Preparing for Worship // December 11, 2016

Preparing for Worship // December 11, 2016

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For much of my life, I believed that the primary way to grow in sanctification is by seeing more fully my sin and thinking about how bad I am. The idea is that, by looking at our sin, we will see more fully the depths of God’s grace. While there is a lot of truth to this, it is not the full picture. If we only ever think about our sin, we are still thinking about the things of the flesh, which Paul says leads to death (Romans 8:6). So, what does it mean to set our minds on the things of the Spirit?

This week we’re talking about how the Holy Spirit purifies us. This purifying begins when the Spirit washes us of our sin and gives us Christ’s righteousness. However, that is not the end of the process. The Spirit is continually washing us of our sin and enabling us to grow in righteousness. The Spirit also unites us to Christ and makes us sons of God. The problem with only thinking about our sin, even in the context of Christ’s redemptive work, is that it doesn’t give us the full picture of our redemption. God has done so much more for us than wiping away our sins. He has also given us the power to live righteously; He has also made us His children. If we think about our sins as a valley, then understanding how bad we are is extremely beneficial, because it gives us an understanding of how deep the pit was that Christ has pulled us out of. However, only when we understand what we have been saved to will we understand the great heights to which God has lifted us.

As a kid, whenever I would spend the night away from home, whether at a friend’s house or on a school/church trip, my dad would say to me, “Remember who you are.” It was his way of telling me to behave. As Christians, God calls us to “Remember who we are,” not just where we’ve come from but who God has made and is making us to be. This is because who we are is a child of God who has been given power from the Spirit to overcome sin. It is as we remember who we are in Christ, when we remember that the Holy Spirit has purified us with Christ’s righteousness, that we grow in holiness. My favorite stanza from any hymn comes from “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken,” and it illustrates wonderfully what it means to set our minds on things of the Spirit. “Soul, then know thy full salvation // Rise o’er sin and fear and care // Joy to find in every station, // Something still to do or bear. // Think what Spirit dwells withing thee, // Think what Father’s smiles are thine, // Think that Jesus died to win thee, // Child of heaven, canst thou repine.”

THE WORD

Scripture: Romans 8:5-13
Sermon: The Spirit of Holiness

SONGS

Come to Us Emmanuel (Ordinary Time)
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God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Traditional)
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While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks  (Andrew Peterson)
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O Holy Night  (Traditional)
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Holy Spirit (Bryan and Katie Torwalt)
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Song of Preparation: Come Holy Ghost (Cardiphonia)
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Song of Response: Breathe on Me Breath of God (Traditional)
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