10 November 2019
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
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: Isaiah 53:4-5
Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 133A “How Excellent a Thing It Is”
Old Covenant Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
New Covenant Reading: Romans 16:1-16
Hymn of Response: 408 “For All the Saints”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”
OT: 1 Kings 11:26-43
NT: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Israel’s Sin, God’s Faithfulness
Shorter Catechism Q/A # 9
Q. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Monday (11/4) Read and discuss Romans 16:1-16. R.C. Sproul writes:
We hear of Priscilla and Aquila in the book of Acts. They ministered with the apostle in Ephesus. Apparently, Priscilla and Aquila had been in Rome and had to flee when Christians were banished by the emperor Claudius. They went from Rome to Ephesus, where they met with the apostle Paul and assisted him in his ministry. We do not have a specific record of the risks they took for the apostle, but from the Acts record of Paul’s sojourn in Ephesus we know the time was a tumultuous one and that his life was in danger more than once.
Paul also sends a greeting to the church that was in their house. In the first-century community there were not only the ekklesia, the churches, but ekklesioh, little churches that met in homes. Those were not representative of today’s so-called house church. Today’s home-church movement generally, though not always, tends toward disenchantment with the organized visible church. There were home churches in the first century because there were no other places to meet. Those with larger homes would open them so people could assemble together for worship and instruction. The family of Priscilla and Aquila did that.
Read or sing Hymn 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has grafted you into a visible local church.
Tuesday (11/5) Read and discuss Romans 15:22-33. Paul had a passionate longing to preach the gospel in Rome and to build up the saints there. For years he had plead with the LORD to send him to the greatest city in the world – the very capital of the Roman Empire – but time and time again – the LORD said “no.” I actually find this wonderfully encouraging. Have you ever had what you thought were good desires and dreams that kept getting thwarted? Of course, you have. If not, you really ought to consider dreaming bigger and bolder dreams for your life. Sometimes those dreams are thwarted through external circumstances – but far worse than that is when our dreams are thwarted by our own stupid choices. As the song puts it “about mistakes, I’ve made a few.” But here is the tremendously good news in verse 22: I am not powerful enough that my mistakes can derail or bring to naught the good that the LORD plans to do through my life – and neither are external circumstances or even enemies. That is worth pausing and thinking about: “You are not powerful enough that your mistakes can derail or bring to naught the good that the LORD plans to do through your life – and neither are external circumstances or even enemies.” Encourage yourself with this truth! Read or Sing Hymn Psalm 133A “How Excellent a Thing It Is” Prayer: Give thanks that nothing in all creation can ever separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wednesday (11/6) Read and discuss Ecclesiastes 4:10-12. James Bollhagen writes:
As the simple pleasures of life are better enjoyed in community, so also the hazards and hardships of life are better handled in the company of other believers. These three verses simply offer examples of coping corporately with life. Falling down, shivering in the cold, and facing hostility are all negatives encountered in the fallen world. But helping another up, keeping warm, and staving off attack are all positive ways of coping with that fallen world.
Herein is a great capsule summary of biblical wisdom, which answers this question: how can the child of God survive each day in a rotten world until God effects his final deliverance? The God behind these scriptural words of wisdom is seen as the Creator who formed Eve as the companion of Adam so that he would not have to face life in the “not good” state of being alone. He is also the Redeemer who sacrificed animals to protect His people from the freezing cold and shame of this world. In the fulness of time, this God sent His Son to offer Himself as the atoning sacrifice that redeems all humanity, trapped in bondage under the condemnation and curse of the Law. Through His son, He has called us into communion with Himself and with each other. The Lord Jesus sent out His disciples not singly, but two by two and promised His abiding presence with them everywhere and always. He added, “Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, them I am in their midst.”
The tears produced by the cares of this world and the tears produced by the knowledge that God cares about this world always seem to be mingled together. Whether married, single, or even banished to an island (as was the apostle john), no believer in Jesus Christ is ever alone; the LORD is his constant companion to raise him up when he falls, to warm him from the cold of this world’s night, and to protect him from the attacks of the devil and the world in order to give him the ultimate victory. Thus, Eccl 4:10-12 is not simply about the human advantages of companionship and marriage, but it also is a passage that in its deepest sense teaches the eternal benefit of communion with Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Pray for the young people in our congregation that they would develop godly friendships.
