3 November 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty”
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 106:43-45
Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 4 “Give Ear, God of My Righteousness”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 72:1-19
New Covenant Reading: Romans 15:22-33
Sermon: Bound Together in One Family
Hymn of Response: 408 “For All the Saints”
Confession of Faith: Q/A 1 Heidelberg Catechism (p. 872)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 409 “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”
OT: Psalm 23:1-6
NT: John 10:7-18
Good Shepherd, Secure Sheep
Singing Psalm 23A
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 8
Q. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Monday (10/28) Read and discuss Romans 15:22-33. N.T. Wright comments:
One of the reasons why the church in Judea was poor seems to be that in their first flush of enthusiasm for the gospel they had done what some other renewal movements of their day had done. They had pooled their property, selling farms and fields and putting the money into common possessions. But now, following a famine, and no doubt facing hostility from their own fellow Judaeans who rejected the gospel and resented their allegiance to it, they were in dire need. Meanwhile Paul, as part of his regular Christian teaching, had been instructing Gentile communities, not to sell up and have a common purse, but to look after one another’s physical and financial needs from within the communities where, it was assumed, some would continue to own houses and businesses and be in a position to help others. The same end was in view, namely that none should be in want. The same theology underlay both patterns, namely the self-giving of God in Jesus as the pattern and model. But the practice was different. Now Paul, with his way of doing things, was in a position to help the churches in Judea.
There is another reason for the Cristian in and around Jerusalem to sell their property. Jesus had predicted in the Olivet Discourse that Jerusalem would be completely destroyed within one generation of His own death. What do you do with assets which you are certain that they are going to become worthless? That’s right, you sell them and invest the proceeds in something whose value will endure. That is what the Jewish Christians did when they sold their property and invested the proceeds in the building up and spread of the Kingdom of God. Maintaining real estate holdings in Jerusalem after the LORD had warned of its imminent utter destruction would have been as foolish as Abraham investing his spare cash in Sodom and Gomorrah after the Angel of the LORD had told him that He was about to completely destroy those cities. Those who believed Christ’s words put those words into practice in the most practical manner possible. That is also why this pattern isn’t repeated in any other church outside of Jerusalem. The LORD had foretold that Jerusalem would be completely destroyed in one generation. He has said this about no other city. Read or sing Hymn 216 “Praise to the LORD, the Almighty” Prayer: Ask the LORD to bring you to a deeper understanding of how you are connected to the family of God that is suffering in many parts of the world.
Tuesday (10/29) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 13:1-11. In the 20th and 21st centuries it Americans have come to the place where we largely view religion in terms of preference and personal choices. We imagine that people are entitled to believe and to say whatever they want. That is, we have taken the legal right to freedom of religion and speech and mistaken that for the moral right to believe and teach whatever a person decides for him or herself. But God never gives anyone the right to rebel against Him or to lead others away from trusting in Him. Under the Mosaic administration of the Covenant of Grace, the covenant community was also a nation with a penal code that reflected that reality. While we are not to simply take the Mosaic penal code and impose it upon modern States, we can still learn from what that code teaches us about God and how we should live. Commenting on the fact that Deuteronomy 13 imposes the death penalty for those who would lead people in Israel away from the LORD, Eugene Merrill comments:
The purpose of implementing such a drastic action was not only to satisfy the wounded honor of a holy and righteous God but to serve as a deterrent to future covenant violation (v. 11). Unfortunately, the injunction must seldom if ever have been carried out. Over and over again Israel and Judah were unfaithful to the LORD, a pattern of life that rough a series of judgments upon them, culminating in the eventual demise and deportations of the respective kingdoms.
That is, there were two evils that led to the Assyrian and then the Babylonian exiles. First, there were those who rebelled against God and encouraged others to also do so. Second, there was a failure to exercise the discipline of carrying out the laws which the LORD had given to restrain such evil.
Read or Sing Hymn Psalm 4 “Give Ear, God of My Righteousness” Prayer: Ask the LORD to hallow His name in your home, your workplace, and in your community.
Wednesday (10/30) Read and discuss Psalm 72:1-19. Allen P. Ross writes:
Here a psalm has been included that looks to the future of the monarchy. The petitions in this prayer reflect the needs of the nation, for the nation never had a king that did these things. In fact, there has never been a truly righteous king or a righteous government in the history of the world. And the world needs a righteous king.
