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:
Jesus’ name fitted him perfectly. During his ministry he saved his people from the crippling effects of sin. And then, on the cross, he dealt with sin itself – its guilt and shame, its dominion and power. Jesus’ name fits him perfectly. – Sinclair Ferguson
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: Psalm 103
Angels from the Realms of Glory - Christmas
Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven - Adoration
O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing - Grace
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy - Response
Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul - Communion
Among the many things Matthew's genealogy of Jesus teaches, one of the most obvious and important is you can't understand who Jesus is apart from the Old Testament. So where can you go to get some help? Let me suggest to you a very short but very helpful little book called Loving the Old Testament by Alec Motyer. If you would like help making sense of the whole story of the Bible this is a great place to start!
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Joy to the World
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, you know our hearts: how weak, hard and selfish we are. You have shown us great mercy because we have sinned greatly. You patiently endure our many offenses against you. In your Son and only in Him we are saved from the wrath we deserve, for each day we give in to foolish desires and forget the holiness of Your name. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. We have neglected to do what is right; to love what you love. We cry out for mercy and rest in the hope of the cross of Jesus Christ, in whose strong name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
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.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text: Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
1. The birth of Jesus (v. 18, 20)
2. The presence of Jesus (v. 22-23)
3. The work of Jesus (v. 21, 25)
The birth of Jesus. A familiar story. But what does it mean? Why do we need this story? Matthew answers these questions for us in vs. 22-23 quoting from Isaiah 7:14. The answer is that in Jesus Christ God has come near, to dwell with us. Immanuel, God with us! Every one of the women in Jesus' genealogy teaches us something about who he is and what he has come to do. Mary's story teaches us that God doesn't wait for us to come to him, he willingly comes to us.
It's not that God wasn't present with his people prior to Jesus. But with Jesus' arrival a whole new era of God's promise to bless humanity begins. In the Old Testament God dwelt with his people through the Tabernacle, which gave way eventually to a permanent place, the Temple. In other words, the Tabernacle and the Temple were where Heaven and earth overlapped. But now we are being told that Heaven and earth overlap in a person. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:14)
Why do we need the birth of Jesus to be true? Because it's the only story that can fulfill our deepest longings for things to be made right. God is not simply sitting back watching things unfold. He has gotten personally involved in and through Jesus.
On the one hand the message of Jesus' birth brings great comfort. There is hope. It means God is not unwilling to move toward us, even to be with us, regardless of our family tree or our personal stories. What good news to Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba and to you and me. But it also means God knows you better than you know yourself. Often times one of the greatest hindrances to deep relationships isn't the other person. It's what you are afraid they might find out about you. Well what if the story of Jesus is an invitation into a relationship in which you can be fully known and fully loved at the very same time. How is that possible?
"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (v. 21) Jesus is the greek translation of Joshua, which means, "God saves." However, the salvation Matthew speaks of with reference to Jesus isn't what anyone expected. It isn't salvation from political tyranny, social injustice or cultural breakdown. It is salvation from sin. It is salvation from ourselves as well as the collective mess we have, do and will make as humans. The problem is not "out there." It is "in here," it is our hearts, our loves, our desires. It is the human condition Jesus has come to save in order that he might bless us and we might dwell with him forever...
"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:3-5a)
- 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?
- Do believe the birth of Jesus happened as it is recorded in the Bible? Why?
- Which aspect of Jesus' birth resonates most with you: Jesus as Immanuel or Jesus as Savior? Why do you need both to be true?
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.