FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
When God justifies sinners, He is not declaring bad people good, or saying that they are not sinners after all; He is pronouncing them legally righteous, free from any liability to the broken law [of God], because He, Himself in His own son has borne the penalty of their law breaking. - John Stott
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 5:12-21
Christ the Solid Rock - Adoration
Jesus is Our Great Salvation - Adoration
And Can It Be - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Come Ye Souls by Sin Afflicted - Response
Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th
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 12-22.
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 want to share with you a preview of an article Meg and I have been talking about. I realize it may not apply to all who read this but if you think about it for a moment I think you'll see how it can. Unfortunately you have to purchase the whole article to read beyond the preview. However, I hope even the preview may be encouraging and stimulating to many of you. If you would like a copy of the full article, let me know and I'll get you one.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go (verse 1 & 4)
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Father in heaven, we need to be forgiven. We have tried to work off our guilt and shame; to pile up good deeds that outweigh our bad deeds. We have tried to change through our own efforts. When this doesn’t work, we turn to denial and distraction, leaving some of us arrogant and the rest of us anxious and depressed. Forgive us for thinking we could save ourselves rather than resting in the merits of Jesus Christ. Forgive us for our pride. Forgive us and heal us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Words of Grace
22 Thus says the Lord God: 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 …[A]nd you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:22, 25-28
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 5:1-11
1. The fruits of justification
2. The path to glory
3. The love of God
The Heart of the Message
What’s the heart of the message? God loves sinners and he wants you to know that and to experience it! What does he want you to know about his love? He wants you to know that through faith in Jesus Christ you are now at peace with Him. You are no longer his enemy. (v. 10) You are now his beloved son or daughter. Not only that, you are now fully accepted and welcomed into his very presence, permanently and irrevocably. Paul calls this “standing in grace.” (v. 2) You have more reason to rejoice in hope than to wallow in despair. God will finish what he started and that means sustaining you in hope until that great day when we see him face to face. But what about the reality of life as we know it? Strangely Paul says, “we rejoice in our sufferings” too. (v. 3) The gospel story is a story of suffering swallowed up in glory; death giving way to life; of death leading to resurrection. Paul here teaches us that God’s love reaches into the very pressures and challenges and persecutions of life this side of heaven in order to implant in us a hope that will never disappoint or put to shame. These are big claims with serious implications for everyday living. How can you be sure of God’s love expressed in terms of peace, grace and glory? Because while we were incapable of saving ourselves, while we were rebels, while were dead in our sin, while we were God’s enemies Christ died for us. (v. 8) We have been justified by his blood. (v. 9) We have been reconciled by his death. (v. 10) But what if I know that but struggle to believe it. God not only shows you his love in Christ, he pours his love into your heart. (v. 5) When a sinner puts his or her faith in Christ, which is itself a gift of grace, God gives his Holy Spirit. Why does he give his children his Holy Spirit? So that you would experience in your very being his love for you proved in Jesus Christ! God’s free justification is how we can know and experience God’s deep, deep love in Jesus.
- What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
- If you had to define Justification in your own words, how would you do it.?
- Which fruit of Justification do find hardest to accept, or understand, or enjoy? Why?
- How can you delight in God’s love this week, especially if you’re struggling?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 33.Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?
A. No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ. To seek salvation through good works is a denial that Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.