February 19-25th Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
of February 19-25.
The Last Sunday of Epiphany

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 30:9-18
Matthew 26: 17-29
2 John
Psalm 59

Verse to Memorize
Matthew 5:21-22

Catechism Questions

Q. 98.  What is the sixth commandment?
A.  The sixth commandment is, "You shall not murder."    

Q. 99. What does God forbid in the sixth commandment?
A.   In the sixth commandment, God forbids the taking away of our own lives or the life of our neighbor unjustly.    

Q. 100. What does God require of us in the sixth commandment?  
A.   In the sixth commandment, God requires all endeavors to preserve our own life and the lives of others from unjust death.  

Q. 101.  Has God given us a right to life?
A.   Yes, God has given us a right to life.  God expects us to guard our own life so that we can continue to serve Him until our natural death or until He calls us to lay down our life.  Also, if we witness our neighbor being harmed, God expects us to defend and help that person.  

Q. 102. Does God ever take away our right to life?
A.  Yes, our right to life can be forfeited by committing an act for which God requires the death penalty.      

Q. 103. What is abortion?
A. Abortion is the murder of a pre­born child, and therefore, is forbidden by God.    
Q. 104. Does the Church condemn the act of abortion?
A. Historically, the Church has always affirmed the humanity of the pre­born child, and affirmed that abortion is murder, and therefore, the Church condemns abortion. Any church which teaches otherwise is a false church.

Q. 105. Do we have an obligation to act on behalf of pre­born babies threatened by abortion?
A. Yes, we have a holy obligation to act on behalf of pre­born babies threatened by abortion because they are our neighbors and Jesus taught: "Love your neighbor as yourself."  

People to Pray for:
Church: First Presbyterian Church Jasper
                       Pastor Joe Helt
Ministry: The Fight Laugh Feast Network/ The Patriarchy Podcast
Civil Magistrate: Jeffersonville City Member
                                       Joe Paris
Notes for Parents:
Deuteronomy 30:9-18 

There is really only one choice in life that matters.  Whom will you serve?   Will you follow Christ and receive life?  Or will you disobey God and face death?   As Joshua said choose you this day whom you will serve but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  The scriptures set before us life and death and then command us to have life.  It is almost silly to think about that you need a command to walk in life instead of death but yet this is indicative of God’s commands.   God’s law is not harsh.  It is not drudgery.  It is not enslavement.  It isn’t death.  Satan will tempt you to believe so.

But for those who have been set free by the grace of God, God’s law is good.  God’s commands are meant to produce life and joy in us.  They are not out of reach for God’s people.  Yes if you are enslaved in your sins and don’t know Christ, pleasing God is impossible.  Without faith it is not possible to please God, no matter what you do.  But with faith in Christ, you are by the mercy of God able to walk in the light.  Before Christ you would not and could not obey rightly.  But after Christ you are able to obey.   It is the path to truth happiness or as the hymns says Trust and Obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to Trust and Obey.

Matthew 26: 17-29
In this passage, Jesus reveals three things:
1.  Jesus reveals that He has can move hearts of people to do his work.  Jesus has followers that his disciples may not have been aware of.  This man whom is going to help prepare Passover is one.   We ought to be mindful that when we feel like we are the only ones being faithful in a wicked world that Christ has elect all over the world.  We are not alone.  When Elijah felt that he was all alone, God revealed that there were 7000 people who had not bowed the knee to idols.  Elijah was not alone.  Sometimes it feels like the whole world has gone crazy and it is us against everybody but there are faithful people who are serving in quite and small ways for their Lord.  
2. Jesus reveals that one of his own would betray Him.  Just as there was someone doing work to prepare the way for Christ, there was someone doing the work of the devil in their midst.  Be mindful that the enemy is not always out there.  The enemy often rises up from among those called God’s people.  The apostle Paul warned the elders at Ephesus that wolves would come from their number.  This may be a shock and a surprise to us but it is not to Christ. He knows and it will be evident to everyone at some point.  Let none of us be found to love the world so much that we turn our backs on Christ.
3.  Jesus reveals a sacrament for his people.  Jesus takes the Passover feast and reveals its truer meaning.  Whereas the Passover pointed God’s people backwards to their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, this remembering was always meant to point them forward to their deliverance from sin by Christ.  Jesus sets apart this meal as a sign and seal of his grace and mercy.   It is a tangible way of seeing, touching, and tasting the gospel.  In it we remember his death on the cross for us but also too look forward to the day we will eat the feast with Christ in eternity.  
2 John
This is one of the shortest books in the bible but the message is clear- Love one another and watch out for those who will attempt to deceive about Christ.   What is unclear is who exactly is the letter written to.  It simply says the elect lady and her children.  Some have suggested that she is a specific woman known to the author, while others argue that she is a metaphorical figure representing a particular community or congregation of believers. It could be a term to refer to a local church.   It is ambiguous enough to be either.  I think a local church could be described by this term but it also should not shock us that a book of the bible would be addressed to a woman.   The gospel is for both male and female.  And in Christ, women are co-heirs of Christ.  They are invaluable parts of God’s household.  Matthew Henry in his commentary of this says:

“Our Lord himself neglected his own repast, to commune with the woman of Samaria, in order to show her the fountain of life; and, when almost expiring upon the cross, he would with his dying lips bequeath his blessed mother to the care of his beloved disciple, and thereby instruct him to respect female disciples for the future. It was to one of the same sex that our Lord chose to appear first after his return from the grave, and to send by her the news of his resurrection to this as well as to the other apostles; and we find afterwards a zealous Priscilla so well acquitting herself in her Christian race, and particularly in some hazardous service towards the apostle Paul, that she is not only often mentioned before her husband, but to her as well as to him, not only the apostle himself, but also all the Gentile churches, were ready to return their thankful acknowledgments. No wonder then that a heroine in the Christian religion, honoured by divine providence, and distinguished by divine grace, should be dignified also by an apostolical epistle.”

Feminism so distorts reality and rebels against created order that we must be careful not to fall into a ditch in our opposition.  Feminists would take what Henry said and then use it to excuse an overturning of order and make an attempt to erase distinctions between male and female.  It would use this as an excuse for placing women into the office of pastor, elder, and deacon.  But we need not try to make women into men in order to see the place of honor for them.  Women are a vital part of our fellowship.  They are coheirs with Christ.

An application of this then is that a husband ought to make sure his wife feels honored and that her authority as mother over the children is upheld.  Psalm 31 says of the godly woman that her husband and children rise up to praise her.  Father, it is no diminishing of your authority but an upholding of it for you to praise your wife before your children.    Women, take heart in that the God of the universe loves you and made you women.  It is no accident nor a low assignment.  God highly prizes you and your church does too.

Psalm 59
Psalm 59 is a powerful prayer of protection and deliverance from enemies. We can take comfort in the psalmist's trust in God's sovereignty and goodness, even in the midst of distress and danger. Verse 9, in particular, speaks to us, "O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress." This teaches that God is the source of all our strength and protection, and that our only hope is to trust in Him and watch for His guidance and provision.  This passage highlights Reformed doctrine of God's providence, which teaches that God is in control of all things and works all things for His glory and the good of His people. This truth gives great comfort and assurance, even in times of trial and uncertainty.

So let us take heart from Psalm 59, trusting in God's sovereign power and goodness, and seeking to love and obey Him in all things, even when it is difficult or costly. May we be like the psalmist, who declares in verse 16, "But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress."

Catechism/ Memory Verse
Our catechism questions hit both a broad topic- Murder and a specific application of it -Abortion.  These can be difficult topics to talk to our children about.  The difficulty primarily relies in getting over our hesitations to speak the truth of God to them and in finding an age appropriate way to do so.  The first difficulty should be something you put out of your head.  Children are able to understand far more than you give them credit for.  Regarding abortion, you need not get super graphic for they to understand that something is terrible wrong with the idea of hurting babies.  Depending on the age and maturity of your children, they may want to get involved helping to fight that battle.  They may want to send cards to the civil magistrates.  You may want to see if a local crisis pregnancy center could use gift bags or some other help for women who are in trouble.  Everyone can pray.    One of the tasks of parenting is figuring out how to protect your children from evil without shielding them from the truth that evil exists.  Some parents mistake the two.  It is better for parents to age appropriately expose evil with all its ugliness to their children in a controlled manner than for them to grow and have evil proposed to them by the devil in all his deceptive lies about it.  If you help them to see its foulness, then they will be less likely to be tempted by its sleek packaging from the world.
People to Pray for:
Prayer for 1st Presbyterian Church of Jasper and Pastor Joe Helt

