November 26, 2017
Before We Worship
This week’s Thanksgiving celebration, as well as the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s Day give us opportunities to get together with our family. And it often happens that some of the same stories are repeated over and over at our family gatherings. Children may roll their eyes and protest, “This again?” But those of us who are older understand the importance of shared stories. For these shared stories, our shared experiences, have made us who we are and continue to define us.
Our celebration of Christ’s first advent is much the same. We gather as God’s family, and retell the stories that have shaped us and continue to mold us. So as we enter into the Advent season, we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this first week of the Advent season our meditations focus on the gift of hope. The Immanuel prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was given to a nation amidst God’s judgment. The coming of Immanuel would turn their sorrow and gloom into joy. So Israel hoped for the fulfillment of this promise.
But this promise would not be fulfilled in order to give earthly political relief to Israel. Rather, the Immanuel prophecy was fulfilled in Matthew 1:18–25, with the climactic announcement that Jesus “will save his people from their sins.” Of course! Israel’s very difficult predicament in Isaiah was the result of their sin. So what good is a political relief unless the problem of sin is dealt with? Indeed, Jesus came to deal with the root problem of sin, to save his people from it.
As we remember Christ’s first Advent, we continue to hope. For we are not yet fully delivered from sin. While we are no longer condemned before God as sinners, and while sin no longer has dominion over us, we continue to struggle against sin, and we long to be freed from it. Indeed, our great hope is, as the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” eloquently expresses it: “O Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, “Even so” — it is well with my soul!”
Christ’s first Advent reminds us that we are a people of hope. Hope, for those who have hoped in God for salvation were not disappointed. Hope, for we look forward to the glory of Christ’s second Advent. Hope, because it makes us who we are.
Call to Worship
Isaiah 7:14 (p. 571)
Trinity Hymnal #196 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
Matthew 1:18–25 (p. 807)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #691 “It Is Well with My Soul”
Confession of Faith — The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who, for us and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets; and we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 3:2–5 (p. 973)
By Faith Made Heirs of the Holy Spirit
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing Trinity Hymnal #330 “Holy Ghost, Dispel our Sadness” and Trinity Hymnal #340 “Come, Dearest Lord, Descend and Dwell” during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #521 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 27..
We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!
Upcoming Events and Notices
Every Lord’s Day 10:15 AM: Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.
November 26: The Children’s Bible First Catechism lessons will meet (Qs. 68–70). The adult catechism class will go over Shorter Catechism Q. 27, where we will consider Christ’s incarnation.
December 16 (Saturday): You are all invited to join us for our Christmas meal and celebration. More information will be forthcoming.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
November 26: Michelle Kay
December 3: Yoori Han