24 March 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 234 “The God of Abraham Praise”
Confession of Sin
Almighty God, Who are rich in mercy to all those who call upon You; Hear us as we humbly come to You confessing our sins; And imploring Your mercy and forgiveness. We have broken Your holy laws by our deeds and by our words; And by the sinful affections of our hearts. We confess before You our disobedience and ingratitude, our pride and willfulness; And all our failures and shortcomings toward You and toward fellow men. Have mercy upon us, Most merciful Father; And of Your great goodness grant that we may hereafter serve and please You in newness of life; Through the merit and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 44:21-23
Hymn of Preparation: 233 “O Father, You Are Sovereign”
Old Covenant Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
New Covenant Reading: Romans 9:1-18
Sermon: Sovereign Grace
Hymn of Response: 231 “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 281 “Rejoice, the LORD is King”
OT: 1 Kings 2:36-46
NT: 2 Timothy 4:9-18
Returning Evil on Shimei’s Head
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 83
Q. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
Monday (3/18) Read and discuss Romans 9:1-18. R.C. Sproul writes:
Notice Paul’s use of the words “purpose” and “calls” – “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not to him who works but of Him who calls.” In both instances he is referring to the One who elects. The decree came before the boys were born, before they had done any good or evil, to make certain that the purpose of God according to election might stand. Their election was based not on what the boys would do but on what God does. The decree was issued according to the purpose of God so that His purpose would be exalted and established. His purpose is the ground of election.
Our election is never found in us. “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (v. 16). The prescient advocates [those who say that God’s election is based on His seeing what we are going to do] say that in the final analysis our election is rooted in some work we do, but election would be conditional if we had to meet a condition in order for God to elect us. A conditional election flies in the face of the very point the apostle is laboring to make.
Inevitably discussions of predestination come down to the free will of the creature, but bringing the notion of free will to this text is humanistic. The idea of a human will not enslaved by sin is an unbiblical understanding. At the heart of this text is indeed a profound affirmation of free will. It teachers that our salvation rests ultimately and eternally on free will, but it is not our free will; it is God’s. It is the free will of the Creator, the Redeemer, who, in His sovereign grace, pours His mercy out upon those He chooses. In this case, God distinguishes between Jacob and Esau, the younger and the elder.
Read or sing Hymn 234 “The God of Abraham Praise” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD didn’t wait for you to choose Him before He chose you.
Tuesday (3/19) Read and discuss Romans 8:31-39. In order for anyone to condemn us, they have to argue that who Jesus is and what He has done through His life and death is somehow insufficient to redeem us. Do you hear how outrageously blasphemous it is to say to God the Son: “Yes, you took to yourself a true human nature and lived the perfect life that we should have lived. Yes, you died in our place – not simply enduring the wrath of man – but voluntarily enduring the wrath of Almighty God in the place of Your people – but I don’t think that is enough. I am now going to bring a charge against those for whom You died?” To ask that question is to answer it. Furthermore, the risen Christ, to whom all authority in heaven and on earth is given, is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for you. You might imagine that He is pleading with the Father to show you mercy. But that’s not it. In Romans 8, Jesus is asking God to give you complete and perfect justice – and, astonishingly, that is good news. It’s not as though you haven’t committed a disturbing high number of capital offenses for which you could have been sentenced to enduring the eternal wrath of a perfectly holy God. But if anyone approaches the Judge to name those crimes, Jesus stands and says: “Father, that sin has already been paid for. I paid for it Myself on the cross. Justice demands that it not be paid for again. Furthermore, as You can see, I have given My sister or My brother – My own perfect record of righteousness. There is only one verdict You can justly render. ‘Vindicated!’ Indeed, you have already rendered that verdict from the moment they first believed.” This is such astonishingly good news that sometimes even we have difficulty believing it. We look in the mirror and imagine that there are plenty of things that an accuser could raise against us in the courtroom of Almighty God. I know that for some of you, the person most likely to condemn you is the person looking back at you from the mirror in the morning. Please preach this message from the Apostle John to your own weary soul:
If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and [He] knows all things!
Read or Sing Hymn 233 “O Father, You Are Sovereign” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Amoskeag Presbyterian Church in Manchester, NH.
