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Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 8 September 2019

8 September 2019

Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3

Opening Hymn: 234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

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: Galatians 2:20

Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 42B “As Pants the Deer for Flowing Streams”

Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 45:18-23

New Covenant Reading: Romans 14:1-12

Sermon: In All Things Charity

Hymn of Response: Psalm 112 “O Praise the LORD! The Man is Blest”

Confession of Faith: Q/A 1 Heidelberg Catechism (p. 872)

Doxology (Hymn 568)

Closing Hymn: 235 “All Glory Be to God”

PM Worship – Dan Borvan Preaching

OT: Psalm 24:1-10

NT: 2 Peter 3:1-7

The End of Days

Shorter Catechism Q/A # 107

Q. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (9/2) Read and discuss Romans 14:1-12. John Stott writes:

If it is inappropriate to reject somebody whom God has welcomed, it is at least as inappropriate to interfere in the relationship between a master and his household slave. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? (4a). In ordinary life such behavior would be regarded as outrageous and would be deeply resented. Just so, we have no business to come between a fellow Christian and Christ, or to usurp Christ’s position in his life. To his own master he stands or falls. For he is not responsible to us, nor are we responsible to him. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (4b), giving him his approval, whether he has ours or not.

Read or sing Hymn 234 “The God of Abraham Praise” Prayer: Ask the LORD to take away any remnants of a judgmental spirit against your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Tuesday (9/3) Read and discuss Acts 8:4-24. Jesus had told His Disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Interestingly, they don’t seem to have come up with any plans on how to do this. Instead, when the Church in Jerusalem is fiercely persecuted – Christ uses this persecution to carry out His own plans for building His Church. N.T. Wright explains:

Samaria, the hilly part of the country in between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north, had for centuries been home to people whom the Jews on either side regarded with deep suspicion and hostility. They were the people who had been in the land while the Jews had been in Babylon, and when they returned from Babylon they found themselves alongside one another. The Samaritans (who are still there, by the way, in small numbers and often, alas, treated as a mere tourist attraction) kept to a form of Judaism but with significant elements changed. There was no love lost between them and the Jews, and there had been several incidents of mutual violence.

Yet it was part of the agenda which Jesus set his followers, at the start of Acts, that they should be his witnesses not only in Jerusalem and Judaea, but in Samaria – and on, to the very ends of the earth (1:8). Like many things in Acts, they don’t seem to have had much of a plan for how to achieve this, and they don’t seem to have thought out in advance what such a plan might look like if they did; but it began to happen anyway, as we have seen, because of the persecution in Jerusalem and the scattering of people who were eager to talk about Jesus to anyone they met, whether they were proper Jews or not. And so Philip cheerfully breaks a centuries-old taboo (as, of course, Jesus himself had done, for instance in John 4 and Luke 17:11-19), and the Samaritans, equally cheerfully, accept his news about the Jewish Messiah – not least, it appears, because of the remarkable healings that Philip performed at the same time.

More important still, from Luke’s point of view, than the fact of Samaritans hearing about Jesus as Messiah, is what happened next. Many of the local people believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus. News of this reached the leaders in Jerusalem, and they made an unprecedented move. It appeared that, despite the Samaritan converts coming to faith and being baptized, they had not experienced the Holy Spirit in the same way that Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem had done on the day of Pentecost. This seems to have been interpreted in terms of the significant move that was taking place across the traditional boundary of culture and suspicion. It was important, they appear to have concluded, that what was happening in Samaria would not be dismissed by suspicious people in Jerusalem or elsewhere as merely some eccentric occurrence which could be waved away and discounted, leaving the new movement belonging only to bona fide Jews.

Read or Sing Hymn Psalm 42B “As Pants the Deer for Flowing Streams” Prayer: Please lift up the Session of our church as it meets this evening.

Wednesday (9/4) Read and discuss Isaiah 45:18-23. Commenting on verse 23, R. Reed Lessing writes:

Because his Word stands forever and goes out to accomplish that for which he sent it, Yahweh will cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess him. “This is a radically exclusivist message. There is only one God, and only one savior, and he is the God of Israel (Oswalt).” Bending the knee indicates submission to Yahweh. In Ps 72:9 the idea is parallel with licking the dust. “To kneel and to swear involve full and complete recognition of the sovereignty and power of the One to whom such homage is rendered. All will finally submit to Yahweh, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Not all will be saved. Those who believe are justified by faith in the only god. They worship their Savior now and throughout eternity. Those who disbelieve will, on the Last Day, be forced to submit to God’s justice in condemning them for eternity.