So this is a prayer that God will so bless the future king that his reign will be a righteous reign. But since the descriptions used in the petitions are found throughout the prophets and the psalms as descriptions of the coming messianic age, this prayer becomes eschatological. That is, it is a legitimate prayer expressing a legitimate need, but it will only be fulfilled in the Messiah. The Messiah will reign over a kingdom on earth in which righteousness and justice will thrive, the land will produce its bounty in abundance, and all the nations of the earth will submit to his authority and be blessed through him. The prayer of this psalm draws in some of the great prophesies of the reign of the Messiah on earth, which the New Testament confirms will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ when he returns to earth at his second coming. While he now sits enthroned at the right hand of the Majesty on High, as Scripture depicts it, he has not yet put all things under submission, righteousness does not fill the earth, and the whole world groans, waiting for the day of redemption. The petitions of this psalm, for one, will be fulfilled in the coming messianic kingdom.
Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus Christ will certainly return to earth to fully establish His glorious kingdom on earth.
Thursday (10/31) Read and discuss John 10:1-21. Chuck Swindoll writes:
Jesus’ statement is strong “I AM”, paired with the phrase “good shepherd,” which is particularly emphatic in Greek. What follows is a clear foreshadowing of the persecution he will suffer and a strong affirmation of His substitutionary death on behalf of His believers. Just as important is His acknowledgement that truth always has been a lightning rod for evil; nevertheless, He will not flinch as evil strikes Him with all the power of hell. As the Creator, he cannot be overpowered by anything. Yet He will voluntarily suffer and die to carry out the Father’s redemptive plan.
This sets Jesus apart from the religious leaders of the people, who supposedly shepherd the people of God. Whereas He is selfless, they are selfish. Whereas He will lay down His life for the sheep, they will abandon all to save themselves. Whereas Jesus lived in complete obedience to the Father, they obeyed their own lusts.
Read or Sing Hymn 408 “For All the Saints” Prayer: Ask the LORD to bring visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with our church family.
Friday (11/1) Read and discuss Psalm 23:1-6. D.A. Carson helpfully reminds us that the model by which we understand something largely determines what we see. For example, how do you think about the Church? If you think of the Church as an organization, you will focus on management and programs. If you think of the Church as a family, you will focus on relationships. If you think of the Church as the pillar and foundation of the truth, you will focus on teaching and the proclamation of the Apostolic Gospel. All of these models are valid. We are therefore to see the Church through all of these models (and many others) rather than reducing it down to our favorite model. One obvious question that this raises is what primary metaphor to you use as a model for thinking about God? Frequently, in the Psalms, God is referred to as Creator and King. He is also referred to using abstract language like “Rock” and “Fortress”. In Psalm 23 David selects a metaphor that would have been very personal. He likens God to a Shepherd. Remember that David himself had been a shepherd as a boy and continued to think of his own kingship as a type of shepherding of the people of Israel. As a good shepherd, David cared for and defended the sheep with great courage. As David told Saul before going out to fight against Goliath:
“Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
With this in mind, perhaps the most striking word in the psalm is “my”. It doesn’t entirely shock us that the Creator of the Universe would be the Shepherd of the whole flock of Israel. What is astonishing is that He personally cares for each one of His sheep. As we confess in the Heidelberg Catechism: “Without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation.” This is a beautiful truth. It is also one that leads all thoughtful readers to ask: Is the LORD my Shepherd the way that He was David’s Shepherd? Read or sing Hymn 409 “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” Prayer: Ask that the young people in our congregation would all come to trust the LORD as their own personal Shepherd.
Saturday (11/2) Read and discuss Romans 15:22-33. Doug Moo writes:
One obstacle, however, still remains in the way of Paul’s trip to the western part of the empire: He is on his way to Jerusalem “in the service of the saints there.” “In the service” translates the Greek verb diakoneo (to serve, minister). This word refers to any kind of ministry, but the context reveals that Paul is referring to the specific ministry of “the collection.”
Paul initiated this enterprise on his third missionary journey, requesting contributions from the Gentile churches he had planted to be sent to Jerusalem for the believers who were suffering from severe want. In somewhat of a parenthesis, Paul now explains this “service” before continuing to discuss his plans to visit Rome. Macedonia is the roman province that includes important Pauline churches like Philippi and Thessalonica, while Achaia includes Corinth. Paul has requested money from them, but he makes clear that they gave of their own free will. They were “pleased to make a contribution [koinonia].” Kononia is the usual New Testament word for “fellowship” enjoyed by believers in Christ. The money sent by the Gentiles is a tangible expression of this fellowship. …
In verse 27 we detect why the collection is so important to Paul. It is not just a charitable project; it is also designed to bring into closer fellowship Gentile and Jewish believers. The Gentiles, after all, have benefited spiritually from the Jews. As Paul explains in 11:17-18, Gentile Christians derive whatever spiritual blessing they experience from the Jewish Messiah and the fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel. The Gentile Christians can partially repay this debt by sharing with the Jews their own material blessings.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.