You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2014.

PRELUDE – “Angels We Have Heard on High” by Sara Groves


Song –

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley, Michael Adler, and William Walker


Reader: “Today we light the first Advent candle…”

Reader: The first candle reminds us of the promise given through the Prophets that a Messiah would come, a promise given many years before that blessed event. Just as the Prophets and people waited for the fulfillment of the promise, we also await the celebration of Christ’s birth, and His Glorious Return.

Congregation: “Jesus said, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’” (John 8:12)

Reader: In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned, the LORD promised the Savior would come to crush their enemy, Satan, who represented himself as a serpent to deceive Eve:

Congregation: “The LORD God said to the serpent, … ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel’” (Genesis 3:14-15)

Reader: Then the Lord promised the Savior to Abram through his descendants: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Reader: Through the Prophet Isaiah, the LORD told us what Jesus Christ would be like, and promised He would bring a world of peace where there is no war. We still await the fulfillment of part of this promise through Christ’s return!

Reader: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them” (Isaiah 11:1-6)

Congregation: “May Your lovingkindnesses also come to us, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your promise” (Psalm 119:41)


Song –

O Come O Come Emmanuel” by John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore


Song –

But God” by Michael Bleecker, Hunter Hall, and Lauren Chandler


I believe in one God,

the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth,

and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten Son of God,

begotten of the Father before all worlds;

God of God, Light of Light,

very God of very God;

begotten, not made,

being of one substance with the Father,

by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation,

came down from heaven,

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit

of the virgin Mary,

and was made man;

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered and was buried;

and the third day He rose again,

according to the Scriptures;

and ascended into heaven,

and sits on the right hand of the Father;

and He shall come again, with glory,

to judge the quick and the dead;

whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord and Giver of Life;

who proceeds from the Father and the Son;

who with the Father and the Son

together is worshipped and glorified;

who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;

and I look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.




Song –

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 21:1-9

SERMON – “The Bronze Serpent”



When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts and Lowell Mason

Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Lees Bancroft and Vikki Cook


Song –

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel



POSTLUDE – “We Want to See Jesus Lifted High” by Noel Richards

Don’t forget that people gather to pray every Saturday at The Meeting Place at 8:00 AM. You can join them!

Every other Saturday there’s a Men’s Study or a Women’s Study. This Saturday (11/22) it’s the women’s turn. This time it will be at Vivian’s new house.

And if you want to do Pilates with Bethany, contact her.

PRELUDE – “But God” by Michael Bleecker, Hunter Hall, and Lauren Chandler


Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Song –

Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down” by Dave Doherty

CONFESSION OF SIN – Psalm 95:7:b-11

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Song –

But God” by Michael Bleecker, Hunter Hall, and Lauren Chandler

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Hebrews 4:9-10

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”

We can rest by faith in the finished work of Christ!

Songs –

When I Think About the Lord” by James Huey

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



Song –

My Jesus I Love Thee” by Adoniram Judson Gordon and William Ralph Featherstone

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 20:1-29

SERMON – “Back at Kadesh”


Songs –

Rock of Ages” by Augustus Montague Toplady and Thomas Hastings

Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Lees Bancroft and Vikki Cook


Song –

Happy Day” by Ben Cantelon and Tim Hughes



POSTLUDE – “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means, – especially, the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.

The Sanctified One

When saying any one thing in theology, you are saying something about everything, however significant. However unrelated, it is telling that many high-church environments also hold to infant (paedo) baptism and covenant theology as opposed to dispensational theology and holding believer’s (credo) baptism (there are exceptions). For now, what we have already said about justification and its communication to us will help us think about what sanctification is and how we grow in it. First, however, to a definition – while justification deals with our legal reprehensibility before God, sanctification deals with the continual reshaping of our polluted minds and desires to conform them to the mind and desires of Jesus Christ. It is more simply, our being made into the “image of his Son” as Paul says in Romans 8. It is helpful to note here that Paul is intent on telling us the point for which we were saved, not that we might be expiated of our sin and cleared of our guilt and then live on to the same destructive and chaotic end, but that we may live a new life, in his new life. In sanctification, we are being decontaminated from our old life.

