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Salvation is a wonderful gift. Humankind can enjoy no higher privilege than being one of God’s chosen ones, and receiving his mercy and loving kindness. God wanted Israel to remember all that he had done for her, and to return suitable praise to him in return. This was the purpose of the great feasts and worship. And if you know that you are saved by the blood of Christ, returning praise to God ought to be your greatest joy. So we NT Christians can find certain solidarity with the call to worship in Psalm 81:1–3 Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. Notice the skilled artistry and joy in God’s people at this time of feasting and remembrance. O, may this same spirit characterize us!
As is our custom, we will begin our Lord’s Day together in a service dedicated to prayer. I hope that all our families will make an effort to attend. We will begin with the hymn we’ll be learning throughout the month of August, “Thy Broken Body, Gracious Lord” (Gray 278). The lesson will come from Abraham’s intercession for Sodom in Genesis 18.
Laws about worship bookend the Sinai Covenant’s rules or judgments found in Ex 21:1-23:12. Preceding the Covenant rules in 21:1 are laws about altars found at the end of Ex 20. After the rules in Ex 23 are various laws about Israel’s monotheistic faith and the various festivals the Lord gives her to observe. What I want you to meditate upon and remember as you prepare to worship this coming Lord’s Day are the opening words of our passage for this Sunday. The Lord says to his people: Pay attention to all that I have said to you. Such a word as this is still important for us to hear in our own age as New Testament believers: An important part of the worship of true religion is sitting under God’s Word as it is faithfully proclaimed in the assemblies of believers gathered in the name of Jesus Christ. Ready yourself, brothers. God wants you to pay attention to all that he says to you.
Call to Worship: Psalm 81:1-3
Hymn 348 [Red] Come, Ye That Love the Lord
Congregational Reading: Psalm 81:4-10
Doxology: Gloria Patri, Red 283
Ministry of Music: “Christian Hearts, in Love United”
Scripture Reading: Zechariah 3 & Revelation 20
Hymn 343 [Red] Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word
Sermon: Covenant Worship from Exodus 23:13-19
Hymn 214 [Red] Soul, Adorn Thyself with Gladness Israel was given feasts to remember how their Covenant God had delivered them from Egypt. We are given the Lord’s Table. This old Communion hymn by Johann Franck teaches us the joy of approaching Communion. The final verse of the hymn is itself a prayer of preparation that we would receive the ordinance in a way fitting to the glorious gift of grace that we have received in Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life: Jesus, Bread of Life, I pray Thee, let me gladly here obey Thee. By Thy love I am invited, be Thy love with love requited; from this Supper let me measure, Lord, how vast and deep love’s treasure. Through the gifts Thou here dost give me as Thy guest in heav’n receive me. The Lord’s Table is given to us to look at Christ and remember the gift of salvation that comes through his cross. And as we have received him, and God has so freely given us salvation through his blood, we are assured that we have heaven itself given to us through the merits of Christ’s death for sinners.
The Lord’s Table
Hymn 211 [Gray] Amazing Grace
In Sunday School, have read the 12th chapter of Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.