23 June 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 157 “When Morning Guilds the Skies”
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: Leviticus 26:44-45
Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 14
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 59:14-21
New Covenant Reading: Romans 11:25-36
Sermon: Mercy without Distinction
Hymn of Response: 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: Psalm 32B
OT: 1 Kings 7:1-12
NT: Matthew 11:1-11
Two Kings, Two Houses
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 96
Q. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.
Monday (6/17) Read and discuss Romans 11:25-36. Royce Gordon Gruenler writes:
In verses 28-32 Paul sums up the logically odd but true-to-life turn of events that one would not have anticipated, namely, that the favored and elect people have defaulted in faith by rejecting Christ, but God, sovereign in His ability to turn an evil into a compound good, has by this Jewish default shown mercy to the Gentiles. Yet God has not forsaken the Jews, even though they are enemies as regards Christ …, but by election they are loved by God because of the promises He made to the patriarchs, His gifts and His call, being irrevocable. Accordingly, Gentile Christians need to recognize the double reversal in God’s plan for the ages: they “were at one time disobedient” but have now received mercy by the disobedience of the Jews, while the Jews in turn “have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.” The parallel correspondence between verse 30 and 31 gives a leveling effect to Gentile and Jew respectively: “you/they; at one time/now; disobedient to God/disobedient; now/now; received mercy/receive mercy; as a result of their disobedience/as a result of God’s mercy to you.”
Read or sing 157 “When Morning Guilds the Skies” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Eritrea who are once again suffering severe persecution.
Tuesday (6/18) Read and discuss Romans 11:16-24. In verse 20, Paul tells us that “branches were broken off because of unbelief.” This reminds us that all of the branches that remain in the tree remain by faith and by faith alone. Where does that leave human boasting? Paul says, if you are feeling proud about being grafted in to the LORD’s Olive Tree – you really ought to be afraid. For pride is the opposite of saving faith. Let’s make sure we are clear about what Paul is and isn’t saying. Paul is not saying that all Christians should go through life doubting their salvation or vainly imagining that humility consists of wondering about the full sufficiency of the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is, Paul is not saying that Christians ought to go through life afraid that they are going to be broken off from the Olive Tree – that is from the Church of Jesus Christ – and ultimately end up separated from God forever. Just a few chapters back, Paul beautifully poured out his own confidence that nothing in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! So, what is Paul saying? He is saying that boasting in ourselves is the very opposite of saving faith. And therefore, if you are proud rather than profoundly grateful that you are a member of the visible church – then you need to be humbled – for you may not have true faith at all. So, what do you do? Do you look inside of yourself to make sure that you have enough faith? Absolutely not! Biblical faith is not about having confidence in your faith. Biblical faith is about having confidence in Jesus Christ. Don’t look inside yourself. Look outside of yourself to Jesus Christ. Look to Jesus and behold your God! As Martin Luther put it – or at least this has been attributed to Luther and is worth remembering:
When I look at myself I don’t see how I can be saved. But when I look to Jesus, I don’t see how I can be lost.
So, look to Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith. For as the Holy Spirit plainly promises, that “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD, shall be saved.” Read or Sing Hymn Psalm 14 Prayer: Pray for the students in our congregation as they transition from the school year to Summer activities.
Wednesday (6/19) Read and discuss Isaiah 59:14-21. William VanGemeren writes:
Because of the absolute bankruptcy of the people no one is able to deliver them. Only the LORD whose arm is strong to deliver can deal with His people. The LORD is described as a warrior readying Himself to aid the godly. He puts on the breastplate, representative of righteousness, the helmet, representative of salvation, and the garments, signifying His vengeance and zeal. God is concerned about the remnant and His concern is expressed by His coming to judge the wicked, who will be punished according to their deeds. The LORD may delay his judgment, but He sees everything, including the affliction of His people and the evil done to those who call on His name.
The Redeemer God will reveal His glory to the ends of the earth, singling out Zion for His kingdom. The covenant will be renewed by the pouring of His Spirit on them and their children forever, so that all God’s people will be inspired to know, do, and speak according to His word. Paul cites these words in his argument that God will redeem apostate Israel, which has rejected the Messiah (Romans 11:27).
Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Providence OPC in West Lebanon, NH.
