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Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (9:00 am – 11:00 am)
March 11, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: Bless the Lord who forgives our sins.
Congregation: His mercy endures forever.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
O Love How Deep, How Broad, How High, p. 317
– Confession –
Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended, p. 255
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: Why do You stand far off, O Lord?
Congregation: Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
Minister: The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God:
Congregation: God is not in all his thoughts.
Minister: He catches the poor, when he draws him into his net,
Congregation: That the poor may fall by his strong ones.
Minister: He has said in his heart, God has forgotten:
Congregation: He hides his face; He will never see it.
Minister: Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up thine hand:
Congregation: Forget not the humble.
Minister: You are the helper of the fatherless.
Congregation: Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man:
Minister: The Lord is King for ever and ever.
It’s Good to Thank the Lord, p. 121
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Proverbs 23:1-8; 1 Timothy 6:6-12
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBER
CC: John Kim, Libby Jackson, Toby and Jenny Sumpter and family
Psalm 114, bulletin p. 9
Opening: Luke 12:27-28
Thanksgiving: Luke 12:32
Petitions: Luke 11:3
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, p. 264
CC: The Spirit of Glory Rests on You (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
We have been talking about holiness under pressure, and Peter has been preparing these saints for a time of intense persecution. We are dealing also with hard facts on the ground, with rival interpretations of those facts battling it out. And those rival interpretations could not be farther apart than when dealing with two invitations—one an invitation to an orgy, and the other to face the lions in the Coliseum. And each group says to the other one, “What is wrong with you?”
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you . . .” (1 Pet. 4:1–19).
Summary of the Text
Christ laid down His physical life for us, suffering as He did so, and we are instructed to “arm ourselves” with the same demeanor (v. 1). Again, we cannot duplicate the atonement, but we are required to imitate it. This imitation means you are done with sinning. Living this way binds you to the will of God, not to the lusts of men (v. 2). We used to live the way they do, when we plunged headlong into riotous lusts (v. 3). That grotesque lifestyle is normal for them, and so they think normal people are weird (v. 4). They are going to give an accounting for themselves before the one who judges the living and the dead (v. 5). This is why the gospel was preached to those who (now) dead, so that fleshly men might dismiss them, while they are alive before God in the Spirit (v. 6).
The old aeon was coming to a close; it was right at hand (v. 7). They were to be sober, given to prayer. And above everything else, they were to have fervent live in their midst (v. 8). Fervent love covers a multitude of sins. Cruise control love does not, incidentally. Examples? Show hospitality without begrudging it (v. 9). As every man has laid up, lay out (v. 10). Preachers should speak as though they are on a mission from God, because they are (v. 11). Ministers should give according to their graces, so that God might be glorified (v. 11). His name is to be praised above every name.
A fiery trial is coming, and believers must not think it odd (v. 12). Not only is it not odd, but it is an occasion for joy — it is to partake of Christ’s sufferings, and that means we shall also be partakers of Christ’s gladness (v. 13). If you are reproached for the sake of Christ, you are blessed in it (v. 14). Why? Because the spirit of glory and God rests upon you. They hold Him contemptible, but He is glory to you.
Don’t suffer because you are a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or a busybody (v. 15). That’s no good. But if it is suffering because you are a Christian, there is no shame in it, but rather glory (v. 16). The coming turmoil begins with the Christians. But if the overture has to do with the believers, what will the crescendo of the symphony be for the unbelievers (v. 17)? If the righteous barely make it, then what of the ungodly (v. 18)?
What then is the conclusion? Let those who suffer for the right reasons (in accordance with God’s way of doing things) commit the safekeeping of their souls to God. That committing is manifested in well-doing, rendered to a faithful Creator (v. 19).
The hedonists say that it is good to dive headlong into riotous living—cocaine, easy women, raves and more. Believers say that it is good for us to suffer with integrity, following in the footsteps of Christ. But this suffering does not appear to the world to be noble suffering. To all of them, it looks like a stupid waste over a bunch of nothing. Looking like an idiot is part of the suffering.
The difference between these two “schools” of interpretation is this. Unbelievers read the chapter, and sometimes just the paragraph. Believers read the book. And when you read the book, you know how the whole thing ends. It is the difference between short-term thinking and long-term thinking. It is the difference between the demand for instant gratification and delayed gratification. These schools of thought are as far apart as are Heaven and Hell.
Fervent Love and Lots of Sins
Anemic love covers very little, and adequate love covers more. But we are told to cultivate and preserve a fervent love. Our love is to be constant, eager, and zealous. We should cultivate that kind of love, knowing what that kind of love is going to want to do. It is going to want to cover up, cover over, the rudeness and thoughtlessness of others. What kind of sin is Peter talking about? He is not urging us to become accomplices in the outrages of others—we are not to become the bagmen for bank robberies, the wing man for adulterers, or the We reject the sins of vv. 3-4. We are not talking about excess of riot, in other words. So what is he talking about? He is addressing the rubs and chafes of life in community together. Love covers a multitude of sins, followed by “show hospitality without grumbling.” They didn’t RSVP. They didn’t bring a hostess gift. They didn’t say thank you to the cook when they left. How many of those irritations should love cover? The word is multitude.
