MVOPC 5 July 2015
Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3
Opening Hymn: 30 “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”
Confession of Sin
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But You, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; According to Your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father; For His sake; That we may hereby live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of Your holy name. Amen
Assurance of Pardon: Titus 3:4-7
Hymn of Preparation: 345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
Old Covenant Reading: Psalm 8:1-9
New Covenant Reading: Hebrews 2:5-9
Sermon: For a Little While
Hymn of Response: 49 “More Love to Thee, O Christ”
Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed (p. 846)
Doxology (Hymn 732)
Closing Hymn: 386 “God Be With You Til We Meet Again”
OT: Daniel 7:15-28
NT: Revelation 17:9-18
For He is Lord of Lords
Adult Sunday School: Larger Catechism 82-83: Communion in Glory
Shorter Catechism Q/A #105
Q. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
Monday (6/29) Read and discuss Hebrews 2:5-9. N.T. Wright comments:
How can something that’s happened to Jesus, all by himself, be relevant for the rest of us? … [Here’s how:] Jesus is the representative of His people. In a parliamentary democracy, voters in each area elect someone to represent them in the central councils of state. They can’t all be there themselves (in the way that all citizens could be present, and could speak and vote, in the small city of ancient Athens, the birthplace of democracy); so they find an appropriate way of appointing someone who is there on their behalf, carrying their hopes and fears, their needs and aspirations, in his or her own person. Thus, because the representative is there and they are not, he or she also acts as their substitute, doing for them what, for various reasons, they can’t do for themselves.
Something like this is going on again and again in the New Testament when writers speak of Jesus both as Israel’s Messiah and the world’s true Lord. Jesus represents Israel, as it’s Messiah; and, since Israel was designed, in God’s purpose, to be the people who would represent the whole world, he also represents that much larger community. As a result, he can stand in for them, doing for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. Hebrews here puts it in a nutshell: in His suffering of death, Jesus has, by God’s grace, been enabled ‘to taste death on behalf of everyone.’ A good deal of the letter will now be devoted to explaining how this comes about, and what it means. For the moment, we should simply celebrate the fact, which is central to all Christianity, that in Jesus God has already dealt with death on our behalf, and is already ruling the world as its rightful Lord.
Read or sing Hymn 30 “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” Prayer: Please pray for President Obama that he would not be overwhelmed by the pressing demands of his office but that he would lead our nation with wisdom and moral courage.
Tuesday (6/30) Read and discuss Hebrews 2:1-4. What does neglecting our salvation look like? Jesus once told a parable that paints a picture of what such neglect looks like. He said:
“A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”
Pay attention to those excuses. They were all about good things. Fields, and oxen, and wives are all gifts from God. Nobody said: “Please excuse me while I go and rob my neighbor” or “please excuse me while I sell cocaine.” And that is true of your life as well. Most of you will be tempted to neglect Christ not for things that are intrinsically evil but for things which in the right context – and received with thankfulness to God – are genuinely good. What are those things in your life? What are the things your mind keeps turning to when you are not trying to focus on anything in particular? There is a high likelihood that this is what has a hold of your heart. Now remember Hebrews chapter 1: Jesus is better! Prayer: Please pray for the members of our congregation who are on or traveling to short-term mission works this week.
Wednesday (7/1) Read and discuss Psalm 8:1-9. Commenting on verses 6-9 Calvin writes:
From the dominion over all things which God has conferred upon men, it is evident how great is the love which he has borne towards them, and how much account he has made of them. As he does not stand in need of anything himself, he has destined all the riches, both of heaven and earth, for their use.
It is certainly a singular honor and one which cannot be sufficiently estimated, that mortal man, as the representative of God, has dominion over the world, as if it pertained to him by right, and that to whatever quarter he turns his eyes, he sees nothing wanting which may contribute to the convenience and happiness of his life. Now there is no doubt, that if there is anything in heaven or on earth which is opposed to men, the beautiful order which God had established in the world at the beginning is now thrown into confusion. The consequence of this is, that mankind, after they were ruined by the fall of Adam, were not only deprived of so distinguished and honorable an estate, and dispossessed of their former dominion, but are also held captive under a degrading and ignominious bondage. Christ, it is true, is the lawful heir of heaven and earth, by whom the faithful recover what they had lost in Adam; but he has not yet actually entered upon full possession of his empire and dominion. What is here said by David will not be perfectly accomplished until death be abolished. There remains the hope of a better state than the present.
