April 30- May 6 Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
April 30- May 6 2023 AD.
The Fourth Week After Easter

Bible Passage for the Week
Proverbs 2:1-8
Galatians 5
1 Peter 4
Psalm 70

Verse to Memorize
Galatians 5:22

Catechism Questions
Q. What is pride?
A.  Pride is an undue confidence in one's own talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, or rank in life, which is often accompanied with boasting or looking down upon others. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God and keeping it for ourselves.

Q.  What does God think about pride?
A.   The Bible says that God hates pride and is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Q. What is humility?
A. Humility is having a right assessment of one’s own talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments or rank in life as an undeserved gift from God which comes by recognizing that one is a sinner who must depend upon God for all things.

Q.  What does a humble person do?
A. A humble person:
               1. Fears God and repents of sin.
               2. Submits to legitimate authority.
               3. Recognizes virtues and talents that others possess and gives due honor.
               4. Recognizes the limits of one's talents, ability, or authority.
               5.  Uses their talents, ability, and authority for the glory of God.

People to Pray for:
Church: Pillar Fellowship
                Pastor Ken Chipchase
Ministry: Daniel Courney Missionary to Nepal
Civil Magistrate: Indiana Governor
                                Eric Holcomb
Notes for Parents:

Proverbs 2:1-8 (The notes on this passage in proverbs are written by Mike Owen.)
For years we've all heard men of the church say " The psalm writer wrote open my eyes that I might see...this morning I will say open your minds that you might contemplate. As the Psalms are for the heart the Proverbs are for the mind.

King David the author of most of the Psalms most likely read them to his son Solomon. David who murdered his best friend and stole his wife may well have been the progenitor of the phrase "Do as I say, not as I do." Like all loving fathers he wanted his son to love God and live a more righteous life than himself. There's no doubt in my mind when both David and Solomon wrote they had not only the people of Yahweh in mind but particularly, their own children. We celebrate both David and Solomon as fathers in faith, despite their failings God chose them as instruments of his will. In the heavenly

Father's sovereignty he sent angels and prophets as messengers to his people, and ordinary men to preach His word,  administer His sacraments and discipline those He loves.
In this week's passage Solomon, most likely had Rehoboam in mind when he compels him to seek the wisdom of God like silver. This is something we can all relate to. We all need money for food, clothing and shelter. We all want money for video games, car parts and kitchen gadgets. Solomon exhorts his son to be teachable, to cry out for discernment. How can we be teachable? Simply by not being proud nor stubborn. We need to know our station in life, at work, at home, and at church. We need to lean on scripture as the foundation for knowledge along with parents, elders, and brothers in Christ on  how to apply that knowledge. Develop good habits, have a routine, include prayer in that routine. But don't be a slave to that routine, be a slave to Christ. In him is the only true freedom. Discipline yourself with the aid of the holy spirit. For instance, I pray every morning in the car when I get to work before opening the door. I thank my God for his mercy and gifts and ask for the wisdom not to repeat yesterday's sins. This is the very definition of wisdom; how and when to apply knowledge. Solomon demonstrated this in the book of Ecclesiastes saying, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-  time to give birth and a time to die;  A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  A time to kill and a time to heal;  A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.  A time to throw stones and a time to  gather stones;  time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.  time to search and a time to give up as lost;  A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;  A time to be silent and a time to speak.  A time to love and a time to hate;  A time for war and a time for peace."

Wisdom is not something we are born with. It comes with time, patience, and discipleship. Let us remember to seek wisdom with love and not dishonor the body of Christ by dividing preferences like El Nopal or food from home, Ford or Chevy when we all know Subaru is best. Let's have the wisdom to remember we are one body with God as the Father, the Church as our Mother and to love our neighbors.

Galatians 5  (This is an excerpt from Sunday’s sermon by Aaron Sabie.)
In verse 13 Paul is warning the Galatians of a ditch: you are free, but do not use your freedom as a license to sin, a pass to pursue the lusts of the flesh. He is saying that the freedom in Christ enjoyed by the Galatians, enjoyed by us, is not a self-serving, appetite gratifying freedom which says "give!" and "more!", and "mine!".

Freedom in Christ is a freedom from the burden of man made, ceremonial laws (Galatians 5:1) like circumcision, which Judaizers liked to push, and freedom from the condemnation of the Law (Romans 8:1). This freedom in Christ does not negate the Christian principle of thinking of others before ourselves. In Philippians 2:3 Paul says "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves".
How natural, or supernatural is it, for you to think of others before thinking of yourself?
Thinking of self first, thinking of self as more important than others, does damage to the unity of the Church.

