FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
Sanctification, again, is a thing which does not prevent a person having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict. By conflict I mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature and the new, the flesh and the spirit, which are to be found together in every believer (Gal. 5:17). A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that a person is not sanctified. Nay, rather, I believe, they are healthy symptoms of our condition and prove that we are not dead, but alive. A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. – J.C. Ryle
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 7:14-25
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name - Adoration
Depth of Mercy - Confession
Jesus, Lover of My Soul - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Response
Abide with Me - 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 Judges.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Streams of Living Water Flow
Through ten thousand channels flowing,
Streams of mercy find their way.
Life and health and joy bestowing
Making all around unstained.
O believer, O believer
All thy sins are washed away.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Father in heaven, we need to be forgiven. We have tried to work off our guilt and shame; to pile up good deeds that outweigh our bad deeds. We have tried to change through our own efforts. When this doesn’t work, we turn to denial and distraction, leaving some of us arrogant and the rest of us anxious and depressed. Forgive us for thinking we could save ourselves rather than resting in the merits of Jesus Christ. Forgive us for our pride. Forgive us and heal us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Words of Grace
22 Thus says the Lord God: 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 …[A]nd you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:22, 25-28
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 7:1-13
1. Freedom from the Law (v. 1-6)
2. The Goodness of the Law (v. 7-13)
The Heart of the Message
In Rom. 6:2 Paul says a Christian is someone who has died to sin. In 7:4 Paul says a Christian is someone who has died to the law. In both cases it is the death and resurrection of Jesus that brings about this new identity. Our union with Christ by faith changes everything about our lives. What does that really mean? Paul uses the illustration of marriage (v. 2-3) to make his point. We were once married to the law but now we are free to belong to another (v. 4). Why is this so important? Because our marriage to the law was a terrible, lifeless marriage. It only led to death (v. 5)! By contrast, the gospel says, we are now able to become the man or woman God designed us to become BECAUSE of our new spouse (v. 6). You are now married to a spouse who is committed to helping you become the person you could never become on your own (v. 4,6). In other words, the life of faith is a vibrant, intimate, transparent, growing life lived in communion with Jesus by His Spirit. But if our previous marriage to the Law was so bad, does that mean the Law itself is bad? Paul emphatically says, “absolutely not!” In short, the Law is powerless to change the heart – because of our sin – but it is accurate in its diagnosis of the heart (v. 7-10). To say that we are freed from the Law does not mean it is irrelevant. It is instrumental in how God wants to work in your life. Think of the Law of God, especially the 10 commandments, like this. The Law of God is the exposition of Jesus’ obedience to love God and neighbor with the heart and hands. The Law is good and holy and righteous. The Law diagnoses the heart and shows what it looks like to live a truly human life. But it all depends on your spouse not you! To be a Christian means you are now safe in the life-giving embrace of Jesus, who gave his life that you might have life!
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
What do you think Paul means when he says, “you’ve died to the law?” Why is being married to the Law so bad?
How can Paul say the Law is good, righteous and holy? What can the law do? What can’t it do?
When the Law of God cuts you open what should you do? Think through the power of the marriage metaphor for the life of faith.
What would you say makes a marriage great? How does this passage change or challenge your approach to marriage?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 42. How is the Word of God to be read and heard?
A. With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.
2 Timothy 3:16–17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.