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12.17.2017

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: In a culture dominated with soundbites, instant cocoa, and same day delivery, we can find it difficult to wait. We are impatient with the longer, slower, but complete results of writing, training for a marathon, or cooking from scratch. How does this desire for instant gratification play into our relationship with Jesus. Come this Sunday to find out as we continue our series in Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”

—Romans 11:33-34

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

—Isaiah 55:8

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

   the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

2 it shall blossom abundantly

   and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

   the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands,

   and make firm the feeble knees.

4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,

   “Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

   will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

   He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,

   and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness,

   and streams in the desert;

7 the burning sand shall become a pool,

   and the thirsty ground springs of water;

in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,

   the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there,

   and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;

the unclean shall not pass over it.

   It shall belong to those who walk on the way;

   even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]

9 No lion shall be there,

   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;

they shall not be found there,

   but the redeemed shall walk there.

10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return

   and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

   they shall obtain gladness and joy,

   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 

Mark 8:22-26

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Promised Christ:

We are a world at war.

Our peace depends on your coming.

We are a sinful people.

Our pardon depends on your mercy.

We are full of good intentions, but weak at keeping promises.

Our healing depends on your finished work.

Lord Christ, Word made flesh, our world waits for your peace,

for your pardon, and for your healing.

Even so; come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

12.10.2017

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: Holidays are times for feasting, we go to great lengths to plan menus, set attractive tables, and select the guests we want to invite. God too has gone to great lengths to prepare an eternal feast, but who is invited? Come this Sunday to find the answer to this question as we return to our series in Mark.

 

REFLECTIONS:

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.

—Brené Brown

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

—Revelation 19:9

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine– the best of meats and the finest of wines.

—Isaiah 25:6

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 25:1, 6-9

1 O Lord, you are my God;

I will exalt you; I will praise your name,

for you have done wonderful things,

plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

 

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples

a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,

of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

7 And he will swallow up on this mountain

the covering that is cast over all peoples,

the veil that is spread over all nations.

8 He will swallow up death forever;

and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,

and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,

for the Lord has spoken.

9 It will be said on that day,

“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.

This is the Lord; we have waited for him;

let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

 

Mark 8:1-21

1 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”[b] 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Lord, we have not kept watch for you.
We have occupied ourselves with our own concerns.
We have not waited to find your will for us.
We have not noticed the needs of the people around us.

Forgive us for our lack of watchfulness.
Help us to wait to know your will.
Help us to look out for the needs of others.
Help us to work, watch, and wait for your coming. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

Verse 1

Go to the highways and hedges,

go to the farthest of fields

Go and compel, the sick and the well

For our Father’s house will be filled

Verse 2

Go to the streets of the city,

bring in the crippled and blind

All who would taste this banquet of grace

Must come and waste no more time.

Chorus

Come to the feast, come to the table

The great and the least, the rich and the poor

Come to the feast, come to the table

Come and hunger no more. Come and hunger no more

Verse 3

In the robe of the lamb you’ll be covered,

dressed in his pure righteousness

For all of your guilt, his blood it was spilt

So come by your Father be blessed

12.03.2017

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: You can find messages of “hope” on everything from greeting cards to billboards this time of year. But do you feel like you have hope? Where do you put your hope? Is your hope directly proportional to your performance in life? Come and hear how the gospel overturns this assumption as we close our mini-series on justification by faith.

 

REFLECTION:

Much that we have interpreted as a defect of sanctification in church people is really an outgrowth of their loss of bearing with respect to justification. Christians who are no longer sure that God loves and accepts them in Jesus, apart from their present spiritual achievements, are subconsciously radically insecure people…. Their insecurity shows itself in pride, a fierce, defensive assertion of their own righteousness [or “rightness”], and defensive criticism of others. They come naturally to hate other cultural styles and other races in order to bolster their own security and discharge the suppressed anger.

—Richard Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life

 

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 52:7-10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

 

Romans 5:1-11

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

O Lord our God, you have searched us and known us. You know not only what we say, but also what we think.

You know that we have been quick to boast in ourselves and eager to condemn others.

We have been slow to acknowledge our faults and hesitant to turn to you in need.

We have doubted the power of your love and forgotten the abundance of your grace.

Father, forgive us through Jesus Christ, and heal us by the power of your Spirit. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER: Christ is coming! let creation

Words by John Ross Macduff, Music by Coram Deo Church

 

Verse 1

Christ is coming! let creation

From her groans and labors cease,

Let the glorious proclamation

Hope restore, and faith increase.

Christ is coming! Christ is coming!

Come, Thou blessed Prince of Peace.