As previously discussed, justification is received insofar as we partake of Jesus Christ, not from afar, but in our very oneness with him. Calvin will help here:

“Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life” (Institutes 3.11.1)

Not only do we receive the legal pardon, but we also receive from Christ his life of holiness. This is of little consequence if we believe that sanctification is mainly about becoming a good, moral citizen, but this is not the case! Following the definition we set out with, this fact has grand implications. If sanctification is akin to ‘Christ-ification’, or conformity to the whole character of Jesus Christ, how else are we to grow in holiness than to partake of him? We often take the Holy Spirit as a surrogate for the absent Christ, but this is a strange conclusion to come to from John 14:15-20. Rather it seems that Christ is present precisely through the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings the life of Jesus Christ to bear upon us such that we die with him (Rom. 6), rise with him (Col. 3), and live in him (Gal. 2:20).

Sanctified Schizophrenia

Paul writes, “Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death” (Rom. 7:24)? The apostle is no stranger to the true pain and toil we undertake when we grow in holiness. Growing involves growing pains. As with a surgeon who must further splice apart an already mutilated body in order to find the lead bullet inside, Christ must peal apart the layers of our idolatry and self-indulgence to remove our vicious desires. No Christian should think that a constant upward path is the norm of the Christian life. Many believers embarking on the journey of sanctification (all of life post-justification) slip. They take one step forwards and three back… four forward and two back. There is no formula for the sanctification of believers, except that for the perceptive Christian, the path is a warzone. And though this is the case, we are able to look back through our history as one of God’s children and see the struggles that, with Christ, have been conquered. In this way, sanctification is the instrumental means by which we can obtain assurance that we are indeed held captive by God. I conclude with Calvin:

“Therefore the godly heart feels in itself a division because it is partly imbued with sweetness from its recognition of the divine goodness, partly grieves in bitterness from an awareness of its calamity; partly rests upon the promise of the gospel, partly trembles at the evidence of its own iniquity; partly rejoices at the expectation of life, partly shudders at death. This variation arises from imperfection of faith, since in the course of the present life it never goes so well with us that we are wholly cured of the disease of unbelief and entirely filled and possessed by faith… the end of the conflict is always this: that faith ultimately triumphs over those difficulties which besiege and seem to imperil it.” Calvin – Institutes 3.2.18

Select Bibliography

The Cross and Salvation – Demarest

Calvin – Institutes 3

Theology for the Church – Akin

Cassie is making the schedule for the volunteer teams in the new year, things like Set-Up and Tear-Down and welcoming and worship team and Kids’ Corner, etc… – the stuff that often goes unnoticed but is such a huge service. If you’d like to help out in any way, please contact her at admin at

by Jeremiah Hill

We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.

Sovereign Election

The purpose of discussing election is always pastoral in the Holy Scriptures (Rom 8, 9, Eph 1). It is seen as something that comforts believers and ought also to elicit praise from them. While the issues regarding election are complex indeed, the following discussion will be closely tied to the Scriptural purpose rather than the debates within or related to the doctrine of election. Of course, a definition is necessary for us to really know what we are talking about. It can be defined as the free action of God to choose individuals for salvation. This definition, however, has given way for some to say that he chooses usbased upon consideration of future acts of service or those individuals eventually choosing him. Thus we can helpfully add, God chooses individuals for salvation based upon nothing in that individual whatsoever, but solely out of his mercy and grace.

At first glance of course, this definition also presents some difficulty. It comes under fire in that “mercy and grace” cannot be a foundation for choosing some and not others. “Mercy and grace,” then, are accused of being a smokescreen for having nothing to say at all. And here they are correct. Though we wouldn’t use the same language, there are times when understanding doctrine must stop. We cannot probe the recesses of God’s mind and we are not meant to. It is precisely in the question, “Why does he choose some and not others,” that they have gone too far (as Paul says in the middle of Romans 9). Trying to piece together the theology contained in the Bible can be tricky business. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is one of the principle examples of where we must say there is deep mystery involved (others may include the event of the Fall or that marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church) because there is simply no Biblical warrant to go further. We rest with the previous definition.

Election should not be seen as an elementary school game of cosmic-dodge ball where Christ gets first pick and Satan second. The doctrine is closely related to the fact that man in his fallen condition hates God deeply and without remorse. Men so hate God that even great acts of love elicit mockery by the supposedly religious elite. Election is the first of many subsequent acts where God alters who we are. But, election is not haphazard. God does not just choose to change the suicidal destruction we bring about in our lives, he brings that very change to fruition. His sovereign election is brought about by events in our life that he has planned (which we call the providence of God). God is always intentional and deliberate in his actions, never unplanned or random. God’s sovereign choice to overcome our dark intentions terminates in our being brought into new life.

