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Immanuel Baptist Church

Summer Retreat

A Theology of the Body

July 17-19, 2020

Friday (7/17)

7:00 PM – Welcome and Intro – (Zoom; gathering at The Meeting Place and in homes)

Mobility Stretching – Macie

 

7:30 – Fun Facts About the Human Body  (YouTube/Zoom)

Talk: “A Theology of the Body” – Nathan (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

8:15 – Discussion (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

9:00 – Charades and Other Games (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

Saturday (7/18)

Breakfast (on your own at home)

 

9:00 AM – Fun Fact About the Human Body (YouTube/Zoom)

Chat: “Fitness/Exercise” – James (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

9:45 – UIC Area 5K Fun Run/Walk (start and end at The Meeting Place)

KIDS SPORTS CAMP (behind The Meeting Place) – Paulo & Taylor

 

11:30 – Fun Fact About the Human Body (YouTube/Zoom)

Chat: “Place” – Nathan (Zoom)

 

12:00 PM – Lunch (picnics in UIC Area parks; mix-n-matched groups)

 

1:30 – Breakouts: “Sex” (frank discussions in person revolving around sex, including body image, gender…)

For the Single Guy

For the Single Gal

For Married Men

For Married Women

 

5:00 – Chat: “Disability” – Enoch (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

Chat: “Aging” – Willie (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

5:30 – Fun Fact About the Body (YouTube/Zoom)

Chat: “Food/Nutrition” – Lizzy (Zoom)

 

6:00 PM – Dinner: “Cooking with Ben & Anika: Shawarma-Spiced Chicken Pita with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce” – Ben & Anika (Zoom from their kitchen; ingredient list sent out ahead of time)

 

8:00 – Fun Fact About the Human Body (YouTube/Zoom)

Chat: “Technology and Artificial Intelligence” – Theo (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

Chat: “Race” – Dami (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

8:30 – Socially Distant Dance Party (at The Meeting Place and on Zoom)

 

Sunday (7/19)

Breakfast (on your own at home)

 

9:15 AM – Prayer Walks (paired up with another household that lives close to you to prayer walk your immediate neighborhood)

 

10:45 – Sunday Service (behind The Meeting Place)

“The Body of Christ” – Nathan

PRELUDE – “Rest In You” by All Sons and Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – John 17:1-5

When Jesus had spoken these words,

he lifted up his eyes to heaven,

and said, “Father, the hour has come;

glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

since you have given him authority over all flesh,

to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God,

and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence

with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Song –

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

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Holy Father, forgive us.

Though you should guide us, we inform ourselves.

Though you should rule us, we control ourselves.

Though you should fulfill us, we console ourselves.

For we think your truth too high, your will too hard,

your power to remote, your love too free.

But they are not!

And without them, we are of all people most miserable.

Heal our confused mind with your word,

heal our divided will with your law,

heal our troubled conscience with your love,

heal our anxious hearts with your presence,

all for the sake of your Son,

who loved us and gave himself for us.

Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Matthew 11:28-29

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,

for I am gentle and lowly in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

Songs –

Give us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall

Here is Love” by Matt Redman, Robert Lowry, and William Rees

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed

We believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ

his only Son our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried,

he descended to hell

and on 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 living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of the saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 2:21-27

SERMON – “Abiding”

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

Songs –

How Deep the Father’s Love” by Stuart Townend

Worthy Worthy” by Jacob Sooter and Mia Fieldes

Doxology

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Omnipotent” by Beautiful Eulogy

“It is written…”

Matthew 4:4, 7, 10

What a privilege it is to have a book from God to explain the world to us.

Scripture explains reality. It is not above reality. It contains harrowing accounts of murder, incest, and injustice. It has stories of war and triumph. Love songs. Lamentations. Confusing parables. Epistolary correspondence. Revelations of the future. Prophecies. Courage and cowardice. These are the words of God himself to us.

Why did God give us this book? It helps us interpret reality.

Satan, the father of lies and deceit, on the other hand, wants to hide reality. He wants us to be overwhelmed with the lies that bombard us from every angle. Christ wants us to be free with the Truth that he has reconciled us to himself through his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. It is the goal of Satan to get us to believe lies and to use those lies to create fear and distrust of God. It is God’s goal with Scripture to confront us with the Truth in order that we might embrace and trust him.

What lies are you believing? What truths are you ignoring?

