January 29- February 4th Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week of 
January 29- February 4th, 2023 
The Fourth Week of Epiphany

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 30:1-10
Matthew 25:14-30
1 John 3
Psalm 57

Verse to Memorize

Acts 4:12

Catechism Questions
Q. 86. What is the third commandment?    
A. The third commandment is, "You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain."    

Q. 87. What does God forbid in the third commandment?
A.  In the third commandment, God forbids the misuse of His Name.

Q. 88.  What does God require in the third commandment?  
A.   In the third commandment, God requires the holy and reverent use of His name, titles, attributes,  ordinances, Word and works.    
People to Pray for: 
Church: Holy Trinity Reformed Church
                Pastor James Brown Jr.
Ministry: Rusty Thomas
Civil Magistrate: Jeffersonville City Council

Notes for Parents:
Deuteronomy 30:1-10
Remember the lessons of the past few weeks as we have slowly delved into the curses for breaking the holy covenant.  Moses, in the previous chapters, had warned us of the temptations of straying from the path of righteousness, and the just discipline that would be inflicted upon us by the almighty God should we falter.  God's law is like a mirror, reflecting our ugly, sinful nature, exposing the idolatry and murder that lurks in our hearts. It terrifies us with the judgement of God against sinners, yet we must not forget that it is only through this discipline that we may be purified and made worthy to be called His children.

But now, in chapter 30 of Deuteronomy, Moses brings us comfort. He reminds us that when we sin and feel the weight of God's chastisement, we must return to Him with a repentant heart, for He is a merciful God who forgives sinners. There is a promise in this chapter that through His grace, God shall recreate our sinful hearts, circumcising them to love Him and granting us the gift of life. He shall protect us from our enemies and bless us in all our endeavors.
Dear sinners, do not shrink back from approaching our Father and confessing your transgressions, for through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been granted forgiveness. He shall make us whole, protect us, love us and restore us to Him.

The Church Father, John Chrysostom, exhorted his congregation to not to be ashamed of our repentance. Let us be ashamed of our sins, but never let that shame prevent us from seeking forgiveness. The shame belongs solely on our sins and not on the act of seeking redemption. Satan will tempt us to blur the lines between shame and repentance, but don’t be deceived. Adam hid in shame after his transgression instead of coming to God but, we should not make the same mistake. Go to God with humility, confessing your sins and begging for His forgiveness.  He is faithful and just and will forgive your sins.

And to all fathers, remember that it is our sacred duty to discipline our children. But do not forget that after discipline, we must also shower them with love and affection. There is something sweet when you have to spank your son, and he in tears reaches out to you for comfort. Stir that up. Be his comfort in that moment. Don't withhold your compassion, especially in times of discipline. For just as God disciplines us, He also comforts us in our time of need. Teach your children to be ashamed of their sins, but never of their repentance, for through it, they shall find redemption.

Matthew 25:14-30
In the previous parable, Jesus taught us that we must be prepared for the long haul. He taught us that we must be ever vigilant, steadfast and ready for His return, for though it may yet be a while, we must not let our guard down. We must be alert, for the enemy seeks to deceive us and lead us astray.  We are to be patient while watching and waiting.  

The temptation though is to hear Christ's parable and think that you will have a long time. Christ has not come for 2000 years. You, therefore, can be tempted to be lazy and indifferent to the work of God.  Jesus, therefore, in the parable of the talents, teaches us that God will call us to account on how we have stewarded the mysteries of God. Will we bear fruit? Will we be faithful with the spiritual gifts and talents God has given us? Will we use our gifts for him or will we sit on them in complacency or in selfish fear?

Do not let your blessings, the gift of the gospel message and the means of grace, be wasted in laziness and indifference towards the work of God. God gives us each different giftings and expects us to be faithful. His call for us is tailored to our unique abilities, and He shall provide us with all the resources necessary to accomplish the task He has set before us. Some may be called to different tasks, some may have more gifts, while others may have less, yet we are all called to be faithful.

