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

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 18 July 2021

Morning Worship
18 July 2021
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 236 “To God Be the Glory”
Confession of Sin
Most merciful God, Who are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and hast promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; We come before You with a humble sense of our own unworthiness, acknowledging our manifold transgressions of Your righteous laws. But, O gracious Father, Who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon us, we beseech You, in mercy, and forgive us all our transgressions. Make us deeply sensible of the great evil of them; And work in us a hearty contrition; That we may obtain forgiveness at Your hands, Who are ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior and Redeemer. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: 2 Chronicles 7:14
Psalm of Preparation: Psalm 36A “My Heart Has Heard an Oracle”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 90:1-17
New Covenant Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
Sermon: Work Hard by His Grace and for His Glory
Hymn of Response: Hymn 500 “Father, I Know That All My Life”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Diaconal Offering
Closing Psalm: Psalm 90A “LORD, You Have Been Our Dwelling Place”

Evening Worship
Hymns: 403, 434, Psalm 133A,
OT: Leviticus 19:9-18
NT: Luke 10:25-37
Who is My Neighbor?

Suggested Preparations

Monday (7/12) Read and discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (ESV)

James Grant writes:

Since I am addressing some areas that might be uncomfortable for us, I should not fail to mention the issue of retirement. The notion of retirement has become “the American dream.” The idea is that we are supposed to work hard for forty or fifty years, until we have saved up enough money to retire and play. Maybe you like to golf; maybe you want to travel around the country. Whatever your desire, you get it after you retire. A life of rest and ease. You know what that sounds like to me? It sounds like we have created our own little heaven on earth. John Piper encourages us not to waste our retirement when he writes:

Live dangerously for the one who loved you and died for you in his thirties. Don’t throw your life away on the American dream of retirement. You are as secure as Christ is righteous and God is just. Don’t settle for anything less than the joyful sorrows of magnifying Christ in the sacrifices of love. And then in the Last Day, you will stand and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your master.”

This does not mean you have to stay at the same job. If you retire, perhaps you can serve God with your time in a way that you were not able to do for the earlier parts of your life. The Bible does not give us any indication that we can stop working or retire this side of heaven. We are always called to serve God and our neighbor.

Certainly there are qualifications that we must make regarding these concerns. We all face troubles and difficulties, and we should help each other in those times. … I should point out that it is dangerous when we do not accept help. That can be a form of pride. So think through these matters and these areas of concern. Be aware of why you work and what you are called to do. But do not get caught in the trap of growing lazy and idle, of being disorderly with your life and thinking that someone else will take care of your problem. The character of our lives as Christians should be a strong work ethic, rooted in creation and the gospel, realizing that we are rendering our work as unto the LORD and that He is at work through us.

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Tuesday (7/13) 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 Byron writes:

Paul closes this long and jumbled section with another prayer. He has just “nudged” them toward obedience and is getting ready to deal with some relational problems in the community. Just as he prayed that God would encourage their hearts and strengthen them in 2:17, he now prays that the Lord Jesus will lead their hearts in such a way that God’s love will be present in the community and that they will maintain their steadfast patience in Christ, something they are already well known for. In light of the hard line Paul is about to take in the next section, this prayer is hardly a polite formality designed to close off this section. With the challenges the community is facing with some of its members, the believers are going to need to keep a perspective of God’s love and the patience of Christ as they deal with the disruptive members in the community. Paul’s prayer not only asks God to do that for them, but it reminds them to do so as well.

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Wednesday (7/14) Read and discuss Psalm 90:1-17.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! (ESV)

At first blush, this might not appear to be the most encouraging Psalm in the Bible. Moses speaks of how fleeting our life is, how the LORD sees all our sins, and that He will cause us to return to the dust. These are not the sentiments we normally hear at a High School graduation ceremony – but maybe they should be. For rather than being a cause for despair, grasping the transient nature of this life is a cornerstone of having a truly meaningful life. At different points in our journey, we all recognize that all our dreams will not come true simply because we have them. The classic American mid-life crisis is simply the realization that we are not going to become astronauts, renowned scientists, or many of the other things we dreamed of in our youth. Most of us don’t have to wait until mid-life for this reality to set in. So we fight against it by placing our hopes in things that promise to make life meaningful or through “entertaining ourselves to death” in an effort to escape reality. Today’s psalm offers us a far more fruitful approach. Moses begins by claiming that the Eternal God is the dwelling place for His people and ends by calling out to the LORD to establish the work of our hands. We were created by and for God and our only hope for lasting significance lies in Him. As the poem by missionary C.T. Studd puts it: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word and deed.

Thursday (7/15) Read and discuss Leviticus 19:9-18.

