Family Worship Guide For the Week of Lord’s Day 3 using Heidelberg Catechism for Family Devotions

Family Worship Guide For the Week of Lord’s Day 3

 6   Q.  Did God create people so wicked and perverse?

     A.  No. God created them good[1] and in his own image,[2] that is, in true righteousness and holiness,[3] so that they might truly know God their creator,[4] love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory.[5]

 

7   Q.  Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

     A.  From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.[6] This fall has so poisoned our nature[7] that we are born sinners; corrupt from conception on.[8]

 

 8   Q.  But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?

     A.  Yes,[9] unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.[10]

 Scripture Memory

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:27, 31

Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Genesis 1:24-31         

Tuesday          Psalm 8

Wednesday    Romans 5:12-21

Thursday        Psalm 51

Friday              1 Cor. 2:11-16

Saturday         John 8:34-47

Daily Prayer Requests

Sunday           Pray that the Lord would be glorified through you in the upcoming week.

Monday:         Pray for the adults in your church.

Tuesday:         Pray for your local leaders.

Wednesday:   Pray for those who are sick and in need of physical healing.

Thursday:       Pray for specific opportunities to share the message of Christ with others.

Friday:             Pray for the families in your church.

Saturday         Pray that God would be glorified in tomorrow’s worship gathering.

Overview and Helps

Beginning with Monday’s Scripture reading each of the three Catechism questions for this week are focused on for two days. While each question should be reviewed every day, special attention should be given to #6 on Monday and Tuesday; #7 on Wednesday and Thursday; and #8 on Friday and Saturday.

 MONDAY

             There are several significant theological implications within this passage. The statement “Let us make man…” makes room from the very start of Scripture for the later revelation of the Trinity. While some commentators see this as God speaking to the heavenly counsel of angels, Scripture only speaks of man as made in God’s image and likeness: never in the image of angels. It is for this reason that Christ, the true image and likeness of God, came to redeem man and not angels.

            Verse 31 makes it very difficult to adopt any kind of evolutionary theory of creation. It is difficult to understand how “everything” could be “very good” as is sat on top of the bone-heap of billions of years of death.

 

TUESDAY

            This passage is particularly meaningful in our day and age. The message of unbelieving astronomers is that man is a tiny speck of insignificance in a vast universe. As Herman Bavinck wrote,

…even if, in an astronomic sense, the earth is no longer central to us, it is definitely still central in a religious and ethical sense, and thus it remains central to all people without distinction, and there is not a thing science can do to change that. Here the kingdom of God has been established; here the struggle between light and darkness is being waged; here, in the church, God is preparing for himself an eternal dwelling.

Psalm 8 should also be read in the light of Hebrews 2:5-9. The author of Hebrews interprets Psalm 8 Christologically to teach that Jesus is the Perfect Man who has been granted rule over all things.

 

WEDNESDAY

            Why are all men sinners? Is it because Adam is the seminal head of humanity; or because he is the federal head of humanity? The answer is probably, “both.” In any case, that is not really a question this text is trying to answer. Paul argues two facts: through Adam all men are sinners and Jesus Christ is the “one man” through whom sinners can be saved.

            A possible discussion question: how can grace said to abound much more than sin if there are more lost people than saved people?

 

THURSDAY

            As much of the back-story of this Psalm as is fitting for the children in your family should be discussed. The need of the sinner is God’s mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing. The sinner must recognize the depth of his sin: sin is against God and sin is in man from birth. The blessings of forgiveness are restoration, joy, and worship. In all of this, God is pursuing the heart of his child. The mercy and grace of God are not shallow, so neither is the repentance that pursues it.

 

FRIDAY

            While Scriptural support is offered, Question 8 could be taken to state the matter too absolutely. Jesus acknowledged that even evil parents know how to give good gifts (Matt. 7:11). Paul allows that even unbelieving Gentiles sometimes obey the lay “by nature” (Rom. 2:14-15). Even today’s Scripture reading offers an illustration of this: unbelieving scholars often provide valuable grammatical, lexical, and historical information about Scripture even as they disbelieve its divine nature. Nevertheless, the truth of today’s passage should be emphasized: the Bible will only “make sense” to those who have the Spirit of God.

            Depending on the mental perception abilities of your children, you may have to spend time discussing this aspect of total depravity. Every part of man is incurably corrupted by sin: his thinking, feelings, and actions. But this does not mean that every man is as bad as he could be or that every man does only bad continually. Rather, man is completely unable to do anything to recommend himself to God. He is spiritually dead.