I am discouraged. I am discouraged because I believe the lie that who I am is determined by what I do and the titles I hold rather than in Christ.

Lie: You are only as important and loved as you are professionally polished, or published, or to the extent of your social notoriety.

Truth: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Lie: If you were more disciplined and more socially engaged during the quarantine, you would have been a lot happier. You didn’t, so you are a failure.

Truth: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:23). “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph. 1:6).

Lie: What would God possibly want with someone who can’t even keep up with the IBC Bible Reading Plan? I am just an undisciplined and useless person.

Truth: “But he said, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2Cor. 12:9-10).

During the trial of Jesus in the desert, what did Jesus quote? Deuteronomy. Jesus – God’s Truth to humanity – used the truth of Deuteronomy to answer Satan’s lies. Instead of pondering and distrusting God, as Adam and Eve had (followed by fear), Jesus declares, with full throat, the truth.

Again, what lies are you believing? What truth does Jesus declare in his word about these lies?

In need of reminders of reality,

Jeremiah

PRELUDE – “Regeneration

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Hebrews 10:19-23

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places

 by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us

through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,

and since 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 –

Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Obediah Chisholm and William Marion Runyan

 

CONFESSION OF SIN  – Daniel 9:7-11

To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness,

but to us open shame,

 as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away,

in all the lands to which you have driven them,

because of the treachery that they have committed against you.

To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers,

because we have sinned against you.

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness,

for we have rebelled against him

 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws,

which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside,

refusing to obey your voice.

And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have

been poured out upon us,

because we have sinned against him.

 

Song –

Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

Who is a God like you,

pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,because he delights in steadfast love.
 

He will again have compassion on us;he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all oursins into the depths of the sea.

 

Song –

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

PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 John 2:18-20

SERMON – “The Last Hour”

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

Songs –

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” by Edward Mote

Be Unto Your Name” by Gary Sadler and Lynn DeShazo

O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Come As You Are” by David Crowder

Do all things

without grumbling

or disputing.

Philippians 2:14

*grumble, grumble, grumble* Why do I have to wear this blasted mask?

*humph, humph, humph* I just hate Zoom calls!

*grr, grr, grr* I can’t believe the National League is going to have the Designated Hitter

We’ve been reading through the book of Philippians lately in our Bible Reading Plan. It is SO timely, isn’t it?

For example, the command in 2:14 to do everything without grumbling is deeply convicting. In this season so much seems so hard. Just going grocery shopping is a massive inconvenience. We’ve had to give up so many plans. The temptation is strong to gripe and complain, to turn critical and cynical. But 2:14 confronts that attitude.

And Paul’s admonition fits right into the larger context. Paul has been calling on Christians of all people to be radically selfless. Grumbling reveals deep-seated selfishness. We grumble when our own preferences, desires, or needs are not being met. But in Philippians, Paul is saying that we should think of others’ needs above our own.

When we have that posture of humility and servanthood, it reduces the impulse to complain. Unity becomes more important than my individual comfort. The glory of Christ becomes my aim more than having things done my way. Serving others becomes a joy instead of a hassle. I don’t have to assert my will; I can adapt, even submit, to others’ wills.

As we re-convene meeting together a lot is going to be asked of each of us. There will be decisions made that you don’t like or disagree with or would have done differently. You’ll have new opportunities to sacrifice your time and ease and schedule to prioritize community. You may remember that the people you had a break from for a while can annoy you.

But our desire should be to have a heart that says, “Whatever it takes, I’ll do it! Count me in! How can I help? Whatever God asks, I’ll trust him to help me obey. In what ways can I give up my desires to serve someone else?” We should gladly do things we don’t like because it’s for someone we love.

This is going to be a great chance to lay aside our own preferences and bend over backwards to accommodate others’. We are going to have ample opportunity to extend a lot of grace to each other.

Why would we want to do this? It’s easier to grumble and disengage. We do it, quite simply, because Jesus did it for us. Have you experienced his grace – Christ’s utter humility displayed in leaving the comfort and ease of heaven to be infinitely inconvenienced for you? He didn’t have a chip on his shoulder as he bore the Cross for you. Doesn’t that make you want to stop whining about little things and live for others?

“I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:8). I can’t wait to see you!

Seeking to selflessly serve you,

And needing your selfless grace,

Pastor Nathan

Dear IBC Family,

I hope you are having a wonderful, sunny weekend.

