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All-Church Prayer Meeting is this Wednesday (9/30) from 6:45 to 8:00 PM at The Meeting Place.

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.

The Incarnation

If Christ’s reconciliation for us is only given from afar, then Christ is afar. But, the incarnation says the opposite – that Christ is near. He is Immanuel – God with us. But do we add the, “so-to-speak” after saying this? Is God with us, so-to-speak? It cannot be that God is just with us in that he wants a certain end for us and will be thinking about us as we go about that end. It must be that God being with us is this – he has shared in our darkened lives and in them, seen the Father perfectly. This he did not just as a model, but he literally gives us his own vision of the Father through the Holy Spirit in our redemption. It is now the case that through Jesus Christ we can see the Father’s tender love that he has for us in his Son. This is only possible through Christ taking upon himself humanity. Calvin writes regarding Christ’s role as mediator, “Who could have done this had not the self-same Son of God become the Son of man, and had not so taken what was ours as to impart what was his to us, and to make what was his by nature, ours by grace?” (Institutes, Book 2 Ch 12 P2)

Stoics, Platonists, Greek Mythologies, and even God’s people, Israel, gawk and scoff at the idea that God could become man. Amidst these objections and others the council of Chalcedon (451 AD) thought it prudent to set forth a detailed definition of who Christ is (search for it and read it!). They affirmed that Christ was both consubstantial with the Father (fully God), and consubstantial with humanity (fully man). Christ’s two natures are “without change, division, confusion, or separation.” Within these four fences we live in the tradition and orthodoxy of the Christian church.

Gregory of Nazianzen wrote, “…that which he has not assumed he has not healed…” regarding the person of Christ. I put it here mainly to point out that the incarnation is vital to our understanding of the atonement. That Christ identified with us in our flesh and made atonement therein, means that he made atonement for us. However, it is easy to look at the incarnation as a means to an end – death. Did Christ come to die? Why did he live for 33 years until he submitted to death (he could easily have stayed in Israel and allowed Herod to kill him as a babe)? Is it possible, as Calvin writes above, that Christ was accomplishing not only atonement through his death by means of his spilt blood at the cross, but also accomplishes all the righteous requirements of the law which he imputes to us in order for us to be considered righteous?

The Atoning One

First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Therefore, to share with us what he has received from the Father, he had to become ours and to dwell within us.”

(Calvin, Institutes, Bk1 Ch1 P1)

Praise God that the atonement needed for final reconciliation was not left to humanity alone, but to the only divine-man who entered our flesh. By his blood and only his blood, our sin is covered and we are given eternal life. Atonement restores to us the marred and effaced relation we have to God into one of love and harmony. It must be pointed out that atonement however doesn’t come in pieces… Christ doesn’t give us atonement, he is atonement. As Calvin writes above, the benefits that Christ obtained here, namely through his death are only given to us in his person. We cannot abstract atonement from Jesus Christ and expect to have any idea what we are really talking about because atonement was accomplished in his flesh right before our eyes. It can be possible to talk about salvation and atonement as a thing that we get, rather than a person whom we receive. Christ did not say he will show us the way, truth, and the life…he said that he was in himself the only way to the Father, the only true Word, and the Life Everlasting.

This atonement is the outpouring of his loving-kindness upon us. Throughout the gospel accounts we encounter expressions of Christ’s self-bestowal, patience, and grace toward us. He gave hope to the adulterous woman at the well; he bore patience with Nicodemus; he stooped and met Thomas’ doubt; he called the greedy Zacchaeus to dinner; with all the effort Peter could muster, Jesus caught his hand as he sank into the sea. This is the Christ who sits in heaven. This Christ is where we find atonement. We, then, rest completely in the comfort and peace of his name.

Check out this quote from Augustine

Select Bibliography

The Person of Christ – Donald MaCleod

Atonement – T.F. Torrance

Calvin’s Institutes – Book 2.12/Book 3.1-12

One with Christ – Johnson

PRELUDE – “Satisfied in You (Psalm 42)” by The Sing Team

LAMENT & CALL TO WORSHIP

How long, O LORD?

Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON & HOPE

Songs –

Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing” by Carl Gotthelf Glaser and Charles Wesley

One Thing Remains” by Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford, and Jeremy Riddle

PRAYER

THE LORD’S PRAYER

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 thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory,

Forever and ever. Amen.

