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PRELUDE – “Nothing Without You” by Jason Nelson

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 100:1-4

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

Song –

Behold Our God” by Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, Stephen Altrogge

CONFESSION OF SIN –

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 repentant,

according to your promise 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 – Isaiah 53:5-6

He was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Songs –

Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant

Worthy is the Lamb” by Darlene Zschech

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – New City Catechism Q20

Song –

Jesus I Come” by George Coles Stebbins and William True Sleeper

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 16:1-50

SERMON – “Korah’s Rebellion”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

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

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” by Stuart Townend

OFFERING

Song –

All Glory Be To Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Grace Alone” by Dustin Kensrue

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.

Freedom and Responsibility

A quick review of Romans 5 & 6 may leave some perplexed as Paul discusses the freedom that we experience in Christ and describes it as slavery to righteousness. What we must understand in Paul’s discussion here is that his definition of freedom is worlds apart from ours. Freedom as it is defined in our cultural and political context is the unhindered right to do anything. Freedom is unhinged will…but is that even possible? Isn’t a person’s will tied to them in such a way as to form the will? Can anybody will acts that are not necessarily conditioned by one’s own past experience in life? The simple point is this, everybody has a master. One can only be as free as their nature. Everybody has an aim and an end which they are aiming for in narrative of their lives. Paul’s point is that the chains that once bound us to a prison of self-wonder and self-obsession have now been bound to Christ. As we will see next week, Christ has changed our very nature within us and bound us to himself. This is freedom – to be bound to such a nature that we can worship the Creator and Father of our very freedom and that within this nature, upheld by that Father, is no dread or fright that we will be left of our own accord.

The responsibility of salvation is given to us but the ability is not in us to receive it. Freedom thus defined allows us to see that we are not set free as un-mastered subjects. We are apprehended by God. We are not set free to muster ourselves into a repentance just good enough to be worthy of God. We will never repent or believe in such a way that God does not yet, even in our repentance, provide mediation for us. The Father in Jesus Christ provides for us the freedom necessary by fastening us to himself.

Sovereignty?

Hyper-Calvinism is a term applied to those who have taken John Calvin’s theology to deterministic extremes. If God is the sovereign Lord, how can human agency exist in any respect at all? This describes the Hyper-Calvinist. Human responsibility is turned into a farce and God is ultimately the cause of everything. Paul addresses this kind of thinking to us in Romans 9 (take a peek). In a theological discussion surrounding God’s purposes, Paul does not give us the inner workings of God’s decrees. Rather, he explains to us that questioning what God demands of us in light of his sovereign hand is a form of unbelief. The point Paul makes subtly is that it is more central to Christianity that we hold a biblical consistency instead of a philosophically airtight system. Philosophers will bemoan Paul’s insistence on the affirmation of seemingly contradictory terms. The Old Testament bears witness that God repeatedly assures the salvation of his people and clearly acts sovereignly. He nonetheless prescribes laws and arranges massive responsibility for his people that you would not expect of mere puppets. The OT not only claims both but holds no forte in either direction.

The doctrine of sovereignty will be addressed in the later articles. Suffice it to say here that the doctrine is a source of great comfort for believers. The providence of God is a personal providence which is not just exercised from high above, but from within. God entered his own providential plan and was subject to a gruesome death and unspeakable evil. If this is not the case, if God is not sovereign then with regard to all the events in your life you could speak of God in a few different ways. He could be asleep at the wheel, perhaps he is just unconcerned, or maybe he just doesn’t even have the power to act. We must see that we cannot see. He is infinitely wise and involved in the events of our lives in such a way to bring about a holy and joyous end. While the contours are sometimes confusing to us, let us rest in that he is not confused, unable, unwilling, or unconcerned.

