LIVE Webcast Today at 9:15am, 10:30am, and 6:00pm Eastern.

Click the Live Button below (reload the page to recheck), or visit SermonAudio.com/grace.

GFPC Website

Grace FPC New Building
Nov
29

The Ordinary Christian Life, Part 2

by Michael Horton

If gradual growth in Christ is exchanged for a radical experience, it is not surprising that many begin looking for the Next Big Thing as the latest crisis experience wears off. Even in my own lifetime, I’ve witnessed—and participated in—a parade of radical movements. And now, according to Time magazine, the “new Calvinism” is one of the top trends changing the world. This movement has also been identified as “Young, Restless, Reformed.” But as long as it is defined by youthful restlessness, it may tend to warp what it means to be Reformed.

When they were younger fishermen, my children couldn’t leave their line in the water long enough to catch a living thing. They were always reeling in the line to see if they had caught anything. Then, when they wanted to plant strawberries with my wife, their initial excitement turned quickly to boredom when, after only a few days, they didn’t see any fruit.

To be young is to be restless. We’re lost in impatient wonder and selfish impulses. But we are called repeatedly in the New Testament to grow up, to mature, to put away our childish ways. We are called to submit to our elders, to appreciate the wisdom that spans not only years but generations, and to realize that we do not have all the answers. We are not the stars in our own movie. If the whole apparatus of church life is designed by and for a youth culture, then we never grow up.

So in some ways, at least, our restless impatience with the ordinary is not just the influence of our culture, but the influence of unsound views of Christian discipleship that have shaped that culture over generations.

Renewing Respect for the Ordinary
First and foremost, any renewed appreciation for the ordinary begins with God. Of course, God is hardly ordinary, but He delights in working in ordinary ways. Our triune God could do everything Himself, directly and immediately. After all, He said, “Let there be light”— and light appeared (Gen. 1:3). Yet, He also said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” And “the earth brought forth vegetation” (v. 12). God is no less the ultimate source of reality when He is working within creation to “bring forth” His purposes than He is in directly calling things into existence.

In providence, God’s ordinary way of working should surprise us with wonder. What could be more ordinary than the birth of a child? We do not have to call it a miracle to be astonished at God’s handiwork. Even God’s normal way of working is stupendous. Though the prophets and Apostles were called to an extraordinary office, they were ordinary people who communicated God’s Word in ordinary language.

We see this diversity even in the incarnation. God’s assumption of our flesh in the womb of a virgin is nothing short of a direct and miraculous intervention in history. And yet He assumed His humanity from Mary in the ordinary way, through an ordinary nine-month pregnancy. Her delivery of the incarnate God was not miraculous, either. He even grew in ordinary ways, through ordinary means: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

In addition, the extraordinary miracle of new birth comes to us from above, but we are united to Christ through the ordinary preaching of the gospel. Some conversions are radical; others are gradual. In either case, it is God’s miraculous work through the ordinary means of grace.

In all of these ways, God is the actor, even when He acts through creaturely means. We do not rise up to God, but He descends to us and communicates His grace to us through words and actions that we can understand.

Ordinary does not mean mediocre. Athletes, architects, humanitarians, and artists can vouch for the importance of everyday faithfulness to mundane tasks that lead to excellence. But even if we are not headliners in our various callings, it is enough to know that we are called there by God to maintain a faithful presence in His world. We look up in faith toward God and out toward our neighbors in love and good works. You don’t have to transform the world to be a faithful mom or dad, sibling, church member, or neighbor.

And who knows? Maybe if we discover the opportunities of the ordinary, a fondness for the familiar, and a wonder for the mundane, we will end up being radical after all.


This post is part of our regular Think About It! series, where we bring you devotional thoughts from a range of authors.

Read post in blog section...
Nov
13

The Church’s Special Privilege

by Alistair Begg

Jesus has sent His Church into the world on the same errand upon which He Himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the Church is the world’s priest? Creation is dumb, but the Church finds a mouth for it. It is the Church’s high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The curtain was torn for her; the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her; God constantly invites her to bring her requests. Will she refuse the privilege that angels might envy? Is she not the bride of Christ? Can she not approach her King at any hour? Will she allow the precious privilege to be unused?

The Church always needs to pray. There are always some among her who are declining or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ’s bosom; the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings twenty-four hours a day all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication.

Is there ever a time when no one is sick or poor or afflicted or wavering? Is there ever a time when we do not seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of backsliders, or the salvation of the lost? With congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins—in a country over which the darkness of religious formalism is certainly descending—in a world full of idols, cruelties, devils—if the Church does not pray, how will she excuse her neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the Church be constant in supplication; let every private believer give himself to the ministry of prayer.


This post is part of our regular Think About It! series, where we bring you devotional thoughts from a range of authors.

Read post in blog section...
Nov
9

Sermons Uploaded

Today Andrew Farr continued his series on 1 Peter in the morning, and spoke of the hope of the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15 in the evening. Watch or listen to the sermons on Sermon Audio, here (morning) and here (evening).

Read post in blog section...
Sep
18

Christian, Do You Make It Your Daily Work? Part 2

by Tim Challies

4. Indwelling Sin Needs to Be Opposed by the Holy Spirit and the New Nature
The sin that remains within us must (and can!) be opposed by the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and by our new nature. “This is one main reason why the Spirit and the new nature are given unto us—that we may have a principle within us whereby to oppose sin and lust.”

“Not to be daily mortifying sin is to sin against the goodness, kindness, wisdom, grace, and love of God, who has furnished us with a principle of doing it.”

