All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 23 February 2020

23 February

Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3

Opening Hymn: 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”

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: Colossians 1:11-14

Hymn of Preparation: Psalm 8A “O LORD, Our Lord, in All the Earth”

Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 25:1-22

New Covenant Reading: 1 John 2:18-28

Sermon: Opposition to the Light

Hymn of Response: 500 “Father, I Know That All My Life”

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

Doxology (Hymn 568)

Closing Hymn: Psalm 2A “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage”

PM Worship

OT: Psalm 1:1-6

NT: Ephesians 4:1-6

Worthy Walking

Shorter Catechism Q/A # 24

Q. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Suggested Preparations

Monday (2/17) Read and discuss 1 John 2:18-28. David Jackman writes:

It is not so much that we need to be learning new truth. Novelty in itself can be a great snare. Rather, we need to be learning more deeply and practicing more fully the great truths we have been aware of from the start of our Christian experience. Many of us modern Christians spend comparatively little time allowing the majestic truths of our faith to settle deeply into our consciousness. We spend a lot of time talking about our experience of living the Christian life, but not so much dwelling on the character of God, the person of Christ, His atoning death, His resurrection life, the person and activity of the Holy Spirit, and then our universal human sinfulness, the grace of God in salvation, the process of becoming like Jesus (sanctification) and the hope of glory. These truths exist as living realities, independent of us, but they need to be permanently living in our minds and wills. As with children, we shall need to be fed milk before we can progress to solids, but it is only by feeding on God’s truth that we can grow as Christians at all.

Read or sing Hymn 224 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has revealed Himself to you in His word.

Tuesday (2/18) Read and discuss Ezekiel 36:16-24. Iain Duguid writes:

What Israel had done while they lived in their land was to turn it into a permanent place of death, thoroughly defiling it by means of bloodshed and idolatry, making it a place unfit for divine habitation for the living God. God had no choice but to bring them among the nations, just as he had threatened when they first entered the land (Deut. 29:22-28).

This action, however, created a new problem for God. He had promised to bring this people, who were called by his name, into the land of Canaan to possess it. He had established a relationship between himself, his people, and the land. Yet now the nations could see that the LORD’s people were absent from his land. That three-way relationship had been broken. The conclusion drawn by the surrounding nations would be natural: The LORD’s power was insufficient to bring about that which he promised. He had given up on his people as a bad job. The final elimination of those people for their sins – what Moses had feared in Numbers 14:15-16 and had prayed against – had finally become a reality.

Thus, as long as Israel was scattered among the nations, they continually profaned the divine name. This was now not because of anything particular they were doing, although there is no suggestion that the shock of exile in and of itself brought about a radical change in their behavior. Rather, they profaned God’s name simply by being in exile instead of the land of promise.

All of which brings Ezekiel to the reasons for God’s future mercy. If there had been no other reasoning involved for God than the necessity of dealing with Israel’s sin, permanent wrath would have sufficed. Israel could simply and deservedly have been blotted out from the pages of history of an example of the power of God’s holiness and his anger against sin. It is not God shrinks from dealing out such judgment that he stays his hand from crushing Israel comprehensively and finally. After all, he had earlier repeatedly declared that he would not have compassion on sinners. As was the case for the people of Noah’s day, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the Amorites living in the land at the time of Joshua’s assault, those whose sins were full could simply have been totally destroyed.

However, the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day were not completely destroyed. Why not? Because [even if he had] no compassion on them, God will nevertheless have concern for his name, which he had inextricably linked to Israel by entering covenant with them. Because of that sovereign irrevocable act, mercy not only may but must be shown to Israel. The honor of God’s name will be vindicated by a show of power among the nations when he brings Israel back to her land. The LORD will act, not for Israel’s sake, but for the sake of his own name.

Sing or Read Hymn Psalm 8A “O LORD, Our Lord, in All the Earth” Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has placed His name upon you so that vindicating you and vindicating His name belong together.

