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PRELUDE – “The First Noel” Chris Tomlin

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

 The Nicene Creed

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became truly human.

 Song

Worthy Of It All” by David Brymer and Ryan Hall

CONFESSION OF SIN

 John 3:19-21

 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world,

 and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light,

lest his works should be exposed.

But whoever does what is true comes to the light,

so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

1 John 3:1-3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us,

that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;

but we know that when he appearswe shall be like him,

because we shall see him as he is.

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

 Songs –

Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman

Here I Am to Worship” by Tim Hughes

PRAYER 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:13

SCRIPTURE READING  – Micah 4:1-13

SERMON – Micah 4:1-13 “O Great City of Jerusalem”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

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

Your Name” by David Durham

OFFERING

Song

 “Lord Most High” by Don Harris and Gary Sadler

BENEDICTION 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Mary Did You Know” Pentatonix

PRELUDE – “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” Casting Crowns

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP: Rev. 19:11-16

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!

The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True,

and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems,

and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood,

and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure,

were following him on white horses.

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations,

and he will rule them with a rod of iron.

He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Song –

Crown Him With Many Crowns” by George Job Elvey, Godfrey Thring, and Matthew Bridges

 

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Luke 3:2-6

the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

 And he went into all the region around the Jordan,

proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

Prepare the way of the Lord,

make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,

and every mountain and hill shall be made low,

and the crooked shall become straight,

and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall seethe salvation of God.’”

In light of the coming of the Kingdom of God, let’s take a moment to repent, and to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

Hear this assurance of Pardon from Luke 2:29-32 the words of Simeon, when he bore witness of the Incarnate Son:

“Lord, now you are letting your servantdepart in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory to your people Israel.”

 Songs –

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

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, and Michael Bleecker

 

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 3

SERMON – Micah 3 “The Perfect Prophet, Priest, and King”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

I Surrender All” by Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter and Winfield Scott Weeden

Angels We Have Heard On High” by Edward Shippen Barnes and James Chadwick

OFFERING

Song –

All Glory Be to Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Washed by the Water” Needtobreathe

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Gender, Sexuality, and Family”

December 4, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #316 “I Surrender All” & #303 “Blessed Assurance”

Testimonies – What’s a way that you’ve been challenged this fall to be more winsomely weird?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

Let’s remind ourselves of what we’re doing here. This fall we have been talking about how we as the church, the remnant redeemed out of the wreckage of the world by Christ, are to live as citizens of another world, the world to come, where righteousness reigns. So we don’t march to the beat of the world’s drum. We’re weird in that sense. But we are also not self-righteous, hateful, arrogant, or cold, but rather kind, humble, gracious, and deeply desiring others to be saved. Winsome is the word. Winsomely weird.

But the pressure to conform to the world is powerful and strong and insidious and relentless. Think of Jesus’ parable of the soils. Some seed fell among good soil and grew and produced fruit. That’s the real Christian. Other seed fell among the path and Satan plucked it up right away. That’s those who quickly reject the word of God. But two other options are given. The rocky ground, referring to the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy, but they have no root in themselves, endure for a little while, and then, when tribulation or persecution arises, they fall away. That’s those who face the open hostility of the world and fall back into it, proving that they never really were delivered from it. And then there is the seed among thorns, those for whom the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word. That’s not the outright opposition of the world, but the more subtle allures of the world that really have captured people’s hearts (cf. Mk. 4:13-20)

Paul says in Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” That’s what we’ve been trying to do this fall. It’s not a game. We’re at war for our souls. The world, the flesh, and the devil are out to snooker us. This morning in my Bible Reading I read 2 Peter 1. We have all we need for life and godliness so that we can escape “from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” But it takes making every effort. Being regularly reminded of the gospel and consciously building on that. That’s what our Midweek Meetings have been about.

And tonight, the last night, we come to perhaps the hardest one of them all, the area where there is the most contempt and pressure from the world around us at this time to lose our saltiness and blend in. I think that’s probably why it was the last one picked and kept getting postponed till the end – you know that this is perhaps the hot button issue where God’s ways clash with the world around us and we’re feeling the heat. We’re talking about Gender, Sexuality, and Family.

Jesus on the Creation Order

Let’s start with what Jesus says on the topic, because people are cool with Jesus, right… because he was just all about love and tolerance, right… and didn’t mention things like homosexuality, right? Can someone read Matthew 19:3-9:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

What is Jesus doing here? He’s answering a first-century debate about divorce. But he’s doing more than that. He’s laying out a theology of Gender, Sexuality, and Family. He’s pointing to the Genesis narrative as the normative, God-ordained pattern for these things. From the beginning, the original design and intention of the Creator, is that human beings would fit into two, binary gender categories: male and female. And one man and one woman would be united together in a life-long marriage. And any sexual relations outside of this one man, one woman bond is beyond the bounds. That is the teaching of the Bible from the beginning on God’s ideal, corroborated by numerous other passages, but ultimately by the Lord Jesus himself.

