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There is always a temptation for those who profess devotion to the true God to separate their confession from their actual life practice. God will not have any of this. We cannot lay claim on the one sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ, and then deny him with unrepentant ungodliness in our lives. This was the kind of problem going on in Israel, according to Psalm 50. God comes upon the nation in judgment. The problem was not in the absence of religious devotion to God’s prescribed sacrificial system (v 8) or even a lack of commitment to God’s covenantal promises (v 16). Instead, God’s anger was aroused against Israel for their blatant sin. They “hated his discipline” (17a); they did not love God’s Word (17b); they loved financial improprieties (18a) and sexual immorality (18b). They were habitual liars and slanderers (vv19-20). God’s solution is true worship in the heart: Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify me (vv 14-15). The last verse of the Psalm reiterates this emphasis: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God! (v 23). What God wants is not empty religious devotion or duplicitous confessions. He desires that we trust him for his grace, confess the preciousness of that grace in our lives with thanksgiving, and demonstrate this faith with obedience in our lives. These are the people God saves. These are the people who receive his grace and salvation instead of his wrath and judgment.
In the prayer service, we will return to prayer in the book of Acts. To begin the service, we’ll sing Psalm 46 (“God is Our Refuge and Our Strength”), found on page 84 of Cantus Christi.
The sermon this Sunday returns to the end of Exodus 2 after our two-week absence for Christmas. Here we look at Moses in the land of Midian, and observe from the text the evidence of his faith in God. If time allows, we’ll complete chapter 2 this Lord’s Day. Moses does not let an unexpected “reassignment” to a place far away from God’s people distract him from God’s faithfulness to his Word and promises. Once again we’ll see from Moses a good example of faith in the unseen God and his wise providence.
Call to Worship: Psalm 50:14-15
Hymn 374 [Red] Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
Congregational Reading: Psalm 50:1-3, 7, 19-21
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Hymn 296 [Red] Behold the Glories of the Lamb
Hymn 288 [Red] All Creatures of Our God and King
Scripture Reading: Daniel 11:1-19 & Colossians 2:1-10
Hymn 327 [Blue] O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink This is a hymn this church has not sung in some time, but that does not detract from its great value. The tune by William Havergal is English and composed around the middle of the 19th century. The text is also English, written by William Bathurst, who for a time served as a minister. The hymn is a prayer to God for a vibrant Christian faith no matter what the circumstances. The second verse is indicative of the whole: That will not murmur nor complain beneath the chastening, but in the hour of grief or pain will lean upon its God. The hymn is good, for, as a prayer, it recognizes the important Bible truth that true faith is a gift of God. It also illustrates the kind of faith we see in Moses in the early chapters of Exodus, a faith that did not tremble on the brink of any earthly woe.
Sermon: A Sojourner’s Faith, Part 3 from Exodus 2:11-25
Hymn 342 [Red] Be Thou My Vision
In Sunday School, Eric White will teach on Articles 2 & 3 of The Conservative Christian Declaration.