Sunday Recap Vol. 2.24

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:

Thou Christ art my sin and my curse, or rather, I am thy sin, thy curse, thy death, thy wrath of God, thy hell; and contrariwise, thou art my righteousness, my blessing, my life, my grace of God and my heaven. – Martin Luther

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text: Gal. 3:15-27...The Law and The Promise

Come, Christians Join to Sing - Adoration
Arise, My Soul, Arise - Adoration
Hallelujah, What a Savior - Grace
Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder - Response
Hark the Voice of Love and Mercy (It is Finished, part II) - Communion

Suggested Resources:

One of the things we've been learning from Galatians is how Jesus unites our lives to his life by the Holy Spirit. When a person believes in Christ everything changes. You are now in Christ and he is in you. You are covered and you are empowered through faith in Christ. There is no more important truth to grasp and behold than our union with Christ through faith. All the blessings of the gospel are contained in Christ and are enjoyed through our union with him. Therefore, I can not commend to you enough a relatively recent book calledUnion with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne. Rankin is the Senior Pastor at Pacific Crossroads Church in LA. It is a wonderfully clear and accessible guide into one of the deepest truths in all of scripture. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; 
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
Sung by flaming tongues above. 
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
Mount of God's unchanging love.

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. You patiently endure our many offenses against you. In your Son and only in Him we are saved from the wrath we deserve, for each day we give in to foolish desires and forget the holiness of Your name. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. We have neglected to do what is right; to love what you love. 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.
 
Romans 5:6-11

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: "The Blessing And The Curse"

Sermon Text – Galatians 3:6-14
 
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Sermon Outline
1. The story of scripture (v. 6-9)
2. The teaching of scripture (v. 10-12)
3. The good news of scripture (v. 13-14)
 

Sermon Reflection

In Galatians chapter 3 and 4 Paul makes his case for the gospel he preaches. He uses a two pronged approach. He begins with the Galatians' experience of the gospel (v. 1-5) and continues by drilling down into the story (v. 6-9) and teaching of scripture (v. 10-12) to show how the gospel he preaches (v. 13-14) is also the one we find in the pages of scripture.

As Paul's questions (v. 1-5) suggest, the Galatians are confused about the gospel. They are living in spiritual dissonance. Instead of continuing by faith as they began, they are now relying on their own efforts (v. 3).

In order to address this problem Paul takes us back to the story of Abraham, the man of faith (v. 6,9). Faith is one of those words we need to recover, especially if you've grown up in or around the church. Instead of giving us a definition of faith, Paul invites us into a story of faith. Abraham's story begins with God's initiative and desire to bless Abraham and through him to bless the nations (Gen. 12:1-3). However, there was a problem. Abraham and Sarah had no children. Something neither of them had the power to change. What at first sounded wonderful eventually became the means by which God led Abraham in the way of faith. Abraham cried out to God because he had no children (Gen. 15:3). In response to Abraham, God again promises to bless Abraham (Gen. 15:5) and Abraham believed God's word (Gen. 15:6). Paul uses Abraham's story to show us that righteousness comes not by getting, earning, and striving but by receiving, trusting, and following. This means that God's blessing is available to anyone who believes the gospel (v. 9). Abraham's story shows us that it is possible through faith to be loved and accepted by God while we ourselves are still sinful and imperfect. Abraham's story teaches us that God counts us righteous through faith and not by works. It is in no way dependent on earning God's favor or obeying God's law.

In fact, Paul teaches us this very truth through a series of scripture passages in verses 10-12. The upshot of these verses is the bad news of the gospel. We are all under God's curse, his judgment, for failing to live according to everything he commands in his word (v. 10). Paul shows us from scripture there are only two ways to live your life. You will either live by performance or by faith. They are mutually exclusive. One way leads to life-relying on faith. The other way leads to curse-relying on works of the law. However, it's not as though we stand in neutral territory with respect to these two ways to live. The underlying assumption of Paul's use of scripture here is that we are all under God's curse (Rom. 3:23). 

Therefore, Paul says, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. This is the good news of the gospel! There is freedom from my failures and my pride which long to justify my existence through earning, striving, getting. There is freedom from God's judgment, which I deserve for failing to love him and my neighbor perfectly from the heart. Paul here proves that the gospel of grace is woven into the story of scripture with Jesus as the fulfillment of the story..."cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." Jesus became your curse. "For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).

This is the blessing of Abraham, promised so long ago. That God, through Abraham would send his beloved Son to bear our curse, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. And not only that, the blessing of Abraham is the promised Holy Spirit given to all who believe. The promise that you through faith participate in this blessing, in Christ, that you are in him and he is in you! 

Reflection Questions

  1. What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from these verses?
  2. What questions do they raise for you?
  3. Was there anything that bothered you?
  4. How would you describe your daily life...as a life of getting or a life of receiving?
  5. What is the great error even Christians are so prone to make (3:2-5)? 
  6. What resources do you find in Abraham's story and Paul's use of scripture to help you enjoy God's blessings in Christ?
  7. What is one area in your life you need help to rely on Jesus rather than on yourself?

Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1647
 
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
 
A. In the fourth petition, [which is, Give us this day our daily bread,] we pray, that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.