Family Worship Guide for Family Devotions January 22 – January 28 Using the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 4

Family Worship Guide
For the Week of Lord’s Day 4

 

9   Q.  But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?

     A.  No, God created humans with the ability to keep the law.[1] They, however, tempted by the devil,[2] in reckless disobedience,[3] robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.[4]

 

 10  Q.  Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

     A.  Certainly not. He is terribly angry about the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge he punishes them now and in eternity.[5] He has declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.[6]

  

11  Q.  But isn’t God also merciful? 

    A.  God is certainly merciful,[7] but he is also just.[8] His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty; eternal punishment of body and soul.[9]

 Scripture Memory

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

Heb 9:27

 Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Genesis 3:1-6 

Tuesday          Genesis 3:7-19

Wednesday    Deuteronomy 27:15-19, 24-26

Thursday        Psalm 5

Friday              Exodus 33:18-34:8

Saturday         Hebrews 10:23-31

Daily Prayer Requests

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

Monday:         Pray for the senior adults in your church.

Tuesday:         Pray for the leaders in your church.

Wednesday:   Pray for those who are homeless and destitute.

Thursday:       Pray for the salvation of friends and family members; call them by name.

Friday:             Pray for your family members; call them by name.

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 #9 on Monday and Tuesday; #10 on Wednesday and Thursday; and #11 on Friday and Saturday.

 MONDAY

             Notice the wiles of the Devil. He baited his hook with something good: “you will be like God.” As he would do later with Jesus, Satan held out something good but offered a short-cut to obtaining it. Had Adam and Eve thought more carefully, perhaps they would have wondered at such a temptation and would have seen through it. Satan offered them the opportunity to be like God, yet he gained a hearing by planting doubts about God’s goodness.

 TUESDAY

            In setting the pattern for all such acts in the future, we see that if man is going to be saved, God must do the seeking. Sin immediately separated man from God. If Adam and Eve could have had their own way they never would have had fellowship with the Lord again. In his great mercy, however, God sought the wandering pair.

 WEDNESDAY

            Verses 20-23 were left out for their sexual nature. They should be included at your discretion. Deuteronomy itself presents this as a “congregational” activity so it is not hard to imaging youngsters being present.

            It would be helpful to ask questions or lead discussion in such a way to point out that the list of “curses” should not be limited to the letter of these verses. What are other ways we should show love to God and neighbor?

THURSDAY

            If nothing else, this Psalm certainly contradicts the worn-out cliché “God hates sin but loves the sinner.” The light of verses 11 and 12 is not appreciated without the darkness of verses 4-10.  

 FRIDAY

            A wonderful passage that demonstrates the true “secret of Moses’ success:” an abiding desire to know God more. Moses demonstrates the only proper response to the revelation of a God who forgives sin but by no means clears the guilty: he bowed his head and worshipped.

            How can God forgive sin and by no means clear the guilty? Preach Christ to your family!

 SATURDAY

             Another passage that dispels a popular contemporary myth. It is common to hear of a radical difference between “the God of the Old Testament” and of the New Testament. Contrary to popular Christian opinion, the grace of God in Christ brings with it even greater responsibility. Bring this home by meditating on verse 29 with your family.  

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

Herman Hoeksema entitles his chapters on these questions: The Justice of God’s Demand; The Justice of God’s Wrath; The Justice of God’s Mercy

 This is the third and last Lord’s Day in which we confess the truth about the misery of humanity. Perhaps it is the most difficult one. We must now admit that God is righteous in his verdict, in his punishment, and in his ultimate wrath. (Kuyvenhoven, 31)

 All three questions might be expressed in one query: Is there a way out as far as sinful man is concerned? Is there a possibility for man in his fallen state and depraved condition to be blessed, to escape the wrath of God and punishment? (Hoeksema, 211)

 Man loves sin, but he dreads hell. And so he makes an attempt to escape the one while continuing in the other. And it is this possibility that is the subject of discussion in this fourth Lord’s Day. (Hoeksema, 212)

 Question 9  

What is it that makes people reject God’s judgment? In the first place, they say that it is not fair of God to ask for the impossible. How can you ask a poor cripple to walk? How can God expect us, weak and short-sighted people that we are, to do what not even Adam could do? (Praamsma, 19)

 It surely is not fair, or just, to punish a creature for not doing what it was never given the ability to do. So why can’t we say the same thing about man, since he is not able to keep God’s commandments perfectly? The answer is very simple: when God created man, he was able to keep God’s commandments. It is entirely man’s own fault that he is no longer able to do what he was able to do in the beginning. (Williamson, 22)

 Man cannot go forward. He stands under a historical power and can do nothing about it. God created him good, but man has renounced and lost his freedom. (Barth, 37)

 We form a corporate unity. In many respects you and I have never doubted it. The national debts, the astronomical amounts of money that our nations owe to bankers and other creditors in the world, are your and my debts. Yet when the debts were incurred, some of us were not yet born and none of us were asked. Similarly, the debt of the human race is yours and mine. (Kuyvenhoven, 32)

 Man wants to rid himself of the obligation to serve his Creator. He registers a complaint against his divine Employer in order to justify himself in his sin. He tries to justify a strike. (Hoeksema, 213)

