Uptown Church has just unveiled a fresh redesign of our website (uptownchurch.org), and the worship blog is now located on that site! All of these posts and comments have been imported over, and no new content will show up here. So please update your readers!
Scripture: Jeremiah 44:1-45:5
Sermon: “Semper Penitens (Always Repenting)”
Confession of Faith – Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 87
Q: What is repentance unto life?
A: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.
Scripture: Jeremiah 40:1-41:10
Sermon: “Follower or Rebel?”
Confession of Sin – “On Rebellion”
Leader: Lord, we who gather before you, a people called by your name, have walked in rebellion and defiance.
People: Like our first parents, we have sought to carve out our own path apart from you gracious providence. You have provided pastors, elders, teachers, and leaders to guide us in the paths of righteousness, and we have often disregarded their words when we found them inconvenient. Forgive us for “biting the hand that feeds.”
Leader:Your Spirit testifies, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.”
People: Save us from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Remove from us any evil, unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from the living God. Forgive us for our pride, and restore us to share in Christ.
I’m very sorry for the few weeks I’ve not gotten the worship blog post out. It’s extremely encouraging to me to hear from many of you that you miss it and are desirous of it. My goal is to provide the members and attenders of Uptown Church with one way to prepare to gather each Sunday. Hearing stories of parents taking time with their children over a weekend to sing these songs and read these scriptures and confessions brings me great joy. So I will make every effort to keep on top of it.
Now here are the elements we will use in our liturgy this coming Lord’s Day. I pray you use them well, and enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! (Psalm 100:4)
Scripture: Jeremiah 34:1-36:32
Sermon: “Trust and Obey”
Confession of Sin – “Obedience”
Leader: Our holy Lord, your works are perfect, and all your ways are just.
People: But we have not kept your commandments. Our stubborn, prideful hearts have disobeyed in unbelief. Lord have mercy!
Leader: Father, you have told us that this is love: that we walk in obedience to your commands.
People: But we have lived according to the flesh rather than the Spirit, in hatred, anger, discord, jealousy, dissensions, factions, envy, and the like. Lord have mercy! Forgive us our sins and renew covenant with us, according to your loving kindness.
Confession of Faith – Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 39
Question: What is the duty which God requireth of man?
Answer: The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
Scripture: Jeremiah 30:1-31:40
Sermon: “The New Day”
THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
In preparation for a communion meal with Jesus, read what the Heidelberg Catechism says about communion, questions 75 & 76:
Q. How does the Lord’s Supper signify and seal to you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all His gifts?
A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup in remembrance of Him. With this command He gave these promises: First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely was His body offered for me and His blood poured out for me on the cross. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely does He Himself nourish and refresh my soul to everlasting life with His crucified body and shed blood.
Q. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink His shed blood?
A. First, to accept with a believing heart all the suffering and the death of Christ, and so receive forgiveness of sins and life eternal. Second, to be united more and more to His sacred body through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us. Therefore, although Christ is in heaven and we are on earth, yet we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones, and we forever live and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.
“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:10-14)
What words of comfort these must have been! Israel has been told over and over that her sins have brought about the discipline of the Lord, and his wrath and hot displeasure must have seemed to them a sign of utter abandonment. But the Lord, through his prophet, is delivering to them a message of hope. God does not abandon the people he loves. In fact, his patient discipline and deliverance of them is evidence of the fact that he has a plan for them “for welfare, and not for evil.” And what God says to Israel, he says to us. So let us hear the call of the Lord, beckoning us to come as children to worship him.
Scripture: Jeremiah 27:1-29:32
Sermon: “Trust in the Trials”
Any parent knows the sort of patience required to raise children. Often, patience is thought of as simply turning a blind eye to personal offenses, or at its best, letting a slight “roll off.” There is a sense in which, as imperfect beings, we must do these things in patience. Romans 2:4 is a passage like so many others who’s point can be completely missed if you aren’t careful. I’ve been a fan of the warm feelings associated with the idea that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” But what does the text around that phrase say? When we look at it in context, it’s not as easy to get the fuzzies.
“We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
– Romans 2:2-5
It is certainly true that God’s patience and kindness are meant to lead us to repentance, but this is no passive, permissive patience and kindness. This is a patience and kindness that says “I can do this all day, all week, all year, until you relent.” This is a patience and kindness which is perfect and immovable, which cannot, will not leave us to our destructive paths, but will persevere with even the harshest discipline to sanctify us. And all of THIS is meant to lead us to repentance.
So come, let us gather for worship, let us greet the Lord our Maker, our Redeemer, and the Perfecter of our Faith.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
– Hebrews 12:11
Scripture: Jeremiah 25:1-38
Sermon: “The Patient Wrath of God”