The love that must exist among a people for life together to look like those we read of in Acts must be amazing. It cannot be faked. Unfortunately it seems foreign to our modern, American, rugged individualism.

One might ask "Well, don't my desires matter? Doesn't my opinion count in this situation? So, are you saying that what I think or want is irrelevant?"
 Peter tells us to:
"Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." (1 Peter 2:16).

The Apostle Peter in his first letter has this exhortation sandwiched in between submission to the governing authorities (those that are higher) and "honoring all people and loving the brotherhood." Our freedom in Christ is directly connected to the act of loving one another and honoring each other.

Here in verses 13 and 14 we see that our freedom is for the purpose of practicing love in service to the brethren. "What is love? Baby don't hurt me." Those lyrics are true, are they not? "Love is an action, sometimes accompanied by emotion, which acts for the good of the one who is the object of that love." Loving your neighbor as yourself as verse 14 says, means you actually have to do something. It isn't just a sense of camaraderie, or a mushy feeling of belonging. Someone that is faithfully loving the brethren may not experience either of those.

Love does no wrong (Romans 13:10), is patient, kind, not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek its own, is not provoked (husbands), does not keep a record of wrongs (wives), does not rejoice in unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). In short, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). Are you into record keeping? Are you the de facto minute taker of all that happens here at church? This practice is not one of love.
There are likely an infinite number of ways in which using our freedom for love could be applied

1 Peter 4
The Apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were undergoing persecution. They had been driven out of their homelands in Judea and scattered throughout the Roman Empire. They faced persecution from their Jewish relatives and gentile neighbors. They were in a dark time, yet they were not to give up. Rather, the Apostle did not want them to be surprised by this fiery ordeal. This persecution was no shock to God but was part of His plan to test and refine them. It was part of His plan to make them fit for heaven.

We ought not to be shocked at trials that happen to us as if God is not in control. The way our culture is falling apart around us is not a surprise to God, nor are the ways we may face suffering for standing firm in the faith. Sickness, financial problems, and other sufferings are not outside the sovereign hand of God. Rather, we are to count it joy that we are counted among God’s people and that God is going to make us like Christ.

Christ is our example to follow. Therefore, we should not give up. We should not turn back to sinfulness from which God rescued us. We should not look at the world and think if we can’t beat them, join them. No, it's past time for all the wickedness they do. God is going to judge them, and we want no part in that judgment.

Rather, we should draw near to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let love cover a multitude of sins. Living life, even in the church, is difficult. We all still have sinful flesh that we must battle. We have different preferences, habits, and quirks. It can be hard to overlook things that annoy us, but Christ calls us to show love to our brothers and sisters. We are not to let small things build up into big things. There is enough evil out there in the world. There is enough persecution from the world. There is enough suffering out there. We don’t need to compound it by tearing each other apart over things we can, by God’s grace, overlook.

This obviously does not mean overlooking gross sin that will lead to destruction. The Bible also teaches us to speak truth to each other. We are to warn each other and even rebuke each other. But we do all this as family in Christ. We do this with love, being hospitable without complaining.

Psalm 70
The Psalms are helpful for Christians because they teach us truths about God, His sovereignty, His kindness to His people, and His wrath against evildoers. They also teach us how to worship and pray. Psalm 70 is so short that we could all memorize it, yet it is so rich in teaching us how to pray. Sometimes, things hit us in life, and we don’t know what to say. This psalm helps us pray when we are under assault from enemies, especially the enemy, the devil.
This is a plea for help and an entrusting to God the enemies of the psalmist. David knows that he should leave vengeance to the Lord and pleads with God to deal with his enemies. In the midst of his plea, he praises God and invites all to join him. Even in the midst of suffering, he does not hesitate to invite others to praise God with him because he trusts God. He knows that those who trust God will find Him to be a help and deliverer.

Learn from this how to pray during times of suffering. Cry out to God and entrust your salvation into His hands. Trust God to deal justly with those who are your enemies. And while making this plea, worship God and invite others to join you.

Catechism/ Memory Verse
Pride is not just something that happens once a year in June.  It is a sin that we are tempted all the time.  It is also a sin that God makes war again.  He is absolutely opposed to pride.  There is a danger among us reformed Christians who are reclaiming God’s truths about raising children and honoring order in the home.  It is easy for us to be puffed up in our knowledge.  It is easy to think that by protecting our children from the sins of the world and things going on in public school that we have done our duty.  But if the devil can’t get us and our families going bad, he will get us going good.  He will cause us to raise children that look down their noses at everyone.  We must protect them from the lies and sins of the world but also warn them of the subtle lies of the devil to their hearts.