Paul on Creation Disorder

So that’s Jesus on creation order; now let’s look at Paul on creation disorder. Jesus in Matthew 19 alludes to the fact that the original design has been marred and human hearts have been hardened and corrupted. Genesis 3 certainly recounts that. But Paul in Romans 1 gives the clearest theological explanation of what has happened with the entrance of sin into God’s good design. Can someone read Romans 1:18-27…

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

At the Fall, the world went wacky. All of us. Perverted. It centers around our rebellion against God and rejection of him and his order. Something switched in us and instead of a glad submission to our Maker, there entered a deep-seated resentment. We suppress the truth, reject reality, engage in asinine idolatry, and become warped in ways that get reinforced and augmented by culture in this vicious vortex of sin. That is the world.

And Paul clearly links this idolatrous insurrection with gender and sexuality confusion. We resist the clear will of God, and God gives us over to all forms of sexual depravity to the point that we don’t even know which end is up anymore, although we pompously assert that we in fact do.

This is all of us! Not just some really messed up people. We’re all born into this. We’re all sick, twisted, prideful people apart from the merciful intervention of God to remake us. For some, our war against God looks like morality, trying to be straight-laced and good enough to not need him. And it’s often those sorts of Pharisaical environments that loudly tout traditional sexual mores that have some of the most sinister scandals. But even if you succeed at being outwardly ‘pure’, if it’s to prove your goodness, it is still evil wickedness aimed at sticking it to God. And don’t forget how Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount took sexual ethics to the inner thought life, where no one can sustain such scrutiny. The point is that we’re all sexually screwed up, because our relationship with God is screwed up. It takes the gospel to cover our sin and shame and change us at the heart level so that we start to love and submit to God.

Gender

Let’s talk briefly about gender identity issues. This is a growing issue today. People born with a certain sex, but identifying with a different gender, or genders, or no gender, or both genders. We don’t have to deny the reality of the feelings. In a fallen world we have all kinds of fallen feelings. We must empathize with the pain of the confusion and the sin of others heaped upon those prone to gender dysphoria. But to encourage people to ‘transition’ and go with their feelings is not loving. It is aligning with sin. It is our sinful, fallen nature to resist receiving and insist on achieving. That is our sin. We don’t want to submit to something given to us from God. We chafe at having something dictated to us and bending our will to God’s. And so in our sin we want to assert our own will, defy the limits placed on us.

If we have a y chromosome and boy body parts, but feel like a girl, then we don’t want to submit to the givenness of our gender and learn to act in line with that. We want to determine for ourselves. Remember back when we talked about Authority & Purpose? The fallen world way is to live from Self and for Self. My SELF – my thoughts, feelings, desires – is what tells me what to do. That’s a pretty good description of sin.

And so to say, “I know that I have a woman’s body, but I feel like I’m a man” is to let your feelings be your authority. And it doesn’t go well. This is such a new realm that our culture is boldly venturing out into, but the emerging stats on suicide among trans people is so sad. The studies on gender dysphoria pre vs post puberty should give pause. I think some people are starting to see the insanity of it all as biological men identifying as women are winning women’s sporting contests. But I don’t have hope that the world will snap out of this anytime soon.

So how are we going to be winsomely weird? First, we must be loving and patient and compassionate to those who are confused about their sexuality or even self-assured in their non cisgendered identity. We can’t be disgusted and want to have nothing to do with that.

But second, we must be a community that stands out from the world and doesn’t rush headlong with it into craziness. We must be men and women who are glad and happy with our gender as a gift from God based on our assigned sex.

We must hold that men and women are equally image bearers and therefore absolutely equal in dignity, value, and worth. And yet we must hold that men and women are distinct, with different roles and functions in the world for God’s glory. Both are weird at different times and places. In hierarchical, patriarchal cultures where men have all the power and women are treated like property, the Bible’s emphasis on the equality of women and Jesus’ elevation of women will be weird, but must be unequivocally maintained. And in egalitarian, urbane settings where any differentiation of gender roles is considered oppressive and heretical, the Bible’s clear teaching on male headship in the home and church will be not just weird, but utterly despised. If we hold both, together, joyfully, in our city where women are still treated like property and also expected to be just like men, then we’ll really be different.

We must be committed to searching the Scriptures to see how God wants us to be as men or women and submit to that, not our culture’s definitions or our personal feelings. Godly women can win over the world without a word (cf. 1Pe. 3:1). And Christlike men, tender warriors, neither complacent and lazy nor abusive and boorish, that is really weird… and winsome! Brother or sister: be very careful that you are getting your ideas about all this from the Bible and not the world, either the traditional side or the progressive side.

Sexuality

Let’s talk about sexuality, what we do with our bodily urges for sexual stimulation and release and the emotional sensations connected with that. Remember: the sinful, fallen world lives from Self (I determine for myself what I can and can’t do) and for Self (I do what makes ME happy). And so I like to talk about the world’s way of sexuality as selfish sex. The only limit that the world right now wants to put on sex, is that it has to be consensual. But beyond that, if it feels good, I do it. I get out of sex what I want. I’m doing it for me.

Pornography and masturbation are obvious selfish sexual expressions. You get what you want without having to deal with another person. In your fantasies you are completely in charge. When we do involve other partners, we go for the fulfillment of our selfish urges. Maybe we want multiple partners. Maybe I want a partner of the same sex who gets me more easily and knows what I want. The world’s approach to sex is ultimately about self-fulfillment. And so we use people to try to make ourselves happy.

And by the way, selfish sex can happen in heterosexual monogamous marriages. Each person is just trying to get his or her own climax. Or have power over another person in some selfish way.

