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Psalm 95 1
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.” 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”

clip_image020Background

Psalm 95 serves as the introduction to a series of Psalms devoted to the theme of worship and praise (Psalms 95–100). Psalm 95 has long been regarded as an invitation to worship. It has been a vital part of liturgies from ancient times. This psalm helps the believer to reorient his thinking and practice concerning the vital matter of worship. It turns our attention and affection toward God. When our role in worship is addressed, the focus is on obedience and reverence.

In the Hebrew text the psalm lacks a superscription. Thus we are uninformed with respect to the author of the psalm and its historical setting. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) names David as the author, although modern day scholars dispute this.

Some scholars have noted the dramatic change in mood from the first half of the psalm to the second and have concluded that this must originally have been two psalms. This view can be refuted, for these reasons: The sudden change in mood is required not only by the nature of worship, but also by the nature of man.

Biblical Truths

It would be correct to divide this psalm into an invitation and a warning: C.H Spurgeon chooses make the division at the end of Ps 95:5 thus forming (1) an invitation with reasons, and (2) an invitation with warnings.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the reasons for Worship?
  • What are the Warnings?
  • How has worship changed in your lifetime? From the point of the clergy and from your viewpoint.
  • In what ways can worship go wrong? At the clergy level and at the worshiper level.
  • How should we guard against drifting away from the spirit of this Psalm?

 

Romans 12:14-18
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Background 2

The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans is one of the letters of the New Testament canon of the Christian Bible. Often referred to simply as Romans, it is one of the seven currently undisputed letters of Paul.
It was probably written at Corinth or possibly in nearby Cenchrea, transcribed by Tertius (16:22). Phoebe (16:1) of Cenchrea, the Aegean port of Corinth, conveyed it to Rome, and Gaius of Corinth entertained the Apostle Paul at the time of its composition (16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14); Erastus was chamberlain of the city, that is, of Corinth (2 Timothy 4:20).

The precise time at which it was written is not mentioned in the epistle, but it was obviously written when the collection for Jerusalem had been assembled and Paul was about to “go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints”, that is, at the close of his second visit to Greece, during the winter preceding his last visit to that city (Rom 15:25; cf. Acts 19:21; (Rom 20:2-3, 20:16; 1 Cor 16:1-4) early in 58.

At this time, the Jews made up a substantial number in Rome, and their synagogues, frequented by many, enabled the Gentiles to become acquainted with the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, a church composed of both Jews and Gentiles was formed at Rome. According to Irenaeus, one of the earliest Church Fathers, the church at Rome was founded directly by the apostles Peter and Paul. However, many modern scholars disagree with Irenaeus, holding that while little is known of the circumstances of the church’s founding, it was not founded by Paul.

Many of the brethren went out to meet Paul on his approach to Rome. There is evidence that Christians were then in Rome in considerable numbers and probably had more than one place of meeting (Rom 16:14-15).

Biblical Truths

Verse 12:14 – … as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless.

Verse 12:15 – Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad.

Verse 12:16 – Live in harmony with each other. Don’t become snobbish but take a real interest in ordinary people. Don’t become set in your own opinions.

Verse 12:17 – Don’t pay back a bad turn by a bad turn, to anyone. Don’t say “it doesn’t matter what people think”, but see that your public behavior is above criticism.

Verse 12:18 – As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone.

Items for Discussion

  • How in other religions are one’s enemies treated?
  • Is Paul’s call to us easy or hard to do and why?
  • Where is the Christian church successful in this area?
  • Where does the Christian church fail?
  • How do you personally feel when someone acts like Paul is directing us to do?
  • Since mankind is basically sinful, it this an impossible task we are being asked to do?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can a body of Christ teach this?
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