We’re getting closer to being able to worship together again on the Lord’s Day, but for tomorrow we will still have to have home worship.

We’ve selected an older sermon from Pastor Nathan for you to listen to as part of your home worship. Hopefully it will be helpful for us in thinking through current events from a biblical perspective. The title of the sermon is “Sexual Sins” and it is from Leviticus 18, so be aware in case you feel it would be better not to have your kids listen.

As always, the Spotify Playlist has been updated with new worship music to help you meditate upon the Lord and his goodness with your family, roommates, or by yourself. Sing along with the recordings of some of these songs or find and print the music to sing acapella or with accompaniment if you can.

The prayer for this week comes from Thomas Reade – “On the Blessedness of a New Heart.”

Oh! divine Redeemer,

out of whose inexhaustible fullness I would daily draw

a rich supply of grace into my needy soul,

be pleased to impart unto me an undivided heart;

that to please You, may be my greatest happiness,

and to promote Your glory my highest honor.

Preserve me from false motives, from a double mind, and a divided heart.

Keep me entirely to Yourself,

and enable me to crucify every lust,

which would tempt my heart from You.

Enable me by Your grace to walk

in one uniform path of holy, childlike obedience.

When tempted to turn aside to the right hand or to the left,

may I keep steadily Your way,

until brought before Your throne,

I see Your face, behold Your smile,

and fall in ecstasy at Your feet,

lost in wonder, love, and praise.

For the Memory Verse, try to recite all of Psalm 1 again without looking.

For Kids’ Corner…

Story: “Jars of Oil” (pages 222-225 of The Beginners’ Bible if that’s helpful)

Songs:

1. “My God Is So Big”

2. “The B-I-B-L-E”

Please remember that our online Town Hall for members will be at 11:15 AM.

And don’t forget that if you would like to meet with one or both of us for lunch or a walk, please email us at elders.

Praying for you all,

Pastor Theo

But you,

why do you judge your brother?

Or you again,

why do you regard your brother with contempt?

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Romans 14:10

In the past few months, we as a church have lived through a variety of diverse challenges and heartbreaks which have stretched us in ways we never could have imagined at the beginning of this new year.

On the one hand, the viral pandemic placed all of us in a precarious position of attempting to continue our bonds of fellowship while quarantining ourselves for the sake of the health of our spiritual family and physical neighbors.

One the other, the recent string of criminal police activities has forced us to reckon with the bitter realities of the present injustices still at work within our own homes and communities. Given the time and place the Lord has put us in, it is inevitable that over the next few months we will have to have a series of very difficult and controversial conversations within our own body and amidst our spheres of influence as to how we are to best understand these issues and how we can move forward in confronting these matters in a Christ-like manner.

With these thoughts in mind, I wanted to do a brief overview of the doctrine of Christian liberty in order to help give us a framework in which we can have these conversations together in a productive and loving manner. Please note, I am not claiming to have all of the answers to these difficult questions. In a lot of ways, I am still learning and growing in how I can best love others during these dark days. But one thing the Bible is very clear on is that even in the midst of sharp controversy Christ’s body is still one. And I hope that in this brief survey of Romans 14 we understand that as we engage with one another (which we should), we remember that we are speaking with brothers and sisters in Christ.

The context of Romans 14 is simple enough to grasp. After Paul has spent the majority of his letter clarifying the doctrine of justification by faith alone, Paul makes a shift from the theological to the practical in Romans 12. Following along that vein of thought, Romans 14 answers the specific question – How does the doctrine of justification by faith alone affect the way Christians engage one another in controversial matters? What is the bond of unity which holds us all together, and how do we gauge when we ought to confront one another and when we ought to accept our differences?

I don’t have the time or space to survey the entire chapter. Instead, I am going to pull out a few keys which I think are useful for us in framing this conversation.

First, the aim of our unity is the glory of Christ. Paul is confronting a mixed community of Jewish and Gentile believers, all of whom come into the house of God with different expectations and convictions. Often these different convictions with respect to the observance of Jewish holidays or dietary restrictions tended to lead to incredibly divisive church splits. But for Paul, none of these matters were meant to be the key uniting factor in bringing together the community of God. For Paul, the decisive aim of Christian community is summed up in vv. 7-9 – “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.”