But the Christian vision for sexuality is not just about getting, but primarily giving. It’s to be selfless sex. How can I use my body to love and cherish and comfort and bring joy to another? That should be what we’re thinking about how to steward our sexuality. How can I serve? How can I show love – selfless, self-sacrificing love to another? That should be how we are thinking about every sexual encounter in our marriages.

And if you are not married, not in a covenanted, committed relationship with another where you’ve given your body and whole self exclusively to this person, then you have no place for having sex. You are called to deny yourself and find other ways to serve people. And that is a grand and noble calling too (cf. 1Cor. 7).

But, the world asks, why can’t you have selfless sex in a monogamous, loving, homosexual relationship? One, probably unconvincing on its own, reason is that selfless sex is also designed to create other people to love and care for. Sex completely divorced from procreation is not a good thing.

Family

So let’s talk really quickly about family. Most people want to have sex without any possibility of babies coming along and cramping your style. That’s pretty selfish. It’s not serving society. It’s just about you. But God designed men to be the provider and protector of a family, moving out of himself into a woman who then receives and nourishes and nurtures life. And altogether they carry on the human race in a context of love and self-giving. That’s the ideal. Those who do have kids these days often do it for selfish reasons – to have someone who needs me, someone who looks like me, someone to keep me from being lonely, someone to control, someone to vicariously live my life through, someone to try to make succeed so as to justify myself… instead of someone to love and lay my life down for and eventually send out into the world to make society continue to go.

I know there’s much more to say about all of these things…

The Bigger Picture

But back to the objection that a monogamous, loving, homosexual relationship could be in some ways selfless… they could even adopt children and give them a caring environment to grow up in. But the main reason this is wrong, and there are a myriad of Bible verses we could bring out that say so, is because the biblical idea of selfless sex isn’t just about pleasing the other person or procreating more people, but it’s about picturing the magnificent metanarrative of God’s salvation. Why did God make men and women and marriage in the first place? To set up a parable, a picture of Christ and the Church. Jesus never got married in his earthly life, showing that marriage is not a necessity. But he does have a Bride and he has pledged his love to her and is coming again to consummate his relationship with her. The Bible begins and ends with a wedding.

Gender, Sexuality, and Family is all designed to be not ends in themselves, but means for imaging something grander, more cosmic. Truly selfless sex says I’m not doing this for my pleasure, or ultimately my spouse’s pleasure or my children’s protection. I’m submitting to this God-ordained form of sexuality so that I can show something of what really matters.

Gospel Conclusions

Let me just wrap up this short treatment of a huge topic with a few gospel conclusions.

Will you let God define you? Not just as a man or a woman, but as someone declared righteous in his sight because of the work of Christ? Will you let him define your identity, or will you continue to try to carve out your own, seeking to define yourself through your works, efforts, redefinitions…

And will you live not controlled by the world’s small narratives, but captivated by the weirdest and most winsome one found in the Bible. That you’re a sinner, a spiritual harlot, totally screwed up. And yet the strong, loving Lord Jesus came on a mission to woo and win you not by force, but by laying down his life to take your debts and give you his riches. And now you want to submit yourself to him unreservedly. And can’t wait to see him face-to-face. You want that more than anything else.

Listen to how Jonathan Edwards describes what that will be like:

In that resurrection morning, when the Sun of Righteousness shall appear in the heavens, shining in all his brightness and glory, he will come forth as a bridegroom; he shall come in the glory of his Father with all his holy angels. And at that glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ shall the whole elect church, complete as to every individual member, and each member with the whole person, both body and soul, and both in perfect glory, ascend up to meet the Lord in the air, to be forever with the Lord. . . . Then will come the time when Christ will sweetly invite his spouse to enter in with him into the palace of his glory, which he had been preparing for her from the foundation of the world, and shall take her by the hand and lead her in with him; and this glorious bridegroom and bride shall, with all their shining ornaments, ascend up together into the heaven of heaven, the whole multitude of glorious angels waiting upon them; and this Son and daughter of God shall, in their united glory and joy, present themselves together before the Father; . . . and they shall together receive the Father’s blessing; and shall thenceforward rejoice together in consummate, uninterrupted, immutable and everlasting glory, in the love and embraces of each other, and in their shared enjoyment of the love of the Father.

That’s what your Gender and Sexuality are all about!

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll be having our Koinonia Christmas Party. Then after the New Year we will be resuming Small Groups. If you also want a format with more teaching like what these Wednesdays have been, we’ll be having an adult Sunday School after our worship services going through the 1689 Second London Confession of Faith, which actually has a helpful section on marriage.

Prayer – Break up into groups to pray with and for each other: (1) Single Men (2) Married Men (3) Single Women (4) Married Women

Pray to be captivated more by the grand vision of the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9)…

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8… Pray for sanctification in your sexuality…

Praise God that 1 Corinthians 6:11 is true of us and pray that more would be added to our number…

PRELUDE – “Only Jesus” By Casting Crowns

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Hear this call to worship from Isaiah 35:1-4

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

it shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,

and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who have an anxious heart,

“Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

He will come and save you.”

 Song

Everlasting God” by Brenton Brown and Ken Rile

CONFESSION OF SIN –  Isa. 8:19-21

And when they say to you,

“Inquire of the mediums

and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,”

should not a people inquire of their God?

Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

To the teaching and to the testimony!

If they will not speak according to this word,

it is because they have no dawn.

They will pass through the land,

greatly distressed and hungry.

And when they are hungry, they will be enraged

and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God,

 and turn their faces upward.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 

You have multiplied the nation;

 you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,

 as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder,

the rod of his oppressor,

you have broken as on the day of Midian. 

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult

and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

 with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. 

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 Songs –

            “Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green

            “At the Crossby Darlene Zschech and Rueben Morgan

PRAYER 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:13

SCRIPTURE READING  – Micah 2

SERMON (Bryan Coble) –

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

One Pure and Holy Passion” by Mark Altrogge

Change My Heart Oh Godby Eddie Espinosa

OFFERING

Song

            “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” by Edward Mote

BENEDICTION 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Known” by Tauren Wells

PRELUDE – “Great are you Lord” by All Sons and Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power

 and the glory and the victory and the majesty,

for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.

In your hand are power and might,

and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

And now we thank you, our God,

and praise your glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:11-13 ESV

Song –

The Lion and the Lamb” by Brenton Brown, Brian Johnsonand Leeland Mooring

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Let’s confess our sins together. Please read the bold sections out loud.

Minister: Blessed Jesus,
you offered us all your blessings when you announced
Blessed are the poor in spirit

People: but we have been rich in pride.

Minister: Blessed are those who mourn

People: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.

Minister: Blessed are the meek

People: but we are a stiff-necked people.

Minister: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

People: but we are filled to the full with other things.

Minister: Blessed are the merciful”

People: but we are harsh and impatient.

Minister: Blessed are the pure in heart

People: but we have impure hearts.

Minister: Blessed are the peacemakers

People: but we have not sought reconciliation.


Minister: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness

People: but our lives do not challenge the world.

Minister: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me

People: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.

Minister: Your Law is holy and your benedictions are perfect,
but they are both too great for us.
You alone are blessed.

People: We plead with you to forgive our sins
and give us the blessing of your righteousness.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON–

Hear this assurance of Pardon from Isaiah 66:1-2

Thus says the Lord:

“Heaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,

declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit

and trembles at my word.

 Songs –

Rock of Ages” by Augustus Toplady

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

 

PRAYER Please be seated

 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 1 Please stand for the reading of God’s Word

SERMON – “Tell it not in Gath”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper

Worthy Worthy” by Jacob Sooter and Mia Fieldes

OFFERING

Song –

Indescribable” by Jesse Reeves and Laura Story

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Politics”

November 20, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #111 “All Hail the Power” & #1 “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”

Testimonies – What’s some way that you have been engaged with the city (polis) lately?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

What’s one way Christians should be winsomely weird when it comes to:

· Authority & Purpose?

· Speech?

· Relationships & Conflict?

· Drugs & Alcohol?

· Bioethics?

· Entertainment?

· Work, Money, & Possessions?

· Fitness?

Tonight the topic is politics. Has anyone been listening/watching some of the impeachment proceedings going on? We’re a politically charged and divided culture. Christians have a great opportunity to be winsomely weird in our partisan climate.

Allegiance to the Kingdom of God

How do we do it? First off, by having our allegiance be ultimately to the kingdom of God and not any of the kingdoms of this world. Philippians 3:20-21 – “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” “Jesus is Lord” is a politically subversive statement, because in the first century Romans said, “Caesar is Lord.” To be a Christian is to acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings and to find your primary identity as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

All other kingdoms are fallen and fall. This week my Bible reading plan has me in Daniel. Special points if anyone can tell me the vision that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar and it’s interpretation… Statue with head of gold (Babylon), chest and arms of silver (Persia), middle and thighs of bronze (Greece), legs of iron with clay mixed into feet (Rome). And then a little pebble rolls up to the feet and crashes it all down, and that stone (the Kingdom of God) grows into a great mountain that fills the whole earth. What’s the point? In the middle of the Roman Empire, Jesus established his kingdom, it’s like a mustard seed but as all the kingdoms of this earth rise and crumble, Jesus’ kingdom keeps growing and growing and one day when he returns the great Hallelujah Chorus will resound – “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

All the kingdoms of this earth are limited in power and geography and contain within them the seeds of their own destruction. Rome fell, the Ottoman Empire fell, the sun is setting on the British Empire. America outlasted Russia (or did we?), but this superpower will weaken. Jesus’ kingdom is forever and is perfect! He’s the only unimpeachable king. He alone tells the truth. He has exactly the right position on everything because he’s the definition of righteousness. He’s trustworthy. He’s loving and beneficent. How else is King Jesus awesome and better than any other political savior??

How do we participate in this Kingdom of God now even before the Return of the King? Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to the church (Mt. 16:19, 18:18). Church – this right here – is the most important poltical entity that we belong to. It’s where we find our deepest sense of belonging, our noblest cause to work for, our greatest joys… Jesus and his eternal purposes have captured our hearts and to him we pledge allegiance.

Which makes us weird. It means we won’t feel really at home in any of this earth’s political entities. Peter calls Christians sojourners and exiles (1Pe. 1:1, 17; 2:11). We’re living outside our fatherland, even if we’re living in the country of our birth, because heaven (shorthand for the renewed creation under King Jesus) is what we’re homesick for. We live like the saints of old, acknowledging that we are “strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If [we are simply talking about the land we moved from, we can return]. But as it is, [we] desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called [our] God, for he has prepared for [us] a city[, the New Jerusalem]” (Heb. 11:13-16; Rev. 21:2ff).