Let us not be prideful and overstep the boundaries set by the Lord, but let us also not use our knowledge of our own inadequacies as an excuse to resist His call.  Leadership was not created for proud men, but humble men must not run from God's call because they feel inadequate. No one is worthy of such trust from God, and yet God will accept no excuses for refusing His work. Remember that when Moses tried pleading his incapabilities, God became angry and would not let it fly.

Talk with your family about your family mission. Talk about how God has gifted each of you. Ask them where they need to work to produce fruit. Consider your children's natural giftings and help them work to strengthen them. If it is musical skills, then find ways to encourage them in it. If they have aptitude for things that you don't, find other godly men and women who can help mentor them. Also, talk about being responsible with their own belongings and the family property.

1 John 3
The Apostle John is very white and black.  You either know God or you do not know God.  If you practice righteousness you know God and if you do not practice righteousness you do not know God.  The way to knowing if someone is truly in Christ is by examining their fruit.  If they walk in the light, then they are in the light.  If they know God, they will love.

Righteousness and love are the hallmarks of a Christian.  These are not the deeds one performs to become a Christian but they are the deeds that one who has faith in Christ will do.  Faith in Christ produces fruit.  

Psalm 57
Christ has saved us from the clutches of the devil, from penalty of sin, and the wrath of God.  But sometimes walking with Christ feels like be taken out of the frying pan and into the fire.   That is we live the Christian live in the midst of enemies all around or as the Psalm writer says “My Soul is Among Lions.”  When Christ came, he went into territory and he made enemy soldiers into his own citizens, citizens who still go forth into enemy territory.  Christ saves us but he does not take us out of this world.  We will have enemies.  We will face the fires of temptations, persecutions, and tribulations.  

But here is the truth, Christ is with us.  Just as He was with Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, He is with us in the fires of this life and those flames shall not touch destroy us.  Just as He was with Daniel, the lions of this life shall not devour us.  The enemy may prepare a pit to capture you in but God will insure that the enemy will be the one to fall in to it.  The Psalm writer is sure that God is his refuge.  “Therefore, He will sing.  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! Awake, my glory!”   The Christian praises God in all circumstances- in the good and the bad.  The Christian can walk through the flames of this life with joy.  He can feast on the treasures of God at a table spread for him in the midst of his enemies (Psalm 23).  His cup will overflow.

Become a singing family.  I don’t care if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  Sing the praises of God.  Praise his name.  He has rescued you from darkness.  He has given you eternal life and He will give you victory over your enemies.  Teach your children to sing.  It will be a blessing to them all through this life.
Catechism/ Memory Verse
A song we used to sing in the church I grew up had these lyrics:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there's just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, But there's something about that name.

The name of Jesus is precious to believers.  God’s name is precious.  He is to be worshipped and honored above all.  Jesus taught us to pray “Hallowed be thy name.”  The Christian desires that God’s name would be glorified on the earth.

Contrary to this is the way that people drag his name through the mud.  In sin, people take the name of the Holy Holy Holy God and make it a common word of disgust, a vulgarity, a curse word to say when they hit their toe, when they don’t like something, or just to fill a sentence.  People rob God of glory by making his name of no account.  This is not something we would ever tolerate to happen to the names of those we love and yet we often think nothing of the God we loved having his name taken in vain.

Don’t allow your children, your wife, or yourself to take the name of God in vain.  And don’t take his attributes in vain either.  “Oh my goodness” or “Holy ….”   These are still breaking the 3rd commandment.   Because these are attributes of God that are intrinsic to him.  We must not abuse Holy things.

Also make sure that you give honor and glory to the things of God.  Show respect to the word.  Don’t throw your bible on the floor.  Take care of the place where God’s people meet.  And give due attention to the worship of God.