 

SATURDAY

             Jesus focuses on the law of nature: sinners sin, murderers murder, and liars lie. In every example the root cause is the same: sin reigns because Scripture does not (8:37, 43, 44). Jesus was speaking to men who had large portions of the Old Testament memorized. Some of them might have even had the entire Old Testament memorized. Yet Jesus could assert that the word was not in them. What was their problem? Their nature: they were not born of God.

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

We have already answered the question how we know what’s wrong with us. Now we wish to know how the trouble started and what the extent of the misery is. (Kuyvenhoven, 23)

Question 6  

This “image” is the dignity we must defend in human society. It involves a deep respect for human beings. We must honor as human beings even those who behave dishonorably. It is because they are God’s images that people’s blood may not be shed (Gen. 9:6) and their names may not be cursed (James 3:9-10). (Kuyvenhoven, 25)

 

The true nature of man is to know God. He can love him or hate him, but he cannot exist without him. (Miller, 25)

 

We are more than a mass of molecules. We are more than the sum of blood, bones, tissues, organs, and skin. Of all His creatures, we are unique in that we can know God, hear from God, communicate with God, and have union with God. (DeYoung, 29)

 

He created man good. In this connection this means: without corruption and sin; and, positively, so that man could reach the purpose of his existence in relation to God and all things. (Hoeksema, 91)

 

The animals are called forth by God’s Word out of the ground, man is formed by God’s creative hand. The very act that forms Adam out of the earth elevates him above it! (Hoeksema, 104)

 

No matter what becomes of man, whether he actually shows forth the beauty and glory of the image of God, or whether he turns into the very opposite and reveals the image of the devil, always you can distinguish him as a creature that ought to show forth God’s image, always he remains the living soul that was formed by God’s fingers out of the dust of the ground, and into whose nostrils God breathed the breath of life originally; always he remains a personal, rational and moral being, who ought to live in covenant fellowship with the living God! (Hoeksema, 105-106)

 

Question 7

Our actual sins do not make us sinners, but we have by nature a sinful condition that is the root and hotbed of all our actual sins. (Kuyvenhoven, 27)

 

If man has sabotaged the work of creation, it is because he has not had confidence in God. He has not believed God’s Word. He has believed that God was holding something back, even though in creating man “in his own image, in true righteousness and holiness,” God had already given him everything. Give me the share of the property that falls to me (Luke 15:12), the prodigal son said to his father, as if in his father’s house the son were not already enjoying his whole inheritance. (Miller, 27)

 

Why He did not sustain him by the virtue of perseverance is hidden in his counsel; it is ours to keep within the bounds of soberness. Man had received the power, if he had the will, but he had not the will which would have given the power; for this will would have been followed by perseverance. Still, after he had received so much, there is no excuse for his having spontaneously brought death upon himself. (Calvin, I, xv, 8)

 

Just as an apple tree has many apples—and all of them are Delicious apples if the tree is a Delicious apple tree—so it is with the human race because of the first sin of Adam and Eve. Because of our relationship with our first parents, we share their fallen nature. (Williamson, 18)

 

Our fundamental problem is not bad parents, bad schools, bad friends, or bad circumstances. Our fundamental problem is a bad heart. And every single one of us is born into the world with it. (DeYoung, 30)

 

After the heavenly image in man was effaced, he not only was himself punished by a withdrawal of the ornaments in which he had been arrayed, viz., wisdom, virtue, justice, truth, and holiness, and by the substitution in their place of those dire pests, blindness, impotence, vanity, impurity, and unrighteousness, but he involved his posterity also, and plunged them in the same wretchedness. (Calvin, II.i.5)

Question 8

Sin is no less than the destruction of the entire man, yet through His common grace God preserves enough of the gifts of creation so that man can still be seen and addressed as man. (Praamsma, 17).

 

Are we then incapable of doing any good? We can render civil and moral good; we can feed the hungry and engage in philanthropy; many make much of “common grace” and “practical Christianity,” yes, they manifest some good toward their fellow-man and we appreciate that. They are like a clock without main spring that shows time accurately twice a day, and does some good. But it is dead. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God. We must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. (Vis, 18)

 

…there is nothing in fallen men themselves, by nature, that can bring about the change that is needed. If a man is to be saved, it will have to be by God’s almighty power and unmerited mercy, and that only. (Williamson, 19)

 

The Christian life—the life of faith on God, hope in Christ, and love for others—necessitates, first of all, a life that has been given a supernatural new start by the Holy Spirit. We must be born again. (DeYoung, 31).


[1] Gen. 1:31

[2] Gen. 1:26-27

[3] Eph. 4:24

[4] Col. 3:10

[5] Ps. 8

[6] Gen. 3

[7] Rom. 5:12, 18-19

[8] Ps. 51:5

[9] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6

[10] John 3:3-5

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