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The Gospel In Jeremiah (via Graham Goldsworthy)

At MGPC we’re setting out on making our way through Jeremiah on Sunday nights. This follows on from Psalms and John’s Gospel.
Graeme Goldsworthy identifies the Gospel in Jeremiah.

We should not be put off by Jeremiah’s reputation as the gloomy or “weeping” prophet. He has much encouragement to offer the faithful. To be sure, he is remarkable for the way he reveals his feelings and the torment of his soul. This is not surprising given the nature of his message and the constant opposition by most of his fellow Israelites. Yet, even his experience of this sadness and his suffering are a foreshadowing of the anguish of Jesus as he faces even more harrowing torments, again from fellow Israelites, that lead to his death on the cross. Redemption comes through pain, not through avoiding it. The gospel is foreshadowed by Jeremiah’s message and his personal involvement in it. By his words and suffering he points to the sovereign grace of God in his control over world history and his faithfulness to his covenant that will be fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.


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A Stunning And Reassuring Word To A Young Prophet (via Jack Lundbom on Jeremiah)

Jack Lundbom’s magisterial commentary on Jeremiah is living up to its promise.
On God’s call and Jeremiah’s response in Chapter 1:

Yahweh begins the present dialogue in grand hyperbole. He says he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the belly of his mother; that a consecration took place before he was born; and at this very early time — known only to himself — Jeremiah was designated a prophet to the nations. A stunning word to a young boy, who, when he makes his response, declares that he may be as far behind in the march of divine events as Yahweh is ahead.
Jeremiah’s demur is brief. He says only that he does not know how to speak He is but a boy. Very well, but Jeremiah cannot refuse the call for this or any other reason. He is to be Yahweh’s messenger, going on whatever errands Yahweh sends him and speaking whatever Yahweh commands him to speak. That should make things a bit easier. But will it? Something remains unexpressed. Jeremiah is afraid. Yahweh perceives this and tells him not to be afraid, giving him what may be at the original oracle’s end reassurance and the promise of rescue.

Jack Lundbom, Jeremiah 1-20, Anchor Yale Bible / Yale University Press, 1999/2009, pg 236.

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The Fire Of God’s Exclusive Love (via Dale Ralph Davis)

Dale Ralph Davis writes about the novel insistence of Yahweh that his people have no other gods, and what that reveals about Yahweh and the way he relates to his people.

Whoever heard of a god who demanded exclusive loyalty? There was no so-called god or goddess in the whole ancient near east who demanded exclusive devotion. Ishtar did not care if you worshipped Marduk part of the time. They did not care if you had a private shrine to some oak tree in your garden. It did not matter. It was OK. They were very tolerant. Why was this God utterly intolerant of any rivals?
It is because there was something in Israel called the covenant. That covenant was exclusive, like a marriage covenant, with Yahweh as the husband and Israel as his bride. It was to be an exclusive relationship. Any time, of course, that there is a breach in an exclusive relationship it ought to drive the one who is wronged into a fury. There is a proper kind of jealousy in love, and if it is not there, there is something wrong with the love. If the wife or the husband is being unfaithful, the other does not just say, ‘Well, you win some, you lose some.’ No, it should make you angry. It should infuriate you. It should stir up the proper jealousy of love. That is what you have in the fury of Yahweh, when he says, ‘they have forsaken me; they have burned incense to other gods; they have bowed down to the works of their hands.’ There ought to be a fire in love. And there is with Yahweh.
Of course, we are a little bit different from Judah. His problem with us is not some graven image as such. Our idols are a little more sophisticated. It might be fixation on our future. It might be security or comfort or addiction. It may be a little harder to detect. But Yahweh is simply fanatical in his Word about exclusive devotion to him.

Dale Ralph Davis, True Words For Tough Times, EP Books, 2013, pg 23.

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Dry Your Tears (preparing for MGPC 4/1/2015)

Songs of preparation: O Praise The LORD, Jerusalem, Give Thanks and Amazing Grace.
Prayer of adoration and confession: Thankful to God for His work of creation; sorrowful, but profoundly thankful, for that within ourselves that made God’s work of recreation through Christ necessary.
Song of assurance, affirmation, doxology: The Family Prayer Song, the Apostles’ Creed, and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.
Continuing reading: Revelation 10:1-11 continues the description of the interlude between the 6th and 7th trumpets.
Praise: Speak, O Lord.
Bible reading and sermon: Jeremiah 31:7-26 – Dry Your Tears, God speaks of the response of His people as He gathers them to Himself.
Prayer, tithes and offerings.
Closing song: How Great Thou Art.

