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Christ Church Sunday Morning Service (9:00 am)
June 25, 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
1 John 1:8-9
+ 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: Should we, then, not make any images at all?
Congregation: God cannot and should not be pictured in any way. As for creatures, although they may indeed be portrayed, God forbids making or having any likeness of them in order to worship them, or to use them to serve him.
The Lord Hear Thee in Troubled Times……….28-29
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Exodus 32:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Opening: Romans 8:27
Thanksgiving: Romans 14:6
Petitions: John 5:14
Psalm 93……………………………..Bulletin Pg. 9
CC: The Apostles Creed 3 (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
What we now know as the Apostles Creed descended from an earlier form of the creed, known as the Old Roman Symbol. The beginning of the creed dates from as early as the second century. We do not have any direct evidence that it was penned by any of the apostles, but it is an admirable summary of the apostolic teaching.
We have confessed our faith in God the Father, and looking ahead we saw that He is the Father of Jesus Christ. We are not confessing faith in some kind of an abstract definition. And yet, like all particular persons, God the Father has attributes and characteristics, which means that we do have to get into some definitions. The first one mentioned here is that He is the Almighty.
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:
The Creed was originally written in Greek, and the word here rendered as Almighty is pantokrator, meaning omnipotent or almighty. This is an attribute of God that is an overarching description, and that same word is used in various places in the New Testament (2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 1:8; 4:8). But as we arrive at this description of Him, we have to be careful not to detach it from what Scripture reveals to us everywhere else.
The Divine Attributes:
When talking about God, we do have to talk about His attributes. There is no other way for finite beings to discuss an infinite being. And in addition, we know that this is lawful for us to do (and not impudence) because the Bible does it all the time. And so we must recognize that these are attributes that can distinguished from one another, but never separated. For an illustration we can easily distinguish height and breadth. A child can do that. But separating themselves would be another matter. So we can distinguish God’s power, and kindness, and holiness, and love, and so on. But we cannot separate them; they are all one in the divine simplicity.
That said, we need to distinguish certain aspects of God’s being that He delights to share with us and others that He does not share. In fact, He cannot share them with us in the very nature of the case. He communicates His holiness and His love to us, for example, but not His omnipresence.
When God communicates His love to us (Rom. 5:5), for example, He is making countless finite creatures more like Himself, and this is a process that will continue on forever and ever. We will always have head room, always have room to grow. But there are certain characteristics that God could not share without creating a second God alongside Himself—which is absurd, as nonsensical as a four-side triangle.
Admonishing the Sophomoric:
So this leads to a predictable question. If God is Almighty, well, then, can He make a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it? This assumes a false understanding of what the infinite power of God actually means. Of course He cannot make a rock like that—there are many things the Omnipotence cannot do. God cannot be tempted (Jas. 1:13). He cannot lie (Num. 23:19). He cannot undo His own omnipotence. God cannot do anything in violation of His own nature or character. Putting it the other way around, God can do absolutely anything that is consistent with His nature and character.
As C.S. Lewis said somewhere—quite trenchantly—nonsense doesn’t stop being nonsense just because we are speaking it about God.
The Place of Logic:
And here is another place where some rarified theology is of immense practical importance. Some people object to reasoning like this because, they say, “logic doesn’t apply to God.” But if that is the case, then we should all eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. If logic does not apply to God, then “I will never leave you nor forsake you” could easily mean “for now,” or “unless I change my mind.”
The foundation stone of logical reasoning is what is called the “law of identity”—A is A. Other laws accompany it—A does not equal not A, the law of non-contradiction. But before your eyes glaze over, let me ground this in the express word of God. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).
But we still have to be careful how we talk about this. If logic is subordinate to God, and subject to arbitrary change, then we are all in this terrible spot. But if logic is senior to God, and He somehow submits to it, then this is the will and voice of another God, the true Most High God. And that is absurd. So what this means is that “right reason” or “logic” is an attribute of God. When we are talking about consistency, we are reflecting what God is like, and that means what God is everlastingly like.
Our Refuge and Strength:
Now let us go back for a moment to the Fatherhood of God for a moment. It striking that one of the few places in the New Testament where the same word for Almighty is used has a close relationship to the Fatherhood of God, just like in the Creed. “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18).
