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PRELUDE –

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by J.J. Heller

LIGHTING OF THE SECOND ADVENT CANDLE & CALL TO WORSHIP – Isaiah 9:6

During this Christmas season, our culture often tries to get people to think about the good things in life such as friends, family, and general human benevolence. All of this is fitting to the season. But as Christians we also need to remember that this is a time to give hope to those who are really hurting around us. As we light this second Christmas candle and read this prophetic promise in Isaiah 9:6, let’s remember the hope that God gives in Jesus Christ to those who feel their world is falling apart.

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.

Let’s stand and sing praise to Jesus Christ our King.

SONG –

Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

CONFESSION OF SIN – Luke 3:3

In light of the coming king who would rule in justice and righteousness, John the Baptist acted as a forerunner of Jesus Christ and went into all the region around the Jordan, “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.” As we now stand in the holy presence of the Lord our God, let’s also take a moment to pray silently and ask the Lord to forgive us for our unrighteousness and cleanse us from our sin.

(Moment for Prayer)

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Titus 3:4-8

[W]hen the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy.

SONG –

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

BAPTISM

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 3:14-16 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.”

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,

    vindicated by the Spirit,

        seen by angels,

proclaimed among the nations,

    believed on in the world,

        taken up in glory.

SERMON – “The Church and Truth”

SONG –

O Come All Ye Faithful” by C. Frederick Oakeley and John Francis Wade

LORD’S TABLE –

OFFERING –

SONG –

All Praise to Him” by Bob Kauflin and Matt Merker

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Oh Come, All You Unfaithful” by Sovereign Grace Music

PRELUDE – “New Life” by LOVKN

LIGHTING OF FIRST ADVENT CANDLE & CALL TO WORSHIP – Isaiah 42:5-7

Thus says God, the Lord,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people on it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;

I will take you by the hand and keep you;

I will give you as a covenant for the people,

a light for the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.

SONG –

Here I Am to Worship” by Tim Hughes

CONFESSION OF SIN – from the Book of Common Prayer

EVERYONE:

Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your Name. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – from the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God have mercy on you,

forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,

strengthen you in all goodness,

and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.

Amen.

SONG –

How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Chris Tomlin

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SONG –

Give Us One Pure and Holy Passion” by Mark Altrogge

SCRIPTURE READING – Luke 14:25-33

SERMON – “Be a Disciple”

SONG –

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

THE LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

SONG –

Is He Worthy?” by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” by Penny and Sparrow

PRELUDE –

“Shepherd of My Soul” by Rivers and Robots

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 107:1-2

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    whom he has redeemed from trouble

SONG –

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by John Wyeth and Robert Robinson

CONFESSION OF SIN – Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

SONG –

Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Hebrews 10:19-22

[S]ince we have a great priest over the house of God,

 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience

and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for he who promised is faithful.

SONG –

Jesus, Thank You” by Pat Sczebel

PRAYER

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – APOSTLES’ CREED

We believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

We believe in the Holy Ghost:

We believe in the holy catholic church:

The communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting.

Amen.

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SONG –

Father I Adore You” by Terrye Coelho

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 3:8-13 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.”

8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

SERMON – “Deacons and Their Qualifications”

SONG –

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

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

SONG –

Take My Life and Let It Be” by Frances Ridley Havergal and Henri Abraham Cesar Malan

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Dust” by Kings Kaleidoscope

PRELUDE – 

Sovereign” by Beautiful Eulogy

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 95:6-7

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

    and we are the people of his pasture,

    and the sheep of his hand.

Let’s stand and worship the Lord our Maker!

SONG –

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

CONFESSION OF SIN – Romans 1:18-23

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.

In light of the ways we refuse to acknowledge God and his wisdom, let’s take a few minutes to pray, humbly acknowledging our sin and our need for his guidance.

(Moment of Silence)

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 5:8-9

[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

SONGS –

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

In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

PRAYER Be seated for prayer. 

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 2:8-15 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.” 

