FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
Underline this thought: assurance, peace, access to God, knowledge that He is our Father, and strength to overcome temptation all depend on this-the Son of God took our flesh and bore our sins in such a way that further sacrifice for sin is both unnecessary and unintelligible. Christ died our death, and now in His resurrection He continues to wear our nature forever, and in it He lives for us before the face of God. He could not do more for us than He has done; we need no other resources to enable us to walk through this world into the next. You and I need a Savior who is near us, is one with us, understands us. All of this the Lord Jesus is. – Sinclair Ferguson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 8:31-39
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus - Advent
Come, Light Our Hearts - Advent
There’s a Wideness is God’s Mercy - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
We Will Feast in the House of Zion - Response
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - 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 summarize in a few minutes one book of the Bible.
This week check out the summary of 1 & 2 Kings.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
For those of you looking for an Advent devotional to read this year let me suggest this one to you!
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess that we daily sin against you and our neighbors in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 8:26-30
1. The help of the Spirit (v. 26-27)
2. The love of the Father (v. 28-30)
The Heart of the Message
In verses 26-30 Paul continues to spell out Gospel blessings of assurance to the believer. In the same way that hope of glory sustains us in our sufferings (v. 17-18, 25) so too does the Spirit help us in our weakness (v. 26). In verse 26 Paul lays down a basic principle of the Spirit’s work. He helps us in our weakness. He enables the believer to do what he or she could never do in his or her own strength. In verse 26b-27 Paul gives a specific illustration of the Spirit’s ministry to our weakness. We don’t know what to pray for as we ought. Whether due to ignorance or perplexity we often do not know what to pray. It is precisely in that kind of weakness the Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. In other words, the Spirit’s groans match our groans (v. 23). Not only that, God the Father sees into your heart (v. 27) and sees what the Spirit groans in perfect harmony with the Father’s will (v. 27). This is a profound mystery, but it assures even the weakest believer the Father will never let go even the weakest of his children. In verse 28 Paul reaches the climax of this chapter and of the book of Romans so far. In just a few words Paul pens one of the most sublime yet powerful blessings of Gospel assurance. God is working all things for good for his children. So far so good. But what does “all things” really mean? Does that mean even the really bad stuff? Does God’s sovereign, gracious care extend to absolutely everything in my life? The answer is an unqualified YES!!! Nothing, absolutely nothing, can thwart God’s good purpose to take even the worst things and in his timing and in his ways turn them into something beautiful for his children. How can you be sure of this? Paul explains how in verses 29-30. These two verses are an unbreakable chain of God’s love for his children. Each of the verbs describe God’s gracious work from eternity past to eternity future. These verbs describe how God gets his children from the present to the future. In fact, it is so certain Paul speaks of our future glory in the past tense! It is as good as done. Why? Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and now lives and reigns with the Father!
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
How does it feel to know the Spirit’s groans match your groanings (v. 23 --> v. 26)?
Verse 28 is an astounding claim. Compare Acts 2:22-24 with verse 28 and discuss how the story of Jesus proves that God is at work through “all things” for your good?
Which of the verbs in verse 29-30 mean the most to you and why?
Where do you feel weak right now? What hope and encouragement does this passage speak into your life?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 47. Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?
A. No, Christ died once for all. The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. . . .