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:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
None of the things we fear or suffer are untrue, but none has the power to center our lives, or dominate our emotions, or control our destiny. God does that. Anyone who tells us something different is lying to us. – Eugene Peterson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Galatians 2:1-10
All Hail the Power of Jesus Name - Adoration
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus! - Adoration
Jesus, Lover of my Soul - Grace
Come, All Ye Pining Hungry Poor - Response
Fountain of Grace - Communion
There is no shortage of parenting books. However, I recently came across one that I have never had recommended to me and I've never seen on anyone's list of best parenting books...whatever that means. I think I might have an idea why. This book is not a "how to" book. It is a gospel book that says parenting is as much about the parent as the child, especially as children enter the teen years. In fact this book suggests that because of the gospel there is hope right in the middle of the most challenging seasons of parenting. It's all there for the taking in the gospel. The book is called Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. If you read it, let me know what you think.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus Cast A Look On Me
Leaning on Thy loving breast,
Where a weary soul can rest
Feeling well the peace of God,
Flowing from His precious blood
In this posture let me live,
And hosannas daily give
In this temper let me die,
And hosannas ever cry!
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 – Galatians 1:11-24
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
1. Who Paul was: The need for God's grace (v. 13-14)
2. What God did: The experience of God's grace (v. 15-16)
3. What God will do: The fruit of God's grace (v. 16b, 23-24)
The Galatians are turning to a different gospel. Paul's message and ministry are under attack from false teachers. In response, Paul tells the story of how he came to know the gospel, the good news of freedom in Christ. Paul defends his gospel and his ministry not with anger and spite but with God's amazing grace to him who once sought to destroy the church of God.
In telling his story Paul teaches us how gospel freedom becomes his lived experience. First, his story teaches us that religion and the gospel are total opposites. Prior to his conversion Paul was a very religious man (v. 14). But his religion only nurtured in him a hatred for those who weren't like him and all in God's name (v. 13). Only God's grace and not religion has the power to draw out of the human heart pride, self-righteousness, and superiority that leads to oppression and violence.
Second, Paul's story teaches us that gospel freedom brings a radical reversal to a persons life. In verses 13-14 Paul is at the center of all the action. However, when he is converted, God takes center stage bringing meaning, hope and purpose to his life that previously entirely depended on him and his striving (v. 15-16). God's amazing grace becomes the vantage point from which Paul looks backward (v. 15-16a) and forward (v. 16b).
Third, Paul's story teaches us that gospel freedom as a lived experience has the power to realign our hearts (v. 17) and to bring renewal and healing where there was once hostility, breakdown, and disintegration (v. 22-24).
Paul's story takes gospel freedom out of the realm of theory and ideas and brings it right up into our "grill," as we say in the south. It's for people who aren't even interested or looking for it. It's for people who think they are fine on their own. It's for people who can't let go of holding on for dear life. Paul's story invites us into the very heart of the Christian story...the surprise and beauty and power of grace revealed in Jesus Christ.
"We accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We realize that God is the living center of life and that he has provided the means by which we can live in conscious, glad relationship with him. We live not by what we know, but by trusting in the God who is for us. We live not by moral projects but by obedient faith. The moment we do that we have our first authentic taste of freedom." (Eugene Peterson)
- 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 would you define and distinguish between religion and the gospel based on Paul's story?
- What things in your life push God out of the center? How does God, by sheer grace, take up center stage in your life? (v. 15-16a)
- Where do you long for God to bring renewal and healing in your life? Do you think it can happen?
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 100
Q. 100. What does the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer, [which is, Our Father in heaven,] teaches us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.