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Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30)
November 18, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
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.
Psalm 99:2-3, 9
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Now Thank We All Our God, p. 283
– Confession –
Out of the Depths of Sadness, p. 168
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!
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.
Minister: God is our refuge and strength,
Congregation: A very present help in trouble.
Minister: Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed,
Congregation: And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Minister: The Lord of hosts is with us;
Congregation: The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come, p. 284
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Isaiah 49:8-16; Revelation 7:9-17
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBER
CC-1st: Alec and Hannah Engerbretson
We Gather Together, p. 285
Opening: Psalm 84:9-8, 11
Thanksgiving: Psalm 107:21-22
Petitions: Psalm 116:1-2
Psalm 128, bulletin p. 10
CC: Psalm 99 (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
As we worship Jehovah for His infinite wisdom, right at the peak of our praises must be the recognition that His mercyto us is altogether holy. How He managed to do that is beyond all finite calculation. But fortunately, it is not beyond our ability to adore and praise.
“The Lordreigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lordis great in Zion; And he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; For it is holy. The king’s strength also loveth judgment; Thou dost establish equity, Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt ye the Lordour God, And worship at his footstool; For he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, And Samuel among them that call upon his name; They called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: They kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them. Thou answeredst them, O Lordour God: Thou wast a God that forgavest them, Though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. Exalt the Lordour God, And worship at his holy hill; For the Lordour God is holy” (Psalm 99).
Summary of the Text
This psalm can be divided into three sections or strophes as well. Each one of those sections ends with exultation in the holiness of God. Holiness is therefore the three-fold refrain. His name is holy (v. 3). His judgments are holy (v. 5). His mercy is holy (v. 9). Because Jehovah reigns, His people tremble and the earth staggers (v. 1). He reigns from between the cherubim, which is where the mercy seat is (v. 1). The Lord is great in Zion, high over the people (v. 2). His name is great and terrible (v. 3), and is to be honored as holy. God is the king who loves judgment, who loves the justice of judgment (v. 4), and He establishes equity (v. 4). All of it is righteous (v. 4). Because He is like this, we must worship at His footstool, in front of the mercy seat, for He is holy (v. 5). He is the God who answers prayer, as He did for His priests, Moses and Aaron, and as He did for Samuel (v. 6). He spoke to them from the cloudy pillar, and they kept His testimonies and ordinances (v. 7). When God answers prayer, He makes a distinction between sinner and sin. He forgave them, but took vengeance on their inventions (v. 8). Because all of this is truth itself, we are to exalt the Lord, and worship at His holy hill—for He is holy (v. 9).
His Merciful Name is Terrible
This is a jubilant psalm, but the joy in it is not a frothy or lite kind of thing. The rejoicing people here tremble(v. 1). The name we are praising is a great and terrible name—with terriblehere being understood as that which means the kind of awe that causes earthquakes. The earth staggers (v. 1). It is a psalm that rejoices in forgiveness, but this is not a “boys will boys” kind of forgiveness. It is no gloss-over-it forgiveness. This is forgiveness that maintains the highest and holiest of standards. The king lovesjudgment and equity (v. 4). And after He has separated our sins from us, He takes vengeanceon them (v. 8).
Real Social Justice
A recent thing in Christian circles has been the cry for social justice. On one level there should be no problem with this—we see in our text that the king we serve lovesjudgment, and He establishesequity. He executesboth judgment and righteousness. How could we be against any of that? Biblically grounded, we are not. But we remember the warning the Lord gave us. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
Before programs or hearings, or investigations, or reforms, before any of that, we must have definitions. What do we mean by justice? If it is not biblical justice, biblically defined, then it is nothing more than a secular pursuit of continued unholiness. And that is precisely what the current “social justice” fad is, a love of the unholy.
From the Cloudy Pillar
Not surprisingly, the merciful and most holy word comes to us from the awesome cloudy tower that accompanied Israel by day, and which was a tower of fire by night. This is where the word of forgiveness comes from.
“And the Lordwent 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: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Ex. 13:21–22).
In the time of the new covenant, this blessing is for all the houses of Zion—which means you.
“And the Lordwill create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, And upon her assemblies, A cloud and smoke by day, And the shining of a flaming fire by night: For upon all the glory shall be a defence” (Is. 4:5).
