“Praise him, you highest heavens!” The highest created things in the universe praise the Lord. “Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.” (Psa 148:4-5) As creatures, we owe praise to God. This is the natural relationship of creature to Creator. And as we gather around the table, we are reminded by tokens of our Savior’s death of the even greater reason we praise—we have been newly created by the saving work of Jesus Christ. Let us anticipate with joy our corporate worship of our Maker and Redeemer.
In the prayer service, we will continue looking at prayer in the Gospel of Luke. This Lord’s Day we turn to Luke 21:36. The hymn we’re learning this month is “Come, Ye Disconsolate” (Red 210). This comforting hymn, jointly written by Thomas Moore (1816) and Thomas Hastings (1832) and set to an 18th century sacred art song composed by Samuel Webbe, teaches two vital, biblical truths. First, our lack of comfort (wherein we find ourselves disconsolate) is our utter sinfulness. The hymn speaks of our “languish,” our being “desolate” and “straying,” our “wounded hearts,” and our “sorrows.” The hymn writers are not speaking of mere psychological issues; it is clear they refer to our sinfulness, guilt, and the fear of death. The second vital truth in this hymn is the solution to our troubles. The authors point to Jesus Christ as the source of consolation. They do so without naming him, but the references are clear nonetheless. The only way those who are troubled by guilt may be relieved is coming to “the mercy seat,” the “Comforter,” the “bread of life,” and the “feast prepared.” Thus the last line of each stanza rings out: “Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal.” Our greatest sorrow and all our sorrows we brought upon ourselves through our sinfulness and rebellion. Only Jesus Christ, the true manna who has come down from heaven, can heal this sorrow.
The sermon on Sunday will return to 1 Corinthians 14:1-5, but will also include verse 6. The message returns to the ways in which we corporately worship. Since public Christian worship is corporate by nature, that “corporate-ness” shapes the content of worship. Our services are not to be private, individual, worship experiences. Instead, we should love one another (vs 1 says, “Pursue love”) by seeking their spiritual well-being. Thus those who speak and lead in worship should do so in such a way as to bring other believers with them. In turn this worship and praise not only sets the true God apart as holy, but brings blesses and benefits those who participate in that worship.
Call to Worship: Psalm 148:1-2
Hymn 17 [Blue] Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing If indeed our worship of God brings benefit to us (as the Scriptures declare), this hymn certainly states it. We come to the “fount of every blessing,” asking the one from whom we receive the blessing to “tune my heart to sing thy grace.” This is the great paradox of Christian worship in a nutshell. We praise the Lord because he is worthy of praise, because of who he is in himself, not so that we can put him in our debt to return the favor. Yet, while we so worship, God liberally blesses us with his grace, strengthening us in our faith, hope, love, and the many other spiritual blessings applied to us by the Holy Spirit through the grace of Jesus Christ. “Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise!”
Congregational Reading: Psalm 148:7-14
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Scripture Reading: Job 3 & 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Hymn [Insert] Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
Sermon: Christian Worship is Corporate 2 from 1 Corinthians 14:1-6
Hymn 127 [Blue] Hallelujah, What a Savior!
The Lord’s Table
Hymn 307 [Red] How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
In Sunday School, I will begin a series on the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards.