January 28, 2018
Before We Worship
Psalm 117 is only two verses. And its subject matter, the call to praise the LORD, is a common theme that runs throughout the 150 psalms, and therefore, a little prosaic, a little too common and ordinary. These two verses do not inspire any deep emotional response in us as we prepare to worship. But a part of meditating on Scripture means taking the time to mull over slowly what Scripture says, and it is a practice that often yields nourishment for those willing to chew over their spiritual bread.
Indeed, there is nothing ordinary about this psalm. “Praise the LORD, all nations!” The divine appellation “LORD” translates God’s Hebrew covenant name, YHWH (in English, Jehovah). It was the name by which God was known to his covenant people, Israel. No other people on earth knew God as YHWH/LORD but Israel. And, of course, no other people but Israel praised God who made covenant with Abraham. Once we understand this, we see how striking it is that the psalmist calls all nations to praise the LORD. This psalm expresses the desire for all nations, not just Israel, to know and worship YHWH who made covenant with Abraham, and know him as their covenant LORD.
But why should the nations praise the LORD? The psalmist answers, “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.” God’s “steadfast love” is the Hebrew word “chesed” which is also properly translated as covenant mercies. The psalmist therefore invites all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike, to join in celebrating God’s covenant mercies liberally poured out on all nations and peoples.
But how could this be? In their best moments the Jews merely tolerated their Gentile neighbors. More often than not they burned with contempt for them. They did not think the nations were worthy of God’s covenant blessings. This psalm therefore demonstrates for us that God’s will for the Jews was for them to be the channel and conduit of God’s blessing to all nations, not a dam that stops the flow of God’s mercies, only allowing a trickle of truth and mercy to occasionally flow to those they deemed worthy. Indeed, God opened the floodgates of his mercy through Jesus Christ, who unites in himself Jew and Gentile, who commanded his gospel proclaimed and disciples be made of all nations. This psalm, though in an oblique, but nevertheless in a true way, leads us to Christ.
And it is on Christ’s account that we, as representing all nations, gather and worship our covenant LORD. And we worship with a longing for all nations and all people to know the LORD. May we not be a dam, withholding God’s grace from flowing freely. Instead, may we be wide open channels of God’s grace to many people. For our God is worthy of praise by all nations and peoples.
Call to Worship
Psalm 117 (reading responsively from TH p. 828)
1 “Before the Throne of God Above”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
2 Thessalonians 3:6–12 (p. 990)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5)
Trinity Hymnal #654 “O Jesus, I Have Promised”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 5
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 3:21–29 (p. 973)
Sons of God
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 #648 “My Jesus, I Love Thee” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #708 “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”
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.
January 28: The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 73–75) will meet after the worship service.
January 28: Join us as we discuss Sinclair Ferguson’s “From the Mouth of God” during the Sunday School hour after the worship service.
February 4 (Lord’s Day): Catechism lessons for children (Qs. 76–77) and adult (Shorter Catechism Q. 32) will meet after the worship service.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
January 28: Michelle Kay
February 4: TBA