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: Hebrews 10:19-25
Come Holy Ghost - Adoration
Jesus, Cast a Look - Confession
How Firm a Foundation - Grace
We Will Feast in the House of Zion - Response
Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners - 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 Genesis 12-50.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
In light of what we looked at in Romans 4 and 5, I want to commend to you this little book to help you meditate on God's free justification and what it means for you.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Arise, My Soul, Arise
My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And "Father, Abba, Father," cry.
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.
Assurance of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - 1 Corinthians 15:3-9
1. What the Gospel is?
2. Who the Gospel is for?
The Heart of the Message
For the next four weeks we are looking at our Core Values as a church. We started this week with Gospel Centrality by looking at 1 Corinthians 15:3-9. Gospel Centrality is the first of our four Core Values because we believe everything in the life of faith begins and flows from what God has done in Jesus Christ. Seems simple enough, except every church is prone to displace the gospel with something else. Therefore, Paul says, “I delivered to you as of first importance…Christ died for our sins…that he was buried…that he was raised on the third day…and that he appeared…[to many].” In order to grasp what Paul is saying we need to be clear about what kind of good news he is talking about. According to the Bible, the term “gospel” has a very specific meaning. It is a report or an announcement about the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. The gospel is not to be confused with the blessings of the gospel, like justification or forgiveness, or peace with God, or the hope of glory. Why is this important? Because when we confuse what the gospel is with what the gospel does, we inevitably shift the good news from what Jesus has done to what we are doing. Building our common life together on how we are doing is not good news. So where do we find good news in the midst of our daily lives? We find it not in ourselves but in Christ! Paul also tells us this gospel can bear the weight of your trust because it is reliable. He explains how Jesus appeared to Peter, the 12 disciples and to more than 500 brothers who were still alive at the writing of 1 Corinthians. That’s Paul’s way of saying, “if you don’t believe what I am telling you go ask those people who were there and saw Jesus alive from the dead.” In addition, Paul had every reason to dismiss this “Gospel”. He was moving up the ranks of Judaism and growing in power and influence. He was a persecutor of the church. But Jesus broke into his life and changed him. In other words, the gospel is for the unworthy and undeserving no matter how worthy and deserving someone might be in the eyes of the religious or irreligious. How can we as a church keep the gospel central in our common life together? By looking to Jesus and how he didn’t allow anything to displace his love for sinners no matter the cost. Keeping the gospel central means there is always good news for us regardless of our successes and failures, sorrows and triumphs.
- What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
- Why is it important to distinguish between what the Gospel is and what it does?
- How are you tempted to look for good news in your life rather than in Christ?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 35. Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?
A. All the gifts we receive from Christ we receive through the Holy Spirit, including faith itself.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.