Both Just and Justifier
So how is it possible for God to save us, and execute vengeance on our inventions? He sees that we keep His testimonies and ordinances, and He also sees how we fail to do so. How is this to be dealt with? The answer to this question—and when it comes to a man’s salvation, it isthequestion—is double imputation. God imputes the sin and wickedness of our guilt to Christ on the cross, and He imputes the absolute purity of Christ’s life to us.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).
And He does it from the pillar of cloud and fire, with the tabernacle beneath. And in that tabernacle, there is the Holy of Holies, containing the ark of the covenant. On top of that ark are two cherubim, facing each other, and between them is the mercy seat. And God dispenses His judgments from that place, the place where the blood was put, and which was the holiest place within the holiest place in all Israel. And that means your forgiveness is not a matter of divine indulgence. Your forgiveness, your new life, your cleansing, is holy.
CCD: (Ty Knight)Sermon
We come to the conclusion of Moses’s charge to Israel and to the last sermon in the series Faithfulness for the Next Generation. An appropriate question to ask is what does God want from his people? Faithfulness. Even with the majority of the book devoted to explaining the Ten Commandments, God does not want a nation a box-checkers. The Law reveals God’s desire for the hearts of his people. Faithfulness to God begins with loving God with your whole heart. That is what the law reveals about God. But the law also reveals man and his unfaithful heart.
In his final sermon, Moses expounds the gospel truths that God is faithful even when his people are not. And God will do for his people what they can not do for themselves––circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their children. This is possible because the word, the Word, is very near to them and to you.
The Heart that Cannot See or Hear (Deut. 29:1-4)
Why can’t Israel be faithful? It’s easy to think that “If we had front row seats to seeGod’s wonders in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and if we have heard God speak from the cloud and heard the words of the Law, then we would have been really obedient. So what’s their problem?” Moses says that God didn’t give them a heart to see or to hear.
Listen to what Moses says in 29:2-4, “Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: ‘You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land––the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.” Israel’s ears were hard of hearing because their heart was hard. There eyes were blind because their heart was blind. Israel’s problem was their heart. They don’t have the right heart because God has not given them the right heart.
The Heart of Man
This is not merely Israel’s problem, but mankind’s problem, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Your heart is a hypocritical, to others and to yourself. Moses warns again deceiving yourself with covenant presumption, “When he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his HEART, saying, ‘I shall have peace even though I follow the dictates of my HEART’” (Deut. 29:19). How simple it is to view your life through Instagram #blessed, when you are really cursed. While you and your heart may be deceived, God is not. He sees, he hears, he knows the heart of man. He knows your heart. He is not fooled.
The Lord Circumcises the Heart (30:1-6)
The Lord knows that his people will turn and fall away and would be unfaithful to their covenant. He knew this not only for his covenant people of Israel, but also that his covenant people of Christ Church would be unfaithful. But the Lord is faithful. And he is already planning to forgive. To restore. To show compassion. To return home. To change hearts. “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God will all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:6). The glorious gospel promise is that God does for man what man can not do for themselves. Earlier in Deuteronomy 10, God told Israel to “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer” (Deut. 10:18). A faithful Israelite would be wondering, “How do I apply this one?” What is impossible for us––whole-hearted obedience––God gives.
The Obedient Heart (30:7-10)
The heart circumcised by the Lord is the heart that loves the Lord. That’s the first and greatest commandment. And this obedience keeps spreading (verse 8). You can obey the Lord and turn to the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul, because the Lord has turned your heart.
The Word is Near (30:11-20)
In Romans 10, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and shows how this is about Jesus. Paul begins, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Paul then outlines two options for righteousness––self-righteousness or Christ’s righteousness. You enter heaven either through yourrighteousness or Christ’srighteousness. It’s not a deep mystery whose righteousness will get you there.
But Paul shows how Jesus brings near the Word of this covenant. You can’t say that this covenant is not too hard or mysterious because Christ has fulfilled the law and graciously gives you his righteousness. Don’t say that the covenant is too far away, because Jesus is Immanuel. Jesus has come and has come to take on your curse. Christ conquered death and evil and now brings life and goodness for his people.
Moses says, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, his statutes, and his judgments, that you may live and multiply” (Deut. 30:15-16). Moses sets life and good and blessings before them by placing before them the law. And the law really can be life and good and blessing when you believe that Jesus is your Law, your Righteousness, your Savior, your Lord. Therefore choice Jesus.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
+ God the Lord Is King, p. 138
– Communion –
O Come with Thanks, pp. 154-155
O Come with Thanks, pp. 156-157
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Doxology (to the tune of O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High p. 317)
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here blow;
Praise Him above ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
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.