Approaching Sunday

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Gospel Edges: Life is Precious (Part 2)

Last week we briefly examined how the gospel shapes our commitment to our pre-born children.  Today we are going to look at how the gospel shapes our relationship with those of a different ethnic background.  There is no place for racism in the church.  Galatians 3:28-29 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”  The gospel in you should change the way you interact with people of different ethnic backgrounds.  The Apostle Paul declares that in Christ, we are all “Abraham’s offspring”.  This means that there is no place for segregation and no place for labels of any kind. Consider for a moment the Imago Dei and its implications on this crucial issue:  All man is created in the image of God and has been since the beginning of time as we know it.  To look at someone with a different color skin tone as “lesser” or “different” is to sin against God himself who “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” (Genesis 2:7).  The gospel will wage the war against racism in our hearts and produce in us a new way of engaging with our brothers and sisters. We must be intentional in our fight against the sin of racism.  Therefore, here are two practical steps you can take to fight against becoming apathetic toward racism: fill your lunch and dinner tables with those you can love and serve who are from a different ethnic background; and promote confession in your home by recognizing that racism can exist within the deepest part of our hearts. As you commit to doing this, remember Paul’s charge to Philemon, regarding his slave, Onesimus, “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant (slave) but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother- especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

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Approaching Sunday: We Will Preach the Word of God

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Each week we are going to be giving you a primer for Sunday morning worship.  My prayer is that it will encourage you to engage with our Sunday morning services before, during and after we meet to worship together as the bride of Christ.  This week we are beginning a new sermon series titled “Coastal because…” Our desire in this series is that you may see and cherish the precious doctrines Coastal upholds and promotes.  Pastor Shaun is beginning this series by teaching on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture in a sermon called “Committed to the Word of God”.  I have a few thoughts for you to meditate on as we draw near to our Sunday morning worship:

The Apostle Paul reminds his protégé, young Timothy in First Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The Bible, although penned by men, is the very word of God. The phrase, “God breathed” is significant and denotes the true authorship behind the words of Scripture. God himself inspired them.  Theologian B.B. Warfield defended this when he stated, “This church-doctrine of inspiration was the Bible doctrine before it was the church-doctrine, “ and it is “the church doctrine only because it is the Bible doctrine.”[1]

It is an historical orthodox Christian position to understand and promote the Bible as inspired and consequently as authoritative over all of creation.  If God has spoken, his word has authority for everything pertaining to “life and godliness” (2nd Peter 1:3).  The theological words, inerrancy means “freedom from error or untruths”[2] and infallibility means “incapable of erring.”[3]   Scripture has passed the test of inerrancy even under the most intense scrutiny. It will always do so because it is infallible. A failure to reconcile truths in Scripture is a deficiency on the method of us as interpreters not the Bible itself. Scripture is “inspired, inerrant, clear, necessary, comprehensive, and sufficient.”[4] It is because the Bible is inspired, inerrant and authoritative that it is also sufficient. Consider Psalm 119:9-12 which states, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.  With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  Blessed are you, O LORD: teach me your statues!” The Psalmist models for us a high view of Scripture that leads to purity, seeking God, fleeing sin, and worshiping God appropriately.  The only way to know our unchanging God is to know his unchanging Scripture that has guided brothers and sisters all throughout church history to behold Him.

The sufficiency of Scripture means that there is no need for any more special revelation.  God has spoken and revealed everything needed to know Him and glorify Him forever. All knowledge outside of the Scripture is subordinate to the Scripture and if found in conflict, is to be discarded. Theologian John Frame says it in this way:

“Since God created and governs all things, he is the original interpreter of creation, the one who understands the world and all its depths- not only its material nature, but also its ultimate meaning and purpose.  God, therefore, has the ultimate viewpoint on the world- the broadest, deepest understanding of it.  His word about himself or about the world, therefore, is more credible than any other word or any other means of knowing.  It obligates belief, trust, and obedience.”[5]

The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is of the utmost importance as we seek to care for one another.  There is often times a disconnect between the church’s doctrine regarding the sufficiency of Scripture and our practice of that doctrine.  Furthermore, many pastors and Christians spend much time talking about the Bible without ever actually opening the Bible.  In addition to this, many pastors and Christians use the Bible merely as an encyclopedia of small stories and random life application passages instead of demonstrating that all the small stories point to one larger story (the story of redemption). Because we sometimes view the Scripture as isolated and disconnected “mini stories” this temptation can swell up inside of us to give people something more “tangible” outside of Scripture.  Therefore, Christians become tempted to believe that something other than the Scripture is needed for extreme circumstances in life.  We must repent of this and see Scripture as completely sufficient for all things (Psalm 119; 2nd Timothy 3:16-17; 2nd Peter 1:3) and encourage others to see that as well.

As we draw toward Sunday morning, seek to apply the doctrine of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture to your life.

Order of Service

Marvelous Light (1st Peter 2:9)
Welcome and Announcements
Responsive Reading (Psalm 46:1-7)
Lord of All (Psalm 24:1)
Forever Reign (Lamentations 5:19)
Rescue (Acts 4:12)
Sermon: “Committed to the Word of God” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Offertory and Ministry Review (Presented by an Elder)
Benediction (Psalm 29:11) and Closing Song (Lord of All)

 

Footnotes:

[1] Fred G. Zaspel, The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 124.

[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 695.

[3] Ibid.

[4] John Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2013), 599.

[5] John Frame, The Doctrine of God (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2002), 81.

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