Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 244 “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
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: Matthew 1:18-21
Hymn of Preparation: 245 “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Old Covenant Reading: Deuteronomy 7:1-11
New Covenant Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
Sermon: Hope, Love, and the Faithfulness of God
Psalm of Response: Psalm 25B “LORD, to You I Lift My Soul”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 265 “In Christ Alone”
Hymns: 158, 511, Psalm 16A
OT: Proverbs 30:7-9
NT: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
A Balanced Life in an Unbalanced World
Monday (7/5) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that
we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (ESV)
Rick Phillips writes:
Paul begins his final section not by writing just about prayer in general but specifically seeking prayer for the ministry of the gospel. As the apostle sees it, prayer is necessary for gospel ministry, so that “the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
If anyone could seem to get by without prayer, that person would be the apostle Paul. Naturally endowed with a towering intellect and a strong will, Paul communicated with the risen Jesus Christ and served as a vehicle of divine revelation. He had the ability to perform miracles in order to prove his message. Nonetheless, throughout his letters Paul solicits the prayers of fellow Christians. In Romans 15:30 he writes: “I appeal to you, brothers, … to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” John Calving comments: “Though the Lord powerfully aided him, and though he surpassed all others in earnestness of prayer, [Paul] nevertheless does not despise the prayers of believers, by which the Lord would have us aided. It becomes us, after his example, to desire this aid, and to stir up our brethren for us.”
For his own part, Paul was devoted to praying for others. It seems that he made it his practice to pray for someone whenever he heard or thought about the person. “I thank God,” he wrote to Timothy, “as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day” (2 Tim. 1:3). In the same spirit, Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). We find this same commitment to prayer in practically every Christian who has been greatly used by the Lord. The story is told of Roman Catholic opponents who once sent an agent to spy out Martin Luther’s weaknesses. The spy came back lamenting, “Who can overcome a man who prays like this?” … Can you imagine the divine help that would come if Christians today took up this same mantle and prayed “without ceasing.”
Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
Tuesday (7/6) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (ESV)
Rick Phillips writes:
It is significant that Paul begins a passage that James Denney called “a system of theology in miniature” with the word But. Realizing this, we note the connection between Paul’s confidence of salvation here and his alarming portrayal of Antichrist in the preceding verses. The apostle’s point is that while there is great evil in this world that poses a deadly threat, there remains the strongest reasons for confidence when it comes to true believers in Jesus Christ. “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,” Paul writes, going on to note the mighty work of the triune God that secures salvation for His people.
Paul’s first ground for confidence against the evil afoot in the world is the sovereign election of the Father: “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you … to be saved.” Believers are secure in salvation because their destiny was decided by God’s choice of them before any decision on their part. Some Christians think of their salvation as beginning when they first heard and believed the gospel. But the Bible teaches that form God’s perspective our salvation began in eternity past, when he chose us to be saved through faith in Christ. Romans 8:30 begins a chain of saving links – similar to Paul’s teaching in Thessalonians – with reference to God’s sovereign predestination: “Those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.”
Opponents of election reply that God merely chose that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved. Or they argue that God did not choose any particular people before their faith, but only foresaw who would believe in Jesus and predestined that by believing they would be saved. The problem with these views is what the bible actually says! Second Thessalonians 2:13 says not that God chose a principle of salvation but that “God chose you … to be saved.” Election is of persons to salvation. Moreover, God did not chose the elect because he foresaw their faith, but simply because of his sovereign love for them. Paul declares, “I love he predestined us” (Eph. 1:4-5). This is consistent with how Jesus described election in his High Priestly Prayer to his Father, saying that he had received authority, “to give eternal life to all whom you have given him” (John 17:2).
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.
Wednesday (7/7) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 7:1-11.
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today. (ESV)
There are two big ideas in today’s passage:
- First, verses 1-5 instruct the Israelites to remain entirely separated from the peoples of the Promised Land. There is an emphasis in verse 5 on destroying the symbols of their pagan religions.
