Our text is Matthew 5:7-12.
One of the reasons this passage is important is because it reminds believers of their need to stay focused on the true gospel of Jesus. Salvation is not knowing some things about Jesus. It is not about doing religious things to earn acceptance before Jesus. This text really speaks about the problem of legalism. Legalism is the temptation to derive your justification before God, your acceptance by God, and your forgiveness from God by your own religious works. The truth is, Christians have a tendency to forget the implications of the biblical gospel daily. We have a tendency to revert back to legalism, which is self-atonement, and a self-salvation project that leads only to despair. We must resist the false gospel of human achievement.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. This series of Children’s Messages will look at numbers and counting to help teach Bible stories and doctrine about God, his world, and Jesus. Today’s message is provided as a video; this link appears just after the Gloria Patri in the service (where it would normally occur in our church service). Click on these links for a children’s bulletin and coloring page to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Coloring Page.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
Psalm 100:1-5 A Psalm for Giving Thanks
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (ESV)
Almighty God, as your people in obedience to your command we corporately bow before you this Lord’s day in worship and submission to proclaim your infinite worth.
We exist for your glory and according to your pleasure and will.
At the same time, we gather in your name with great joy because you have redeemed us and welcomed us into your presence by the blood of your Son and through faith in him.
So Father we want to present ourselves to you this morning without reservation.
Would you illuminate our minds to all of the attributes and character of the Triune God.
And then enable us through Holy Spirit to worship you in a manner that is pleasing to you and edifying to us as well.
Prepare our hearts to confess our sin as the fourth commandment is read. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In the month of April, our congregation will be singing Psalm 47. In discussing this psalm, Dr. Derek Thomas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC said,“This Psalm is about the rule and reign of God. God is. This is a Psalm of faith. It doesn’t waste time in trying to prove the existence of God; it proclaims the God who is there in all of His power and greatness and glory. Kingdoms may come, and kingdoms may go. Since this Psalm was written, many kingdoms have come and gone…Where are all those mighty empires today? They’re gone, every one of them. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go, but the Kingdom of God lasts forever.” Derek Thomas, “Kingdom Come, Kingdom Coming”, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS. As downloaded on April 21, 2016, URL:http://www.fpcjackson.org/resource-library/sermons/kingdom-come-kingdom-coming
Corporate Scripture Reading: Romans 7:14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Almighty God, we enter your presence confessing the things we try to conceal from you and the things we try to conceal from others.
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole hearts. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We also confess that we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have caused them heartbreak, worry, and sorrow that makes it difficult for them to forgive us.
We have also made it easy for others to do wrong because of our sinfulness.
Merciful Father, forgive us we pray, for the totality of our sin as you define it, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Strengthen our wills to love you and serve you with joy, that your commands would not be burdensome, but that we would find the greatest joy in obedience to you, through the power of Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Jude 24-25
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV)
These verses are often used as a benediction, but they also speak of the amazing promise we have in the gospel, that due to the finished work of our Savior, he presents us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.
If you are trusting in Jesus you are forgiven. Glory be to God!
Affirmation of Faith:
The Westminster Larger Catechism
How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations, forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head, triumphing over enemies, visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections to heaven, and to prepare a place for us, where he himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world.
How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fulness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and does gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnishes his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and makes intercession for them.
Myriads, Counting and Bible Doctrine (Click here to link to the video of the Children’s Message)
(You may want to take a moment to pray with your child or children for your family, your church family, our country and world.)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Online giving is now available for your convenience. This link, https://www.faithpresarp.org/give/, will take you to the page that explains this process and includes a button which will redirect you to the secured giving platform.
This hymn, written in 1758 by Robert Robinson, a barber’s apprentice, has a reference in the last stanza, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love,” and is thought to be particularly autobiographical, referring to Robinson’s early life, when his mother sent him to London to be an apprentice. It was during this time that “he associated with a notorious gang of hoodlums and lived a debauched life” until he came under the preaching of George Whitefield. In stanza two: “Ebenezer,” which means “Stone of Help,” is a reference to 1 Samuel 7:12 where Samuel set up a memorial stone and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Prayer for Illumination and Sermon: Kingdom Living in a Fallen World, Part 2
Blessed are the…
I. Persons of mercy (verse 7)
II. Pure in heart (verse 8)
III. Peacemakers (verse 9)
IV. Persecuted (verses 10-12)
- Known as the “Father of English hymnody,” Isaac Watts wrote approximately 600 hymns including our hymn. He showed literary genius even as a boy. He took to books quickly. He loved rhyme and verse. At age seven, he wrote an acrostic spelling out the letters of his name, it showed his brilliance and strong Calvinistic theology:
“I” – I am a vile, polluted lump of earth
“S” – So I’ve continued ever since my birth
“A” – Although Jehovah, grace doth daily give me
“A” – As sure this monster, Satan, will deceive me
“C” – Come therefore, Lord, from Satan’s claws relieve me.
“W” – Wash me in Thy blood, O Christ
“A” – And grace divine impart
“T” – Then search and try the corners of my
“T” – That I in all things may be fit to do
“S” – Service to Thee, and Thy praise too.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- How does mercy in 5:7 flow out of the previous four beatitudes in verses 3-6?
- How is forgiveness essential to showing mercy?
- Purity of heart must involve looking at our inward character, motives, and attitudes, but then why do we often just focus on our outward conduct and actions to justify ourselves?
- Peacemaking needs to have evangelism as a priority, why?
- Blessed are the “persecuted and reviled” seems nonsensical, but if you live out the other beatitudes in a fallen world – isn’t this beatitude the result?
Myriads, Counting and Bible Doctrine
We have been learning numbers and counting together to help us learn Bible stories and Bible teaching about God, his world and Jesus.
I have used: jillion, zillion, gazillion, bajillion when I wanted to use a word to count a bunch of stuff that was just too high to count with numbers – like, “I saw a gazillion ants today in a big ant pile.”
In the Bible, God uses pictures and a special word “myriads” to show us BIG numbers:
Like (in Daniel 7:10) God’s throne in heaven is pictured and it says – a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him (ESV); Thousands upon thousands were serving Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him (NASB)
In Hebrews 12:22, it says – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to “Innumerable angels” (ESV); myriads of angels (NASB).
Did you hear that special word, “myriads”, it comes from the Greek word murias, which means ten thousand. So myriads upon myriads (ten thousand times ten thousand) refers to a large number.
But the verse that really shows us this is: Revelation 5:11 – Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
It’s like the Bible is saying – “The Lord has a bajillion angels worshiping him.”
At night when I look up and see the stars, I think about big numbers – there are so many stars…
The Bible says something like that in Genesis 15:5 – Then God led Abram outside. God said, “Look at the sky. There are so many stars you cannot count them. And your descendants will be too many to count.”
God has myriads, ten thousand times ten thousand, countless numbers of worshippers in heaven, too many to count!
Will you be counted among those worshippers? Will you be part of that great number in heaven? You can be and will be if you put your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.