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PRELUDE – “Safe Retreat” by Kings Kaleidoscope

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – (Nicene Creed)

For our sake [Christ] was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

Song –

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

CONFESSION OF SIN  – Isa. 6:1-5

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up;

and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face,

and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called,

and the house was filled with smoke.

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips,

and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;

for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

In light of the vision of God’s holy splendor it is only right for us reflect upon our sin and repent

[silent space to engage with God…]

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Hear this assurance of pardon from Isaiah 6:6-7

Then one of the seraphim flew to me,

having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

And he touched my mouth and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Songs –

To The Cross I Cling” by Isaac Wimberley, Matt Boswell, and Michael Bleecker

Revelation Song” by Jennie Lee Riddle

 

PRAYER Please be seated

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Psalm 1:1

(Kids Corner is available for children through 1st grade)

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers…

SCRIPTURE READING – Nahum 2:1-3:7

(please stand and respond with “Thanks be to God!”)

SERMON – “God against you”

THE LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

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

Worthy is the Lamb” by Darlene Zschech

 

OFFERING

Song –

Lion and the Lambby Leeland

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –“White Owls” by Josh Garrels

PRELUDE – “At the Cross” by Chris Tomlin

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Daniel 7:9-10

“As I looked, thrones were placed,

and the Ancient of Days took his seat;

his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool;

his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.

A stream of fire issued and came out from before him;

a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;

the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

 

Song –

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

 

CONFESSION OF SIN – Matt. 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

 Jan. 22. 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states. Since then churches across the states have set aside the third Sunday of the month as a day to commemorate the unborn lives lost due to this edict, and celebrate the Lord’s good gift of human life with the intent to preserve and protect all humanity through all stages of life.

In light of this, let us take some time to pray to our God, repenting for the sins of this nation and our implicit selfishness which turns our eyes away from those who need us most.

[silent space to engage with God…]

ASSURANCE OF PARDON  –

Here the prophetic words of comfort from Jeremiah 31:16-20

Thus says the Lord:

“Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears,

for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord,

and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.

There is hope for your future, declares the Lord,

and your children shall come back to their own country.

I have heard Ephraim grieving,

‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf;

bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God.

For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;

I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child?

For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still.

Therefore my heart yearns for him;

I will surely have mercy on him,

declares the Lord.

Songs –

Have Mercy on Me” by Dale Bischof and Pat Sczebel

Give us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall

Confessional Reading —New Hampshire Confession

Read with me the last paragraph of our New Hampshire Confession of Faith

(Read Together)

XVIII. Of the World to Come.

[We believe] That the end of this world is approaching:

that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven,

and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution;

 that a solemn separation will then take place;

that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment,

and the righteous to endless joy;

and that the judgement will fix forever the final state of men in heaven and hell,

on principles of righteousness.

 

PRAYER Please be seated

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL  – Psalm 1:1

(Kids Corner is available for children through 1st grade)

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers…

 

SCRIPTURE READING – Nahum 1:1-15

(please stand and respond with “Thanks be to God!”)

SERMON – “The Good News of God’s Judgment”

THE LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry

Man of Sorrows” by Brooke Ligertwood, Matt Crocker

 

OFFERING

Song –

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

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Way Maker” by Leeland

IBC Sunday School – 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

Introduction

 

