April 15, 2018
Before We Worship
“Jerusalem” means “City of Peace.” Sadly, Jerusalem is hardly a place of peace now. Modern Israel is a place of constant strife and danger. Indeed, Jerusalem has suffered almost constant threat of violence and unrest for more than two thousand years. Once David’s glorious reign ended, Jerusalem was at the mercy of her many enemies, and there is no sign that this will change any time soon.
Psalm 125, therefore, touches on a sore subject. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” The hills of Jerusalem are a little lower than her surrounding hills. The psalmist thus envisioned the lofty mountains that surrounded Jerusalem as God’s wall of protection around Jerusalem. Who needs a “hedge of protection” when you have mountains of protection?
The psalmist adds, “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch our their hands to do wrong.” How can Jerusalem be ruled by a wicked king when the LORD protects her? No scepter of wickedness will be over Jerusalem, and her people will not do wickedness.
Or so the psalmist thought. But, of course, we know that Israel was often ruled by wicked kings, and her people turned often to idolatry and unspeakable evil. Psalm 125 tests our faith. We read here of promises unkept, of confidence misplaced, and of the wide gap between the ideal and the reality. How could any pilgrim benefit from this psalm? Of what possible use is this psalm to us?
We benefit from Psalm 125 in this way. The roads of our pilgrimage take us through the difficult place that lies in between promise and fulfillment, in between the ideal and the reality. We are not carried to our heavenly home on a bed of roses with the scent of spring in the air. We suffer and struggle. Sometimes we even doubt if God will come through for us. We will make it to the end only with our heart “steeled” by faith. Only tough faith will carry us through this tough world.
We also benefit from Psalm 125 in another way. While the earthly Jerusalem suffered much loss, it was only a symbol for the heavenly Jerusalem. Earthly Mt. Zion was often trampled by her enemies. But God protects Mt. Zion above, the assembly of his holy people gathered around the Lamb. We are, for now, indeed in the difficult place in between promise and fulfillment. But none of God’s children will lose their way. For they are protected by the One under whose feet every mountain trembles and shakes. The Lamb is our shelter and refuge, our fortress and rock. And he who protects us is greater and mightier than all who threaten us. The mighty Savior will carry us through this tough world.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 125 (Trinity Hymnal p. 831)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
1 Timothy 6:6–10 (p. 993)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25 ESV)
9 “Thy Will Be Done”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 15
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 5:16–26 (p. 975)
Show Me Jesus
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 #168 “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 36.
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.
Join us for “12 for 18” as we read 12 great books in the year 2018. For April we are reading “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis. And for May, “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography” by Herman Selderhuis. Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
April 15 (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 86–87) and the Shorter Catechism lesson (Q. 36) will meet after the worship service.
April 22: Please join us as we discuss the March “12 for 18” book, Tish Harrison Warren’s “Liturgy of the Ordinary” after the worship service.
April 29: Please join us as we discuss the April “12 for 18” book, C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” after the worship service.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
April 15: Liza Beede
April 22: Michelle Kay