Approaching Sunday

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Abram's Faithful (and not so faithful) Response

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 This Sunday we’ll begin part 2 of a sermon series through Genesis that we started last year. Lord willing, over the next few winters, we’ll continue to work our way through the book of Genesis, and see how God faithfully and sovereignly establishes His people.

 Last year, we finished the series in Genesis 11, where God disperses the nations after they build the Tower of Babel and we read the lineage of Abraham. This week, we’ll look at chapter 12, when God calls Abram. He promises to build a great nation through this 75-year-old man. As incredible as this sounds, we see later that God doesn’t give Abraham his son Isaac until he is 100, and his wife Sarah is 90! It definitely would take some faith to believe this is possible.

 Abram’s story begins in Genesis with God promising to build a nation and calling him to move from his homeland and family. God doesn’t tell him yet where he will go, yet Abram packs his things and leaves all he knows behind. He trusts God to be true to His word.

 Just a quick sidebar: if you are in a small group at Coastal, you’ll spend some time discussing what our faith should be rooted in. Abram trusted God’s words, as should we. We have the completed Scriptures, we don’t need to look for some grand vision or a prophetic voice to give guidance. God has told us all He wants us to know through His Word. We can know His will and follow Him if we know the Bible. You’re probably familiar with Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. That light may not always show the whole path, but it will guide us the way we need to go.

 Abram sets out and responds in faith to God’s command. By the end of chapter 12, however, Abram has wavered. As he enters Egypt, he fears for his life and instead of trusting God’s promise to protect him, takes matters into his own hands. He develops a ruse to pass through Egypt pretending Sarai is sister rather than his wife. Needless to say, this backfires. God remains faithful, however, and delivers them from Egypt. How many times do we do the same thing? We know God’s commands, we know His promises, yet we think we can somehow do things better? “God, I know you say that I should be generous with my money, and trust you to provide, but have you seen the bills this month?” Or, do we use failure as an excuse for inaction? “God, I know you’ve called me to share the gospel with those around me, but my family knows too much about me. They’ll think I’m a hypocrite.” Abraham is called the father of our faith, and we see in Scripture he was far from perfect. God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our merit, He’s not surprised by our sin. He keeps His promises because of His character, not because we deserve it.

 Praise God that through His Son, we have forgiveness of sins! This is not an excuse to sin freely, but grace to overcome our sin. When we fail, we can turn to God and He will cleanse us. And as He did with Abraham, He can use us for His glory.

 

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Parent/Child Dedication

A few times a year, new parents will come before the church and commit to take spiritual leadership in their family, and raise their child in the ways of the Lord.  The church is to come alongside these new parents to supplement the discipleship that is already taking place in the home, and to support and pray for them as they navigate this new journey of parenthood. Coastal has a parent/child dedication as a part of our Baptism & Lord’s Supper service. My goal in this Approaching Sunday is to clarify what our Parent/Child Dedications are and what they are not. At Coastal, we do not support the idea that the Bible teaches infant baptism. We practice what is called “believer’s” or “confessor’s” baptism, which means we only baptize those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the book of Acts, we find baptism explicitly related to repentance, receiving the Word, believing and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:41). There is no explicit evidence to suggest that nonbelievers were baptized.

We recognize the Bible teaches individual salvation: that is, the faith of the parents does not automatically make the child a disciple of Christ.  Parents cannot make their children Christians, or make the decision for them. The parent/child dedication is primarily a commissioning for parents. They are committing before their church family to raise their child in the fear and discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). The duty of teaching children does not rest with the church, but the parents (Deuteronomy 6:4-7); the church provides love, support, and accountability.

Family worship is a critical piece of discipling your children. You don't have to be a Bible scholar, just spend 10-15 minutes with them daily:

  1. Reading and discussing God's word together.
  2. Praying together.
  3. Singing spiritual songs together.

Parents should also recognize that much is “caught rather than taught.” Display the gospel to them; teach your children to struggle with sin the way mommy and daddy struggle with sin. They should model loving God with everything and the instructions of the Lord should be everywhere in their lives:

  1. Personally pursuing God with your own time of reading God’s word and a disciplined prayer life.
  2. Corporately by being a committed part of a local church body, and growing by being a part of a small group.
  3. Loving and serving each other and modeling a Christ-centered marriage (Christian single parents should still respect and honor the other parent as much as it depends on them- a different kind of love that comes through Christ). Show grace and mercy to your spouse, be quick to apologize and quick to forgive.

To be clear, while Coastal does not recognize infant baptism, nor consider the parent/child dedication an ordinance, we do understand the value of parents dedicating to raise their child in a godly home through the power of the Holy Spirit. The church is commissioned by Jesus Christ to go and make disciples, the Christian parent should start with their children!

The members of Coastal are honored and privileged to stand with these new parents in their desire to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.

Order of Service

Your Name Alone Can Save
Bound For Glory
Parent/Child Dedication
Forever Reign
Baptisms
Teaching and Lord's Supper
Man of Sorrows

Offertory and Closing Song: Bound For Glory

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