PRELUDE – “Creed” by Rich Mullins

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 95:1-8a

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,

and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,

and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.

Song –

Come Praise and Glorify” by Bob Kauflin and Tim Chester

CONFESSION OF SIN –

EVERYONE:

Almighty and merciful God,

we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep.

We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.

We have offended against your holy laws.

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;

and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.

O Lord, have mercy upon us.

Spare those who confess their faults.

Restore those who are penitent,

according to your promises declared to the world in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

And grant, O merciful God, for his sake,

that we may live a holy, just, and humble life

to the glory of your holy name.

Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Song –

O Great God” by Bob Kauflin

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed

EVERYONE:

We believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ

his only Son our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried,

he descended to hell

and on the third day he rose again from the dead,

he ascended into heaven,

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,

from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of the saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Song –

How Firm a Foundation” by Unknown

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 4:1-6

SERMON – “Testing the Spirits”

Song –

In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

Songs –

A Mighty Fortress” by Martin Luther

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Fal$e Teacher$” by Shai Linne

PRELUDE

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 46:10-11

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Song –

No One Higher” by Heath Balltzglier, Seth Condrey, and Steve Fee

CONFESSION OF NEED – from The Book of Common Prayer (1928)

O most mighty and merciful God,

in this time of grievous sickness,

we flee unto thee for succor.

Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril;

give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick;

prosper the means made use of for their cure;

and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is,

we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom

which leadeth to eternal life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Song –

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” by John Newton and Laura Taylor

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 8:15-17

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,

but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,

by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,

provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Song –

Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 3:9-24

SERMON – “Assurance”

Song –

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Lemme

LORD’S TABLE

Song –

Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE

PRELUDE – “Shadows” by David Crowder Band

 

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP –  Psalm 68:5-6

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

 

Song –

Ever Be” by Bobby Strand, Chris Greely, Gabriel Wilson, and Kalley Heiligenthal

 

CONFESSION OF SIN – James 2:8-10

 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”

you are doing well.

 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin

 and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

 

Song–

Kindness” by Chris Tomlin

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still weak,

at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—

though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Song –

You Are My King (Amazing Love)” by Billy J. Foote

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 3:11-18

SERMON – “Love One Another”

Song –

Make Us One”by Twila Paris

LORD’S TABLE

 Song –

O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

 

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Anchor” by Beautiful Eulogy

Remember your leaders,

those who spoke to you the word of God.

Consider the outcome of their way of life,

and imitate their faith.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:7-8

The Scriptures inform us of the importance of the past and the people that God has used in previous generations to proclaim his never-changing Word. No one in history, except the Lord himself, is perfect. Every single figure has flaws and thus can only be justified by faith. But we are told to remember with reverence those who got the gospel of justification by faith right and passed it on to us. I am particularly grateful for the life and teaching of the now late J.I. Packer (b. July 22, 1926 – d. July 17, 2020) who had an indelible impact on me.

Packer was the commencement speaker at my college graduation. His message to us then was to stand on the shoulders of the spiritual giants who came before us. Specifically he pointed to the English Puritans, the major influence on his life. Yet Packer’s wise words now certainly apply also to himself. J.I. Packer was a monumental theologian of the latter half of the 20th century. And we need the view from his shoulders.

One of the characteristics I most appreciated about Packer was that he was not flashy. His popularity didn’t come from his larger-than-life personality, but rather his steady, principled, careful, faithful teaching of God’s Word. He was completely unassuming, constantly writing introductions and endorsements for other people’s books. A true servant.

I saw Packer in person a few times. He wasn’t impressive in physical stature. To be honest, he was a bit odd looking. I distinctly recall walking past him while he was sitting and talking to a student on campus on one of his visits, a baggy tan suit draped over a hunched skeleton. Since then his body became progressively even more frail (watch this trailer for his book on weakness) and he eventually lost his eyesight in his last years. Yet his mind saw clearly the glory of Christ. And Packer’s pen helped us to see such beauty too.