Select Bibliography

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God – Packer

The Cross and Salvation – Demarest

Theology for the Church – Akin

Calvin’s Institutes (1:16-18)

This Saturday there is:

– No Pilates

– Prayer Meeting at 8:00 AM at The Meeting Place

– Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 AM at Abby’s

– Joint Service with Church of the Beloved at 4:00 PM at The Meeting Place

This Sunday the Chicago Marathon will close off access to The Meeting Place.

So instead of our usual gathering at 10:45 AM on Sunday mornings, we will be having a joint service with Church of the Beloved at 4:00 PM on Saturday night (10/11).

If you could use a quick refresher on why evangelism matters, check out this week’s featured video from the Summer Retreat.

The School of Theatre & Music at UIC is your neighborhood connection to excellence in the arts! If you live in a neighborhood adjoining UIC take advantage of special ticketing offers for UIC neighbors when you join us for performances throughout 2014-15.

Purchase tickets to any theatre performance and use the code “FRIEND” to activate your 2 for 1 ticket offer. Our current show, Misalliance runs through October 12.

Come to any music event to purchase your yearlong pass for only $25 – unlimited access to all of our evening concerts including choral masterworks, world premieres for wind ensemble, world-class guest artists, such as jazz trombonist Robin Eubanks, classics for string orchestra, and much more. Call 312-996-6068 for more information.

Visit theatreandmusic.uic.edu for a full listing of events

OPENING OCTOBER 3

Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw

Adventure drops from the sky in this uproarious tale of romantic entanglements. UIC’s own Luigi Salerni directs this irreverent romp as the caustic wit of playwright George Bernard Shaw transforms the stage into a forum for laughter and “good ideas.”

BUY TICKETS HERE

OCTOBER 16 – Serenade

7:30PM, UIC Theatre, 1044 W. Harrison St

Our new string orchestra director, Javier Mendoza, leads the group in a program that includes Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances and Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings in E major.

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.

Justification Accomplished

Calvin described it saying, “…this is the main hinge on which religion turns…”[i] Luther said it is “the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.”[ii] Without a doubt, it is the doctrine on which the entire Reformation was launched and continues to be the biggest point of conflict between Evangelical and Catholic conversation. But it is no mere conversation piece for us. It is the climax and resolution after the cliffhanger. Having been left biting our nails with regard to the apprehension of our deliverance, we can now have confidence. We may learn from Scripture that God is tri-personal, that he is all-powerful, that he created all out of nothing, even that he has endowed us with authority over all the earth, and yet there is a looming question – What is this God’s disposition toward us? Is he for or against us? Justification answers this question.

Justification is multifaceted and oceans of ink have been spilled on the subject. Luther was excommunicated and nearly killed regarding it, but many weren’t so lucky (it was not solely this distinctive that angered the Catholics). Justification in the medieval church was accomplished after a lifetime of sanctification. This sanctification was always considered by God’s grace, first administered through infant baptism (removal of original sin for them), and ever after through the sacraments which were only given through the church. Not so odd then, that they despised the Reformers since their efforts undermined the entire structure of the Catholic Church (including income!). Depending on who you ask, they had it coming.

Justification for the Reformed project and most Evangelicals is, “the act of God by which he credits the righteousness of Christ to the believer and declares him just”[iii] The tangible, law-fulfilling righteousness of Christ, which he accomplished through his earthly journey, is given to us at the moment of justification. In our justification, our sin and guilt is judged in the person of Christ in the great exchange. It is on this cross that Christ is crushed under the wrath of the Father and suffers our punishment for sin. Imagine for a moment, the devil accusing God… “Where is your justice God? I thought you were the perfect and holy judge of every living thing? There is no possible way for you to give these people life, they have marred your image and despised you with a high hand… You aren’t the perfect and unchanging God, you let them run free!” Facetious, of course, yet this is the conversation, of sorts, that Paul is answering in Romans 3:21-26. Here, Paul shows how God can save the wicked and still be a consistent, just God. Justification reveals that the God who created all, is a benevolent and trustworthy Father to be sought and discovered further. He is for us – this, rather than a God whose identity is nothing but a terror to us outside of Jesus Christ (therefore outside of justification).

