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 8:1-11
Come, Holy Ghost - Adoration
And Can it Be - Adoration
In Christ Alone - Grace
Amazing Grace - Response
My Helper is Forever Near - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon
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 Ruth.
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)
Depth of Mercy
There for me the savior stands
Shows his wounds and spreads his hands
God is love, I know, I feel
Jesus weeps and loves me still
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of this behavior is mistrust and self-love. We do not love one another as we should, because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our only righteousness. Amen.
Words of Grace
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 7:13-25
1. Who is Paul talking about?
2. What is the role of God's Law in the life of faith?
The Heart of the Message
Paul’s statement in Romans 6:14 “you are no longer under Law but under grace” would have raised serious questions for the Jew and the Gentile of Paul’s day. Most significantly, his teaching would have created questions about the central importance of God’s Law in the life of faith. Paul addresses this question in vs. 1-13 by describing the role of God’s Law in a person coming to faith. In vs. 14-25 Paul continues his argument by showing how the Law of God functions in the life of the ordinary believer. It’s important to carry over the metaphor of vs. 1-13: through the death and resurrection of Jesus the believer is set free from a lifeless marriage to the Law in order to belong to another…to Jesus! (7:2-4) Therefore, the role of the Law in the life of the believer fits within a new marriage full of life and power to become what we could never become on our own! (see Rom. 8:1-4) At first, we might be inclined to read 7:14-25 and think Paul is hopelessly contradicting himself. He seems to say a number of things that don’t fit the identity of a believer. For example, in 6:2 he says a Christian “has died to sin.” But in 7:14 he says, “I am sold under sin.” Yet the verb tenses and the personal pronouns along with Paul’s attitude toward God’s law (v. 12, 14, 16, 22, 25) and the Q&A of vs. 24-25 all point to the ordinary experience of the believer when God’s law exposes the deep contradictions in our lives. To put it simply Paul is saying, “you have died to sin, but sin has not yet died in you.” Therefore, this passage is a firsthand account of the battle against sin made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (6:2,5,10 & 7:4). And no matter how bewildering the struggle there is good news! Jesus Christ in you, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27)
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
Do you think Paul is talking about the experience of an ordinary believer? Why or why not?
Why is it crucial to the life of faith to distinguish between the power of sin and the presence of sin? Why might we be inclined to confuse the two?
Why do you need God’s law to root around in your life?
How should a believer respond to the deep, bewildering contradictions revealed by the Law in his or her life?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 43. What are the sacraments or ordinances?
A. The sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by his death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”