Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the March 11, 2018, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on the God’s Story of Salvation through the Scriptures. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “We need a real King!” The main Scriptures for the day are 1Samuel 1-4, 8-13, 15. 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 10 of The Story this week, this is a lightly edited selection of Scriptures from 1 Samuel Chapters 1-4, 8-13 & 15 that seeks to maintain the broad story line of the Scriptures.
You can read or listen to them here.
You can listen to Chapter 10 of The Story here. (32 minutes)
(If youi choose to read all of 1Samuel 1-15 it will take roughly 60 minutes.)
From the Creeds and Confessions
Heidelberg Catechism Q54
Q. What do you believe concerning the holy catholic Christian church?
A. I believe that the Son of God, out of the whole human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, defends, and preserves for himself, by his Spirit and Word, in the unity of the true faith, a church chosen to everlasting life. And I believe that I amand forever shall remain a living member of it.
Belgic Confession Article 29
Article 29: The Marks of the True Church
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church— for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of “the church.”
We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it, even though they are physically there. But we are speaking of distinguishing the body and fellowship of the true church from all sects that call themselves “the church.”
The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults.
In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.
As for those who can belong to the church, we can recognize them by the distinguishing marks of Christians: namely by faith, and by their fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness, once they have received the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. They love the true God and their neighbors, without turning to the right or left, and they crucify the flesh and its works.
Though great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their lives,
appealing constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of the Lord Jesus, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins, through faith in him.
As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on humans, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.
These two churches are easy to recognize and thus to distinguish from each other.
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
Hannah’s Prayer (Jason Silver): Video
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Watch and reflect upon The Bible Project’s 8 minute video on 1Samuel.
Why do God’s people continually struggle with wanting to be like the rest of the world?
What does it mean to be a people who belong to the LORD?
The Sermon will be available online on March 11, 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.