Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the privilege of public worship and the fact that the Lord Jesus is continually making intercession on behalf of His Bride. John 17.
- Confess the want of consistent praying for others and ask the Holy Spirit's help to do so.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 55 – What is forbidden in the third commandment?
Answer – The third commandment forbids all unworthy use of anything by which God makes himself known.
Proof Texts – Leviticus 19:12; Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12
Comment – Great care has to be taken when speaking of God, His names, His titles, His character and His works. Thoughtlessness is, and can be, no excuse.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Verse to memorise.
Philippians 2:5-7a. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, … made himself nothing.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Philippians 2:1-4.
Notes written by Rev. Philip Dunwoody (Dervock, RPCI), with slight amendments.
Ch 2:1-4. Joyful Unity
It is very humbling to consider that one of the things that Jesus prayed for His church was that we would be one (see John 17:20). This is something that local congregations have to take very seriously. In these verses, Paul describes the power for unity. He mentions both Jesus and the Holy Spirit in chapter 2:1. If we are alive in Christ by faith, then the Holy Spirit provides us with the power we need to stay united together: "encouragement", "comfort", "affection", "sympathy". Put simply, this is showing a greater concern for the needs of others than for ourselves.
This isn't something that human beings have by nature: we are born selfish sinners, with a "me first" attitude. Paul warns against this attitude in verses 3-4. He makes clear that our selfish nature is one of the greatest threats to the unity of the church. To counter this threat, Paul uses a key New Testament word in verse 3, a word which we will think about much more next week – humility. Rather than do things with a "me first" attitude, Paul says that "in humility", we are to consider others "more significant" than ourselves.
Humility is the key to unity. Someone has described humility not as thinking less of yourself (i.e., a sort of false modesty, claiming you have no real gifts) but rather thinking of yourself less. Perhaps I like the thanks and praise I get for doing three or four jobs in the church, but Person X became a member a year or two ago, and they have the gifts to do one of these jobs. Humility prompts me to give it to them. Or Person Y was chosen as an elder or deacon instead of me. Humility prompts me to accept the decision of God's people, and serve the church in other ways, gladly and whole-heartedly.
Humility doesn't come naturally to us, but the Holy Spirit can give it to us – particularly if we often fill our minds and hearts with thoughts of Jesus' humble sacrifice on the cross, in our place, for our sins.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 107D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that, by His grace, we can face and address the sin of pride in our lives and humble ourselves before Him.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC