The King and the Everlasting Covenant

photo courtesy of the times of london

As egalitarian as our society is, we still recognize that some people are in a different position and rightly require more than an informal approach. We all love the picture of JFK’s son playing in the desk in the Oval Office, but we’d be rightly disturbed if your average Joe were poking around there.

So in view of the majesty of the King we celebrate this Palm Sunday, how can average Joes like us approach him? On what basis is any relationship possible?

And even if God offers a basis for relationship with him, how do we know we won’t mess it up?

Title: The King and the Everlasting Covenant

Text: Isaiah 24

Overview

  • covenant
  • curse
  • new covenant

Resources

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Preparation for Worship (3/28/15)

Scripture to consider: Isaiah 24

1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth
    and devastate it;
he will ruin its face
    and scatter its inhabitants—
it will be the same
    for priest as for people,
    for the master as for his servant,
    for the mistress as for her servant,
    for seller as for buyer,
    for borrower as for lender,
    for debtor as for creditor.
The earth will be completely laid waste
    and totally plundered.
The Lord has spoken this word.

The earth dries up and withers,
    the world languishes and withers,
    the heavens languish with the earth.
The earth is defiled by its people;
    they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
    and broken the everlasting covenant.

photo courtesy of thompson hall

Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
    its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
    and very few are left.
The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
    all the merrymakers groan.
The joyful timbrels are stilled,
    the noise of the revelers has stopped,
    the joyful harp is silent.
No longer do they drink wine with a song;
    the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The ruined city lies desolate;
    the entrance to every house is barred.
11 In the streets they cry out for wine;
    all joy turns to gloom,
    all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
12 The city is left in ruins,
    its gate is battered to pieces.
13 So will it be on the earth
    and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
    or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy;
    from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
    exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel,
    in the islands of the sea.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear singing:
    “Glory to the Righteous One.”

But I said, “I waste away, I waste away!
    Woe to me!
The treacherous betray!
    With treachery the treacherous betray!”
17 Terror and pit and snare await you,
    people of the earth.
18 Whoever flees at the sound of terror
    will fall into a pit;
whoever climbs out of the pit
    will be caught in a snare.

The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
    the foundations of the earth shake.
19 The earth is broken up,
    the earth is split asunder,
    the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth reels like a drunkard,
    it sways like a hut in the wind;
so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
    that it falls—never to rise again.

21 In that day the Lord will punish
    the powers in the heavens above
    and the kings on the earth below.
22 They will be herded together
    like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
    and be punished after many days.
23 The moon will be dismayed,
    the sun ashamed;
for the Lord Almighty will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
    and before its elders—with great glory.

Thought to ponder:

“To want nothing but this world is to end up with nothing but want.”

J. Alec Motyer, 201

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This Weekend at First (3/27/15)

This is Palm Sunday weekend, the beginning of a week of reflection on our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection!

Evensong Service Tomorrow

We will gather Saturday night at 7pm to kick off our commemoration of Holy Week. The service traces the arc of Holy Week—coronation (Palm Sunday), passion (Good Friday), resurrection (Easter)—with instrumental pieces, Scripture readings, vocal arrangements, and congregational singing. Join us for this wonderful time of reflection.

Blood Drive Tomorrow

The New York Blood Center will be stationed outside our building tomorrow from 9am to 3pm. If you are able, please serve our neighbors by coming by the church and donating.

Sunday School

The ladies Bible study will start a series on James led by Elsie Cadet-Grieg, while the men continue their look at Mark’s gospel. Children’s classes are available. Join us Sunday at 9.30am.

Reminder: there will be no Sunday school on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday Worship Service

Here’s a look ahead at the songs we plan to sing Sunday morning.

The sermon text will be Isaiah 24.

Holy Week—Bring a Friend!

Many people go to church twice a year: Christmas and Easter. We have many events this Holy Week, and your friends—whether Christian or not—are more than welcome to any and all of them. So let them know and invite them to come with you to celebrate the cross and empty tomb. Who knows what God will do through your invitation?

  • Thursday at 7.30pm: Maundy Thursday Fellowship Meal
  • Friday at 7.30pm: Good Friday Communion Service
  • Next Sunday at 9.00am: Easter Sunrise Service
  • Next Sunday at 10.00am: Continental Breakfast
  • Next Sunday at 11.00am: Resurrection Celebration

Easter Offering

We continue to collect our offering for the boiler fund. Our goal is to match the $25,000 gift given by a sister church. As of this past Sunday, we’ve already matched $6,024! To God be the glory! Let us pray fervently and give generously to meet this goal.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

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The King and Our Treasure

No matter where you’re trying to go—more education, better career, different city—one of the most important factors in getting there is money. Money can buy you a whole lot more than nice clothes or a new home. Money promises pleasure and power and security and glory.

photo courtesy of national geographic

That’s the story of Tyre, the ancient commercial capital of the Mediterranean world. They had great wealth and everything money could buy.

But there’s a bitter irony to the story, one that today’s commercial capital of the world—our very own city—needs to hear.

Title: The King and Our Treasure

Text: Isaiah 23

Overview

  • city
  • wealth
  • irony
  • hope

Resources

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Preparation for Worship (3/21/15)

Scripture to consider: Isaiah 23

1 A prophecy against Tyre:

Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor. From the land of Cyprus word has come to them.

Be silent, you people of the island and you merchants of Sidon, whom the seafarers have enriched. On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor; the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre, and she became the marketplace of the nations.

Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea, for the sea has spoken: “I have neither been in labor nor given birth; I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.” When word comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre. Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you people of the island. Is this your city of revelry, the old, old city, whose feet have taken her to settle in far-off lands?

photo courtesy of BBC

Who planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are renowned in the earth? The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

10 Till your land as they do along the Nile, Daughter Tarshish, for you no longer have a harbor. 11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. 12 He said, “No more of your reveling, Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed!

“Up, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.” 13 Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account! The Assyrians have made it a place for desert creatures; they raised up their siege towers, they stripped its fortresses bare and turned it into a ruin.

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed!

15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: 16 “Take up a harp, walk through the city, you forgotten prostitute; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.

Thought to ponder:

“We keep thinking how generous we are by allowing the Lord to have 10 percent of our money. But John Wesley had it right in his sermon on money when he said that we have it backward. Wesley said that for the Christian, all our money is God’s. The only issue is how much of God’s money we are going to spend on ourselves.”

John Oswalt, p. 276

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