  1. Purpose of this study
    1. Three perspectives to approaching Scripture:
      1. Redemptive-historical / Christocentric: what has God done in history? How do God’s acts in history point towards and culminate in God’s ultimate revelation to us in the person of Christ?
      2. Ethical / exemplary: what should I do?
      3. Theological: what should I believe?
    2. Our study of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (“1689 Confession,” also known as the “Second London Baptist Confession”) will be primarily theological.
      1. We will go through the 1689 Confession and explore its teaching chapter-by-chapter, paragraph-by-paragraph.
      2. The Confession summarizes the Biblical teaching on a wide range of topics, one topic at a time, allowing topics to mutually inform each other. Thus, by walking through the Confession in this way we will be engaging in systematic theology: making sense of all the Biblical data on individual topics.
        1. Sometimes the confession will be explicit about connections between doctrines. Other times, connections between doctrines are implicit. As much as we can, we will try to spell out these connections in our study.
      3. The theological perspective will have ethical and Christocentric implications. Right doctrine should lead to right living (Romans 12:1-2). As well, a systematic understanding of Biblical covenants will help us see the Christocentric nature of redemptive history.
  2. What is a confession of faith?
    1. Creed: short, concise statement of the essential truths of the Christian faith
      1. “Credo” means “I believe” in Latin.
      2. E.g. Nicene Creed (381), Chalcedonian Creed (451)
    2. Confession: longer, more extensive statement of Christian doctrine
      1. E.g. 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833)
    3. Creeds/confessions serve two purposes: define truth, isolate falsehood.
      1. Different groups throughout church history have issued creeds/confessions to define what they believe, in contrast to error.
    4. Biblical warrant for confessions
      1. The church is a “pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is an institution designed by God to preserve the truth, defend it against error, and pass it on to future generations.
      2. One way that the church has been able to carry out its duty is by publishing confessions of faith. This is in keeping with Paul’s instruction to Timothy to “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
      3. Examples of creeds in Bible
        1. Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
        2. 1 Timothy 3:16 – “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.”
  3. Practical uses and benefits of confessions
    1. Systematic and condensed theological reference
    2. Tool for discipleship
    3. Public standard to promote church unity and fellowship
    4. Public standard for church discipline
    5. Standard for evaluating elders
    6. Historical connection to Christians who have come before
  4. Historical background of the 1689 Confession
    1. The development of the 1689 Confession took place in the context of 17th century England. The Confession had three main influences.
    2. First London Baptist Confession of Faith (first ed. 1644, second ed. 1646)
      1. Published by seven Particular Baptist churches.
      2. The primary purpose of this confession was for the English Baptists to disavow any ties with the Anabaptists of Continental Europe and instead show that they shared the same basic theological perspectives as the Puritan churches around them.
      3. The Confession taught the doctrines of grace, believer’s baptism and congregationalism (among others), and repudiated the Anabaptist view of free will and of civil government.
    3. Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
      1. Published by the Westminster Assembly, a council of theologians called by Parliament to restructure the Church of England. The council was mostly comprised of Puritans of the Presbyterian persuasion.
      2. The Confession taught a Presbyterian view of church government, a Presbyterian state-church, and infant baptism, among others.
    4. Savoy Declaration (1658)
      1. Published by six Puritans of the Congregational persuasion (including John Owen).
      2. The Confession was a modest revision of the Westminster Confession. The revision rejected the Presbyterian form of church government and instead insisted on the independence of each local congregation. It also rejected the idea of a state-church and approached the idea of religious freedom.
    5. Second London Baptist Confession (published 1677, adopted 1689)
      1. Published in 1677 by elders William Collins and Nehemiah Coxe of the Petty France Church in London. Adopted by 100 Particular Baptist churches in 1689.
      2. The Confession combined extracts from the First London Baptist Confession, Westminster Confession, and Savoy Declaration. Of the 160 paragraphs in the Confession, 146 are derived from the Savoy Declaration (which often reflects Westminster), 8 are derived from the First London Confession, and 6 originated from elder Collins.
      3. The Confession adopted the Congregational view of church government and religious freedom. It rejected infant baptism in favor of believer’s baptism (with an Appendix explaining its reasoning), and also adopted a distinctive view of covenant theology.
  5. Significance of the 1689 Confession
    1. It stands in line with Christian orthodoxy
      1. In particular, it teaches the classical doctrine of God and Christology.
    2. It stands in line with the Reformation tradition
      1. It is in substantial agreement with the Westminster Confession and the Savoy Declaration, and upholds the doctrines of grace, the Reformed doctrine of Scripture, justification by faith alone, etc.
    3. It articulates Baptist distinctives
      1. In particular, believer’s baptism, covenant theology, and congregational church government
    4. It exerted a wide-ranging influence on (American) Baptist life
      1. The 1689 Confession “quickly became the standard of Calvinistic Baptist orthodoxy in England, North America, and today, in many parts of the world.”
  6. Overview/outline of the 1689
    1. Part 1: First Principles (chapters 1-6)
      1. Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures
      2. Chapter 2: Of God and the Holy Trinity
      3. God’s Decree
        1. Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree
        2. Chapter 4: Of Creation
        3. Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence
      4. Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the punishment thereof
    2. Part 2: God’s Covenant (chapters 7-20)
      1. Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant
      2. Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator
      3. Setting of the Covenant
        1. Chapter 9: Of Free Will
      4. Blessings of the Covenant
        1. Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling
        2. Chapter 11: Of Justification
        3. Chapter 12: Of Adoption
        4. Chapter 13: Of Sanctification
      5. Graces of the Covenant
        1. Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith
        2. Chapter 15: Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation
        3. Chapter 16: Of Good Works
        4. Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints
        5. Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
      6. Means of the Covenant
        1. Chapter 19: Of the Law of God
        2. Chapter 20: Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof
    3. Part 3: Christian Liberty (or, God-centered Living – Freedom and Boundaries) (chapters 21-30)
      1. Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
      2. Religious Worship
        1. Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
        2. Chapter 23: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
      3. Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate
      4. Chapter 25: Of Marriage
      5. On the Church
        1. Chapter 26: Of the Church
        2. Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints
        3. Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
        4. Chapter 29: Of Baptism
        5. Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper
    4. Part 4: Last Things (chapters 31-32)
      1. Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
      2. Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment
  7. Concluding remarks and resources
    1. We commend the 1689 Confession to you as an accurate summary of Scriptural truths. But the Confession is a fallible human document and may be wrong. Ultimately, the teachings of the 1689 Confession should be tested against Scripture itself, which is our only infallible standard for all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience – the Confession even says as much.
      1. If you find yourself in disagreement with a teaching in the Confession, I would urge you to humbly examine the Confession’s teaching and any alternative teachings by the standard of Scripture. Do not dismiss the Confession’s teaching lightly – as the most influential Baptist confession ever written, it has the weight of history behind it.
    2. Resources
      1. Online
        1. Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA), https://www.arbca.com/1689-confession
        2. Founder’s Press, “The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith in Modern English,” https://founders.org/library/1689-confession/
      2. Apps
        1. iOS: “Christian Creeds & Confessions,” https://apps.apple.com/us/app/christian-creeds-confessions/id359513722
        2. Android: “Creeds and Confessions,” https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nz.co.conglomo.confessions
      3. Books
        1. Samuel E. Waldron, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, (Welwyn Garden City: EP Books, 2016), 5th edition.