8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

SERMON – “Men and Women in the Church”

SONG –

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

LORD’S TABLE –

OFFERING –

SONG –

Unchanging” by Chris Tomlin

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Come as You Are” by David Crowder Band

PRELUDE – 

“Mediator” by Ghost Ship

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

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

    Serve the Lord with gladness!

    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

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

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!

    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Let’s stand and give thanks to the Lord our God!

SONG –

Lord Most High” by Don Harris and Gary Sadler

CONFESSION OF SIN – Deuteronomy 6:4

The Lord commands his people in Deuteronomy 6:4-5

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart 

and with all your soul 

and with all your might.”

In spite of our best efforts, we have not loved the Lord alone with all our hearts. Let’s take a moment to repent of our sins and appeal to God’s mercy for forgiveness and grace. 

Read with me this confession of sin.

(EVERYONE)

Almighty God, 

we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; 

we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; 

we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. 

Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, 

and the good we have left undone.

 Lord, you are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; 

there is always forgiveness with you! 

Restore to us the joy of your salvation; 

bind up that which is broken, give light to our minds, 

strength to our wills, and rest to our souls. 

Speak to each of us, and let your word abide with us until it has wrought in us your holy will. 

Amen.

SONG – 

Not in Me” by David L. Ward and Eric Shumacher

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Hebrews 4:14-16

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 

Jesus, the Son of God, 

let us hold fast our confession. 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 

but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, 

that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

SONG –

Yet Not I but Through Christ in Me” by CityAlight

PRAYER Be seated for prayer. 

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 2:5-7 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.” 

SERMON – “The Exclusivity of Christ”

SONG –

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

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

SONG –

Facing a Task Unfinished” by Ed Cash, Fionán De Barra, Frank Houghton, Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Samuel Wesley

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Ghost of a King” by The Gray Havens

PRELUDE –

“Safe Retreat” by Kings Kaleidoscope feat. Braille

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 47:6-7

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

For God is the King of all the earth;

    sing praises with a psalm!

Let’s stand and sing to the Lord our king!

SONG –

Behold, Our God” by Jonathan, Meghan, and Ryan Baird and Mark Altrogge

CONFESSION OF SIN – 1 Peter 2:13-15

The Lord commands his people in 1 Peter 2:12

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable,

so that when they speak against you as evildoers,

they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

In spite of our praises to the Lord,

we often fail to make much of him in our conduct before unbelievers.

Let’s pray and ask the Lord to forgive us for our sins

in not honoring God before those who do not know him.

(Moment for Prayer)

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Ezekiel 36:25-28

The Lord declares over his people

I will sprinkle clean water on you,

and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,

and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

And I will give you a new heart,

and a new spirit I will put within you.

And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

And I will put my Spirit within you,

and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers,

and you shall be my people,

and I will be your God.

SONG –

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

BAPTISM

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SONG –

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

PRAYER Be seated for prayer. End with,

“Let’s all pray the Lord’s prayer from Matt. 6:9 together.”

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today 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.

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.”

SERMON – “Praying for Political Leaders”

SONG –

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M. R. Stead and William James Kirkpatrick

LORD’S TABLE –

OFFERING –

SONG –

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

BENEDICTION (Nathan)

ANNOUNCEMENTS (Nathan)

POSTLUDE –

“Lion and the Lamb” by Leeland

PRELUDE – 

“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” by Hereford Cathedral Choir & Worcester Cathedral Choir

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Colossians 3:16

Paul commands the household of God in Col. 3

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, 

teaching and admonishing one another 

in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 

with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Let’s stand and sing with thankfulness to the Lord our God.

SONG –

All Praise to Him” by Bob Kauflin and Matt Merker

CONFESSION OF SIN – 1 John 1:8-9

God’s word declares to us:

“If we claim to be without sin,

We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 

God’s word also assures us: 

“If we confess our sins, 

He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins 

And purify us from all unrighteousness.”

No one can look into the mirror of Scripture without seeing the sin in their own hearts and lives. But the good news is that through Jesus’ death, God provides forgiveness and cleansing to all who turn to him. Let’s take some time and confess our sins to God.

