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Divine worship ought to be rendered to God for who he is in himself, without any regard for the good that is brought to the worshiper. If there were no good to be had for us, it would still be an unbinding moral law to worship the Creator. Yet in God’s good plan, and out of his goodness and mercy, he has graciously ordained worship to have a benefit or blessing to the worshiper. We primarily worship because God is worthy of worship. But secondarily, we worship expecting to receive from God a divine and gracious blessing that he alone gives. This blessing comes not so much from our worship, but from God himself, as we behold him in worship. So the Psalmist proclaims in Psalm 84,
 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
 As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
 They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion. (ESV)
Do you see the benefit that comes to true worshipers of the living God? They are blessed. In fact, they are twice blessed in this passage, both in v 4 and v 5. True worshipers have comfort amidst times of trouble and affliction. The Valley of Baca refers, it is clear from the context, to some arid place. Yet the people who trust in God transform the arid places of Palestine into a fertile garden covered with rain and pools. Finally, the people who trust in Yahweh grow spiritually. They go from strength to strength. The final portrait of the true worshiper is that the overflow of worship has resulted in great spiritual strength and vitality through God.
In the prayer service, we turn again to the prayer of Jesus in John 17. We will sing At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (Red 204).
This Sunday’s sermon considers the doctrine of the perseverance in light of Col 1:23. Paul not only teaches the necessity of perseverance in this verse, but he gives the Colossians reasons to continue holding to Christ by faith. Paul teaches us a good deal about the nature of saving faith in this verse. Yet he does not speak here because he is concerned about the Colossians. On the contrary, the book of Colossians makes clear that Paul has great confidence in the genuineness of their conversion to Christ. We too need to understand the importance of continuing to believe in Christ all our lives.
Call to Worship: Psalm 84:4-7
Hymn 233 [Gray] Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners
Congregational Reading: Psalm 19:7-14
Doxology: Gloria Patri, Red 436
Hymn 209 [Gray] There is a Fountain Filled with Blood
Hymn 362 [Red] Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart
Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 18:19-33 & Hebrews 10:1-18
Hymn 86 [Gray] A Debtor to Mercy Alone This hymn (which we just recently learned) speaks very clearly to the doctrine of assurance and the perseverance of believers in their faith. Several lines highlight this truth. The work which his goodness began, the arm of his strength will complete. Or in the last stanza: My name from the palms of his hands eternity will not erase; impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace. Yet, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n; more happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heav’n. If the meaning of that last line has escaped you, the meaning is basically that the glorified spirits in heaven may be more happy than us, but they are not more secure. We are just as secure in Christ as they are, with their glorification confirmed and bestowed upon them.
Sermon: Persevering in the Faith from Colossians 1:23
Hymn 269 [Gray] My Faith Looks Up to Thee
After Sunday School, we will hold our quarter business meeting.