From the desk of Will Spokes, Senior Pastor
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap! How are you doing? You are three days into a new week. Hopefully you will find some encouragement and good news from remembering some of what we did this past Sunday! Happy reading!
Q&A Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 2. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Q. 3. What do the scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2Tim. 3:14-17)
Food For Thought:
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (St. Augustine)
“One’s search for self ultimately is fruitless because it seeks to find that which can only be given by another. In short, we may seek self-identity and hope to find ourselves, but the hoped-for result never occurs through our own efforts. We seek ourselves, but are finally found! One’s identity is the gift of another’s love.” (Eugene Lowry)
Sermon Recap: See 1 Kings 18:17-40
Sunday we began a four-week series for the purpose of revisiting our vision and values at Red Mountain Church. About a year ago, RMC leadership settled on four words that describe our identity and values as a church seeking to love God and our neighbors here in Birmingham. Those four words are worship, grace, community and place. We began with the word “worship” by looking at the story in 1 Kings 18:17-40 between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal. It is a dramatic story, the goal of which is found in vs. 37, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” The problem Elijah faced was the wayward hearts of God’s people, who abandoned God’s word and followed after other gods (v. 18, 21). In other words, it’s a story about worship and in particular the inclination of our hearts to turn to other gods to give us what only God can give. Central to the story is a sacrifice that bears the identity of God’s people (v. 31) and is utterly and completely consumed by God (v. 38). By consuming the sacrifice God not only “wins” the contest (v. 24) but also shows his full acceptance of the sacrifice as a substitute for his people, thereby turning their hearts back to him (v. 39). In this story we see an echo of the gospel, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). It is the gospel of free grace that can undo the waywardness of our hearts because it came at the cost of God’s only Son! Therefore, in light of the gospel we must daily ask ourselves this question, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
Now perhaps you’ve been wondering what to make of verse 40 especially since I didn’t take time to address it Sunday night. “And Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.’ And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.” This is an intense verse and perhaps quite troubling to you. However, it is important to notice something. The prophets of Baal didn’t deserve to die any more than the people of Israel. They both had turned to worship other gods. The startling truth that lingers at the end of this story is this: only those who are covered by the sacrifice God accepts will be spared the judgment they deserve. That’s the gospel of free grace! This is why worship is so central to the life of RMC. Our hearts are wayward, they are directionally challenged, “We want things and we aren’t sure God will give them to us, so we put our trust in other gods.” Worship at RMC is our weekly contest between the waywardness of our own hearts and the work of Jesus on our behalf that alone can turn our hearts back to God!
1. Where does the problem of wayward hearts come from? (v. 37, 19, 21)
2. What can undo the waywardness of our hearts? (v. 25-35)
3. How do we get it on it? (v. 36-38)
1. What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
2. What questions does this passage raise for you?
3. Was there anything that bothered you?
4. What distinguishes the people of Israel from the prophets of Baal in this story?
5. What did you learn about worship from this story, its relationship to your heart, and the hope of the gospel? (1 Peter 3:18; Rom. 8:32)
Over the last several months I’ve been slowly making my way through a fascinating little book called It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Regardless of whether you agree with the author’s views on certain matters, it attempts to explain how differently adults and teens view and use social media of all varieties. Awareness of their differing perspectives and attitudes and purposes promises a wealth of wisdom for understanding the lives of socially networked teens.
That’s enough for this week. Let me leave you with two more verses from Isaiah 55.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant.
Until next week,