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Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (8:30)
August 26, 2018 @ 8:30 am - 10:30 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!
Crown Him with Many Crowns, p. 293
– Confession –
Be Not Far off, for Grief is Near, p. 31
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: I will bless the Lord at all times:
Congregation: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Minister: The angel of the Lord encamps
Congregation: Around them who fear Him, and He delivers them.
Minister: Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
Congregation: But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Minister: He keeps all his bones;
Congregation: Not one of them is broken.
Minister: The Lord redeems the soul of His servants;
Congregation: And none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.
Blest Is the Man Whose Trespess Is Forgiven, pp. 56-57
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
1 Kings 4:21-34; Matthew 12:38-42
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBER
CC: Molly Sumpter
Jesse and Kate Sumpter and family
Psalm 126, p. 10
Opening: Romans 5:8-9
Thanksgiving: Romans 6:17-18
Petitions: Romans 8:31-32
Lord, Teach Us How to Pray Aright, p. 372
CC: Finding Your Identity in Christ (Toby Sumpter)Sermon
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Who are you? From one vantage, the gospel is a great re-memory project. To be lost and dead in our sins is to have forgotten who we are and what we are for, and this makes us afraid. But the gospel of the cross of Jesus is God’s perfect mirror showing us our sin, showing us our Savior, showing us who we really are in Him so that we will not be afraid.
Overview of the Text
Paul is in the middle of an argument here seeking to call the Galatians back to the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7). And the central point of contention is between the freedom of finding your identity in Christ and the bondage of seeking the approval of man (Gal. 1:10). Paul told his own story of being saved in order to demonstrate that his gospel was not from man but directly from Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-16). Paul relates how he was received by the other apostles as a fellow apostle in his ministry to the gentiles, leading to a confrontation with Peter in Antioch who withdrew from eating with Gentiles when some Judaizers showed up (Gal. 2:1-13).
Our text is part of Paul’s confrontation of Peter or at least his continued meditation on that topic. He explains that Jews and Gentiles are alike justified by faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law, not the least because nobody can actually be justified by works of the law (Gal. 2:16). Paul’s next thought seems to be a sort of reductio on Peter’s conduct, pointing out that if a Jew eating with a Gentile is wrong, then wouldn’t that make Christ’s ministry through Peter sinful? Isn’t Peter contaminated? God forbid (Gal. 2:17). Besides, why would we try to rebuild exactly what we already broke with our sin (Gal. 2:18)? The law literally curses all lawbreakers and requires their cursed death, which the law specifies as crucifixion on a tree (Dt. 27:26, Gal. 3:10-13). Therefore, in terms of justification, the law’s job is to slay us so that being dead in our sins, we can live by being identified with the One who died for our sins (Gal. 2:19-20). This is where Jesus always meets us. Beginning with Mary Magdalene, Jesus has always met His people in graveyards. Or as Paul says here, Jesus meets us in the cross, at the cross. He saves sinners who are crucified with Him.
Crucified with Christ
Paul is here speaking of what it means to be a Christian. He doesn’t necessarily mean literally dying or being killed on a cross. He means being so identified with Christ by faith, that you reckon yourself, you think of yourself and your life as virtually crucified with Christ. Paul speaks this way with regard to baptism and sin: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? … reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:3, 11). He also speaks this way in terms of repentance and mortification of sin: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God… Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection…” (Col. 3:3, 5). So on the one hand, reckoning yourself crucified with Christ, dead with Christ, means that you reckon all of your sin crucified in Christ. Part of this is in seeing what our sin deserves, and part of this is wanting to be truly free of it. But elsewhere Paul also speaks this way about his human achievements: “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews… But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:4-5, 7-8). So on the other hand, reckoning yourself crucified with Christ means reckoning any good thing as nothing compared to Christ; you count it as essentially lost for the sake of Christ’s work. It is not lost as in good for nothing, but lost as in laid completely at the disposal of Christ who is reconciling all things to Himself (Col. 1:20). Finding your identity in Christ means reckoning all that you are, good and evil, as crucified with Christ. This drives away all fear.
The Life We Live
Paul considers this embracing of Christ’s death the way of Christian life and not just one time at the beginning of your Christian life. Christian life is an ongoing identification with Christ crucified. Paul says that he no longer lives, but Christ lives in him (Gal. 2:20). But this life he now lives is actually by the “faith of Jesus Christ.” This is a highly debated phrase since it can rightly be translated as “faith of Jesus Christ” or “faith in Jesus Christ.” The Bible does teach that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, and that faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). But the Bible also teaches that our salvation rests on top of Christ’s finished work, His faithfulness. In other words, our imperfect faith in Jesus saves because His faith was perfect. Romans 1:17 says that the righteousness of God is revealed “from faith to faith.” Jesus is the Righteous One who lived by faith and so became our Righteousness by faith. Elsewhere, Paul seems to have both in view: “And being found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). The Christian life in this sense is the faithful and perfect sacrifice of Jesus living inside you.