A better writer than a speaker, in my estimation, Packer could pack a sentence tight with perspicuous profundity (“Packer by name, packer by nature” he would say). Looking through my stack of his books, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his careful thinking and mastery of the English language in service of our knowledge of God.

Knowing God (1973) was probably the first book of his that I read and his most influential. I cannot overstate the way this book fundamentally shaped me. The distinction between knowing about God and actually knowing God has stuck with me. It was meaty, coherent, non-fluff, yet personal, experiential, and devotional. He showed that “there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge,” while maintaining that “it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose.”

When I was wrestling with the nature and place of the Bible in the Christian life and confused by the untethered subjectivism I was raised in, I wrote to a professor with my questions. He told me to read Packer’s “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God (1958). I did. It cleared everything up! I still use this book every year with GOSPEL for Chicago apprentices because there is no better treatment of the authority of Scripture out there. It was cogent and potent. As Packer wrote there, “the antidote for bad reasoning is not no reasoning, but better reasoning.” He employed such reasoning to utterly dismantle all alternatives to Scriptural authority, showing convincingly that “anything short of unconditional submission to Scripture… is a kind of impenitence.”

I devoured other Packer books in my formative years. God Has Spoken (1965) continued to solidify my understanding and confidence in Scripture as special revelation – God’s voice. “In other words, Holy Scripture should be thought of as God preaching – God preaching to me every time I read or hear any part of it – God the Father preaching God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit. God the Father is the giver of Holy Scripture; God the Son is the theme of Holy Scripture; and God the Spirit, as the Father’s appointed agent in witnessing to the Son, is the author, authenticator, and interpreter, of Holy Scripture.”

I read Knowing Christianity (1995) and Truth & Power (1996) over a Spring Break in college. Keep in Step with the Spirit (1984) I read after I was a pastor. It was characteristic Packer clarity and charity applied to the Charismatic movement. His explanation of the “floodlight ministry” of the Holy Spirit was… illuminating. Concise Theology (1993) is still my go-to for short explanations of doctrines (except for his chapter on baptism, ha!). As always, Packer wrote with the notion that “theology is for doxology and devotion – that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness.”

Confession: I never actually read Packer’s probably second best known book – Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God (1961), but I’ve heard it’s good. And I never finished Praying (2006), but probably should (the book, that is; not the practice).

His introduction to J.C. Ryle (Faithfulness and Holiness, 2002) invited us to listen to a great teacher of the past. Again, Packer’s words about Ryle could now be applied to himself – “Ryle has guided many along [the true path of wisdom and of life]; he has been a guide to me; may he now lead you. And to God be all the glory.”

And Packer’s entryway into the Puritan vision of the Christian life – A Quest for Godliness (1990) – rocked my world, particularly (pun intended) chapter 8, which was a reprint of his introduction to the reprint of John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ. There you will find Packer at his feistiest, showing up the pathetic ‘gospel’ of Arminianism. About the Puritans, Packer wrote – “[They] have taught me to see and feel the transitoriness of this life, to think of it, with all its richness, as essentially the gymnasium and dressing-room where we are prepared for heaven, and to regard readiness to die as the first step in learning to live.”

J.I. Packer has finished his training and passed through death. I was blessed to have met him once in this life and tell him how much Knowing God was helpful to me. He signed my copy:

It’s mind-boggling to think about how he is currently experiencing in a deeper way the realities that he so wonderfully wrote of while he was here. May we follow his example and join him there around our Lord too someday.

PRELUDE – “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP  –  Isa. 12:4-6

Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Song –

He is Yahweh by Dean Salyn

 

CONFESSION OF SIN – Joel 2:12-14

““Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Matthew 11:25-30

All things have been handed over to me by my Father,

and no one knows the Son except the Father,

and no one knows the Father except the Son

and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,

 and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,

for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Song –

Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me by Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson,

and Michael Farren

All Glory Be to Christ by Dustin Kensrue

 

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 3:4-10

SERMON – “A Line in the Sand”

Songs –

O Praise the Name by Benjamin Hastings, Dean Ussher, and Marty Sampson)

 LORD’S TABLE

 Songs —

King of Kings by Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood, and Jason Ingram

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Washed by the Water” by NeedToBreathe

PRELUDE – “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 147:1-6

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.

