November 18, 2018
Before We Worship
Our reflection this week focuses on the Apostles’ Creed’s “I believe in Jesus Christ…he descended into hell”. This particular statement of the Creed has caused some confusion over the years. After all, the Bible is silent with respect to what happened in between Jesus’ death on the cross on Friday afternoon and his resurrection on Sunday morning. That is to say, no one really knows what happened in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. So it has often seemed to some people as though the Creed was overstepping into the realm of speculation, rather than summarizing the clear teaching of the Bible for all believers.
Indeed, the function of any credal statement is to succinctly state the vast breadth and the depth of the Bible, not to impose on the Bible meanings foreign to itself. Naturally, then, if the Apostles’ Creed (or any other creed) veers away from the teachings of the Bible, we would rightly ignore and seek the matter straight. On the other hand, it is no easy task to condense the rich teachings of the Bible into short statements, and it sometimes requires the use of words and concepts that, at first glance, sound unexpected and strange. So it is important not to have a knee-jerk reaction, but rather to consider what is being said. Our statement today, “he descended into hell,” is a perfect example.
Jesus’ redemptive work required him to “descend into hell.” We are far more used to think of hell as a place rather than as a kind of an experience. Hell is both the place for damned sinners and the experience of damned sinners. In fact, what makes the place that is hell horrible is the experience that awaits those assigned to it. For they will then face the wrath of the One who cannot abide the guilty. God will no longer hold back his wrath with patience. The guilty soul will be laid bare before the all-powerful and all-terrible judge of the wicked.
And that is what Jesus experienced on our behalf. The cross was the holy God letting loose his terror on his own Son. For there was no other way for God’s holy justice to be satisfied. Jesus stood defenseless before God, as a lamb led to slaughter, and was crushed and destroyed. And the death he died, and remaining under the power of death for a time, was the extension of God’s wrath that Jesus began to experience on the cross. It is this experience that the Creed refers to when it says Jesus “descended into hell”.
Well, so what? Indeed, what of it? We must not fail to see why Jesus underwent such a horrible judgment. It was for us. God treated Jesus with strict justice that he may deal with us generous mercy. Jesus answered for our crimes that we may never have to answer for them ourselves. So what becomes of us? We become his grateful worshipers. We become the ardent lovers of Jesus. We become his loyal subjects. There is no other way to respond to Jesus’ descent into hell.
Call to Worship
‡ Isaiah 53:1–12 (p. 613)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #103 “Holy God, We Praise Your Name”
‡ Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (p. 988)
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 45
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 ESV)
10 “Upon a Life I Have Not Lived”
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Luke 17:11–19 (p. 876)
Saved to Give Thanks
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 #98 “Now Thank We All Our God”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Qs. 43–44.
Upcoming Events and Notices
Please note that the Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday. Don't forget to fall back 1 hour!"
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 November we will read Jared Wilson’s “The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together.”
November 18 (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 133–136), and the Shorter Catechism lessons (Qs. 45–48) will follow after the worship service.
November 25 (Lord’s Day): Please join us as we discuss Jared Wilson’s “The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together”.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
November 18: Yoori Han
November 25: Kelly Rogers