A Kingdom Not of this World – CRC Sunday Sermon

August 4, 2019
(links to hymns and the sermon are in blue font)

Pastoral Reading

Psalm 3
O Lord, how many are my foes!

    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah

Opening Hymn
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (Trinity Hymnal #30)

Prayer
Focus this week: Jerusha

Congregational Hymns
Lord With Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee (Trinity #80)

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pard’ning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wand’rer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away:
Praise with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him who saw thy guiltborn fear,
And, the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Saviour God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood-sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live:
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease,
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express:
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign thy suppliant’s pray’r to bless:
Let Thy love, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise. Amen.

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (Trinity Hymnal #679)

Offering Hymn
All Who With Heart Confiding 
(Psalter Hymnal #267)

1 All who, with heart confiding,
depend on God alone,
like Zion’s mount abiding,
shall ne’er be overthrown.
Like Zion’s city, bounded
by guarding mountains broad,
his people are surrounded
forever by their God.

2 No scepter of oppression
shall hold unbroken sway,
lest unto base transgression
the righteous turn away.
Your favor be imparted
to godly people, LORD;
bless all that are pure-hearted,
the good with good reward.

3 The men who falsehood cherish,
forsaking truth and right,
with wicked ones shall perish;
God will their sin requite.
From sin your saints defending,
their joy, O LORD, increase,
with mercy never-ending
and everlasting peace.

Scripture Reading
Acts 8:26-40

The Lord’s Table
Christ Our Righteousness

Preaching the Word
A Kingdom Not of this World
YouTube  link

Closing Hymn
When I Survey (Trinity Hymnal #252)

The “Christian” Abuser: Couldn’t He be a “Carnal” Christian? (Part 4)

The following is a summary of the conclusions of Sam Storms, who writes at Enjoying God Ministries.  His take on 1 Cor 3:1-3 is a bit different than we have presented in parts 2 & 3 of this series of posts, but it is also excellent and he also rejects any notion that there exists a “carnal Christian” who is genuinely regenerate but who persists without repentance in a state of sin.  I think that you will benefit from this article as well.  Here is the link:

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-carnal-christian-study-of-1-corinthians-31-3/

This is how Dr. Storms concludes his article:

“From what has been seen, we may now draw four conclusions.

First, there are two senses in which a Christian can be spoken of as “carnal”. (1) As new converts, all Christians are to varying degrees carnal. (2) Among long-time Christians, some may be. The former is expected. The latter is not. However, insofar as the word “carnal” has come to have such negative connotations, it would be wise for us to forego calling new Christians “carnal”, and do as Paul: refer to them as “babes” in Christ.

We are still left with the fact that Paul refers to the Corinthians, by way of rebuke, as carnal. The use to which Paul puts the word in v. 3 should not be rejected, for it is clearly biblical and appropriate as a descriptive term for those Christians who fall into a similar pattern of behavior. So I see no reason to be disturbed that someone would distinguish between “carnal” Christians and “spiritual” Christians, especially in view of the obvious distinction between “mature” and “immature” found elsewhere in the NT.

Second, I caution against referring to “carnal” and “spiritual” as rigid categories or classes of Christians. The idea of a distinctive class or category implies a strict line of demarcation between one group of believers and another. It suggests there are readily identifiable stages in the Christian life into which one may enter if certain things are done or out of which one may fall if other things are done. Sanctification, however, is far too fluid for such strict categorization. In other words, sanctification is a process which, because of its constantly dynamic and progressive nature, defies rigid classifications. There are “babes” in Christ, as Paul indicates, but no two Christians are ever at the same stage of spiritual infancy. There are “carnal” Christians, but again in varying degree. No two Christians manifest the same depth or degree of carnality. There are “spiritual” or “mature” believers, but all the marks or fruits of spirituality are not apparent in all Christians at the same time and to the same extent. No individual’s spiritual growth is wholly constant and undisturbed and you will rarely, if ever, find any two Christians at precisely the same stage of sanctification. There are countless hills and valleys, stumblings, falls, moments of victory and defeat in the process of our growth in grace.

