Sunday Recap | February 25, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

 

Words For Reflection:

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.

Brene Brown

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text: Genesis 3:1-24

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name - Adoration
Jesus, I Come - Confession
In Christ Alone - Grace
Joy to the World - Response
Your Labor is Not in Vain - 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 Galatians.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may findthis approach and this app helpful. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Jesus, The Lord, My Savior Is
Whate'er I need in Jesus dwells,
And there it dwells in me;
'Tis Christ my earthen vessel fills
With treasures rich and free.
Mercy and truth and righteousness,
And peace most richly meet
In Jesus Christ the King of grace.
In Whom I stand complete.
Whate'er I need in Jesus dwells,
And there it dwells in me;
'Tis Christ my earthen vessel fills
With treasures rich and free.

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. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
 
Romans 8:1-4

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

Sunday's Sermon: Made For Relationship

Sermon Text - Genesis 2:4-25
 

Sermon Outline:
1. God provides a home (v. 5-9, 15)
2. God provides direction (v. 16-17)
3. God provides companionship (v. 18-25)

Sermon Reflection

It's not hard to look at our own lives or the news and become acutely aware things are not as they should be? But how do you know that? How should things be if not how they are?

Genesis 2:4-25 answers these questions for us. It unfolds for us what God's original intention and design was for human flourishing.

The careful reader might wonder what is the relationship between Genesis 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-25? Are these two separate creation accounts? The answer is, "No." Genesis 2:5-25 is a focused meditation on the events of the sixth day of creation recorded in chapter 1:26-28, the chief event of which was God's creation of man, male and female after his own image.

The first thing we notice is God provides a home in which man is to live and work and flourish. Beginning with forming the man out of the dust of the earth, like a potter, God plants a garden and places the man in it. It is a garden full of beauty and provision, everything the man could want or need to thrive. Closely related to God's provision is God's gift of work. Man is created in God's image with a purpose: to work and to keep God's garden.

But what does that look like? How should the man go about his work? God provides direction in v. 16-17. This is the first covenant arrangement in the bible. (re: Hos. 6:7) What is a covenant? One biblical scholar defines a covenant as an arrangement "that formally binds the parties together in a relationship; they are to be true to the covenant by keeping their promises of loyalty and commitment." In this covenant God gives the man freedom to live in keeping with his design. He is to enjoy all that God has provided, to listen to his instruction, and in doing so never see death. But if he does not listen and obey he will surely die. Interestingly God never says eat from the Tree of Life. He only says don't eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. What was the purpose of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Well first this knowledge can't be bad as it is attributed to God in Genesis 3:22. The question is how does this tree impart knowledge of good and evil? According to God it comes from not eating from it. At first this might seem counterintuitive. But C.S. Lewis writes, "those who are seriously attempting to [resist temptation], are more conscious, and soon know a great deal more about their own [weakness and need] than anyone else...even attempted [obedience] brings light; indulgence brings fog." Therefore, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is a means of this knowledge either from mastery of temptation or from slavery to sin. One brings light and life, the other darkness and death.

Lastly God provides the man a helper fit for him for it is not good for the man to be alone. 3:18 is the first and only "not good" in the creation account. And it is only after the creation of woman in verse 21-23 that God then looks at all he has made in 1:28 and says it's "very good." God provides a best friend for Adam. Someone who corresponds to him not just physically, but in every part of life. They are together to carry out their calling to be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over all God has made. This gift becomes the basis for the Bible's definition of marriage. It is to be exclusive ("a man shall leave"), permanent ("hold fast"), a God-sealed bond ("shall become one flesh"), and one of perfect ease ("naked endnote ashamed").

However, the very last verse reminds us this passage was written to people who knew shame just like we do. Therefore, despite distance in time and difference in culture we are no different than God's people journeying to the promised land. We like them need a way back to God's original design. But we can't get their on our own, which means it must come from outside of us. That is precisely where the Gospel of free grace meets us. Jesus came not just to tend and work God's garden but to make a whole new creation. He came to get right what we got wrong. He came to resist temptation and to free from sin. He came to be the true spouse to a blemished, undesirable bride in order to cleanse her, to see her in splendor without spot or wrinkle, so she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:26-27) He does this by giving his life for his bride. (Eph. 5:25) And because of what he has done we can be sure that through faith in him, he is not ashamed to call us family (Heb. 2:16). In other words, Jesus has come to restore and renew God's original design for his image bearers who look to him in faith.
 

Sermon Reflection Questions

  1. We themes or repeated words or phrase stand out to you from this passage?
  2. What questions does this passage raise for you?
  3. What do you learn about God?
  4. Why do you think we have such a hard time receive God's gifts of identity and purpose?
  5. How can this opening passage give you hope no matter what you are going through? (see also Phil. 1:6)

Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
 
Q. 8. What is the law of God stated in the Ten Commandments?
 
A. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below—you shall not bow down to them or worship them. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. You shall not covet.
 
Exodus 20:3
You shall have no other gods before me.