December 24, 2017
Before We Worship
This coming Lord’s Day we reach the crescendo of our Advent Celebration. In the past four weeks we have reflected on God’s gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. This Lord’s Day, on Christmas Eve, we celebrate God’s gift of light.
Isaiah 9:2 writes, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah was speaking there of the Messiah as the light that shines in the darkness. Indeed, light and darkness are very appropriate ways to think about what God has done for us. We in our sin are plunged in darkness. There is moral darkness, and we instinctively try to cover up the deeds and thoughts of our sinful heart under a veil of secrecy. We are ashamed to have them exposed for all to see, and we hide them from prying eyes. But Christ the light has come into our moral darkness, and with his grace we can bring to light our hidden sins in confession. The light that reveals also disinfects, and Jesus puts an end to our shame.
In our sin we are also in intellectual darkness. Our minds are saturated with the lies of the world, the flesh, and the Satan. Our minds are in darkness and we can no longer tell what is true and which way is up. But Christ the light has come into our darkened minds, and he has shown us what truth is. Indeed, Jesus is both the beautiful light that we delight to behold, and also the bright light by which we see all things in their true color and nature. As John Newton put it, because Jesus the light has come, we can say, “I was blind, but now I see.”
In our sin we are also in the darkness about the meaning of life. What is the meaning of joy and suffering? Why persevere when life is trying? Why do anything for others? Indeed, why do anything at all? In the darkness of the Fall life has no meaning. But Christ the light has come and he sheds light on our path. If we rejoice, it is because God is good. If we persevere, it is because God will one day bring to completion the good work he has begun in us. We give ourselves away and sacrifice for others because that is the path our Savior followed, and has therefore hollowed it. We have learned from Jesus that there is ultimately no more fulfilling, glorious, and, indeed, beneficial way to live than to live as he lived.
Jesus the light has come. We look with wonder the light that pierces the gloom of darkness with beauty. We find safety in his light, for by his light, and only in his light, we have a safe passage way through life.
Come, then, behold your light. Let him show you the true meaning and purpose of your life.
Call to Worship
Isaiah 9:1–2 (p. 573)
Trinity Hymnal #195 “Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
Matthew 4:12–17 (p. 809)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9–13 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #233 “To Us a Child of Hope Is Born”
Confession of Faith — The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Matthew 2:1–12 (p. 807)
We Have Come to Worship Him
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 #647 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #208 “O Come, All Ye Faithful”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 28.
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.
The Catechism lessons for children and adult will resume on January 21, 2018.
Join us for “12 for 18” as we read 12 great books in the year 2018. For January, 2018, we will be reading Sinclair Ferguson’s “From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible.”
January 14 (Lord’s Day): The January fellowship meal will be at the Han home. Everyone is invited!
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
December 24: Children worship with parents
December 31: Michelle Kay