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Announcing God’s Sovereignty Over The Nations (preparing for MGPC 29/6/2014)

Sola (By Your Word Alone) and How Long Will You Forget Me Lord (Psalm 13) are the songs of preparation.
Worship commences with Humble Thyself / Our God Is An Awesome God.
Our prayer of adoration and confession will recall the free gift of God, eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord, and the freedom from slavery to sin that is now ours.
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less, The Apostles’ Creed and Glory Be To God The Father is our shared testimony of faith and assurance.
From God’s Word, John 15:1-27 continues the upper room narrative where Jesus commands his disciples to love one another.
This our final week memorising Hebrews 13:14 (reward chocolates afterward)
We’ll sing Great Is Your Faithfulness in praise of God’s revealed glory.
After reading Jeremiah 18:1-11, our guest preacher David D’Lima will preach a sermon entitled Announcing God’s Sovereignty Over The Nations.
We’ll be led in our pastoral prayer, give our tithes and offerings, then worship will conclude singing We Are His Children (Go Forth).

Tomorrow we’ll also have a shared lunch, and host a citywide service at 6.30pm.

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Falling Away? (mgpc 17/11/2013)

In a passage of Scripture that has challenged and troubled generations of Christians, the author of the letter to the Hebrews points out the end result of rejecting God’s final Word.
That there’s nothing else to say, and no way to come back.

Three songs focussed on the all-surpassing greatness of Jesus begin worship: Blessing And Honour (Ancient of Days); I Stand Amazed In The Presence (How Marvellous); and My Jesus, My Saviour (Shout To The Lord).
The prayer of adoration and confession will thank God for all His blessings to us, but express sorrow for when we seek after the blessings alone and ignore their testimony to turn our hearts to Him.
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less, the Apostles’ Creed and Now To Him Who Loved Us, Gave Us are the confession of faith and assurance.
In God’s Word, Jeremiah 52:1-34 brings us the conclusion of the book, yet even though that ending details the captivity of God’s people, it is marked with hope for their future.
Spirit Of God, Unseen As The Wind testifies to God’s work of providing the One who enables us to comprehend and respond to God’s revelation.
Reading Hebrews 6:4-8, we consider a challenging passage where the author underlines his concern for those to whom he writes by pointing out nature of the eternal future for those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ after having known Him and accepted Him as Lord. Though the Hebrews had not fallen to this state, the mention of it underscores their need to keep looking to Jesus and not seek God’s blessings from any other source.
After the pastoral prayer, we’ll give our tithes and offerings, then conclude worship singing Sing Unto The Lord A New Song (Psalm 96).

(Then have scones with jam and cream for morning tea in the hall.)

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Growing Healthy (mgpc 10/11/2013)

The food we need at first as babies would is not enough to sustain our growth as healthy adults.
The truths we learn at first as Christians are a foundation upon which other teachings need to be laid, otherwise we’ll never grow strong in the faith, instead we’ll lose the vitality we had at first.

We’ll be introduced to the Revelation Song before commencing worship singing Glory Be To God The Father.
After announcements, the call to worship and prayer of approach will focus on the fulness of God’s salvation and our inclination to pick and choose what we think we need of his blessings, rather than eagerly accepting them all.
My Hope Rests Firm, the Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow are the corporate affirmation of faith and assurance.
In God’s Word, Jeremiah 45:1-5 recalls God’s promise to spare the life of Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch.
Psalm 98 (To The LORD Sing A New Song) enables us to celebrate the coming of the Lord and the establishment of His kingdom.
First reading Hebrews 5:11-6:3, the sermon will delve into a change of tone by the writer to the Hebrews, as the pastoral teaching of the first five chapters pauses briefly for a brief expression of concern that these Christians are enduring confusion and heartache that would have been significantly lessened if they had committed themselves to receiving this teaching at an earlier time. Indeed their refusal to move on from the initial basics of the faith had seem them slide backward in their discipleship. Knowledge won’t always change our situation, but it informs our emotions and reactions.
After singing When I See What You Can See, we’ll share the Lord’s Supper.
Our fellowship with other Christians will also be expressed through a report from Alan Clarkson about his recent visit to Samaria in East Timor for the opening of their new church building.
After our pastoral prayers, we’ll give our tithes and offerings then conclude our worship singing Come, O Fount Of Every Blessing.