When the Bible talks about the power and strength of God, it overwhelmingly does so by describing His might on behalf of His people. The strength of God is not abstract doctrine given to us for the entertainment of abstruse theologians.
Boil this down. What this means that you in the will of God outnumber absolutely everybody. “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, Neither did their own arm save them: But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou hadst a favour unto them” (Ps. 44:3). And if you would see the right arm of God, then you must look to Jesus Christ.
CCD: Faith that Works (Ty Knight)Sermon
Text: James 2:14-26
James sometimes gets a bad wrap that he doesn’t like faith. This is straight up not true. Faith is a recurring focus (1:3,1:6, 2:1, 2:5) James says in 2:1 that we are to hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and hold it in such a way that our faith changes your life. In the second half of the chapter, James is concerned about those who hold the faith in the wrong way. Their faith is dead because it does not work. So here’s the simple message, “Living Faith is Faith that Works.”
Dead and Stuffed Faith (vs. 14-17)
James begins with two sobering questions, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (vs. 14) The implied answers are “Not much good, and no they can’t.” Suppose a Christian brother or sister is lacking in basic essentials like food and clothes. Suppose one of you says “be warmed and filled and God bless” while brushing off this person who is not warmed, filled or blessed. These are just empty words because of the speaker’s idle hands. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (vs. 17). This lifeless faith is what you would find in a spiritual taxidermist shop. You can go in and admire the remarkably life-like cougar or trout or Reformed Calvinist. There’s a world of difference between life-like and living.
Belief is Not Enough (vs. 18-19)
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works” (vs. 18). In the Christian life, faith and works go together like inhaling and exhaling. As Billy Graham said, “Faith is taking the Gospel in; works is taking the Gospel out.”
Faith without works is not only dead, it’s demonic. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe––and shudder!” (vs. 19) The demons have accurate theology––they know God, but no practical theology––they don’t obey God.
Abraham’s Faithful Work (vs. 20-23)
Abraham, James says, was justified by his works when he offered up his son Isaac on the alter (vs. 21). In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham’s faith to see if he would obey. At the base of the mountain, Abraham commands his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” These are two remarkable verbs––the boy and I will worship and come again. What was Abraham going to do at the mountain top? He says worship. Worship is to hear and obey God, even in a life shattering circumstance. Abraham said they will worship and then “we will come again.” How is this possible for Abraham to kill Isaac at the mountain top and then for them both to come back to the base camp? Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham “considered that God was able even to raise Isaac from the dead” (Heb. 11:19).
Abraham’s faith and actions were united and in his believing obedience, and God justified him. Faith was active each step up the mountain (vs 22).
Justified by Works
“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (vs. 24) What’s James point? Abraham both believed God and acted on that belief. James and Paul are not arm wrestling over faith and works but are rather locked arm in arm defending against dead faith and dead works. Paul would say “We are saved by faith alone” And James would promptly add “And this faith is never alone!”
Rahab’s Working Faith (vs. 25)
To add some more spice in the stew James holds up the prostitute Rahab as a faithful worker. Rahab was justified by works when she hid the Israelite spies and then lied to the soldiers about which way the spies scampered. Faith and faithfulness is not simplistic. Faith requires wisdom, shrewdness, courage and a deep understanding of who your faith is in––the Lord Jesus Christ.
Living Faith, Living Work (vs. 26)
James concludes that faith without works is like a cold body on a coroner’s table. The body can be intact, but if it’s just the body without any movement, the body is dead. No heart pumps, then no life. But a pumping heart is evidence for a living body. Our faith is like the heart with the first pumps of life. That first squeeze of the heart is absolutely vital to your life. But the second and third and millionth pump are also important and necessary to keep you alive and active. Faith is needed at the beginning of your Christian life, and it is needed to keep working at each new pump. “For as the body apart form the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” But Jesus is the living Lord who gives you life. So your life as a Christian will hold living faith full of living work.
– Communion –
God Shall Arise and By His Might………….100-101
God Shall Arise and By His Might…………..102-103
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26