December 11-17th Family Worship Guide 2022

The Guide for the Week of December 11-17th, 2022
The Third Week of Advent

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 27:11-26
Matthew 1:18-25
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 52

Verse to Memorize
Luke 1:30-33

Catechism Questions
Q.  What is the Annunciation?
A. It is the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son through a virgin birth and become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Son of God.

Q. How did the angel Gabriel greet Mary?
A.  The angel said “Greetings, Favored One, the Lord is with You.”

Q. How was Mary favored by God?
A.  She was blessed and chosen by God to give birth to Jesus, the Savior, and Son of God.

Q.  How did Mary respond to the call of God through this angel?
A. Mary was content to be a servant of God and said “May it be done to me according to your word.”

Q. Was Mary married when she became pregnant with Jesus?
A. No, although Mary was betrothed to Joseph, she was a virgin. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that she was with Child.

Q.  May we honor Mary?
A.  Yes, we may honor Mary because she was the mother of Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture says all nations shall call her blessed and she believed in Jesus Christ to save her from her sins.

Q. May we pray to or worship Mary?
A. No, we do not pray to or worship Mary because she is not a mediator nor a sinless savior.  We would disobey God’s law and dishonor her memory by giving her glory due to Jesus Christ alone.

People to Pray for: 
Church: Reformation Church of Shelbyville
               Pastor Jerry Dorris
Ministry: Reformation Frontline Ministries
Civil Magistrate: President Joe Biden
Notes for Parents:
Deuteronomy 27:11-26
Cursed.  We have all seen movies or read books where a character does something and he is cursed.  Nothing good will happen for him and his end is doom.  The pirate steals the gold and now he is doomed to a life of death as a walking zombie.  These movies do get at something real.  Those who break the law of God are cursed.  Adam our first father ate the forbidden fruit and the result is that we are cursed.  We are cursed with a life of death.  We are walking zombies in a way with no good thing destined for us. Our end is doom.  We are cursed because we break the law of God.  When you read this passage, you are reminded that the law of God brings curse on those who break it.  And this is all of us.  We are then to know that we cannot be saved by the law.  None of us can merit or gain heaven and good by our lawkeeping.  We haven’t kept it.  We are law breakers under a heavy curse.

We need someone who can deliver us.  Praise be to God that Jesus fulfilled God’s law perfectly and willingly took the curse from us.  The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”  Why did Jesus do this?  “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  

He took the curse that we might receive the blessing of Abraham which is the promise of eternal life and to receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the one who now enables us to keep the moral law of God.  Therefore when you read this section, tremble in fear at the holiness of God, give thanks for the gospel of Jesus, and be resolved to walk by the spirit and obey.  

Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas changes everything.  Every year as the night of winter approaches, a change comes.  Homes and stores are lit up with beautiful decorations.  Radios change their music.  People change their greetings.  Think of how boring and even dark, December would be without Christmas.  Its fitting that the festivities to celebrate the coming of Christ would do this because the real change came with Jesus.  He was the one who changed everything.  His coming into the world was the game changer.  Light entered into darkness and there was no going back.  Sometimes the changes he brought were catastrophic.  He would flip whole lives upside down.  Fishermen were made into preachers.  Tax-collectors into gospel writers.  A persecuting Pharisee into a suffering apostle.  He took rich men and brought them low.  He took the poor and raised them up.   Even his enemies were changed.  The Pharisees were exposed and couldn’t continue to operate the same way. Eventually they were destroyed.

When Jesus came into Joseph’s life it was catastrophic.  He was man looking to get married.  Actually he was already kind of married.  He was betrothed.  It was more than engagement. It was a contract that could only end in marriage or divorce.  But when Jesus comes on the scene, Joseph’s plans to get married, be a quiet carpenter living in his hometown are all thrown upside down.  The woman he wants to marry is now pregnant and it isn’t his.  What will Joseph do?  

Christ’s coming here reveals that Joseph is a man of faith.  He believes God.  And therefore he will do what is right.  First, he is a man of justice.  He makes plans to divorce Mary.   He would not be unequally yoked.  Second, he is a man of mercy.   Even though he will put Mary away, he will so quietly, sparing her as much as he can.  Thirdly, he is a man of prudence.  He makes his plan and considers it.  And then he sleeps on it.  Something doesn’t quite seem right and so he takes his time deciding what to do.  And it is here the angel comes to him and revels to him the truth.   Mary was innocent.  She was carrying the Savior of the world- God with us.  The scriptures must be truth. Therefore Joseph believes.  He believes the word of God.  And finally he obeys.  He awakes and obeys right away.

Jesus came into Joseph’s life and changed it.  Some of the changes were no doubt painful.  And yet the change was for God’s glory and for Joseph’s joy and salvation.

