Church Blog

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

As we quoted on Sunday…We were made for the glory of God.

We were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things; and when we trade that treasure for images, everything is disordered. The sun of God’s glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. And when it does, all the planets of our life are held in their proper orbit. But when the sun is dis- placed, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center.

Read more for yourself.

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, John Piper


This Resurrection Life

 Living as justified men and women in a post resurrection world.

This Sunday, April 28, we begin a new sermon series exploring our identity in Christ. We are justified men and women because Jesus has been raised from the dead.

Who are you? How do you identify yourself?  An identity is what you identify with; you identify with your family; you identify with your politics; you identify with your ethnicity; you identify with your style. Christians identify wholly with Jesus Christ. When God the Father looks at your past, he sees the past obedience of Jesus. When God the father looks at your present, he sees the present righteousness of Jesus. When God the father looks at your future, he sees the future glory of Jesus.

But we, looking at ourselves in the mirror, do not see any of these things. Why? Because we are ignorant, unbelieving, and unrighteous, but mostly ignorant. (The word just means, we do not yet know).

We will get to the way we become actually righteous in Romans chapter 6 to 8 (most likely in January) but let me give you the long and short of it right now. God has declared you justified, actually righteous, through faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. That is, God has credited the death of Jesus for your debt and the life of Jesus for your present wealth – a down payment of what is to come in the Spirit.

In reality, I still see sin in my body. How will God get the members of my flesh and blood body to match the righteous declaration in Christ? That question is asked in Romans 6. Romans 7 answers, “not by law!” That agonizing chapter is a man trying to be transformed by external works and it only results in a greater awareness of his condemnation. Chapter 8 concludes the section by teaching us that we become actually holy by walking in the Spirit; by a true transformation, from the inside out, over time.

I am well aware that when I say, “walk in the Spirit,” some of you immediately take your seatbelt off and move freely about the cabin. The word Spirit means anything beyond the Bible, in your thinking. Don’t do that. Please, for God’s sake. Literally, for God’s sake. We will see in Romans 8 that being led by the Spirit or walking in the Spirit is a way of talking about God empowered obedience in the present world. So, that’s a simple summary of how we become actually more and more righteous, more and more like Christ.

In the next six weeks, we will address our ignorance and unbelief or positively, we will learn the truth versus the lie that we may have a more full faith in Jesus Christ from first to last.

The Scriptures have much to say about who you are, what you are for and where you were going. It is found within the story of sin and redemption, that is, the story of how God remakes the world through Jesus Christ. 

I want to look at six biblical relationships of man that tell us who we really are. The aim is to leave you justified in Christ, identifying fully and totally in Christ. To every question, “Christian, who are you?” You should be able answer with confidence, “I am in Christ.”

  • April 28 – You and God: You are a valuable person made in God’s image.
  • May 5 – You and your Body: You are both body and soul and both are good.
  • May 12 – You and Sin: You are “unfinished.”
  • May 19 – You and God’s Church: You are part of a family.
  • May 25 – You and the World: You are for good.
  • June 2 – You and God’s Glory: You are for glory.

I am looking forward to seeing what God will do in our lives through His Word in the next 6 weeks.

Pastor Robert


Why You Can Believe the Bible

“I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eye witnesses during the lifetime of other eye witnesses.  They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophesies and claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin.”

Dr. Voddie Baucham


On Justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

The book of Romans is strengthening our foundation by washing away the sand we stand on and leaving the solid bedrock of Christ alone.
 
“People sometimes wonder what they must do to justify them- selves before God. The answer is that there is nothing we can do except believe. This is where Christianity differs from every other religion, from every merely human attempt to attain righteousness…Thus the only thing we can do is put our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. If we trust in him and his justifying work on the cross, then God will declare us righteous. We are acceptable to God, not by keep- ing his law but by trusting in the only man who ever did—Jesus Christ…There is an important reason for this distinction between faith and works—a reason that helps us to understand the purpose of our justification in the plan of God. If justification comes only by faith, then the biblical way of justification ensures that all of the glory goes to God alone. If we are justified by the saving work of Jesus rather than by our own work, then all the praise for our salvation goes to him and not to us. Thus the goal of justification—like every other aspect of the gospel—is the glory of God.”
 
