LAMENTATIONS: NOT FORSAKEN

Sunday we will begin a new series in the book of Lamentations with the theme, “Not Forsaken.” The author, Jeremiah, laments the fall of the Southern nation of Israel, Judah, and particularly the destruction of Jerusalem. The five poems express the loss experienced by the people of God for their sin and declares that God is just in his discipline of the nation. It also examines that discipline, questioning if it was excessive.
 
It explores the question of whether God has forsaken his people. God’s chastening often feels like rejection, but Jeremiah affirms that God is merciful and faithful. As we approach our Easter celebration, we are reminded that Jesus was forsaken so that we could be received, adopted into God’s family. The resurrection gives us assurance that God is merciful and faithful, that he never forsakes his children!
 
So, join us Sunday and hear consolation from God to his children.

Tim Locke
Faith Working Through Love: Redeemed

Sunday we considered Paul’s argument that we are united in Christ regardless of our social standing, by faith alone, in Christ alone, through grace alone. Paul ends that paragraph that we are “heirs according to promise.” He’s going to build on this in the next section, which we’ll consider.

His argument is that everyone is enslaved to what he calls the “elementary principles of the world.” Here he seems to refer to the law, particularly the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and the ceremonial laws of other religions. He clarifies in verse 10 saying, “You observe days and months and seasons and years.” He goes further in Colossians when he says, “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” (Col. 2:16)

Under Christ, the ceremonial regulations are cast off. This is freedom that propels the gospel and the church in every culture around the world. So, come Sunday and consider what it means to be free in Christ.

Tim Locke
Faith Working Through Love: One In Christ

Sunday we will consider a powerful verse in Paul’s argument, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul is coming down strong on those who would withdraw from their Gentile brothers and sisters. He argues that all who believe are sons (daughters) of God, qualified to receive the inheritance of Abraham’s great descendant, Jesus. Now he draws the conclusion, we are all one in Christ Jesus. 
 
The context is critical for us to understand and apply this text. Paul has argued our unity under the law of God with every soul imprisoned under its judgment and curse. He has argued our unity as Abraham's children, because of our common faith in Christ. Now he draws the net, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 
 
Does this verse teach equality and remove distinction? Is this verse limited or broad in its application? Can we miss the beautiful unity of the church around her Lord? Well, come Sunday and we’ll consider these questions.

Tim Locke
Faith Working Through Love: Sonship

As we move back into Galatians this Sunday, we pick up on Paul’s statement, “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (Galatians 3:25). That supervision refers to the role of the law to hold us in a sinners' prison. But the law can no longer hold us because through faith, we’ve been justified, declared righteous by God. The promises of God’s covenant are ours in Christ.
 
Freedom from the law’s condemnation isn’t the end that God has in mind. He wants more for you! Paul highlights this in his climactic statement, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (3:26) We are children of God, because we are united with God’s one and only Son, Jesus.
 
So, come Sunday and consider your new status in Christ!

~Pastor Tim

Tim Locke
Life in the Most Holy Place

Last week, we began looking at Jesus in Hebrews 10:1-18. The writer of Hebrews hits a major turning point in the letter at Hebrews 10:19. The theological arguments for the superiority of Jesus Christ have been completed. Beginning in verse 19 and going through chapter 12, the writer begins a series of exhortations based on these previously explored truths. Since Christ has done it all as the High Priest presenting himself as the perfect sacrifice as the God-man, and he has given us life, then live out your life on these truths. Let us join together this Sunday for the worship of our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has perfected us (total forgiveness) and opened the most holy place for us to commune with God.

Paul Owens
Christ's Sacrifice Once for All

The final exhortation from Pastor Tim's sermon last week directed us to look to Christ. This Sunday we will be looking at Jesus. Our text will be Hebrews 10:1-18 with the focus being on Christ who by a single offering, has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (v.14). This verse summarizes the biblical doctrine of salvation applied to those who are the called in Christ Jesus. His sacrifice (atonement) alone is recognized and accepted by God as the payment for our sin and the purification of our sin, whereby we are holy unto the Lord. What an awesome Savior!

See you Sunday as we worship our Lord and King,

Pastor Paul

Paul Owens
Faith Working Through Love: Evangelized by the Law

This week we’ll consider the law’s function as the warden of a prison. It’s an interesting illustration that begins in the previous verse, where Paul says that the whole world, “is a prisoner of sin.” Paul seems to mean that the law of God accurately accuses us all of sin and holds us in that state until we believe in Christ. The law refuses to exempt or parole law-breakers for good behavior.

 While the law holds us as guilty criminals, its purpose is not for us to feel condemned but to evangelize us by leading us to Christ. Paul says the law was put in charge for the purpose of leading us to Jesus. Wow, that’s a different perspective on the law.

The law leads us to Christ, because in him we can be released from the prison of sin! Through faith we are justified, no longer sinners, released from jail, not because of our good behavior, but because we’ve been declared righteous in Jesus.

So, come Sunday and hear the gospel of grace!

~Pastor Tim

Tim Locke
Faith Working Through Love: Why the Law?

Sunday we will continue to answer the questions, “If the law can’t give us life and it doesn’t alter or annul the covenant of grace, why did God deliver it? And how do I relate to it as a believer?” First, Paul establishes that the law comes after God’s covenant with Abraham and can’t alter it.

Second, as we’ll discover this week, Paul anticipates the question his audience is asking, “Why then the law?” (Gal.3:19) He says the law was, “added because of transgressions.” It was the pervasive sin of God’s people needed to be restrained and exposed by the law. The law of God is still useful in our lives for these purposes, as Paul says in Romans 7:7, “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.”

It’s our sin that makes the law necessary, but it’s our sin that makes the law powerless to save us. Praise God for his promised grace, received by faith alone.

So, join us Sunday to worship our Redeemer.

~Pastor Tim

Tim Locke
Faith Working Through Love: Covenant of Promise

Jesus took our judgment and shame so that we could be righteous before God and receive the living, life-giving Spirit. He hung exposed on a tree, testifying to the judgment of God upon him, instead of you and me. Praise the Lord! 

But how does the law play into the story? How do we relate to the law? Does the law change the promises God made? Does our obedience to God’s law effect our relationship with God? Did the law amend the covenant of grace so that promises are based on works? 

For the rest of chapter three, Paul will address these questions with important implications for our daily life!

So, come Sunday, and prepare to praise the Lord.

~Pastor Tim

Tim Locke
FAITH WORKING THROUGH LOVE: REDEEMED

Sunday we considered the first of two arguments Paul makes about how we come into God’s favor and receive the Holy Spirit. The first addresses how God dealt with Abraham, the great ancestor of the Jewish people. Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God. The sign of God’s covenant (circumcision) came after Abraham’s conversion. This established the principle of salvation by faith which God established and through it included the Gentiles.

 This week, Paul goes after the law the people of God received through Moses. They built their lives around their reception of and adherence to the law of God. An interaction with the religious leaders says it all. They were debating who people thought Jesus was and one of them said, “But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (John 7:49) While they thought not knowing the law brought judgment, Paul says, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse.” (Gal. 3:10)

 Paul masterfully undercuts their pride and self-righteousness as caretakers of the law of God. But he doesn’t stop there; he points them to Jesus, who redeemed them from God’s curse by becoming a curse for them. This is the gospel! Christ did this for you! Come Sunday ready to worship!

 ~Pastor Tim

Tim Locke