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Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (9:00 am)
July 24, 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!
Crown Him with Many Crowns………………….293 (CR 8.1)
– Confession –
Be Gracious unto Me, O God…………………………88 (PS 56.1)
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: Questions 41 & 42
Minister:Why was he “buried?”
Congregation: To confirm the fact that he was really dead.
Minister: Since, then, Christ died for us, why must we also die?
Congregation: Our death is not a reparation for our sins, but only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.
Psalm 47………………………………….bulletin pg. 8 (PS 47.2)
– Consecration –
+ Scripture Reading
Hosea 11:1-11; Mark 6:34-44
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Admission of New Members
Gresham and Emily Schlect and family
Marshall and Hannah Gallagher
Virginia Fae Williams
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)
Profession of Faith Baptism
Congregational Charge: Our sister, 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, our sister, and this is what you have heard and believed. And thus the word of the apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loved us first.
Song of Simeon…………………………………….428-29 (SM 23.1)
Opening: Revelation 3:7
Thanksgiving: Psalm 69:30
Petitions: Psalms 66:16-20
I to the Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes…………………..159 (PS 121.1)
Psalm 77: Faithful Desolation
We have been considering psalms of deliverance, and this psalm is no different in that respect. But one notable distinction here is that the deliverance seemed late in coming, and the psalmist struggled mightily with that. In his struggle, he teaches us how to struggle when we are confronted with anything similar.
“I cried unto God with my voice, Even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: My sore ran in the night, and ceased not: My soul refused to be comforted . . .” (Ps. 77:1–20).
Summary of the Text:
The psalmist divided his own psalm into four parts by means of three Selahs, and it would be good for us to follow those breaks. In the first section, the psalmist pleads with God (vv. 1-3). In the second, he wrestles with himself (vv. 4-9). In the third section, he turns to consider God’s acts in history, most notably His deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea (vv. 10-15). In the fourth section, he paints the colors of this particular deliverance with great vividness (vv. 16-20).
Broken down further, the psalm starts with a cry to God, a cry that was heard (v. 1). We begin by knowing there was an answer. But before we get to that point, we see what a struggle it was. He sought the Lord in his trouble, and his soul refused to be comforted (v. 2). He remembered God, complained and was overwhelmed (v. 3). Selah. He was so troubled that he was dumbstruck (v. 4). He thought about the ancient times (v. 5). He rummaged in his own heart (v. 6). Where did God and His mercies go (vv. 6-7)? Selah. The psalmist owns his own problem, his own infirmity (v. 10). I will remember God’s deeds, he says (v. 11). I will meditate on all of it, and talk about it (v. 12). Learn the greatness of God in the sanctuary, in the corporate worship of God (v. 13). God is a wonder working God, who works with His own arm (vv. 14-15). Selah. The waters saw what the Egyptians did not (v. 16). The clouds poured out water, lightning, and thunder (vv. 17-18). God’s way is in the sea (v. 19). God led His people through the hand of Moses and Aaron (v. 20).
Contentment or Apathy?
In his great poem If, Rudyard Kipling once said, “If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . . You’ll be a Man my son!” To this Jean Kerr once responded, “If you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs, it’s just possible that you haven’t grasped the situation.”
There is a counterpart to these options when coming to understand spiritual contentment. Contentment is not moral stupidity. There is an understanding of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness that God wants us to wrestle for. There is a way of asking the questions posed in vv. 3, 7-9 that is blasphemous, and there is a way of asking them that is God’s instrument for molding a man or woman into a towering saint. It is the difference between whining and conquering. That difference is summed up in v. 3—“I remembered God, and was troubled.” What we do in this must be coram Deo, in the presence of God.
In verse 6, Asaph said that his spirit “made diligent search.” He was not trying to get his questions answered in some dilatory way. The verb here reflects the sentiment of our proverb, no stone unturned. Think of the verb ransack, or a man searching for something on his person and he does it by stripping entirely. This is not something that he wants “just a little.”
No Transitory Remembrance:
As already mentioned, in verse 3, he remembered God and was troubled. He did not conclude from this that remembering God was worthless. Rather, he concluded that he needed to remember God in a way that was all in. So he considered the days of old, ancient times (v. 5). He calls a song to remembrance (v. 6). When tormented by his infirmity, he says “but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High” (v. 10). He will remember God’s works, His wonders of old (v. 11). These are no glancing memories—he meditates on them (v. 12).
A Vivid Deliverance:
Not only does he remember, he does so in color. He has the sound track on this thing turned all the way up. The water was afraid of God. The water was afraid of God all the way to the bottom. There were torrential rains. The world was lit up by lightning bolts, and the voice of God’s thunder was in the sky. The earth shook, and God walked across the sea, leading His people. How did He lead His people? By the hand of Moses and Aaron (v. 20). This is imaginative remembrance.
The Ways of God:
We learn two remarkable things in this psalm about the “ways” of God. First, His way is in the sanctuary (v. 13). Second, His way is in the sea (v. 19). Do you want to meet with God? To the law and to the testimony! Resort to the sanctuary. Come to church, worship and adore. Partake of the bread and wine. Feed on the proclaimed Word. Read your Bible. Say your prayers. But don’t take this glorious condescension as though it were domestication. Do you want to follow the paths of God? His footsteps are along the bottom of the Red Sea. His way is across the trackless ocean. His footsteps are unknown—and unknowable. As Luther once noted, God cannot be traced—but, though He cannot be traced, He can be trusted. In fact, this is precisely why He can be trusted.
True worship sees a focal point of the infinite God in the sanctuary, and not a tiny little box for containing Him. When we worship God we are not “letting Him out.” I think of Ambrose Bierce’s definition of ritualism. “A Dutch Garden of God where He may walk in rectilinear freedom, keeping off the grass.” Rather, we meet God in the sanctuary by the appointments of grace. We see His wonders everywhere else.
When you meet with God in Christ, you meet with God in all things everywhere.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer………………………411 (SM 21.1)
+ Psalm 8…………………………………..bulletin pg. 9 (PS 8.1)
– Communion –
Let Christian Faith and Hope Dispel…………360-61 (CR 59.1)
Now Let the Vault of Heaven Resound……..272-73 (CY 45.1)
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Doxology…………………………………………………….437 (SM 13.1)
Charge & Benediction
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26