12 May 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
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: Isaiah 55:7-9
Hymn of Preparation: 452 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
Old Covenant Reading: Deuteronomy 32:1-21
New Covenant Reading: Romans 10:14-21
Sermon: The Disobedience of Unbelief
Hymn of Response: 453 “Just as I Am, without One Plea”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 275 “Arise, My Soul, Arise”
OT: 1 Kings 5:1-18
NT: 1 Peter 2:1-10
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 90
Q. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.
Monday (5/6) Read and discuss Romans 10:14-21. R.C. Sproul writes:
I got a request some time ago from a sister church that was without a pastor. The church was suffering from serious financial shortfalls and had to lay off staff. The session of that church asked me if I would come preach and offer encouragement to the downcast congregation. I accepted the invitation and began to plan what I would say. I decided not to address their particular struggles because their most important need was that of every Christian church – the need for biblical preaching. A church might have good programs for youth or singles, but if it lacks biblical preaching, it has nothing. Other things are desirable, but biblical preaching is the only thing a church actually needs.
Paul wrote his final admonition to Timothy from the Maritine prison, which was no more than a piece of rock hewn from the ground. The prison, which was no more than a piece of rock hewn from the ground. The prison had been used as a cistern to hold water. To enter, one had to go down stairs. The prison space, carved from solid rock, spanned about fifteen feet across and stood about seven feet high. There in the cold, wet darkness Paul awaited execution, and while he was waiting, he wrote his last epistle to his beloved Timothy. He wrote, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word!” (2 Tim. 4:1-2a). Timothy’s preaching was not to be political commentary, pop psychology, or entertainment; Paul told his disciple to preach the Word, which means doing expository preaching. Such preaching exposes the Word and makes it clear to people.
Read or sing 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: Give thanks for the easy access we have to both the written word of God in our own languages and to the word preached.
Tuesday (5/7) Read and discuss John 11:28-44. In verse 33 we are told that Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. What does it mean that Jesus was “deeply moved in his spirit?” For some reason, most English translations leave this rather vague. We could easily imagine that Jesus was deeply moved, perhaps, with deep compassion for Mary, Martha, and even for the crowd. But that is not what this expression means. The Greek word is never used of compassion. In extra-biblical Greek, the term is used to describe the snorting of horses who are preparing for battle. When it is applied “to human beings, it [always] suggests anger or outrage.” … Jesus is seriously angry, but the question is … “Angry at what?” Nobody can explain this any better than the great Princeton scholar, B.B. Warfield. Warfield writes:
It is death that is the object of [Christ’s] wrath, and behind death him who has the power of death, and whom He has come into the world to destroy. Tears of sympathy may fill His eyes, but this is incidental. His soul is held by rage: and He advances to the tomb, in Calvin’s words … “‘as a champion who prepares for conflict.’ The raising of Lazarus thus becomes, not an isolated marvel, but … a decisive instance and open symbol of Jesus’ conquest of death and hell. What John does for us in this particular statement is to uncover to us the heart of Jesus, as He wins for us our salvation. Not in cold unconcern, but in flaming wrath against the foe, Jesus smites [death] on our behalf.”
Read or Sing Hymn 452 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus has triumphed over death on behalf of all His people.
Wednesday (5/8) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 32:1-47. Gordon Wenham writes:
A law-book stored beside the ark may be forgotten. What the people need is something short enough to be committed to memory that will make the same point as [Moses’] sermons. This is what the son offers. It describes God’s justice and Israel’s unfaithfulness. Then it recalls God’s choice of Israel and all he has done for them. It relates Israel’s disloyalty, and the decision to punish their betrayal. However, the LORD will limit their enemy’s oppression and ultimately deliver his people. A final word to the people urges them to take to hear the words of this song and the teaching of the law that they may ‘live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.’
Prayer: Please lift up the young people in our congregation and pray that they would finish the school year well.
Thursday (5/9) Read and discuss 1 Peter 2:1-10. Karen Jobes writes:
First Peter 2:1-10 describes Peter’s Christian readers in terms intended to make them realize the distinctive honor that is theirs as believers in Jesus Christ. These verses advance the argument of 1:13-25 in preparation for Peter’s explicit exhortations to follow. He has pointed out that because of the new life and status that God in his mercy has granted them, they are to live in obedience to God’s will. In 2:1 their former way of life is condemned as not just empty but, what’s more, as evil. The end of those who persist in that way is disastrous (2:8). Though they may be scattered across the vastness of Asia Minor, in truth they have been built into one spiritual house (2:4-5). As living stones in that house, they share the honor of the Living Stone the builders rejected (2:6-7). The unity, significance, and purpose of the Christian community is presented and then underscored by endowing it with the descriptions once used of God’s ancient holy people, Israel. Peter’s readers are to understand themselves in these terms, regardless of how their society labels them. With this exposition of their new identity in Christ, Peter is now ready to instruct his readers in how to discharge their role as a people chosen for God’s own possession in relationship to the world in which they live.
