August 6, 2017
Before We Worship
One almost wishes Psalm 95 ended before the end of verse 7. For vss. 1–6, and most of v. 7, call us to “make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” He is supremely worthy of praise, for he is the “great God, and a great King above all gods.” This is not to say there are any other gods than the LORD. But there certainly are the things that people worship as their gods, and compared to them, the LORD is so much greater. Our God also holds the whole world in his hands: “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountain are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” Our worship becomes stale when our vision of God is small. But Psalm 95 brings us a vision of a truly great God, and makes him appropriately worthy of our joyful worship.
Not only so, in vss. 6–7 the great and transcendent God of creation is also immanent, or, has drawn near mankind. “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” Alec Motyer summarizes well: “The psalm moves from Creation, the realm of the general grace of God, to redemption, his care of his flock, the realm of special grace. Creation excites the voice of praise; redemption, the bowed knee of worship.”
But then come the jarring warnings at the end of v. 7, which continue until the end. The psalmist takes us back to the events recorded in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20, when there was no water in the wilderness for Israel, and they grumbled and tested the Lord. To test the Lord here means to intentionally distrust God: “Let’s see if God can do it this time. I will believe it when I see it!” The problem was that this expressed unbelief has the entire history of God’s miraculous rescue of Israel from Egypt and faithful provision behind it. Faith was the expected and called-for response, not unbelief.
In turn, God stood on a rock before Israel, Moses struck the rock, and from the rock came the water. God himself took the blow that Israel deserved, and that resulted in the saving of their lives. It is, then, entirely appropriate for Ps. 95 to end with these warnings. For the God in whose pasture we are the sheep is the One who supremely deserves our heart-felt faith and worship. So the psalmist cries out: “do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness…” Instead, trust him, believe him, and worship him. And you will enter his rest. Let us heed these words of exhortation and warning, and enter into God’s rest. For Jesus received our blows, and the Rock of Ages was cleft for us that we might live.
Call to Worship
Psalm 95 (reading responsively from TH p. 819)
Trinity Hymnal #499 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
Trinity Hymnal 731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
James 5:1–3 (p. 1013)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV)
“Come Ye Souls By Sin Afflicted” (Bulletin p. 10)
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
Luke 13:22–30 (p. 873)
The Narrow Door
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 #707 “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–5 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #642 “Be Thou My Vision”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 20..
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.
July 30: Shorter Catechism (Q. 20) lesson will meet after the worship service. The Children’s Bible First Catechism lessons will resume on August 20.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
August 6: Liza Beede
August 13: Michelle Kay