October 21, 2018

Before We Worship

Our reflection this week focuses on the Apostles’ Creed’s “I believe in Jesus Christ…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit”. In Luke 1:26–35 the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will be the mother of our Savior. When Mary inquires how a virgin might do this, Gabriel answers in words that are significant against the backdrop of the Old Testament. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” These words recall Genesis 1, when “the Spirit of God was hovering (i.e. overshadowing) over the face of the waters.” There, amidst the darkness and void of nothingness, the Spirit of God brought God’s fiat (command) to completion. By the Spirit of God the world was created. That was the first creation. And, now, with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Spirit once again creates. The Spirit creates anew amidst the darkness and chaos of sin. This is the second and the new creation.

It is with this in mind we read Paul’s words, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Many people take this verse in a very individualistic sense, to mean something like “I am not what I used to be.” That is, of course, very true and a remarkable blessing that every Christian has experienced. But Paul is here saying something more than that we have undergone a subjective change. Rather, in Christ, we become a part of God’s new creation. In Christ God is setting right all the things that have been ruined by sin. This world will one day wear out. But this world will fade away so that a new world may come. We are, in Christ, a part of that new creation. God is making all things new, and that includes us.

When we gather as God’s people in Jesus’ name, we also gather as men and women who are by faith in Christ. So while we are undoubtedly still a part of this old creation, we also gather as new creation. Don’t be surprised, or feel embarrassed, that the unbelieving world finds what we do in worship odd and strange. They see no beauty or sense in it because they are of this creation. We, on the other hand, belong to new creation. So when we step into the place of worship, we celebrate our heavenly citizenship. The pledge of allegiance we recite is not that of this nation, but of God’s kingdom. The symbols that wave over us are not the stars and the stripes of this nation (or any other nation), but the cross (now stripped of its horror because of Christ’s resurrection), the bread, and the wine.

The relentless advertisements, allurements, and promises of this world are constantly forming us to be the people of this world. Every day we are being molded and cemented into the old creation. No wonder so many professing Christians find worship boring and make light of it. But when God’s new creation reaches in, when we have been taken into Christ, there is really nothing that compares to the new life.

Call to Worship

‡ Luke 1:26–35 (p. 855)

‡ Trinity Hymnal #345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”

‡ Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”

Prayer of Invocation

The Reading and Exposition of the Law

Exodus 20:14 (p. 61)

The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 41

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 ESV)

Trinity Hymnal #551 “How Blest Is He Whose Trespass”

Presentation of Gifts and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

Luke 16:14–17 (p. 875)

God Knows Your Hearts

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 #2 “Behold the Lamb” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

Trinity Hymnal #607 “Thy Loving-kindness, Lord, Is Good and Free”



Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

The October 14, 2018 sermon, Luke 16:1–13. “To Serve Only One Master” is available on our church website. You can also catch up on older sermons from our Sermon page and subscribe to sermon podcast here.

The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Qs. 40–42.

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.

Join us for “12 for 18” as we read 12 great books in the year 2018. For October we are reading Robert Godfrey’s “Learning to Love the Psalms.” For November we will read Jared Wilson’s “The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together.”

October 14 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for the monthly fellowship potluck meal.

October 21: The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 122–125), and the Shorter Catechism lessons (Qs. 40–42) will follow after the worship service.

October 28 (Lord’s Day): Please join us as we discuss Robert Godfrey’s “Learning to Love the Psalms.”

Nursery Volunteers

(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)

October 21: Yoori Han

October 28: Kelly Rogers