Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the January 7, 2018, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on the The Beginning of The Story. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “The Story Begins” The main Scriptures for the day are Genesis 1-9. The other passages are either referenced in the message or provide additional insight for reflection.
(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)
From the Scriptures
Please read through Chapter 1 of The Story this week, this is a lightly edited selection of Scriptures from Genesis 1-9 that seeks to maintain the broad story line of the Scriptures.
(You can read or listen to all of these passages in a variety of translations at Bible.is.)
From the Creeds and Confessions
Belgic Confession Article 12
We believe that the Father, when it seemed good to him, created heaven and earth and all other creatures from nothing, by the Word—that is to say, by the Son. God has given all creatures their being, form, and appearance and their various functions for serving their Creator. Even now God also sustains and governs them all, according to his eternal providence and by his infinite power, that they may serve humanity, in order that humanity may serve God. God has also created the angels good, that they might be messengers of God and serve the elect. Some of them have fallen from the excellence in which God created them into eternal perdition; and the others have persisted and remained in their original state, by the grace of God. The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions. So then, by their own wickedness they are condemned to everlasting damnation, daily awaiting their torments. For that reason we detest the error of the Sadducees, who deny that there are spirits and angels, and also the error of the Manicheans, who say that the devils originated by themselves, being evil by nature, without having been corrupted.
Belgic Confession Article 14
We believe that God created human beings from the dust of the earth and made and formed them in his image and likeness—good, just, and holy; able by their will to conform in all things to the will of God. But when they were in honor they did not understand it and did not recognize their excellence. But they subjected themselves willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending their ear to the word of the devil. For they transgressed the commandment of life, which they had received, and by their sin they separated themselves from God, who was their true life, having corrupted their entire nature. So they made themselves guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all their ways. They lost all their excellent gifts which they had received from God, and retained none of them except for small traces which are enough to make them inexcusable. Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness, as the Scripture teaches us:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Here John calls the human race “darkness.” Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning human free will, since humans are nothing but the slaves of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is given them from heaven. For who can boast of being able to do anything good by oneself, since Christ says, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me”? Who can glory in their own will when they understand that “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God”? Who can speak of their own knowledge in view of the fact that “those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit”? In short, who can produce a single thought, knowing that we are not able to think a thing about ourselves, by ourselves, but that “our competence is from God”? And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God’s understanding and will apart from Christ’s involvement, as he teaches us when he says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.Heidelberg Catechism Q6
Q6: Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
God created them good1 and in his own image,2 that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3 so that they might truly know God their creator,4 love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.5
Q7: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
The fall and disobedience of our first parents,
Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1
This fall has so poisoned our nature2
that we are all conceived and born
in a sinful condition.3
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Read and reflect on this devotional by John Piper.
The Sermon will be available online on January 7, 2018 at 12:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.