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1 John 1:1-4

The Word of Life

[1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—[2] the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—[3] that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

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True Christianity – Sermon Series

In our society many groups call themselves “Christian.” Often these groups hold beliefs or practice in ways that looks nothing like biblical Christianity. Obviously, not everyone who bears the name Christian has experienced the forgiveness of sin that comes by grace through repentant faith. This begs the question: how do we test an individual’s or group’s profession of faith? Better yet, how do we know that our profession is genuine?

In I John, the apostle writes to believers and he wants his readers “to know that they have eternal life” (5:13). In this little epistle John provides three tests or marks of genuine Christianity. We demonstrate the sincerity of our profession by our obedience, love, and adherence to sound doctrine.

Pray with us that the Holy Spirit would produce in Northwest Bible Church people who demonstrate their new life in Christ by walking in mutual love, heart obedience, and sound doctrine.

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Psalm 103

Speaker: Aaron Browning

Psalm 103

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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Psalm 121

Speaker: Aaron Browning

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

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Trinity & Unity

The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to describe. And although the Trinity is difficult to describe and virtually impossible for our finite minds to fully comprehend, it is one of the essential building blocks of orthodoxy. So, while we may never fully understand it, we must believe it.

One of the clearest articulations of the doctrine of the Trinity is in the Athanasion Creed which has been used by churches since the sixth century, and it states:

…we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.

There is a line in the creed that we should catch: “Trinity in Unity.” We believe that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the three persons of the divine being. They are the one eternal God, coequal in glory and majesty, uncreated and coeternal. Inside this Trinity there is perfect unity. The Trinity is the perfect demonstration of perfect fellowship. From eternity past to eternity future the Godhead is infinitely satisfied with the fellowship He enjoys with Himself.

You see, God lacks nothing. God did not create man because he needed fellowship. He created man so that man could glorify God by entering into and enjoying the fellowship that God already enjoys. It is this fellowship that was lost at the fall of Adam. It is the loss of this fellowship that is the source of our alienation from and enmity with God. In reconciling us to God, this is the fellowship that Jesus restores. As a community of redeemed and reconciled saints, this is the fellowship that we have with one another.

So, come and enjoy the fellowship that we have together with the God who desires to have perfect fellowship with us. Come and rejoice in the redemption that has been accomplished as together we wait for the future reconciliation of all things. The doorway to this type of fellowship is the Gospel. Jared Wilson says it well,
The companionship of our God is cause for great exultation. He welcomes us into God-shaped community through the God-shaped [Trinitarian] gospel.[1]

Pastor Aaron

[1] Jared Wilson, Gospel Deeps, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 77.

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Psalm 91

Speaker: David Williams

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

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Sin, Pastors, & Grace

It has become commonplace in certain sectors of Christianity to deify the pastor. The pastor is placed on a pedestal above the members of the congregation. His decisions and actions are not questioned and any attempts at accountability are seen as an attack on his authority. This practice is unwise and reveals that these congregations significantly misunderstand the nature and effects of sin in every believer, including the pastor.

This Sunday, after the morning service we have the opportunity to affirm into leadership two men, Don Callander and Mike Peterson, that have been set forward to the congregation to serve as pastors. I am excited that God has graciously given NWBC gifted, godly, qualified men that we are able to serve with in the shepherding care of the flock. As we vote on these men, we need to be reminded that serving as a pastor does not nullify one’s struggle with sin. Our old sin nature, brought about by our ancestor Adam, is active in all of us. Puritan pastor Richard Baxter reminds of the struggle each pastor has with sin:

Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature, and sinful inclinations, as well as others….And, alas! how weak are those of use that seem strongest! How apt to stumble at a very straw! How small a matter will cast us down, by enticing us to folly; or kindling our passions and inordinate desires, by perverting our judgments, weakening our resolutions, cooling our zeal, and abating our diligence! Ministers are not only sons of Adam, but sinners against the grace of Christ….It is most necessary, therefore that men of such infirmity should take heed to themselves, and be careful in the oversight of their own souls. (p. 73-74, The Reformed Pastor).

We (pastors and members) share a common struggle with sin. We stand together in need of grace. We share the responsibility of growing together in our knowledge of the gospel.

Pastor Aaron

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