The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

Song –

Speak O Lord” by Keith & Kristyn Getty

CONFESSION OF SIN – Deuteronomy 28:58-63

If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book,

that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God,

then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions,

afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.

And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt,

of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.

Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law,

the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed.

Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number,

because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you,

so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you.

And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Jeremiah 31:31-34

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

not like the covenant that I made with their fathers

on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,

my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,

declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.

And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother,

saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Songs –

His Mercy Is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

SERMON – “The Body of Christ”

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

Songs –

Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend

Doxology

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Take ‘em to Church – God’s Servant Feat. Azriel

Shawarma-Spiced Chicken Pita with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

We will be making shawarma-spiced chicken pita with tahini-yogurt sauce for our main dish. This is on heavy rotation in our house because it has protein, carbs, healthy fats and vegetables all-in-one, it comes together quickly when we are starving after work, and it is very affordable since chicken thighs are the main protein. This recipe feeds four adults, so feel free to adjust up or down if needed.

If you’d like an additional side dish, we’d recommend pita chips and/or extra veggies with hummus (homemade or store-bought). For dessert, if you’re looking for something on-theme, we’d recommend getting some extra yogurt and pairing it with honey and fresh berries. Or, if you’d like to experiment with tahini more and are up for a challenge to make a more weekend-worthy dessert, we recently made these tahini billionaire bars (kind of like Twix bars) and really enjoyed them. You can make them before the retreat starts and store them covered in the fridge.

Below are the ingredients for the main course (excluding optional sides and dessert). You will also need a sheet pan, 2 medium-to-large bowls, aluminum foil, a knife, a couple of spoons, and measuring cups/spoons. A lemon zester would be handy as well.

Meat/Dairy:

· 1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

· 1 cup full-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt

Fruit/Vegetables:

· 2 lemons

· 1 small red onion

· ¾ cup (~5 oz.) cherry or grape tomatoes

· Head of romaine or a bag of pre-shredded romaine

· 1 English cucumber or 2-3 Persian cucumbers

· 1 clove garlic

· Dill (fresh)

· Mint (fresh)

Pantry:

· 1 TBS plus 1 tsp. tahini (sesame seed paste; often located by the peanut butter)

· 4 pita breads or naan breads

· ½ tsp. ground cumin

· ¼ tsp. ground coriander

· ¼ tsp. paprika

· 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

· 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

· 1½ tsp. kosher salt

· ¾ tsp. ground black pepper

· 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil

For through him

we both have access

in one Spirit

to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,

but you are fellow citizens

with the saints and members of the household of God.

Ephesians 2:18-19

Community is difficult to maintain because it takes sacrifice, love, and commitment.

Most of IBC, if not all of us, desire to experience community, but we are not always willing to sacrifice, love, and commit to one another. Most of us, if not all of us, at some point have a dating relationship with IBC, even the longshoremen and leaders. At the core of why we don’t value community (IBC in our case) is not because of busyness, consumerism, or/and having other priorities over the community. At the core of why we don’t value community is that we don’t truly understand what community/church is.

According to this text, a gospel-community has access in one Spirit to the Father. We are fellow citizens and members of the household of God. I know that this text doesn’t specifically use the word ‘community’, but I am going to apply it to community. Paul is telling the Ephesians (Jews and Gentiles) of what their identity is. The Ephesians are united in one Spirit to the Father, fellow citizens, and members of the household of God. Likewise, we share one Spirit who brings us to the Father. We are fellow citizens and members of the household of God.