When I was in high school I had a Bob Dole bumper sticker on my bedroom door. I went to Washington, D.C., several times for things like National Young Leaders conferences, including President Clinton’s Second Inauguration. In one of my high school classes we were supposed to bring a song to have played that defined who you were. I brought the Star Spangled Banner.

I was a born again believer but had, unwittingly, bought into a brand of civil religion that conflated Christianity with Country. Thankfully, as I have gotten to know Christ better and grown as his disciple I’ve learned to disentangle the two. For example, in the church I grew up in (and almost all the ones I knew) there was an American Flag (and a Christian Flag[?!]) at the front. There was a Patriotic section in our hymnal and we sang from it around Fourth of July. I think that’s atrocious and we would never do that here. We gather to sing about and pledge allegiance to Jesus and his empire.

Life in the Kingdoms of this World

In college I was a Bible major and Political Science minor. Is there any benefit to studying those things? Is there any obligation to participate in the broken, compromised, political systems of this world? Can we love our country? Is there a good patriotism?

Yes. When you watch Captain Von Trapp sing “Edelweiss” there is something touching and honorable about that. You want to choke up too, don’t you? God is my Father, the church is my mother, you are my brothers and sisters. But I can still love the smell of my grandparents’ house and my mom’s cooking and respect my dad and enjoy my family’s cultural traditions and feel a sense of fealty to them and it can be okay. Jesus’ statement that his follower must “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters” (Lk. 14:26) is about relative affections, right? In comparison, my love for Christ makes my connection to my blood family look like hate and they can never get in the way of following Jesus. But Jesus also took care of his mom at the cross (Jn. 19:26-27) and Paul said “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim. 5:8). Similarly, we can be aligned with the kingdom of God and still thankful for and appreciate the blessings of our country and root for it in the Olympics.

John the Baptist (Lk. 3:14) and Jesus (Lk. 7:1ff) didn’t tell Roman soldiers that they had to stop wearing that uniform if they wanted to be part of God’s kingdom.

Paul in places like Romans 13 and Titus 3 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-17 said that secular (or more specifically, pagan) governments were instituted by God and used by him for certain evil-restraining functions, keeping the world in order while the gospel spread like a virus in and throughout them. Can someone actually read 1 Peter 2:13-17?? So we can honor political leaders, respect them, submit to them in submission to the Lord (and disobey them when they go against the Lord, i.e. Acts 5:29).

So what we’re seeing is that we’re weird because we’re not of this world and our ultimate loyalty and longings lie elsewhere. But we’re also winsome because we remain in this world. We are still citizens of the lesser, temporal governments and we should be the best citizens of these Cities of Man that we can. Any verses that you can think of that back that up?

State and National Politics

So how can we do that here in the U.S. where we have a form of democracy that invites political engagement? We vote for candidates based on values and our best understanding of policies that apply those values. We are getting our values from God and so here’s my main point that I want us to walk away from tonight with: the source of our political thinking is informed not by the right nor by the left, but from above. And that will make us winsomely weird!

Our convictions about what is best for people and society won’t line up easily with one party or match an ideology. We will bust those categories and confound the world. The world desperately wants to reduce ‘evangelicals’ to a voting bloc. We should defy those categories!

Some of you were at the City to City North America Conference here in Chicago last fall with me when Tim Keller walked through the revolutionary values of the early church that made them winsomely weird. First, he showed how they were multi-ethnic, breaking down racial barriers. Then he talked about their radical commitment to serve the poor. Then he showed how the early Christians championed an ethic of non-retaliation. Then he talked about how they were pro-life – rescuing babies from the garbage dumps and caring for the weak and infirm. And finally he explained the sexual counterculture that the early church had – sex only within loving monogamous, heterosexual covenant marriages. These 5 things made the church stand out then and caught the world’s attention with their winsomeness.

And then he commented that today the first two: racial justice and concern for the poor seem to be the domain of the political left. The last two: pro-life and holy sexuality seem to go with the right. And nobody’s really talking about the 3rd one, love of enemies. What if the Church in America today, what if we embraced and embodied all five. That would be really weird, but I also think winsome.

We’re still going to have disagreements on the best policies for helping the poor and things like that, but if we could talk charitably and humbly we might be able to arrive at more of a consensus and where we still can’s as long as it’s not compromising a clear value, we can agree to disagree about implementation.

This will mean losing a lot of power, but that’s okay.

This politics from above will also mean we never feel excited about anyone we vote for.

Global Politics

But since the Church is trans-national we should also be interested in global politics: International Justice Mission, what’s going on in Hong Kong, religious freedom in India…

Local Politics

But we can become too inundated with information about what’s happening in the Hague or a hearing room on the Hill, or even Springfield, and miss the people we have moral proximity to. I saw this some with Ferguson. The race issue blew up on the national scene and we had people in our church getting rightly upset about this, but at the time we had some evangelism efforts and a Bible Study going on in the Brooks Homes and a Mercy Team forming and nobody wanted to be part of that. Racial injustice issues are right on our doorstep, but it’s easier to re-post Facebook articles about places far away than it is to actually get involved right in your backyard.