In Philippians 2:6-11, Paul appropriates this verse both as a warning of the coming subjugation of all evil as well as a promise of eternal salvation for those who trust in the Savior. The universal submission to Yahweh points to the eschatological acclamation that “Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father.” The apostle echoes the same idea in an attempt to bring together the weak and strong Christians in Rome by pointing them to an event that goes beyond their present controversy. Both groups will someday stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:11).

Prayer: Give thanks that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ!

Thursday (9/5) Read and discuss Psalm 24:1-10. Today’s passage is a liturgical psalm that celebrates the victory procession of the LORD into the Temple sanctuary. Allen Ross notes:

From the detailed analysis of the psalm we can suggest a reconstruction of the occasion and setting of the piece. The internal evidence suggests that the Israelites had just returned from a victorious battle with the Canaanites. They were proceeding to the sanctuary to give praise to the LORD for the great and mighty victory in battle, carrying with them the glorious ark of the covenant, the symbol of the LORD’s presence with them. As they approached the gates they were met by the Levitical gatekeepers. It was the worshiper’s part to ask who could enter the sanctuary of the LORD; and it was the gatekeepers’ part to answer with the standards set down in the Law – perfect righteousness. The worshipers in this case did not claim to be qualified to enter; rather, they responded that they were simply seeking the LORD’s favor – a response that indicates that they wanted to meet the LORD’s requirements but had to bring sacrifices to do that. The psalm concludes with the procession of the people into the sanctuary with shouts of acclamation for the LORD’s greatness expressed in the form of an encouraging refrain.

Two additional comments are in order:

  1. Whether or not Ross is entirely right in capturing the original setting of the Psalm, the Psalms are composed in such a way that they were intended to be used down through the centuries by believers. It is not only legitimate, but an intended function of this Psalm, that subsequent generations of believers would use it to celebrate the God who is victorious over His and our enemies; to celebrate the LORD’s majesty; and to confess that only those with clean hands and a pure heart are fit to come into his presence.
  2. It is fair to read verses 3-5 Christologically, realizing that the only man fully qualified “to ascend the hill of the LORD” is the man Christ Jesus. On the other hand, verse six is clearly intended to apply to believers and is not restricted to Jesus.

Read or Sing Hymn Psalm 112 “O Praise the LORD! The Man is Blest” Prayer:  Ask that the LORD would cause His name to be hallowed – on your lips, in your home, and in your school or workplace.

Friday (9/6) Read and discuss 2 Peter 3:1-7. Gene Green writes:

After calling his readers to remember his own testimony, the words of the prophets, and the commandment of the LORD given through the Apostles [in verses 1 and 2, Peter] identifies the heretics as those who are controlled by desire and who deny the reality of future judgment since they observe that things remain unchanged since ancient times. This is a rare moment, since [Peter] quotes their questions about the promise of the coming, which they understand as linked to the final judgment. As in the previous chapter, Peter’s response is that God has indeed judged the world in the past. The reason things continue as they have from the beginning is only because God’s word sustains everything. But although God sustained the ancient world, he destroyed it through the flood just as He will usher in judgment by fire for the present heaven and earth. This will mean the “destruction of the ungodly” as well. In this section Peter enters into a debate current in his day about the immutability of the world and the possibility of divine judgment. His perspective is not shaped principally by philosophical currents but by the witness of the prophets and the LORD handed down through the Apostles. In this clash of ideas and morals, Peters stands on the side of divine revelation.

Read or sing Hymn 235 “All Glory Be to God” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in Florida as they deal with the turmoil and loss that come with hurricane season.

Saturday (9/7) Read and discuss Romans 14:1-12. Michael Middendorf writes:

An important caveat about judging ought to be stated, particularly in a postmodern culture where any and all judging, particularly by followers of Jesus, is deemed to be contrary to statements by Jesus and Paul. The fundamental point pertains to who judges. Jesus makes it emphatically clear that we humans do not. However, God has expressed His own judgments regarding numerous things quite clearly in His word. Thus, while it would be wrong for believers to make judgments based upon their own standards, it is not wrong to pronounce God’s revealed judgments when appropriate. Indeed, we must do so if we are to remain salt and light in this world. Augustine expresses this distinction well:

Paul says this [Rom 14:4] so that, when something might be done with either good or bad motives, we should leave the judgment to God and not presume to judge the heart of someone else, which we do not see. But when it comes to things which obviously could not have been done with good and innocent intentions, it is not wrong if we pass judgment. … In the case of the abominable immorality where a man has taken his stepmother, Paul taught us to judge [1 Cor 5:15]. For that man could not possibly claim that he committed such a gross act of indecency with good intentions. So we must pass judgment on things which are obviously wrong.

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