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:
“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, ‘Do you love me?’ We ask, ‘Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?’”
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
While still 2.5 months from 2018, I want to share a resource with you that we will use regularly at RMC in the new year. The New City Catechism is a new catechism put out by the Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. It draws from the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechism (1646, 1647) in 52 questions, one question for each week of the year. We will use this next year as your Confession of Faith during worship. There is a devotional guide to go along with the catechism, which gives further explanation into the questions and answers. This is an excellent resource for memorization and building a solid theological foundation for understanding scripture and the good news about Jesus Christ.
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Psalm 126
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - Adoration
Come All Ye Pining, Hungry Poor - Confession
Amazing Grace - Grace
Streams of Living Water Flow - Response
Psalm 126 - 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 Hosea.
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)
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates
Fling wide the portals of your heart;
make it a temple, set apart
from earthly use for Heav'n's employ,
adorned with pray'r and love and joy.
Redeemer, come, with us abide;
our hearts to thee we open wide;
let us thy inner presence feel;
thy grace and love in us reveal.
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. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. We have neglected to do what is right; to love what you love. Yet you patiently endure our many offenses against you. In your Son and only in Him we are saved from the wrath we deserve. 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 – 2 Timothy 2:20-26
20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
1. The silence of noise (v. 22-23)
2. The usefulness of suffering (v. 20-21, 24-26)
3. The power of the resurrection (2:8)
Sermon Reflection - Matt Clegg
Most people have experienced a time when they felt silenced by competing opinions voiced around them. It seems the more opinions others have, the louder each party must speak in order to be heard. As each party feels silenced by the other voices, they all must continue to speak louder until the level of competing noise only serves to silence all parties. No progress is made, and each voice ends up being useless. This type of situation would be familiar to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:20-26. Timothy was a leader in a church in Ephesus. However, other people in the congregation were preaching rival versions of the gospel, and were threatening to steer the church in different directions. If we were to put ourselves in Timothy’s shoes, it would be easy to feel that our voices were being drowned out by the competing noise. Our influence and usefulness would seem to wane, and the success of the church’s mission would seem to be in jeopardy. This would leave us with a key question that Paul addresses in this passage. How can we be useful amidst such competing noise?
Many of us experience this tension every day. We all have particular values for life, and have opinions on the way life should be lived in society. However, the rapidly changing world around us might make such values seemingly impossible to live. We are disoriented, lost, and feel that our own voice in society does not matter at all. At work, we might want to see our company run in a way that benefits its employees and seeks justice for its clients. However, the group may be making decisions that are self-seeking and injurious. We feel that our voice is being drowned out. Most parents know the temptation to yell at their kids because when they are disregarded they feel they have no voice in their kids’ lives. The significance of these situations, however, is much more than halted progress and our own dwindling usefulness. When we feel our voice being drowned out by others, we can start to feel that we do not matter at all. We are invisible. Paul knows this about Timothy’s position, and knows that the easiest solution for him would be to yell louder at his opponents to make himself heard. However, Paul’s instruction is to avoid their quarrels (v.23), not go toe to toe with them. But what does he instruct Timothy to do instead?
Paul lists many attributes that Timothy is to model toward his opponents. He is to love them, be kind to them, instruct them with patience, pursue peace, and endure their evil treatment. These are all general descriptions of the Christian life that Timothy must apply with wisdom. However, what they have in common is that they all involve suffering. They are selfless attributes in which Timothy is to absorb the evils of his opponents, and return them with love. In other words, Paul is telling Timothy that if he wants to be useful, yelling louder is not the way to go. What will truly be useful will be to suffer for the sake of love. In the upside down character of the gospel, embracing such suffering would make Timothy feel like he was invisible. However, it is actually through his suffering that God delights to work. But who can suffer such invisibility when they feel that their voice is being stripped away from them?
The good news in this chapter comes all the way back in verses 8-10. Before giving Timothy these commands, Paul charges him to remember that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Jesus’ ministry was not successful because he yelled louder than His opponents. Jesus allowed Himself to have no voice, and to suffer many evils. However, it was through His suffering that God chose to glorify Him, and give Him the loudest voice of all, the final trumpet sound that will signal the coming of a new creation. Christ suffered everything so we would not have to suffer like He did. Because of this, our own usefulness does not depend on us and how loud our voice is. It depends on us being united to Christ by faith. His destiny, being the first piece of a new creation, is our destiny. However, Christ sets the pattern of what it looks like to follow Him by faith. It is God’s delight in the Christian life to take our own uselessness, our own silence and our own weakness, and use them in His good work. Therefore, the call of the Christian life is to embrace God’s promises of new life in Christ, and persevere in love, kindness, peace, and gentleness. He is faithful to use even suffering to bring about our good.
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 voices threaten your sense of usefulness as a Christian?
- When you feel silenced, do you tend to speak up or give up?
- How does Christ's resurrection from the dead change how you look at the world around you?
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism c. 1647
Q.65: What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbids the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongs to everyone in their several places and relations.
Q.66: What is the reason [attached] to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason [attached] to the fifth commandment, is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.