Martin Luther’s confessor, Staupitz, counseled him with the following words, “If you want to dispute about predestination, begin with the wounds of Christ, and it will cease.” But hang on, isn’t election completely fatalistic? If I can’t probe the depth of my soul and find a firm moral island to stand, should I conclude that I’m not elect? Isn’t my election based on my experience and personal holiness so much so that devoid of these things I can only conclude that I’m not elect and that I cannot become saved because salvation is the sovereign power of God and not in my own ability? Nothing is further from the truth. Election is never to be sought in place of Jesus Christ. Only in Jesus Christ will we find firm confirmation of that very election for in him is found the fruition of our election. Do you desire to make sure your election and gain assurance of salvation? Look to Jesus Christ. Look and grasp him. Know that in him is the great benevolence of the Father toward you and in grasping the Son, we share with the Son in his inheritance. We share in the delight which the Father has for the Son. We share in the joy of divine rest and peace. If these truths glimmer with familiarity, know that you are unshakably the Lord’s.

Sovereign Goodness

There remains as we think about God’s sovereign election and providence great distortion. In many ways, God has given us earthly images that help us to understand who he is toward us. Godly fathers on earth help us see what it means that God is our Father, likewise friends, brothers, marriage relationships. But few examples on earth can help us grapple with God’s sovereign rule. It’s a good step for us to take to admit at the outset that we need great help in understanding God’s providence. Calvin wrote of God’s providence, “Ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it” (1.17.11).

Ultimately there is no foundation to understanding that God sovereignly rules over all things other than that he is supremely good and trustworthy. It is of course, with great ease that we attribute all good things that we experience to God’s gracious and kind providence. But when death, destruction, deception, dismay, and disappointment breeze through our front door, it is quite another story. There are easy ways to ‘excuse’ God for these events, but the Bible does not do this. Joseph’s misery brought forth a nation. Naomi and Ruth lost their loved ones and made way for Ruth’s offspring David…and Jesus Christ. Job endured the loss of everything he had to eventually experience greater blessings than he had before. All of the suffering that Christians endure has a telos (end), which is our sanctification and ultimate glorification. The redeeming of our suffering takes place most fully as we join the heavenly parade of martyrs and the many suffered people of God over the ages. Not only do we join them, but we join Jesus Christ who entered into the sovereign plan of God (Acts 2:23) and experienced the full force of God’s wrath. God is not the God who directs and guides events at a distance, but from within. He comes down into his own sovereign plan and experiences the deepest corners of our darkness.

With regard to the destruction in our lives, God is either asleep at the wheel, unconcerned with us, unable to help, or infinitely wise and involved to an end of which we cannot always see. We are often blind and confused concerning the events around us and in our lives. Yet there is one place of peace, light, and clarity – God’s good providence. This providence sets our eyes straight ahead to the eternal kingdom in whose streets we will one day walk. On these walks we will contemplate the full end of our earthly misery and joys. If God is good, utterly concerned, fully trustworthy, endlessly faithful, and truly filled with the same warm love of which the Bible attests, then we have this end on which to look – those streets.

Select Bibliography

The Cross and Salvation – Demarest

Packer – Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Institutes 1.17

The third Sunday of every month you’re invited to stick around after the service and eat food and talk. This year we’ve been talking about what we’ve been reading. Even if you haven’t been reading anything, come listen in and participate in the discussion this coming Sunday.

PRELUDE – “The Voice of the Lord” by Dustin Kensrue


“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’”

Song –

Holy, Holy, Holy” by John Bacchus Dykes and Reginald Heber


“At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’”


Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’”

Songs –

Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher and Mia Fieldes

Behold the Risen Christ” by The Village Church



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.


Song –

Give Me Jesus” by Jeremy Camp

SCRIPTURE READING – Numbers 19:1-22

SERMON – “The Red Heifer”


Songs –

The Power of the Cross” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry


Song –

Jesus Paid it All” by Alex Nifong, Elvina Mabel Hall, John Thomas Grape

BENEDICTION – Isaiah 6:8

“Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”


POSTLUDE – “Celebrate (He Lives)” by Fred Hammond

This year’s Christmas Party will be held Saturday, December 13th. More details to come, but please mark your calendars and hope to see you there!


Don’t forget that for those who aren’t yet members of Immanuel, the next Mission Class is this Sunday (11/9) after the service. Lunch will be provided. We’ll be going through the Joining the Mission material.