PRELUDE – “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Exodus 15:11, 21

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously.

Song –

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

CONFESSION OF SIN – Psalm 130:1-3

EVERYONE:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!

O Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive

to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Psalm 130:4-8

EVERYONE:

But with you there is forgiveness,

that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

and in his word I hope;

my soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen for the morning,

more than watchmen for the morning.

LEADER:

O Israel, hope in the Lord!

For with the Lord there is steadfast love,

and with him is plentiful redemption.

And he will redeem Israel

from all his iniquities.

Songs –

You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman

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

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Psalm 1:1

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 7:1-20

SERMON – “Who Is Like the Lord?”

THE LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Gates Spafford and Philip Paul Bliss

Forever” by Brian Johnson, Christ Black Gifford, Gabriel Wilson, Jenn Johnson, Joel Taylor, and Kari Jobe

OFFERING

Song –

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

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Steadfast” by Sandra McCracken

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7gpEsoyO1X6pmjANOJB7PA?si=phK_SdfTRhqo1iN7-4CbzA

PRELUDE – “Oh Our Lord” by Paul Baloche

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 33:1-9

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!

Praise befits the upright.

Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;

make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!

Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,

and all his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;

he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;

let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood firm.

Song –

I Sing the Mighty Power of God” by Isaac Watts

CONFESSION OF SIN – Romans 1:18-21a

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.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Psalm 145:8

The Lord is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Song –

All Creatures of Our God and King” by Jonathan Baird, Ryan Baird, St. Francis of Assisi, and William Henry Draper

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL

Song –

How Firm a Foundation” by Unknown

SCRIPTURE READING – Psalm 19:1-14

SERMON – “God’s Revelation”

THE LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

What Child Is This?” by Unknown and William Chatterton Dix

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts

OFFERING

Song –

All Glory Be to Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Flourishing (Psalm 119)” by Sandra McCracken

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3wQ3KLz4Bo1GC8JZplmSdS?si=IQAFMQ4mTQWUXhsgrc9p3Q

PRELUDE – “O Great God, Give Us Rest”, David Crowder Band

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP  – Psalm 75

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

“At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars.
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’”

For not from the east or from the westand not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

 Song –

Come, Let Us Worship” by Maranatha

CONFESSION OF SIN (Micah 6:8) –

He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?

For our failure to walk according to the statutes of the Lord, let us pray together this confession of our sins, seeking pardon and refuge in the precious blood of Christ.

(Read Together)

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.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

For our sins and for our salvation, Christ has come proclaiming in John 6:35-40

“I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me shall not hunger,

and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

 All that the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will

but the will of him who sent me.

And this is the will of him who sent me,

that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,

but raise it up on the last day.

For this is the will of my Father,

that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life,

and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

Songs –

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

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Luke 2:11

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 6

SERMON – Micah 6

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

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

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

OFFERING

Song –

The Power of Cross” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Who am I” by Casting Crowns

PRELUDE — “Silent Night” by Franz Xaver Gruber, John Freeman Young, and Joseph Mohr

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

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 youas 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 peacethere will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousnessfrom this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Song –

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley

CONFESSION OF SIN (Ezekiel 9:8-10) –

“Alas, Sovereign Lord!

Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel

in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”

He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great;

the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.

They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’

So I will not look on them with pity or spare them,

but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

In light of our sin, let us call to the Lord out of our despair and place our hope in his character of mercy.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

Hear this proclamation of pardon from Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world

to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love hepredestined us for adoption to sonshipthrough Jesus Christ,

in accordance with his pleasure and will—

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,

 in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

With all wisdom and understanding,

he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure,

which he purposed in Christ,

to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—

to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

 Songs –

 “How Deep the Father’s Love” by Stuart Townend

O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Lewis Henry Redner and Phillips Brooks

 

Affirmation of Faith (Nicene Creed)

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,

begotten of the Father before all worlds;

God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God;

begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father,

by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven,

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man;

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered and was buried;

and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father;

 and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;

whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life;

who proceeds from the Father and the Son;

who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified;

who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;

and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

 

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Luke 2:11

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 5

SERMON (Nathan) – Micah 5 “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper

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

OFFERING (Theo) – Something like, “Let’s continue to respond in worship by giving our financial offerings.  The Welcoming Team members will pass around the baskets as we sing this song.  Don’t feel any obligation to give, but let it be an overflow of your worship. If you are new and want more information, please fill out the visitor’s section of your bulletin, tear it out, and place it in the offering basket.”

Song –

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

 

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Joy to the World” by George Frideric Handel and Isaac Watts

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…

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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