- This event has passed.
Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (8:30 am & 10:30 am)
December 4, 2016 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who are in awe of Him.
Congregation: He will hear their cry and save them.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
– Confession –
Confession of sin
Congregation is invited to kneel if able
+ Assurance of Pardon
Minister: Your sins are forgiven through Christ.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
+ Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed
Minister: Christian, what do you believe?
Congregation: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades. On the third day He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. (Bulletin pg. 8-9)
+ Responsive Reading: Heidelberg Catechism: Question 65
Minister: Since, then, faith alone makes us share in Christ and all his benefits, where does such faith originate?
Congregation: The Holy Spirit creates it in our hearts by the preaching of the holy gospel, and confirms it by the use of the holy Sacraments.
Magnificat…………………………………………..416-19 (SM 14.1)
– Consecration –
+ Scripture Reading
Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 1:5-17
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Opening: Psalm 108:5-6
Thanksgiving: 2 Corinthians 9:9-11
Petitions: Matthew 21:21-22
Advent II Sermon
We want to spend this Advent contemplating the way God wants us to mark and celebrate things. It is not just what we celebrate, but how we celebrate it. Think of this series of messages as an emphasis on Adverbial Advent. Not just what (the birth of Jesus), but also how (the life of Jesus, more Jesus). Remember also that the how includes not squabbling over these issues. It means being fully convinced in your own mind, and if you are hearing it rightly, being fully convinced by gospel.
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Gal. 4:3–11).
Summary of the Text:
In the time of the old covenant, the people of God were under a rigorous system of calendar observance (v. 3). In fact, it was rigorous enough that Paul called it bondage. But when the fullness of time was come, God gave us His Son, born of a woman, born under the law (v. 4). He did this in order to redeem those who had been under the law, doing it so that they might enter into their adoption as sons (v. 5). This is something God testifies to by sending His Spirit into our hearts, a Spirit that cries out Abba, Father (v. 6). This means we are no longer slaves, but rather adopted sons (v. 7). Back when they did not know God, they used to do service to those entities which by nature are not gods (v. 8). This means that Paul is (interestingly) conflating the condition of old covenant Jews and pagan Gentiles. Why, having been liberated from all that, would you return again to the weak and beggarly elements (v. 9). What would that return look like? It would look like observing days and month and times and years (v. 10). Paul is fearful—whatever this is, it could amount to an unraveling of the gospel (v. 11).
There Is A Line Here Somewhere:
As we noted earlier, Paul has given us the principle of leaving a man alone. Don’t hassle him because he considers one day above another (Rom. 14:5). That by itself need not be a problem. But it can become a problem, and when it does, it is a problem for everyone. How so?
Paul teaches that there is a kind of calendar observance that undoes the force of the gospel. And, of course, it is cheerfully admitted that there is a kind of Christmas observance that does no such thing. What this means is that if we mark certain days, months, times and years, we had better This should remind us of the old children’s joke—“what is the difference between a mailbox and a hippopotamus?” “I don’t know, what?” “Well, we had better not send you to mail any letters.” There is plainly a very problematic line here. Our fundamental duty as we approach this problem is to know where that line is.
Incidentally, it does no good for a fellow to solve the problem by walking over to that other zone, where folks consider every day alike. It is safe over here, he mutters to himself. Well, no it isn’t. The human heart can fashion idols out of abstractions and thin air, and can do so anywhere.
Characteristics of Bondage:
So let us look at this text and see how this problem, when it is a problem, manifests itself. It can be summed up this way:
1. Immaturity v. maturity 2. Bondage v. liberty 3. Slavishness v. sonship 4. Unredeemed v. redeemed 5. Under the law v. under grace 6. Spiritless v. Spirit-filled 7. Fatherless v. fathered 8. Poor v. heirs 9. Slave to the calendar v. Master of the calendar
Not a Reenactment:
The period of Advent is not to be a reenactment of the time of the old covenant. We are telling the story of that time, not going through that time again. Before it came to pass that the fullness of the time was come, the people of God were under a burden. Even those who looked forward in true saving faith had to carry the weight of it. During this season of the year, we are carrying the responsibility of telling the story rightly, which means that we know the dénouement. We lean toward the conclusion with celebratory delight. When you are reading The Lord of the Rings to your children for the first time, and Frodo and Sam are crawling up Mt. Doom, your emotional spirit is quite different from your children’s emotional spirit, and theirs is likely different from Frodo’s and Sam’s.
At The Name of Jesus:
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). If you wanted to sum up the condition described above, the best way to do it would be with words like guilt, no forgiveness, and condemnation. That condition, when it handles the calendar, wants to do it in ways that provide some relief from the guilt without surrendering control. And that is the condition of the guilt-ridden person—clutching at the levers of control, he wants to engineer, somehow, jury-rigged relief from the guilt. But Jesus came. He was born, lived, died, was buried, rose, and ascended. There is nothing that we can contribute to this. He shall save His people from their sins.
– Communion –
Of the Father’s Love Begotten…………………..246-47 (CY 21.1)
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Savior of the Nations Come, v.s 6…………………….225
Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.
Charge & Benediction
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessings of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon, and remain with you always. Amen.