Pride will destroy a home.  It will destroy a church.  It will destroy a country.  Pride will destroy individuals.  Pride keeps us from falling on our knees to receive mercy and grace from God.  
Use these catechism questions as a launching pad to talk about all the ways we are tempted to pride.  Then say a prayer that God will help us to be humble.

People to Pray for:
Prayer for Pillar Fellowship and Pastor Ken Chipchase   

Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for Your grace that has redeemed us from our sins and rescued us from darkness. Thank You for the precious blood of Your Son that has reconciled us to You and to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We thank You for raising up new churches by pulling sinners from the clutches of the devil.
We thank You for Pastor Ken Chipchase and Pillar Fellowship in Jeffersonville. Please give Pastor Ken Your Spirit and plenty of longsuffering and wisdom as planning a new church can be difficult and discouraging at times. Provide for his financial needs and please add to their number. Help them to be a beacon of light in Indiana.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who reigns with You, Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Daniel Courney
Heavenly Father,
We come before You today to lift up Daniel Courney, a missionary who is serving in Nepal. We pray for Your divine protection to be upon him as he carries out his work of spreading the gospel and serving the people of Nepal.  Please protect him as he preaches in public and keep his family safe as well.
Lord, we also pray for Your wisdom to be upon Daniel. Give him discernment in every situation he encounters, and let Your Spirit guide him in all his decisions. Help him to have the right words to say to those he is ministering to, and let his words be filled with Your grace and truth.
We ask you to strengthen Daniel's faith and provide him with the necessary resources and support to continue his work. USe him to be a light in the darkness of Nepal and that many people would come to know You through his ministry.
We also pray for the people of Nepal that they may be open to receiving the message of salvation that Daniel is proclaiming. We ask that You would break down any barriers that may be hindering the spread of the gospel, and that many hearts would be transformed by the power of Your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus' name, we pray for all these things. Amen.

Prayer for Indiana Governor Eric  Holcomb
Dear God, the Governor of the Universe,
We thank You for Your rich kindness in creating and sustaining us. Thank You for not leaving us to our own devices, but for giving us Your word to guide us in the way of salvation and life. We also thank You for establishing authority and giving it Your name. Thank You for fathers in the home, in the church, and in the state. Thank You for giving us civil authorities and for giving them the duty to protect that which is good and punish that which is evil.
We pray now for Governor Eric Holcomb. Thank You for his willingness to serve the state of Indiana. Please give him a keen awareness of his own sins, failures, and need for Christ’s mercy and grace. Keep him from pride and the fear of man. Rather, give him wisdom from above so that he may govern in accordance with Your word. Bless him and his household and keep them in good health and love for each other. Help him to know that he serves You and give him resolution to stand firm even when there are pressures from many wanting his attention and loyalty.
Help him not to fear large corporations or special interest groups which would push for special favors. Keep him from the temptation to accept bribes. We pray that You would help him to have Your heart in protecting the most vulnerable and in upholding the family, the basic building block of society. We pray that You keep him from sin and the devil’s lies, and we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our King. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Theologian, Doctor
298- 2 May 373

Outside the pages of the New Testament itself, Athanasius is probably the man to whom we chiefly owe the preservation of the Christian faith. He was born around AD 298, and lived in Alexandria, Egypt, the chief center of learning of the Roman Empire.
In 313 the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which changed Christianity from a persecuted to an officially favored religion. About six years later, a presbyter (elder, priest) Arius of Alexandria began to teach concerning the Word of God (John 1:1) that "God begat him, and before he was begotten, he did not exist." Athanasius was at that time a newly ordained deacon, secretary to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, and a member of his household. His reply to Arius was that the begetting, or uttering, of the Word by the Father is an eternal relation between Them, and not a temporal event. Arius was condemned by the bishops of Egypt (with the exceptions of Secundus of Ptolemais and Theonas of Marmorica), and went to Nicomedia, from which he wrote letters to bishops throughout the world, stating his position.
The Emperor Constantine undertook to resolve the dispute by calling a council of bishops from all over the Christian world. This council met in Nicea, just across the straits from what is now Istanbul, in the year 325, and consisted of 317 bishops. Athanasius accompanied his bishop to the council, and became recognized as a chief spokesman for the view that the Son was fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

