FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap includes an assortment of items to help keep the Gospel in front of you throughout the week. Most are from the previous Sunday while a couple look ahead to next Sunday. As you read consider these questions. Did anything land with you during worship? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought:
The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us. – Eugene Peterson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 1:8-12
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name - Adoration
Arise, My Soul, Arise - Adoration
Amazing Grace - Grace
The Church’s One Foundation - Response
Rock of Ages - Communion
Among researchers and writers who reflect on the current state of Christianity in America there is a great deal of discussion about a group of the population now often referred to as "the nones." "The nones" is the fast growing segment of the society that is religiously unaffiliated. Labels are often helpful but inevitably often lack nuance that keeps in view the people they are intended to describe. This interesting blog post attempts to add some needed nuance to the discussions about "the religious nones." It is admittedly a bit of a mind bender so it may be worth reading a couple times.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)Into Thy Gracious Hands I Fall
Into Thy gracious hands I fall,
And with the arms of faith embrace;
O King of glory, hear my call!
O raise me, heal me by Thy grace!
From faith to faith, from grace to grace,
So in Thy strength shall I go on,
Till heaven and earth flee from Thy face,
And glory end what grace begun.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, remove our fear, envy and pride and melt our hearts with the good news of the Gospel. Transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory. Take away our mourning and replace it with songs of joy, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text: Philippians 1:6; 2:3; 4:8Sermon Outline
1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- The foundation of ministry: confidence
- Our calling for ministry: humility
- Our focus in ministry: hope
Sermon SummaryReflection Questions
In the opening verses of Paul's letter to the Philippians he writes, "I thank my God...because of your partnership in the gospel...." (1:3,5) Partnership in the gospel is a fitting theme for us to consider especially on a Sunday we installed new officers. What do we need to thrive in partnership together? What do we need to remain rooted in the gospel and grow in affection for one another?
Paul gives us three key ingredients in order to thrive in partnership with one another. We need confidence, humility and hope.
In 1:6 Paul teaches us the foundation for all ministry. God is at work, which in turn is the source of all his confidence toward the Philippians. It is not a confidence in the Philippians. It is a confidence in God who will finish what he started in his way and in his timing. Paul is telling us, no matter what you see, whether good or bad, ministry isn't ultimately about us. It is about God's faithfulness and commitment to make good on his word and work in Jesus Christ. The measure of our worth is not in the quality of our lives but in Jesus and the life he lived and the death he died for us.
However, at the very same time, to confess confidence in God's work implicitly admits our need for him and how he has come to us in Jesus. It is God's work, his coming to us in Christ, that gives shape to our calling in ministry. The essence of the Christian life can be summarized in one word: humility. Humility is taking the interests of others and making them your own. But why does Paul have to tell us, "do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit?" Because the default mode of the human heart is to get ahead and to look down. So what is to be done? Paul says, the humility we need is free! It is a gift! It is yours in Christ Jesus (2:5). The humility of Jesus received by faith is what creates this kind of humility in otherwise selfish and proud hearts. In Jesus Christ we see God in the flesh putting our interests, our needs, our guilt, our loss, our failure, our shame, our addictions, our bondage to sin, our depression, our loneliness, our forsakenness before his own. All the ways we are implicated in and affected by sin and its consequent brokenness are absorbed by Jesus so that we might find new life in him. As Paul says in Col. 3:3 to be a Christian means, "you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
Confidence, humility, hope. The last ingredient Paul says we need to thrive in ministry together is hope. In 4:8 Paul gives a list of things we are to focus on. In the words of Eugene Peterson, Paul says thinking about these things is "not information stored in the head but intelligence that comes from the heart." It's a thinking that "kicks against the darkness until it bleeds daylight." It's a thinking that ponders and discusses the goodness of creation (Rom. 1:20; Psalm 19) and the gift of redemption (John 3:16; Rom. 8:32). Every single one of these "whatevers" finds its deepest and truest expression in God and his work. Perhaps Paul's direction to think about these things overwhelms you because what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, etc. is consumed by what is false, dishonorable, unjust, impure, ugly, etc. What are you to do? Remember God is at work. God has already broken through the darkness in the cross of Jesus Christ.
If you lack confidence, look to the cross of Jesus! If you lack humility, look to the cross of Jesus! If you lack hope look to the cross of Jesus. God is at work. He is with us, in us, and for us! Think about these things, ask for these things and we will thrive in our partnership in the Gospel for God's glory and the good of others.
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from these verses?
- What questions do they raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What is distinctive about "partnership in the gospel" compared to other "partnerships" or "initiatives" we might participate in?
- Which of the three ingredients (confidence, humility, hope) do you/RMC need most right now? Why? How do you get them?
Confession of Faith: The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried:
he descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.