The word “advent,” means “coming” or “arrival.”
The Advent Season is focused on the Coming of Jesus as Messiah. Advent, though never commanded in Scripture is a reminder of the reason why we celebrate through gift giving. It’s only because God gave us Jesus that we seek to imitate God by being generous at all times (not just during the winter months).
As Protestant Evangelicals we have no biblical belief or framework for the term Christ’s Mass or Christmas as it’s known. Instead we leverage the excitement and anticipation of a largely superficial holiday to point people to the Coming of Jesus into the world; and share The Message of His saving grace to all who would seek His forgiveness. Advent is a form or a tool that we seek to use to remind ourselves of The Greatest Gift mankind has ever received. In the same way that wedding bands signify the depth of a covenant union between a husband and wife; so too does Advent point to something far more meaningful and eternal than simply lighting candles on a Sunday morning.
What makes a Missional Community M/C different than other small groups is that we emphasize outreach as well as prayer, the studying of Scripture and fellowship. Church is God’s Community and we are called to be on Mission in all that we do, please join us as God’s Community on Mission.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
At Grace & Truth Community Church we adhere to the classic Protestant Reformed doctrine that Scripture Alone is The Church’s and the Christian’s highest authority. With that as our one of our core beliefs about The Bible, then it makes sense that we should practice a form of preaching that highlights God’s primary revelation of Himself to us.
According to the Oxford dictionary the word “expository” means “intended to explain or to describe something.” I first experienced expository preaching in seminary; it was like no other preaching I’d ever heard. The thing that strikes me (to this day) is the sheer simplicity of it.; meaning that expository preaching at its most basic is organic and easy to understand. A theologian of the 20th century was asked “what is the sum of all of your doctrinal beliefs;” and he responded by saying, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Expository preaching is to be that simple, in its delivery and in its directing of the listener. Expository preaching seeks to explain the main point of the portion of the Scripture chosen.
In contrast to expository preaching, the most often used “style” of preaching is topical preaching. The topical approach is where the sermon is built with a “topic” in mind, and then the preacher sets out to build a sermon based on what they want to say. As a result, verses are chosen from all over Scripture and added to the sermon; disconnected and out of context; the verses are made to fit the topic chosen by the preacher. Whereas with expository preaching, the Biblical Text drives the entire point of the sermon.
In short, expository preaching seeks to expose what The Bible has to say. Therefore, the philosophy behind expository preaching is the belief that what people need the most is to hear the very Words of God spoken and explained to them. Not advice on how to stop bad habits, nor six steps to a happier marriage (though expository preaching may address those very subjects in context within The Bible). As a matter of first importance, what saints and sinners alike need most is to hear, understand and be transformed by God’s Word.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
Pastor Kevin Vance
“Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
“He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
It says that Christ is able to save to the uttermost — forever — since he always lives to make intercession for us. In other words, he would not be able to save us forever if he did not go on interceding for us forever.
This means our salvation is as secure as Christ’s priesthood is indestructible. This is why we needed a priest so much greater than any human. Christ’s deity secures his indestructible priesthood for us.
This means we should not talk about our salvation in static terms the way we often do — as if I did something once in an act of decision, and Christ did something once when he died and rose again, and that’s all there is to it. That’s not all there is to it.
This very day I am being saved by the eternal intercession of Jesus in heaven. Jesus is praying for us and that is our salvation.
We are saved eternally by the eternal prayers (Romans 8:34) and advocacy (1 John 2:1) of Jesus in heaven as our high priest. He prays for us and his prayers are answered because he prays perfectly on the basis of his perfect sacrifice.
From “Jesus: From Melchizedek to Eternal Savior”
This Sunday we’ll be celebrating the “joy” Jesus tells us about in John 15:4-11. Jesus gives His first disciples then and us now the imperative to abide. We are to remain in and with Jesus; which entails abiding with Jesus’ Word, and by abiding in obedience to His commandments and by remaining in His love. All of which serve to give evidence that we are indeed remaining or abiding in Christ Himself.
As a result we are promised fruitful prayer (if we’re living in line with Jesus our prayers will be too) as well as ultimately the very “peace” of Christ will be ours; as a result of our abiding love and obedience to Christ.
Grace, Peace, and Joy to you this Advent season.
This Sunday we will be in Psalm 51:1-10; as we focus on thankfulness leading to Thanksgiving. Verse 1 and verse 10 act as the book ends for this segment. David’s desire is; “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.” The verses in between mostly consist of David’s confession of his sins and his desperate need to be forgiven. Verse 10 echoes verse 1; “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
The thankfulness or gratitude in this segment and the entire chapter; stems from the fact that we are blessed by God to understand that we need God’s forgiveness; and that He grants forgiveness to all who desire a “clean heart” that can only be given to us by the Triune God.
Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
This is encouraging on multiple levels. For one, The Psalmist understood the importance of needing to be patient. Which means we’re not alone throughout the history of salvation. We’re not alone; many brothers and sisters have wrestled with God long before we were ever born.
The Powerful Root of Practical Love
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. (1 John 3:14)
The Bible sometimes makes love the condition of the ongoing and final experience of future grace. It does not mean that love must precede faith in the promise. On the contrary, it means that faith in the promise must be so real that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.
Thus love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love for others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary condition of faith.
Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. This spiritual apprehension and delight in God is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on the promise as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in turn confirms that our faith is real.
The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck apprehension of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock power to make a liberating difference in life. That is what I want too. Which is why I am a Christian.
There is a great God of grace who magnifies his own infinite self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. And there is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook and cranny of life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.”
Excerpt from “Future Grace”, John Piper pages 257-259
Listen in… “Gain and Loss” – 6/05/16
Philippians 3:4-11. Paul continues to rebuke the Judizers who try to add works of the law to faith in Jesus. Verses 7-8 are the key verses is this segment:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” The word “rubbish” is too soft of a word; it’s better translated as “refuse” or “dung.”
Essentially Paul says, I used to be the king of justification by works of the law; and then I met Jesus and I realized that everything else I’d worked so hard to achieve was worthless compared to knowing Jesus. Not just knowing about Him, but truly knowing Him.
Listen to the sermon here.