 For the demand of the law of God is that man love Him with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. And this demand is not to be divorced from the so-called “cultural” mandate, but, on the contrary, dominates it. And it is this demand of the law that the Catechism refers in this ninth question.  This demand man cannot perform. (Hoeksema, 216)

 …we must proceed from the fundamental axiom: God is just, and He is the sole criterion of all justice. All his works are justice and truth. The question, therefore, can never be whether God Himself is just, nor whether His works are righteousness; but whether in a given case we understand the justice of God. (Hoeksema, 218)

 God gave man the means to perform the law; man squandered the gifts of God; the demand of the law is still just, though man is now incapable of performing it: love the Lord the God with all thy heart and mind and soul and strength! (Hoeksema, 222)

 Question 10

Lines about eternal punishment should be written wet with tears of our soul. Words thus spoken must have the hush of awe. (Vis, 19)

 Perhaps sin will go unpunished, as happens everywhere around us! Not every criminal faces the judge. No thunderbolt strikes us, when we transgress the Ten Commandments. “Original sin I disclaim and with actual sin I can afford to take a chance,” so speaks a rebellious voice in the troubled silence of the hall of justice of man’s accusing conscience. (Vis, 20)

 God’s honor—but also man’s salvation—depends on the fact that he cannot tolerate the destruction of his order, that forgiveness therefore cannot mean an overlooking of guilt. (Barth, 41)

 hen a person is called cursed in the Bible that means quite simply that he is no longer inside but outside. . . . Curse means the rejection of the chosen, dismissal from the sight of God, banishment to the shadow and night and chaotic side of creation, exile to an existence without ground and possibility—all this for the creature who was destined to dwell in light! Curse does not mean the annihilation of man, release from being, but banishment to being in negation, in the sphere toward which turned his back already at creation when he separated light and darkness. (Barth, 42)

 …death is no accident. It is not the natural end of all existence. It is the hand of God that is heavy upon us. Death is the expression of the wrath of God against sin. It is the wrath of god that abideth on us and never gives us even a moment’s respite. (Hoeksema, 225)

 If a man practices sexual immorality, God punishes him in His just judgment with certain diseases and corruption of the body; the drunkard makes of himself a physical wreck and mental imbecile; certain sins of character, such a lying, deceit, pride, haughtiness, and the like, meet with their own proper retribution. The ungodly world looks upon these evils as the natural results of the vices practiced, as the operation of the physical laws of the universe that cannot be changed but the believer knows that in all these “results” of sin the hand of God and His righteous judgment become manifest. (Hoeksema, 226)

 The wrath or displeasure of God is not to be compared to human anger. It is not a passing emotion. It is constant. For God’s anger is the reaction of the holiness of God against the wicked that tramples under foot the glory of His name and refuses to give Him thanks. God is holy. And His holiness is the divine virtue according to which He always seeks Himself as the only Good. (Hoeksema, 233)

 Only in Christ, Who voluntarily bore the wrath of God and the curse on the accursed tree, is there a way out. For in Him there is eternal righteousness, favor of God, and the blessing of life in His fellowship forever. (Hoeksema, 234)

 Here one does not “get by.” . . . Jesus Christ did not “get by.” And if we Christians belong to this Christ, we also cannot get by, for we cannot get around him. He stands before us as the rejected one. “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole” (Is. 53). And because it lies on him, we are bound in him to take it seriously, It is only at this one place where God’s wrath had burned as a consuming fire—Golgotha. There is where the judgment of God on man is revealed. (Barth, 44-45)

 Question 11

When we minimize God’s justice, we do not exalt His mercy, we undermine it. God’s mercy exhibits its full power and sweetness when we see it not merely as a general goodwill to all people, but as the means by which God’s people are rescued, in Christ, from their just wrath and condemnation. (DeYoung, 35)

 The proof and the hope in that fearfulness [of eternal punishment] is evident when Jesus bore our punishment: the chastisement of our sin was upon him! Him who knew no sin, God made sin on our behalf. Would you see the fearfulness of the curse of sin? Go to dark Gethsemane and linger at the cross-crowned Calvary. There is the demonstration and the divine miracle of substitution. And we cast our anchor there. (Vis, 20-21)

 [The Catechism] readily grants that God is merciful. But it denies that this mercy of God eliminates the execution of His justice and righteous wrath. It insists that the blessed mercy of God can reach the creature only through the channels of His justice. (Hoeksema, 236)

 God is His attributes. His mercy is His justice, and His justice is His mercy. And therefore, His mercy is always a just and righteous mercy; and His justice is always merciful. (Hoeksema, 239)

 The greatness of sin is not measured by the position and worth of him that commits it, but by the majesty and goodness and sovereignty of Him against whom sin is committed. (Hoeksema, 242).

 He is Lord in all the universe; He is Lord in time and eternity. Always and everywhere and for ever we have to do with Him. Never can we escape Him. There is, therefore, no rest for the sinner. Offense against the infinite majesty of God, than Who there is no other sovereign, must be punished everywhere and for ever. (Hoeksema, 242)

 All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him. (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992) 3.)

 


[1] Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24

[2] Gen. 3:13; John 8:44

[3] Gen. 3:6

[4] Rom. 5:12, 18, 19

[5] Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27

[6] Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

[7] Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9

[8] Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31

[9] Matt. 25:35-46

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