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?
- Did you hear any good news? If so, when and where?
Words For Reflection:
Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelms us.
God never pursues His glory at the expense of the good of His people, nor does He ever seek our good at the expense of His glory. He has designed His eternal purpose so that His glory and our good are inextricably bound together. – Jerry Bridges
Since we are in the midst of a mini-series from the book of Psalms, here is a helpful little book that can help you read the Psalms for yourselves. There is simply no substitute for sitting with the Psalms and pondering the images and the themes. But it can be tremendously helpful get guidance along the way.
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 2:20-26
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates - Adoration
Come, Ye Souls By Sin Afflicted - Confession
Jesus, the Lord My Savior Is - Grace
Take My Life and Let it Be - Response
Before Throne of God Above - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos that summarizes in a few minutes one book of the Bible.
This week check out the summary of Isaiah 40-66.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may findthis approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Christ The Solid Rock
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills. Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Help us to believe and trust that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text – Psalm 125
A Song of Ascents.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!
1. God is safe. (v. 1-2)
2. God is faithful. (v. 3-5)
Even when I am at home in the safety of my own home, lurking just below the surface is the inevitable truth that I am not yet truly home. There are locks on all my doors and windows, with the reenforcement of an alarm system. There is grumbling and discontent that ebbs and flows within our four walls. There are temptations and struggles that press in on us from a world of half-truths and disordered loves. There are stories of senseless violence and hate streaming uninterrupted through the news and social media. The 'scepter of wickedness' seems immoveable and unbeatable (v. 3). The power and presence of evil seems destined to upend and snuff out all that God loves and all that God does.
When we look at our own lives or the world in which we live is there anything that tells a different story? Psalm 125 says unhesitatingly, "YES, there is another story. An even truer story!" Told from the perspective of standing within the gates of Jerusalem, the city of Zion, the place where God dwells in the OT, the Psalmist looks out from the city and notices something. He notices that Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, nurturing in him a sense of safety and protection. This simple observation percolates in his mind and heart. With the eyes of faith, he sees afresh the character of his God. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. (v. 2) He remembers that God is safe! He remembers that he doesn't walk the journey of faith alone!
And yet it is so hard to see God surrounding his people in the daily grind. Trust! Faith! We all have it and we all do it. Regardless of who we are or where we are from, we are trusting in something or someone, moment by moment, day by day. But the question is not so much the strength of your trust but the one in whom you trust. What then is the greatest pitfall along the journey of faith? Misplaced trust! “We want things [even really good things] and we aren’t sure God will give them to us, so we put our trust in other gods. This is THE problem of the human heart—misplaced trust. We value, love and trust something in creation more than the creator, and since there is nothing in creation that is intended to bear the weight of our trust, we are bound to live in fear.” (Ed Welch) The Psalmist knows all too well the problem of the human heart. Misplaced trust is the root of our fear, instability, anger, fatigue, hypocrisy, etc. But he writes, Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. (v. 1) Stability and endurance come from the Lord. God is safe.
And God is faithful. Twice in verses 1-2 we are told those who trust in the Lord will never fall. They cannot be moved. They abide forever. Why? Because the Lord surrounds all who trust in him now and forever. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8) God is faithful...how? He is faithfully sovereign over the 'scepter of wickedness'. Whatever form it takes - sin in your own heart or systemic oppression - it will not win. God will not let it come to rest upon his people. Why not? Because he is also faithfully present with you and is committed to his grace triumphing in your life! No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13) What do you need to know when the 'scepter of wickedness' presses in on you and with it the temptation to give your trust to something seemingly more reliable? God is faithfully listening! Prayer for mercy! Prayer for evil's undoing! Prayer for permanent peace! These are the language of trust! (v. 4-5)
But what if I don't feel like God is listening? The gift of mercy, the undoing of evil, the promise of permanent peace...these are the gifts with which God surrounds his people in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! On the cross, God in Christ, surrounds his people, he stands in the gap between us and 'the scepter of wickedness' so that we might live by grace through faith! To trust Christ is to know yourself surrounded. There are no gaps in his life or his death! You lack nothing in him! Jesus Christ is God's commitment to all who trust in him that his grace will - today and forevermore - triumph in your life! Those who trust in the Lord...
Sermon Reflection Questions
- 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 the point of view of this Psalm? What is the point of view of your life today? What do you look out and see?
- Would you say God is safe and God is faithful? Why or why not?
- What is one thing you can take from this Psalm into your day tomorrow?
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism c. 1647
Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment is, Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.