(Moment for Prayer)

SONG –

​​“Not in Me” by David L. Ward and Eric Shumacher

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 Timothy 1:15

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,

 that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, 

of whom I am the foremost.”

SONG –

He Will Hold Me Fast” by Ada Ruth Habershon and Matthew Merker

PRAYER Be seated for prayer.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – New Hampshire Confession of 1833 Article IV

Let’s confess our shared faith together. This is from our Church statement of faith Article IV.

(Read Together Aloud)

IV. Of The Way Of Salvation

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace;

through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God;

who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin;

honored the divine law by his personal obedience,

and by his death made a full atonement for our sins;

that having risen from the dead he is now enthroned in heaven;

and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections,

he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 1:18-20 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.” 

SERMON – “Not Being a Shipwreck”

SONG –

Yet Not I but Through Christ in Me” by CityAlight

LORD’S TABLE –

OFFERING –

SONG –

O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Trust and Obey” by Don Moen

Overall Structure of the Confession

  • First Principles (chs. 1-6)
  • The Covenant (chs. 7-20)
  • God-Centered Living (chs. 21-30)
  • The World to Come (chs. 31-32)

What is ‘Covenant Theology’?

  • Often viewed as the alternative to Dispensationalism (a system arising in the 19th century that sees a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church)
  • A tradition that was developed during the 16th and 17th centuries coming out of the Reformation
  • A way of putting the Bible together that uses the Bible’s own language and movement
    • Covenant = terms of a relationship
    • Two Categories of Covenants:
      • Covenant of Works = a relationship with God where our obedience earns blessings and our disobedience deserves curses
      • Covenant of Grace = a relationship based on God’s unconditional, unilateral promises
    • Biblical Covenants:
      • Adamic Covenant
      • Noahic Covenant
      • Abrahamic Covenant
      • Mosaic Covenant/Old Covenant
      • Davidic Covenant
      • Christ’s Covenant/New Covenant

Which Covenants Go in Which Category?

  • All Covenant Theologians agree that the Adamic Covenant was a Covenant of Works
  • Presbyterian and Reformed Covenant Theologians see all the other covenants as essentially part of the one Covenant of Grace under different administrations, thus stressing the continuity between the Old and New Covenants
  • Let’s see how Baptist Covenant Theology differs…

Paragraph 1: The Necessity of Covenant

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to Him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

  • Creator/creature Distinction – The distance between God and the creature is so great…  (e.g. Ps. 113:5-6; Is. 40:13-14)  God is infinitely above us.
  • Obedience Owed – …that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to Him as their creator… (e.g. Ps. 100:2-3)  As rational creatures made in God’s image we are automatically obligated to serve him.
  • Obedience Not Innately Meritorious – …yet they could never have attained the reward of life… (e.g. Luke 17:10)  Our creaturely service does not obligate God to do anything for us.
  • Condescension in Covenant (of Works) – …but by some voluntary condescension of God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.  (e.g. Gen. 2:15-17)  God benevolently initiates a relationship that offers a reward if we obey.

Paragraph 2: The Complication of Sin

Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

  • Not Just Created, But Fallen – Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall…  (e.g. Gen. 3:17-19)  The Covenant of Works didn’t work to bring about eternal life.
  • Covenant of Grace – …it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace…  (e.g. Lk. 12:32)  God mercifully initiates a relationship that promises a reward regardless of our obedience.
  • Made Possible by Christ – …wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ… (e.g. 2Tim. 1:9)  We sinners get out of punishment and get reward on account of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
  • Faith Is the Only Requirement – …requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved… (e.g. Eph. 2:8a)  We don’t have to do anything to get this salvation; we simply trust Christ.
  • Faith Itself Is a Gift – …and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. (e.g. Eph. 2:8b)  We are unable to even meet the condition of faith, so God graciously supplies that too.

Thus far Reformed Baptists and other Reformed Traditions agree.  The 1689 basically follows the WCF up to this point.  But the next paragraph is completely re-written.

