13 October 2019 – The Rev. Gary Moore Preaching
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 288 “We Come, O Christ to You”
Confession of Sin
Most holy and merciful Father; We acknowledge and confess before You; Our sinful nature prone to evil and slothful in good; And all our shortcomings and offenses. You alone know how often we have sinned; In wandering from Your ways; In wasting Your gifts; In forgetting Your love. But You, O Lord, have pity upon us; Who are ashamed and sorry for all wherein we have displeased You. Teach us to hate our errors; Cleanse us from our secret faults; And forgive our sins for the sake of Your dear Son. And O most holy and loving Father; Help us we beseech You; To live in Your light and walk in Your ways; According to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”
Old Covenant Reading: Hosea 5:13-6:6
New Covenant Reading: Luke 18
Sermon: Purity of Heart to Will One Thing
Hymn of Response: 507 “Thy Mercy, LORD, Is What I Need”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 283 “Fairest Lord Jesus”
PM Worship – Rev. Gary Moore Preaching
OT: Psalms 15 and 16
NT: John 6:22-59
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 5
Q. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Monday (10/7) Read and discuss Luke 18:15-30. N.T. Wright comments:
Luke emphasizes how young the babies were that people were bringing to Jesus. Jesus’ rebuke to the disciples rings out still today in a world where thousands of children are treated as sub-human, as disposable commodities. These are the ones, he says, who most truly show us what it means to accept and enter God’s kingdom. There is something about the helplessness of children, and their complete trust of those who love and care for them, which perfectly demonstrates the humble trust he has been speaking of all along. Jesus doesn’t offer a romantic or sentimental view of children; he must have known, in the daily life of a village, and through growing up as the oldest of several children, just how demanding and annoying they can be. But he sees to the heart of what it means to receive God’s kingdom; it is like drinking in one’s mother’s milk, like learning to see – and to smile! – by looking at one’s mother’s eyes and face.
By contrast, the rich ruler who appears so confident, so well organized, so determined, looks into the face of the one he calls ‘good’ and turns away sad. He had hoped to impress Jesus with his piety and devotion; unlike the ‘sinners’ of whom we have heard so much in the previous chapters, he had a clean moral record in keeping the well-known commandments. His question, Jesus’ answer, and the subsequent conversation with the crowd and the disciples, enable us to see to the heart of what is going on as Jesus approaches Jerusalem.
Read or sing Hymn 288 “We Come, O Christ to You”!” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters in China.
Tuesday (10/8) Read and discuss Romans 15:7-13. The behavior of the Jewish people had dragged God’s name through the mud. A common question that arises for many people is “If God is all good and all powerful, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?” Once we come to grips with the fact that human beings are engaged in cosmic treason against our Creator – the logical problem of human suffering disappears. After all, we deserve it! But a very real challenge remains: “Since the LORD is all good and all powerful, why are His chosen people such a mess?” For centuries, the Jewish people had dragged the LORD’s good name through the mud by their rebellion and even idolatry. As Paul had bluntly told them in Romans chapter two: “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” And yet, “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.” Jesus glorifies God by both demonstrating and bringing into effect the faithfulness of God. Remember how the symphony moves forward from chapter 2 to chapter 3:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
And again …
This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The Jews made God look bad. Jesus made God look good. It is really that simply. It is also really that profound. But this only happened because Jesus perfectly fulfilled His chief end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. Now, to state the obvious, you cannot imitate Christ’s work of fulfilling all righteousness and dying for the sins of the world. God has a strict limit of one Messiah per universe – and you are not Him! Nevertheless, we are all being called into God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself in Jesus Christ. And while you cannot die for your annoying brother’s sins, you can die to seeking your own will and your own comforts by embracing this brother and sister in love as a full member of God’s family – and when you do that – God is glorified in your life! Read or Sing Psalm 51C “God, Be Merciful to Me” Prayer: Ask the LORD to use you for His glory as you embrace your brothers and sisters in Christ as full members of God’s family.
Wednesday (10/9) Read and discuss Hosea 6:4-6. Gary Smith writes:
God’s response to Hosea’s invitation begins with a lament of disappointment. It is not that he does not know what to do; it is that he does not really want to do what he has to do. Somewhat like frustrated parents who are at their wits end on how to raise a deviant son, God wonders what he can do to bring about a real change in his people’s hearts. The internal struggle suggests that he loves Israel and Judah dearly and does not want to punish them. But when they do not respond appropriately, what can he do? He has warned them chastened them to wake them up, and promised hope if they repent. What more can he do?
God’s dissatisfaction with the devotion of his people is based on their fleeting nature of their covenant love for him. Like dew, it disappears as quickly as a vapor. Commitments mean nothing; their consistency never lass; they are positive one day and negative the next. They say they will seek God and worship him, but soon they inquiring of Baal and depending on military power instead of on God. They do not seem to know what loyalty means. Because God’s people do not consistently maintain their covenant relationship with him, he has sent prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Amos, Isaiah, Micah, and others to declare in no uncertain terms what punishments God will send. These prophets declared God’s intention to slay them for their sins if they did not love God with all their hearts.
