December 10, 2017
Before We Worship
In the past two weeks we focused our Advent meditations on Hope and Peace. Jesus’ birth was an event that answered Israel’s longing for hope and peace. Jesus’ birth is also the answer to our yearning for hope and peace. This week our Advent celebration focuses on Joy.
In Isaiah 12 we read what God’s salvation produces in us. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” The people to whom Isaiah ministered desperately needed to hear these words. For they were often seeking their salvation not in the Lord, but in the things that cannot save them. So they trusted in the empty promises of the idols, and trusted them to save them from poverty. What, after all, was Baal? He was the god who promised crop and harvest. Then in times of judgment Israel trusted in the strength of human allies to deliver them from the attacking Assyrians and the Babylonians. But they did not turn to the LORD to be their salvation.
We often do the same thing. We put our trust and confidence in man-made things of the world. We dutifully bow down for hours before screens big and small, seeking our solace in the warm glow of their light. We put our trust in our politicians, and defend their honor from critics with a zeal and absolute loyalty that only God deserves. And what do we have to show for all this? Rancor and disappointment.
But Isaiah tells us what happens when God “has become my salvation.” For he writes, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” So we are commanded: “Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitants of Zion, for great is your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” The Holy One of Israel is none other than Jesus Christ. Joy is the result when he is our salvation.
Christmas is the season when believers and unbelievers alike speak often of joy. But it is only the believers who understand and experience this joy. For we have not turned to idols that cannot save us. We have turned to Jesus. He is powerful to save us. He is able to fill our hearts with joy that will never be exhausted. Come, let us sing for joy. For the Holy One of Israel has come.
Call to Worship
Isaiah 12:1–6 (p. 576)
Trinity Hymnal #203 “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
Romans 14:17 (p. 949)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
Trinity Hymnal #214 “Angels We Have Heard on High”
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 1:1–17 (p. 807)
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 #34 “The God of Abraham Praise” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #198 “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates!”
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.
December 16 (1 PM Saturday): You are all invited to join us for our Christmas meal and celebration.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
December 10: Kelly Rogers
December 17: Liza Beede