- This event has passed.
Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (9:00 am – 11:00 am)
November 19, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Congregation: And also to you.
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!
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.
Minister: What is the first petition?
Congregation: “Hallowed be thy name.” That is: help us first of all to know thee rightly, and to hallow, glorify, and praise thee in all thy works through which there shine thine almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. And so order our whole life in thought, word, and deed that thy name may never be blasphemed on our account, but may always be honored and praised.
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Daniel 12:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBERS
CC: Catherine Covington and Benjamin White
CC: Iona Diem Alexa Barendregt
Congregational Charge: Little child, for you Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled and suffered; for your sake He crossed Gethsemane and went through the darkness of Calvary; for your sake He cried: ‘It is finished’; for your sake He died and for your sake He overcame death; indeed for your sake, little child, and you—still— know nothing of it. And thus the word of the apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loved us first.’
(Taken from an old French Reformed Baptism Rite)
Opening: Isaiah 40:21, 22
Thanksgiving: Isaiah 61:10
Petitions: Isaiah 25:6
Psalm 128………………………………..bulletin pg. 8
CC: Apostles Creed 19: The Forgiveness of Sins (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
One of the central features of the new covenant is the glorious reality of forgiveness of sins. In Hebrews 8, Jeremiah’s prophecy of the new covenant is quoted at some length (Heb. 8:8-12). But several chapters later, it is quoted again, but this time in abbreviated form. This abbreviation shows what aspects of the new covenant are being emphasized as central. There are two such aspects—they are the internalization of the law (Heb. 10:16) and the remission of sins (Heb. 10:17-18). It is therefore not surprising to find the forgiveness of sins included in the Creed.
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.
Summary of the Text:
“And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:15–18).
The apostle Paul is recounting his conversion, and how the Lord Jesus appeared to him. He asked the Lord who He was (v. 15), and received the answer that it was Jesus, the one he was persecuting. Jesus then told Paul to stand up so that He could make him a minister and a witness, both of what he had seen and what he would in the future see (v. 16). The Lord promised to deliver him from the people and from the Gentiles, those to whom he was being sent (v. 17). As he preached to them, there would be three aspects to their coming into their salvation, which is described as “forgiveness of sins” and an “inheritance among the sanctified.”
Three Stages of Conversion:
The first thing is that his preaching would “open their eyes.” The second is that they would be turned “from darkness to light.” The third is the transfer; they are moved from the power of Satan unto God. This is what it means to be ushered into the forgiveness of sins.
To have your eyes opened is here to be made aware of your need. A person in the dark who has had his eyes opened becomes aware of the fact that he is in the dark. But to be in dark despair is no solution; it is simply the awareness of the need for a solution. The second thing is to turn them toward the light, which is the gospel message. At this point they are made aware of the fact that they are in the dark here, but the light is over there. The third stage effects the actual change, where the person is moved from the dominion of the dark into the dominion of the light. That dominion of light is described as receiving forgiveness of sins, and the inheritance of the saints.
Giving the gospel to people who have not had their eyes opened is like turning blind people toward the light. Giving the law to people without preaching grace is like healing a blind man down in the depths of a dark cavern. How would he know he was healed?
The holiness of God’s law, God’s righteousness, is what opens eyes. The message of Christ crucified and risen is what shines the light. When the person’s eyes are opened, then they should be turned. The last step is
What Forgiveness Entails:
Forgiveness does not mean that God will now accept your excuses. Forgiveness does not mean that God has somehow lowered His standards. Forgiveness does not mean that things weren’t that bad to begin with.
Forgiveness, being grounded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has to be complete and total. You are cleansed. You are washed. There is nothing in between you and God. In the Book of Life, there is no asterisk by your name. If someone is forgiven at all, they are forgiven completely. There is nothing shaky about it. All your sins, past, present, and future, have had anvils tied to them all, and have been thrown into an ocean of mercy, there to drown at their leisure (Micah 7:19). In the resurrection, you will be at the eastern end of forever, and your sins will be at the western end (Ps. 103:12).
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14).
Freely You Have Received:
Those who are recipients of God’s gifts truly are people who are prepared to give in the same way they have received (Mark 10:8). If we received forgiveness, but are surly when required to extend it, this demonstrates that we never really grasped the concept. A man who refuses to forgive is not a man who has had his eyes opened, or who has been turned from darkness to light, or from the power of Satan to the power of God. No, he is just a man who said that happened. We can see whether it happened or not in the forgiveness he shows.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14–15).
