The call to worship this Lord’s Day exclaims, O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! David confesses that the God who is Yahweh, who is the Creator of all that is, is at the same time the God of Israel, because of his covenant with that people. The LORD is our Lord, the sovereign of all who is the sovereign over the nation. He is at once theirs in particular because of his covenantal love for his people, and yet the God whose name is majestic … in all the earth. These words reminds us of the precious language of 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. “You are Christ’s,” Paul says. We belong to Christ himself. By our union with Christ, we belong to God through Christ. Or, as David puts it, O Lord, our Lord. How can we make such a claim? Because of the good news of Christ, whereby we have believed and stand in Christ, who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. This grace so precious is so free. We have received it, as the sermon text this Sunday puts it (1 Cor 15:1). No merit of our own could bring us such glorious riches of grace. It must come through another, and that one is Jesus Christ who has been preached to us.
In the prayer service, we will look at another text from Psalm 119. We will sing a paraphrase from Psalm 119, “The Word Sheds Light upon My Path.”
As I said above, the text before us this Lord’s Day is 1 Corinthians 15:1-2. (This is actually my 100th sermon on 1 Corinthians!) As Paul begins to address the importance of the resurrection, he begins by showing them its relationship to the Gospel, and so he reminds them with a blow-by-blow account of how they entered into salvation through Jesus Christ. At the same time, he shows them how they remain believers. The passage as a whole points to Christ. As Jesus Christ preached to us, believers receive Jesus by faith. Paul calls it the good news, but the good news is really the message of Christ Jesus and what he has done for us. The passage is a tender reminder of the free grace of Jesus Christ offered to us in the Gospel, and what that grace gloriously does for us. This is the service order:
Call to Worship: Psalm 8:1
Hymn 259 [Red] Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners This hymn written by J. Wilbur Chapman in 1910 points directly at the grace of Jesus Christ. “Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end,” the refrain says. We were saved when we received the Gospel of Jesus Christ by faith. This faith does not happen “once,” but continues on, trusting Christ and standing in him for the duration of the believer’s life. We are saved by holding fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by faith. Even as the faith of a believer continues to look to Christ (faith, we must remember, is a gift of God), Jesus continues to “keep” us. “Saving … keeping,” as Chapman says. The final stanza speaks to this as well, though it might sound strange to our ears: “Jesus! I do now receive Him,” the fifth verse begins. What does this mean? Are these the words of a new convert? I don’t think so. I think Chapman is saying that, even as we “received” Christ by faith when we were first converted, we continue to look to him now and ever. It is not that we are being “re-converted,” but we are continuing to receive Christ, continuing to trust him, continuing to repent and believe on his name. The Christian life is a perpetual life of faith, a life of perpetual receiving Christ’s grace, a life of perpetual mercy and forgiveness. Our justification in Christ is declared once at conversion, and is never to be “renewed” or re-adjudicated. Christ’s work for us is finished and accomplished. But believers who have trusted in Christ never depart from him. They always stand in him, saved by him, in need of his grace. Thus there is a sense in which we are always, perpetually, “receiving Christ” by faith, and all the grace that he has given us, both in our progressive sanctification and the definitive declaration of our justification and holiness before God. “He hath granted me forgiveness, I am His, and He is mine.” This, then, is the great ground of all this grace: we are united to Christ, and so Christ is ours. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Congregational Reading: Psalm 8:1-9
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Hymn 255 [Red] Ah, Holy Jesus
Hymn 156 [Red] O Come with Thanks, God’s Goodness Praising (vv 5-8)
Scripture Reading: Job 15 & Mark 2:13-28
Hymn 355 [Red] In God, My Faithful God
Sermon: How to Become (and Remain) a Christian from 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Hymn 45 [Blue] Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim
In Sunday School, I will teach on Jonathan Edwards and the Lord’s Supper Controversy.