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Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (9:00 am)
July 31, 2016
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Congregation: And also to you.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Come, Ye That Love the Lord……………………….348 (CR 51.1)
– Confession –
Psalm 13…………………………………Bulletin pg. 6 (PS 13.3)
Confession of Sin
Congregation is invited to kneel if able
+ Assurance of Pardon
Minister: Your sins are forgiven through Christ.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
+ Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed
Minister: Christian, what do you believe?
Congregation: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades. On the third day He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
+ Responsive Reading: Heidelberg Catechism: Question 43
Minister:What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?
Congregation: That by his power our old self is crucified, put to death, and buried with him, so that the evil passions of our mortal bodies may reign in us no more, but that we may offer ourselves to him as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past……………………374 (CR 67.1)
– Consecration –
+ Scripture Reading
1 Samuel 3:1-10; Matthew 18:1-6
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Admission of New Members
Benjamin and Kate Nieuwsma and family
Geneva Joy Bunch
Congregational Charge: Little child, for you Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled and suffered; for your sake He crossed Gethsemane and went through the darkness of Calvary; for your sake He cried: ‘It is finished’; for your sake He died and for your sake He overcame death; indeed for your sake, little child, and you—still— know nothing of it. And thus the word of the apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loved us first.’
(Taken from an old French Reformed Baptism Rite)
Bless Now the Man Who Does Not Walk…………….2 (PS 1.2)
Opening: Habakkuk 3:2
Thanksgiving: Habakkuk 3:17,18
Petitions: Psalms Habakkuk 1:5
O Worship the King……………………………………321 (CR 27.1)
Psalm 78 Sermon
Eighth Decade of Psalms
In this psalm of covenantal remembrance, Asaph gives us inspired commentary on the history of Israel, from the Exodus down to the time of David. It is largely a story of God and man contending, God with blessing and man with sinning. It is also a history full of lessons and dark meanings for us.
“Give ear, O my people, to my law: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old . . .” (Ps. 78:1–72).
Summary of the Text:
Consider the preamble of this history to be the first eight verses (vv. 1-8). The time of Israel in the wilderness is then recounted (vv. 9-41). The movement then goes historically backward as the psalmist recalls how God delivered Israel from Egypt in the first place (vv. 42-52). The history of Israel is then resumed, and continues down to the time when Judah takes over from Ephraim as the dominant tribe (vv. 53-66). That transfer is then celebrated (vv. 67-72).
Dark Sayings of Old
“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old” (v. 2). History is a parable. But because we think we are used to the parables of Jesus, we are accustomed to treat them as little Hebraic allegories. We need to be careful, however. The psalmist here says that he will speak in a parable, in the dark sayings of old, and he goes on to give us a detailed accounted of the covenantal history of Israel. But it connects to the ministry of Christ—Jesus quotes this verse, and applies them to His parables, which were frequently parables about the history of Israel. In fact, their theme was often identical to the theme of this entire psalm.
“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:34–35).
Fathers and Forgetting:
The central presenting problem in Israel was the problem of covenantal forgetfulness across generations. This is the problem that Asaph seeks to address: “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God” (v. 7).
“They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them” (vv. 10-11).
The problem here is fathers, and the answer is fathers. Asaph may have up to five generations in view (fathers, their children, the generation to come, their children, and their children). Our fathers have told us (v. 3). We will not hide them from their children (v. 4). They were to teach the law to their children (v. 6), who in turn would teach their children (v. 6). So as your fathers teach you the mighty works of God, listen to them. Pass it on. And as your fathers teach you the sinfulness of those whom God repeatedly delivered from the consequences of their sinning, the lesson is to “not be like your fathers” (v. 8).
The Mystery of Unbelief:
Unbelief is something that mankind is really good at. God could display marvel after marvel in South Dakota, and yet we would stumble in unbelief because “everyone knows we are in North Dakota now.”
“Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth: So a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation” (vv. 21-22).
In this respect, the human heart is a mystery, and it is deceitfully wicked. Only the heart conversion that the Spirit brings can deal with it, and He could not even do that if Christ had not died so that the mystery of unbelief could be crucified in us.
Covenant and Conversion:
It is possible to be close in the covenant and far away in heart. “For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant” (v. 37). This is not “better than nothing,” it is far worse than nothing. To be unconverted while surrounded by abundant opportunities to apply to the means of grace is a terrible place to be. By this I am referring to unread Bibles, unsaid prayers, dialed-in worship services, heartless confessions, and mumbled psalms and hymns. The charge is a simple one—love Jesus. But who is He, really?
Christ the Pillar:
This psalm is a parable, which mean that it is about the meaning of history, which means that it is about Jesus. “In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire” (v. 14). Christ is the meaning of all history, He is the “reveal” underneath every dark saying.
Isaiah indicates there is a spiritual meaning in the pillar of cloud and fire by placing it on Mt. Zion (Is. 4:5-6). Paul indicates there is a sacramental meaning in it when he says that Israel was baptized in the cloud and in the sea (1 Cor. 10:2). When he tells us in the next breath that they drank from the rock who is Christ, the meaning is apparent (1 Cor. 10:4). And if the mighty angel in Rev. 10:1 is Christ, it is notable that He is clothed with a cloud, and that His feet are pillars of fire.
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night” (Ex. 13:21).
“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night” (Ex. 14:19–20).
Just like our elder brothers, the Jews, we have been baptized into the cloud, who is Christ. This means He goes before us, to lead. It means that He gives us light when it is dark. We can travel by day or night. He stands between us and our enemies, so that we are free from all alarm.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer………………………411 (SM 21.1)
+ O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair……………………320 (CR 26.1)
– Communion –
God Shall Arise and by His Might……………100-01
God Shall Arise and by His Might……………102-03
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Doxology…………………………………………………….437 (SM 13.1)
Charge & Benediction
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessings of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon, and remain with you always. Amen.