Justification, by Philip Ryken

The Glory of God in Creation

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.


Justification changes everything

Sunday we had the joy of preaching through one passage that changed the world, Rom. 1:16-17. God used this passage to convert Martin Luther, which in turn has brought freedom to you in so many ways.

Here are a few simple resources to aid you in growing your faith through this study.

What is Justification? A simple two page explanation.

The Bible on Justification. A list of the Bible verses on justification.

Justification. A short, 25 page booklet to buy or download. Read this!

Faith Alone. A substantial book on the history and theology of justification by faith alone.

Why Justification matters. A thorough lecture on Justification from John Piper.

Justification. A full video course you could buy from RC Sproul on Justification. This is worth its weight in gold.

Enjoy!


Wisdom is passed between generations

God has commanded parents to disciple their children and He will hold fathers accountable for it. If this is God’s design, then this is what will raise the church’s children into the next generation of Christian adults. The following are a few helpful resources on multi-generational ministry in the local church to raise up the next generation to be Christian adults.

Who invented adolescence? Mardi Keyes article looks into the history of adolescence and shows it to have an unbiblical foundation. 

Critique of Modern Youth Ministry This booklet from Chris Schlect addresses the fruit of building a church ministry on a worldly foundation of adolescence and gives a quick critique in order to restore multi-generational ministry behind the discipleship of parents.

What is wrong with age segregated, entertainment based youth ministry? Voddie Baucham answers questions about the institutional sacred cow of youth ministry and offers an argument for Family based youth ministry.

Parents are our Youth Ministry  Voddie again giving a sermon that encourages parents to disciple their own children and churches to do everything they can to encourage and support.

Family Based Youth Ministry This book by Mark Devries shows how this can work itself out practically in a local congregation.

Yes, we will get them together and yes, there will be fun, but the most important things are (1) their own parents and (2) other believing adults who will teach them and disciple them and prepare them to be adults who will love Jesus and lay their lives down.


The Holy Family

We celebrate our new lineage this Christmas through the grace of adoption.

All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father; yet never cast off; but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs, of everlasting salvation. (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4, 5; John 1:12; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 6:18;Revelation 3:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18; Psalms 103:13; Proverbs 14:26; 1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 12:6; Isaiah 54:8, 9; Lamentations 3:31; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 1:14;Hebrews 6:12 )


Advent: the beginning of our year

Did you know that New Years shows up about 5 weeks too late for Christians. Just like when we wake up in the morning, thinking we are starting a new day, we find that God has beat us to it. The Christian Church starts the year 4 Sundays before Christmas with a time that we call Advent or coming,a commemoration and rearranging based upon the birth of Jesus to be the King of everything.

While the grounds for Advent is the first coming, the hope is in the second coming. The time has historically been used to both reflect on what Jesus has done and to prepare our hearts and lives for his second in the rearranging of all things during Advent.

We celebrate Advent in our public worship services and in our homes with a the lighting of four candles. We will do this during our serves and encourage you to pick up a family Advent devotional at the back to use with your family and neighbors. The first candle reminds us that Jesus brought hope where we did not have it before. As we light the first candle together we rearrange our lives that have gotten out of balance based on hope. The second candle calls us to reenter the story of God’s love fully and finally proven to us in Jesus. The third candle celebrates the joy that is ours as the people of God, the joy we will only own in practice as we praise and pray. Finally, the last candle calls us to rearrange our lives towards the goal of peace for which Jesus came into the world – the summing up of all things, the removal of all grounds for alienation.

As your Pastor I am inviting you, church, to join with thousands of years of our believing ancestors and begin your year with Advent. Rearrange your hearts and your annual goals based on adding up Christmas rightly. Not by credit card receipts, but by the gifts of hope, love, joy and peace. Rearrange during the four week preparation so that we may worship fully together on Christmas Sunday as the gathered people of God in this place. Rearrange during Advent, worship on Christmas Sunday and just enjoy the feast on Christmas Day in honor of all that God has done by becoming a man in Jesus.


Serve Your Neighbor in your Vocation

We are saved only by grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. But then we are sent back into our callings to live out that faith.

In this great little article, Gene Veith celebrates the Protestant doctrine of vocation.

 

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