FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
The heart of man is his worst part before it be regenerate, and the best afterwards: it is the seat of principles, and fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of a Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion, is, to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is, to keep the heart with God. – John Flavel
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life. – Prov. 4:23
You cannot destroy love for the world merely by showing its emptiness. The world-centered love of our hearts can be expelled only by a new love and affection-for God and from God. The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot coexist in the same heart. ― Sinclair Ferguson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 3:1-20
Alleluia Sing to Jesus! - Adoration
Psalm 130 (From the Depths of Woe) - Confession
Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Come Ye Souls by Sin Afflicted - Response
Jesus, Our Hope, Our Heart’s Desire - 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 Hebrews.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Perhaps you've seen the viral video of the 4 year old "superhero" from Birmingham. If not, here you go.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
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 2:17-29
1. The problem with privileges (v. 17-20)
2. Some uncomfortable questions (v. 21-24)
3. The one thing necessary (v. 25-29)
The Heart of the Message
Along with 1:18-2:16, this passage is part of Paul’s argument that all, both Jews and Greeks are under sin (3:9). This is a passage written to religious insiders who build their identity and security on being a part of the right group with the right credentials. However, if that’s you, this is a bad news passage. If you build your life on outward appearances, however religious and biblical, they can’t save you. On the other hand, if you believe your biggest problem is you, no matter who you are or what group you belong to, this passage is full of good news. It holds out hope that you are not beyond hope; God can circumcise your heart through Christ by the Holy Spirit. How would you know if God has and is circumcising your heart? Take a look at Galatians 5:22-24 for clues to the work of the Spirit in your life however small and intermittent.
- What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
- How would you describe the spiritual problem Paul is exposing in this passage? Can you relate to it?
- What’s your reaction to these two statements:
- “God loves a broken heart not a divided heart.”
- “What a man/woman is on his/her knees before God, that he/she is, and nothing more.”
- What do you think a circumcised heart would look and sound like in light of this passage? How do you get that new heart?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 18. Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?
A. No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.