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Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30)
November 25 @ 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.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Psalm 47, bulletin p. 9
– Confession –
Chide Me, O Lord, No Longer, p. 8
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: O clap your hands, all ye people;
Congregation: Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
Minister: For the Lord most high is terrible;
Congregation: He is a great King over all the earth.
Minister: He shall subdue the people under us,
Congregation: And the nations under our feet.
Minister: For the shields of the earth belong to God:
Congregation: He is greatly exalted.
Come, Thou Almighty King, p. 345
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 8:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBER
CC-1st: Richard and Lisa Crawford and family
Lead On, O King Eternal, p. 312
Opening: Isaiah 40:21-22
Thanksgiving: Isaiah 61:10
Petitions: Isaiah 25:6
All People That on Earth Do Dwell, p. 139
CC: Psalm 100 (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
True worship comes from true hearts, and true hearts are filled to overflowing with gladness. This gladness can be solemn, as it is at a wedding (solempne), or this gladness can be jubilant, as it is after a victorious battle. But the thing it must never be is sullen or surly or sulky. Who needs that kind of worship? Who needs thatkind of service? Not the Lord.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lordwith gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lordhe is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lordis good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:1-5).
Summary of the Text
This is a psalm of thanksgiving, praise and joy. All the tribes, all lands, are invited to join in with the joyful noise (v. 1). True service rendered to God is, of necessity, glad service rendered to God. We are supposed to come into His presence with singing, which is the indicator that we are supposed to do it with gladness (v. 2). We begin this service with knowledge—knowthat the Lord is God (v. 3). He is the one who has made us, and not we ourselves (v. 3). We are the sheep of His pasture (v. 3). As we come into His presence, we should do it with thanksgiving and praise (v. 4). We must be thankful to Him, and bless His name (v. 4). The Lord is truly good. His mercy is everlasting. His truth endures to all generations (v. 5).
Worship in Gladness
The word rendered as “serve” here in v. 1 has the sense of worship, which is what worship is. We are accustomed to those who treat praise and worship as synonyms, but they are not. Praise is a subset of worship, but worship is not a subset of praise. Worship is when we make ourselves available to God to do whatever He requires of us. Worship is service. Worship is to appear before the Lord in an obedient frame of mind. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1-2). When Isaiah catches a glimpse of the Lord, high and lifted up in the Temple, and his response is “Here am I, Lord, send me,” this is his worship.
We come to worship the Lord because He tells us to, but we must also worship the Lord in the way He tells us to. And here He summons us to come before His presence with thanksgiving, and with praise, and with singing, and with gladness.
For He Has Made Us (Again)
We are to do so because we know that the Lord God is the one who has made us. It would be natural (and not wrong) to take this as gladness in the mere fact of our creation. We are creatures, and did not fashion ourselves. We did not make ourselves, or create ourselves. Of course not. But John Calvin interprets this place as talking about our re-creation in God’s regeneration of us. Because the psalmist follows it up immediately with the observation that we are the “sheep of his pasture,” Calvin assumes that this is talking about the gift of the new birth.
Thanksgiving Based on Knowledge
Because we know that the Lord is God, because we know that He is the one who has made us (or remade us), thereforewhat follows? What follows is a joyful noise, singing, gladness, thanksgiving, praise, and a blessing of His name. This knowledge is not a knowledge that simply uses the name Godas a placeholder, but rather understands the Godness of God.
We are not Stoics or fatalists. We know that God is ultimately and absolutely God, and that He is in utter control of all events. This includes the events that we naturally and spontaneously thank Him for, obviously, but it also includes those hard providences that we have difficulty processing.
When you enter His courts with gladness, all of you are carrying something. Each one of you brings something here with you to present to the Lord. If that is a bountiful thing, a good harvest thing, a great promotion thing, it is our delight to fulfill our duty in this. But a number of you are dealing with (or reeling under) hard circumstances. It may be a difficult diagnosis, or a straying loved one, or financial pressures, or end of life decisions, or hard duties, or an impossible person in your life, or a difficult boss, or any number of other possibilities. When you come into God’s courts, that is what you must carry in with you to present to Him, and you must do it with gladness.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18).
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).
Gladness, Not Maneuvering
Gladness in all things, and for all things, is not maneuvering, or waffling, or noodling. It is growing up into a real maturity. Let me take a common stressor (finances) to illustrate what I mean.
Let us say that you consistently have too much month left at the end of your money. Financial pressure is a constant reality in your life. The temptation (when you are not leaning in the gladness direction) is to want, desire, and pray for extra money in order that the pressure might be relieved. Fourth grade is too much for you, and so you pray that a miracle might happen that will get you back into third grade. But more money would put you in seventh grade.
