God’s Prayer Book – The Church

Tuesday November 8, 2022


Psa 27, 42, 46, 48, 63, 81, 84, 87, and others sing of the gatherings of Israel.


Specifically, they speak of Jerusalem, the City of God, of the great festivals of the people of God, of the temple and the beautiful worship service. They did not, at least in the minds of the pious Jews, consider the city, the temple, or the rituals as something distinct from God. They didn’t see them as divinity, but not as something separate from God.


The faithful in Israel did not see Jerusalem, the temple, or the rituals as distinct from God.


Psa 68:16

Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks,

At the mountain which God has desired for His abode?

Surely the Lord will dwell there forever.


Psa 69:9

For zeal for Your house has consumed me,

And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.


Psa 84:1-2

How lovely are Your dwelling places,

O Lord of hosts!

2 My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;

My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.


Psa 87:2

The Lord loves the gates of Zion


It is the presence of the God of salvation in His congregation for which we give thanks, about which we are to rejoice, for which we long.


What Mount Zion and the temple were for the Israelites the church of God throughout the world is for us.


The church will withstand enemies, Psa 46.


Ps 46 For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.


God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change

And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

3 Though its waters roar and foam,

Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.


A promise like this enables us to have confidence to entrust our whole life to Him, meaning complete obedience to every aspect of His will.


4 There is a river [Psa 1] whose streams make glad the city of God,

The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;

He raised His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.


8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

Who has wrought desolations in the earth.

9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;

He burns the chariots with fire.

10 "Cease striving and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.


Striving is trying to forge your own way in this world, your own relationships, your own things.


Cease striving is when you give yourself completely to Christ, and then He becomes the Mediator between you and everyone else and everything else.


No matter how bad things may look or actually are in the world, “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah (meditate on that).” The world system uses fear to try and drive us into demonic and sinful ways. We only have to give ourselves completely over to Christ.


2Ki 6:15-17

Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.


The imprisonment of the church under the powers of a godless world will come to an end (Psa 126, 137).


Christ’s presence among us is the reason for our thanksgiving, joy, and longing. There is quite a bit of all three of these in the psalms. As a child, Jesus longed to be in His Father’s house (Luk 2:49), and now He is always in the midst of where two or more are gathered in His name.


Mat 18:20

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."


We need to remember that when we come to the church, when we gather to learn or sing or work, we are coming into the midst of Christ. It’s not the building but the people that make it the church and the presence of Christ directly impacts what we do when we’re here together. This is why open manifestations of sin are not to be tolerated within the church.


We are to be speaking to one another by the principles and boundaries of the word of God. We are to have joy in our hearts and sharing that joy with one another. We are to be thankful for all things in the name (under His will as His representatives). And we are to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.


Eph 5:18-21

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.


The way of Christ is to consider others as more important than yourself. When you come to church, the person sitting next to you is to be more important than you. Consider if they have a need, need your comfort or encouragement, need your time, or service of any kind. If we come with only ourselves in mind we are not gathering in the midst of Christ. “Your will be done.”


Phi 2:3-8

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Heb 10:24-25

let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;


Ecc 5:1

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.


Christ perfected the ultimate sacrifice and by it showed us what sacrifice is. We are to love one another. We are to consider one another more important than ourselves. We are to serve one another, considering everyone in the church and wondering how we can stimulate them to love and good deeds.


For us, our sacrifice is found in thankful doing for others, and not in half-measures. Our tendency to hold back is in the flesh, and all of us struggle with it, but our struggle is not to be an excuse to put off our obedience to Christ. Obedience is immediate and full. When the lawyer asked Christ what was the greatest commandment, Christ’s response disarmed him. We find that the man asked the question not for the purpose of obeying it. What else are commands for?


If we keep posing problems, even theological ones, we keep pushing actual obedience down the road.


Jesus isn’t interested in debating the question. He says to the lawyer, you already know the answer, so you tell Me.


Luk 10:25-28

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?"  27 And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 28 And He said to him, "You have answered correctly;


We are told explicitly that the lawyer means to test Jesus. He intends to land the Lord with himself in the place of moral doubt and difficulties which call for endless debate.


