FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
Spirituality is not about some innate sense of transcendence or something inherent in people. Spirituality is about the very thing we need and do not have – God’s own Spirit.
– Kyle Strobel
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 8:12-17
Praise to the Lord - Adoration
Arise My Soul Arise - Adoration
The Gospel is Good News Indeed - Grace
Jesus I Come - Response
Be Thou My Vision - 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 1 Samuel.
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)
In Christ Alone
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
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
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 2:24-25
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 8:1-11
1. God is faithful to condemn sin for us (vv.1-4)
2. God is faithful to condemn sin in us (vv.5-11)
The Heart of the Message
Romans 8 is a beautiful chapter where Paul summarizes the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul has just described the human experience of battling with sin (ch.7), but rather than providing hope through the human story, Paul draws our attention to God’s bigger story instead. Namely, that God has done what no human being could do through God’s law. He condemned sin for us, which sin cried out for our own condemnation, by pouring the full extent of His righteous judgment on His own Son Jesus Christ (v.3). Furthermore, in addition to paying the penalty of our sin, He gave us the full record of Christ’s righteousness (v.4). This means that if we belong to Christ by faith, we are not only forgiven of our sin, but are also received by God with pleasure, the same pleasure He had for Jesus Christ. Paul is thus able to declare to us, sinners though we may be, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1).
As good of news as this is, it might yet leave us with a few questions. Even if our standing with God is secure in Jesus, what do we do with the effects of sin now? As we keep sinning and being sinned against, how is the gospel relevant to our present lives? The answer is that God is not only faithful to condemn sin for us, but He is also faithful to condemn sin in us. Namely, He is faithful to kill the power that sin has over us by giving us His re-creating Holy Spirit. What does the Spirit’s work look like? It’s not always what we want. In the first place, he changes us from being unable to differentiate life from death (v.7) to realizing just how deathly our lives really are. This often seems like bad news to us, and evidence that the Spirit is not at work. However, in the mercy of God, the Spirit’s conviction leads us to the one place where we can have true life and peace (v.6): the cross of Jesus Christ. It is only at the cross where God can declare to us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. And it is also only at the cross where we can see that God will surely finish the redeeming work He started. Just as Christ rose again to new life, even in His physical body, we have the assurance that He will also give us new life, and rid the effects of sin as far as the curse is found (v.11).
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
Where does condemnation play a role in your life? How does your own sense of condemnation impact how you relate to God?
Drawing from this passage, how have you seen the Spirit at work in your own life recently? How would you know if it were the Spirit’s work?
How can the cross of Jesus Christ give you hope in your present life as you still feel the effects of sin? As comfortable, think of personal examples.
Fill in the blank: If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in me, He is able to help me ______.
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 44. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...