Wednesday (2/19) Read and discuss Psalm 25:1-22. Alec Motyer writes:

Psalm 25 is profoundly comforting. … The holy God, who insists on His holiness as the standard, is also the forgiving God. This means that He always has other things in mind than just our sinfulness and unworthiness. According to 25:6-7, He can look back over our sin-stained past and forget what He has seen! But, compares with what He banishes from mind and memory, three things are permanent: ‘compassion,’ His solemnly ‘committed love,’ and His ‘goodness.’ He never looks at us [except] through these three windows; indeed, says the remarkable verse 8, it is actually because (‘therefore’) He is good and upright that He bothers with sinners so as to lead and teach us. How good is that! Using the great, comprehensive word ‘holy,’ we rightly tremble at the thought of standing before the holy God, and then, reading 25:8, we can say that it is because He is holy that He bothers! Verse 11 puts the same truth in another way: it is ‘for His name’s sake’ – that is to say, because He is what He is; because His ‘name’ is an accurate shorthand for His revealed nature, He pardons my iniquity, great as it is.

Sing or Read Hymn 500 “Father, I Know That All My Life” Prayer: Please pray for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Thursday (2/20) Read and discuss Psalm 1:1-6. The first Psalm is so important to the Christian life that it is well worth memorizing so that you can meditate upon it throughout the day. Allen P. Ross explains the central message of the psalm:

By drawing a contrast between the righteous and the ungodly, the psalmist instructs believers not to live the way the world lives, not to take spiritual, moral, or ethical advice from unbelievers, and not to join them in their profane enterprises; rather, believers must study the word of God in order to live an untarnished and productive life for God, and that life will be evidence of a living faith that will see them through the judgment, when God judges the wicked. …

For believers, the application is obvious: they must spend time meditating on God’s word so that they may live a distinct and productive spiritual life for God, and in the process find assurance that God knows them and will preserved them through the judgment. To unbelievers the message is urgent: they must come to faith in the Lord, because if they live their lives without faith in him or his word, not even their good deeds will count and they will not survive the judgment to come.

Prayer: Ask the LORD to bring visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by uniting with us and whose gifts would be used to build up this local church family.

Friday (2/21) Read and discuss Ephesians 4:1-6. Where does the idea for Church unity start? It begins with our calling. This isn’t our vocation to be carpenters, homemakers, or salesmen but the more basic calling to be Christians. N.T. Wright puts it like this:

(Paul) is referring to the basic calling of the gospel itself, summoning people to believe in Jesus as the risen Lord and King and to give Him complete and undivided allegiance for the rest of their lives.

A key part of this calling is the Christian hope, which works like this. Because King Jesus has conquered death itself, all who give Him their faithful allegiance are assured that the same victory will be theirs as well. This is the ‘calling’ to which they must ‘live up’. At every moment, in every decision, with every word and action, they are to be aware that the call to follow Jesus the Messiah, and give Him their complete loyalty, takes precedence over everything else.

In particular, this must lead them back again and again to celebrate their unity, to maintain and guard it. They are, after all members of the same body and sharers in the same Spirit. They possess the same hope. Above all, they have the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism, and the same God – the true God, the sovereign one who stands over against all other gods and goddesses as the rising sun does to man-made candles and torches.

Read or sing Psalm 2A “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage” Prayer: Ask the LORD to guard the unity and peace of our local church.

Saturday (2/22) Read and discuss 1 John 2:18-28. Karen Jobes writes:

The apostles commissioned as Jesus’ witnesses, primarily those present in the upper room when Jesus [spoke about the giving of the Holy Spirit], provided the Spirit-inspired interpretation of the significance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus when they wrote, or were responsible for the writing of, the books of the NT. Apostolic testimony was completed with the closing of the canon. But orthodox Christian doctrine continued to develop over the first four centuries of the church, and even today issues arise that demand theological inquiry. Furthermore, the task of theological exegesis of Scripture is to infer meaning from the biblical texts that goes beyond their specific historical context to address issues and concerns that the church has not before faced.

Jesus Himself delimits … claims of Spirit-revealed truth: they must “glorify” Jesus Christ. Any teaching that claims the Spirit’s authority must involve the incarnate Son of God who atoned for sin on the cross. The issue at the time John wrote – who is Jesus? – remains the central issue today. The only authorized source that answers that question is the divinely inspired, apostolic teaching preserved in the pages of Scripture. … Neither Jesus nor John denies the need for ongoing exposition of the Scripture in the church, but John affirms that we already have all the knowledge we need about who Jesus Christ is. John’s point is that the truth of apostolic teaching, now preserved in the canon of Scripture, is the full truth.

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