This entry is for August 1st, 2021
I've been looking for a new church recently. On the recommendation of some family friends, I tried a particular one nearby. I felt very welcomed when I went there!
The worship was difficult for me. I have a hard time with the more contemporary style of worship: it's loud and it hurts my throat and it difficult to keep up with the tune for me. I prefer more traditional hymns.
The message was alright: it certainly had a decent bit of substance; it felt like the pastor really hit his stride about midway through.
Community Faith Church, Lansing MI
Speaker: Rev. Pastor Jeff
An underlying issue: the hanging-on of our flesh
Being born again, we are a new creature in Christ. Our flesh defies this re-creation of our selves. The truth is that our sin has been crucified on the cross.
We walk by faith, not by sight; love always starts with Truth.
What does our flesh hold onto that the Truth needs to confront?
A feeling of unworthiness, inability to receive the righteousness inherent to the process of receiving the saving grace of Christ
Righteousness: To be in "right standing" with God.
God has cleared away our unrighteousness. This "right standing" before God is a legal definition of sorts.
Our old (carnal, worldly, sinful) nature is broken by default.
Our nature has been changed, but our default patterns remain. Thus, we must renew our mind
Romans 12:2 NIV (not ref'd by name, just partially quoted)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Sanctification: the process for showing forth the fruits of righteousness.
Analogy: The transformation of wood to steel: each has its own nature which are in many ways mutually exclusive/incompatible (you cannot stain a piece of steel as you can wood)
Analogy: freed captives (story: abducted women held for years) having to adapt to freedom: there must be a renewal of thinking, renewal of the mind.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Emphasis: God's workmanship; The works have been prepared for us in advance.)
Humility: Properly-placed confidence
God tells us we are worthy and righteous, so if we say otherwise then we are speaking in opposition to God.
Sin: The Great Separator The sacrifice of Jesus: The Great Restorer
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Note: Whenever we see the words "in him": this is something that we (the saved) already are.
Isaiah 43:25 ESV
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
The fullest maturity of sin is death.
Romans 5:17 ESV
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
We're in a decaying body. But we're going to be changed and renewed: a regenerated body.
The process now is to grow in the realm of sanctification: pursuing God, renewing our mind in the Truth. We're all in Christ, with equal standing before Him.
1 John 1:8-9 NIV
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
What many of us try to do is find a way to make a sin not a sin: saying that if it "feels natural" then it can't be sin. Oh, woe to us to deceive ourselves that way, for of course it feels natural to a person that's been born into sin!
When we're persecuted, we should receive it with a passion! We must pray to connect to our persecutors.
Cleansing is different from covering.
(Analogy: trying to mask a bad scent with cologne: akin to continuing to sin by the false justification of available forgiveness)
James 4:7 NIV
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Righteousness and sanctification are different: one is our task, one is God's.
I think it was okay, and I certainly felt welcomed which was nice, but I just feel like it's not the right place for me. I'm going to try a different one next week.
After church I went home for a bit to try to organize some files, and got a call from my grandma. We talked for a little while and then I decided to head on over and visit them.
We had a lovely time and had dinner together! We talked about a wide variety of topics (mostly about their historical contributions to Eaton Rapids Campmeeting, the history of the camp and the forests around it. One of the things I've had on my mind for a while is what it would take to spark a real revival. I think that people would be hungry for the message of holiness if only it were preached more often.
I'd brought over my copies of the Power and Praise hymnal so we decided to sing together, my grandma was playing the piano and my grandpa and I were singing. It was fun!