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Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30 am)
July 23, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 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!
– Confession –
Psalm 70………………………………bulletin pg. 8-9
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: But may we not swear oaths by the name of God in a devout manner?
Congregation: Yes, when the civil authorities require it of their subjects, or when it is otherwise needed to maintain and promote fidelity and truth, to the glory of God and the welfare of our neighbor. Such oath-taking is grounded in God’s Word and has therefore been rightly used by God’s people under the Old and New Covenants.
With All My Heart…………………………………….182
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Malachi 1:6-14; John 4:19-26
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Opening: Psalm 30:1-3
Thanksgiving: Psalm 136:1
Petitions: 1 Timothy 2:1
CC: And We Shall Have Dominion (Gordon Wilson)Sermon
Our Divine Commission to Rule over all Living Things
The Text: 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:28-31.
Biblical Reasons to Rule the Living Creation
- It is a command. (Genesis 1:28-31; Psalm 8:6-8) – The Dominion Mandate
- God values it highly – God created the various kinds of plants and animals… and He said it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Plants and animals do not have to justify their existence by having some use for man to exploit.
- He made life to feed us – Plants to eat (Genesis 1:29). Animals given after the flood (Genesis 9:3). Both used for sacrifices (Leviticus).
- God wants us to maintain the created diversity. Genesis 7:2-3
- God wants us to take good care to animals under our charge. A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel (Prov. 12:10). Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? (Prov. 27:23) (Psalm 23)
- Nature declares the glory of God and proclaims his invisible attributes (Psalm 19, 104; Romans 1:20)
- Knowing about plants and animals was considered part of Solomon’s wisdom. (I Kings 4:33-34)
- Living things (not just man) bring praise to the Lord (Psalm 148)
Understanding dominion: An analogy from Ephesians 5 shows that dominion is not exploitive or oppressive. Godly headship never is.
- Christ and the Church – under Christ’s headship the church is to thrive, be fruitful, and become more lovely
- Husband and wife – under her husband’s righteous headship a wife is to thrive, be fruitful, and become more lovely
- We have been given dominion over the Creation. If we exercise godly dominion under the Lordship of Christ the living creation will thrive, be fruitful, and will become more lovely. Knowledge and appreciation of our fellow creatures is essential for good husbandry.
Disastrous Acts of Judgment in the Bible: For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! (Ezekiel 14:21) Three of the four are environmental problems.
What is the cause of environmental problems? Sin (direct or indirect causality)
Hosea 4:1-3 – Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
See also Jeremiah 12:4
What is the solution to environmental problems? The Gospel
How so? Because of the Fall we have been alienated from God, from our fellow man, and from nature. Nature also has internal conflicts (all creation groans). Francis Schaeffer refers to these as divisions. When we are reconciled to God by justification that lays the groundwork to begin healing these other divisions.
How shall we then live?
- Live and proclaim the gospel with a conscious desire to heal all the dislocations caused by the fall. God to man; man to man; and man to nature, and nature to nature. Prov. 16:7; Isaiah 11:6-9
- Cultivate a love and appreciation of God’s living world…in yourself and in your children (children have an innate love of nature). Through hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, gardening, zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums, and parks.
- Have a heart of gratitude to God who made living things to meet our practical needs (food, clothing, and shelter). Thank him that they also fulfil our aesthetic and emotional longings.
- Principles for professionals that directly exercise dominion over plants or animals (zoo keepers, farmers, ranchers, foresters, soil scientists, horticulturists, vets, breeders, animal rehab, park rangers, landscape architects, wildlife managers, ecologists, developers, etc. etc.)
- Exercise good husbandry for the animals in your charge (Prov. 12:10; Prov. 27:23).
- Think biblically regarding the management of nature. Don’t be narrow-minded and disregard the diversity, balance, and interdependency of nature.
- Be humble and eager to learn of better practices from others (non-Christians and Christians alike). Look for ways to enhance your real estate. Don’t just think in terms of mitigating the negatives.
- Don’t look down your nose or be judgmental at others who are at different levels of knowledge, wisdom, and practice. Be an example of better practice.
- Developers: You have a greater capacity to do great good as well as great damage. In addition to abiding by environmental laws to avoid possible punishment (Romans 13) love God and your neighbor in how you develop. Don’t chafe under the environmental regulations, set a higher standard. We should be reformational and think generational in all things. Think how to achieve a win-win not zero-sum game. Think, innovate, and work toward a garden city. A human city or town that emulates Hobbiton and Rivendell. Keep in mind that wilderness has its place (Psalm 104:18). It is not useless.
