MVOPC 23 April 2017
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Opening Hymn: 2 “O Worship the King”
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 Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Romans 6:23
Hymn of Preparation: 103 “Holy God, We Praise Your Name”
Old Covenant Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-32
New Covenant Reading: John 10:22-42
Sermon: My Sheep Hear My Voice
Hymn of Response: 131 “Children of the Heavenly Father”
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed (p. 845)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 426 “Til He Come”!
OT: Genesis 41:1-36
NT: Luke 12:35-46
Adult Sunday School: Larger Catechism
Shorter Catechism Q/A #91
Q. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.
Monday (4/17) Read and discuss John 10:22-42. R.C. Sproul writes:
Here is a very simple illustration of a biblical concept. A strong father is walking with his three-year-old son besides a dangerous railroad track. There are two ways the father can protect the son. He can reach out his hand and say to the little boy, “Now listen, son, hold on tightly to my hand, because if you let go you could fall onto the tracks and be killed.” Of the father can say, “Son, give me your hand,” and he takes the boy’s hand and holds on to him. Thus, the father holds on to the son rather than the son holding on to the father. Which is the surer method?
Jesus said no one can snatch His sheep out of His hand. We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus but because He holds tightly to us. Jesus said: “Every one of My sheep is going to have eternal life. They will never perish – I’m going to see to it. I give them eternal life. They will never perish – I’m going to see to it. I give them eternal life, and nobody will snatch them out of My hand.” This is a tremendous promise that affords great comfort, but it is a promise only God could make.
Read or sing 2 “O Worship the King” Prayer: Ask that the children in our congregation would all come to a genuine faith in Jesus and therefore know that they are secure in His hands and in the hands of their heavenly Father.
Tuesday (4/18) Read and discuss Acts 2:22-41. Why did God become man? Today’s passage gives us at least seven reasons:
Why did God become man?
- God became man in order to fully reveal God’s character and will.
- God became man in order to trample our guilt under foot at the cross and to cast our sins into the depths of the sea.
- God became man to triumph over death in history so that we who trust in Him can confidently await our own resurrections and glorification.
- God became man so that the man Christ Jesus would rule over the universe and so that all those redeemed in Christ would one day share in that rule.
- God became man so that He could fill the Church which He had cleansed with the Holy Spirit … that God Himself would dwell in us and empower us to be His witnesses.
- God became man to make the wickedness of our rebellion appear exceedingly wicked in order to convict us of our sin and lead us to repentance. And …
- God became man to gather for Himself a vast multitude of redeemed people from every tribe, tongue, and nation who will glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Read or sing Hymn 103 “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” Prayer: Please lift up our brothers and sisters at the Presbytery Church of Cape Cod as they prepare to host the Spring Stated Meeting of our Presbytery next week.
Wednesday (4/19) Read and discuss Ezekiel 36:22-32. This passage is written while the LORD’s people are in exile and this reality creates a problem. Other nations, who wouldn’t have understood that God was judging His people for their rebellion against Him, could easily have imagined that the God of Israel was not very powerful. Why should they turn to worship the LORD when He couldn’t even protect His own people from exile at the hands of those who served other gods? One “solution” would be for the LORD to restore His people and thereby reveal His own power – but how could He do this without compromising His own holiness? Old Testament scholar Doug Stuart helps us grasp God’s solution to this dilemma when he writes:
The clear promise of a general return from exile is proclaimed in verse 24. But how can a holy God reward a notoriously unholy people in this way? Will the Lord simply bring them back to Canaan to sin again as they had always done? The answer contains a condition for the restoration of Israel that demonstrates that such a restoration is intended not for ethnic Israel that but for a new people” they will be made pure by God’s miraculous action (v. 25). Sprinkled with holy water symbolizing their acceptance by God for worship, they will also be given a new mind (“heart”) and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (vv. 26-27). This is, of course, the language of conversion. Change of mind is exactly what the New Testament term for repentance means; the new mind is the converted mind that will love and follow Christ and keep God’s commands faithfully, as also predicted for the new covenant age by the prophet Jeremiah (31:33-34). The fact of the Spirit of God indwelling all who are converted is a dramatically different picture of people’s relationship to the Spirit than that of the old covenant, in which the Spirit was occasionally given to some people, often temporarily (cf. 1 Sam 16:14).