Who Loved Us
It is entirely possible to talk about all of this as though it were a possibility for some people out there somewhere in principle, in the abstract, as though it were something that just happens to befall some people. Maybe some people get identified with Christ like some people get the chicken pox. But Paul grounds this reality of identifying with the crucifixion of Christ with the love of Christ in personal terms: “who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Christ did not go to the cross with a vague or ambiguous or general goal in mind. He went to the cross with you in mind. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). So this too is what it means to find your identity in Christ. It means knowing that Christ laid His life down for you in particular, by name. Those welcomed into heaven are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:27).
Who are you? Learn to say, I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. Learn to say, I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. You are not defined by your sin or by your successes, but by the perfect finished work of Jesus on the cross. This perfect love casts out all fear.
CCD: Faithfulness for the Next Generation: Fighting Giants (Ty Knight)Sermon
What do you need to succeed in a military conquest? Bigger guns, more men, better equipment, shrewder strategy, more courage than the enemy––all seem reasonable. What did Israel need to successfully conquer Canaan, a land of giants? Faithfulness to God. For Israel, it wasn’t about the size of their army or tactics or chariots but about faithfulness to their covenant God and obedience to his commands. God promises to fight for his people when they are faithful to Him. This is why in a series of sermons, Moses preaches faithfulness for the next generation––because Canaan is a land full of giants.
Your Giant Killin’ Cousins (Deut. 2:1-25)
We pick up mid way through Moses story of Israel’s wilderness wandering. The Lord is kind and leads his people on a walking tour of their giant killing cousins of the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonities and encourages them that they too can kill giants and take their land. Moses, acting as the tour guide, says in verse 10, “And let me draw your attention over to the Emim who formerly lived here. They were a great people and many and tall as the Anakim––remember, the Anakim, the giants your parents feared? Yup, the Moabites took care of their giant problem and settled in their land.”
Israel keeps trekking and comes into the territory of the people of Ammon. And like their Moabite cousins, the Ammonites be giant-killers and land-takers (vs. 20-21).And the Edomites, Esau’s people took on their own cluster of giants––the Horties, the Avvim, the Caphtorim––they destroyed them and settled in their place.” (vs. 22-23). The implication of all this for Israel is “Go thou and do likewise.”
King Sihon and King Og (Deut. 2:24-3:22)
Israel needs practice possessing the Land and fighting giants. So that’s what God gives. In the next section, God commands Israel to go fight King Sihon and take possession of his land. And the Lord said, “Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land” (2:31). And Sihon comes out and all his people, and guess what? “The LORD our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. And we captured all his cities…” (vs. 33)
The LORD continues the faith training with a Og the King of Bashan. The Lord says, “Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites.” Which is just what happened.
At the conclusion of the history that brings Israel to the border of the Promise land, Moses encourages Joshua, “Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. So will the LORD do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you” (3:21-22). This is the key for Israel’s conquest––the Lord your God will fight for you. So what must Israel do?
Call to Faithfulness (Deut. 4:1-40)
In chapter 4, Moses concludes this first sermon by calling Israel to faithfulness. Moses gives the the application of this history of giant fighting––hear and obey God’s commandments. “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go into and take the possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers is giving you” (4:1). Israel’s biggest challenge in the land is not the giants, but obedience to God. God will fight the giants and all the rest. But Moses knows that Israel will struggle with whole-hearted obedience through the generations. And so Moses charges them to listen to the rules, the statutes, the commandments of the Lord starting with the Ten Commandments and teach the next generation (vs. 9-14). If your commanding officer was explaining the directions to cross a mine field that you must walk through, would you pay attention? Would you pay extra attention if you must lead your kids and then your grandkids?
Jesus and Giants in Your Life
God intends for his people to go into a land full of giants. This is not a mistake. This is sanctification. Perhaps you’re like Israel, and you expect that once you were delivered from the slavery of Egyptian sin, that all of life would be the milk and honey of a promised land. But you get into it and realize that there are giants. And you think, “This isn’t the promise land I expected––maybe could I get some smaller giants? Maybe less battles to fight?” Obedience looks hard, difficult, terrifying, but still necessary. Chesterton said it poignantly in What’s Wrong with the World?, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
Israel was to be a nation of faithful giant fighters. Why? The answer is that God loves good stories. And good stories come with big bad guys. The best story is about Jesus the Giant Killer. The Gospel of Luke describes Satan as an armored strong man guarding his treasures. Jesus is the stronger champion who overpowers the strong man, takes his armor, and divides the spoils. We’re not understanding the story right when we think of Jesus as a godly giant fighting a puny devil. Rather, Christ became one of us, and as Isaiah says “with no form nor appearance,” and as a normal man He bound and defeated the greatest giant. Jesus the Giant-killer is the One who leads his people into the the Promise Land, and this is a land full of giants. And we are to be just like Jesus––a nation of faithful giant fighters.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer, p. 411
+ Sanctus, p. 407
– Communion –
O Bread of Life from Heaven, p. 212
Only-Begotten, Word of God Eternal, p. 216
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Psalm 134, bulletin p. 12
Behold, bless the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!
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.