Paragraph 3: The Revelation of the Covenant of Grace

This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.

  • Gospel – This covenant is revealed in the gospel…  (e.g. Acts 20:24)  It’s good news that we can have a relationship with God not based on works but sheer grace and we would never expect this unless God told it to us.
  • Protoevangelium – …first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman… (e.g. Gen. 3:15) The gospel was announced in a basic form in the OT (see Gal. 3:8; Heb. 4:2), even right after the failure of the Covenant of Works.
  • Progressive Revelation – …and afterwards by farther steps… (e.g. Gal. 3:19)  The gospel came into clearer focus as time went on with each subsequent covenant building upon the next and moving towards Christ.

Noahic => Abrahamic => Mosaic/Old => Davidic =>

  • Covenant of Grace = New Covenant – …until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament… (e.g. Heb. 8:6-7)  The New Covenant enacted in Christ is not just a new administration of the Covenant of Grace, it is the full unveiling of the Covenant of Grace, which the previous covenants only hinted at.

“By farther steps, until the full discovery… was completed in the New Testament” is the key phrase that distinguishes Baptist Covenant Theology.  Compare with WCF:[1]

This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old Testament.

Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed, are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.

This has significant implications for our understanding of the Church (the covenant community) and baptism (the covenant sign).

Were the previous covenants Covenants of Works or Grace?  (see Eph. 2:12)

Noahic = largely unconditional, but dealing with common grace to sustain the world within which the plan of salvation can carry on (Gen. 9)

Abrahamic = unconditional/conditional, dealing with the people of Israel within which the plan of salvation carries on (Gen. 15, 17)

Mosaic = conditional (Dt. 5)

Davidic = unconditional, narrowing down the line from which the seed of the woman and Abraham will come (2Sam. 7)

  • Eternal Covenant – …and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect… (e.g. Tit. 1:2)  The establishment of the Covenant of Grace in history is due to the establishment of an intra-Trinitarian pact made before the beginning of time.
  • Only One Way of Salvation – …and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency. (e.g. Rom. 4:2-3)  Since Adam’s breaking of the Covenant of Works, the only way to eternal life is via the Covenant of Grace, which includes OT believers in the promise.

Some Takeaways:

  • The Bible is an intricate, unfolding narrative culminating in Christ.
  • You can be Reformed, Confessional, Historically Rooted… and Baptist!
  • There are deep, theological reasons for not baptizing babies!
  • Praise God that we are in a covenant relationship with him based on grace.  The gospel is glorious!

[1] See www.proginosko.com/docs/wcf_lbcf.html for a helpful tabular comparison of 1689 vs. WCF

(available with footnotes and better formatting here)

Paragraph 1: The Nature of the Fall

Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honor; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given to them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.

  1. Original state of Adam and Eve
    God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof”
    1. Adam and Eve were created “upright and perfect”, i.e. “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
    2. God entered into a covenant relationship with Adam, establishing the Covenant of Works: 
      1. Although the word “covenant” is not found in Scripture’s account of Adam and Eve in the Garden, the concept is there. A covenant is “a divinely sanctioned commitment defining the relationship between God and another party.” It “provides blessings and benefits for man that would otherwise be unavailable by nature,” and it contains “sanctions or threats … to guarantee the fulfillments of the parties’ commitments.”
      2. Adam was given “a righteous law” that forbid him from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he obeyed, he would be blessed. If he disobeyed, he would be punished. Hence, this is called the Covenant of Works.
      3. God promised a reward for Adam upon obedience (“a righteous law…unto life”). This reward was confirmed eternal life with God, where Adam and his posterity would be raised above the possibility of sinning and dying. 
      4. God threatened punishment for Adam upon disobedience. This punishment was death (“threatened death upon the breach thereof”).
      5. In addition, Adam was designated as the representative head (i.e. federal head) of the entire human race. The blessings and punishments of the covenant would apply to him and everyone he represented.
  2. The Fall
    yet he did not long abide in this honor…”
    1. Adam disobeyed and broke the covenant. The Confession summarizes the events of the Fall as recorded in Genesis 3:1-19 (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3).
    2. The Confession makes the assertion that the will of Adam was not violated in the Fall. He “willfully transgress[ed] the law” “without any compulsion.” This upholds the full responsibility and guilt of Adam for his sin.
    3. The Confession also makes the assertion that the Fall was within the “wise and holy counsel” of God, which He purposed “to His own glory.” As terrible as the Fall was, it did not catch God by surprise. In fact, it was all part of God’s plan, established from eternity past, to bring glory to Himself by redeeming those who have fallen in Adam.

