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Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 25 September 2022

25 September 2022
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 281 “Rejoice, the LORD is King”
Confession of Sin
Most holy and merciful Father; We acknowledge and confess before You; Our sinful nature prone to evil and slothful in good; And all our shortcomings and offenses. You alone know how often we have sinned; In wandering from Your ways; In wasting Your gifts; In forgetting Your love. But You, O Lord, have pity upon us; Who are ashamed and sorry for all wherein we have displeased You. Teach us to hate our errors; Cleanse us from our secret faults; And forgive our sins for the sake of Your dear Son. And O most holy and loving Father; Help us we beseech You; To live in Your light and walk in Your ways; According to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Hymn of Preparation: Hymn 269 “The People That in Darkness Sat”
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 9:1-7
New Covenant Reading: Matthew 4:12-16
Sermon: Post Tenebras Lux
Hymn of Response: 330 “Who is This, So Weak and Helpless”
Confession of Faith: Q/A 1 Heidelberg Catechism (p. 872)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: 286 “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”

PM Worship
Hymns: 172, 474, 479
OT: Isaiah 33:17-22
NT: Luke 18:1-8
Sermon: The Faith of Persistent Prayer

Adult Sunday School: Fellowship Meal! – No Sunday School This Week

Suggested Preparations

Monday (9/19) Read and discuss Matthew 4:12-16.

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.” (ESV)

Grant Osborne writes:

There are many possible explanations for Jesus’ move to the north: the opposition of the religious leaders in Judea, the greater openness of the people in Galilee, even the desire to go back home. But the main issue was God’s will. Jesus went where His sense of divine necessity took Him. When the Baptist was arrested, Jesus knew that His time of preparation was over, and God was designating that the new time of kingdom proclamation had arrived.

The move to “Galilee of the Gentiles” also prepares for the ultimate plan of God for the message to reach not only Israel but also the nations. The Gentiles had always been part of His plan. So the message of repentance was the natural reaction to the coming of the kingdom age. Christ had His disciples minister only to the Jewish people (10:5,6) but prepared them for the Gentile mission by Himself ministering to Gentiles (8:5-13, 28-34; 15:21-28, 29-31) and announced that mission in two stages, prophesying that “many will come from the east and the west” to feast at the messianic banquet with Abraham (8:11) and then commanding the universal mission in 28:19.

Read or sing Hymn 281 “Rejoice, the LORD is King.”

Tuesday (9/20) Read and discuss Matthew 4:1-11.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’


“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (ESV)

Tom Wright comments:

The biblical texts Jesus used as His key weapons help us to see how this remarkable story fits into Matthew’s gospel at this point. They are all taken from the story of Israel in the wilderness. Jesus had come through the waters of baptism, like Israel crossing the Red Sea. He now had to face, in forty days and nights the equivalent of Israel’s forty years in the desert. But, where Israel failed again and again, Jesus succeeded. Here at last is a true Israelite, Matthew is saying. He has come to do what God always wanted Israel to do – to brin light to the world.

Behind that again is the even deeper story of Adam and Eve in the garden. A single command; a single temptation; a single, devastating result. Jesus kept His eyes on His Father, and so launched the mission to undo the age-old effects of human rebellion. He would meet the tempter again in various guises: protesting to Him, through His closest associate, that He should change His mind about going to the cross; mocking Him through the priests and bystanders, as He hung on the cross (27:39-43, again with the words ‘if you are God’s Son’). This is no accident. When Jesus refused to go the way of the tempter He was embracing the way of the cross.

Read or sing Hymn 269 “The People That in Darkness Sat”

Wednesday (9/21) Read and discuss Isaiah 9:1-7.

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (ESV)