5. There Is a Terrible Cost If You Neglect to Put Sin to Death
The cost of neglecting this duty of putting sin to death is sky high. “Negligence in this duty casts the soul into a perfect contrary to that which the apostle affirms was his: ‘Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day’ (2 Cor. 4:16). In these the inward man perishes, and the outward man is renewed day by day.”

“By the omission of this duty grace withers, lust flourishes, and the frame of the heart grows worse and worse; and the Lord knows what desperate and fearful issues it has had with many.”

6. It Is Our Duty to Grow in Holiness and Grace Every Day
If all of this is true, then it is our Christian duty to grow in holiness every day by putting sin to death. “It is our duty to be ‘perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2 Cor. 7:1); to be ‘growing in grace’ every day (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18); to be ‘renewing our inward man day by day’ (2 Cor 4:16). Now, this cannot be done without the daily mortifying of sin. Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness and against every degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who does not kill sin in his way takes no steps toward his journey’s end. He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.”

Perhaps the greatest benefit to me, as I read Owen, is the desire he gives me to put sin to death. He makes me hate sin and love holiness, which means he makes me want to destroy sin and put on all the Christian virtues. “Sin does so remain, so act and work in the best of believers, while they live in this world, that the constant daily mortification of it is all their days incumbent on them.” May it be so with me!


This post is part of our regular Think About It! series, where we bring you devotional thoughts from a range of authors.

Read post in blog section...
Sep
4

Bible Study Struggles

By Paul David Tripp

I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it publicly: I’m not always excited about reading and studying the Bible.

I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. On my worst days, reading God’s Word feels burdensome to me, and my heart is motivated more by duty than worshipful joy.
When I hit these periods, there are 3 things I require myself to remember:

1. I Remember God’s Grace

One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is Isaiah 55. This chapter gives us visual picture after visual picture of God’s amazing grace, and because it does, it’s not surprising that the crescendo of this chapter is a visual picture of what the Bible is able to do in us and for us.

You’ll never find joy in Bible study until you understand that reading God’s Word is not first a call to duty, but an invitation to receive a wonderful gift. Your Bible is a gift of God’s grace that’s able to do what no other gift can do—change your heart and your life. Scripture really does have to power to turn thorn bushes into cypress trees!

2. I Remember Jesus

Reading God’s Word is much more than reading dusty, abstract theology, becoming familiar with ancient religious stories, or getting principles for daily living. You’ll never have joy in your Bible study unless you understand that it’s God’s invitation for you to commune with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 5, Jesus’ claims are questioned by people who are purported to be experts in Scripture. Christ says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

Open your Bible and what do you encounter? Not a thing, but a Person, and His name is Jesus. Reading and meditating on your Bible is God’s means of welcoming you into daily fellowship with your Brother, Friend, Savior and King—Jesus.

3. I Remember To Remember

I’m so prone to forget God, forget his grace, forget my identity as his child, forget that he supplies all that I need, forget his unstoppable sovereign plan, and forget his eternal kingdom. When I forget God, I tend to put myself in his position and make my life all about me: my will, my feeling, my plan, my wants, and my needs.

Putting myself in God’s position always leads to spiritual dissatisfaction because the world was not created to do my bidding. So I need to be reminded every day of God’s awesome glory, his gracious presence in my life, and my special identity as his child. His Word was given so that day after day I would remember.

So, tomorrow, when you don’t feel like opening your Bible, remember God’s grace, remember your friend and brother, Jesus, and remember how quickly you forget. Pick God’s Word up not with the burden of guilt or as a call to duty, but because it’s a gift given to you by a God of amazingly tender mercy and grace.

 


This post is part of our regular Think About It! series, where we bring you devotional thoughts from a range of authors.

Read post in blog section...
Mar
13

One Another

By Jeffrey Krantz

“One another” is two words in English, but it’s only one word in Greek: ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan). It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul.

When you look at these verses, a few more common themes show up.
Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.

  1. Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
  2. Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
  3. Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:16, 15:5)               
  4. Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
  5. Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Co 11:33)
  6. Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another (Ga 5:15)
  7. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
  8. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
  9. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
  10. Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
  11. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
  12. Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:11, 5:9)
  13. Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)

Love. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another.

  1. Love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 17; Ro 13:8; 1 Th 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jn 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 Jn 5)
  2. Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  3. Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
  4. Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pe 5:14)
  5. Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)

Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.

  1. Give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10)
  2. Regard one another as more important than yourselves(Php 2:3)
  3. Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  4. Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
  5. Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
  6. Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
  7. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)


Here’s the rest:

  1. Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in     a brother’s way (Ro 14:13)
  2. Greet one another with a kiss (Ro 16:16; 1 Co 16:20; 2 Co 13:12)
  3. Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical     intimacy (1 Co 7:5)
  4. Bear one another’s burdens (Ga 6:2)
  5. Speak truth to one another (Ep 4:25)
  6. Don’t lie to one another (Co 3:9)
  7. Comfort one another concerning the resurrection(1 Th 4:18)
  8. Encourage and build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
  9. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (He 10:24)
  10. Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
  11. Be hospitable to one another (1 Pe 4:9)

Of course, Jesus and the apostles give many more instructions to the church; these “one another” passages are a good start, though.

Also: make sure you read these in context! These commands come from Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and James, and they’re scattered across the New Testament. Don’t just stop at this list: dig into these passages to see what the author was talking about.

One more note on the kissing: check out the cultural settings of these verses before planting one on your pastor’s cheek next weekend!


This post is part of our regular Think About It! series, where we bring you devotional thoughts from a range of authors.

Read post in blog section...

Pages

Announcements

  • For those whose contact information has changed, please fill out the Information Update sheet (available on the front table) or respond to the Information Update email that will be sent out.

For Prayer

  • Debt reduction on new building.

Latest Sermons

Inline Image: