MVOPC 14 February 2016
Call to Worship: Psalm 100:1-5
Opening Hymn: 34 “The God of Abraham Praise”
Confession of Sin
O You whose chosen dwelling is the heart that longs for Your presence and humbly seeks Your love: We come to You to acknowledge and confess that we have sinned in thought and word and deed; We have not loved You with all our heart and soul, with all our mind and strength; We have not even loved our neighbor as ourselves. Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, or for the good we have left undone. But You, O Lord, are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy; there is forgiveness with You. Restore to us the joy of Your salvation; Bind up that which is broken, give light to our minds, strength to our wills and rest to our souls. Speak to each of us the word that we need, and let Your Word abide with us until it has wrought in us Your holy will. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Joel 2:12-13
Hymn of Preparation: 693 “Blessed Assurance”
Old Covenant Reading: Isaiah 51:1-6
New Covenant Reading: Hebrews 11:7-12
Sermon: Faith and the Future
Hymn of Response: 499 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
Confession of Faith: Ten Commandments
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 689 “Be Still, My Soul”
OT: Genesis 11:10-12:9
NT: Galatians 3:1-9
Abraham the Pilgrim
Adult Sunday School: The Sixth Commandment
Shorter Catechism Q/A #29
Q. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.
Monday (2/8) Read and discuss Hebrews 11:7-12. Simon Kistemaker writes:
Faith has its counterpart in obedience. Faith and obedience are two sides of the same coin. Abraham learned that faith and obedience go together, especially at the time when God called him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Note this sequence: Abraham believed and loved God, who promised him a son. After many years of waiting, Abraham received this promised son and loved him. Then God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. If Abraham sacrificed Isaac, we would keep God but lose his son. If he disobeyed God, Abraham would keep his son but lose God. Abraham chose to obey God, and thus he placed the problem of loving his son of the promise in the hands of God. He believed that God could raise Isaac from death. In short, Abraham’s life with God bore the motto Trust and Obey.
Read or sing Hymn 34 “The God of Abraham Praise” Prayer: Ask the LORD to lift high His reputation through the way that you live today.
Tuesday (2/9) Read and discuss Hebrews 11:1-7. Tom Schreiner writes:
Faith looks to what is unseen, trusting in the promise of God. Faith isn’t irrational. It believes in a God who truly created the world, who rescued Enoch from death and Noah from the flood. But faith doesn’t see these things from the beginning. It believes God will reward those who seek him. It trusts God, as Abel did, even though death is the immediate consequence. Faith doesn’t rely on the contemporary events or perceptions but puts its trust and hope in the word of God and in his promises for his people.
Prayer: Ask the LORD to give a clear and deep faith to the children of our congregation.
Wednesday (2/10) Read and discuss Isaiah 51:1-6. Bryan Beyer writes:
Isaiah 51 begins with a threefold challenge: look to the past, look to the future, and look to the present. The LORD has done great things in the past and will do great things for his people in the future, so they can trust him for the present. Isaiah’s prayer then follows, along with God’s response to that prayer.
[In verses 1-3] Isaiah addressed those in his audience who wanted to pursue the LORD and his righteousness. They could receive encouragement by looking to the past.
Isaiah took them back to their roots. He reminded them how the LORD had created their nation through an elderly couple – Abraham and Sarah – who were unable to have children. Yet God blessed them and gave them Isaac, from whom came Jacob and his sons. God’s hand on the nation was evident from the beginning; he would not leave them now.
Isaiah also challenged his hearers to look to the future. First, he described the justice that would come for all nations (51:4-5). God’s law would become a standard for all peoples, and they would look to him for justice. And the Gentiles would actually become part of God’s people. Prophetic words such as these emphasize again that God’s desire to reach the nations is not exclusively a New Testament concept.
Second, Isaiah called everyone to reflect on God’s power (51:6). The LORD had created heaven and earth, but both of these would pass away one day. His salvation and righteousness, however, would last forever, as would those who had placed their trust in him.
Read or sing Hymn 693 “Blessed Assurance” Prayer: Lift up those in our congregation who are struggling with physical ailments.