Jesus demands one thing from him - do it.


Luk 10:28

And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."


The lawyer has lost the first round, so he must counter. He moves on to the next moral difficulty he can think of:


Luk 10:29

But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"


You can keep asking this question without ever getting an answer. It is what Paul warned us about in wrangling over words.


1Ti 6:4-5

he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth,


2Ti 3:1 ff. Paul writes about the lovers of self and who are lovers of all kinds of other things than God who are always learning and never coming to a full knowledge of the truth.


“Who is my neighbor? I really want to do God’s will, but He doesn’t tell me who is my neighbor, so I guess I’ll just have to wait.” Debate rather than spontaneous obedience is only justifying doubt and disobedience. And yes, we don’t know the direction it is going to take us. We don’t get to calculate and debate where we are going. Christ said to pick up our crosses and follow Him and live today without worry for tomorrow. Where will Christ lead us if follow Him fully in all things: prayer, service, giving, etc.


Our Lord Jesus points out that the definition of neighbor never came into the command. Read it again, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The neighbor is you.


Luk 10:30-37

Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,  34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  35 "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'  36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"  37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."


Neighborliness is not a quality of in other people, it is simply their claim on ourselves. Every person and situation challenges us to action and to obedience. We have literally no time to sit down and ask ourselves whether so-and-so is our neighbor or not. We must behave like a neighbor to him or her and love them as we would love ourselves if we were serving ourselves (our clone, if you will).


Perhaps you still think you ought to think about before hand. To that there is only one answer. You can only know and think about it by doing it. You can only learn what obedience is by obeying. It is no use asking questions; for it is only through obedience that you come to know the truth. The Lord calls us to spontaneous obedience.


Everything that is of this life in Christ has a place in prayer. “Your will be done,” put the question of our spontaneous obedience on our minds before our Father to whom we cannot lie, nor should we try since there is not condemnation in Christ Jesus. Do we often debate the issue with ourselves as we put off our obedience? Do we ponder the moral difficulties rather than doing God’s will?


Psa 15 A Psalm of David.


O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?

Who may dwell on Your holy hill?

2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,

And speaks truth in his heart.

3 He does not slander with his tongue,

Nor does evil to his neighbor,

Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,

But who honors those who fear the Lord;

He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

5 He does not put out his money at interest,

Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things will never be shaken.


For us there is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving in prayers, hymns, and a life lived according to God’s commands. Our entire life becomes worship, the offering of thanksgiving. Those who are truly grateful, no matter what are the conditions and circumstances of their lives, are the ones who see God.


Mat 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”


Psa 50 A Psalm of Asaph.


The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken,

And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,

God has shone forth.

3 May our God come and not keep silence;

Fire devours before Him,

And it is very tempestuous around Him.

4 He summons the heavens above,

And the earth, to judge His people:

5 "Gather My godly ones to Me,

Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."

6 And the heavens declare His righteousness,

For God Himself is judge. Selah.


7 "Hear, O My people, and I will speak;

O Israel, I will testify against you;I am God, your God.

8 "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,

And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.

9 "I shall take no young bull out of your house

Nor male goats out of your folds.

10 "For every beast of the forest is Mine,

The cattle on a thousand hills.

11 "I know every bird of the mountains,

And everything that moves in the field is Mine.

12 "If I were hungry I would not tell you,

For the world is Mine, and all it contains.

13 "Shall I eat the flesh of bulls

Or drink the blood of male goats?

14 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving

And pay your vows to the Most High;

15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;

I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."


16 But to the wicked God says,

"What right have you to tell of My statutes

And to take My covenant in your mouth?

17 "For you hate discipline,

And you cast My words behind you.

18 "When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,

And you associate with adulterers.

19 "You let your mouth loose in evil

And your tongue frames deceit.

20 "You sit and speak against your brother;

You slander your own mother's son.

21 "These things you have done and I kept silence;

You thought that I was just like you;

I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.


22 "Now consider this, you who forget God,

Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.

23 "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;

And to him who orders his way aright shall show the salvation of God."


The Psalms teach us to be thankful to Christ and to gather together to praise God in the congregation with heart and mouth.

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