14 July 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 219 “O Worship the King”
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: Hebrews 10:16-18
Hymn of Preparation: 525 “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us”
Old Covenant Reading: Deuteronomy 32:34-43
New Covenant Reading: Romans 12:9-13
Sermon: The Good Life
Hymn of Response: Psalm 111B “O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 494 “O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts”
OT: 1 Kings 8:1-11
NT: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
The Glory of the LORD
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 99
Q. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.
Monday (7/8) Read and discuss Romans 12:9-13. R.C. Doug Moo writes:
Jesus Himself put love for God and love for others at the heart of His “new covenant ethics.” The apostles only rarely call on their converts to love God, preferring to speak of faith and obedience instead. But they follow Jesus almost to the letter in making lover for other people the central focus of their exhortations. But “love” can be a vague idea. One of Paul’s purposes here is to specify some types of behavior that manifest “sincere” love.
The Greek behind the NIV’s “Love must be sincere” has no verb; a very literal rendering would be “the love sincere.” Supplying an imperative verb (as almost all translations do) is not necessarily wrong, but it obscures the fact that these words seem to be a heading for the rest of the passage. It is as if Paul gives a definition: “Love that is sincere will be …” The underlying word [translated sincere means “not hypocritical.” The word translated “hypocritical”] was often applied to the actor who “played a part” on the stage. Christians can avoid love that is mere “play-acting” if they put into practice the commands that follow.
Read or sing Hymn 219 “O Worship the King” Prayer: Ask the LORD to lead you to act in ways that express sincere love toward those around you.
Tuesday (7/9) Read and discuss Romans 12:3-8. Human nature being what it is, we shouldn’t be surprised that Paul would first warn us to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. Nevertheless, one of the temptations we need to avoid as Christians is the temptation to be reactionaries. Over the past 30 years, America has gone through a self-esteem craze – where we moved to giving ever athlete a trophy merely for participating and where we frequently cared more about how students felt about themselves while studying math and English than whether they were actually learning anything. If you think that this problem has gone away – you ought to talk with a college professor about what would happen if she were to give half of her students Cs. But what I want to highlight, is how Christians, in reacting to this self-esteem craze, sometimes mistakenly think that the alternative to thinking too highly of ourselves is to think really lowly of ourselves. This is where we have to remember that, in Christ, you are completely and perfectly loved by the God who spoke the universe into existence; you have been called into His mission to reconcile the world to Himself in Jesus Christ; and you have been given gifts by God both for the sake of that mission and for our common life in the world. What keeps us from being puffed up with pride isn’t thinking that these gifts from God aren’t a big deal. What keeps us from being puffed up with pride is remembering that they are all gifts from God rather than our own personal achievements. Christian humility is not thinking poorly about yourself. Christian humility flows from remembering that all the talents and abilities that we possess are gifts of God’s free grace. As Paul says elsewhere, “What do you have that you did not first receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you didn’t receive it?” This is a truth that liberates us to the true humility of not worrying about our status in society at all. Read or Sing Hymn 525 “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” Prayer: Please lift up the Session of our congregation as it meets this evening.
Wednesday (7/10) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 32:34-43. On July 8th, 1741, Jonathan Edwards preached one of the most famous sermons ever to be preached in North America – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – on Deuteronomy 32:35: “Their foot shall slide in due time.” Modern Americans frequently treat this great sermon as though Edwards and other Puritans were obsessed with judgment. But what Edwards was actually obsessed with, was the grace of God in calling sinners out of judgment for the sake of His beloved Son. You can see this in how Edwards ends this famous sermon. He writes:
And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now hearken to the loud calls of God’s word and providence. This acceptable year of the LORD, a day of such great favor to some, will doubtless be a day of remarkable vengeance to others. Men’s hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace at such a day as this, if they neglect their souls; and never was there so great danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart and blindness of mind. God seems now to be hastily gathering in His elect in all parts of the land; and probably the greater part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the Apostles’ days; the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded. If this should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will curse the day that ever you were born, to see such a season of the pouring out of God’s Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to hell before you had seen it. Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down and cast into the fire.
