2 June 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: Psalm 145D
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: Titus 3:4-7
Hymn of Preparation: 239 “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”
Old Covenant Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18
New Covenant Reading: Romans 11:1-6
Sermon: The Remnant of Grace
Hymn of Response: 434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 488 “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior”
OT: Psalm 14
NT: Luke 12:13-21
Don’t Fear the Fool
Singing Psalm 14
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 93
Q. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s supper.
Monday (5/27) Read and discuss Romans 11:1-6. N.T. Wright comments:
The idea of a ‘remnant,’ a few people who remain after a great disaster, comes from the heart of the Old Testament. Israels seems to have failed; great judgment falls; but there will be some survivors, a ‘holy seed’ (Isaiah 6:13) left like the stump of a felled tree, out of whose root new shoots may grow – an image which Paul develops later in [Romans chapter 11]. ‘A remnant shall return,’ declared the prophet; in other words, after the exile in which Israel might have seemed to be banished forever, a few people will be brought back again, and from that small beginning a renewed people will grow. … Paul has picked up this biblical idea and brought it forwards. What happened in the exile in Babylon (most Israelites exiled forever, a few returning and starting again) is now happening to the Jewish people as they come through the greatest crisis of all, the work, death and resurrection of their Messiah. Most have refused to accept him, but some have done so. Paul himself is a good example: an Israelite, from Abraham’s seed, and more specifically from the tribe of Benjamin, one of the two that remained in ancient Israel through all the catastrophes that came upon the rest. Paul is himself a sign that God has not finished with the Jewish people.
Read or sing Psalm 145D Prayer: Ask the LORD to cause His word to take root in your life that it would produce the fruit of righteousness and peace.
Tuesday (5/28) Read and discuss Psalm 3:1-8. James Montgomery Boice writes:
When a believer gazes too long at his enemies, the force arrayed against him seems to grow in size until it appears to be overwhelming. But when he turns his thoughts to God, God is seen in his true, great stature, and the enemies shrink to manageable proportions.
This principle was illustrated by the difference between the ten and the two spies when they were first sent into Canaan at the time of the Jewish conquest. Ten of the spies were overwhelmed with the strength and stature of the Canaanites, especially the descendants of Anak, where were giants. They said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. … All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there … We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
What was the difference? Had they seen different things? No. The land was the same. Both groups had seen the giants. But the ten looked only at the giants and forgot about God, with the result that they seemed in their own eyes to shrink to the size of grasshoppers. The two kept their eyes on God, and for them it was the giants who appeared small.
Read or Sing Hymn 239 “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” Prayer: Give thanks that the Kingdom of God comes with power.
Wednesday (5/29) Read and discuss 1 Kings 19:9-18. Commenting on verse 18, Dale Ralph Davis writes:
This climatic declaration puts a thrill into one’s theological bones. ‘And/but I shall leave seven thousand in Israel …’ It is the Old Testament equivalent of Jesus’ ‘I will build my church.’ Grace will have a remnant. The God of grace insists on it. Yahweh, so the text teaches, will always have a people, even an Israelite people (Romans 11:1-6), to worship Him upon the earth. He has decided that He will have a true people, and He will have them and keep them, and there is nothing any Jezebel can do about it. It is the infections assurance, the defiant certainty, the holy dogmatism, of this text that keeps some of us on our feet.
Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Amoskeag Presbyterian Church in Manchester, NH.
Thursday (5/30) Read and discuss John 11:17-27. R.C. Sproul writes:
The day before I preached on this passage at St. Andrew’s, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas while heading for a landing here in Central Florida. All seven astronauts aboard were killed. I watched television coverage of the tragedy for hour after hour that day, but the same picture was shown over and over again. It was the image of the spacecraft disintegrating and leaving a trail of smoke in the air. I couldn’t help thinking what a catastrophe this was for the families of the people who had been instantly destroyed, but I also thought that if there were believers among the crew members, just as quickly as they died, they were in heaven. If they were believers, they could not die. Yes, they died biologically, but biological death doesn’t disturb the continuity of living, personal existence for God’s people in the slightest. This is what Jesus said. Once a person believes in Christ, the life of Christ is poured into the soul of that person, and that life is eternal. We’re never going to die. We may go through the transition of physical death, but that death cannot destroy the life that Christ has given to us.
Read or Sing Hymn 434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” Prayer: Give thanks that your life is hidden in God with Christ.
Friday (5/31) Read and discuss Psalm 14. Allen P. Ross writes:
The impact of reading Psalm 14 is staggering: there is none righteous, no not one. The whole race has become corrupt and dangerous because it chooses to live in defiance of God. If people ignore God, or the idea of a God, then they naturally ignore God’s distinctions between good and evil. It is foolish to pervert life and become loathsome to God, for God will judge the wicked and bring relief and restoration to the righteous. … It is this anticipation of a glorious deliverance when the saints will be filled with joy that inspires believers to live faithfully in this fallen world. For Jesus it was the joy that was set before Him that He endured the cross and scorned its shame (Heb. 12:2). For the apostle Paul it was the hope of glory that kept him going in spite of severe persecution (2 Cor. 4). Believers are called to hold fast to their integrity, knowing that the world is passing away. The psalm is also a warning for believers not to get caught up in a world system that is atheistic and corrupt.
Read or sing Hymn 488 “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior” Prayer: Ask the LORD to reform the Church in New England by causing us to rediscover the centrality of obedience in the Christians life.
Saturday (6/1) Read and discuss Romans 11:1-6. In one sense, Paul’s argument in these verses is remarkably simple. “Has the LORD abandoned His ancient people the Jews? Absolutely not! Hey – look at me! I’m a Jew and I believe in Jesus. Case closed. Well, in case you think that I’m an exception, and therefore I’m engaged in special pleading, have you considered the story of Elijah. He appealed to the LORD saying he was the only faithful Jew left – and the LORD replied by telling him that He has kept a remnant of the faithful (and He promises to keep a remnant of the faithful in the future). So, no! The LORD has not rejected the Jews nor is He going to reject them going forward.” As I mentioned, this is a rather simple argument. Nevertheless, it would be helpful for us to think a bit about what a remnant implies. First, this remnant is a remnant of God’s grace. The LORD doesn’t tell Elijah that there are 7,000 who have kept themselves. The LORD is the actor and the people are the objects of that action. It is of the LORD’s free and sovereign grace that any Jews (or any Gentiles) believe. Second, it doesn’t imply merely that there will always be a small remnant of believers – although, by God’s grace, that is true. Rather the remnant is a down payment on a much larger harvest in the future. In Isaiah 6:13, the LORD describes the remnant within Israel as a stump – a stump that He will refine even further through fire. But then in Isaiah 11:1 He tells us this glorious news: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” As the following verses make clear, this shoot is Jesus Christ – and in Him a vast multitude from every tribe tongue and nation will be saved – including a vast multitude of the Jewish people. Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.