- Don’t just think sustainability. We (along with the sea creatures and fish) were told to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Mankind at present has an MO that diminishes creation; we are not enhancing the created order. Sustainability is indeed a step in the right direction but we can’t stop there. In the parable of the talents which servant got chewed out?
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1). Since God has put us in charge, as far as it depends on us, let’s enhance its intrinsic beauty and diversity in the sphere of influence God have given us, motivated by our love of God, His creation, and our neighbor.
CCD: Humble Before the Lord (Ty Knight)Sermon
Text: James 4:1-17
No doubt you have heard enough sermons or attended enough Bible studies to know that pride is bad. And so, pride is easy to ignore, minimize it, or pass it off as that guy’s problem. That guy does have a pride problem, and the Holy Spirit is now speaking through James about your pride. The only solution is to be humble before the Lord because God gives more grace.
You and Your Desires (vs 1-4)
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among?” James is clear on the source of the problem––You! You desire and your desires collide with the desires of others. Desire is a womb that gives birth sin. Sin grows up and goes on a spree of coveting, fighting, manipulating (James 1:14-15).
James levels a surprising charge, “You adulteresses!” (vs 4) The broken relationship that James identifies is not between husband and wife, but between God and his people and their adulterous relationship with the world. What husband would allow his wife to cuddle with another man pretending she’s not a married woman? So why would God allow a Christian to cuddle up to the world pretending she’s not a Christian who has pledged herself to love God. Faithfulness to God does not flirt with the world. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. And of course, your life can not have peace when you are at war with God.
Pride and Humility (vs 5-10)
Our natural tendency is to love the world, envy others, war against God. But God gives grace. Therefore, Proverbs 3:34 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The difference between pride and humility is whose opinion of yourself takes priority––yours or God’s. Pride prioritizes your own opinion of yourself over God’s opinion of you. Humility prioritizes God’s opinion about you over your own opinion about yourself. If you skip over “But God gives more grace,” then the following list of commands is reduced to seven tips for a happier self that don’t really help. “Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (vs. 7). To submit means to place yourself under the authority. Your will, your desires, your agenda, your life is to be placed on God’s will for you, God’s desires for you, God’s agenda for you, God’s life for you.
But what’s the devil doing here? Well, what does the devil do? The devil stirs up conflict. The devil attributes false motives to others. The devil loves to see the righteous fall and chips away at their reputation. The devil sounds a lot like the person James described in the first verses of James 4. So the danger is that you become like the devil. To prevent this, submit yourself to God including your tendency to act devilish, and the devil and your devilish desires will flee from you. You do this through humbly repenting and confessing your sin (8-10).
Pride and Playing God (vs 11-12)
And in case we still haven’t got it, James comes in for anther pass. “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers” (vs 11). When you slander, you’re not just speaking evil against your brother, but against God’s law. The problem James sees are those who climb up on top of the law and hurl eggs at those below the law. If you use the law to gain elevation to better beat down your neighbor, you don’t really love your brother, the law, or the Law-giver. This again, displays pride rather than humility before the Lord. “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” James asks, “Oh, you’re not God. Fine, don’t play God.”
Life with a Question Mark (vs 13-17)
Come now, you movers and shakers, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? It’s a large question mark. How can you presume to mark your calendar a year from now when you don’t know what the next minute will bring? So James instructs us to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” We live in God’s providence. In His plan, there are no accidents, no flukes, no plan Bs, no maverick molecules. We ought to plan and schedule and have a full day set out. But write in your calendar in pencil knowing that God holds the eraser. If you don’t submit to this reality, you are arrogant and evil.
This returns us to the absolute need to be humble before the Lord. You don’t know what your future holds, but you do know the One who holds your future. Oo be humble before the Lord. Do you have any doubt, any pride, any conflict? Are there deep disappointments in your life, dysfunctional family, an unfaithful spouse, a lonely, dark period, a harsh dad? In all of these, the answer is same––humble yourself before the Lord because God gives more grace. God begins to give you grace in Jesus, who is your peace, your humility, your assurance in judgment, your confidence for the future.
– Communion –
The Eyes of All upon Thee Wait………………………189
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17