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

Guide for the Preparation for Worship on 6 November 2022

AM Worship
Call to Worship: Psalm 98:1-3
Opening Hymn: 243 “How Firm a Foundation”
Confession of Sin
O great and everlasting God, Who dwells in unapproachable light, Who searches and knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart; We confess that we have not loved You with all our heart, nor with all our soul, nor with all our mind, nor with all our strength; Nor our neighbors as ourselves. We have loved what we ought not to have loved; We have coveted what is not ours; We have not been content with Your provisions for us. We have complained in our hearts about our family, about our friends, about our health, about our occupations, about Your church, and about our trials. We have sought our security in those things which perish, rather than in You, the Everlasting God. Chasten, cleanse, and forgive us, through Jesus Christ, who is able for all time to save us who approach You through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 1:18
Psalm of Preparation: Psalm 119E “Teach Me, O LORD, Your Way of Truth”
Old Covenant Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-9
New Covenant Reading: Matthew 5:17-20
Sermon: The Written Word and the Word Incarnate
Psalm of Response: Psalm 119M “O How I Love Your Holy Law”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 851)
Doxology (Hymn 568)
Closing Hymn: Hymn 175 “Your Law, O God, Is Our Delight”

PM Worship
Hymns: 275, 277, 276
OT: Isaiah 59:14-21
NT: Hebrews 7:20-28
Sermon: The Eternal Intercessor

Adult Sunday School: Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

Q. Why must the mediator be
a true and righteous man?
A. Because God’s justice requires
that human nature, which has sinned,
must pay for its sin;
but a sinner could never pay for others.

Q. Why must he also be true God?
A. So that,
by the power of his divinity,
he might bear in his humanity
the weight of God’s wrath,
and earn for us
and restore to us
righteousness and life.

Q. Then who is this mediator—
true God and at the same time
a true and righteous man?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who was given to us
for our complete deliverance
and righteousness.

Q. How do you come to know this?
A. The holy gospel tells me.
God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;
later, he proclaimed it
by the holy patriarchs and prophets
and foreshadowed it
by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;
and finally he fulfilled it
through his own beloved Son.
Suggested Preparations

Monday (10/31) Read and discuss Matthew 5:17-20.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

Jeffrey Gibbs writes:

Why does obedience to God’s commandments constitute greatness in the company of Jesus’ disciples? Matthew 5:20 gives the explanation: “For I say to you that unless your righteousness abounds more greatly than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will certainly not enter into the reign of heaven.” The two important questions here pertain (1) to the meaning of “your righteousness” and (2) to the sense in which that righteousness of Jesus’ disciples must abound more greatly than that of the scribes and Pharisees.

The phrase “your righteousness” most likely refers to the disciples’ good deeds that flow from their relationship with Christ Himself. Now, it is true that “righteousness” occurs in the near context (5:6, 10) with a meaning of “God’s saving action in Jesus.” It is also true that whatever good works disciples perform are preceded and enabled by the prior gracious blessing of Jesus. Nevertheless, three factors militate against “righteousness” in 5:20 having the same “Gospel” meaning as it does in 5:6, 10. First, Jesus has been speaking about doing and teaching the commandments; this refers to the disciples’’ obedience and “good works” (5:16). Second, Jesus does not speak of “God’s righteousness” or merely “righteousness,” but of “your righteousness.” Consequently, the “righteousness” here is an attributed or product of the disciples; it is good fruit from a good tree (7:17). Third, later in the Sermon (6:1), Jesus says, “Pay attention not to do your righteousness before men in order that you may be visible to them.” The phrase “your righteousness” there clearly refers to the good works of Jesus’ disciples. So here in 5:20, “your righteousness” also refers to the good works of Jesus’ disciples.

[We will look at how Professor Gibbs answers the 2nd question on Saturday]

Read or sing 243 “How Firm a Foundation”

Tuesday (11/1) Read and discuss Matthew 5:13-16.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

Michael Wilkins writes:

Jesus’ disciples are not only “the salt of the earth” but also “the light of the world.” The light metaphor continues the salt metaphor and takes it one step further to illustrate Jesus’ point. “Light” is an important theme in Scripture, normally emphasizing the removal of darkness in the unfolding of biblical history and theology. The literal contrast between physical light and darkness provokes a profound metaphorical contrast between metaphysical good and evil, God and evil forces, believers and unbelievers. Jesu slater declares that He is “the light of the world,” who has come as the light that enlightens all people, so that those believing in Him will no longer walk in darkness.

In the same way as Jesus’ life and message of salvation bring light to those in darkness, His disciples are a living demonstration of the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. The light of revelation from God that accompanies Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom is not just carried by His disciples; they are that light.

Read or sing Psalm 119E “Teach Me, O LORD, Your Way of Truth”

Wednesday (11/2) Read and discuss Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (ESV)

Sometimes it is helpful to ask what is most distinctive about a particular text of Scripture. Today’s passage tells us three things about Biblical religion that are sharply distinct from the religions Ancient Israel’s neighbors: Biblical religion is (1) Monotheistic; (2) Rational; and (3) Ethical. MONOTHEISM. Verse 5 and following teach the absolute uniqueness of God. They also insist that His children exhibit undivided loyalty to Him. In the Ancient world, one Pharaoh pushed a type of monotheism – but Biblical Judaism was the only truly monotheistic religion in the Ancient world. RATIONAL. Modern Westerners may assume that most religions have a strongly rational element to them – but many ancient (and modern) religions focused on ecstatic experiences. In fact, Temple prostitution was a common way for devotees of a god or goddess to try to gain intimacy with that god or goddess by engaging in sexual relations with the Temple prostitute as a sort of proxy for the “deity”. By contrast, notice the emphasis in this text on hearing, remembering, and teaching God’s words. Biblical religion is rational. ETHICAL. A second surprise for many westerners is to discover that most ancient religions were not particularly ethical. Pagan religions functioned largely on a quid-pro-quo basis. If you gave public honor to a god or goddess by building shrines or offering sacrifices than you could expect (hope?) that the honored god or goddess would look out for you, make your land fertile, etc. … It didn’t matter if you were unethical in your business dealings, cheated on your wife, and were a constant liar – all that mattered was that you offered the appropriate public honors to the god or goddess. In fact, if you look at the way the Greek and Roman gods supposedly lived, they are little more than gross immorality writ large. By contrast, the Living God is very concerned with how we live, and He has graciously given us His laws so we wouldn’t have to guess at what right living looks like.

Read or sing Psalm 119M “O How I Love Your Holy Law”

Thursday (11/3) Read and discuss Isaiah 59:14-21.

Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, so will he repay,
wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies;
to the coastlands he will render repayment.
So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west,
and his glory from the rising of the sun;
for he will come like a rushing stream,
which the wind of the LORD drives.

“And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.

“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.” (ESV)

R. Reed Lessing writes:

Up to this point in chapter 59, it appears as though the apostates are going to reign supreme. Everything seems to be dominated by ruthless power. But Yahweh is a dominant alternative power who defies conventional expectations. He will usher in a counter-reality tooted in his ancient exodus claims, for he is the only and holy God, the decisive force in the universe. All self-indulgent and autonomous hedonism comes under his all-seeing judgment.

When Jeremiah (14:1-15:4) prays for Israel, Yahweh refuses to listen because He had already decreed His judgment upon the stubbornly impenitent people. Because the people have so willfully refused to trust in Him, their judgment is inevitable. One might expect that Yahweh will take the same stance in relation to the prayer in Isaiah 59:1-15a. However, this is not the case. Thank God! Instead of pointing out that there is every reason for Him to ignore their prayer (59:1-8), He demonstrates concern. This move from Law to Gospel is equivalent to Paul’s indictment of humanity in Romans 3:1-20, followed by His grand Gospel statement “but now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been made manifest, [the righteousness] testified to by the Law and the Prophets” (Romans 3:21). The surprising Gospel turn means life and salvation for the world!

Friday (11/4) Read and discuss Hebrews 7:20-28.

And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. (ESV)

John Kleinig writes:

Since Jesus lives forever and has the power of an indestructible life, He has ‘the power to save” mortal people from death. The scope of that is not limited by human weakness and the stain of sin, nor is it hindered by the power of fear and the devil. Rather, He saves “completely.” He does not redeem them partially but entirely from all that robs them of life with God; He does not just rescue them for a short time on their journey on earth, but finally, at its end, for eternal life with God in heaven. He is not just the source of salvation, but is Himself the Savior of “those who come near to God through Him.” The language here is liturgical. The congregation approaches God by its involvement in [corporate worship]; there it approaches the throne of grace as it enters the heavenly sanctuary and stands with the angels in the heavenly city (Hebrews 12:22-24). Yet the congregation does not come near to God by itself, but only “through” Jesus, its High Priest, just as it presents its offerings to God “through Him.” It does so together with Jesus, for He now appears before God on their behalf. They therefore approach God together with and through Him as their mediator.

Read or sing Hymn 175 “Your Law, O God, Is Our Delight”

Saturday (11/5) Read and discuss Matthew 5:17-20.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

On Monday we saw that the phrase “your righteousness” refers to the good deeds that Christians perform that flow from their relationship with Jesus Christ. But what does Jesus mean when He says, “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”?

Jeffrey Gibbs writes:

The most important thing to know about the scribes and the Pharisees is simply this: they are not Jesus’ disciples. As the narrative progresses, they appear as Jesus’ opponents, who reject His claim that the reign of God is present in His ministry. The scribes and Pharisees do possess a certain kind of “righteousness,” and they manifest it in their behavior. It is, however, a “righteousness” that is entirely cut off from Jesus and so is not “true” righteousness, not truly “good works” at all.

[Please note that] Jesus speaks to this issue in 6:1-4. There is a righteousness that hypocrites do in order to be visible to other people. This “righteousness” has no existence or validity in the presence of the heavenly Father.”

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