Paragraph 2-3: The Results of the Fall and their Transmission

Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

  1. Results of the Fall
    1. Physical death (and temporal miseries): Adam and Eve’s physical lives became subject to weakness and disease, resulting in discomfort and pain. This culminated in physical death, the separation of body and soul.
    2. Spiritual death (and spiritual/eternal miseries): consists of guilt and corruption/depravity.
      1. Adam was found guilty of breaking the covenant and disobeying God’s commands.
        1. Guilt is a legal status.
      2. Adam and Eve’s human nature became corrupted/depraved so that it was completely opposed to God. The mind, will, and affections all became bent towards sin and away from God.
        1. With the mind, man actively suppresses the knowledge of God, exchanging the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:18-25). Though he may be extremely intelligent, his mind is darkened (Ephesians 4:18) and cannot discern spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14).
        2. With the will, man is unable to choose or do spiritual good. Though he may do things that are outwardly good or good for society, he cannot do anything that would recover him from a sinful state or please God or satisfy God’s law (Matthew 7:17-18; Romans 5:6; 8:7-8; Titus 3:3).
        3. With the affections, man loves evil and hates good. Man lives in the passions of the flesh and carries out the desires of the body and mind (Ephesians 2:3). Man’s affections are disordered.
        4. This doctrine is commonly called “total depravity.” It does not mean that man is as evil as he can be. Instead, it means that every part of man is corrupted by sin. The Fall affects our whole person, not just certain parts. Said another way, the extent of man’s corruption is total, while the degree of our corruption is not. As the Confession puts it, man is “wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.”
      3. The culmination and completion of guilt and corruption is eternal death on the day of final judgment. This is where, on the last day, there is a final separation, and the “full weight of the wrath of God descends on the condemned.”
    3. If guilt and a corrupt nature are the results of Adam’s fall, how are those effects transmitted to the whole human race?
  2. The guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to us
    “the guilt of the sin was imputed”
    1. Adam served as the representative head (i.e. federal head) of all humanity in the Covenant of Works. As representative, Adam stood in our place. The results that he obtained from his obedience/disobedience would be counted as ours. Therefore, the guilt that he incurred due to his disobedience is counted as ours (i.e. imputed to us) as well. “In Adam’s fall, sinned we all.”
      1. An illustration of federal headship: a president represents the whole nation. If he decides to go to war, the entire nation (including every citizen) is now at war.
    2. How do we know this is true? Biblical proof: all humanity’s relationship to Adam is like the believer’s relationship to Christ. One man’s action affected many others.
      1. Romans 5:18-19 – “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
  3. The corrupt nature is conveyed to us
    …and corrupted nature conveyed”
    1. The Bible is not explicit about how the corrupt nature is conveyed from Adam to us.
    2. At the end of the day, what is clear is the fact that we do inherit a sinful, corrupt nature from Adam.
    3. Together, imputed guilt and conveyed corruption form a package that’s known as original sin. Original sin is what we inherit from Adam as a result of his fall.
    4. What is beautiful is that Christ’s work of salvation corresponds to our guilt and our corrupt nature. His righteousness is imputed to us, clearing us of our guilt (i.e. justification), and His Spirit then works in us, transforming our corrupt nature (i.e. sanctification). Justification is the solution to imputed guilt, and sanctification is the solution to conveyed corruption.
  4. Who does original sin apply to?
    to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation”
    1. This applies to those who are the natural offspring of Adam and Eve (i.e. descended through the normal means of reproduction). This qualification is important because it preserves the sinlessness of Christ, which is crucial for our salvation.
      1. Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by ordinary generation. Thus, Adam did not represent him as federal head in the Covenant of Works. As a result, guilt and corruption are not transmitted to Christ – He is sinless (Hebrews 7:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
      2. Christ must be sinless because a sinful human can never pay for the sins of another (Hebrews 7:26-27; 1 Peter 3:18). He must be sinless in order to secure our justification and sanctification, solving the problem of our guilt and corruption and reconciling us to God.
      3. Christ is the last Adam. He succeeds where Adam failed. He perfectly obeys God’s commands and earns eternal life for those He represents.