These people know what they should do because God’s “justice went fourth as a light.” Doug Stuart suggests that God’s justice “functions like sunlight, appearing daily and exposing what had been hidden,” so that the darkness of their ways are known to him. In spite of this, all they can do is to mechanically bring their sacrificial gifts at their syncretistic temples to appease God. What God wants is their “consistent covenant devotion” (not “mercy,” as in the NIV). They need to know God by having a living relationship with him. Their worship at their temples does not satisfy the LORD because he wants them to love him, fear him, worship only him, serve him, and obey him (Deut. 10:12). Going through the religious motions will not cut it with God.
Prayer: Lift up our Sunday school teachers that the LORD would grant them enthusiasm, wisdom, and compassion as they help our young people grow in the knowledge of the LORD.
Thursday (10/10) Read and discuss John 6:22-59. After Jesus does the remarkable sign of feeding thousands of people with just a few loafs of bread the crowd responds in an amazing way: They ask Him to perform a sign. Specifically, they want Jesus to send down manna from heaven like they though Moses had done. Starting in verse 32 Jesus corrects their multiple misunderstandings. F.F. Bruce comments:
Jesus reminds them that it was not Moses, but God, who gave their forefathers the manna in the wilderness. And God, who fed his people with material food in those earlier days – and in fact still did so – was now offering them spiritual food, heavenly manna, life-giving bread. Like the loaves and fishes with which the multitude had recently been fed, the manna which Israel ate in the days of Moses was also material food, ‘bread out of heaven’ though it was. But there is another kind of bread which comes down from heaven – true, real bread sustaining the inmost and most lasting life of men and women – and it is of no perishable or material nature.
The expression ‘the bread of God’ is used occasionally in the OT of the ‘showbread’ the manna is called ‘bread of the mighty’ or ‘bread of the angels’ in Ps. 78.25. But here ‘the bread of God’ is the bread which God supplies: like the manna, it comes down from heaven, but unlike the manna, it gives life – eternal life – to all mankind.
Like the Samaritan woman, who said, ‘Sir, give me this water’ when she heard Jesus speak of the living water which he could give, the congregation responds to his words about the true bread with an eager request that they may receive this bread for evermore. But they still understand his words in a material sense; he therefore uses a new form of words to make his meaning plainer.
Jesus’ hearers had not understood what he meant by the ‘bread of God which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Now he tells them plainly what he means. In the former section of the discourse he had spoken of himself as the giver of this bread: in this section he identifies himself with it. ‘For Jesus is himself the gift of which he is the giver (B. Lindars).’ He has come to give himself that men and women may live by him. To partake of the bread of life they must come to him, they must believe in him. This total self-commitment to Christ, this appropriating him by faith, is the secret of eternal life and perpetual soul-refreshment.
Read or Sing Hymn 507 “Thy Mercy, LORD, Is What I Need” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at Pilgrim OPC in Dover, NH.
Friday (10/11) Read and discuss Psalm 16. This Psalm can seem difficult to interpret until we see how David’s prophesy about the resurrection of the Messiah undergirds the confidence he has in both this life and the life to come. This Psalm can be outlined like this:
- 1-2 David’s Relationship to God.
- 3-4 The Immediate Result of David’s Relationship with God.
- 5-9 David’s Present Blessings
- 10-11 David’s Future Hope
Where interpreters tend to get tripped up is in seeing how verses 10-11 relate to the rest of the Psalm. Some think that, since verses 1-9 relate to David’s personal experiences, verses 10-11 must focus on David’s personal experiences as well. But the Apostles Peter and Paul both quote verse 10 and both state that it applies specifically to Jesus and not to David (Acts 2:25-31; 13:35-36). Other interpreters wrongly assume that because verse 10 applies to Jesus that the whole Psalm must also be about him and not about David. While this is a more plausible interpretation it is probably better to see the Psalm as arising out of David’s own experience of being abandoned by men with David rejoicing that He will never be abandoned by His Lord. How does the idea that the Psalm arises out of David’s own abandonment fit together with the truth that verse 10 is a prophesy about Jesus? The answer is to recognize that David’s confidence for the future was not based upon God’s unmediated relationship with David but upon the mediated relationship that David had with God through the LORD’s Messiah. David looked forward (as we look back) to the coming Messiah who would fight Satan, sin, and death on his behalf. The vindication of the Messiah through the resurrection would therefore be David’s vindication as well. In this life David was guided by God (v. 7), guarded by God (v. 8), and gladdened by God (v. 9). All of this rested on the simple confidence He had that Jesus would be triumphant. As those who live on this side of the empty tomb we should be able to say with even greater confidence: “Jesus has won! Lord, You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Read or sing Hymn 283 “Fairest Lord Jesus” Prayer: Give thanks for Christ’s victor and the guarantee of our ultimate victory in Him.
Saturday (10/12) Read and discuss Luke 18:9-14. David Garland writes:
If the parable gives a snapshot of what God requires, what does the tax collector do right? (1) He pays no attention to anyone else and focuses only on his own sinful condition in the eyes of God. (2) He offers up no defense but comes with a broken and contrite heart and a sense of unworthiness. He recognizes that he is as good as dead and is ready to receive the reign of God like a child by acknowledging his lowliness. God welcomes the hopeless, despairing sinner. James 4:8-10 provides an apt commentary:
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the LORD and he will lift you up.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.