July 28, 2019
Before We Worship
The Shorter Catechism’s teaching on the fourth commandment is longer than any other commandments’. The 17th century pastors and theologians who wrote the Catechisms felt a great need to emphasize the importance of the fourth commandment. But why?
The 17th century England was no different than the past or the present. Many people regarded the Lord’s Day as just another day, and did not see anything special about it. They worked and they played on the Lord’s Day instead of attending public worship. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. The OT people acted the same way when they were straying from the Lord. They worked and they played instead of attending to the Lord’s commands and instructions. Unfortunately, our attitude and practice are very similar, if not worse, to the spiritually dangerous habits that gravely concerned the OT prophets and the godly people of every age. We take the 4th Commandment as the 4th Suggestion. So we treat God’s instructions as though they are inconsequential dribbles of an impotent fool, safely ignored without consequence. And steady and faithful obedience is just not on the radar of many people who profess to be believers.
How did we get here?
The problem really traces back all the way to Eden. The real issue here is the mindset that doing God’s will, obeying his Law, is harmful to our soul. We first heard this lie in Eden when the Serpent tempted Eve, and then through her, Adam. The Serpent’s not-so-subtle insinuation was that honoring God by doing what he commands will only lead to loss, that what God teaches us is not what is best for us. Indeed, this is the root of all temptation. But you do remember how things turned out for Adam and Eve when they listened to this lie, don’t you? As long as we buy into this lie, celebrating the Lord’s Day is always going to feel like a burden and a chore.
When we think about the holy keeping of Sabbath/Lord’s Day, we need to ask, “Why does God command us to do anything? Is it to hurt and to ruin us? Or is it to bless us?” The world, flesh, and the devil constantly pit God’s glory against our well-being, as though we can never be blessed if God is blessed. But God commanded a day of rest, not a day of labor. Can you think of any other gods who command their people to rest? We have to resist the lie that obedience is the way to loss. Rather, think wisely and soberly. In obedience we are blessed. We rest spiritually when we nourish our souls with spiritual food. We rest physically and and let tomorrow’s work be tomorrow’s work. We are not going to make through the next week’s demands because we have worked to provide for ourselves, but because God is faithful and will keep us. That is why we can rest.
What do you think? Is the Lord’s command a suggestion to ignore? Or is it really an invitation to know God’s goodness in a deeper way? I hope the answer is clear.
Call to Worship
‡ Matthew 11:28–30 (p. 816)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #391 “Safely through Another Week”
‡ Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
Exodus 20:8–11 (p. 61)
The Shorter Catechism Qs. 58–60
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #512 “I Lay My Sins on Jesus”
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Acts 5:17–42 (p. 913)
How Does the Resurrection Shape the Mission of the Church?
Rev. David Stoddard
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 TH #607 “Thy Loving-kindness, Lord, Is Good and Free” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #605 “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”
Family Devotion for the Week
Upcoming Events and Notices
Join us for “12 for 19” as we read 12 great books in the year 2019. For July we are reading Philip Ryken’s “When Trouble Comes.” For August we will read Christina Fox’s “Idols of a Mother’s Heart.”
Please note that the catechism lessons will resume in the fall.
July 28 (Lord’s Day): We look forward to welcoming the MTW missionary to Germanry, the Rev. David Stoddard. He will preach for us, and following a potluck fellowship lunch after the service, will give us a report of his work in Germany. Please join us and help us welcome him.
July 28: Yoori Han
August 4: Kelly Rogers