Ministry Of The Word On Sunday Mornings
Dear New Covenant Family,
Happy Fall! I’m a four-seasons guy, and I love every time of year living in the Midwest (except maybe the month of March, no offense intended to those of you who were born in that dreary month…). But I don’t think life in the Midwest gets any better than in October: pumpkin donuts, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pancakes, and, for variety’s sake, fresh apple pie. You can understand why I recently joined a fitness center…
As we launch into this new season, I am excited about how the Holy Spirit has been leading us to prepare for the ministry of the word on Sunday mornings. Your hunger for the word makes it a joy to preach to you week-by-week. And it’s an indication of God’s determination to do us good. The Lord promises rich blessings for those who receive his word with eagerness and reverence – promises like this one in Isaiah 66:1-2:
Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
May God dwell among us richly as we gather in his presence around his word with his people each Lord’s Day!
We are finishing our journey through Job on Sunday. After that, here is a preview of what we have planned going forward.
October 12 – November 23
Life Together: Cultivating Covenant Community
This series will be loosely built off our church covenant and will help us put-off the kinds of sins that destroy covenant community and put-on the kinds of virtues that create a gospel-shaped culture: self-pity & joy, jealousy & contentment, gluttony & giving, judgmentalism & acceptance, harshness & gentleness, grumbling & gratitude, bitterness & forgiveness.
November 30 – December 21 (Advent 2014)
The Incarnate Word | John 1:1-18
We will focus this Advent season on the glories of God the Son, the Eternal Word, becoming flesh and dwelling among us, full of grace and truth.
January 4, 2015 and beyond
Grace Reigns: God's Gospel for All Peoples in Genesis & Romans
We are eagerly preparing now to launch into an extensive, multi-year sermon series that will weave together two magisterial biblical books – Genesis & Romans – both of which are foundational to establishing a biblical worldview, yet each book does so in a significantly different literary genre. Genesis contains timeless narrative material, while Romans is characterized by the Apostle Paul’s most brilliant theological argument. We will marvel at the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in inspiring these Scriptures, whose time frame spans millennia, but whose themes interweave and complement one another.
We will go back and forth between these two books, looking at Creation and the Fall in Genesis 1-11, then seeing the same themes developed theologically in Romans 1-3. Then we will move into the life of Abraham in Genesis 12-25 and Romans 4; the brilliant and liberating truths of justification & sanctification expounded in Romans 5-8, and then illustrated in the lives of Isaac & Jacob; then God’s eternal election and the mission to the nations in Romans 9-11, followed by the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Finally, we will conclude with the beautiful vision of God’s covenant community that is unfolded in Romans 12-16.
Throughout this grand journey, we want to remember that God’s plan in the beginning was for his people to be fruitful and to multiply, to fill the earth and to subdue it (Gen. 1:28; see also Gen. 12:1-3). Our sin would’ve destroyed that purpose had God not promised to send a Redeemer, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom. 1:5). So both Genesis and Romans are intended to increase our confidence in the beauty and the power of the gospel, and to mobilize us for gospel mission to our neighbors and to the nations. Paul captures this breathtaking vision in contrasting the effects of Adam’s sin with the infinitely greater effects of Christ’s righteousness in Romans 5:18-21:
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prepare to be energized for gospel mission as you marvel at how grace reigns in these brilliant books of the Bible. One way to get ready for this series would be to incorporate Genesis & Romans into your daily Bible readings between now and the end of the year. God rewards repeated readings of his Word with fresh breakthroughs of wisdom, grace, and power to live the Christian life.
Grateful to be one of your shepherds,