More money is additional weight, more responsibility. Our problem is that we ignore that part of it when we pray for more. We actually ask for more responsibility so that we might be allowed to be less responsible—which is absurd. It doesn’t work that way. Gladness grows you up. Mature Christians are the glad Christians. And poutiness is never a mature look.
Hesed Never Runs Out
We are Christians; we are followers of Christ. And Christ is Lord, and the Lord is good. For His mercy (hesed, lovingkindness) is everlasting. Everlasting means lasting forever. This is His truth, and His truth never runs out either. It endures to all generations. That was true when these words were written, and now thousands of years later, we are not ever close to the end of “all generations.” Christ is yesterday, today, and forever.
CCD: Parenting in the Kingdom (Toby Sumpter)Sermon
Parenting is one of the most difficult, important, and rewarding tasks in this life. Particularly in a community that has been taught about the importance of childrearing, this can add to the pressure, fear, and disappointment when things are not going as we had imagined. But raising children well is a grace of God; it is one of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives to those who ask.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:1-4).
Children of the Kingdom
The Bible is clear that the children of believers are not future citizens of the Kingdom of God; they are presentcitizens of the Kingdom. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:14). Even this command to children to obey their parents, alongside all the other commands “in the Lord,” implies that they have a role to play in the Lord(Eph. 6:1). The Psalmist famously sings,“Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger” (Ps. 8:2). Jesus also makes it clear that the faith of little ones is the exemplar for adults: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Remember, David said, “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God” (Ps. 22:9-10). Likewise, John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb (Lk. 1:41, 44). This is why Jesus gives such a stern warning: “… whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).
The Culture & Counsel of the Gospel
Literally, the words “training” and “admonition” mean “culture” and “counsel.” This goes all the way back to the instructions Moses gave Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Dt. 6:7-9). We are to talk about God’s ways everywhere because His ways effect everything. To love the Lord with all we are is to love His lordship overall we are.
And we love His rule because it led to our deliverance: “When your son asks you in time to come, saying,`What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son: `We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand… that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers’” (Dt. 6:20-24). The whole point of the law was to talk about God’s grace and freedom. The point of parenting is to celebrate God’s grace and freedom, and this means tonsof confession of sin and forgiveness. We are Christians: this means we know what to do with sin. So the tenor of our homes must be joy.
The central task of parents is teaching obedience to God. We live in an arrogant and sentimental world that thinks it knows better than God’s Word. But young children must be taught from a young age to obey their parents. The same Psalmist who said he learned to trust God from his mother’s womb also said that he was conceived in sin (Ps. 51:2). Young children are not naturally inclined to obey, but they are designed to be taught God’s grace. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). In the ordinary course of things, when Christian parents faithfully seek to drive foolishness from their children through spanking, God blesses children with wise hearts. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Prov. 29:15). This is why regular, prompt corporal discipline is loving: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24). The rod, lovingly administered, is love, but the rod is not automatically love. Spanking in anger or frustration is not love; nor is it love to administer the rod long after an offense has been committed (worse the younger they are).
Related to all of this is the implied biblical advice: do not try to reason with young children. It doesn’t really matter how you feel inside, and feelings are often manipulative. Children must simply be required to obey right away, all the way, and cheerfully. They also don’t know how they should feelabout sin; discipline is teaching them how to feel.And every trip to the “wood shed” (or wherever) should be accompanied by prayer, forgiveness, and full reconciliation/restitution (as age appropriate). Some toddlers will require battles of the will, and parents must commit themselves to winning. Sometimes this will require stretches of hours, days, or a couple of weeks of intense focus (dads, take initiative). Don’t give up; the peaceable fruit of righteousness is worth it (Heb. 12:11).
Conclusion: As a Tender Father
While Scripture is clear that children must be taught to honor and obey father and mother, and therefore, mothers have significant responsibilities in the training up of children (Prov. 1:8), Paul clearly singles out fathers here, instructing them not to provoke their children to wrath but to train their children in the culture and counsel of the Lord. We live in a father-hungry world. None of our fathers were perfect, and some of our fathers failed significantly. Some of us are tempted to be harsh, and some of us are tempted to be indulgent. Some of us work too much, and some of us just don’t know how to relate well to our children.
So how can flawed men hope to be faithful fathers? The answer is that you must have a new father. The only good fathers in this world have a perfect Father in heaven. And His perfection is particularly evidenced in His pity: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:11-14). Do you pity your children? Are you a tender father? This is not sentimentalism; this is Christian love. You cannot bea tender father unless you have the Lord as your Tender Father. But this is only possible by the Spirit of adoption: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
+ Psalm 100, bulletin p. 10
– Communion –
The King of Love My Shepherd Is, p. 35
Rejoice, the Lord Is King
– 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
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:25