I want to encourage us to focus more on local politics. Do you know the gatekeepers on your block? Who makes our neighborhood run? Have you ever considered running for your Local School Council? Or how about showing up at your HOA meetings and taking an interest there? They aren’t usually debating Gun Control or Entitlement Programs. It’s smaller, more immediate issues. And as a Christian you can show that you are concerned as a neighbor and then when they find out that you’re loving your neighborhood not to earn your salvation, but because you’ve been shown grace and that you live out all five of those values, you will shock many people and they will find you intriguing…

What’s Next?

Next week there’s no Midweek Meeting because of Thanksgiving. On December 4th we’ll talk about Gender, Sexuality, & Family. And then on 12/11 we’ll be having a Christmas Party.

Prayer – Break up into groups to pray based on what Ward you live in: (1) 28th Ward (Alderman Ervin) (2) 25th Ward (Alderman Sigcho-Lopez) (3) 27th (Alderman Burnett) and 42nd (Alderman Reilly) Wards (4) 11th (Alderman Thompson) or another Ward

https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/mayor/iframe/lookup_ward_and_alderman.html

Pray for your alderman and a need in your ward (1Tim. 2:1-4)…

Pray that God would guide the presidential primaries and give us good options and for an elevation in civil discourse…

Pray for Hong Kong…

Pray that our hearts and minds would be captured even more by the eternal glories of God’s Kingdom and pray for it to come soon…

Pray that we would reflect the Kingdom of God’s winsomely weird values around the Thanksgiving table next week…

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

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

“My hope lives not because I am not a sinner,

but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died;

my trust is not that I am holy,

but that being unholy, HE is my righteousness.

My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know,

but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me.

Hallelujah!”

~ Charles Spurgeon

Song –

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

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

ASSURANCE OF PARDON  – Joel 2:21-23

 “Fear not, O land;

be glad and rejoice,

for the Lord has done great things!

Fear not, you beasts of the field,

for the pastures of the wilderness are green;

the tree bears its fruit;

the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

“Be glad, O children of Zion,

and rejoice in the Lord your God,

for he has given the early rain for your vindication;

he has poured down for you abundant rain,

the early and the latter rain, as before.

Songs –

His Mercy Is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

Mighty to Save” by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING  – Jonah 4

SERMON  – “Irritating Grace”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

How Deep the Father’s Love” by Stuart Townend

I Stand Amazed in the Presence” by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

OFFERING

Song –

Lord Most High” by Don Harris and Gary Sadler

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Beautiful Lord” by Leeland

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Fitness”

November 13, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #201 “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched” & #259 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”

Testimonies – What’s a meet up you’ve had with another member or with a non-believer lately that has been encouraging?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

We’re talking about how we as Christians are supposed to be a peculiar people. We’ve been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). So let’s not keep living like we did. Ephesians 5:7-11 – “Do not become partners with [the world]; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” We’ve been trying to expose the world’s way of thinking about Authority, Purpose, Speech, Relationships (btw, did you see the recent news that Emma Watson is ‘self-partnered’?), Conflict, Drugs, Alcohol, Bioethics, Entertainment, Work, Money, and Possessions. And show a better way, a more beautiful way – God’s way, motivated by the gospel.

Today we are looking at the topic of Fitness – physical fitness, exercise, working out, health, body image…

Obesity

Is obesity a sin? It’s actually hard to find verses in the Bible about this. I first thought of that story in Judges 3 about Eglon, the wicked king of Moab. It says he was “a very fat man.” And left-handed Ehud hid a sword on his right thigh and got a private meeting with him and thrust the sword into his belly. “And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out.” It’s a disgustingly intriguing story… but it actually doesn’t make a clear moral pronouncement against obesity.

The closest I could think of was Deuteronomy 31:20 where God predicts: “When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.” I think a link could be made between excessive consumption and spiritual lethargy.

But we have to also be careful about judging people who are overweight. It may not always be directly due to laziness and sin. Genetics may be involved. Poverty and food justice issues may be at play. I’ve heard of someone who was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and then ballooned to 400lbs as a defense mechanism to try to make himself unattractive in the hopes that that would make the abuse stop. So we never know all that is going on.

But I think we can agree that it is in general not a good thing to be overweight. It’s often connected with lack of self-control and food idolatry. It increases your risk of heart attacks, makes you feel yucky overall. And it’s just not winsome.

Several years ago there was a story in the news about a study showing that Baptists were by and large LARGE. I think it was in response to the Baptist insurance company no longer automatically covering Baptist pastors because they were overweight and high risk. And I remember hearing a Baptist leader here in Chicago say that he was contacted by a reporter for a comment and he said he would do it, but said no pictures please… because he was a bit portly himself. It’s not winsomely weird to be known as the pudgy people.

Obsession with Fitness

But I don’t think that’s our church’s issue. I don’t think we have an obesity problem in our body. Actually, we’ve got a lot of fairly fit people. And so I think we need to come at it from the other side and ask what might be ways that we have bought into the world’s perspective on fitness. Our center-city culture is one that seems to not have a problem with obesity but rather an obsession with fitness. How are we to be different?

So let’s think: what are some sinful ways the world approaches physical fitness?

It can be a form of self-salvation. At my gym there is this big plaque right in front of the treadmills that says:

What is a Workout?

