FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
For All The Saints
For all the saints,
who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith
before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus,
be forever blessed.
Thou wast their rock,
their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain
in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness
drear, their one true Light.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? 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:
To live the life of daily faith in the Son of God, and to be daily drawing out of His fullness the promised grace and strength which He has laid up for His people – this is the grand secret of progressive sanctification. - J.C. Ryle
In order to combat this sense of helplessness before the binding power of indwelling sin, believers should first be assured that sanctification, like justification, is grounded in union with Christ. The power of sin to rule their lives has been destroyed in the cross of Christ; we have died with Christ, and have been raised together with him in newness of life. Therefore, we are not to set the estimates of our power to conquer sin according to past experiences of our will power, but are to fix our attention on Christ and the power of his risen life in which we participate: for we have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. - Richard Lovelace
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Father in heaven, we need to be forgiven. We have tried to heal ourselves. Instead of trusting in the death of Jesus Christ, we have tried to work off our guilt. We have tried so hard to pile up good deeds that outweigh our sins. When this doesn’t work, we quickly turn to denial and distraction. Instead of trusting in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have tried to change through our own efforts. We have tried to change our hearts through sheer willpower. This has left some of us arrogant. This has left most of us anxious and depressed. Forgive us for trying to heal ourselves. Forgive us for neglecting your grace. Forgive us and heal us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Words of Grace
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. 35. What is Sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, butpresent yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Sermon Text: Colossians 1:1-8
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it fromEpaphras our belovedfellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
1. Change in us is God's work
2. Change is seen in our faith in Jesus and love for God's people
3. God uses our fixed hope of heaven to produce the fruit of faith
This past Sunday Rev. Joe Dentici, RUF Campus Minister at Penn State preached to us from Colossians 1:1-8. The central theme of his sermon was Gospel Change. Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of the life of faith in Christ is the process of change, especially when it doesn't seem to us like anything is happening. It often raises questions in our hearts about whether or not God is at work. There are a number of ways to work out that struggle. However, the best way is to go back to the gospel, to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. One would be hard pressed to look at Jesus and say his life OBVIOUSLY looked like God was up to something wonderful...and yet look what God did through what looked like and no doubt was a total disaster.
Now tohim who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- Who is the main actor in this passage and what does he do?
- If you don't think you are changing or growing, why not?
- What is the dynamic for change in this passage? Do you see it in your life? Why or why not?
I have two resources to point you toward this week. What are the vital things you need and need to know to understand the Gospel and thrive as a follower of Jesus? If someone asked you that question, what would you say? In his recent book entitled, Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need To Know, J.I. Packer walks us through the basic ingredients necessary to answer that question for ourselves and others.
What about helping our kids understand the Christian faith and develop an understanding of the scriptures and the gospel that will serve them well in years to come (i.e. building on godly play)? I'll say more about this resource this summer, but if you would like a straight forward guide to talk through the basics of the Christian faith take a look at Understanding the Faith. I think you might find it useful especially for 3rd/4th grade and above. I've started working through it with one of my boys and it has been helpful so far. Nothing glamorous. Just basic stuff that gets kids in the bible.
Songs for this week:
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
God of My Life to Thee I Call
Jesus, Lover of My Soul
The Church's One Foundation
Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
Sermon passage for this week: Mark 12:18-27
Until next time,
For All The Saints
The golden evening
brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful
warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm
of paradise the blessed.
But lo! There breaks
a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant
rise in bright array;
The King of glory
passes on his way,