The party of Athanasius was overwhelmingly in the majority. (The western, or Latin, half of the Empire was very sparsely represented, but it was solidly Athanasian, so that if its bishops had attended in force, the vote would have been still more lopsided.) It remained to formulate a creedal statement to express the consensus. The initial effort was to find a formula from Holy Scripture that would express the full deity of the Son, equally with the Father. However, the Arians cheerfully agreed to all such formulations, having interpreted them already to fit their own views. (Those of you who have conversed with members of the Watchtower Society, who consider themselves the spiritual heirs of Arius, will know how this works.) Finally, the Greek word "homo-ousios" (meaning "of the same substance, or nature, or essence") was introduced, chiefly because it was one word that could not be understood to mean what the Arians meant. Some of the bishops present, although in complete disagreement with Arius, were reluctant to use a term not found in the Scriptures, but eventually saw that the alternative was a creed that both sides would sign, each understanding it in its own way, and that the Church could not afford to leave the question of whether the Son is truly God (the Arians said "a god") undecided. So the result was that the Council adopted a creed which is a shorter version of what we now call the Nicene Creed, declaring the Son to be "of one substance with the Father." At the end, there were only two holdouts, the aforesaid Secundus and Theonas.

(For a dramatic but historically accurate account of the Council of Nicea, see the play, The Emperor Constantine, by Dorothy L Sayers, available in book form.)

No sooner was the council over than its consensus began to fall apart. Constantine had expected that the result would be unity, but found that the Arians would not accept the decision, and that many of the orthodox bishops were prepared to look for a wording a little softer than that of Nicea, something that sounded orthodox, but that the Arians would accept. All sorts of compromise formulas were worked out, with all shades of variation from the formula of Nicea.

In 328, Alexander died, and Athanasius succeeded him as bishop of Alexandria. He refused to participate in these negotiations, suspecting (correctly as it turned out) that once the orthodox party showed a willingness to make reaching an agreement their highest priority, they would end up giving away the store. He defended the full deity of Christ against emperors, magistrates, bishops, and theologians. For this, he was regarded as a trouble-maker by Constantine and his successors, and was banished from Alexandria a total of five times by various emperors. (Hence the expression "Athanasius contra mundum," or, "Athanasius against the world.") Eventually, Christians who believed in the Deity of Christ came to see that once they were prepared to abandon the Nicene formulation, they were on a slippery slope that led to regarding the Logos as simply a high-ranking angel. The more they experimented with other formulations, the clearer it became that only the Nicene formulation would preserve the Christian faith in any meaningful sense, and so they re-affirmed the Nicene Creed at the Council of Constantinople in 381, a final triumph that Athanasius did not live to see.

It was a final triumph as far as councils of bishops were concerned, but the situation was complicated by the fact that after Constantine there were several Arian emperors (not counting the Emperor Julian, who was a pagan, but correctly saw that the most effective way to fight Christianity was to throw all his weight on the side of the Arians). Under one of them Arian missionaries were sent to convert the Goths, who became the backbone of the Roman Army (then composed chiefly of foreign mercenaries) with the result that for many years Arianism was considered the mark of a good Army man. The conversion of Clovis, King of the Franks, in 496, to orthodox Christianity either gave the Athanasian party the military power to crush Arianism or denied the Arian Goths the military supremacy that would have enabled them to crush Athanasian Christianity, depending on your point of view.

Since Alexandria had the best astronomers, it was the duty of the Bishop of Alexandria to write to the other bishops every year and tell them the correct date for Easter. Naturally, his annual letter on this topic contained other material as well. One Easter Letter (or Paschal Letter) of Athanasius is well known for giving a list of the books that ought to be considered part of the canonical Scriptures, with a supplementary list of books suitable for devotional reading.
For the New Testament, he lists the 27 books that are recognized today.  

Two quotations from the writings of Athanasius follow:
We were made "in the likeness of God." But in course of time that image has become obscured, like a face on a very old portrait, dimmed with dust and dirt. When a portrait is spoiled, the only way to renew it is for the subject to come back to the studio and sit for the artist all over again. That is why Christ came--to make it possible for the divine image in man to be recreated. We were made in God's likeness; we are remade in the likeness of his Son.

To bring about this re-creation, Christ still comes to men and lives among them. In a special way he comes to his Church, his "body", to show us what the "image of God" is really like. 
What a responsibility the Church has, to be Christ's "body," showing him to those who are unwilling or unable to see him in providence, or in creation! Through the Word of God lived out in the Body of Christ they can come to the Father, and themselves be made again "in the likeness of God."

Upcoming Events:
Tuesday Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
May 1 Monthly Outreach
May 7 Small Groups
May 10 Women’s Bible Study
May 17 King’s Men
May 21 King’s Men
May 24 Women’s Bible Study
June 1 Evangel Presbytery Meeting