- Second, verses 6-11 point out why the Israelites are distinct from the people they are about to conquer. It isn’t that they are intrinsically better than these pagan nations. Rather, it is simply the fact that the Living God had set them apart to Himself.
Paul Gilchrist writes:
The reason for the conquest is Israel’s character by virtue of covenantal relation. There is no room for compromise, for Israel is in covenant relationship with the great King as a holy people, a treasured possession. Israel’s special status is by virtue of election – chosen by God, not because of any inherent greatness but solely because of God’s love and the oath-bound promise made to Abraham. God’s sovereignty is also expressed in his faithfulness (v. 9), whereby He keeps His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” … Such a high calling is often accompanied by pride and boastfulness (problems which Moses deals with in chaps. 8-10). Israel is not to presume on God’s covenant love and grace, for carelessness only leads to destruction as a further exhibit of God’s justice.
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thursday (7/8) Read and discuss 1 Timothy 6:1-10.
Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.
Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (ESV)
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Who doesn’t want to enjoy great gain? But what exactly does Paul mean by “godliness with contentment”? Let’s take them in reverse order. As the Lutheran New Testament scholar Lenski has observed about Christian contentment, “This is not the Stoic virtue that goes under this name but is distinctively Christian, for it rests on God’s provident care.” The Stoics believed that you really couldn’t do anything about your circumstances in the world. Since, in their worldview, the only think you could control is how you felt about your circumstances – you might as well learn to not let the pains of this life bother you. Stoic contentment was contentment in one’s circumstances. Christian contentment, on the other hand, is in the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. Christian contentment recognizes that life is filled with trials and pain but trusts that God is using these for His own good purposes. Furthermore, Christian contentment recognizes that our current sufferings are temporary. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “ For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Therefore, Christian contentment is not only focused on God and eternity in contrast to the Stoic focus of right now and self, it also manifests itself in efforts to actually impact the world for the sake of the gospel. Contentment in Christ can go hand-in-hand with a discontentment with respect to our own sanctification or the world around us that is in rebellion against our King. Stoicism encourages a dampening of the emotions while Christian contentment ranges from great joy to godly grief. After all, Jesus was known as a man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief. Finally, a contentment which stops pursuing godliness is not worthy to be called Christian contentment at all. Yet, genuine “godliness with contentment is great gain” – so let’s pursue that together in faith.
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
Friday (7/9) Read and discuss Proverbs 30:7-9.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God. (ESV)
Andrew Steinmann writes:
Agur’s two requests are related to one another. On the one hand, if a believer receives more than he needs and becomes rich, he faces the temptation to rely on his own success and riches and “deny” God, saying, “How is Yahweh?” that is, “Who needs Yahweh?” Those who deny the Son will be denied by Him before His Father on the Last Day. On the other hand, if a believer has too little to provide for the needs of himself and his family, he faces the temptation to abandon God and take matters into his own hands by becoming a thief or a swindler. Since God’s people bear His name, their sinful actions can also profane His name, thereby breaking the Second Commandment. Therefore, Agur, who confesses Yahweh as “my God,” asks that he be kept from poverty.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.
Saturday (7/10) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (ESV)
John Stott writes:
Secondly, Paul asks for prayer that he and his missionary companions may be delivered from wicked and evil men. It is one thing for the gospel to win friends who embrace it; it is another for the evangelists to be rescued from its enemies who oppose it. Since he uses the definite article, Paul seems to have a particular group in mind, perhaps the Jewish opponents of the gospel in Corinth. He describes them not only as evil but as atopoi, literally ‘out of place,’ and so ‘unreasonable’ (AV) [the ESV renders the two terms to mean essentially the same thing – “wicked” and “evil”]. The reason why the reject the gospel is that not everyone has faith or ‘the faith.’ The latter is an objective body of belief, the former the faculty of believing it. But, Paul adds immediately, the Lord (i.e. Jesus) is faithful. In Greek, as in English, there is a deliberate play on the words faith and faithful. Indeed, by this contrast Paul is expressing his conviction that the faithlessness of human beings cannot possibly overturn the faithfulness of God, as shown in his covenant commitment to His people and His word.
Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.