Justification Applied

Luther wrote, “I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners…Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience…”[iv] This he wrote in regard to his struggle through understanding what God’s righteousness means for us. The German plagued himself with the most devout expression of piety…whipping, beating, starving, and freezing himself throughout his life as acts of penance. All this was done with the understanding that justification, through God’s grace, is earned cooperatively. When Luther discovered the truth of Paul’s heart in Romans, the entire world shook. How do we get justification? Sola Fide – by faith alone. Faith will be defined in a few weeks. The purpose here is only to say that the application of redemption is by the power and initiative of God alone.

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[v]

As with other aspects of our salvation, let us not depersonalize justification. How can legal benefits and declarations be made of us with regard to our souls if we remain outside of Jesus Christ? The testimony of Calvin and others[vi] regards justification as intimately related to our being united to Christ. It does not in any way diminish our legal standing, but brings legal fiction to fact. In Christ, we have his righteousness and he bears our wickedness. In Christ, there is no condemnation (Rom 8). In Christ we have been raised and seated with him. In Christ, we were chosen for adoption (Eph 2). In Christ, we should seek the things that are above, since he is our life (Col 3). In Christ we have redemption (Col 1).

This all ought to fill us with assurance. It remains however, that we often base how assured we are of God’s favor of us on our own emotions, performance, and other experiences. However the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22). Further, perfectionism and perpetual guilt is completely antithetical to God’s verdict on us. We ought to have a healthy sense of guilt and repent! Yet our assurance of pardon should follow with joy and praise, knowing full well the magnitude of the price paid.

Select Bibliography

The Cross and Salvation – Bruce Demarest

Theology for the Church – Akin

Calvin’s Institutes (Mostly book 3)

Salvation Accomplished by the Son – Peterson

Hoekema – Saved by Grace

[i.] Institutes, 3.1.1

[ii.] Akin, Theology for the Church. 745

[iii.] Ibid, 746.

[iv.] Nichols, Martin Luther. 37

[v.] Institutes, 2.1.1

[vi.] Also the view taken by Kenneth Keathley in Theology for the Church, 752; Packer, Justification 645; Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 495.

Could anyone who wants to be part of this cycle of Women’s Theology Cohort email women, even if you’ve already verbally committed?

Saturday:

7:00 AM Pilates

8:00 AM Prayer Meeting

8:00 AM Men’s Study (men at immanuel dash baptist dot net)

Sunday:

10:45 Gathered Worship

4-5 year Sunday School Teachers’ Meeting afterward

PRELUDE – “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobb

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

Song –

Oh Our Lord” by Paul Baloche

CONFESSION OF SIN – From Daniel 9

O Lord, the great and awesome God,

who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

We have sinned and done wrong.

We have been wicked and have rebelled;

we have turned away from your commands and laws.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving,

even though we have rebelled against him;

We have not obeyed the LORD our God

or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.

We have transgressed your law and turned away,

refusing to obey you.

Discipline has come upon us,

yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God

by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.

Now, O Lord our God,

who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand

and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day,

we have sinned, we have done wrong.

O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts,

turn away your anger and your wrath from your Church.

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous,

but because of your great mercy.

O Lord, listen!

O Lord, forgive!

O Lord, hear and act!

For your sake, O our God, do not delay,

because your people bear your Name.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn. 1:8-9).

Songs –

When I Think About the Lord” by James Huey

Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – New City Catechism Q19

Song –

O Great God” by Bob Kauflin

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 15:22-41

SERMON – “Unintentional and Intentional Sins”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy” by Fernando Ortega, John Andrew Schreiner, and Joseph Hart

All I Have Is Christ” by Jordan Kauflin

OFFERING

Song –

Take My Life” by Chris Tomlin, Frances Ridley Havergal, Henri Abraham Cesar Malan, Louie Giglio

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Grace Alone” by Dustin Kensrue

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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