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Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 22 September 2019

22 September 2019

Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3

Opening Hymn: Psalm 146 “Praise the LORD! My Soul, O Praise Him!”

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: Psalm 78:38-39

Hymn of Preparation: 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You”

Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 79:1-13

New Covenant Reading: Romans 15:1-7

Sermon: Following Christ, Glorifying God

Hymn of Response: Psalm 103A “Bless the LORD, My Soul”

Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)

Doxology (Hymn 568)

Closing Hymn: 563 “May the Grace of Christ Our Savior”

PM Worship – Dan Borvan Preaching

OT: Psalm 34:1-22

NT: 1 Peter 2:1-3

The LORD is Good

Shorter Catechism Q/A # 2

Q. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (9/16) Read and discuss Romans 15:1-7. John Stott writes:

This simple statement [‘because Christ did not please Himself’] ‘sums up with eloquent reticence both the meaning of the incarnation and the character of Christ’s earthly life.’ Instead of pleasing himself, he gave himself in the service of his Father and of human beings. Although he, ‘being in very nature God,’ had the greatest right of all persons to please himself, yet ‘he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped’ for his own advantage, but first ‘emptied himself’ of his glory and then ‘humbled himself’ to serve.

Instead of referring specifically either to the incarnation or to some incident of his incarnate life, however, Paul quotes from Psalm 68, which vividly describes the unjust, unreasonable sufferings of a righteous man, and which is quoted of Christ four or five times in the New Testament, being regarded as a messianic prediction. Its verse 9 includes the words Paul quotes. As it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ That is to say, as an example of refusing to please himself, Christ so completely identified himself with the name, will, cause and glory of the Father that insults intended for God fell upon him.

Read or sing Psalm 146 “Praise the LORD! My Soul, O Praise Him!” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in Iran who live out their faith with many hardships.

Tuesday (9/17) Read and discuss Romans 14:13-23.  Commenting on the phrase “everything which is not of faith is sin,” James Dunn writes:

This is the negatively stated counterpart of love of neighbor. Whatever is not lived out of trust in God, out of the creature’s dependence on the Creator (which can also be expressed as “justification by faith”), puts one apart from God and within the power of sin. The echo of the indictment of 1:18-3:20 is not accidental. The threat to the believer’s relationship is ever present, of once again falling into the primeval trap of acting in disregard of God, of erecting one’s own judgments into instruments by which to control others (to “be as God”). The alternative to faith is sin – not as a threat but as a fact – either to live in dependence on God, or to live for something else whose distinctive power does not usually become apparent right away. This alternative lurks at both ends of Christian liberty: the sin of claiming too much freedom in matters of social conduct as well as the sin of claiming too little.

Read or Sing Hymn 288 “We Come, O Christ, to You” Prayer: Ask the LORD to make you mindful of how your choices and actions impact your broader church family.

Wednesday (9/18) Read and discuss Psalm 79:1-13.  Asaph understands that the LORD has used the Gentiles to bring His righteous judgment upon His chosen people. This Psalm is a plea that He would forgive their sins, relent in this judgment, and bring judgment on the Gentiles who refuse to honor the LORD as God. What is the basis for this request? Commenting on verse 10 Calvin writes:

God extends his compassion towards us for this own name’s sake; for, as he is merciful, and will have our mouths stopped, that he alone may be accounted righteous, he freely pardons our sins. But here, the faithful beseech him that he would not allow his sacred name to be exposed to the blasphemies and insults of the wicked. From this we are taught that we do not pray in a right manner, unless a concern about our own salvation, and zeal for the glory of God, are inseparably joined together in our exercise.

Prayer: Ask the LORD to cause His own name to be exalted in our country and in our communities.

Thursday (9/19) Read and discuss Psalm 34:1-22.  James Montgomery Boice writes:

When I was living in Switzerland in the mid-1960s, I had a friend for whom the first half of Psalm 34:8 was probably her favorite passage in the Bible: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” She liked the strong physical quality of it and probably, because she was liturgically inclined, viewed its best fulfillment in the communion service.

I do not think this verse is about communion, though that is not an inappropriate application of the principle. But my friend was certainly right in this, that the verse encourages us to try God out, almost physically, just as we would some great treat or delicacy. Does that seem indelicate or impious to say? To compare God to good food? Maybe. But although God is more than this image suggests, he is certainly not less. Our problem is not that we think of him too literally but that we do not think of him literally enough. Moreover, as far as the communion service goes, the eating of the broken bread and the drinking of wine is to teach us that that God becomes as literally a part of us by faith as food becomes a part of our bodies by the eating of it.

How does God become a part of you, a part of your thinking, of what you really are? It is by faith, and faith means believing God and acting upon that belief. In other words, it is exactly what David is speaking of in this stanza, though in other words. He wants us to act on what we know of God and his goodness, for only then will we actually experience for ourselves how good God truly is.

“I found Him to be good,” says David. “He delivered me from all my fears and enemies, and provided for me too. I want you to experience his provision as I have.”

Psalm 103A “Bless the LORD, My Soul” Prayer: Ask the LORD to cause you to more fully know His perfect love which casts out all fears.

Friday (9/20) Read and discuss 1 Peter 2:1-3. Karen Jobes writes:

Peter continues to draw out the consequential moral and ethical implications for the Christian’s life by presenting the third and fourth imperatives of the series that he began in 1:13. He has already exhorted his readers to set their hope fully on God’s grace (1:13) and to be holy after the character of their heavenly Father (1:15). He continues his ethical instruction on how Christians are to live in community with each other with the commands to love one another earnestly (1:22) and to grow in Christ by craving pure spiritual milk (2:2). This begins his teaching on how the community of believers, and not society at larger, is to be the Christians’ primary social context, for their faith in Christ has brought them into the eternal fellowship of God’s people. Peter presents earnest love within the Christian community as the hallmark of having been converted. They are to love one another earnestly and to crave the spiritual nourishment that fosters a vital Christian community.

Read or sing Hymn 563 “May the Grace of Christ Our Savior” Prayer: Ask the LORD to send revival and reformation to New England.

Saturday (9/21) Read and discuss Romans 15:1-7. Doug Moo writes:

I want to visit again a point that emerges in passing in this paragraph: the enduring valued of the Old Testament for Christian thought and life. The very fact that Paul can mention the value of the Old Testament in passing shows how ingrained that idea was in the early church. Yet the ignorance of the Old Testament among believers in our day is staggering. Average Christians, of course, are not entirely to blame. Calculate sometime the percentage of sermons you hear in your own church on the Old Testament in comparison with the New Testament. We can trace the problem one step further back. When students ask for recommendations for commentaries on New Testament books, I can usually name of the top of my head five or six excellent, contemporary treatments. But I am sometimes hard-pressed to name even one excellent commentary on certain Old Testament books.

… Nowhere does [Paul] make this point clearer than in Romans 15:4: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Paul’s use of [Moos gives the Greek word translated “written in the past”] certifies he is referring to the Old Testament. Note that “everything” in the Old Testament is written for our benefit as new covenant believers.

Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.

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