Who is Jesus? This passage is one of the Old Testament prophesies that also points forward to the doctrine of the Trinity. While we are blessed with a far fuller picture of the Triune God in the New Covenant, this prophesy should have caused faithful Jews to ask questions for which only the doctrine of the Trinity is the answer. We are told in verse 6 that “unto us a Son is given” and we are also told that He will be called “mighty God”. While the first expression distinguishes the Messiah from God the Father, the second expression identifies Him as God. This distinction of persons and unity of being within God are the essence of the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet, we also read something that can be puzzling to us today. Since Jesus was eternally the Son of God – how can Isaiah call Him the Everlasting Father? It is helpful for us to realize that fatherhood has three primary defining characteristics: (1) headship, (2) generation, and (3) care. Let us consider the first of these characteristics of fatherhood – headship. When an earthly father makes decisions, those choices impact his entire family. If one man works hard and is faithful to God while another is an adulterous, drunken, gambler – their respective families will enjoy blessings or cursings based on the actions of the family’s covenant head. Our culture tends to treat such consequences as accidental or even unfair – but they are the way God designed humanity. Unlike angels, we live in a network of relationships where we represent each other and make decisions on each other’s behalf. This is revealed even in our language. The biblical term for man/mankind is Adam. As the first man, Adam represented all mankind so when he rebelled against God – we all fell into sin and depravity with him. Western culture over the past 40 years has begun to rebel against this representative principle. For example, it is becoming increasingly common for women to not take their husband’s names (in some countries the governments have actually put impediments up that hinder a woman from taking her husband’s name at the time of marriage). A far better choice would be to tell women, “If you don’t like the idea of this man representing you – don’t marry him!” Nevertheless, being sinners we all like to shift the blame away from ourselves – as though we would have perfectly fulfilled all righteousness if we had been in Adam’s place. But before you start to protest about how unfair representative headship is, remember that this principle of representation (sometimes called “federal theology”) is the only basis for your salvation (See Romans 5:12-21)! As your federal head, on the cross God treated Jesus as though he had lived your life so that through all eternity He could treat you as though you had lived His life. It is not surprising then that Christ would be described as the head of the Church (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18).

Sing or Read Hymn 330 “Who is This, So Weak and Helpless”

Thursday (9/22) Read and discuss Isaiah 33:17-22.

Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
they will see a land that stretches afar.
Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be plucked up,
nor will any of its cords be broken.
But there the LORD in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor majestic ship can pass.
For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
the LORD is our king; he will save us. (ESV)

Bryan E. Beyer writes:

Isaiah described features of God’s great day of restoration. The people would behold the king’s splendor and enjoy a spacious land. They would no longer face their arrogant enemies who had oppressed them and made their lives difficult. Rather, they would see Jerusalem as a beacon of peace, an immovable city of festivals and celebration.

Finally, God’s great day of restoration would feature spiritual blessing. More important than anything else, the LORD would stand as their mighty one, their judge, their lawgiver, their king, their savior. They would experience the true meaning of salvation, and in that day, they would understand the true meaning of life. God in His love and grace had forgiven them and established them as His everlasting people.

Friday (9/23) Read and discuss Luke 18:1-8.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (ESV)

David Garland writes:

The parable confirms the Pauline injunctions to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to persevere in prayer (Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18), and to devote yourselves to prayer (Col 4:2). But it may be easily misinterpreted to mean that God eventually wears down and responds to persistence. The message is not that it pays to pester God because God eventually will respond, or that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Instead, the point is that God, who demands justice and is sympathetic to the plight of His people, will bring final vindication. Believers may boldly plead with God in prayer, “Your reign come,” and know that they are not dealing with an apathetic, wicked crook who metes out favorable decisions to the highest bidder. They pray to a loving, caring God who has promised deliverance and has the power to accomplish it. The difference is that Christians are not like the widow and God is not like the judge. Believers do not approach God as if they were poor bag ladies. They are identified as “the elect” and already have a relationship with God. Will God not vindicate His elect?

The widow in the parable has no other connections, no other options. The judge is her only hope. As the widow determinedly casts her future hopes in the hands of this judge, so Christians must place all of their hope in God as they only hope they have.

Read or sing Hymn 286 “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”

Saturday (9/24) Read and discuss Matthew 4:12-16.
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.” (ESV)

Michael Wilkins writes:

Returning to Galilee, Jesus goes first to His hometown of Nazareth, where apparently His mother and brothers were still living. Matthew says only that “leaving Nazareth,” Jesus goes to Capernaum, but Luke fills in some of the details of His time in His former hometown. Jesus attends the synagogue, and as a returning successful preacher, reads from Scripture. However, He offends the townspeople’s ethnic sensitivities when He reveals that His ministry will include Gentiles, so they attempt to kill Him (see Luke 4:16-31).

Animosities between Jews and Gentiles ran high. Non-Jewish populations surrounded the tribes of Israel in the north on three sides, so the region was described as “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Although Jesus went first to the Jews, to fulfill God’s promise to the nation, He goes on to display an increasing openness to Gentiles. That openness reflects the intention of the original Abrahamic covenant to include Gentiles and is the foundation of the later apostolic mission to the Gentiles. But many Jews, including those in His former hometown, could not overcome their antipathy toward Gentiles.

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