One Spirit, to the Father

Paul is exhorting the Ephesians to be “one.” I know that it is extremely hard to be “one” amidst a pandemic. COVID-19 seems to present another barrier to gospel-community. Our church has had to do much of our church life virtually, such as Small Groups and Prayer Meeting. It’s not easy to be “one” when many of us don’t live in the city of Chicago right now and are elsewhere in the country.

The list of barriers to gospel-community goes on and on. However, those are just excuses. If we, IBC, truly believe that we are “one,” then we are willing to make the sacrifice, love, and commitment. I know that it is hard. I never said that this is going to be easy, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.

Why? Because we have access in “one Spirit to the Father.” We are not “one” because of our hobbies or life-stage, but one because we are all brought through the same Spirit to the Father. We are united in the same Holy Spirit. Wow!!! Isn’t that amazing?

It’s the Holy Spirit that maintains gospel-community for us and through us as we, IBC, intentionally build up this community of faith. The Holy Spirit is with us and helps us adorn this community into the most beautiful bride that the world has ever known, which is the local church (in our case, IBC). Don’t you want to be part of building up the most beautiful bride of Jesus Christ? This is eternal. We can build up our careers, our barns (so to speak), but will they last for eternity?

Think about it: in light of eternity, are you going to spend your time building up your careers/barns/etc… or are you going to spend your time building up the church that’s going to last for eternity? Ultimately, when we build the church (IBC in our case), we are building by the Spirit of God, and not by ourselves.

The most amazing thing is that it’s “one Spirit to the Father.” The whole point of the Spirit building the church (IBC in our case) is so that we enjoy our Father. We are building up the community by the Spirit so that we can enjoy our Father more, so we can love our Father more, so we can know our Father more intimately.

Do you want to enjoy the Father more? Do you want to love the Father more? Do you want to know the Father more intimately? If you do, then invest in, love, and serve IBC in any ways that you can.

Fellow Citizens

Not only are we brought by one Spirit to the Father, but we are also fellow citizens. We are not just U.S. citizens or citizens from elsewhere. As a U.S. citizen, I do get a lot of benefits such as healthcare, Social Security (when I get old), and other benefits that the government offers. However, we, IBC, are called to live out our citizenship as one. We are not just individuals, but collective fellow citizens.

This is why we are called to be involved with one another’s lives. We are called to serve one another, love one another, rebuke one another in a loving way, pray for one another, and all the one another commands in the Bible. How are you doing in the one another commands with your fellow citizens in the church? Is there one or a couple of fellow citizens that you can pray for, love, and serve?

Furthermore, as fellow citizens of the kingdom of God, we are saved by God’s grace and given an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11). You do not earn your way to becoming fellow citizens. It’s all of grace, given by our King to underserving and ungrateful enemies who are now made citizens. Are you living out your citizenship from God? Are you living out your citizenship in light of our community, IBC?

Members of the Household of God

Not only are we brought by one Spirit to the Father and made fellow citizens, but we are ultimately members of the household of God. Gospel-community ultimately is about a family. In this case, a spiritual family but also an intimate family.

I know that some of you may not have the best earthly family. On the other hand, some of us do have an awesome earthly family. Whether we do not have a great earthly family or do have a great earthly family, we, IBC, are called to BE members of the household of God.

In other words, it’s all about grace. Paul is exhorting the Ephesians to live out who they are as Christians. In this case, we are members of the household of God. We don’t earn this. God has saved us, IBC, so that we can become part of the family of God. Are you living out this awesome privilege of being a child of God? Even in the midst of this sinful-pandemic-injustice-quarantine world, we should live out this privilege of what it means to be a child of God. We are not just members of the greatest household, but we are members of the household of God.

I know that it’s extremely difficult to stay connected with our local church, IBC, during this COVD-19 season. However, if you are really a member of our church, then, you will actively do what members are called to do, not for the sake of just loving one another, but for sake of strengthening the family of God. Our spiritual church family should maybe be even more intimate than your earthly family. Are your relationships at IBC spiritual and intimate? That is what it means to be members of the household of God.