· A workout is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. Stated another way, it is one part physical exertion and three parts self-discipline. Doing it is easy once you get started. [so far so good, I think we can agree that exercise can be a fruit of the Spirit of self-control or discipline]

· A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind, and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly your problems diminish and your confidence grows. [okay, mostly good; working out has physical, mental, and emotional benefits; I heard a trusted pastor once say that a lot of times depression can be cured by breaking a sweat 3x a week; but the self-confidence thing starts to make me concerned]

· A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination. It is the badge of a winner – the mark of an organized, goal-oriented person who has charge of his or her destiny. [this is where it starts to sound a little like Joel Osteen and verge into godless self-help territory; we are simply not in charge of our destiny and when working out makes us have too high a view of our own works, this can get spiritually dangerous; it can get close to self-salvation]

· A workout is a wise use of time and an investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary. [again a mix of wisdom with this idea that we have deep within us the power to change ourselves; the next one makes this explicit:]

· A workout is a key that helps unlock the door of opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force. Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it. [no, hidden within each of us is a sinful desire to be autonomous and self-determining; we are not good at the core and just need a trainer to help us release that; we are sinful and need a Savior; and here it is:]

· A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a good workout, you don’t simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.

There’s a great example of how fitness can take the place of faith in Christ. It becomes a surrogate for salvation and the Holy Spirit. My hell is low self-confidence and flabby abs. My heaven is people’s attention and a flat stomach. And my salvation is myself – effort, grit, determination.

What are some other potential pitfalls with an obsession with fitness??

It can come from a fear of death. What is driving so many people to stay healthy? They are slaves to the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Aging, slowing down, losing muscle tone… is terrifying. And instead of trusting Christ, we try to take matters into our own hands and stave off death by obsessing with health.

It can miss the blessings of weakness. A fixation on fitness often is coupled with a despising of weakness. Those who are slow, uncoordinated, handicapped, limited… are looked down on. We want to avoid at all costs losing our independence. And so we idolize youth and strength. The picture of beauty is an athletic, active person. Those who have deformities or diseases are ignored. The worst imaginable thing in the world is to be weak and frail. But the Bible talks a lot about weakness as the way of the Christian life. 2 Corinthians 12:10 – “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” An obsession with health can be an aversion to weakness. Are we a community that welcomes the weak or prizes the strong?

It can feed vanity. Humility, C.S. Lewis I think said, is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. The world’s obsession with fitness puts the focus on self – weighing self, measuring self, looking at self in the mirror, counting calories, fishing for compliments, wanting attention; me, Me, ME! But Christ wants us to stop thinking about ourselves and love others.

It can be our identity. Being in shape can be how we feel worth and value. We compare ourselves to others in order to feel good about ourselves. But the dark side of this is that when we put on weight after giving birth, or develop a middle-age ponch, or get pimples or wrinkles, we are insecure and devastated. We work out more, trying new supplements and diets, obsessing about appearances. Why? Because we’ve wrapped up our identity in our physical fitness.

Obsession with Christ

Instead, I think the most winsomely weird thing for the world would be to see a people who are obsessed with Christ and secure in him, who therefore aren’t too worried about what they look like, but just exude a sense of being comfortable in their own skin, because they know they are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, that God the Father sees them as glowing and gorgeous on account of grace. And so they can relax.

This gospel identity produces in us a winsomeness and beauty that isn’t based on the world’s definition of beauty. We don’t let the world tell us what to do to be pretty and attractive. We focus on becoming Christlike. I don’t think he cared at all about his body-mass-index. I picture him more like a baseball player from the 50s – just a normal guy. More importantly he was kind and patient and content and selfless and humble and full of compassion for the broken and weak and hurting. That is true beauty and strength.

This topic has a lot in common with the question of dress and modesty. We obviously don’t want our fashion to be an unnecessary offense to the gospel, but we don’t let the world tell us what is beautiful and try to fit in that way. Peter tells women, “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1Pe. 3:3-4). Peter might say something like, “Fashion is of some value for keeping warm and even displaying creativity, but godliness is really what’s beautiful.”

And that is what Paul says about fitness – “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1Tim. 4:8; NIV). We should not be people obsessed with fitness, but with Christ, secure and resplendent in his robes of righteousness, and growing into them like clothes that are several sizes too big.

Value of Physical Training

So if Paul says that bodily training is of some value, in its proper place, what is that value?

· Anti-Gnosticism. Being physical – moving, bending, twisting, stretching, doing amazing things with our bodies… – reminds us of the importance of the body, of physical matter. God made matter. God the Son joined himself to a human body. He was raised bodily. He’s coming back in his body. He’s going to raise our bodies. The body matters. Gnosticism was a heresy that said only the spirit matters, but that’s not true. Using our bodies is good theology.

· Spiritual benefits. Similarly, since we are embodied souls, exercise and physical health (if we’re able) does help our spiritual life to be generally healthy. Working out releases stress, helps you sleep better, helps your mind focus, is a beneficial use of leisure (if your work doesn’t involve much physical activity).

· Spiritual metaphors. It’s full of spiritual metaphors. We are running a race (i.e. Heb. 12:1). We’re in a fight (i.e. 2Tim. 4:7). Paul loves sports illustrations. He said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1Cor. 9:24-27). There are many ways that fitness can help you with spiritual growth instead of inhibit or distract you.