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – New City Catechism Q18

Song –

You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 15:1-21

SERMON – “Offerings in the Land”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

The Wonderful Cross” by Chris Tomlin, Isaac Watts, J. D. Walt, Jesse Reeves, and Lowell Mason

I Will Offer Up My Life” by Matt Redman

OFFERING

Song –

Be Thou My Vision” by Eleanor Henrietta Hull and Mary Elizabeth Byrne

BENEDICTION – Numbers 6:24-26

“The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Beautiful Eulogy” by Beautiful Eulogy

So the Saturday morning breakfast went well this last week. We had about 5 guys show up initially. There’s definitely room for more!

Along with the packet came a DVD that showed several clips of some of the speakers highlighted in the series. We had breakfast (bacon & biscuits and gravy), watched the introductory DVD and went over some of the topics and the format of the group. We also shared a little bit of what was currently going on in each other’s lives. We ended with prayer and was done by 9:15.

Each week we will watch a 30 minute DVD featuring the topic covered in the workbook. There will be a series of questions from the workbook that we will discuss as a group. No additional study or pre-work is required to participate in the group. However, if you would like to get more involved and have a deeper commitment, the workbook has some exercises that you can do during the week relative to the discussion. There is also a website and other recommended reading by the author.

There is a total of 10 sessions, so going every other week we should be done by February or March.

If anyone would like a workbook, I can order one from Amazon for about $10. I know we have a couple books that we can lend out or I can also order one for about $5.

Next time (10/4) we will begin with the 1st lesson. I will plan on making pancakes. The topic will be on courage. Be thinking about what the most courageous thing is that you have ever done.

If anyone wants to bring some juice or anything let me know. Please let me know if you can make it.

Hope to see you next time!

Philip W.

1 Chronicles 28:20

IBC Women,

Hopefully the testimonies these past couple Sundays about the Immanuel Women’s Theology Cohort have piqued your interest. Here are more details about the cohort so you can prayerfully consider joining.

The cohort consists of reading books on a variety of topics (and writing a one-page written interaction about each book), bimonthly one-on-one (or one-on-two) discipleship and accountability meetups, and a monthly cohort (large group) discussion. The intention of this program is to raise and train women members of IBC to serve and teach other women, as well as to foster deeper relationships between the ladies at IBC.

The current plan is to begin the bi-monthly meetings and reading the first book in October, with the first large-group cohort on November 2.

While the syllabus may seem rigorous, it’s totally worth the effort! For those of us who did the pilot version, we found the discipline and accountability of sticking to the curriculum to be immensely rewarding. If you have any concerns, please feel free to speak to Abby, Bethany, Sarah, or Vivian about their perspectives on the work load.

If you’d like to see the syllabus or you already know you want to participate in this year’s cohort, please email women at immanuel dash baptist dot net by the end of this month.

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.

Sin and Salvation

It follows that what is said about sin is what we are saying about salvation; ‘saving’ implies saving from something. That is to say, if salvation is 1) an immediate salvation (justification, adoption, etc…), 2) an ongoing salvation (sanctification), 3) a salvation yet to be fully realized for us in eternity, then what we say about sin and all it entails is what we are saying about salvation in each of these stages. Salvation is of course an act of legal rebellion against God which is immediately resolved through the application of Christ’s sacrifice (justification). Beyond this, we are also immediately given access to God through our brother and High Priest, Christ, to God as our Father (adoption). However, sin also reaches into the depths of our hearts in such a way that the Christian is still encouraged to be holy and to purge herself from the caves of self-admiration until she dies (sanctification). Eternally, sin can also be thought of as a severance of relationship, a continual state of enmity which is reversed as we sit beneath the throne of God and worship him (Rev 22:1-5).

The short definitions just stated aren’t half bad…but what about ‘missing the mark.’ Does salvation include the reversal of this? Do we make the mark now? What is the mark? Who is the subject of this rather ambiguous phrase and what are they doing differently? The problems are evident.

Two explanations of what is at the root of sin are idolatry and shalom (peace/harmony) breaking. Simply put, every act of sin is personally culpable and disrupts the harmony that God named as “good” in his creation (disruption of shalom). The means of ruining this peace is not just the flirtation, but the consummation of something meant for good and making it supreme authority, obeying it instead of God (usually manifested in self definition and authority – idolatry).