For Paul, the unifying factor of the Christian church is the singular desire to make much of Jesus Christ. This means in his case, while he personally did not mind eating and drinking things which were condemned in traditional Judaism, he did not view those who refrained from partaking as lesser Christians (I would argue the reference to the weak and the strong Christian at the beginning of the chapter is a bit ambiguous). Rather he commended them as equal brothers and sisters in Christ who alongside himself desired to make much of Jesus Christ in all manners of life. In so far as their aims were true to that end, Paul perceives those who hold such diverse perspectives as members of the Body of Christ.

Second, the ground of our Christian unity is not necessarily our actions, but the finished work of Christ on behalf of his people. This can be clearly seen in verse 20 – “Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food.” The logic of this passage takes a little bit to unpack. If you think about what Paul has been arguing for the past few chapters – justification by faith alone – you can better understand what Paul means here when he speaks of Christian’s tearing down what God had built up. Namely, if justification is by faith alone, and our acceptance before God is solely based upon the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ to sinners, then who are we as justified sinners to reject one another on the basis of their imperfections or errors? God is the one who judges, and God is the one who justifies.

More importantly, God is the one who brought this community of justified sinners together to make much of his Son Jesus. And if God brought about this work, who are we then to say that God made a mistake in letting this or that person in because clearly a “good Christian” wouldn’t be so shallow or hold to such inappropriate behaviors or beliefs?

Please hear me very carefully here. This does not mean that there are no beliefs or behaviors which are categorically antithetical to the Christian faith. A number of times throughout his writings, Paul lists various beliefs and practices which mark a member of the community as liable to expulsion. There are absolutes which Christians are demanded to believe and to live by. But that being said, not everything that is set before us on a day-to-day basis belongs in the category of excommunication.

I would argue then that the question we must all ask when we are confronting one of our fellow members on a particularly controversial topic is whether or not we can still call this person a Christian even if he or she happens to disagree with us on this issue. If we cannot, our conversations must be more polemical, for in those instances we are fighting for their very souls. However, if we can still call them Christians, then we need change the nature of our conversation and make it less about changing minds and more on seeking how to push and edify one another to best glorify the Lord together, sometimes even with assumptions or practices we disagree with (Rom. 14:19). At the same time we need to work on reigning in our own personal liberties so that we do not present a stumbling block to others in their own attempts to make much of Christ (14:13).

This doesn’t answer all of the specifics, but hopefully this gives us a goal for which we are all aiming for, and some general categories to differentiate what kind of disagreement we are having while we are all attempting to reach that end. People are fallible, and the Lord is still at work in all of our lives honing and shaping us more and more into the image of Christ. And since God is patient with us, it is important for us to be patient with one another, knowing that we are all sinners who were mercifully saved by the Lord.

~ Pastor Theo

Hello IBC Family,

Praise the Lord for these past few days of sunshine and fair weather! We’re praying that even within the limitations of Phase 3 quarantine you are still able to enjoy and feed on the provisions of God’s grace throughout this season of life.

With that said, the highlighted ‘Sermon of the Week’ is from a less well-known pastor who has helpd me in the past named Alex Montoya. It’s entitled Under Grace, Not Law.He’s a little more old school in his approach, but I hope his sermon is still beneficial for your spiritual growth.

As always, the Spotify Playlist has been updated with fresh worship music for you to use to further meditate upon Christ and his Word.

Finally, the reading for this week comes from Ephesians 2:1-10.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,

following the course of this world,

following the prince of the power of the air,

the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience –

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,

carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,

and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –

and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace

in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,

which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The Memory Verse is all of Psalm 1. When we can finally meet all together again, everyone should be able to recite Psalm 1 from memory!

Here’s the Kids’ Corner curriculum:

· Story: “Fire From Heaven” p. 209 (Lesson 12)

· Songs:

1. “What a Mighty God We Serve”

2. “My God is So Big”

· Children’s Bulletins attached that go along with the lesson.

Praying for you this week,

Pastor Theo

Saturday Morning Prayer Meeting

(6/13/20)

Come to Jesus!

 

 

“I Must Tell Jesus”

https://youtu.be/nZ47rDBmmP8

I must tell Jesus / All of my trials
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress / He kindly will help me
He ever cares and loves His own

I must tell Jesus / All of my troubles
He’s a kind and compassionate friend
If I but ask Him / He will deliver
Make of my troubles / Quickly an end

I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
I cannot bear these burdens alone
I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
Jesus can help me / Jesus alone

Tempted and tried I need a great Savior
One who can help my burdens to bear
I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
He all my cares and sorrows will share

I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
I cannot bear these burdens alone
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone

 

 

Come

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me,

all who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you,

and learn from me,

for I am gentle and lowly in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy,

and my burden is light.”