Thursday (6/20) Read and discuss Matthew 11:1-11. Grant Osborne writes:
John was the greatest person of his time, but every citizen of the kingdom is greater. Jesus is saying it is better [in the sense of “more blessed”] to experience the blessings of the kingdom than to be the one who inaugurates it. John’s greatness lay in his being the transition to the new age, but he was never able to experience the benefits of it. Christians today need to realize what we have: the new access to God, the power of prayer, the experience of the fullness of the Spirit. It is too easy to take these privileges for granted and to complain about what we do not have. Matthew wants his readers to “hear” and understand this key truth – we live in the kingdom reality and have all the blessings of the new age before us.
Read or Sing Hymn 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty” Prayer: Ask the LORD to make you more conscious of the extraordinary privileges you enjoy as a child in His Kingdom.
Friday (6/21) Read and discuss 1 Kings 7:1-12. Walter Maier writes:
One scholarly interpretation is that Solomon is subtly criticized by the author of Kings for spending more time in building his palace complex than he did in building the temple. Joining in with the supposed assessment by the author of Kings, these scholars hold that Solomon did not have his priorities straight, that he had a higher concern for his own prestige, glory, and comfort than he did for the honor of the LORD.
That is not the position of this commentary. Solomon built the temple complex first, and as observed in the commentary on 1 Kings 6, he did not spare any effort or expense in making the temple as beautiful and glorious as possible. He followed and fulfilled completely the plans David entrusted to him, which the Holy Spirit had put in David’s mind (1 Kings 6:38; 1 Chronicles 28:11-19). What more could be asked of Solomon? It was not his fault the temple was not a larger edifice; he was constructing it according to the design and dimensions given by the Spirit.
Nor is Solomon to be faulted for having a grand place complex 9which, since it had more buildings, took longer to complete). Such structures and space were necessary, because Solomon was the ruler over an empire, and he was involved in extensive trading and merchant activity. This was a place of bustling activity, involving many officials, scribes, visitors, servants, and others. Goods and items had to be stored; records written and preserved; business transacted; cases heard, and justice pronounced; and Solomon’s large family and guests fed and housed. …
A final consideration is that one building material that was so prominent in the account of the temple construction is not mentioned at all in the report concerning Solomon building the palace complex: gold. With regard to a “house,” Solomon used the best and most costly material only for the temple of Yahweh. Solomon, at this point in his life, had his priorities straight.
Read or sing Hymn Psalm 32B Prayer: Please pray for the Anglican Church in North America, the biblically conservative branch of Anglicanism in the United States, that they would remain faithful to Scripture as they continue to aggressively plant new churches.
Saturday (6/22) Read and discuss Romans 11:25-36. R.C. Sproul writes:
Paul gives a reason why the Deliverer will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Jacob has rejected the covenant by saying no to God’s yes in His promises of redemption. Jacob has turned away into consistent disobedience, but God is going to turn them back. Why will God do this? Does he owe them a second chance? He will turn them back because of His covenant promise and electing grace. When Paul began his treatment of the plight of the Jews in chapters 8 and 9, he examined it in light of the broader question of divine election. When he talked about the final restoration of Israel after the age of the Gentiles, he put it in the context not only of the covenant promises but also of the doctrine of election.
The reason we can be absolutely certain God is not finished with the Jews is that God predicted it. Whatever God says will happen in the future must necessarily come to pass, but how does God know what will happen eventually with the Jews? For that matter, how does God know what is going to happen tomorrow with us? The open-theism movement, which is penetrating the Christian world with ungodliness, says that God does not and cannot know the future choices of human beings. Open theists claim that God’s future knowledge is limited by human free will and that even God’s knowledge is finite. He is not really omniscient, they say, and he certainly lacks the foreknowledge of human choices in the future. They deny the biblical doctrine of God. From our perspective, how does God know what is going to happen? How does He know what people will choose tomorrow?
It is not as though God has a mysterious psychic sense about the future through which He peers down through the corridor of time and sees what we cannot see from our vantage point. God knows what is going to happen tomorrow before it happens because He has ordained it. His knowledge of future things is based upon His ordination of future things. God knows that the people of Israel will be restored in the last hour because it is His sovereign will that it should happen.
That is why the doctrine of election is so vitally important to Paul in the midst of His struggle about the future of his people. He knows that their future is in the hands of God, no in the hands of the Pharisees. God has the power, authority, and will to turn people away from their disobedience. Had God waited in heaven for us to turn from our sins and come to the cross, He would still be waiting. In His sovereign mercy and grace God does not wait for us to turn or incline ourselves; God brings us away from our disobedience to respond to Him.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.