Saturday, July 07, 2007

Worship Notes: God as King and Law-Giver

Here is the latest edition of the Worship Notes bulletin insert for July 8, 2007:

God as King and Law-Giver

This morning’s worship service focuses on God the Father in His sovereignty and role as Law-Giver. God rules over all of the earth (Psalm 47:8), and His creatures must submit to the rule of His law as found in Scripture. He has the right to set the standard, because He is holy and His standard is holiness and perfection (1 Peter 1:15-16). Mankind’s condition is that of an innate sin nature and the perpetual failure to keep the law of God, placing all of humanity under God’s just judgment, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NASB).

The law is God’s gracious provision to reveal this condition to us. As a verse from today’s Scripture reading reminds us, we would not have been aware of our sinful state were it not for God’s law (Romans 7:7). Today’s sermon will serve to remind us that the law is what leads us to Christ as we realize our sinfulness and cast ourselves upon Him.

As you sing this morning, be mindful of God’s holiness and His sovereign rule over us. If you are a Christian, thank God for His mercy in bringing you to Himself. If you are an unbeliever, realize how far you are from God’s standard, and flee to the Lord Jesus Christ by grace through faith in humble repentance. You can be made right (i.e. “justified”; Gal. 2:24) by faith in Christ.

Come, Thou Almighty King” serves as one of the most popular hymns that call the people of God to worship Him, the King. This hymn was originally sung to the same tune as Great Britain’s national anthem, “God Save Our Gracious King,” which also serves as the tune of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” During the Revolutionary War, British soldiers once invaded a church and demanded the singing of the British national anthem. The church responded by singing the correct tune but instead sang the words we sing today: “Come, Thou Almighty King, Help us Thy name to sing,” serving as a reminder that no earthly monarch can usurp the role of the King of kings and Lord of lords. [1]

O Worship the King” also reminds us that God is King, with a special focus upon His role as Creator, based on Psalm 104. The last verse declares God as “Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.” Notice the progression: “We know God first as our Maker, our Creator. Then, even before our conversion, He is our Defender, our Keeper from harm. We know Him then as Redeemer, our personal Savior from sin and its penalty. Finally, as we walk day by day with Him, as we commune with Him and enjoy His fellowship, we know Him also as Friend.” [2]

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” culminates in a downpour of descriptions of God in His glory. The words can be overwhelming in their succession, but this may serve to instill in us a sense of the wonder we will experience when beholding our God one day in all of His perfection. Beholding Him “will overwhelm us far more completely than does this hymn, and we will find ourselves lost in praise.” [3]

In response to God’s law and its purpose in leading us to Christ, we will sing “Jesus Paid It All.” The law shows us that “nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim” (v. 3). Thankfully, for those of us who have placed our trust in Christ alone for salvation, Christ’s death paid the debt to redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), canceling out the debt that stood against us (Colossians 3:14).

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You.
(Psalm 65:4, NASB)

[1] Osbeck, Kenneth W., 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1982), 49-50.
Brown, Rober K. and Mark R. Norton, eds., The One Year Book of Hymns (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1995), July 9th reading.
Grudem, Wayne., Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 183.


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