Thursday (2/11) Read and discuss Galatians 3:1-9. Tom Schreiner writes:
The great Reformation teaching that justification, being right before God, is by faith alone is clearly taught in this text. Abraham was not justified on the basis of his obedience to God. He was declared to be right with God when he believed God’s promise. His righteousness came not by working for God but by believing in God.
The same is true for all of Abraham’s genuine children. Right standing with God comes from receiving what God has given us in Christ. This message is the greatest news of all, for Luther was on target in saying that we are simul justus et peccator (justified and at the same time a sinner). As Christians we are aware of the continuing presence of sin in our lives. There is never an excuse for sin, and yet even the most mature Christians continue to sin in multiple ways (James 3:2). If we claim that such is not true of our lives, then we do not know ourselves as God knows us. When we realize how far short we fall as believers, the good news that we are justified by faith alone is a great comfort for us, for our righteousness does not reside in ourselves but in Christ risen and crucified.
Read or sing Hymn 499 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” Prayer: Give thanks for the righteousness which comes from God because of Jesus Christ that we receive entirely as a gift.
Friday (2/12) Read and discuss Genesis 11:10-12:9. Iain Duguid writes:
Make no mistake; what we see here in Genesis 12 is nothing short of a new beginning for mankind. In the first eleven chapters of Genesis, we observe the slow, steady, shocking spread of sin from its origin in the Garden of Eden. Five times in these chapters, God’s solemn curse is pronounced upon sin and sinners, replacing the original blessing upon life in the Garden. But now God begins the process of re-creating for himself a people by pronouncing a fivefold blessing upon Abram. God will bless Abram and turn him into the very embodiment of blessing, a living model of what blessing should be. In the same way that Babe Ruth is “Mr. Baseball,” Abram will be “Mr. Blessing.” What the builders of the tower of Babel sought to do in their own behalf and failed to accomplish – to establish a lasting city and thus make a name for themselves – God will do for Abram. God will make him into a nation and make his name great. Through his obedience, Abram will bring blessing to the whole world: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God’s original plan of blessing for the whole world will be brought to fruition through Abram’s obedience. The way of blessing that was once marked by the Tree of Life and then by Noah’s ark is now marked by identification with Abram and his seed. Abram is promised a heady mixture of power, prestige, and status.
Prayer: Pray for the continued unity and closeness of our congregation as we enjoy a church game night this evening.
Saturday (2/13) Read and discuss Hebrews 11:7-12. N.T. Wright comments:
The faith of Abraham and Sarah, which is celebrated in this passage, is faith that the creator God is also the covenant God; that the particular promises made to this one family, at a time when they seemed flatly impossible, were backed up by the power which made the world. Verses 1-6 thus stand by the power which made the world. Verses 1-6 thus stand behind verses 8-12, and give body to the idea of ‘faith’ which this chapter is all about. It isn’t just that Abraham and Sarah thought they heard a strange being speaking to them and decided to believe it, but rather that the God they came to know was the creator God, the absolutely trustworthy one, the one who could give life where there was none (verses 11 and 12). This will be further developed in the next section.
Working back from the verses about Sarah, then, we find the promise to Abraham concerning the land. Just as Sarah was called to believe that God would give her a child even though she was elderly and barren, Abraham had been called to believe that God would give him a homeland even though he was a wandering stranger, a nomad with no fixed abode. And. of course, though Abraham and Sarah did indeed have a son, they never came to possess for themselves the land which God promised them. All they had was the cave which Abraham bought as a burial place. For the rest, they were living on God’s promise.
That, of course, is what Hebrews wants its readers to learn to do. ‘Faith’ here is not a general religious attitude to life. It’s not simply believing difficult or impossible things for the sake of it, as though simple credulity was itself a virtue. The faith in question, as becomes increasingly clear through the chapter, is the faith which hears and believes the promise of God, the assured word from the world’s creator that he is also the world’s redeemer, and that through the strange fortunes of Abraham’s family he is working to build … the city which is to come.
Read or sing Hymn: 689 “Be Still, My Soul” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.