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:
One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ. – Martin Luther
If there is no joy and freedom, it is not a church: it is simply a crowd of melancholy people basking in a religious neurosis. If there is no celebration, there is no real worship. - Steve Brown
Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshipped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship. We think that if we don’t feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different: that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship. – Eugene Peterson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Galatians 1:6-12
How Firm a Foundation - Adoration
Be Thou My Vision - Confession
And Can It Be - Grace
The Gospel is Good News Indeed - Response
How Sweet the name of Jesus Sounds - Communion
This coming Monday (1/16) is Martin Luther King Day. As I have gotten to know folks in the city, I have become friends with James Sutton, the planting pastor of a multiracial church in the city called Vanguard Church. This Sunday evening at7 PM James along with others in the city are hosting a panel discussion called: "Race, the Election and The Gospel - A Way Forward". I am planning to attend. If you are looking for an opportunity to listen, learn and build relationships with others in the city especially around the topic of the gospel and race, this would be a great opportunity to take steps in that direction. If you are interested you can view the invite and RSVP here.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus I Come
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Loving and gracious Father, the more we delve into the depths of our sin, the uglier and more heinous it becomes. If we promise to do better, we lie. If we try to clean ourselves up, we are frauds. If we give because we feel guilty, we are schemers. If we serve to feel good about ourselves, we are self-righteous. If we pray only to get what we want, we are self-serving. If we read your Word so you will be pleased with us, we are manipulators. The selfish motivations of even our best actions condemn us. They are un-holy, un-pleasing, and un-like the One in whose image we are created. Please forgive us and help us to look only to the life-saving, life-changing, life-giving power of Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text – Galatians 1:1-5
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
1. Why Paul wrote Galatians: general background (1:1,6)
2. What Paul wrote: the Gospel in a nutshell (1:4-5)
3. What you can look forward to: Grace & Peace (1:3)
This week we began a new series on the book of Galatians. Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul around 50 AD. It is a letter that emerged out of intense debates in the early decades of the church about the nature of the gospel, particularly as the gospel spread beyond the borders of Israel and was embraced by gentiles. Paul wrote this letter to a group of churches in Galatia (modern day Turkey) which he helped start not long before. These churches were probably a mix of Jew and Gentile Christians.
Having spent time with these churches and witnessing them receive the good news about Jesus, he now writes out of great astonishment (1:6). Why? Because they were quickly turning to another gospel. Some were claiming that Paul was preaching half a gospel. Not only did a person need to trust in Jesus and what he did but they also needed to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses if they were to be saved (Acts 13:38-39 in contrast with 15:1).
Therefore, Paul begins his letter with a very simple summary of the gospel. It is a message of rescue through the self-sacrifice of Jesus that ushers in a whole new era of freedom (v. 4). It is a message that implies we are helpless and hopeless and cannot rescue ourselves either by keeping the rules or by seeking personal fulfillment. In fact, as we will see in coming weeks, to add anything to this work of Jesus is to believe in a counterfeit gospel. The implications of Paul's opening words teach us there is nothing about who we are or what we do that can deliver us from our sins and all of its incapacitating guilt and shame.
Paul's message and the burden of his ministry is to proclaim the free grace of God in Jesus Christ, which is why he says in verse 3, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Grace and peace belong to the believer in Jesus. Grace...life is a gift. Peace...life is whole. This is what we have to look forward to as we walk through Paul's letter to the Galatians. Grace and peace as it comes to us by grace through faith in Christ alone.
- 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 your lived experience of Christianity?
- How would you compare your experience with the rescue, grace and peace we find in this passage?
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 98
Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
Baptismal Vows For Parents
Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
Do you claim God’s covenant promises in his behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, as you do for your own?
Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before him a godly example, that you will pray with and for him, that you will teach him the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
Baptismal Vow For Congregation
Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child?