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Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30 am)
January 21, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who are in awe of Him.
Congregation: He will hear their cry and save them. Amen.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
– Confession –
Psalm 123……………………………….bulletin pg. 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: You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Congregation: I cried to the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.
Minister: Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God:
Congregation: For You have smitten all my enemies upon the cheek bone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Minister: Salvation belongs to the LORD: Your blessing is upon Your people.
Gloria in excelsis…………………………………..396-97
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Genesis 4:1-12; 1 John 3:7-15
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Opening: Matthew 6:13
Thanksgiving: Psalm 69:30
Petitions: Matthew 6:9-10,13
CC: State of the Church #4: The Meaning of Love and Justice (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
The central difficulty with the great idol of the collective, the false god of statism, is that we have wanted to substitute the word of man for the Word of God. We want to define love according to our own lights. We have wanted to define justice without reference to biblical law, and this then makes us choose between individualism and collectivism. And then, because we have been thrown into a realm where might determines right, the collective wins.
But we are individuals saved by grace, bound together in a mystical body. This has been done in accordance with the Scriptures, which means that love and justice are defined from outside the world.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:8–10).
Summary of the Text:
A community like ours should be bound together by love. Sounds great, but what do we mean exactly? Our bonds to one another need to be stronger than the bonds of debtor/creditor (v. 8). If we love the other, then that means we have fulfilled the law. Paul then mentions the seventh, sixth, eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments, in that order, and says that they are all comprehended in this one commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). The word rendered as comprehended is a verb that comes from the root kephale, meaning head (v. 9). Paul then tells us why. Love works no evil to its neighbor, and this is why love is the fulfillment of the law (v. 10). Love, in short, refuses to perpetrate injustice, and justice is defined by the law of God, which in turn is shaped by the character of God Himself—and remember that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). Put all these together, and meditate on these identities.
Sin is Therefore Lovelessness:
The apostle John defines sin for us in a very succinct way. “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, ESV). Sin is lawlessness. That’s it; that’s the heart of it. But what is to keep the law from the heart? Scripture describes that as love. And so what does it mean to love someone? It means to treat them lawfully from the heart. Note that this excludes a mere ticking of boxes. The emphasis needs to be on the heart.
Jesus teaches us this explicitly. “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). Cleansing the outside of the cup doesn’t get the inside clean. But when the inside is clean, what happens? Jesus says “that the outside may be clean also.”
The Great Clash:
In the first message of this series, I said that one of the great enemies of our day is “relativism, subjectivism, the despotism of feelings.” And by this I meant “the idea that the world of facts is not the controlling reality. Reality, in other words, is optional.” We have been taught—ad nauseam we have been taught—that love is what you feel. When the feeling wanes or goes away, as the theory goes, so has the love. This has been the source of untold misery in the world. In a biblical framework, your feelings start to wander off, and love looks up with a sharp maternal gleam in her eye and says, “Get back here.”
In a biblical framework, you and all your feeling are like a first-grade teacher taking her whole class to some busy downtown museum, and every last one of them is on a neon-colored leash.
As we talk about true Christian community, which is based on koinonia fellowship, we have to begin with the nature of covenant commitments. This applies to marriage and family, it applies to membership in the church, and it applies to the rest of life also. I am going to ask you to bear with a few illustrations, but they all line up with what a wise Puritan once said about marriage. “First he chooses his love, and then he loves his choice.”
If you go down in the basement of a house, you will likely be able to find cold concrete in straight lines. Let us call it cold covenant concrete—a bunch of unsentimental concrete. Then go up into the living room, and you will there see curtains, warm colors, cushions, sofas, carpet, and so on. This is where you live, but it cannot be the foundation of the house. Roll up the carpet, mound the cushions, throw curtains on top of it, and then try to situate a stud wall on top of that.
Or imagine you discipline your emotions the same way some folks discipline their kids (or not). Some people are so disordered in this that they have come to believe that if someone’s “children” are not unruly hellions, then this must mean that they don’t even have no kids. No, they have kids, but their kids mind. We like to describe self-controlled people as “unemotional,” but what we really mean is that their emotions are not half-civilized yard apes on a sugar rush. And by the way, before the wrong people start commending themselves for how “unemotional” they are, I would remind them that anger is an emotion.
Recall the three governments mentioned in an earlier message—the family is the ministry of health, education and welfare. The church is the ministry of grace and peace. The civil magistrate is the ministry of justice. The non-institutional government that supports and makes possible all three of these is self-government.
