FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
The cross is what Caesar’s kingdom does to show that Caesar is lord. But then as we read the story [of scripture] we discover that the cross is what God does to say that Jesus Christ is Lord. – N.T. Wright
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Genesis 4:1-26
Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven - Adoration
God of My Life, to Thee I Call - Confession
Nothing but the Blood - Grace
Friend of Sinners - Response
Be Still and Know - 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 Ephesians.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may findthis approach and this app helpful.
What is the role of the church with respect to broader social concerns and problems? This is not a new question. It is a question that has challenged the church throughout its history. And yet Jesus brings this challenge and opportunity to his church when he proclaims, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty the those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Lk. 4:18-19; Is. 61:1-2) What does it look like to follow after Jesus in keeping with what he says he came to do? Sometimes it's helpful to get some historical perspective on big challenging questions like this one. To that end I commend to you this article entitled Let the Church Be the Church! Calvin’s Theology of Social Justice.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Joy to the World
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as, the curse is found
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills. Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Help us to believe and trust that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Genesis 3:1-24
1. What is our experience through the lens of Genesis 3
2. Where does our experience being (v. 1-7)
3. How can our experience be transformed (v. 20-21, 15)
The Heart of the Message
In order to understand the good news of the Bible you have to understand the bad news. Genesis 3 explains why we are the way we are and why our world is the way it is. Shot through with shame, guilt, and brokenness. In order to feel the force of this story we need to see it as where our story begins (v. 20) and how it presents God as the only one who can provide what we most deeply need (v. 21). Despite the tragedy of this story in stark contrast to Genesis 2, there is good news even in the bad news. God promises that the seed of the woman will conquer the serpent, that is, the Devil/Satan (v. 15). The seed of the woman will come as the champion for men and women, boys and girls ravaged by sin. He will cover them with his obedience and take their punishment in their place (2 Cor. 5:21). He will thwart the wiles of Satan and open the way back to the tree of life (Rev. 22:2).
- What features of this story stand out to you the most? What do you notice about the characters?
- How can you relate to the experience of Adam and Eve in this story?
- How would you describe temptation based on this story?
- What is an area in your life you need God to cover you? How does Jesus provide that covering?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 9. What does God require in the first, second, and third commandments?
A. First, that we know and trust God as the only true and living God. Second, that we avoid all idolatry and do not worship God improperly. Third, that we treat God’s name with fear and reverence, honoring also his Word and works.
It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you.