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:
Matthew’s genealogy includes the outcast, scandalous and foreigner. The family Jesus comes from anticipates the family he has come for. – Sam Allberry
The gospel is Jesus Christ given to us with all the blessings of God contained in him. – Ian Murray
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Ruth 1:6-14, 19-22; 4:13-22
Note: During Advent and Christmas we are going to look at the 5 women of Christmas from Matthew's genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1. Who were these women? Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2), Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), and Mary (Matthew 1). Why does Matthew include these women in Jesus' genealogy? That's the question we will be trying to answer as we listen in on the story Matthew is telling us about Jesus who came to save his people from their sins (Mt. 1:21).
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed - Advent
O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Advent
Come Light Our Hearts - Advent
Thine Everlasting Throne - Response
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming - Communion
What's it like for you to read the Bible? Do you enjoy it? Are you overwhelmed by it? Are you bored by it? Are you scared by it? I for one have answered, "yes" to all those questions at various points in my life. Psalm 19:10 speaking about God's word says, it is "to be desired [more] than gold, even much fine gold; [and it is] sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." Here the Psalmist speaks about the intrinsic value and worth of God's word and the experience of tasting God's word. How do we grow to cherish and enjoy God's word like the Psalmist does? Well we need help. If you need this kind of help, let me suggest to you a book by Eugene Peterson called Eat This Book. It has been a great help to me and I hope it might be to you too.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus, Lover of My Soul
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
’Til life’s storm is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
I helpless, hang on Thee;
Leave, oh leave me not alone,
Support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
In the shadow of Thy wing.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess that we daily sin against you and our neighbors in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text: 2 Samuel 11
1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”12 Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting.19 And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, 20 then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”
22 So the messenger went and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall. Some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.”25 David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27 And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
1. David's crime and cover up (11:1-27)
2. God's response (12:1-15)
3. God's gift (12:24-25)
Bathsheba's inclusion in the genealogy of Jesus is indirect. "And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” (Mt. 1:6) However, the way she is woven into the story of Jesus permanently keeps before us Jesus' story as a story of forgiveness. In 1 Kings 15:5 we read this about David, "David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." The story of David and Bathsheba is a tragic story. It's dripping with adultery and lust, the abuse of power and privilege, manipulation and deception, death and grief, conviction and forgiveness, comfort and hope.
Stories like this one are not easy to read. But why do we need stories like this? We need stories like this because they show us that the story of Jesus is not ultimately about us, even our failures or others' failures. It is ultimately about God and his forgiveness. "The life of David is a labyrinth of ambiguities, not unlike our own. What we admire about David does not cancel out what we abhor, and what we abhor doesn't cancel out what we admire. David is not a model for imitation; David is not a candidate for a pedestal. The David story is an immersion in humanity, no different from the humanity conditioned by our culture and flawed by our sins. The story of David is not a story of what God wants us to be but a story of God working with the raw material of our lives as he finds us. David's story is told with so much detail so that we will have spread out before us exactly what goes on in a thoroughly lived human life in which God is shaping a life of salvation. David is a man of God, but by no means a perfect man of God." (Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way, p. 87-88)
The story of David and especially his encounter with Bathsheba, teaches us that the life of faith is not the way of perfection but the way of forgiveness.
This story woven into the story of Jesus is the antidote to any notion or impulse to turn the life of faith into the way of perfection. It's a story that teaches us God's promises will always outlast our sin, failure and imperfection (see 2 Sam. 7:8-16; 12:7-15, 24-25). To be sure David's encounter with Bathsheba is full of dire consequences; a sobering reminder of what happens when God's word is ignored or forgotten. However, the path out of the labyrinth that is our lives isn't "get your act together", "do better try harder", "perfection". It is the way of forgiveness found in Jesus. "[Y]ou shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Mt. 1:21)
Are you overwhelmed and exhausted by the pursuit of perfection...at work, in your marriage, with your children, in our city? Perhaps what you need is to sit with the story of David and let it bring you to Jesus.
Let me conclude with another reflection by Eugene Peterson on this story. "The attempt to impose perfection on either oneself or another, whether parent on child, pastor on congregation, CEO on a company, teacher on student, husband on wife, wife on husband, is decidedly not the way of Jesus. And how do we know? In large part because of David, the ancestor of Jesus, who was unembarrassed to be called the Son of David. David provides a large chunk of the evidence that disabuses us of the idea that perfection is part of the job description of the men and women who follow Jesus. More narrative space is given in our Scriptures to the story of David than to any other single person, and there are no perfectionist elements in it. The way of David is, from start to finish, a way of imperfection." (Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way, p. 79)
So let me leave you with this thought. How is God shaping in you a life of salvation nourished not by perfection but forgiveness?
- 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?
- How do you struggle with perfection, self-imposed or demanded of others?
- How would you describe the difference between the life of faith as the way of perfection versus the way of forgiveness?
- How does the coming of Jesus invite you to replace perfection with forgiveness?
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.