 

Verse 2

Earth can now but tell the story

Of Thy bitter cross and pain;

She shall yet behold Thy glory

When the Lord comes back to reign.

Christ is coming! Christ is coming!

Let each heart repeat the strain.

 

Verse 3

Long Thy people have been pining

For Thy peace and rest, and Thee,

Soon, in heav’nly glory shining,

Their Restorer shall they see.

Christ is coming! Christ is coming!

Haste the joyous jubilee.

 

Verse 4

With that blessed hope before us,

Let no harp remain unstrung;

Let the mighty advent chorus

Onward roll on every tongue.

Christ is coming! Christ is coming!

Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come.

 

 

 

11.26.2017

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: We live in a culture that doesn’t talk much about friendship. Many relationships today have become digitized. We value virtual reality instead of physical reality. The more we hide behind our devices the more out of touch we become not only with others but ourselves. The Bible is utterly unique when it comes to the discussion of friendship. The Scriptures actually say we can’t do life without friends. So, if you’re tired of the FaceBook and Instagram world of friendships, then come this Sunday to hear what the bible has to say about the beauty of true friendship.

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE:

John 15:5-17

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

 

A collection from Proverbs

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity

Proverbs 18:24 – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

Proverbs 25:17 – Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you

Proverbs 25:18 –A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow

Proverbs 25:20 – Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda

Proverbs 26:18-19 – Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

Proverbs 27:5-6 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love, Faithful are the wounds of a friend and profuse are the kisses of an enemy

Proverbs 27:9 – Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Proverbs 27:14 – Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing

Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another

Proverbs 28:23 – Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue

Proverbs 29:5 – A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Lord, you said,

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Forgive us for our lukewarm love and disobedience.

 

Lord, you said,

“You may ask for anything in my name.”

Forgive us for trying to solve our problems without you.

 

Lord, you said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Forgive us for submitting to fear and anxiety.

 

Lord, you said,

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

Forgive us for how we have failed to love you and one another.

 

Lord, you also said,

“My blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We cling to the cross, trusting that you alone have the power to save. Amen.

11.19.2017

 

 

SERMON SUMMARY: The blessing of singleness. Really? How could that be in a culture that continually tells us that we not worth much unless we are loved by a “significant other.” Come this Sunday to discover what God says about singleness.

 

REFLECTIONS: 

Single Christians living in purity and community are billboards for the sufficiency of Jesus

—Peter Hubbard

 

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

2     Serve the Lord with gladness!

   Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!

   It is he who made us, and we are his;

   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

   and his courts with praise!

   Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;

   his steadfast love endures forever,

   and his faithfulness to all generations.

 

1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 17-28, 32-35

7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

 

17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

25 Now concerning the betrothed,  I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Our Father,

Forgive us for thinking small thoughts of you

and for ignoring your immensity and greatness.

Lord Jesus,

Forgive us when we forget that you rule

the nations and our small lives.

Holy Spirit,

Forgive us for minimizing your power

and squandering your gifts.

Triune God,

We confess that our blindness to your glory has resulted in shallow confession, tepid conviction, and only mild repentance.

Have mercy upon us;

in Jesus’ name, amen.

11.12.2017

 

SERMON SUMMARY:

The Protestant Reformation is often viewed as one of the most divisive events in church history. Countless denominations have arisen as a result of it. What if anything does Justification by Faith have to contribute to church unity? Come and hear what the Apostle Paul teaches in the book of Romans as we continue our series on the generative possibilities of his doctrine.

 

REFLECTIONS:

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said … “…How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

—The Apostle Paul

“Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.”

—C.S. Lewis

“The doctrines [George Whitefield preaches] are most repulsive and strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect towards their superiors, in perpetually endeavoring to level all ranks and to do away with all distinctions. It is monstrous to be told you have a heart as sinful as the common wretches that crawl on the earth.”

—Catherine Woodville, The Duchess of Buckingham

 

SCRIPTURE:

Genesis 12:1-2, 15:3-6, 17:4-5, 10-11

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”

Years later, 15:3 Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

After many more years had passed, God said to Abram, 17:4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.”

 

Romans 3:28–4:1, 9–18

3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

4:1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Father, you have said that no one is righteous, that no one understands, that no one seeks God.

Forgive us for denying our need of you,

For turning to idols when we are anxious,

For trusting in our own strength and goodness.

And for imagining we deserve your love more than others.

 

Silent confession

 

Forgive us, Father, and cleanse us from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Renew us, Holy Spirit, and grant us faith to trust in you alone for our salvation. Amen.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

11.05.2017

 

What do you have that you did not receive?