Put On Your Jesus Coat:
Because we are forgiven by God through Christ (Eph. 4:32), so it is possible for us to be exhorted to imitate Christ (1 Pet. 2:21). But we are to imitate the whole process. Jesus did what He did for the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2), and because of His obedience true joy is a possibility. But Jesus did not go to the cross on an emotional high. The greatest act of love that was ever offered up to God was the death of Christ on the cross (Rom. 5:8). And Jesus tried to get out of it (Matt. 26:39). But His house was not built on the cushions, and so it is that we are saved. His love for you had a more sure foundation than that.
So put on Christ (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27). Put on your Jesus coat. Make sure you put your arms through both sleeves.
CCD: Life with Our Holy Father (Ty Knight)Sermon
Text: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Peter writes to the people of God who need to know their identity and their mission in the world. Their identity as the children of God is bundled up with Jesus, the Son of God. You are the elect of God, just like Jesus is God’s elect. Because of the Father’s abundant mercy, you to be born again to a living hope––a hope of life. This happened through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And so your salvation is union with Christ. His suffering is your suffering. His life, your life. His Father, your Father. His inheritance, your inheritance. This is the good news that the Spirit has prepared by the prophets and has been preached to you. God has made you his children. He has treated you as his children. Therefore, as his children, be like your holy Father.
Gird Up to Fully Rest (vs. 13)
Because all this is true, Peter exhorts, “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind…” and prepare for a great action. This charge would recall biblical examples like Elijah (1Kings 18:46), and Jeremiah (Jer. 1:17), and the nation of Israel, who ate the Passover meal with their loins girded, their shoes on, their staff in hand because the Lord was about to deliver them. Those prepared for warfare, for a God-given message, for a great delivery need to gird up the loins.
Peter adds, “and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the reveleation of Jesus Christ.” Gird up the loins and rest on the grace. Is this a contradiction, like one foot on the gas and the other on the brake? Paul says in Phillipians 2 after exalting Christ’s work on the cross that saves, “Therefore, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you.” (Phil. 2:12-13). You gird up for the work while resting on Jesus Christ.
As Obedient Children Be Holy (vs. 14-16)
Here’s what the girded mind needs to know––you are children of a holy God. God is holy, and so his people are also holy (Lev. 11:45). The rallying call is not try harder, do better, attempt more righteous actions––as if you are capable of producing holiness. Your hope for holiness is that your Father is holy, and you are his child, . This is not legalism, but family resemblance.
Holiness has to do with your ability to be in the presence of God. Isaiah had to be made holy because he was in the presence of the Holy God (Is. 6:4). Israel had to be a holy people like Yahweh because He was in their presence (Duet. 23:14). Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Do you want to see the Lord? Do you want to be in His presence? Do you want Him to be in your presence? Then pursue holiness in all your conduct.
Redeemed with Passover Blood (vs. 17-21)
If you call on God as your Father, Peter exhorts the church “to conduct yourselves in fear” knowing that God will judge you as His children. God’s judgement of His children is not at odds with his abundant mercy, grace, and love for His children but demonstrates how much He values us. As children you have been redeemed through the “precious blood of Christ” who is the new Passover Lamb (Ex. 12:2-13). The blood of the lamb identitied God’s chosen people Israel. Peter say you have been marked, identified, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. And this causes a great response in His blood-bought people.
Identity and Obedience
Leave Egypt! Grab your staff, fasten your sandals, gird your loins because we are going to the Promise Land. Just as Israel could not remain in slavery after the Passover, so God’s people can not remain in their slavery to sin. You have been identified and have been delievered by the blood of Jesus. You are free to obey, and you must obey. Obedience is a matter of life and death. If you remain in your sin, in the land of slavery and hard-hearts and hatred for God, you will die.
Born Again to Love your Family (vs. 22-25)
Now Peter looks at the redeemed people and assumes they are already trekking out of Egypt with a pure soul, obeying the truth, fervently loving the brothers (vs 22), and they should keep it up. This is all possible because they “have been born again through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
This word is the gospel preached that is able to deliver a nation, turn sinners into children, bring life from death, and gives the identity to the people of God. You are obedient children who have been born again through the Word of God. You are a holy nation that lives a holy life and provides access to your Holy Father. You are the redeemed Passover people, always offering and displaying the blood of the lamb who has delivered you. So gird up your mind, be sober, set your hope fully on the grace of the Jesus Christ, and live as obedient children with your holy Father.
+ Ecclesiastes…………………………….bulletin pg. 10
– Communion –
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26