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Sunday Service – Christ Church Downtown (9:30)
January 12 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above, pp. 324-325
– Confession –
I in the Lord Do Put My Trust, p. 12
CONFESSION OF SIN
Congregation is invited to kneel if able
2 Corinthians 6:17
+ ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Minister: Your sins are forgiven through Christ.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Minister: Christian, what do you believe?
Congregation: Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the inion, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, as our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
Minister: Praise ye the Lord, O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
Congregation: For His mercy endures forever.
Minister: Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
Congregation: Who can show forth all His praise?
Minister: Save us, O Lord our God,
Congregation: And gather us from among the heathen,
Minister: To give thanks unto Your holy name,
Congregation: And to triumph in your praise.
Minister: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
Congregation: From everlasting to everlasting:
Minister: And let all the people say,
Congregation: Amen. Praise ye the Lord.
Psalm 150, bulletin p. 10
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Isaiah 60:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!‘
Paige Tracey Benard (CC–1st)
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.’
Arise and Shine in Splendor, pp. 252-253
Opening: 2 Corinthians 6:18
Thanksgiving: 2 Corinthians 2:14
Petitions: Matthew 7:7
Lead On, O King Eternal, p. 312
CC: Psalm 111: The Great Deeps of the Covenant (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
This is a straightforward psalm of praise, but we have to extend our arms all the way out to carry what we are praising Him for. In order to wield this psalm rightly, we will have to beseech God to enlarge our hearts. Enlarge our hearts all the way out, so that we might learn how tiny they are. “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:32). This was the source of Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 4:29), from botany to biology to battle to business, and the apostle Paul thought in the same terms as well (2 Cor. 6: 11-13).
“Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever . . .” (Ps. 111:1-10).
Summary of the Text
God is to be praised, of course, but He is to be praised with a whole heart. Further, it is to be done in the assembly of the upright (v. 1). God’s works are greatness stacked upon greatness, and those who have pleasure in Him have pleasure in them, and therefore study what He has done (v. 2). What we will find as a result of our study is honor, glory, and righteousness (v. 3). God did all this so that it would be remembered (v. 4), and He is gracious and full of compassion. He gives food to those who fear Him, and this is part of His covenantal faithfulness (v. 5). God has demonstrated the power of His works so that we might understand His purpose to give us the heritage of the heathen (v. 6). What He does with His hands is truth and judgments. His commands are certain and sure (v. 7). His commands aren’t going anywhere—they are forever, true and upright (v. 8). He sent redemption for His people, and again this is a matter of covenant faithfulness (v. 9). His name is holy and reverend. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of wisdom (v. 10). Obedience is the path to understanding—those who do what He says will know. His praise is forever.
Sought Out by Those Who Have Pleasure
If we follow the example of Solomon, and seek to have our hearts enlarged to understand more of the ways of God, we have to understand that this will make us hungry in every direction. Largeness of heart is not just for the big things. The God who throws galaxies as though they were grains of sand is also the God who engineered the jumping mechanism on a grasshopper. The God who inhabits eternity is also the God who has nicknames for every electron in the cosmos.
This is the basis for science. It is the basis for history. It is the basis for theology. It is the basis for everything.
We are allowed to be finite (which is a good thing), but we are not allowed to be bored or uninterested. You could go out in your backyard if you wanted and spend the rest of your life getting one PhD after another on the happenings taking place on one blade of grass.
The Heritage of the Heathen
We study the works of God because we love Him. God shows off for us so that we might study and marvel, and as we study and marvel, He gives to us the heritage of the heathen—He gives to us the heritage of those who are uninterested in the works of God, or who are interested in them only for the sake of denying that they have happened. Enlarge your heart, which will mean that you enlarge your eyes. And when you enlarge your eyes, you will come to see that the phrase intelligent designcan only be described as ridonkulous understatement.
Jesus is Lord, and this truth is to be understood both extensively and intensively. There is no place where it is not pertinent and exhaustively authoritative. Jesus is Lord in all, over all, and through all. All science, all history, all philosophy, and all engineering. It all belongs to Him, and so we study His works in it.
