4 August 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: Psalm 8A “O LORD, Our Lord, in All the Earth”
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: Romans 8:1-4
Hymn of Preparation: 277 “Before the Throne of God Above”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 62:1-12
New Covenant Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-21
Sermon: Christian Identity
Hymn of Response: Psalm 62A “My Soul in Silence Waits for God”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 265 “In Christ Alone”
OT: Psalm 98:1-9
NT: Revelation 4:1-11
Rejoice the LORD is King!
Singing Psalm 98 B
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 102
Q. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.
Monday (7/29) Read and discuss 1 Peter 1:13-21. Calvin writes:
From the greatness and excellency of grace he draws an exhortation, that it was their duty to receive the grace of God more readily, as the more bountifully He bestows it upon them. We must notice the context. He had said that the Kingdom of Christ, to which the Gospel calls us, was so high that even angels in heaven desire to see it. What ought we who are in the world to do? … It is therefore necessary for us to put off the image of Adam and to cast aside the whole world and all hindrances, so that being thus set at liberty we may rise upwards to Christ. He exhorts those to whom he writes to be prepared and sober, and to hope for the grace offered to them, and also to renounce the world and their former life, and to be conformed to God.
The first part of the exhortation is, therefore, to gird up the loins of their mind and to direct their thoughts to the hope of grace which is given them. In the second part, he defines the manner, so that their minds may be changed, and they may be conformed to the image of God.
Read or sing Psalm 8A “O LORD, Our Lord, in All the Earth” Prayer: Please pray for the OPC Mission in Uganda.
Tuesday (7/30) Read and discuss Joel 3:1-16. Doug Stuart writes:
From the perspective of the covenant, God’s prophets proclaimed a foreseeable but indefinitely scheduled future. [This passage] addresses an important interest of the people of Jerusalem, threatened by an invasion and perhaps a siege. What was the ultimate fate that they, their city, and their country would meet? Would the enemy prevail, destroy them, annex their territory, and exile them forever? Would their various enemies, past and present, end up having succeeded at international lawlessness, while the remainder of Israel – Judah and Jerusalem – disappeared as an entity in the community of nations? Would Yahweh ever again be worshiped on Mount Zion? Were the invasion, drought, and desolation so graphically described in chapters 1 and 2 the beginning of the end of a city, state, and people? Where was Yahweh? Would his Day of rescue ever come?
The chapter provides a reassuring answer to these questions. A great final judgment will take place, one that will vindicate those faithful to Yahweh and punish those opposed to his purposes and his people. He will establish himself forever in his people’s capital with all they need to live securely and joyously.
[This passage] is also Christian eschatology. The Day it describes is one we await as well. The final eternal era will be unmarred by opposition to God’s purposes or people. He will be everywhere supreme and will reign from his holy city. Its river will give life, all as Joel foretold.
The guarantee of eventual vindication is a great sustenance to God’s people to remain faithful and to continue to trust.
Read or Sing Hymn 277 “Before the Throne of God Above” Prayer: Give thanks that as believers we can already be certain of our final vindication because it depends on Christ’s performance rather than our own.
Wednesday (7/31) Read and discuss Psalm 62:1-12. Allen P. Ross writes:
This Psalm is a beautiful display of confidence in the LORD. The psalmist is in a life-threatening crisis, but he is not filled with fear or anxiety. Instead, he trusts in the LORD and waits silently for the LORD to deliver him. He knows that the LORD can provide the strength and security to deliver him from his destructive foes – he knows that only the LORD can do this. And he is confident that the LROD will do it because he is the savior of his people. The point this psalm is making can be stated this way: God alone is able to deliver the faithful from destructive enemies ad make them safe and secure because he alone is both savior and judge. Because he is the savior, he will save his faithful servants; and because he is the judge, he will reward everyone in accordance with what they have done – and for the malicious enemies of the people of God that means judgment, perhaps now, but certainly at the end of the age. New Testament believers also know that they cannot save themselves on any level, and so they trust in the LORD and wait for the day of deliverance. Paul in his letter to the Philippians instructs believers to rejoice in the LORD (praise), and not be anxious (calm confidence), but pray (faith), and the peace of the LORD will guard their hearts and minds (Phil. 4:4-7).
And the theme of judgment in accordance with works is most clearly presented in Jesus’ teaching on Matthew 25:31-46. Those who demonstrated their faith by their good works enter into the kingdom; but those who did not show any kindness or care about Jesus’ brethren demonstrated their rejection of him. They will be cast out. The household of faith has known from ages past that there is coming a day of judgment when the LORD will save those who have found forgiveness but condemn those who rejected him and opposed his saints.
