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

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 23 May 2021

Call to Worship
Opening Psalm: Psalm 22B “All You Who Fear Jehovah’s Name”
Confession of Sin
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But You, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; According to Your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father; For His sake; That we may hereby live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 44:21-23
Hymn of Preparation: 119E “Teach Me, O LORD, Your Way of Truth”
Old Covenant Reading: Deuteronomy 12:29-32
New Covenant Reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-11
Sermon: No Different Doctrine
Hymn of Response: 243 “How Firm a Foundation”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Pastoral Prayer
Closing Hymn: Hymn 446 “Be Thou My Vision”

Suggested Preparations

Monday (5/17) Read and discuss 1 Timothy 1:1-11.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:1-11 (ESV)

Donald Guthrie writes:

Paul reminds Timothy of the occasion when he left him at Ephesus with a particular task, which involved commanding others not to teach false doctrine. Wrong doctrines were already being circulated at this early stage in the church’s life, and this is a reminder that in every age truth is challenged by counterfeits. There is much about false teachings in this letter and in the one to Titus. Whereas these were specific to the times, they throw light on certain principles which are still relevant today in dealing with some types of wrong teaching. Whatever is meant by myths and endless genealogies, it is clear that Paul regarded them as the very opposite of the serious content of the gospel. In view of the fact that in Tit. 1:14 Paul mentions ‘Jewish myths,’ it is probable that he had in mind mythical histories, like the Jewish Book of Jubilees. Note the contrast between controversies and God’s work. There was an unproductiveness about the false teaching which was the opposite of true faith. Paul draws attention to certain characteristics about the people who were promoting the teaching – their lack of meaning and their unsuitability to be teachers. What strikes us is the irrelevance of their teaching. Sandwiched in the center of the passage (v. 5), we find Paul’s statement about the nature of Timothy’s task (to produce love) and his advice on the nourishing of it (purity, a good conscience, and faith). The test of a good discussion is not that we have enjoyed a verbal battle but that it has promoted mutual understanding and love; sincere, openhearted and based on faith.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

Tuesday (5/18) Read and discuss 1 Corthinthians 13:8-13
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV)

Love is the number one theme in literature, in our movies, and in our music. This reminds us how central love is to the human condition. With all this attention given to love we could easily imagine that we have the subject down. Regretfully it is far easier to have the right words on our lips then to demonstrate love through our lives. Consider these closing words from the hit song “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel:

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

That’s so good you could easily think, yes, at least Billy Joel gets it … until you remember that he wrote this song for his first wife whom he later ditched. Then he married Christie Brinkley. After their failed marriage he married a woman who is more than 30 years younger than he is. Whatever you think of Billy Joel’s music, the words of this song are not the theme of his life. In today’s passage Paul is pointing out that Biblical love is steadfast love. It is commitment to be a blessing to the other person through thick and thin. How can we love like that? We can do so because Christ has first loved us like that. Secure in God’s love, we are empowered not simply to experience genuine love but to show forth what it looks like. Furthermore, according to Paul, love isn’t simply our duty or even our privilege – it is the Christian’s destiny. The new heavens and the new earth will involve an eternity of loving relationships because God Himself is love. As those who have been brought into Christ’s Kingdom we are called to live in the present in light of that future. Prayer: Ask that the LORD would make you an instrument of His love in this world – and that you would begin with those who are closest to you.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

Wednesday (5/19) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 12:29-32.
“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Deuteronomy 12:29-32 (ESV)

Eugene Merrill writes:

Having established the centrality and sanctity of the place of the LORD’s residence among His people, Moses turned now to the uniqueness of the LORD and His demands for exclusive recognition and worship. As noted already, this injunction is an elaboration of the first commandment in which these very concepts are promulgated (Deut 5:7). As noted also, this exposition of the commandment follows that of the notion of the central sanctuary because it logically and theologically makes sense that the exclusive worship of the LORD could not be a practical reality until the pagan shrines had been eliminated and the place where the LORD chose to place His name had been set up in their stead.

That this was the strategy behind Moses’ approach is clear from the present passage itself. It was only after the nations of Canaan were defeated and dispossessed that the worship of the LORD could be centralized and undertaken without the risk of syncretism or competition. Ironically, however, the mere destruction of the nations would not automatically remove the temptation to worship their gods (v. 30). As strange as it might seem, the attraction of the false deities was not at all diminished by the overthrow of the peoples who worshipped them. It was as though no linkage at all existed between them and their capability, between the notion of a god and that of his role in event and history.

Subsequent events were to demonstrate the possibility of such a paradoxical outcome, however, for over and over again in Israel’s history they showed their proclivity to follow after gods that were defeated and discredited in the face of the LORD’s powerful displays of sovereignty. This began as early as the time of the conquest and its immediate aftermath, for no sooner had Joshua and the elders who followed him delivered the land from its indigenous pagan populations than the people of Israel began to go after the very gods of those nations. More often than not this shameless devotion to nonexisting gods characterized the history of God’s chosen people ever afterward.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God.

Thursday (5/20) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. (ESV)

Richard Hays writes:

Having laid the groundwork in chapters 12 and 13, Paul now addresses the problem of the Corinthians’ worship in more specific terms. Some of the Corinthians – presumably those who consider themselves gifted with wisdom and knowledge – are placing inordinate emphasis on the gift of tongues. They believe that their ability to speak in a heavenly language that surpasses human understanding is the ultimate sign of their spiritual power and maturity. The community’s worship assembly, however, has fallen into disorderly confusion, as various members speak simultaneously and unintelligibly under the inspiration of the Spirit, perhaps even competitively seeking to outdo one another in the display of glossolalia. In this matter, as in the case of their abuse of the Lord’s Supper, Paul cannot commend them, for their behavior fractures the community.

Nonetheless, this situation poses a difficult pastoral problem for Paul, because he firmly believes that these spiritual manifestations – including tongues – are gifts of the Holy Spirit given by God to the church (12:10, 28). Paul shares with the Corinthians a vision for community worship as the setting in which God will speak and act powerfully through spontaneous supernatural revelations. How, then, can he seek to create order in the community’s worship without squelching the Spirit? His solution, set forth at some length in chapter 14, is to insist that love (chapter 13) requires the gifts to be used for building up the community (14:12, 26). Consequently, intelligible speech is necessary in the assembly for the common good; unintelligible tongues must be either interpreted or reserved for private prayer. In preference to tongues, Paul advocates prophecy as the highest gift, because the prophet speaks inspired intelligible messages from God directly to the congregation, thereby building up the church.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Friday (5/21) Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 14:6-19
Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (ESV)

The 80s and 90s decades were marked by what is often called “the worship wars” within North American churches. Many churches have tried to re-design their approach to worship in a way that makes unbelievers most comfortable. Even from a human standpoint, this is an entirely irrational undertaking. Nobody is ever going to feel comfortable with being told that they stand before God as wicked, morally and spiritually dead, and that they have nothing positive to contribute to being saved from this dreadful condition. More importantly, the very attempt to re-design the worship service to make those who hate God happy entails a failure to understand that we are supposed to be gathering to worship the King and not to entertain man. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that corporate worship should ignore the people who are gathering together. Here is a basic principle of life: One of the surest ways to make a father happy is to be kind and helpful to his children. This is true of God the Father and His children as well. We are to encourage one another and build each other up when we gather for corporate worship. Therefore we are not free to focus on our own personal preferences but must consider the interests of others more important than our own. This is also why the Reformers insisted that worship must be in the vernacular language of the people. Undoubtedly many people had come to love the beauty of the Latin Liturgy and Hymns – even many who didn’t know what the words actually meant. Yet God wants His children “to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” That requires understanding.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

Saturday (5/22) Read and discuss 1 Timothy 1:1-11.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:1-11 (ESV)

William Mounce writes:

At some time before the writing of this letter, Timothy had gone to Ephesus to deal with false teaching in the church. He had wanted eventually to leave Ephesus, but Paul, while on his way to Macedonia, met with Timothy and urged him to stay. Paul was now writing as a follow up to that conversation. The situation in Ephesus was serious. Some of the people had already gone astray, and what they were teaching was foolishness. Paul launched into the matter at hand in much the same way as he did in the letter to the Galatians, not following his usual practice of expressing thanks for the people to whom he was writing. This might seem unusual in writing to a friend, but quite natural when it is realized that he was writing through Timothy to the Ephesian church. This also explains the note of authority running throughout this section. The language is strong; timothy was to command the opponents to stop their senseless babble.

Verses 3-7 set the historical stage for the epistle. Certain people were teaching a gospel that was essentially different from Paul’s. Leaders in the church were teaching myths they had created based on OT genealogies. Not only were they in error theologically, but their lifestyle was also wrong. Rather than exercising their responsibilities in the church as good stewards of God through faith, they were producing nothing except more speculation. The goal of Timothy’s command – that the false teachers stop teaching – was love. Not only was love absent in the opponents’ lives but Timothy needed to maintain love as the goal of his teaching and heavier as well. Paul’s opponents had made a moral choice to set aside cleansed hearts, clear consciences, and a sincere faith. Their problem was not intellectual but moral, and their behavior was a direct result and a clear indicator of their immorality. But Paul’s emphasis on their behavior did not mean that their theology was acceptable. Along with being immoral, they were charged with being ignorant of what they were dogmatically teaching.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.

Sunday Morning worship services will restart on July 4th at 9:30 am (note new time!) See More