The Great Deeps of the Covenant
The greatest ocean, an ocean with immense depths, has places that are just under the surface. This psalm mentions God’s covenant keeping in two places (vv. 5, 9).
When we receive our daily bread—which Jesus instructed us to pray for (Matt. 6: 11)—the answer to that prayer is a covenant blessing. I had a friend, a Baptist at the time, who said that we Presbyterians were covenantal about everything. He said that it was like dealing with covenant peanut butter and covenant jelly. Had I only known my Bible well enough, I could have retorted with this verse. The terms of God’s covenant with us are all-encompassing. There is no place where you may go in order to stand outside the covenant. Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). The hairs of your head are all numbered. Because there is no part of your body that is unbaptized, there is hence no part of your life that may remain unsanctified.
But this is only possible because the covenant is oceanic, and God’s tender mercies go all the way down. Consider the implications of verse 9. “He sent redemption unto his people: He hath commanded his covenant for ever: Holy and reverend is his name” (Ps. 111:9).
How is it that redemption has come to you? Your sins, which were dark and grimy, have all been cleansed and washed away. How did this thing happen? It happened because He sent redemption to His people. And how did He do this great thing? He commanded His covenant, and He commanded His covenant forever. But do not confuse this. Remember that the Lord Jesus showed us the identity of this covenant. This covenant has a name, and He was obedient, even to death on a cross. The Lord Jesus held up a cup and said that it contained the blood of the new covenant (Matt. 26:28). He is the covenant.
He sent redemption. He sent the covenant. He sent Jesus.
CCD: Colossians 2: So Walk in Him (Ben Merkle)Sermon
Last week, Paul told the Colossians that they have Christ in them, the hope of a future glory (1:27). And because of this future glory, Paul is laboring to exhort the Colossians to live a life growing in faithfulness. But he is concerned because their long-term perseverance in the faith seems to be threatened. He hinted at that in the previous chapter (1:23). But now he gets more explicit about his concerns. He has “a great conflict” for them (v. 1). He is concerned about the people that they are talking to, who threaten to deceive them with persuasive word (v. 4) and cheat them through philosophy and empty deceit (v. 8).
The Root of the Problem
Paul unpacked for us in the previous chapter the redemptive work of Christ. Now he identifies the real root of this error as a challenge to the sufficiency of Christ (v. 8). This is the error of “Christ plus something else.” The saints at Colossae have mixed their faith in Christ with
- A fascination with extra-biblical teaching (v. 8 and 22)
- A commitment to the law that was the shadow of Christ rather than the reality of the Christ who has come (v. 11, 14, 16)
- A fixation with a power structure that has passed away (15 and 18)
- An asceticism born of prideful human wisdom rather than humble submission to God (21 and 23)
Paul has two fundamental answers to the erring Colossians.
Complete in Christ
A right understanding of who Christ is should eliminate the need to add anything to Christ. Paul returns to the image of a body with Christ as its head (v. 19), which he actually introduced previously (1:18). Our union with Christ means that we are complete in him (v. 9-10) because we share in all his victorious work (v. 11-15).
So Walk in Him
The difficulty we have is that we forget. We grow cold (Rev. 3:15). We begin in the Spirit and then shift to the flesh (Gal. 3:3). We think that the work of salvation was merely a first step that we can somehow then improve upon with our own accessorizing. But Paul says that we must continue to walk in Christ, in the same way that we began in Christ – through the simplicity of faith in the complete and total sufficiency of the work of Christ (v. 6-7). This is the only foundation on which we can build (1 Cor. 3:11-15). And the clear indicator that Paul has given us to demonstrate whether or not we are building on that foundation is gratitude (v. 7).
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
He Which Soweth Sparingly, bulletin pp. 8-9
– Communion –
Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior, v. 1–4, bulletin p. 208
Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior, v. 5-8, bulletin p. 209
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Gloria Patri, p. 436
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14