Read or sing Hymn 345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” Prayer: Please pray for our brothers and sisters and Grace OPC in Fall River as they grieve over the sudden death of their pastor.
Thursday (7/2) Read and discuss Daniel 7:1-28. Reading Daniel as a complete book, it is easy to see the close parallels between the vision the LORD gave to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 2 and the vision that He gave to Daniel in today’s passage. Both speak of four kingdoms and they are clearly both speaking about the same four kingdoms: Babylon; Media-Persia; Greece; and Rome. Nevertheless, the images used of these kingdoms are different from each other. In today’s passage these kingdoms are portrayed as four ferocious beasts which are devouring their prey. This is a distortion of God’s purpose for human civil government. The LORD had originally given Adam and Eve a mandate to rule, tend, and spread the Garden of Eden. This was an integral aspect of what it means for human beings to be created in the image of God. As God’s image bearers we are to make His invisible attributes visible through the just and careful administration of the world. When human beings give themselves over to sin, they distort this image bearing in a beast-like direction. If we grasp this truth we will gain insight into one of the things that Christ did through His incarnation. By conquering Satan, sin, and death; and being enthroned as the glorious Son of Man, Jesus restores God’s original plan that a man would have dominion over creation as His image bearer. This is one of the reasons why the New Testament describes Jesus as “the image of the invisible God.” In Christ, we too are being restored to this role which we will carry out fully in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Read or sing Hymn 49 “More Love to Thee, O Christ” Prayer: Ask the LORD to make you a more faithful reflection of His perfect rule in the Universe.
Friday (7/3) Read and discuss Revelation 17:9-18. Denis Johnson writes:
The irony of Babylon’s fall magnifies the incomparable power and wisdom of God. The beast and its allies, raging in hostility toward the Lamb and His bride, will be the weapons that God uses to bring down the harlot, who was once the beast’s royal consort. “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, an by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled” (17:17). If there is one thing in all the world that the rebels do not want to do, it is the purpose of God. But they are helpless to keep that sovereign purpose out of their hearts, to protect their minds from invasion by the LORD God Almighty. In doing what they want to do, hating the harlot and ripping her to pieces, they are doing precisely what God wants. And in gathering to wage their war against the Messiah, they are merely assembling for their own execution.
Prayer: Give thanks to the LORD for His exhaustive sovereignty and how He governs all things for our good and for His own glory.
Saturday (7/4) Read and discuss Hebrews 2:5-9. Tom Schreiner writes:
Psalm 8, quoted in Hebrews 2, considers the majesty of God and the wonders of the created world. What role do apparently insignificant human beings have in a world so vast and magnificent? The psalmist answers, as he reflects on the creation account in Genesis 1-2, that God appointed human beings to rule the world for God. Even though they are now lower than angels, the whole world is destined to be subject to human beings. The author of Hebrews quotes this psalm (Heb. 2:6-8) and then comments on it. He acknowledges that presently the world is not under the control of human beings. The sway of death over all demonstrates that human beings suffer under the dominion of hostile powers. Human beings have failed, beginning with Adam and Eve, in their quest to domesticate the world for God’s praise. The world has become a wreck instead of a blessing.
The failure of human beings is not the end of the story. Jesus is the representative human being. He succeeded where the rest of the human race has failed. In that sense, he is the true human being, the only one who has genuinely lived the kind of life that humans were intended to live under God. Hebrews emphasizes in the strongest possible terms the true humanness of Jesus, both as the son of Adam (humanity) and as the son of David. As a human being, Jesus was temporarily lower than angels he is now “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9). Jesus now sits at God’s right hand as the exalted man (Heb. 1:3, 13) since he has fully atoned for sin and his work is completed. The rule always promised to human beings has commenced with Jesus’ exaltation.
Read or sing Hymn: 386 “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” Prayer: Please lift up tomorrow’s morning and evening worship services.