Carnality, then, although ideally a condition to be found only in the newly saved, is such that may raise its ugly head at any and every stage of the Christian life. Thus, it may be more accurate to say that there are as many categories and classes of Christians as there are individual believers. The principle which bears repeating is this: carnality and spirituality, rather than being categories or classes into which one enters in the Christian life, are characteristics or moral tendencies which one manifests in varying degree throughout the course of the Christian life. The ideal as set forth in Scripture is, of course, a progression that is always upward – away from manifestations of carnality and toward manifestations of maturity.

Third, carnality in the Christian, whenever and in whatever way it manifests itself, is a temporary condition. There is no basis in Scripture for the teaching that genuinely born again and justified Christians can persist, without great discomfort, in their sin (a discomfort, I might add, due to the promptings of the Holy Spirit or the chastisement of the Father, such as lead to repentance). Samuel Bolton put it well:

“We still have the presence of sin, nay, the stirrings and workings of corruptions. These make us to have many a sad heart and wet eye. Yet Christ has thus far freed us from sin; it shall not have dominion. There may be the turbulence, but not the prevalence of sin. There may be the stirrings of corruption. It was said of Carthage that Rome was more troubled with it when half destroyed than when whole. So a godly man may be more troubled with sin when it is conquered than when it reigned. Sin will still work, but it is checked in its workings. They are rather workings for life than from life. They are not such uncontrolled workings as formerly. Sin is under command. Indeed, it may get advantage, and may have a tyranny in the soul, but it will never more be sovereign. I say, it may get into the throne of the heart and play the tyrant in this or that particular act of sin, but shall never more be as a king there. Its reign is over; you will never yield a voluntary obedience to sin. Sin is conquered, though it still has a being within you” (The True Bounds of Christian Freedom [Banner of Truth], p. 26).

Fourth, our consideration of this issue must never result in an unbiblical separation of sanctification from justification. Holiness and a progressively changed life are not optional. “By this we know that we have come to know him,” says John, “if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). Mere profession of faith, unattended by good works, does not guarantee the reality of faith. We would do well to remember the rebuke of Jesus to those who professed their loyalty and cited their miraculous deeds: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mt. 7:23).

Go to Part 3 of this series

Faith and a Mustard Seed – CRC Sunday Sermon

July 28, 2019
(links to hymns and the sermon are in blue font)

Pastoral Reading

Psalm 2
Why do the nations rage

    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Opening Hymn
O Come My Soul, Bless Thou the Lord (Trinity Hymnal #6)
O come, my soul, bless thou the Lord thy maker,
And all within me bless his holy name;
Bless thou the Lord, forget not all his mercies,
His pardoning grace and saving love proclaim.

Bless him for ever, wondrous in might,
Bless him, his servants that in his will delight.

Good is the Lord and full of kind compassion,
Most slow to anger, plenteous in love;
Rich is his grace to all that humbly seek him,
Boundless and endless as the heavens above.

His love is like a father’s to his children,
Tender and kind to all who fear his name;
For well he knows our weakness and our frailty,
He knows that we are dust, he knows our frame.

We fade and die like flowers that grow in beauty,
Like tender grass that soon will disappear;
But evermore the love of God is changeless,
Still shown to those who look to him in fear.

High in the heavens his throne is fixed for ever,
His kingdom rules o’er all from pole to pole;
Bless ye the Lord through all his wide dominion,
Bless his most holy name, O thou my soul.

Prayer
Focus this week: Phoebe

Congregational Hymns
Praise to the Lord the Almighty (Trinity Hymnal #53)

Holy, Holy, Holy (Trinity Hymnal #100)

Offering Hymn
Psalm 63 – O Lord, My God, Most Earnestly 

Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place,

    O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
    my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.[b]
As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!

10 For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Scripture Reading
Hebrews 3

Preaching the Word
Faith and a Mustard Seed
YouTube link 

Closing Hymn
 How Gentle God’s Commands (Trinity Hymnal #68)