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

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 6 June 2021

Call to Worship
Opening Psalm: Psalm 146 “Praise the LORD! My Soul, O Praise Him!”
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: Psalm 103:11-13
Hymn of Preparation: Hymn 228 “Hast Thou Not Known, Hast Thou Not Heard”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 9:1-20
New Covenant Reading: Matthew 28:16-20
Sermon: The LORD Reigns Forever
Psalm of Response: Psalm 9A “I Praise You, LORD, with All My Heart” (Stanzas 1-4)
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Pastoral Prayer
Closing Psalm: Psalm 9A “I Praise You, LORD, with All My Heart” (Stanzas 5-8)

Suggested Preparations

Monday (5/31) Read and discuss Psalm 9:1-20.
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah (ESV)

Allen P. Ross writes:

The psalm in many ways focuses on God’s sovereign rule over the affairs of men. The psalmist thinks of his own experience of vindication when God judged the wicked, and from there he looks forward to what it all prefigures, a great and final judgment to come. The LORD is the champion of the weak and afflicted who trust in him, and he will one day bring justice into the world by putting the oppressors in their place. Their place will be Sheol, their native element.

The message of the psalm is timeless. It may be worded as follows: Because God has demonstrated that he is the righteous judge of the world, believers may trust in him now for protection from the wicked and confidently pray for the final vindication in the judgment to come.

There are two ways this psalm may be directed. One is that people hearing this psalm may have to acknowledge that they are part of those who are being prayed against in this psalm – they may have a share in the oppression of others, either on a small scale or by being part of powerful nations. Passages such as this should inspire believers to relieve the suffering and the affliction of others when they have the opportunity to do so.

The other way this Psalm may be directed is the straight-forward meaning of the text. Any individual believers who are oppressed by wickedness in high or low places will find strength and comfort from this psalm to pray for relief and vindication. They will certainly understand the plight of others who have been afflicted, and join in their ancient prayer, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

MEMORY WORK
Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us that because God is the Lord, and our God, and redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.

Tuesday (6/1) Read and discuss Philippians 1:1-2.
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

From a Roman prison cell, Paul writes a remarkably joy-filled letter to the church at Philippi. The letter breaths of a confident trust and it is almost certainly the case that Paul drew more comfort and encouragement from the Philippians than from any of the other congregations that he founded. The feeling was obviously mutual. “The fact people from a different country would raise money, and send one of their number on the dangerous journey to carry it to an impoverished friend, speaks volumes for the esteem and love in which they held him (N.T. Wright).” While it would be easy to leap over the initial greetings, they are worth pausing and contemplating in their own right. Paul doesn’t begin by writing “Paul a prisoner of Rome” but “Paul and Timothy slaves (prisoners) of Christ Jesus”. Even under the most difficult of circumstances Paul considered his life to be in the hands of Jesus and not of Caesar. This idea is heightened by Paul’s use of “Christ Jesus” (normally Paul writes “Jesus Christ”). By putting Christ first, Paul is emphasizing the office of Jesus. We could bring this out more clearly by paraphrasing the clause “Paul and Timothy slaves of King Jesus”. Of course, that raises an interesting question. Since Paul is the sole author of Philippians (note that verse 3 begins “I thank my God” using a singular pronoun) why does he include Timothy in the greetings? First of all, Paul went out of his way to minister in groups. He was not a lone ranger for Jesus. Secondly, Timothy was and would continue to be an important leader that the church at Philippi could look to for guidance after Paul’s death. Paul didn’t want the Philippians to think that the future of the Gentile missions depended upon Paul. The greeting of the letter is addressed “to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi”. The word “all” introduces the theme of unity among the believers that will be found throughout the letter. Paul probably adds “with the Bishops and Deacons (ESV: “with the overseers and deacons”)” to make clear that while he is addressing all of the saints he is not doing so to the neglect of their gathering together as one body under the leadership of the officers whom Christ has given to this local church. Many modern commentators treat verse 2 as a wish or a prayer. Certainly that is what it would mean if we put these words in a letter that we wrote to one another. Nevertheless, I suspect that Paul meant them to be taken more literally as a blessing or benediction that flowed from his Apostolic office. What’s the difference? Consider the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Rather than being a request to God, this is a declaration from God, through His priest, that He will bless His people. It seems more likely to me that, as Christ’s Ambassador, Paul doesn’t see himself so much requesting God’s blessings as sending them.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Wednesday (6/2) Read and discuss Matthew 28:16-20.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

R.T. France writes:

Hitherto in Matthew’s narrative it has been Jesus who has been the “teacher.” But now the verb “teach” is used with the disciples as subject, marking the decisive change which follows Jesus’ death and resurrection. But even so their duty of teaching derives from the authority of the risen Lord. So they are to teach not their own ideas, but what Jesus has “commanded,” [the Greek word is] a term which hitherto has been especially associated with the “commandments” given by God through Moses. The basis of living as the people of God will henceforth be the new “commandments” given by Jesus. Not that these are opposed to the commandments of the OT, but … Jesus’ teaching has given a new interpretation to the old law, and it is by obedience to His words that salvation is henceforth to be found (Matthew 7:24-27). To be a disciple is to obey Jesus’ teaching. [Please don’t misunderstand Prof. France at this critical point. While nobody is saved apart from being a disciple, nobody is saved on the basis of how good a disciple they are. Salvation does not flow from doing what Christ commands. Doing what Christ commands flows from being saved. – Pastor Booth].

