After a brief time of greetings and fellowship over coffee and snacks, we began our review of this week’s memory verse in Second Kings 17:7. We’re studying the historical books of the OT in survey format and are reading once again of the consistent habit of fallen men and women to embrace the cultural “idols” surrounding them. We talked about how believers ought to be positive witnesses for Christ Jesus in the community in which they live. We also spoke on how important it is to not capitulate to the teachings and practices of those who seek to push God out of every public market place.
We then spent time in public prayer: praying for our state and national leaders, as well as praying for church members and our community.
During the last half of our Sunday School hour, we looked at the remainder of our outline in First Kings beginning with chapter 13. We noted the regnal formula for the kings in the book: “Each king is discussed in turn by means of a set introduction and conclusion formula. This formula contains an evaluation of each king, based on his faithfulness to the covenant and his willingness to walk in the ways of King David, the ideal Israelite king. Many of the kings who failed to maintain the covenant with the Lord were compared to Jeroboam I of Israel, who epitomized rebellion and disregard for God (15:33-34; 16:25-26).” ETOT, Arnold & Beyer, p222.
Utilizing this formula, only two kings after Solomon were described as pleasing the Lord: Asa (15:11, 14), and his son Jehoshaphat (22:43). Both men were descendants of David in the southern kingdom of Judah. None of the kings of the northern kingdom (Israel) were denominated as “good.” They all followed their own perverse ways and led their people ever deeper into sin. A greater turnover of kings occurred in the northern kingdom primarily due to the instability of leadership and the murderous coups they spawned.
10:30 AM MORNING WORSHIP
In the message during Morning Worship, we looked at Hebrews 12, verses 18 through 24. The author’s emphasis is on the great contrast between Mt Sinai which represents the Old Covenant and the Law and Mt Zion which encapsulates the New Covenant and Grace.
Under Moses and the Law, the terrifying majesty of the thrice-holy God was seen on the mountain “that may not be touched”–Mt Sinai. By repeated failures and disobedience to God’s word, the heavy demands of the Law upon the hearts of fallen sinners keep them from enjoying living communion with Him.
Under Christ and Grace, the awesome majesty of the glorious Lord is seen yet again. This time, however, it is a joyful convocation upon the heavenly mount Zion where departed saints, a part of the elect of all ages, are gathered in union together with the holy angels and the Most Holy God. The perfect righteousness of the crucified Savior has been imputed to them by His atoning work on their behalf. Now in His presence, upon Mt Zion, those saints in the intermediate state are perfected in their characters forever having finished well their individual races of faith (chapter 11 saints, as an example). They joyfully await the consummation when Christ returns where they, along with living saints at the end of the age, receive their resurrection bodies.
Thus, the author urges these professing Hebrew Christians to heed the voice of the Lord who speaks from heaven. To return to the Old Covenant is to fall from grace and Christ. It is to put one’s self under the terrifying majesty of the Lord “on Sinai” and the Law’s punitive measures against sin. Under the shadow of the Old Covenant, only certain punishment and eternal death awaited them. The Old Covenant’s real purpose was as a tutor to bring us to Christ when He appeared (Gal 3:19-29).
More than that, God has shaken the Old Covenant and removed it (Heb 8:13; 9:10-11) so that “the things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb 12:27). Under the substance of the New Covenant in Christ, blessings, joy, and eternal life are reserved for God’s elect under His sovereign grace and the efficacious work of the Redeemer on their behalf. Christ Jesus, His kingdom, and the New Covenant are the things “which cannot be shaken” (v28). No, not ever.
We encourage you to come and join with us in publicly worshiping our gracious Redeemer each Lord’s Day at 10:30 AM (Heb 10:19-25).
4:00 PM AFTERNOON STUDY
Due to a few who were not able to return for our afternoon study, yet expressing their desire not to miss out and fall behind, we deferred our showing of Part 3 of our 5-part DVD study on Reformation History: The Spreading Flame – 1000 Years of Church History, until next Sunday, March 24. Come and join us next week in the Sanctuary for Part 3, “The Champions of Freedom” starting promptly at 4:00 PM.
“Well, Christians, remember this, God hath two strings to His bow; if your hearts will not lie humble and low under the sense of sin and misery, He will make them lie low under the lack of some desired mercy.”