Jeremiah 23:1-6
God’s people had leaders who did not care for them.  They were supposed to be shepherds caring for and protecting God’s flock.  Instead, they abused the flock.  They used God’s people for their own gain.  And they lied to them.  They divided the flock and drove it away from God.  God through the prophet Jeremiah comforts the people by saying this would not always be the case.  God was going to send the Messiah, a righteous branch who will reign as King.  God was going to give them the good shepherd who would lay his life down for them and reign over them for their good.  This is what Christ came to do.  He came to lay his life down for the sheep and to reign over them for their good.  He establishes faithful undershepherds in the church to feed the sheep.   Be on guard against those who claim to be leaders but only do so for their own gain.  Be wary of grifters who won’t point you to Jesus but who claim to have all the answers.  The conservative world right now is full of drifters feeding on your fears and anger at all the darkness around.  Don’t listen to false shepherds who would drive you from the truth.  Trust in Jesus and follow those he puts over you who will feed you from his word.  

Psalm 52
We will have enemies if we love Christ.  The worst ones are those who pretend to be friends and stab us in the back.  Or those who see us when we are low and kick us when we are down.  And yet we should not be surprised if this were to happen. It happened to Christ.  And it happened to King David.  There was a man name Doeg the Edomite who sought favor with Saul by attacking David at a lowpoint.  This Psalm is David’s response.  David feels the pain.  He has righteous anger because of Doeg’s evil and yet he doesn’t respond to evil with evil but rather cries out to God.    When we talk about praying for our enemies, one thing that must not be left out is that we can go to God when we have been harmed and give him our burdens.  We can cry out in pain to the one who will carry our burden.  He will deal justly with Judas’s and Doeg’s.  We can trust him to defend us and to get vengeance.
Catechism/ Memory Verse
The Catechism questions will prepare the children for next week’s sermon.  Our God honored fatherhood by calling Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus and He honored motherhood by calling Mary.  Protestants often see the abuses of Roman catholics and therefore are slow to talk about Mary.  But we ought to be able to honor God’s work in her without crossing over into the idolatry and superstition of the papists.  We honor Mary best giving all worship to Jesus Christ her Son and Lord.  

Another way to honor mothers is to make sure that you honor the mother in your house.  Children need to be taught not just that mother is helper to father but that she is an authority over the children.  She has real authority, and they should obey her.  Fathers you must do all you can to uphold your wives authority over the children.  Exalt her among them.  Proverbs 31 says that the husband of the virtuous woman praises her.   Praise your wife.   Don’t let children drive a wedge between you two.  Don’t let children see her as just an older peer.  She is the queen of the house.

People to Pray for:
This week we are praying for our dear brothers and sisters in Shelbyville.  It has been a great joy to be able to labor in the same area with other Christians who faithfully engage in evangelism and gospel proclamation.   Pastor Dorris has been a great encouragement to your pastor.   Pastor Dorris is going on a trip to Morocco for a few weeks here in December.  Please be in prayer for his safety and for the church while he is gone.

Reformation Frontline Ministries is work that comes out of Reformation church.  Austin Keeler is a full-time evangelist doing work of preaching the word of God in Shelbyville and in Louisville.  Pray for this work and that God would raise up among us some faithful brothers to join in this kind of work.

Lastly, we are praying for the President of our country.  Whether you think he was duly elected or not, God in his providence has allowed him a place in office.  Pray that God would give him a clear mind and a heart of repentance.  Pray that God would grant our nation his mercy.

Christmas Carol Spotlight

In the orchestra world, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is every bit an annual Christmas tradition. GF Handel wrote this famous work in 1741. Interestingly, he wrote the original version of Messiah in only three to four weeks. What makes this so astounding is the sheer scale of the 259-page score. This oratorio (a piece of music similar to opera but without the elaborate set pieces or narration) covers from the Old Testament prophetic voices of Christ through His birth, life, death, and resurrection.

One tradition involving this music is that supposedly during one of the early performances, the king of England attended.  When the Hallelujah Chorus was played, the King was so moved that He stood. Royal custom at that time required all others in attendance to stand when the king did as well. Since then, it is custom to stand during the performance of this section of Messiah.
Music often is a great tool to move our hearts. It is one of the reason that the Bible commands us to sing and make melody in our hearts. We are called to love God with not only our minds but with our hearts.  Our emotions should be inline with and under the control of the truths of God.  May we be moved to revere the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  May the mention of His name move us to awe.  May the truths of Christ and his work get us out of the comfort of our seats and to our feet in respect and on our knees in Holy worship.
From Adam’s rebellion to Moses’ good Law
Death reigned, the master of men
With all of creation held under its claw
Awaiting redemption from sin
But when the Law thundered in earthquake and fire
Weak as it was through our flesh
It could not help conquer our sinful desires
Only tightened the noose round our neck

Still, God remembered His mercy in wrath
And promised a way of escape:
A Lamb to be killed on the people’s behalf
Would trample the head of the snake
But though we would offer our best to the fire
And rivers of blood would be spilt
This could not help with our sinful desires
Nor atone for the depth of our guilt

When the fullness of time had come
God sent us His only Son
Born of a woman, born under law
So that He might a people redeem

With joy set before Him, and love to display
He laid aside His great crown
To share in our nature as creatures of clay
He emptied Himself and came down
And lived like a servant without any home,
He carried our sorrows and griefs
Was spit at, rejected, despised and alone
Accursed, He hung on a tree


We’re no longer slaves, we’ve been bought with a price
Adopted, delivered, we’re sons now with Christ
We stand in His righteousness dressed
To His righteousness free!


So that He might a people redeem.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright
This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Now to the Lord sing praises, All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.