FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
The gospel is Jesus Christ given to us with all the blessings of God contained in him. – Ian Murray
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Genesis 20-21
How Firm a Foundation - Adoration
Come, O Come Thou Quickening Spirit - Confession
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us - Grace
Your Labor is Not in Vain - Response
Jesus, Lead Us with Thy Power - 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 Revelation 1-11.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
I have three suggested resources for you this week.
1. Given we just looked at Genesis 19 and several weeks ago Romans 1, I thought you might find helpful this brief summary of the handful of texts in scripture dealing explicitly with homosexuality written by Sam Allberry.
2. In a similar vein the most recent cover article from the Atlantic is well worth your time to read. You likely may disagree with much and perhaps even the whole premise of the article. But it is good for us to be familiar with what others are saying and thinking about sexuality and especially in this case transgenderism.
3. Last month author Alissa Quart published a book entitled Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America. It is a sobering survey of the current economic landscape as it bears on middle class families especially in light of the last 30-50 years. Again you might not agree with it all but it is nevertheless deeply thought provoking.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, remove our fear, envy and pride and melt our hearts with the good news of the Gospel. Transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Genesis 19
1. The Tragedy of Lot
2. The Judgment of God
3. The Unexpected Outcome
The Heart of the Message
Genesis 19 is a dark story from beginning to end with Abraham’s nephew, Lot at the center of the action. In the flow of the narrative Lot serves as a literary foil to Abraham, that is, a contrast to Abraham. Specifically, Lot illustrates what it looks like to live by sight (13:10-13) in contrast to Abraham and what it looks like to live by faith (13:14-18). Genesis 13-19 tell of a gradual downward trend to Lot’s story ending with him living afraid with his two daughters in a cave. Genesis 19 also illustrates a people living in complete contrast to God’s original design for human flourishing and the judgment to follow. All told Genesis 19 is a cautionary tale of slow spiritual decline and God’s just judgment against human wickedness. However, this story raises a very important personal question. How can God deal justly with sin and not lose us? Is it possible for God to be both just and the justifier of the ungodly? The answer to this question is actually present in this dark chapter of scripture. Lot’s firstborn son by his eldest daughter is named Moab a descendent of whom is Ruth, the Moabite, the Grandmother of King David from whom THE Son of David is descended (Matt. 1:1,5). God reweaves Lot’s story into His great story of redemption through Ruth through David through Jesus who came to save his people from their sins (Mt. 1:21). [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Put differently Jesus was left in Sodom & Gomorrah so that we might go free without fear and receive from Jesus all the help we need to live by faith and not by sight until that great day when we see him face to face!
- What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
- Looking at Lot, how would you describe a life lived by sight rather than by faith?
- God’s judgment is often difficult to accept. But why might God’s judgment give you more reason to listen and believe in him, not less?
- Why is it so important to read stories like Gen. 19 in light of the whole bible?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 27.Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved, through Christ?
A. No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith. Nevertheless God in his mercy demonstrates common grace even to those who are not elect, by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.