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

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 11 September 2022

AM Worship
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: Hymn 156. “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”
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: Isaiah 55:7-9
Psalm of Preparation: Psalm 2A “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage?”
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4
New Covenant Reading: Matthew 3:13-17
Sermon: Fulfilling All Righteousness
Hymn of Response: Hymn 261 “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 852)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: Hymn 252 “This is My Father’s World”

PM Worship
Hymns: 145D, 187, 243
OT: Exodus 19:1-6
NT: Titus 2:11-15
Sermon: I belong to God

Adult Sunday School: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A 1 & 2
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has delivered me from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
also assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Q. How many things must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A. Three:
first, how great my sin and misery are;
second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery;
third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.
Suggested Preparations

Monday (9/5) Read and discuss Matthew 3:13-17.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (ESV)

Grant Osborne writes:

John the Baptist’s humility reflects the necessary realization of the great heroes of the faith throughout biblical history. Moses, Gideon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Peter all felt their inadequacy and unworthiness to serve the Lord. The fact is that we are unworthy of Christ and inadequate to do His work, but Paul answers that. He freely admitted that “in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing,” but he adds, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

We all must come face to face with our sinfulness so that we will rest entirely on Christ. Then our inadequacies will be a means by which Christ’s power will be all the more evident, for in Him we will accomplish more than we ever could in our own strength and abilities. Our insufficiencies should force us to turn to Christ and His Spirit for the power to accomplish things for God.

Read or sing Hymn 156. “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”

Tuesday (9/6) Read and discuss Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (ESV)

Michael J. Wilkins writes:

John the Baptist has one central message, in which he urgently calls the people to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is the same message Jesus announces and the Twelve preach on their missionary tour through Israel. John’s call to repentance sounds similar to the prophets of the Old Testament, calling the people into a right relationship with God that must affect every aspect of their lives. Indicating “to change one’s mind,” repentance in the Old Testament always called for a change in a person’s attitude toward God, which would then impact one’s actions and overall direction in life. External signs of repentance regularly included confession of sin, prayers of remorse, and abandonment of sin.

But as similar as John’s message is to the Old Testament prophets, there is a distinctly new sound to it. He calls the people to repent because “the kingdom of heaven is near.” The kingdom has come near in the soon-arriving Messiah. John is the one foretold by Isaiah who would be privileged to prepare the way for the Lord’s arrival and His kingdom: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.”

John wasn’t just another religious zealot drumming up support for a new following. As a road must be cleared of obstacles before an approaching king, John is calling for the people to clear the obstacles out of their lives that might hinder their reception of the Lord. He calls for the people to get themselves read – to prepare their heart and life – for the arrival of the Coming One with the kingdom of heaven.

Read or sing Psalm 2A “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage?”

Wednesday (9/7) Read and discuss Isaiah 42:1-4.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. (ESV)

Alec Motyer writes:

Everything that speaks of Jesus delights the heart. He identified Himself as the ‘Servant of the LORD’ whom Isaiah foretold. He is the perfect Servant of the LORD, the revelation of truth and light for the whole world, the answer to our hopelessness, darkness, and bondage. But because He is the perfect Servant, He is also the model Servant, the true pattern for all who, through Him, are the LORD’s servants today. Very well then – first, the LORD’s servants are the LORD’s delight. On the one hand, this is our ambition and target, but on the other hand it is the truth about us, for once we belong to Jesus we are the Father’s delight, ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Eph. 1:6). Secondly, the servant is first and foremost the servant of the Word of God. Do remember that this is what ‘judgment’ [ESV = ‘justice”] means in [verses] 1, 3, and 4: the decision He has made, the things He has declared to be true (in brief, what He has revealed to His people what we possess as the Word of God). The servant’s task is to bring this Word of truth to those bereft of the truth, making sure that it is God’s Word in all its truth (42:3) that is being shared, not some merely human opinion, church tradition or personal whim and fancy. Thirdly, the servant of the LORD does not give up on the job, but perseveres till the truth is fully established. Like Paul said (2 Corinthians 4:1): because we have received mercy we have received ministry, and we must not ‘lose heart,’ that is, leave the work half done, abandon the task, go soft like a decaying apple. How true all this is of Jesus: the Father’s delight, in His fidelity to the Word of God, carrying the job through until He could shout ‘It is finished!’ Every servant covets to be made like the Son of God in everything.