The Fall

While the Trinity is toward the top of the list of mysteries we accept, the event of the Fall should not be underestimated. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden in a perfect, harmonious relationship with one another and with him. They trusted in him for everything and knew his good character vividly. Adam enjoyed glorifying God through obedience and by enjoying every part of creation set before his eyes. He knew that God was loving, caring, a God of harmony and peace. He trusted God… And like the flip of a switch it all changed. And this is the mystery: Adam who only knew God as loving Father of all and the God of peace fled. Why didn’t he run to the grace of this loving Father and confess? Why was he all of a sudden so terrified of this God that he did all he could to pass the responsibility off?

“A profound blindness has taken over Adam’s mind. His inner vision is now so terribly alienated – so fallen – that he no longer has a clear perception of the Father’s heart at all. He cannot see the Father’s face. And worse, in place of the Father’s heart, his fallen mind invented a new god, a nightmarish mythological deity… From this moment, the Father’s face will be forever tarred with an alien brush, and his heart, his beauty, his goodness, will be misunderstood. Our darkened imagination will recreate the Father’s character in its own image. Our shame will disfigure the Father’s heart. The projections of our fear will rewrite the rules of his care” (Kruger, C. Baxter. The Hermeneutical Nightmare and the Reconciling Work of Jesus Christ, An Introduction to Torrence Theology).

Universal

We are each of us deeply damaged by the Fall in every part of our being. There is no part of our person that hasn’t been tainted by sin. This is the theological definition of ‘total depravity,’ yet sin is not an amoeba of stuff out there to be examined apart from us. Sin is always related to us. Genesis 3 is not just a story about Adam and Eve, it is our biography. We too suffer the same loss and turmoil that Adam did. In fact we often spend a lot of time and money putting on a masquerade for others to see. We are often (Christian or otherwise) filled with shame, assume self-sufficiency, and flee God’s comfort. We waltz around essentially saying, “Nothing to see here!” This elevates the place of confession both in our interpersonal relationships and in our ecclesiastic environments. We ought to confess to one another, but we ought also to confess together to God in the Sunday liturgy. For alongside the assurance of pardon, we are given complete assurance of our ongoing mediation. In the church, Christ assuages our guilt and brings his life and death to bear on us.

Select Bibliography

Plantinga – Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be (highly recommended)

Beale – We Become What We Worship

Augustine – Confessions

Calvin’s Institutes – Book 2 Ch 1-3

This week’s featured video from the Summer Retreat is Pastor Nathan and Sarah Ferris talking about why gender roles matter. Check it out.

To investigate this topic further, watch this panel discussion at the latest Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference – http://resources.thegospelcoalition.org/library/why-this-issue-now

There’s a lot going on this weekend:

(1) Pilates with Bethany at 7:00 AM at The Meeting Place on Saturday

(2) Prayer Meeting at 8:00 AM at The Meeting Place on Saturday

(3) Men’s Study at 8:00 AM at Phil Wagler’s place on Saturday

(4) Corporate Worship at 10:45 AM at The Meeting Place on Sunday

(5) Table Talk after service at The Meeting Place on Sunday

PRELUDE – “It’s Not Enough” by Dustin Kensrue

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – 1 Chronicles 16:29

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”

Song –

How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against You

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved You with our whole heart;

we have not love our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in Your will,

and walk in Your ways,

to the glory of Your Name. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death.”

Songs –

This Is Amazing Grace” by Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro, and Phil Wickham

and/or

One Thing Remains” by Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford, and Jeremy Riddle

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostle’s Creed

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 into 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 saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – New City Catechism Q18

Song –

Jesus at the Center” by Adam Ranney, Israel Houghton, and Micah Massey

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 14:39-45

SERMON

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry

Jesus Paid It All” by Alex Nifong, Elvina M. Hall, and John Thomas Grape

OFFERING

Song –

It Is Finished” by Brian Eichelberger and Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “I Will Follow” by Jacob Sooter and Jon Guerra

It was good to see all the men who came out last Friday to help eat that enormous pizza and talk about sexual wisdom! Let’s build on that.

Starting this Saturday (9/20) at 8:00 AM Phil W. will be hosting and leading a study on “Stepping Up.” There will be breakfast food and we’ll watch a short DVD and talk together about how God wants us to step up as godly men.

Email Phil if you plan to be there.

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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