As you invest more of your time, resources, money, and your life into our church, then you’ll realize that it’s an honor and privilege to do that because you are building up the community, IBC, by the Spirit, as fellow citizens and members of the household of God. All this is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Your brother,

Yong

PRELUDE – “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Malachi 1:11

For from the rising of the sun to its setting

my name will be great among the nations,

and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering.

For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

Song –

This is My Father’s World” by Maltbie Davenport Babcock and Franklin Lawrence Sheppard

CONFESSION OF SIN – Hosea 11:1-3

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.

Song –

White as Snow” by Jon Foreman

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 John 1:6-7

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness,

we lie and do not practice the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,

we have fellowship with one another,

and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Song –

Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry

PRAYER

THE LORD’S PRAYER

EVERYONE:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,

forever. Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 2:28 – 3:1-3

SERMON – “Our Adoption and Christ’s Appearing”

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

Songs –

I Have a Maker” by Tommy Walker

Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend

Soon” by Brooke Ligertwood

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “O Praise the Name” by Hillsong Worship

“I have said these things to you,

that in me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation.

But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

These words mark the conclusion of Christ’s final sermon to his disciples. John records for us one final high priestly prayer, then Christ turns himself in to be betrayed, arrested, and crucified. Let us consider three things we can hold onto in light of this passage.

The Presence of Christ

Of the many things Jesus taught his disciples in this final sermon, he taught them about his departure. “I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer” (Jn. 16:10). The One who demonstrated his power over the forces of nature and death, who taught them with words of wisdom and authority, who loved them so much, was going away. How could they bear it?

Understandably, they were troubled and sorrowful.

And yet Jesus promised his presence in spite of his physical absence. He goes in order to send the Holy Spirit, who will glorify Christ. In these troubled and sorrowful times, let us remember that Christ is with us, his people. He has not left us alone to face the tribulations of this world, but instead walks with us through the valley.

The Peace of Christ

Where will we have tribulation? “In the world.”

There is no abiding peace to be found in the world. The world is buried with turmoil in the present and uncertainty about what lies ahead. How can it provide solid peace for our weary souls? It can’t. Let’s not try and find it there. Indeed, the world is at enmity with God. As believers, we should expect nothing less than trouble and persecution.

Where may we find peace? “In me.”

True, spiritual peace is found in Christ. Not in our own strivings, our own strength, or even our own religious obedience, but in Christ. His perfect life and his atoning death secures us pardon for sin and everlasting peace with God. His work, not ours. So no matter how much the tribulation of the world may torment us, our peace remains secure. It is a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. As the nations rage and peoples plot, let us take refuge under the shadow of the Cross, knowing that we have an abiding peace in the midst of swirling chaos.

The Power of Christ

Christ has overcome the world. He resisted greater temptation than any of us will face, so that the allurements of the world should no longer entice us. He bore scorn and ridicule as the Man of Sorrows, so that the evils of the world should no longer discourage us. Christ triumphed over the world so that it stands before us as a defeated enemy. What power does a charmer have without her charms? What can a conquered foe do to harm you? Nothing – Christ has disarmed the world. Does the world seek to draw you away with its promises of happiness, prosperity, ‘the good life’? Does it try and trouble you by marginalizing the church and mocking the values it stands for? We don’t have to give in. Take heart, for Christ has overcome the world.

~ Enoch

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

  • #IBCserm Just this today from 1 John 3:19-24 - “You can know now that you’re good with God.” Service outside again. 6 days ago
  • #IBCserm Just this today from 1John 3:11-18 - “If you’re alive, you’ll love.” Service outside. 1 week ago
  • And now it has been moved inside. 3 weeks ago
  • Outdoor service today moved back to 1:00 PM in light of morning rain. 3 weeks ago
  • The Summer Retreat is this weekend!! 4 weeks ago

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