May 20, 2018
Before We Worship
People want God to be a soft pillow. A pillow will never resist or push back. And if we happen to get smacked with a pillow, well, it really won’t hurt that much. A pillow is there, at our beck and call, to mold itself around our need. Interestingly, some people think they are growing in faith because they think God more and more like a pillow, a soft, harmless, user-friendly accessory.
God is, indeed, a source of profound comfort for his people. But those who draw near God will not find him to be like a pillow. Psalm 130 describes a pilgrim whose deepening faith has left him shattered. He finds God is not like a soft pillow, but a hard rock against he is dashed and breaks into a thousand pieces. “Our of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
Psalm 130 does not describe how the psalmist came under the conviction of sin. What we see, instead, is the end result of that painful process. The closer the psalmist drew nearer to the holy God, he found himself being undone. God was not a harmless trinket. The hardness of his holiness left the psalmist sinking into the depths, with no other plea but for mercy. Indeed, one has not made much progress in his faith (if at all) when he has not been shattered against the Rock of Ages.
God is a rock. He will dash the sinner to pieces. He will also be the immovable and unshakable rock of comfort. Verse 4 begins with one of the most important words in the whole Bible: “but”. “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” With mercy God convicts us of our sin. With mercy he also saves us from judgment. If we are looking for a reason to stay safe before God in ourselves, that reason will not be found. Instead, what keeps us safe before God is found in his very character of mercy. This is what prompts the psalmist to say, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope…For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” In other words, we are not safe because God is soft like a pillow. We are safe because he is merciful.
How shall we respond to God’s mercy? We must not continue to think of him like a harmless trinket, as if he were a useful fool. We all want the God for forgiveness. But did you read what follows? “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Now we must be broken before him, although in a different sense. We shatter our pride, stubbornness, selfishness, self-adulation, that we may find ourselves made whole in God. And so we will find his mercy made complete in us.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 130 (Trinity Hymnal p. 833)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #377 “Jesus, Where’er Your People Meet”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
2 Timothy 1:8–12 (p. 995)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #705 “I Know Whom I Have Believed”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 20
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 6:11–18 (p. 975)
The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ
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 #264 “Jesus, Keep Me near the Cross” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #252 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
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 May we are reading “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography” by Herman Selderhuis. For June, David Murray, “Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.” Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
May 20 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for our monthly fellowship potluck lunch.
May 27: (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 99–100) will meet.
May 27 (Lord’s Day): Come and join us as we discuss “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography.”
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
May 20: Michelle Kay
May 27: Yoori Han