Sing or Read Hymn 261 “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!”

Thursday (9/8) Read and discuss Exodus 19:1-6.

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (ESV)

It is striking that this entire chapter is given over to preparing to hear from the LORD. This shows both the seriousness with which we are to treat the Living God and also the seriousness with which we are to treat His Law. In order to grasp the Law it is necessary for us to remember that God had called Israel to be a Kingdom of Priests. They had the extraordinary vocation of being instruments for the reconciliation of the world to its Creator. Israel failed in this vocation but the LORD has given the very same calling to His Church. It is therefore vital that we understand what this vocation entails: Doug Stuart explains:
Israel’s assignment from God involved intermediation. They were not to be a people unto themselves, enjoying their special relationship with God and paying no attention to the rest of the world. Rather, they were to represent him to the rest of the world and attempt to bring the rest of the world to him. In other words, the challenge to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” represented the responsibility inherent in the original promise to Abraham in Gen 12:2-3: “You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you … and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Priests stand between God and humans to help bring the humans closer to God and to help dispense God’s truth, justice, favor, discipline, and holiness to humans. Israel was called to such a function. How? The answer is not spelled out in the present context, but it surely was to take place in four ways: (1) Israel would be an example to the people of other nations, who would see its holy beliefs and actions and be impressed enough to want to personally know the same God the Israelites knew. (2) Israel would proclaim the truth of God and invite people from other nations to accept him in faith as shown by confession of belief in him and acceptance of his covenant, as Jethro had already done. (3) Israel would intercede for the rest of the world by offering acceptable offerings to God and thus ameliorate the general distance between God and humankind. (4) Israel would keep the promises of God, preserving his word already spoken and recording his word as it was revealed to them so that once the fullness of time had come, anyone in the whole world could promptly benefit from that great body of divinely revealed truth, that is, the Scriptures.

Friday (9/9) Read and discuss Titus 2:11-15.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (ESV)

Robert Yarborough writes:

Christ’s cleansing and claiming work has a distinct effect on those changed by it: they are “eager to do what is good.” … Paul conceives of them, not as optional activities or even virtuous ideals for believers, but as the inevitable outworking of Jesus’ signature saving actin in the light of His resurrection, which in conquering death gives life to mortal beings. The notion of a salvation through faith that generates zeal for good works is ubiquitous in Scripture and left its mark in the [Apostolic Fathers].

Paul envisions not a dogged acceptance of religious commandments but a real zeal. “A people … eager to do what is good” could be rendered literally “a zealot people when it comes to good works.” While religious fervor can be misguided and dangerous, its absence is no less ominous. Paul praised it among fellow Jews (Rom 10:2a), and Jesus expressed disgust for its lack: He will spew the lukewarm Laodiceans out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). A hostile social environment like Crete can tempt the church to lie low, nurse its grievances, and turn inward. Paul calls for renewed attention to Jesus’s death as a reminder that, in God’s economy, the grain of wheat that dies yields and abundant harvest.

Read or sing Hymn 252 “This is My Father’s World”

Saturday (9/10) Read and discuss Matthew 3:13-17.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (ESV)

Michael J. Wilkins writes:

The public baptism [of Jesus] provides concrete salvation-historical continuity between John’s and Jesus’ ministries. As Jesus identifies Himself with John in baptism, this represents an endorsement of John’s ministry and message and links Jesus’ cause to John’s. Moreover, as Jesus. Goes into the waters of baptism, He identifies with His people in their need; that is, He identifies with the sinful humanity He has come to save, and especially at this point in time, with the believing remnant of Israel who come to be baptized. Leon Morris paints a graphic picture:

“Jesus might well have been up there in front standing with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead He was down there with the sinners, affirming His solidarity with them, making Himself one with them in the process of the salvation that He would in due course accomplish.”

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