19 May 2019 – The Rev. Gary Moore preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 219 “O Worship the King”
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: Deuteronomy 4:29-31
Hymn of Preparation: 279 “O Christ, Our King, Creator Lord”
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 45
New Covenant Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Sermon: Exaltation of the Christ
Hymn of Response: 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You”
Confession of Faith: Q/A 1 Heidelberg Catechism (p. 872)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 488 “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior”
OT: Job 1:1-2.10
NT: Matthew 15:21-28
An Introduction to the Drama of Job: The Testing of Your Faith
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 91
Q. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.
Monday (5/13) Read and discuss Philippians 2:1-11. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of a church where everyone cared more about the needs of each other than about their own desires – where people were like minded in the truth and love for one another? This is precisely what Paul calls the Philippians to in verses 2 and 3. The natural question to ask is, “what will happen to me if I live like that and nobody else does?” Paul responds, by asking if we have fully considered the life of Jesus. He specifically challenges us to imitate Jesus in this way:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Since our lives all had a beginning, we can wrongly think of Christmas as the beginning of Jesus’ life. But the Son has eternally existed in perfect love with the Father and the Holy Spirit. From the moment when God created the universe, there have been an innumerable host of angles praising God the Son. Yet Jesus willingly laid all of that aside to come and redeem sinners like us. Jesus didn’t lay aside anything of His Deity. He always was, and ever remains, the Living God. What Christ laid aside was the prerogatives of being the center of the Creation. In a similar manner, when we sacrificially love – we do not lay aside our dignity as Christ’s ambassadors; in fact, we reflect Christ most fully when we abandon ourselves to His service trusting that God the Father will use, protect, and vindicate our lives. The humility of the incarnation is not the end for Jesus Christ. In verse 9-11 we read:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In a like manner, God will also exalt all those who humble themselves for Christ’s sake in this world. As the Apostle Peter commands us: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).” How can you humble yourself for Christ’s sake today? Read or sing Hymn 194 “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. Prayer: The last few decades have produced a type of identity crisis among most Bible believing Reformed denominations. In some ways this reflects a challenge Christians will struggle with until Christ’s second coming: How can we be firmly orthodox (holding to right doctrine) without being unduly sectarian?
Read or sing 219 “O Worship the King” Prayer: Please pray that our congregation and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church would be both valiant for truth and generous of spirit.
Tuesday (5/14) Read and discuss Isaiah 9:1-7. Who is Jesus? This passage is one of the Old Testament prophesies that also points forward to the doctrine of the Trinity. While we are blessed with a far fuller picture of the Triune God in the New Covenant, this prophesy should have caused faithful Jews to ask questions for which only the doctrine of the Trinity is the answer. We are told in verse 6 that “unto us a Son is given” and we are also told that He will be called “mighty God”. While the first expression distinguishes the Messiah from God the Father, the second expression identifies Him as God. This distinction of persons and unity of being within God are the essence of the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet, we also read something that can be puzzling to us today. Since Jesus was eternally the Son of God – how can Isaiah call Him the Everlasting Father? It is helpful for us to realize that fatherhood has three primary defining characteristics: (1) headship, (2) generation, and (3) care. Let us consider the first of these characteristics of fatherhood – headship. When an earthly father makes decisions, those choices impact his entire family. If one man works hard and is faithful to God while another is an adulterous, drunken, gambler – there respective families will enjoy blessings or cursings based on the actions of the family’s covenant head. Our culture tends to treat such consequences as accidental or even unfair – but they are the way God designed humanity. Unlike angels, we live in a network of relationships where we represent each other and make decisions on each other’s behalf. This is revealed even in our language. The biblical term for man/mankind is Adam. As the first man, Adam represented all mankind so when he rebelled against God – we all fell into sin and depravity with him. Western culture over the past 40 years has begun to rebel against this representative principle. For example, it is becoming increasingly common for women to not take their husband’s names (in some countries the governments have actually put impediments up that hinder a woman from taking her husband’s name at the time of marriage). A far better choice would be to tell women, “If you don’t like the idea of this man representing you – don’t marry him!” Nevertheless, being sinners we all like to shift the blame away from ourselves – as though we would have perfectly fulfilled all righteousness if we had been in Adam’s place. But before you start to protest about how unfair representative headship is, remember that this principle of representation (sometimes called “federal theology”) is the only basis for your salvation (See Romans 5:12-21)! As your federal head, on the cross God treated Jesus as though he had lived your life so that through all eternity he could treat you as though you had lived His life. It is not surprising then that Christ would be described as the head of the Church (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18). Read or Sing Hymn 279 “O Christ, Our King, Creator Lord” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in Iran as the live for Christ in one of the most challenging places to do so on earth.