—The Apostle Paul

 

The lives which have no use, no meaning, no purpose, will fade out. You will have to justify your existence or perish.

—George Bernard Shaw  

 

Pride is essentially competitive.

—C.S. Lewis

 

Blessed are the arrogant, for there is the kingdom of their own company. 

—Kendrick Lamar

 

SERMON SUMMARY: We all know the picture—arms raised in the air, fists punching the sky. This seemingly universal picture of human conquest is something we have all seen and experiences. “I am the greatest,” Ali said. But what does this universal human tendency have to do with God’s triumphant shout: “Jesus is the greatest.”

 

SCRIPTURE:

Jeremiah 9:23-26

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”

Romans 3:19-31

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

O Lord our God, you have searched us and known us.
You know not only what we say, but also what we think.

You know that we have been quick to boast in ourselves and eager to condemn others.
We have been slow to acknowledge our faults and hesitant to turn to you in need.
We have doubted the power of your love and forgotten the abundance of your grace.

Father, forgive us through Jesus Christ, and heal us by the power of your Spirit. Amen.

 

CONFESSION OF FAITH:

Christian, have you received God’s grace because of any merit of your own?

No, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

SONG TO CONSIDER:

10.29.2017

 

[S]alvation by self-effort is a principle that the fallen human mind takes for granted.

—J.I. Packer

 

The doctrine of Justification reminds us that God’s grace is the fundamental and all-determining dimension of human life.

—Eberhard Jüngel

SERMON SUMMARY:

500 years ago Europe was set ablaze with a single idea—humans are justified before God by faith alone. Some wonder how this principle—that ignited the Reformation and for which countless Europeans would give their lives—is still relevant today. And besides, don’t we understand the message Luther was promoting? Yet the anxiety that plagued Luther and his contemporaries is as pervasive in our own day as it was in his. Could it be that we have failed to grasp the message that captivated Luther? And could a rediscovery of Justification by faith have just as much relevance today as it did 500 years ago?

 

SCRIPTURE:

Exodus 20:2-4, 7-17

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Matthew 22:37-40

37 [And] he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Romans 3:19-31

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

 

CONFESSION OF SIN:

Merciful God,

We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

CONFESSION OF FAITH – Heidelberg Question #1

Christian, what is your only comfort in life and in death?

That I am not my own,
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and is making me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

10.22.2017

 

We do not presume to come to this thy Table (O merciful Lord) trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We be not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his Blood, in these holy Mysteries, that we may continually dwell in him, and he in us, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood. Amen.

Thomas Cramner

 

Sermon Summary: “God is good!” This is common parlance among Christians, but do we really trust that God is working for our good? How do we respond when we don’t understand what he is doing, or when things don’t seem to be getting better? Come and learn from the life of Jesus as we continue our series in Mark.

 

Passages to Consider:

Isaiah 35:4-7

Say to those who have an anxious heart,

“Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then shall the lame man leap like a deer,

and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness,

and streams in the desert;

the burning sand shall become a pool,

and the thirsty ground springs of water;

in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,

the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Mark 7:24-37

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.[a] And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

 

Confession of Sin:

Father, you have shown us the way of life through your Son, Jesus Christ.

We confess that we are slow to follow him,

reluctant to trust him,

and hesitant to tell others about him.

(silent confession)

Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us. Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit and renew our faith. We pray this in Jesus name

Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon:

Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.

To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Christian, know that Jesus, having freed you from your sins, freely gives you eternal life.

10.15.2017

 

A healthy outside starts from the inside. Robert Urich

I know my part, so don’t even start about my good heart. David Ramirez

It was because we rejected the doctrine of original sin that we on the Left were always being so disappointed; disappointed by the refusal of people to be reasonable . . . by the behavior of nations and politicians . . . above all, by the recurrent fact of war. 

C. M. Joad, The Recovery of Belief

The line between good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either— but right through every human heart— and through all human hearts.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 

The Prophet Jeremiah

 

Sermon Summary: We are a people passionate about cleanliness. We purchase the best laundry detergent, hire the most thorough housekeepers, we are even possessed to clean our bodies through diet and detox regimes. But does that really leave us clean? How or can we become clean to the core? Come this week to hear how Jesus addresses this longing in Mark 7.

 

Passages to Consider:

Zechariah 3:1-10

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”

Mark 7:1-23

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches. 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

7 in vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) — 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

Confession of Sin:

Almighty God,

You have raised Jesus from death to life and crowned him Lord of all.

We confess that we have not acknowledge his authority.

We have refused your salvation by attempting to be saviors.

We have boasted in our own achievements.

(silent confession)

Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, following our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.