But the presence of Jesus Himself among His people ensures that it is not simply a relationship of formal obedience. In context this assurance is focused not on the personal comfort of the individual disciple but on the successful completion of the mission entrusted to the community as a whole. In OT commissioning scenes the assurance of God’s presence was to empower His often-inadequate servants to fulfill the task He had called them to. So here it is to the commissioned disciples as they set about their daunting task that the divine presence is promised, without which they cannot expect to succeed. But the difference now is that it is not God Himself who promises to be “with” them, still less an angel sent by Him, but the risen Jesus, who has just been declared to stand alongside the Father and the Holy Spirit in heavenly sovereignty. In the Fourth Gospel Jesus promises the continuing presence of the Spirit with His disciples after He has left them, but in Matthew the presence is that of Jesus Himself. And this is not simply for a short-term objective, for the mission they have been given will keep them (and their successors) busy to “the end of the age.” Jesus’ physical presence with His disciples was limited to the period of His earthly life span, but the spiritual presence of the risen Jesus has no such limitation: it is as an eternal, divine being that Jesus will be among His obedient people, “God with us.”

MEMORY WORK
Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.

Thursday (6/3) Read and discuss Philippians 1:3-11.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (ESV)

Rightly understanding something almost always requires us to grasp the intended purpose for which it was designed or performed. It would be nearly impossible for someone born 2,000 years ago to understand a ratchet set or a gage that measures the air pressure on a car tire. Apart from understanding what these things are for they would seem to be nothing more than shiny pieces of metal. Understanding the Bible is often like that. Therefore, it is particularly helpful to pay attention to expressions such as “for”, “so that”, “to” and “in order that”. Verses 10-11 contains two of these expressions:

“… so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Paul’s purpose is two-fold. First he is longing to see the transformation of the Philippians (and us) in Christ continue until the Philippians (and we!) are perfectly transformed into the likeness of Christ. This is an astonishing thing for Paul to be praying for. When we think of the phrase “pure and blameless” few of us would dare to claim that this is a description of our current disposition. Yet, as Paul makes clear, this is our calling. Furthermore, it is not a calling to barren place where we are simply not doing any harm. We are called in Christ to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness” which is also known as the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-26). Indeed, God wants us to be so transformed and yielding such a harvest of righteousness that it could only be attributed to His work of sovereign grace in our lives. Our calling to be transformed in Christ is a profound calling, but it is neither Paul’s nor God’s ultimate goal for our lives. The ultimate goal is that this transformation would proclaim “the glory and praise of God”. Or as the Shorter Catechism puts it, “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

MEMORY WORK
Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.

Friday (6/4) Read and discuss Philippians 1:12-18.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, (ESV)

We enter into business partnerships because we hope to accomplish more together than we could possibly do on our own. This binding of ourselves together for a common purpose is not without risks. A partnership not only allows us the opportunity to benefit from each other’s ideas, resources, and labors – it also makes us participants in each other’s failures. The first chapter of Philippians is very much about the partnership between Paul and the Philippians in spreading the gospel. The word translated “partnership” could also be translated “shared life” to bring out the deeply personal aspects of this relationship. Now that Paul has been imprisoned, their shared life in the gospel has taken two severe blows. First, there is the personal concern that the Philippians would naturally have for Paul who, humanly speaking, was their father in the faith. Secondly, there would have been significant concern over the prospects for their shared enterprise of spreading the gospel now that the church’s greatest evangelist was in chains. Paul wants the Philippians (and us!) to know that our shared life in the gospel is not entirely like mere business partnerships. While we really do rejoice in each other’s fruitfulness and suffer from each other’s failures – there is absolutely no possibility of this partnership going under. The founder and builder of this partnership is Christ Himself. So, in spite of the outward circumstances which neither Paul nor the Philippians would have sought, Christ was (and is!) building His Church. In fact, the gospel has penetrated to the Praetorian Guard in a way that the early Christians could never have expected. While only Christ’s faithfulness is perfect, we are shown a model of human faithfulness in Paul who rejoices because the mission of their partnership (Christ being proclaimed!) is advancing through Paul’s own painful circumstances. Isn’t that the sort of partner in the gospel that you want? Isn’t that the sort of partner in the gospel that you want to be?

MEMORY WORK
Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me in the first commandment teach us that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god.

Saturday (6/5) Read and discuss Psalm 9:1-20.
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah (ESV)

Dale Ralph Davis writes:

In the early part of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) in the American War Between the States, things were one confusing mess behind the Federal lines. Ambulances clattering along, dazed stragglers wandering around, the deafening sound of big guns, the crackle of small arms, the yelling and screaming of men. There was, Bruce Catton tells us, a column of General Slocum’s troops marching toward the firing line, a line they still could not see. The high screech of the Rebel yell rather unnerved them. They were veterans, but there was something about the ungodly racket they heard that put them on the edge of panic. They were passing a little cabin by the roadside in front of it was a bent old woman. She sensed the unease of the troops and as rank on rank passed her, she kept soothingly repeating, ‘Never mind boys – they’re nothing but men.’ One soldier said that these commonplace words uttered in that context seemed almost sublime, and the lads shook off their panic and were brave soldiers once again.

And that is what we must always remember – long before the nations finally learn it. The nations are ‘only men.’ The power in Beijing or London or Washington or Moscow or Tehran or Caracas or Havana is nothing but flesh. Praying for the kingdom will force us to remember that.

MEMORY WORK
Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

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