Read or Sing Hymn 453 “Just as I Am, without One Plea” Prayer: Ask the LORD to bring visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family.
Friday (5/10) Read and discuss 1 Kings 5:1-18. Dale Ralph Davis writes:
Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his congratulations to Solomon on the latter’s assuming the kingship of Israel. Hiram had treaty relations with David and saw no reason to change course with Israel’s new regime. Solomon responded to Hiram with both some theology and a request. He combines Yahweh’s promise with an order for lumber.
Solomon, picking up on Yahweh’s word in 2 Samuel 7:13a, tells Hiram that he is planning ‘to build a house for the name of Yahweh my God, as Yahweh promised to David my father, saying, “Your son whom I will place on your throne in your place – he [emphatic] will build the house for my name” (v. 5). Yahweh’s providence has prepared the way for his promise: Yahweh gave military victory to David (v. 3), and he has provided political security for Solomon (v. 4). These conditions, Solomon says, give him the green light to execute what Yahweh had promised David (v. 5). So … cut cedars (v. 6).
Yahweh’s promise, then drives Solomon’s project. It is important to see this. The real foundation of the temple does not consist of huge blocks of stone; the temple rests upon the promise of Yahweh. This must be kept in mind by contemporary Christians who have a tendency to look on the temple as merely evidence for the ‘externalism’ of Old Testament religion, who see it as a grandiose building project that a more ‘spiritual’ people would have shunned. That, of course, is wrong. The promise of 2 Samuel 7:13 shows that Yahweh wanted the temple built in his time. It was the sacrament of his presence among his people.
Read or sing Hymn 275 “Arise, My Soul, Arise” Prayer: That God that Jesus Christ is building His Church, and therefore even the gates of hell will not stand against it.
Saturday (5/11) Read and discuss Romans 10:14-21. N.T. Wright comments:
This passage, then, picks up where the previous one left off, with the good news of salvation (Israel’s own salvation, as in Deuteronomy 30!) being now thrown open to Gentiles as well as Jews. This might sound a very strange idea, yet Paul is determined to demonstrate that it’s what God had in mind from the beginning, and that God had actually warned Israel that it is what would happen.
He begins with a chain of reasoning intended to show that he and his fellow apostles, in going to the Gentiles with the good news of Jesus, were not being disloyal to the tradition of Israel, but were actually fulfilling them. First he quotes from Isaiah 52:7, which is part of the build-up to the famous poem about the Suffering Servant of the Lord, which Paul and other early Christians saw as a prophecy which Paul and other early Christians saw as a prophecy which Paul and other early Christians saw as a prophecy which Paul and other early Christians saw as a prophecy of Jesus: how beautiful are the feet of the people who bring the good news, the gospel! It’s a vivid metaphor, of course; neither prophet or Paul suppose that people are going to examine the actual feet of the messengers and award them a high score on some objective scale of beauty. The point is that the news is so good, so welcome, that those who receive it are like people who want to kiss the person delivering the mail for bringing them such a wonderful message. We can imagine someone, overjoyed with good news, feeling that even the wheels on the mail van were special because they had brought the vital letter. That’s how Isaiah had prophesied that people would feel about the heralds as they ran to bring the good news of God’s salvation to Israel. Paul has seen this again and again as he has gone around the Gentile world telling people that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, and as this powerful gospel message has struck home to hearts and lives, bringing healing and salvation.
But now he faces a problem. Even in the Gentile world, plenty of people have heard this message and haven’t believed it. Does this mean that after all that he’s making a mistake? No; this too was part of the strange prophetic script. He quotes from Isaiah 53:1, where the prophet is describing the Servant himself: ‘LORD, who has believed what we were talking about?’ Why some people believe and some don’t is a mystery which Paul leaves in the hands of God alone. All he knows is that faith – the faith which was the key sign of human transformation in verses 8-13 – is what happens when people hear the message as it is announced, and that this message consists of the report about the Messiah. God’s powerful word is at work whenever this report is given.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.