Thursday (11/7) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. The early church fathers frequently used a striking image for the Church by comparing it to Noah’s Ark. There is much to be said in favor of this image. One wit has suggested that, like the Ark, if it wasn’t for the storm raging outside none of us could stand the smell on the inside. Thankfully, that is not the universal experience of Christians. The reason why the Ark imagery can be so helpfully is because when the LORD saves people He grafts them into His family. In spite of contemporary Western attitudes the time honored saying is clearly Biblical: “Ordinarily there is no salvation outside of the Church.” Nevertheless, all images are subject to abuse. The comparison of the Church to Noah’s Ark is helpful for directing people toward joining the Church but is perverted if we come to imagine that this means everyone within the Church is in fact saved. Instead of such a scheme teaching salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, it teaches that salvation is by formal church membership. This view has returned time and again to plague Christ’s Church. In the Middle Ages this view spawned the idea of implicit faith. Where the priests and well educated might be expected to have a personal faith in Jesus the laity could be saved without personally having faith in God or an understanding of what He had done in sending His Son simply be being church members and thereby sharing in the faith of the whole Church. Obviously such a view is not taught in the Bible. Amazingly, a variant of this view has broken out in North America in the 21st century amongst some who are on the fringes of Reformed Christianity. This variant wants to insist on the objectivity of membership within the covenant community. Some of these men are simply recovering a high view of the Church while others seem to be downplaying the need for individual regeneration and explicit personal faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s answer to this view is uncompromising. In effect he asks: “Have you never read your Bibles?” Virtually every adult who the LORD delivered from Egypt died in the wilderness due to their unbelief. Furthermore, most of Israel’s history from the time of Joshua to the time of the Babylonian exile was marked out by immorality and idolatry. Privilege meant responsibility it did not guarantee salvation. “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” Let us heed this example and cling to Christ out of genuine confidence in Him. Read or Sing Hymn 408 “For All the Saints” Prayer: Ask that the LORD would grant you, along with your brothers and sisters at MVOPC, the courage to walk in the light and to stand for the light.
Friday (11/8) Read and discuss 1 Kings 11:26-43. Walter Maier comments:
David is mentioned seven times in Ahijah’s speech (does seven here have symbolic significance?). The phrase “for the sake of my servant David” occurs in the first and second portions of the speech, and the concept “obedient as David” is reflected in the first and third portions. All of this emphasized both God’s covenant with David and what that covenant meant and David’s exemplary faithfulness to and zeal for Yahweh. The encouragement rang out clearly to Jeroboam: be as David was, a man loyal to the LORD and Mosaic covenant. If Jeroboam would be as obedient as David, Yahweh would be “with” Jeroboam, as He was with David, and He would build for Jeroboam a lasting house, as He promised David. As noted above, however, a crucial difference regarding the matter of an enduring dynasty was that God’s promise to Jeroboam was conditional, whereas the promise to David was not.
The repetition of the concept “obedient as David” allows for a striking contrast. Solomon was not obedient as David was, which called forth God’s righteous judgment. But if Jeroboam would be as obedient as David was, he would experience Yahweh’s tremendous blessing.
Read or sing Hymn 409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters at the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod.
Saturday (11/9) Read and discuss Romans 16:1-16. Michael Middendorf writes:
Those wishing to plumb the depths of Paul’s theology can find no better place to do so than the first fifteen chapters of Romans. But what of romans 16? It seems like just a list of names. Paul follows his commendation of Phoebe, likely the courier of the letter, in 16:1-2 with greetings to twenty-six named people in Rome, at times together with their households and those who worship with them. Later, in 16:21-23, eight more people send their greetings to the believers in Rome. While the latter grouping reflects a typical Pauline practice, “in no other letter does Paul even come close to the number of personal greetings he asks to be conveyed in vv. 3-15. The primary explanation resides in the fact that Paul has not yet been to Rome. The vast majority of his hearers have not heard Paul and do not know him personally. Those who are acquainted with him, therefore, serve something like his personal references to the whole community of believers.
Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.