image :: Overturned Basket of Fruit, Paul Cézanne (c.1877, French)
Preparation for Worship on July 9 2017 :: As A Fool
“What is scary about self-deception is that it can insulate us against Jesus Christ. When we are larded over with lies about our self-sufficiency and denial and pride—when these things defend us and rescue us, and pump up our self-image whenever it loses pressure, then the thought that we need Jesus our Savior becomes impertinent. It is unnecessary. It is entirely uninteresting.” (Cornelius Plantinga)
“Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did He of Himself have the power to die. Accordingly, He effected a wonderful exchange with us: we gave Him the power to die, He will give us the power to live. In taking upon Himself the death that He found in us, He has most faithfully promised to give us life in Him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.” (Augustine)
Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 9 include ::
:: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Stuart Townend, 1995) CHART :: Gloria Patri (2nd Century Hymn) CHART :: Rock of Ages (Augustus Toplady, 1776) CHART :: I Need Thee Every Hour (Annie Hawks, 1872) CHART :: It Is Well (Horatio Spafford, 1873) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART :: Jesus Savior Pilot Me (Edward Hopper, 1871) CHART
Call to Worship :: from Isaiah 35
Be strong, and do not fear! Your God will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf be unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Then will the wilderness rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice and shout for joy. And we, the ransomed of the Lord, will enter with singing. Everlasting joy will crown our heads. Open your eyes and see now the glory of the Lord, and the splendor of our God.
Confession of Sin
Father in Heaven, forgive us for attempting to avoid You. We have fixed our eyes and our hope on ourselves instead of worshiping You. We indulge in our striving instead of trusting You. We indulge in our shame instead of resting in You. We indulge in grumbling and complaining instead of crying out to You. We have been given over to anxious isolation instead of following Jesus in His mission. Yet Your compassions yearn over us, You hasten to our rescue. In the Cross of Christ, we see that Your Love endured our curse, Your Mercy bore our justice. Forgive us all of our sin and renew our hearts. Turn us back to You. Amen.
Words of Encouragement :: Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Gospel Reading :: Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Sermon :: II Corinthians 11:16-33
16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!
But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.