· Witness opportunities. It can be a great opportunity to witness. I think of Russell’s evangelistic rock climbing. And several years ago Vivian helped organize a Meet-Up in the UIC for runners.

· Service opportunities. Finally, we need to think about why we want physical health. Do we want it so that we can do what we want to do: travel the world and enjoy life? Or do we see health as a gift to use to serve others? I often think of the story of Jesus and Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:29-31. Read… Her physical fitness was for serving other people. We should be stewarding our bodies for the sake of long-term service, and then when we can no longer, either through poor decisions or just the natural inevitability of aging (probably a combination of both), we are able to let others serve us without feeling useless and guilty. That’s winsomely weird.

What’s Next?

We’ll meet next week, then take the week of Thanksgiving off, then have one more and then the next Wednesday is the Christmas Party. What do you want to do next week? Gender, Sexuality, & Family or Politics…

Prayer – Get into groups based on how much you weigh… jk! What’s your favorite way to be active? (1) Rock Climbing (2) Walking (3) Playing a sport (i.e. basketball, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee) (4) Going to the gym (i.e. weightlifting, pilates, Zumba) Get into those groups to pray…

Pray for each other to have a deeper gut sense of God’s delight in them on account of Christ and freedom from the world’s definitions of beauty…

Pray for growth in discipline and endurance…

Ask God to save specific people you know who are running after things that won’t satisfy or last…

PRELUDE –

“Salvation Belongs to our God” by Adrian Howard and Pat Turner

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP  –

Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there any works like yours.

All the nations you have made shall come

and worship before you, O Lord,

and shall glorify your name.

For you are great and do wondrous things;

you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord,

that I may walk in your truth;

unite my heart to fear your name.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

For great is your steadfast love toward me;

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

 

 

Song –

“Everything That Has Breath” by Matt Redman

CONFESSION OF SIN–

Neh. 9:16-17

But they and our fathers acted presumptuously

 and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments.

They refused to obey

and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them,

but they stiffened their neck

and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.

But you are a God ready to forgive,

gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,

and did not forsake them.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON-

Psalm 103:8-12

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Songs –

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

“Kindness” by Chris Tomlin

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING  – Jonah 3:1-10

SERMON (Nathan) – “Wide Grace”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Lemmel

“O Praise the Name (Anástasis)” by Benjamin Hastings, Dean Ussher, and Marty Sampson

OFFERING

Song –

“How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Chris Tomlin

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“God of this City” by Chris Tomlin

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Work, Money, Possessions”

November 6, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs

Testimonies – How have you been challenged to be ‘weird’ during our Wednesdays together?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

I have no voice tonight, so I’m going to lean on you to do most of the talking…

Can someone explain what we mean when we say that Christians are to be ‘winsomely weird’??

I had the thought last week that Daniel and his three friends presents us with a good model of being winsomely weird? Can someone elaborate on how that might be??

Work

We talked some last week about the fact that work is good. Christians should not be lazy and idle. Can you think of Bible passages that address this?? Ex. 20:9

What about workaholism?? Ps. 127:2

How should we be different from the world in the ways that we approach work?

· Witnessing

· Integrity

· No grumbling (Ph. 2:14)

· Excellence… to a point

· Not find our identity in our career, have a life outside work

· Say No, rest well

· Work as unto the Lord (Eph. 6:5-8; cf. Col. 3:22-24)

· Be a good boss (Eph. 6:9)

· What about Sundays?

I recently received an email from a pastor who said, “I’ve just met a group of house workers /nannies who don’t have the autonomy to be able to attend our corporate gathering, since they are required to be working on the weekends. There are no other church options for them. Any counsel for how to think about potentially bringing these ladies into membership, when they are unable to come to our gathering? They are Filipinas in Turkey. Their obligations are somewhere equivalent to indentured servitude.”

I also heard this recently: “According to a 2016 time study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34 percent of the workforce works on the weekend…. The U.S. workforce is approximately 160 million. That means over 54 million work on the weekend” (thomrainer.com). The person was saying that we need to adapt to try to accommodate this trend.

Money

What does the Bible teach about money? I.e. Eccl. 5:10; Mt. 6:24; 1Tim. 6:9-11; Heb. 13:5.

How should we look different than the world when it comes to money?

· Stewardship (Mt. 25:14ff) and saving (Prov. 6:6-8)

· Sharing (Acts 2:42-47) and generosity (2Cor. 8:1ff)

Possessions

I saw when I opened my web browser today that Jeff Bezos has a mansion with 25 bathrooms. Is that wrong? 24? 10? 5? 4? 3? 2? 1? How should we think about stuff?

How can we be weird yet winsome when it comes to our possessions?

Home Décor

Minimalism

Christmas

Cool factor, fashion

Contentment (1Tim. 6:7-8)

What’s Next?

We’ve got three more of these. What do you want to do next? Gender, Sexuality, & Family; Fitness; Politics…

Prayer – What’s your primary vocation right now? (1) Higher Education (2) Medical Field (3) Business World (4) Other Get into those groups to pray…

Ask God for wisdom to know how to do what you do with distinctly Christian motivations and goals…

Pray that you would “take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15)…

Pray that we would  have our treasures be in heaven and not transient things (Mt. 6:19-20)…

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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