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (ESV)

Derek Tidball writes:

Sociologists are increasingly speaking of the need for ‘social capital’ if a society is to function smoothly. Any society needs more than financial capital and physical infrastructure in order to be prosperous; it also needs quality social relationships and secure networks that share a common set of values. A society that has made a good investment in social capital will not be one in which people are distrustful and suspicious of one another or one that has to devote endless resources to dealing with crime. It will be comfortable to live in, and its members will enjoy sharing common resources. It will function much more efficiently than those in which society’s social capital is low. The fear of many today is that the social capital of all cultures of advanced individualism is disappearing fast. From one viewpoint, Leviticus 19 is about how every member of a community can invest in its social capital.

Yet, we must be careful not to advance down this particular road too fast. For though the laws of Leviticus 19 will lead to the creation of a wholesome community and the banking of wonderful reserves of social capital this is not the chapter’s raison d’etre. The rules are designed first and foremost not as a matter of social convenience but as a matter of divine holiness. They arise from God’s invitation to be holy because I the LORD your God, am holy.

It may be helpful to recognize that the issues of holiness and social capital naturally belong together. Since holiness means being set apart as belonging to (or dedicated to) God; and living a life of holiness means living in light of belonging to God and therefore reflecting God’s character into the world; we shouldn’t be surprised that when the members of a community reflect God’s character into the world this leads to society functioning better. In fact, if everyone reflected God’s character perfectly, we would be in a Garden civilization like that of the New Heaven and Earth. We, of course, are incapable of doing that ourselves – but one day Christ Himself will bring that to pass.

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Friday (7/16) Read and discuss Luke 10:25-37.

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (ESV)

Rick Phillips writes:

This parable ranks among the greatest expressions of Christian morality, but if we stop there we will fail to grasp the full message conveyed by this passage. In studying the parables, it is important for us to consider the context, the question or problem to which Jesus is responding. With this in mind we would return to the dialogue between Jesus and the expert in the law.

The dialogue consists of two halves that follow the same pattern. In each half, the lawyer asks Jesus a question, and he does so from false motives. Jesus responds with his own question. The lawyer replies, and Jesus refers that answer back at the solution to the lawyer’s initial concern. The first sentence occurs in Luke 10:25-28. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded by asking him what the law said, and he gave the correct answer of love to God and love to his neighbor. Jesus referred this back as the answer to his initial question. “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:29-37 follows this same pattern. Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer retorted, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable and then asked the question, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor?” When the man agreed that it was the Samaritan, Jesus concluded, “God and do likewise.”

What was Jesus doing? Theologians commonly call this the first use of the Law. Jesus knew that this man thought that there was something that he could do in order to justify himself, so Jesus pressed the law upon the lawyer in order to bring him to the end of himself so that he would turn to God for grace. As we are all prone to do, the lawyer tried to narrow down the demands of the Law in the hopes that he might somehow be able to fulfill it. Christ’s parable makes clear the true meaning of loving our neighbors. Therefore, this parable has not one but two applications: (1) It makes clear that no man will be justified before God by keeping the Law; and (2) It shows the way that those who are justified by grace alone should try to live (This is commonly called the 3rd use of the Law). As Michael Wilcock puts it: “Keeping the Law is a way of life, it is not a way to life.”

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Saturday (7/17) 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (ESV)

James Grant writes:

Paul has provided a command about working, and he has explained why this is so important. But what are we to do if the disorderly do not heed Paul’s words? How should we respond to those who continue to walk this way? If there is a disruption in the church and someone is being disorderly, our tendency is to ignore it and hope it goes away. If we are honest, we do that in our own lives, and we do it within the church, too. But that is not what Paul tells us to do. Back in verse 6 he told us to “keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness [literally, disorder].” Then at the end of this section Paul commands, ‘If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother” (vv. 14,15). This final command is probably broader than the immediate context. He starts with the words, “If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter …” This would probably include some of the earlier commands, but we can apply it to this passage in particular.

Paul gives us two courses of action in response to those who are disorderly: we are to take note of such a person, and we are to have nothing to do with him or her. This is the exact opposite of our tendency to ignore him or her, and that is why this course of action is so difficult.
James Grant provides a very forceful commentary on how we are to deal with disorderly people who identify as believers, and his point of view is one worth seriously considering. On the other hand, the issue may be more complicated than he is letting on. For example, Grant treats Paul’s words to the Thessalonians as though they were written directly to us when, in fact, they were written indirectly to us. We need to remember that this is one of the earlies letters in the New Testament (somewhere between the 2nd and the fourth depending on when Galatians and James were written). This means that there was still quite a bit of theological development still to be spelled out. One of the critical areas of theological development was in practical ecclesiology. Does the fuller development of how Elders provide the leadership and oversight for local churches along with details about church discipline make the earlier informal discipline (Paul is directing his comments to individual members rather than to a Session of Elders in Thessalonica) of having nothing to do with such “Christian” busybodies obsolete? That is not an easy question to answer. Furthermore, what are we to do with our coworkers, family members, and friends, who call themselves Christians and belong to the First Church of We Haven’t Believed the Bible for Over 100 Years? The reality is that this passage is quite difficult to apply in modern North America. Doing so faithfully will require a great deal of wisdom and we should have the humility, when necessary, to say: “I’m not sure.”

Q. 85. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.