Almighty and Everlasting God,
We pray for 1st Presbyterian Church of Jasper and her pastor Joe Helt.  Please bless their efforts to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to those in their community. May Your Holy Spirit use them to bring many to faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray for Pastor Joe, that You would give him strength, wisdom, and courage in his leadership of the Church. May he be filled with Your grace and truth as he teaches and preaches Your Word. We ask that You would protect him and his family and bless their ministry together.  Please keep him from discouragement and division.  Cause the people of this church to love the shepherd you have given them.  Grow the church in number and in maturity we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the redeeming King. Amen.

Prayer for Fight Laugh Feast Network and Patriarchy Podcast
Glorious King,
We pray you, O Lord, for your abundant mercy that while we were your enemies, fighting against your will, that you overcame our resistance and brought us into peace with you.  Thank you that while we were famished for spiritual food that you have provided the feast of your word.  You have turned our mourning into laughter.   We thank you for salvation.  We also thank you that in your providence you have placed us in a time where the gospel may go forth through the internet across the world.  Thank you for podcasts and other means for this work.  We pray that you would bless Pastor Joseph’s podcast on the Fight Laugh Feast Network.  Please keep all those who do this work from pride, heresy, and other sins that may attend it.  Rather let them serve with humility desiring to be used for your kingdom.  Use this work for your glory, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.  

Prayer for Jeffersonville City Councilman Joe Paris 
O God, Governor of the Universe,
We lift up Jeffersonville City Council Member Joe Paris and ask that You would give him wisdom and discernment as he serves the people of his community. We pray that he would recognize the need to repent of any sins in his life and turn away from anything that is not in line with Your will.  Fill him with courage to work towards punishing evil and promoting righteousness in all that he does. Give him a heart of compassion for those he serves and that he would always be guided by Your truth. We pray for Your protection over him and his family that they would be healthy in not only body, and mind, but in Spirit.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Sovereign King. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
Cyril and Methodius 815-885 AD
Cyril (originally Constantine) and Methodius were brothers, from a noble family in Thessalonika, a district in northeastern Greece. Constantine was the younger, born in about 827, and his brother Methodius in about 825. When the Moravian Prince Ratislav requested that the Byzantine Emperor Michael III send missionaries to Moravia "to explain to us the Christian truths in our own language," it was the brothers Cyril and Methodius who were sent.
In 863, when they started their work among the Slavs, they began using Slavonic in the liturgy. They translated the Bible into the language later known as Old Church Slavonic (or Old Bulgarian) and invented a Slavic alphabet based on Greek characters, which in its final Cyrillic form is still in use as the alphabet for a number of Slavic languages.

Many languages owe their written form to the work of Christian missionaries.  As Christians fulfilled the Great Commission, they knew that it was important for the people to be able to read the word of God so that they could obey all that Christ has taught.

Unfortunately, Cyril and Methodius did not face their work unopposed.  Opposition arose to them from the west as some believed that Latin should be the only language used in the Church. This would be a reoccurring battle that years later the reformers would face when they translated the Bible into the languages of the people.  Those who are serious about evangelism will face opposition by the world, the devil, and the flesh.  Sadly, there will be those who claim to know God and will oppose the work.  We must not lose heart.  God uses bold Christians to disciple the nations.
Upcoming Events:
Tuesday Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
Feb 19 Genevan Pub
Feb 22 Women’s Bible Study
Feb 24 Women’s Quarterly Workshop
March 5 Small Groups
March 6 Monthly Outreach
March 10-11 Women’s Retreat