Wednesday (3/20) Read and discuss Exodus 33:12-23. James Hoffmeier writes:
Moses appeals to God on the basis of his relationship with God and the “favor” God has toward him, hoping that God will go with the people. God responds by saying, “My Presence will go with you [‘you’ is singular, referring to Moses].” Verse 16 makes it clear that Moses cannot separate himself from his people. He wants God’s blessing to be on them as well as him. Israel is distinct form other peoples only by virtue of God’s presence.
God agrees to do as Moses requests. Seeing his success in interceding for his people, Moses now wants to experience more of God’s presence, apparently building on God’s earlier statement (v. 14). His request, “show me your glory” (v. 18), is somewhat odd since he had witnessed God’s glory previously and in 33:11 we are informed that Moses and God communicated directly. It seems then that Moses desires to know more of God’s character and person than he has experienced to this point.
God will only partially fulfill Moses’ request; he will let his goodness pass before him for no man can see God’s face and live. God further says that when his goodness passes before Moses, the name Yahweh will be proclaimed as part of the theophany. The proclamation of the divine name might hint that something of God’s eternal qualities are revealed to Moses. But even in this manifestation Moses has to be protected (vv. 21-22). God’s glory is to be more fully revealed in Jesus Christ: “we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father (John 1:14).”
Prayer: Give thanks that one day we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is.
Thursday (3/21) Read and discuss Luke 1:26-33. Arthur Just writes:
Jesus is the culmination of the Davidic line. All the promises of God in the OT are now coming to fulfillment in Christ. The promise of an everlasting kingdom to the house of David (Isaiah 9:6-7) is reflected in the words “the LORD God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will be King over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end. The royal line of the kingdom of Judah, prophesied by Jacob in Gen 49:10ff., merges with the royal line of David that comes in 2 Sam: 16: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sue forever before me; your throne shall be established forever” Despite David’s sin, and the sin of all those in his human royal succession, God’s redemptive plan will be accomplished through his Descendent. Jesus will reign over the house of David, for the royal messianic succession will continue forever in Him.
Read or Sing Hymn 231 “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right” Prayer: Please pray for our Sunday school teachers.
Friday (3/22) Read and discuss 1 Kings 2:36-46. John Woodhouse writes:
In his earlier conduct with David, Shimei had shown himself to be a fickle creature. He tended to change with changing circumstances, cursing David when the king was vulnerable, but begging for mercy as he returned to power.
In due course Shimei’s unreliability emerged again. There was another change in his circumstances: “But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, the king of Gath.”
For three years Shimei lived (happily we presume) under the kings’ conditions. There is no reason to think that this would have been a hardship or that the fact that he was living with servants (more than two apparently) suggests a reasonably comfortable existence in the capital.
What changed everything was the escape of two of these servants who for some reason found refuge under the protection of the Philistine king Achish in Gath. This was a strange development, particularly for us as readers of the story. In escaping from Shimei and fleeing to Achish in Gath, Shimei’s two servants were behaving a little like David when he was on the run from Shimei’s kinsman, Saul. If this subtle point reminds us of Shimei’s relationship to Saul, we may recall how his ferocious loyalty to Saul once made him deep hostile to the kingdom of David (see 2 Samuel 16:8).
Read or sing Hymn 281 “Rejoice, the LORD is King” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in China who are living with increased persecution.
Saturday (3/23) Read and discuss Romans 9:1-18. Commenting on verse 5, R.C. Sproul writes:
Paul notes that Christ came from the seed of David “according to the flesh;” Paul affirms Jesus’ Jewish ancestry, but he does not stop there. He gives one of the clearest and most decisive affirmations of the deity of Christ that we find anywhere in Scripture. Christ is over all things, the entire universe. The Jews used this expression to refer to God’s dominion over the entire creation; He is the Most High God. Here Paul says that Christ is over all. …
After Paul makes this profound affirmation of the full deity of Christ, he interjects “Amen,” which is the word the Jews used to affirm the truth of a statement. In some churches people respond to the preaching of the Word with a shout of “Amen,” but it is rarely heard in our more staid assemblies. The shout, “Amen,” is an affirmation of the truth they are hearing. “Amen, amen, I say to you.” We translate, “Truly, truly I say to you” or “Verily, verily I say to you.” … Paul punctuates his profound affirmation of the divine nature of Christ with this word, which every Jew understood to be a clear affirmation of truth. Here Paul says “amen” about his own words: “Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.