Lastly, don’t take the name of God in vain by claiming to be a Christian but living in a way that brings shame and dishonor to his name.  My mom used to tell me that my last name belonged to my dad and grandfather before me and that they spent a lifetime building up a good reputation.  My name didn’t just belong to me and therefore I needed to be careful not to dishonor that name.   This is true more than just the name Spurgeon.  As a baptized member of God’s church, we all bear the name of Christ and we must not let our lives dishonor his precious name.  
People to Pray for:
Prayer for Holy Trinity Reformed Church:  
Our Father who is in heaven,
We praise you and glorify your name.  We praise you for sending your Son Jesus and we glorify the name of Christ.   We praise you Father for sending the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to us to make alive our dead souls and we glorify the Holy Spirit.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we praise you- one God in three persons, Holy Trinity.  We thank you for your Church that we are called to belong to.  And we thank you for the local churches that make up the one holy catholic and apostolic church.  Thank you for our sister church Holy Trinity Reformed Church.  Please grant Pastor James Brown wisdom and power to proclaim your word so that lives may be changed.  We ask you to grow the church numerically and spiritually.  Add three new families to their fellowship in the next three months.  Also we ask that you protect them from divisions and from persecution.  And we ask these things in the most holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Prayer for Rusty Thomas- former director of Operation Save America but still working and fighting for the end of abortion.
Good God and Father,
We thank you for the work of Rusty Thomas.  We thank you for his service in fighting abortion and for his loving support of the work of Sovereign King Church.  We also thank you for his example in remaining faithful through suffering having in the past few years lost two of his children to cancer.  Please continue to give him comfort and strength for the battles ahead so that he will finish the race strong.  Bless his wife Kendra and children and grandchildren.  We pray along with our dear brother that you would end abortion in our nation.  Do not withhold repentance from us for this wicked abomination.  Please do not hold this bloodguilt against us but rather grant that there would be a revival among your church that would spark a revival among the nation, we pray in the might name of Jesus.  Amen.

Prayer for Jeffersonville City Council

O God our Father,
Thank you for giving us civil government to protect what is good and punish evil.  Thank you for the Jeffersonville City council. We ask that you grant each member forgiveness of sins and faith to serve you in their office.  Grant them wisdom, discernment, and understanding as they make decisions that affect the community.  Help them to govern with  integrity and a desire to serve the people of Jeffersonville. Give them the courage to stand for what is right, even in the face of opposition. Give them healthy bodies and protect their families.   And Lord, give to the people of Jeffersonville grace to obey the gospel of Jesus in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Church History Spotlight
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Antioch and of Constantinople,
Preacher, Theologian, Liturgist
27 January 407

John was called "Chrysostom" ("Golden Mouth") because of his eloquence. He was a priest of Antioch, and an outstanding preacher. (Audiences were warned not to carry large sums of money when they went to hear him speak, since pickpockets found it very easy to rob his hearers -- they were too intent on his words to notice what was happening.) His sermons are mostly straightforward expositions of Holy Scripture (he has extensive commentaries on both Testaments, with special attention to the Epistles of Paul), and he emphasizes the literal meaning, whereas the style popular at Alexandria tended to read allegorical meanings into the text.

He loved the city and people of Antioch, and they loved him. However, he became so famous that the Empress at Constantinople decided that she must have him for her court preacher, and she had him kidnapped and brought to Constantinople and there made bishop. This was a failure all around. His sermons against corruption in high places earned him powerful enemies (including the Empress), and he was sent into exile, where he died.

Along with Athanasius of Alexandria, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus, he is counted as one of the Four Great Eastern (or Greek) Doctors of the Ancient Church. The Four Great Western (or Latin) Doctors are Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great.

Quote from John Chrysostom: Do not be ashamed to enter again into the Church. Be ashamed when you sin. Do not be ashamed when you repent. Pay attention to what the devil did to you. These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for the body wounds and medicines, so for the soul are sins and repentance. However, sin has the shame and repentance possesses the courage.