Tell Jesus about your burdens…

 

 

Come

Matthew 11:28-30

“If anyone would come after me,

let him deny himself

and take up his cross

and follow me.”

 

Tell Jesus how you’ve used him like a mascot,

to prop yourself up,

to get things

to feel good about yourself…

Repent…

Remember again today that you have died…

Find your life, your righteousness, your all in him…

 

 

Come

John 6:35

“I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me

shall not hunger,

and whoever believes in me

shall never thirst.”

 

Tell Jesus ways you have tried to fill your hungers

and slake your thirsts on other things besides him…

Let’s praise him for the ways he satisfies…

 

 

To Jesus

FORGIVER – “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Mt. 9:2).

FRIEND – “I have called you friends” (Jn. 15:15).

SERVANT – “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mk. 10:45).

INTERCESSOR – “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22:32).

COMFORTER – “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).

CONFRONTER – “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mk. 8:33).

TEACHER – “Listen” (Mk. 4:3)!

COMING JUDGE – “Depart from me…” (Mt. 25:41).

DEFENDER – “Leave her alone” (Mk. 14:6).

SAVIOR – “The Son of Man came to seek & to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10).

EVER-PRESENT – “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

 

 

Come

John 4:29

“Come,

see a man

who told me all that I ever did.”

 

Let’s pray for our evangelism efforts…

A man without self-control

is like a city broken into

and left without walls.

Proverbs 25:28

I’ve noticed that many of us are struggling to be disciplined lately, myself included. Maybe we never really were, but it’s become obvious now that our routines have been disrupted.

Working from home is new for many, bringing new temptations towards sloth and/or overwork. It might be that your sleep schedule has become erratic now that you don’t have to get up and go out. Perhaps your diet and exercise and personal hygiene regimens are not great. Circumstances and social media have been taking many of us on a wild ride of emotions lately. I won’t ask how your Bible reading and prayer routines are going (wait, I guess I just did).

The issue of discipline is really a matter of self-control. Are you in control of yourself, or are you being jerked around by your passions? Are you guided by a renewed mind steeped in God’s revelation, or is peer pressure telling you what to think? Have you learned to tame your tongue, or are you saying (or typing) whatever is the first thing to pop into your head? Do you set the agenda for your day in submission to God, or are you dictated to by the immediate, the urgent, or the whims of the moment? Can you wait, or do you unreflectively grab what you desire right away? Can you do things that you don’t necessarily want to do, or are you an addict – unable to stop or say No to a substance or activity or thought?

Are you self-controlled? To paraphrase the proverb, a person without self-control is like a Jewel with bashed in windows. There are no proper boundaries. You are susceptible to anyone coming in at any time and taking from you. You’re not functioning properly. You’re a mess.

A person without any self-control has no defense against the world, the flesh, and the devil coming right in and telling you what to do. You’re at their mercy… and they are not merciful.

But God is!!! Praise him that he’s not grading you on your level of discipline to make the cut for his kingdom. You don’t (you can’t) earn your salvation through your self-control. You know you can be addicted to working out, eating right, religious duties, etc. too, right? Biblical self-control is not self-salvation. It’s a result of salvation.

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:23). Struggling believer: you are struggling because the Spirit of God dwells in you and has given you a desire to please him and be pleased with him. You are united to Christ. You are a new creation. You are no longer in bondage to sin. You have the freedom and the power to fight for new habits. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).

Now “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), “sow… to the Spirit” (Gal. 6:8), “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). This is our new purpose, together. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:11-14).

Your fellow struggler,

Pastor Nathan

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

  • #IBCserm Just this today from 1 John 3:19-24 - “You can know now that you’re good with God.” Service outside again. 6 days ago
  • #IBCserm Just this today from 1John 3:11-18 - “If you’re alive, you’ll love.” Service outside. 1 week ago
  • And now it has been moved inside. 3 weeks ago
  • Outdoor service today moved back to 1:00 PM in light of morning rain. 3 weeks ago
  • The Summer Retreat is this weekend!! 4 weeks ago

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