The Spirit of Glory
This is true blessing. If you are reproached because of your love for Christ, and your allegiance to His Word, then you are truly blessed. How does that blessing come to you? (Remember that you have read the whole book, and not just one paragraph.) The spirit of glory does not greet you and then pass on. The spirit of glory is not your momentary friend. The spirit of glory is not a fleeting shadow. No. The spirit of glory, and of God your Creator, rests on you.
This hearkens back to the earlier phrase in this book—unspeakable joy and full of glory. Who is that glory? The glory of the Christian is Christ, and always and only Christ.
CCD: Sanctify the Lord God (Ty Knight)Sermon
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing . . .” (1 Peter 3:8-19)
Called to be like Christ
This section is jam-packed with commands––be of one mind, have compassion, be tenderhearted, don’t pay back evil with evil, don’t lie, turn from evil and do good…and there’s more. The summary of this section is “be like Christ.” How can we do this? Because of our Christian identity––we have been made like Christ and so we are to be holy like Christ. Peter exhorts us to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (3:15). Our hearts are to be holy so that the Holy God may be Lord of our hearts and our lives. As Christians we are called to be like Christ, and to be like Christ all the time, everywhere, in each relationship. We do this together as the people of God. And so Peter begins, “Finally, all of you…”
Finally, All of You (vs. 8-9)
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this” (vs. 8-9). We are called to be like Christ, and Peter shows what this looks like.
But how should we respond when we are wronged? Again, like Jesus. Jesus says on the Sermon on the Mount to love you enemies, bless those who mess with you, pray for those who persecute you “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:43-45). When you give unmerited, undeserved love to those who don’t love you or aren’t lovable, you act as sons of God and are like the Son of God. It’s not enough to just leave the room or bite your tongue or hide, you are to respond with blessing.
Inherit a Blessing (vs. 9-14)
“Knowing that you were called to this that you may inherit a blessing” (vs. 9). The Father’s treatment of us directs our treatment of others. This is really important to understand because it removes your expectations, your mind, your actions from normal economy. God operates with his children, not by the economy of pay-back, but by the economy of grace. He has blessed us, and so we should bless others. If the contractor working on your bathroom delivers a mess of lies, don’t pay him back with the same currency. Peter says when you bless, you will be blessed.
So is this the prosperity Gospel? Maybe a little bit. “Do you want to love life? Do you want to see good days? Do you want to unlock your heavenly blessings?” Peter says, “Stop sinning!” A good life is a godly life. Peter quotes from Psalm 34, the psalm David wrote after feigning madness in front of Abimelech, the king of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10-15). Peter says this guy knows the secret to a blessed life––with giants, flung spears, pretend madness, cave hiding, long-suffering.
David says that we must restrain our tongue from evil and deceit, turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. The confidence to do all of this because God is God. He is the God who sees and the God who hears and the God who vindicates. His eyes are on the righteous, He hears their prayers, His face is against those who do evil (vs 10-12).
Fear and Sanctify the Lord (vs. 13-16)
Peter knows that fear is a central concern for those threatened with suffering or persecution or sickness. And so in verses 14-15 he quotes from Isaiah 8 when a joint invasion force of Syria and Israel is preparing to attack Jerusalem and Ahaz, the king of Judah. God told King Ahaz not to fear because it will be unsuccessful. But instead of trusting the Lord’s promise, King Ahaz makes a plea for salvation to the king of Assyria and pays protection money out of the temple treasures (2 Kings 16:8). But Lord speaks to King Ahaz, “Neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for you a sanctuary” (Is. 8:12-14). Armies are surrounding you, and it’s scary. Who are you going to fear? Do you turn to medication, your bank account, your ability to negotiate peace? Let the Lord be your fear. Let the Lord of Armies be your sanctuary. Our modern understanding of sanctuaries are safe, quiet places. But a sanctuary in the biblical sense is a holy place where the Holy God dwells. Peter has called us the spiritual and holy house. As we are faithful to our calling to be and building the holy house of God, God defends his holy house and promises to be our sanctuary.
But we don’t merely hunker down in our holy sanctuary. We are to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks for the reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (vs. 15).This hope is the “living hope” we received when we were born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1:3). Our hope and our faith are in Jesus who God raised from the dead and gave Him glory (1:21). Our hope is in the God and Father of Jesus who raised him from the dead and promises to do this for us. Our hope is the gospel that we preach.
The Just for the Unjust (vs. 17-18)
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” Our hope is grounded on Jesus, the just One, who suffered for the unjust. When we hear the gospel, we should be ashamed. Peter says that “those who revile good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (vs. 16). Jesus was just––he followed what was good, he was full of compassion, he loved his brothers, he was tenderhearted, he didn’t return evil for evil, and he suffered for our sins. That means that we should be ashamed. God uses the shame and guilt of our sin to draw us to Jesus. “We’ve murdered our Messiah. What shall we do?” Peter’s answer is for you to repent and go to One who can bring you to God (Acts. 3:38-39).
The Lord our God is calling you now. How can we come to God? We must be brought to God by Jesus. The Just brings the unjust. The Righteous brings the reviler. The Holy One brings the sinner. But we can’t be brought to God without being made like Him. We are called to be like Christ and we have been made like Christ. Because of this, sanctify the Lord God.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer, p. 411
+ Lord Hear Thee in Troubled Times, pp. 28-29
– Communion –
Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured, p. 261
O Lord, We Praise Thee, pp. 318-319
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:25