February 2024 – Call and Benediction

February 2024 – Call and Benediction

Call to Worship

Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

Psalm 136 is unique in the book of Psalms in that it contains a refrain, repeated after every line. This kind of structure implies that it was originally intended to by sung antiphonally – with the leader singing the first half of the verse and the congregation responding with the refrain.

The main point of this song us abundantly clear from this repetition: Give thanks to God for His steadfast love endures forever!

After these beginning verses, the psalm moves through history framing God’s acts of creation and redemption as instances of His eternal steadfast love.

However, the first three verses (and the last) are not about what God does, but who He is. He is the LORD, Yahweh, the self-existent I AM WHO I AM; He is the God of gods, supreme over all spiritual forces good or evil; and He is the Lord of lords, exalted above all human authority.

So then, before this psalm calls us to worship God for what He has done, it calls us to worship Him for who He is.


1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

This benediction comes from the end of 1 Thessalonians, one of the first letter’s Paul wrote. This is a wonderful benediction because it reminds us as we end corporate worship that our sanctification is not ultimately produced by human will, but by God’s working. He is the one who sanctifies us by His word through His Spirit. Moreover, we can have every confidence that God will do it because it is grounded in His very faithfulness! What a blessing to hear that the holy God will make us holy!

And this holiness had a goal in mind (one which occupies much of 1 Thessalonians) the second coming of Christ. When Christ returns, then will come the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9). And Christ will receive His church, not as a dingy, dirty bride, but as a glorious bride arrayed in the splendor of holiness (Eph. 5:25-27).

This benediction, then, turns our gaze away from ourselves to the risen, ascended, and coming Christ – who will do the work of sanctifying His bride for Himself.


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