In the new covenant age, people and God will once again be united. Having turned to God and received the righteousness He alone offers, the new Israel will enjoy bounty and respect. They will also have a conscience about the past, hating the sin, including idolatry, that characterized the previous era (v. 31). The Lord will bring this about. Israel won’t be able to do it. They can only receive, not produce righteousness. Furthermore, God will accomplish this purification and renewal of His people for His own sake, not theirs. They don’t deserve it in the slightest. A nation that has done almost nothing during its history to honor God hardly deserves honor in return. But a God who has determined that His glory and saving power should be known in the whole world is willing to redeem a people not otherwise worthy of redemption. For in so doing, He invites sinners everywhere to repent and turn to Him for rescue from their sin. In other words, Ezekiel’s prophecy is making the point that God’s control of Israel’s history is not focused so much on Israel as it is on the world as a whole. Israel is an example to others – all others – of the power and mercy of God. Israel deserves only to be ashamed of itself; God deserves to be honored everywhere, within and without ethnic Israel.
Prayer: Every year many people attend worship services on Easter out of tradition but who do not know the LORD. Pray that God would use the news of the resurrection that they heard last Sunday to effectually call many of these visitors into His Kingdom – and that many would decide to return to worship with God’s people this coming Sunday.
Thursday (4/20) Read and discuss Luke 12:35-46. Americans are a competitive people. We tend to put a lot of emphasis on our relative level of success compared to the success enjoyed by our friends and neighbors. That is, we tend to focus on the horizontal. Jesus, by contrast, is emphasizing our vertical relationship with God. Instead of calling us to compare ourselves with our neighbors, Jesus is calling us to remember whose servants we are and to seek to be faithful to Him. This would be easier to do if life were a sprint, or if we knew for certain that the LORD was going to return this coming September and we could mark on our calendars the date when we would give an account for our stewardship of all the gifts and resources that God has placed into our hands – but that is not the way our lives are arranged. As David Garland writes:
It is more difficult to serve faithfully, to hope steadfastly, and to wait patiently when the timetable is uncertain. But as Summers claims, “The ultimate test of genuine faith is the demonstration of faith through a life of fidelity.” Jesus’ instructions particularly apply to how church leaders should carry out their duties. Vigilance is required, but also responsible service. As good servants, they should perform their duties not only when they are under the watchful eye of the their master but also when he is absent. Church leaders are required to be watchful (Acts 20:26-31a) but also faithful and reliable (Eph 6:21; Col 1:7).
Read or sing Hymn 131 “Children of the Heavenly Father” Prayer: Please pray for Silas as he flies to Orlando to interview at Reformed Theological Seminary. Silas will also be examined at Presbytery next Tuesday to come under the care of the Presbytery as someone who is seeking to prepare for ordained ministry.
Friday (4/21) Read and Genesis 41:1-36. James Montgomery Boice writes:
I suppose that there is not a character in all the Bible who experienced such sudden and radical reversals of fortune as did Joseph. One day he was his father’s favored son, destined to inherit his authority and wealth; the next day he was cast into a cistern, menaced by death, and then sold into Egypt as a slave. In Egypt Joseph gradually rose to a position of authority in Potiphar’s household; but in an instant his affairs were reversed and he found himself set in irons in the prison of the captain of the guard. One day he had hopes of deliverance through his friend the chief cupbearer; but that day was succeeded by many other days of discouragement and despair. Then within hours he was suddenly shaved and clothed and in the court of Pharaoh.
Sudden reversals are difficult for most of us, for our eyes are not constantly on God as Joseph’s were. When we experience a sudden reversal for the worse, we are despondent. We think God has abandoned us, and we become bitter. When we experience a sudden reversal for the better, we are arrogant. Instead of thinking that God has abandoned us, we sometimes abandon God in our thinking and become quite secular. It is a rare Christian who can enjoy sudden prosperity and keep his or her spiritual life on course.
Joseph was one of those rare persons. When he was in prison he did not forget God. When the chief cupbearer and the chief baker told him why they were troubled, Joseph replied, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” Here, before the mightiest monarch of his day, it is the same thing. Pharaoh told Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
Joseph shot back, “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
Prayer: Please lift up Dan as he finishes preparations to pursue licensure at next week’s Spring Stated Meeting of Presbytery.
Saturday (4/22) Read and discuss John 10:22-42. N.T. Wright comments:
Christian confidence about the future beyond death, …, is not a matter of wishful thinking, a vague general hope, or a temperamental inclination to assume things will turn out all right. It is built firmly on nothing less than the union of Jesus with the Father – one of the main themes of this whole gospel. It is interesting to observe that where, in Christian thinking, people have become unclear about Jesus’ close relation to the father, they have often become unclear also on the certainty of Christian hope, and vice versa.
Read or sing Hymn: 426 “Til He Come”! Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.