so He conveys the assurance that they in their turn will rise in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection – the assurance that “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your moral bodies also through His Spirit which dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). This is one of the most distinctive Pauline insights regarding the Spirit: it is because of this that he describes the Spirit as the “first fruits” of the resurrection life (Romans 8:23), the “seal” and “guarantee” – the initial down payment – of the heritage of glory into which they will then be ushered. The Spirit not only makes the benefits of Christ’s saving work effective in them, but also enables them to appropriate and enjoy in advance the benefits of the age to come.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.