Friday, December 29, 2017

CREC 10- E2- Practical Theology

CREC E2- Practical Theology
Sermon Notes
James 1:13-25
December 24, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

This sermon is titled, Evangelical 2- Practical Theology. What do I mean by practical theology? I mean theology that acts like it believes in God. It does something. It works. We are saved by faith alone but our faith is never alone.
Listen to the Westminster Confession of Faith on this point.
         Chapter 11- Of Justification
         11.2. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:4 yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.
       Did you hear that? Faith is the alone instrument of justification but it is never alone. It is always accompaniec with other saving graces. It works by love. Otherwise, it would be a dead faith and not a living faith.

         It is Reformed Evangelical doctrine that sanctification naturally and necessarily accompanies justification. Again, hear the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Chapter XIII: Of Sanctification  WCF 13

WCF 13.1
13.1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection,1 by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them:2 the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed,3 and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified;4 and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces,5 to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.6

This states clearly, with Scripture proofs, that the elect are effectually called, that is, they respond to the gospel. Having done so, they receive a new heart and a new spirit. And because they have a new heart and a new spirit, they are sanctified. That is, they grow in their faith, put to death the deeds of the flesh, learn to live like Christians and practice holiness, without which no man will see the Lord.

Salvation to the World

A starry night filled with angels. Shepherds watching over their flocks by night. A young girl about to give birth. She is afraid and excited, unsure and full of the assurance of God.
         This night would confirm God’s promises, not just to her and her children, not just to her husband, not even just to Israel, though she was thinking that, but to all mankind.
         God often does His work in unexpected ways. He also does His glorious, saving, efficacious work on the brink of disaster. That way, everyone knows that fulfillment is God inspired and God accomplished. In modern terms, we recognize these events as a God-thing. Well, there is no greater God-thing than the conception and birth of Jesus.

As the angel might have said to Mary, “Here is salvation to you, your husband, your children and the whole world. Glory be to God in the highest!”

Hope in Darkness

Christmas Eve is a good time to talk about hope. Imagine Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, expecting their first child. Well, Mary’s first. Joseph knew the child to be of the Holy Spirit. But now they have traveled a dangerous journey. They are without a decent place to stay and the baby is coming tonight! God’s promises are with them but everything seems to have happened at the wrong time.
         But it is not the wrong time. It is just the right time. All is well. The full inns, the baby’s arrival in a stable, the birth in Bethlehem, the city of David, all this was the very particular will of God for Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

         The evening was dark, the times were dark, the situation seemed dark. But in the midst of this darkness is hope that God’s light will dawn and grow into the brightness of the full day. Hope in God is often hope in darkness but the light will come. The light has come.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CREC 9- E1- Evangelical Faith

CREC 9- E1
Sermon Notes
Evangelicals Have Faith
Gospel Centered Evangelical Faith
December 17, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         I continue our sermons through our acronym, CREC, the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches. We are on E 1, Evangelical. It is obvious that we intend to distinguish ourselves with this word. We are evangelicals. What’s more, we are Reformed Evangelicals.
         Before we try to define what it is to be evangelical, I want to encourage you that this part of our acronym is a great answer to the question “What kind of church are you?” The answer, “We are Reformed Evangelicals.” Of course, you immediately have to qualify anyway because many people might think you are saying, “We used to be evangelical and now you have reformed from that.” You will need to explain what Reformed means and what Evangelical mean. But in doing that you will capture a great deal of who we, in the CREC, are.
          We are the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches. This means that we are Evangelical. This is an important word in our name. It is an important word in the history of the church.
         What does Evangelical mean? Think about it. Can you answer that question? I asked my family the question at dinner last night and got a wide range of answers.

Evangelicals are Assured

Evangelicals walk in assurance of salvation. Why? Because we belong to Jesus. I ended my sermon with the Heidelburg Catechism 1. Here it is again.
Heidelburg 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death? 
A. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
Evangelicals are confident before God. We are not wondering if we have been good enough for God to forgive us. We are not scared in His presence. We stand before Him boldly. Why? Because all of our comfort and hope is in Jesus Christ. We are sure of this and therefore assured of His love for us.

This meal assures us of God’s love to us through His Son. We believe this and therefore have great confidence that we are in Christ, saved, at peace with God and men, forgiven, Spirit-filled and all of the other wonderful and glorious promises that we have in Jesus, our Savior. Amen.