Prayer: Please pray that the LORD would lead visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family.
Thursday (8/1) Read and discuss Revelation 4:1-11. The book of Revelation is given to encourage Christians who are facing persecution to persevere in faith and faithfulness until the end. The challenge is that we walk by faith and the persecution can be seen and felt. So the LORD gives us a glimpse into heaven so that His people can be strengthened by the way things really are. It can be easy to get lost in the book of Revelation by focusing on the details. While the details are important, we should first focus on grasping the big picture. Today’s reading can be dividing into two parts:
- Verses 1-6a focus on the One who is seated on the throne.
- Verses 6b-11 focus on the worship that the One seated on the throne receives.
If we allow ourselves to get caught up in this vision, the sufferings of this present age will truly begin to seem like light and temporary afflictions (2 Corinthians 4:17). As N.T. Wright astutely observes, this vision ought to motivate and inform both our daily and our corporate worship:
Many have guessed, probably rightly, that these songs and prayers are similar to those which the earliest Christians used, though the logic of John’s vision is not that what he sees in the heavenly dimension is merely reflecting what is going on in the life of the church, but rather that what he sees in heaven is what ought to be going on here on earth. Heaven is in charge; heaven gives the lead. It isn’t simply ‘the spiritual dimension of what we happen to choose to do.’
Read or Sing Psalm 62A “My Soul in Silence Waits for God” Prayer: Pray that the LORD would make the light of faithful Christians in New England shine forth with the beauty of His gospel.
Friday (8/2) Read and discuss Psalm 98:1-9. James Mays writes:
Psalm 98 is the Old Testament text for Isaac Watts’s Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World!” The hymn celebrates the birth of Jesus as the coming of the LORD to rule the world with truth and grace. It uses the language and themes of the psalm in order to say that the nativity is an event of the kind and significance proclaimed in the psalm. The psalm announces the coming of the Savior God as king of the world. It is a companion to the similar Psalm 96.
Psalm 98 is an imperative hymn of praise composed of three parts, each preparing for the next. The first part (vv. 1-3) begins with a general call to praise the LORD in song because the LORD has done marvelous things. The marvelous things are then summarized; the LORD has won a victory that showed his faithfulness to Israel and revealed his righteousness to all the earth. The second part (vv. 4-6) invites all the earth, because of what they have seen, to join in the music that acclaims the LORD as king. The third part (vv. 7-9) intensifies the invitation by including all that is, sea and world, hills and floods. Nothing is to fail at praise, because the LORD comes as the king who will judge the earth with the same righteousness that He has shown toward Israel, a saving righteousness. The psalm lifts up the prospect of a coming kingdom where power and policy make for salvation. That is indeed reason for joy in the world!
Read or sing 265 “In Christ Alone” Prayer: Please pray for the parents in our congregation that they would not grow weary in seeking to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the LORD.
Saturday (7/3) Read and discuss 1 Peter 1:13-21. The ESV helpfully translates verse 13 into language that makes sense in the modern world: “Preparing your minds for action …” The original idiom is the interesting expression “gird up the loins of your mind.” Calvin writes:
This is a metaphor from an ancient custom. Since they had long garments, they could not make a journey, nor conveniently do any work, without being girded up. Hence the expressions, to gird up oneself for work or for an undertaking. He therefore bids them remove all hinderances, so that they may be free and go on to God. Those who philosophize too subtly about the loins, as though he were commanding that lusts ought to be restrained and checked, depart from the real meaning of the Apostle, for these words means the same as those of Christ, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning in your hands’ (Luke 12:35) [ESV: Luke 12:35–36: “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks], except that Peter doubles the metaphor by ascribing loins to the mind. He means that our minds are held entangled by the passing cares of the world and by vain desires, so that they do not rise up to God. Therefore anyone who really wants to have this hope must learn in the first place to disentangle himself from the world, and gird up his mind so that he does not turn aside to vain affections. For the same reason he enjoins sobriety, which immediately follows. He commends not only temperance in eating and drinking, but rather spiritual sobriety, when we contain all our thoughts and affections so as not to be inebriated with the allurements of the world. Since even the least taste of them draws us away stealthily from God, when anyone plunges himself into these, he must of necessity become sleepy and stupid, and he forgets the things of God.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.