Paragraph 4: The Nature of Original Sin and its Fruits

From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

  1. What are the effects of guilt and corruption on our day-to-day lives?
    1. Are we sinners because we sin? Or do we sin because we are sinners?
  2. The Confession focuses on the corrupt nature that is conveyed to us, and reiterates the doctrine of total depravity.
  3. Then, the Confession draws a distinction between original sin and actual sins:
    1. Original sin is the state of guilt and corruption that all men are born into as a result of Adam’s sin; Adam standing as the representative of the entire human race.
    2. Actual sins are the individual sins that we commit (“act out”) as a result of our corrupt nature and total depravity. Actual sins spring forth from original sin.
    3. Matthew 7:17 – “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”
  4. The proper relationship between original and actual sin is important to understand because it shows us our need for a comprehensive salvation and our utter helplessness before God.

Paragraph 5: Sin and the Believer

The corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

  1. As believers, our corrupt nature will remain with us.
    1. Christ forgives all of our sins, both original and actual, through His death on the cross.
    2. Christ also sanctifies our corrupt nature in this life by the power of His Spirit. However, the sanctification process will never be complete on this side of glory.
      1. This should cause us to reject any form of perfectionism that claims that Christians can be perfect and sinless in this life.
      2. 1 John 1:8 – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
  2. Both the corrupt nature itself as well as its “first motions” are “truly and properly sin.”
    1. “First motions” are the first impulses/inclinations/desires of the heart towards sin, before they are acted upon by the will. These first impulses are truly sin and violate God’s law. 
    2. Romans 7:7-8 – “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.”
    3. Galatians 5:17 – “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
      1. Galatians 5:24 – “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
    4. Why does this matter?
      1. It has implications for how we think about sexual ethics in our current day and age.
        1. Is same-sex attraction/desire considered sin in and of itself? Or is it only sin when acted upon?
      2. It should give us a deeper understanding of our own corruption and sin.
      3. It should give us greater hope.
        1. Even our most deep-seated, hell-bent desires that we feel powerless to control and cause us to commit actual sins over and over again are not beyond the saving power of Christ.
      4. It should give us a greater love for Christ.

Luke 7:47 – “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

PRELUDE –

“Who Am I” by Casting Crowns

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 47:5-6

God has gone up with a shout,

    the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Let’s stand and sing praises to our King!

SONG –

O Worship the King” by Chris Tomlin, Johann Michael Hayden, Robert Grant

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Almighty and most merciful Father, we are thankful that your mercy is

higher than the heavens,

wider than our wanderings,

deeper than all our sin.

Forgive our careless attitudes toward your purposes,

our refusal to relieve the suffering of others,

our envy of those who have more than we have,

our obsession with creating a life of constant pleasure,

our indifference to the treasures of heaven,

our neglect of your wise and gracious law.

Help us to change our way of life

so that we may desire what is good,

love what you love,

and do what you command,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Titus 2:13-14

“Christ Jesus… gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed,

and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession,

zealous for good deeds.”

SONGS –

His Mercy Is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

How Deep the Father’s Love” by Stuart Townend

PRAYER Be seated for prayer.

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Please stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.”

SERMON – “Grace for the Foremost of Sinners”

SONG –

“To God Be the Glory” by Fanny Jane Crosby and William Howard Doane

LORD’S TABLE –

OFFERING –

SONG –

All Glory Be to Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Washed by the Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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