Wednesday (5/15) Read and discuss Isaiah 45. Alec Motyer writes:
Without question we have become so used to the fact that the LORD fulfills his predictions that that we fail to see how important it is. Oh yes, we say, Micah predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and so it was. But to Isaiah this proved that the predicting God exists and is the only God. He did not take it lightly; it was the clear proof of Yahweh’s sole deity and of the non-reality of the gods who could not predict. How Isaiah would have rejoiced in the abundance of predictions made about the Messiah and the pinpoint accuracy of their fulfilment in Jesus! For ‘fulfilment’ is not just a matter of stepping in at the right moment and doing what was predicted centuries before. The LORD’s fulfilments come about, so to speak, within the flow of world history. Like Cyrus: Cyrus was a standard imperialist conqueror, reaching Babylon stage by stage, battle by battle. Likewise, Babylon was ready for collapse according to the processes of decline and fall that work in history. The LORD’s fulfillments show not only his faithfulness to his pledged word, but his sovereign control and direction of the whole world and all its events until they reach his desired and appointed end. … Prediction and fulfilment call us to wait patiently on the faithfulness of God – ‘Has he said, and will he not do it?’ (Numbers 23:19). They also call for restful confidence in the God who has the whole world in his hands.
Prayer: Ask that the LORD would bring visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church.
Thursday (5/16) Read and discuss Matthew 15:21-28. Knox Chamblin writes:
The woman’s faith is evident in her appeal. She acknowledges Jesus’ messianic status and his ability to cure her daughter. Faith is further evident in her persistence. Nothing dissuades her, neither her knowledge that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah (v. 22), nor his initial silence, nor the disciple’s efforts to get rid of her, nor Jesus’ statement of purpose, nor the maxim that underscores the statement (v. 26), nor the cumulative effect of those things. The effect of this manifold opposition is to celebrate her persistence (crowned by her witty retort [v. 27] to Jesus’ maxim0, and to give great force to Jesus’ climatic utterance (v. 28).
By healing the daughter, Jesus reveals himself as the Gentiles’ Savior. Here, as in 8:5-13, he heals at a distance (in keeping with his present mission to Israel, v. 24). Perhaps Jesus deliberately chose a maxim about food (v. 26) to make a connection between the healing of a Gentile and the abolishing of unclean foods.
Read or Sing Hymn 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You” Prayer: Give thanks that in Christ you have become both clean and holy.
Friday (5/17) Read and discuss Job 1:1-2.10. Carl Schultz writes:
Satan is eager to carry out his assignment. A series of four disasters in rapid succession strips Job of both family and possessions. In each instance only one eyewitness escapes to tell Job the bad news, and while one messenger is speaking, the reporter of the next disaster arrives. There is clearly a progression from least to most serious since Job’s children perish in the fourth disaster. … Job’s response is expressed as follows: he gets up; he tears his robe (a sign of grief); he shaves his head (another act of mourning); he falls to the ground – not in despair but in reverence; and he worships. Job’s words are indeed noble. He sees only the hand of God in his tragedies; he does not curse God but renders praise. Job does not charge God with wrongdoing.
Read or sing Hymn 488 “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior” Prayer: Please pray for our young people as they finish the school year and prepare for Summer jobs and activities.
Saturday (5/18) Read and discuss Philippians 2:1-18. It is always important to try to understand the logical argument of a passage. That is, what does the writer hope his or her readers will think or do as a result of reading this passage? Frequently we will find that there is a central goal and that there are subordinate goals in support of this central goal. Clearly the main point of verses 1-11 is that the Philippians would “… complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind (v. 2).” That is what Paul wants to have happen in Philippi when they read this section of his letter. We will see in a moment the interesting way in which verses 12-18 build upon this section. A very simply, yet extremely helpful, way to approach texts like this is to take out a piece of paper and outline the argument (this works better with the epistles than with historical narrative or poetry). A simple outline would look something like this:
- Verse 1: Introduces the entreaty emotionally by appealing to the encouragement, comfort, love, and fellowship we have through our relationship with Christ and with the Holy Spirit.
- Verse 2: States the CENTRAL GOAL of verses 1-11: That the Philippians would (1) be of the same mind; and (2) have the same love; and (3) be of one accord and of one mind. Clearly Paul thinks that unity among the Philippians is very important.
- Verses 3-11: These verses provide the MAJOR SUPPORT for Paul’s central goal. Paul is arguing that we should imitate Christ. This passage also helps fill out the meaning of like-minded in verse 2. Like-minded includes humbling ourselves by focusing on be faithful to God while entrusting our exaltation to Him.
- Verse 12 begins with the word therefore. That means that it is based upon what came before. Paul is using the example of Christ in verses 1-11 to argue in two directions. The example of Christ SUPPORTS verse 2 and it also SUPPORTS verses 12-18. Verse 12 begins by appealing to the fact that the Philippians are already doing this – and Paul is simply calling them to press on to even greater faithfulness, that is to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Please note that Paul calls the Philippians to work out not work fortheir own salvation.
- Verses 14-16 expand what working out your own salvation looks like.
- Verses 17-18 provide a MINOR SUPPORT for Paul’s central goal. Paul is saying, if you want to know what this looks like in a fellow sinner who has been redeemed by God’s grace – imitate me as I attempt to imitate Christ.
If you practice doing this you will become much better at understanding the arguments that an author is making. It will also help you read a passage in the right context. If you were to start reading in verse 3 you could miss a very large part of why verses 3-11 are actually in the passage. Likewise, if you were to start reading in verse 12, the word therefore would tell you that you need to go back and see what is providing support for this verse and what follows. As the saying goes, “whenever you see a therefore, you should see what it is there for.” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.