So is forgiveness of others a “work” we must perform in order to earn our own forgiveness? Not a bit of it. Rather, it is simply a recognition of the truth that when God rescues a man from drowning He does not leave him on the bottom of the pond.
CCD: The Joy of Christ’s Increase (Ty Knight)Sermon
Text: John 3:22-36
Life in Community
We are part of the Moscow community which covers the spectrum of people from the Renaissance Fair to our Reformation Fest. Within this cultural hodgepodge there forms tighter communities––church community, school community, work community, family community. But what happens when one community appears to compete with another community? An unassuming statement like “I love our church community” can reveal competition, rivalries, envy.
A similar situation prompts our story in John 3 when some of John’s disciples vent their frustration about the upstart Jesus and his rival baptism ministry, “Look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” But instead of adding his own grumbles, John directs his disciples to truth that completes his joy––Jesus must increase, but I must decrease. John gives the guiding principle for a godly and joyful life and community. When you live with this mentality––Jesus must increase, but I must decrease, you enter into the life of the Trinity and discover complete joy.
Rival Baptizers? (vs. 22-24)
Jesus and his disciples depart from Jerusalem and begin baptizing. And we could rightly assume that John the Baptist would now retire from his job as the Baptist. Jesus has arrived and He can take it from here. But the passage says that John and his disciples continue to baptize in Aenon near Salim. There’s still water, there’s still people, there’s still time before he’s imprisoned and beheaded. How about this to reshape our thinking on retirement.
Ministry Monopoly (vs. 25-26)
A discussion arises between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. The discussion group comes to John to sort things out. But instead of presenting a question, they vent their frustration, “Rabbi, he who was with you across from the Jordan, to whom you bore witness––look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” They are wounded for John and concerned for his ministry. They thought they had set up a monopoly on the baptism market, and now they feel competition.
He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease (vs. 27-30)
John holds an open hand to his ministry knowing that it all has come from God in Heaven. And remember what he’s said all along––I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. John has not set himself up as a rival to Jesus and doesn’t let his disciples hoist him up on the pedestal either. In fact, his disciples are thinking about it all wrong. They shouldn’t regret Christ’s advancement but rejoices in it. That’s what John is doing. He’s like the friend of the groom on the wedding day beaming as he watches the groom laugh and hug and kiss his bride. The friend has done lots of work preparing this moment (setting up chairs, last minute ice-run, escorting Great Aunt Marge), and it all out of joy.
“Therefore this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” This seems like a backwards way to achieve joy, at least by the world’s reckoning but not in God’s world. The principle is that when Jesus increases, joy increases.
From Heaven and Not From Earth (vs. 31-33)
In the last verses of the chapter, John explains why we should rejoice in the exaltation of Jesus Christ. To begin with, Jesus is not from around here. Jesus has breathed the air at the summit of Heaven and has come down to earth and so has greater authority over man. But Jesus is not only different in superiority but also in substance than any other man. Man belongs to the earth, and as Paul says, “We have borne the image of the man of dust” (1 Cor. 15: 47-49). What do we look like when we share a family resemblance to Adam? We are selfish, envious, quarrelsome, murdering, drunkards and that just gets us a few chapters into Genesis. But 1 Corinthians 15 gives hope of a new image––of the man from heaven who is infinitely different from Adam or any of his earthy descendants.
Life with the Triune God (vs. 34-36)
In verses 34-35, we glimpse the life in the Trinity. Two present tense verbs reveal what the Father does 1)The Father is always giving to the Son the Spirit without measure and 2) the Father is always loving the Son. Giving and loving are central to the community of the Trinity.
Remember we are answering the question, “Why should we rejoice that Jesus increases?” Look at how the Father thinks of Jesus.The Father has sent Jesus from heaven to speak for God. The Father has given Jesus the Spirit in abundance. The Father loves Jesus. The Father has given all things into his hand. What’s the Father’s thinking? “My son must increase!” The Father then turns to the world and asks, “Do you agree?”
+ Psalm 111…………………………bulletin pg. 9-10
– Communion –
O Come with Thanks………………………………154-55
O Come with Thanks………………………………156-57
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Doxology (to the tune of O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High pg. 317)
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14