MVOPC 4 September 2016
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 14 “New Songs of Celebration Render”
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 5:17-21
Hymn of Preparation: 184 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Old Covenant Reading: Jeremiah 31:1-14
New Covenant Reading: John 2:1-12
Sermon: New Wine
Hymn of Response: 188 “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”
Confession of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism Q/A #1
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 426 “Til He Come”!
Quarterly Hymn Sing
Adult Sunday School: Saint Augustine
Shorter Catechism Q/A #58
Q. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.
Monday (8/29) Read and discuss John 2:1-12. R.C. Sproul writes:
There is some important symbolism involved in Jesus’ transformation of water into wine. At one point, Jesus took note of the different reactions of the Jewish leaders to His ministry and that of John the Baptist. We saw earlier that John had come in garb reminiscent of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, and that he lived in the wilderness and ate locusts and wild honey. There has been some speculation that John the Baptist may have taken the Nazirite vows, which would have required him to abstain from wine. In short, John came in a spirit of austerity. But Jesus went to dinners with publicans and participated in feasts and other celebrations, such as the wedding in Cana; as Jesus put it, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34a). Much the same was true for the disciples of John and the disciples of Jesus. Jesus explained that it was appropriate for John and his followers to be in a mode of total abstinence because he carried out his ministry while the Bridegroom was not present, but Jesus was the Bridegroom, so it was appropriate for Him and for His disciples to celebrate (Luke 5:34-35). The Bridegroom had come, so it was time for the party to start, and the use of wine was symbolic of that celebration.
Read or sing Hymn 55 “To God Be the Glory” Prayer: Please pray for our year-long Intern Dan Borvan and his wife Marcy as they arrive in Massachusetts today.
Tuesday (8/30) Read and discuss John 1:35-51. With great excitement Andrew brings his brother to meet Jesus. But before he can introduce them Jesus says:
“You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Do you see how Jesus is revealing His glory? That is an astonishing display of authority. Think how bizarre it would have been if the first time you came to this church the pastor said: “From now on you will be called Frank” or “You will be called Mary.” Well, it’s even stranger than that with Simon. We have no record of anyone ever being called Peter prior to Jesus giving that name to Simon the son of John. We might catch the force of this better if we heard Jesus saying: “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Rock.” Jesus is saying: “I have the authority to rename you because I have complete authority over you.” In some profound way, our identities and our names are wrapped up in one another. Over time our names cease to be simply the labels by which we are known – they are an integral part of our identity. There are three times in the modern America where people change their names. The first is an effort to cross over language barriers. It is very common, for example, for people in America who were given Chinese or Korean names at birth to adopt English names that their American friends can call them. Second, when people convert to Islam as adults they commonly adopt a Muslim name. Think of Cassius Clay taking on the name we all know him by today – Muhammad Ali. Third, it is still common for women to take their husband’s last name in marriage to symbolize that the two have become one flesh. The last two of these, conversion and marriage, both involve a significant change in a person’s identity. These are very personal decisions. But Jesus is saying: I have authority to change your name and therefore your identity without ever stopping to ask you for permission – because I am Lord. That really is an astonishing display of Christ’s authority. Read or sing Hymn 257 “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” Prayer: Give thanks that you bear the title Christian and have been baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday (8/31) Read and discuss Jeremiah 31:1-14. O. Palmer Robertson writes:
The judgment of exile is inevitable. The words of God’s prophets to this effect will surely be fulfilled, because the LORD is “watching” over His word. But beyond uprooting will be replanting. That this “planting” involves” the “seed of men and of animals” hints at the prospect of a new cosmic beginning. Not just Israel, but the world will take on a different form.
But what ongoing hope could a people have when God has so clearly announced His intention to drive a rebellious nation out of their land? If disobedience had ruined them once, what would prevent the recurrence of the same tragedy again? Jeremiah explains that as all redemptive history was structured in the past by divinely initiated covenants of grace, so the future expectations of God’s people will rest in the establishment of a new covenant with even fuller manifestations of grace (31:31-34).
Even as the nation totters on the brink of devastation, this new covenant provides a future hope for Israel and involves points of continuity with past covenantal dealings as well as points of radical newness. The Torah of the LORD shall be in effect; but now this law shall be inscribed on the hearts of God’s people rather than on cold stone tablets. Sins shall be removed, but apart from the repetitious offering of sacrifices. Knowledge of the LORD shall be the essence of the new covenant relations, but no teachers shall be needed to inculcate this knowledge.
The ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy concerning restoration according to the provisions of this new covenant cannot be satisfied by a purely physical return of Jewish peoples to the geographical territory of Palestine, such as that which occurred in the last half of the twentieth century. That type of return was accomplished at the end of the Jeremiah’s specified seventy years. But the rejuvenation of the heart along with the restoration of the entire earth by the replanting of the seed of man and beast can alone fulfill the expectations of the new covenant prophecy.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to send visitors to our congregation who would be blessed by become part of our church family.
Thursday (9/1) Read and discuss Romans 5:1-11. Commenting on verses 3-5, R.C. Sproul writes:
Tribulation puts muscle on our souls. Tribulation makes it possible for the people of God to persevere rather than to give up. Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character (v. 4). An easy life does nothing to produce character. Character is forged in the crucible of pain. Character is built when we have no alternative but to persevere in tribulation. Those who come out on the other side are those in whose souls God has built character. The result of character is hope (v. 4) – there it is again. Authentically joyful people are those who know where their hope is. They have been through the crucible. They have been through afflictions, persecution, and rejection from their friends. They have been through pain. They have identified with the humiliation of Christ. They have been crucified with Christ and raised in his resurrection and now participate in his exultation. That is the hope that Christian character produces.
What about the result of that hope? Here is the best part: Now hope does not disappoint (v. 5). Other translations say that hope “does not make us ashamed.” It is embarrassing that the world’s idea of hope is to invest it in some particular enterprise only to see that enterprise fail. When it fails we are dashed to pieces, but the hope that we have from God will never disappoint. It will never embarrass us. We will never have to be ashamed for putting our confidence and trust in Christ. If you put your trust in anything else but Christ you are destined for disappointment and embarrassment. Hope in Christ is the only hope that never shames us. The New Testament tells us that if we are not in the faith, if we do not believe, we are without hope and destined ultimately to disappointment.
Read or sing Hymn 58 “O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright” Prayer: Lift up the Sunday school teachers in our church as a new season of Sunday school gets underway this weekend.
Friday (9/2) Read and discuss Acts 22:12-21. James Montgomery Boice writes:
When Paul speaks of his past we are reminded that apart from the single fact that he persecuted Christians Paul never thought of his background as something about which he needed to be ashamed. On the contrary, he spoke of it favorably. In Romans 9 he wrote about the advantages of being a Jew, saying, “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ.” In Philippians he spoke more personally: “If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews: in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.”
Paul uses some of the words that appear in Philippians in this account, which means that this must be the way Paul was accustomed to talking about his conversion. He was a pure-blooded Jew, and he was zealous for the traditions of his fathers. He emphasizes this zeal, saying that he was trained by the famous Rabbi Gamaliel. Everybody in Jerusalem would have known who Gamaliel was. Paul was not ashamed of his Jewish background, because God had chosen the Jewish people. Every spiritual advantage in history before the coming of Jesus Christ was with Judaism, and Paul was not afraid to acknowledge it. …
Yet, in spite of the fact that he had this heritage, in spite of the fact that he had been trained in the law – the law God gave for our benefit to restrain evil and direct us to the Messiah – Paul had been woefully off base because he had been trying to do as a Jew the same thing the Gentiles had been trying to do with their own non-biblical religions. He had been trying to establish a righteousness on his own that because he was a sinner was no true righteousness. He had been rejecting the salvation God provided.
Prayer: Give thanks that the LORD has clothed you with the perfect righteousness of Christ if you are trusting in Him.
Saturday (9/3) Read and discuss John 2:1-12. John Calvin writes:
It may be doubted [that Mary] expected or asked anything [miraculous] from her Son, since he had not yet performed any miracle; and it is possible that, without expecting any remedy of this sort, she advised him to give some pious exhortations which would have the effect of preventing the guests from feeling uneasiness, and that the same time relieving the same of the bridegroom. I consider her words to be expressive of earnest compassion; for the holy woman, perceiving that those who had been invited were likely to consider themselves as having been treated with disrespect, and to murmur against the bridegroom, and that the entertainment might in that way be disturbed, wished that some means of soothing them could be adopted. …
It is a remarkable passage certainly; for why does [Jesus] absolutely refuse to his mother what he freely granted afterwards, on so many occasions to all sorts of persons? Again, why is he not satisfied with a bare refusal? Why does he reduce her to the ordinary rank of women and not even deign to call her mother? This saying of Christ openly and manifestly warns people to beware lest, by too superstitiously elevating the honor of the name of mother in the Virgin Mary, they transfer to her what belongs exclusively to God. Christ, therefore, addresses his mother in this manner, in order to lay down a perpetual and general instruction to all ages: that his divine glory must not be obscured by excessive honor paid to his mother.
Read or sing Hymn: 254 “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.