Therefore, let ever one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Hasted and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain lest you be consumed.”
Prayer: Ask the LORD to cause His word to take root in your life that it would produce the fruit of righteousness and peace.
Thursday (7/11) Read and discuss 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. Scott Hafemann writes:
A serious study of the text reaffirms the nature of biblical revelation and communicates to the church that the locus of meaning and authority of the Scriptures does not reside in us, but in the text that we labor so hard to understand. In his weakness, Paul argued for his authority from the Scriptures, in contrast to his opponents, who relied on their personal power, mystical experiences, rhetorical prowess, and public reputations
So too, we turn to the Scriptures because we are convinced that the authority of our gospel derives from the inerrancy, sufficiency, and power of the Word of God.
In addition to all that Paul actually says in this passage, the scriptural foundation of his arguments calls the church to regain its commitment to a serious exegesis of the biblical text as the basis of its authority and ministry in the modern world. As Daniel Fuller puts it, the essential role of the Holy Spirit in biblical interpretation urges “the exegete always to acknowledge his complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and at the same time … to develop his skill in using valid exegetical means to determine the meanings that were intended by the words which the Holy Spirit inspired the biblical writer to use.”
We must pray that our Spirit-inspired willingness to go where the text leads us will be matched by a corresponding willingness to take up the task of studying the Scriptures under the conviction that in these writings alone God has spoken to His people. Given the subjectivity that reigns both in our culture and in the church, this second willingness will necessitate a dramatic work of the Spirit of no less magnitude than the first.
Read or Sing Psalm 111B “O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise” Prayer: Ask the LORD to reform the Church in New England by causing us to rediscover the centrality of obedience in the Christians life.
Friday (7/12) Read and discuss 1 Kings 8:1-11. Walter Maier writes:
1 Kings 8:10-11 relates how, after the priests left the Holy Place, … (which means they came out from the temple), “the cloud” filed the temple. As a result, the priests were not able to minister inside the sanctuary, “because the glory of Yahweh filled the temple.” This was “the cloud” in which was the special presence of Yahweh, which manifested His presence. That this cloud entered and filled the temple was a sign of Yahweh’s approval and acceptance of the temple and his taking up “residence” there. All of this is strikingly reminiscent of what happened when Moses set up the tabernacle, as recounted in Exodus 40:34-35: “The could covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to go into the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle.”
In other words, the cloud which filled the temple was the same theophanic cloud manifested in Moses’ day. This was the cloud of God’s presence. The divine Angel was associated with this cloud, which stood between Israel and the Egyptian army. The glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud just before Yahweh sent the quail and manna. This cloud was also above the tabernacle, and when it lifted, the Israelites would set out, being led by the cloud to a new camping site.
Read or sing Hymn 494 “O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts” Prayer: Ask the LORD to send visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family.
Saturday (7/13) Read and discuss Romans 12:9-13. Doug Moo writes:
Biblical love, as we are constantly reminded, is not an emotion. It is an attitude, a mind-set. This distinction is one that older writers, and a few contemporary ones, try to get at by using the word “charity’ to describe what the Bible is talking about. We are commanded to love; it is therefore a choice we make, a matter of the will.
To be sure, I do not think any of us can love in the way the Bible asks us to without the enabling grace of God. Love is not something that can ever be entirely the product of the human will. But our wills are involved. The Spirit may foster love within us. But it is our job to cooperate with the Spirit in developing a consistent mind-set of love toward others and to work actively at putting love into effect in the various relationships we find ourselves involved in. This is precisely the point Paul seems to be making here. “Sincere love,” as we have argued, is the theme of 12:9-21. Paul wants to show what biblical love looks like in practice. The Christian who harbors an attitude of love will act in the ways that he describes here.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.