Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…We Worship in Spirit and in Truth

A new month means a new sermon series at Covenant Church. This month Pastor Travis Davenport will be teaching on the Core Five-the five major principles that set our church apart from others. This sermon series is geared at helping the church to realign its focus with the mission. I’m really excited to jump back into studying the fundamentals of our body and I look forward to sharing those with you today.

Before I jump into the study I wanted to introduce the Covenant Life Magazine which was released today. I’ve been anticipating this day for a few weeks as I contributed toward the magazine for the first time ever. I had the privilege of writing the life change cover story about one of my FCA leaders and other students. That project was a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the church writing team on future publications.

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We Worship In Spirit and In Truth

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Prior to the resurrection of Christ, worship was a requirement. In order to get to God you had to keep the law and in order to be obedient to the law you had to worship God. It wasn’t until the law was annulled (through the death of Jesus) that worship was viewed as a privilege. Part of the free will that was granted to us by a loving God gave us the choice to worship God and in whatever way we chose to do so. During his time on Earth, however, Jesus gave clear instructions about how we were to worship once we were given the freedom to do so in more ways than one.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman whom he met at the well that true worshipers are those who worship in Spirit and in Truth. Where at one point it was only possible to worship in truth Jesus was foreshadowing what was to come when he mentioned the worship in spirit part of the equation. The Spirit would not enter the scene, however, until the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2.

There Has to Be a Balance-

The problem with only worshiping in truth is that truth without spirit will always produce religion. Our faith should be based on our relationship with Christ and not on religion. Religion always requires something of us and says, “Go and do…,” while Jesus requires only his own blood and says, “It is already done.” Religion keeps us from a relationship with Christ. The Spirit is imperative to balance the equation of worship.

The problem with only worshiping in spirit is that it requires an exclusively emotional response which is the root of chaos. We see this illustrated in 1 Kings 18:26-30 when the prophet Elijah speaks to the Israelites on Mt. Carmel. Elijah has the knowledge about God that allows him to see that the Israelites are worshiping a false god. The Israelites call on their God by shouting, slashing themselves, and pouring out their own blood. And Baal never comes to their aid. This is the epitome of chaos.

Following Christ is about a balance between worshiping in Spirit and Truth.

There should be value placed in the knowledge of God’s Word. We should study it in order to know Him and to grow in our own faith. Worshiping in truth is a more intellect-driven worship which seeks to know God by learning from His Word.

We should also recognize that knowledge alone of God will not build that relationship. We must interact with God on a regular basis on a personal level. Worship in Spirit is an emotion-driven worship which seeks to acknowledge what God has done or is doing and responding to Him appropriately.

We are called to find that balance…

To build that relationship…

And to Grow in our knowledge of God.

The Ameri Brit Mom 

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Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Benefits of Being Justified

One thing I love about my home church is that each month Pastor Travis focuses on a new idea. The monthly move from one concept to another keeps things fresh and allows us to really focus on an idea over a short period of time. Today was the first Sunday of March so he began his sermon series, Friends With Benefits. It was so nice to be united with my church family as the past several weeks we have been traveling with Sam’s basketball ministry. February and March are his busy season as a majority of his bookings come from Upward and other basketball awards nights. Anyway, here are some notes from today’s service.

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Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Throughout the entirety of today’s message we unpacked the verses above. In the beginning of the dissection of this passage we looked at justification. Verse one of Romans 5 explains that we have been justified by our faith. That is a theme in Romans as a whole. The entire book discusses the fact that we are saved by our faith and not by our actions. In fact, I even wrote about that in my blog post, Sola Fide.

So what is justification? Justification is the action of God declaring us righteous in His eyes. It’s the point where God no longer sees our sin and our mistakes, but rather the blood of Christ when He looks at us. Justification is an action which results from a decision to follow Christ.

And once we are justified we obtain benefits from that justification which are outlined in the remainder of the passage above.

Benefits of Justification:

  1. Peace with God-(Romans 5:1)
  • Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • The peace of God mentioned in Philippians 4:7 is a subjective peace. It’s a peace tied to emotions and the way that you feel. Although this is a promise of God it is not the kind of peace that Paul is talking about in Romans.
  • Peace with God is an objective peace.
  • Peace with God is the end of all hostility between God and yourself. It is not attached to emotion, but rather it becomes truth once you are justified.
  • A benefit to being justified is that in that moment, the war between us and God ends and we are made righteous. God wipes the slate and you are new.

2. There is access to grace in which we now stand- (Romans 5:2)

  • The access discussed here in this verse is referring to our favorable position with God because of Christ.
  • We are no longer separated by God once we are justified.
  • In many religions they believe that we do not have access to God on our own. Those religions preach the idea of a man (or image) who must come between us and God.
  • But scripture says here that there is no need for a man to approach God on our behalf. We have 24/7 access to God through prayer once we are justified.
  • This is made possible because Jesus became our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). When he died the veil separating us from God was torn (Matthew 27:51).

3. The hope of the glory of God- (Romans 5:2)

  • The Greek word for hope used here in this passage does not have a strong equivalent in the English language. We use the word hope as a conditional term when this verse is conveying a conviction or certainty.
  • Our hope-filled certainty is heaven.
  • In our moment of justification we are granted the promise of heaven and an eternity with God.

In closing, these three benefits of justification are available to all who have accepted Christ. And poetically, these three benefits illustrate our walk with Christ:

  1. Peace=Past
  2. Grace=Present
  3. Hope=Future

If you aren’t quite to the point of justification in your own life know that your story isn’t over yet. The simple act of accepting a God who loves you and gifts you with peace, grace, and hope is the beginning to a wonderful journey.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Hearing God’s Voice

Today the sermon at Covenant Church in Grove City was the the first in The Anatomy of Faith series. During the month of February Pastor Travis will be focusing on Romans 4. Today the sermon was more of a fly-by of Romans 4 as we learned about hearing God’s voice. Throughout the rest of the month we will take a more in depth approach to the chapter.

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The Anatomy of Faith: Hearing God’s Voice

Focus Scripture: Romans 10:17

 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Faith is the linchpin of our relationship with God. A linchpin is an essential part of a wheel which not only holds the pieces together, but also allows the wheel to perform its function without falling apart. Although our faith is important in our relationship with God it does not define who God is. Our faith (or lack of faith) will never change God’s position. God is God regardless of our faith. However, our faith defines our personal relationship with God.

Here’s a personal question: When was the last time you heard God’s voice?

Faith begins when we hear God’s voice so how can we hear His mostly inaudible voice? As stated in the focus scripture above we hear God’s voice through the Word about Christ. That Word is scripture. Likewise, we cannot have faith if we don’t hear from God’s Word. Faith is not based on us coming to God with a list of demands. A relationship with God requires two-way communication. Of course we can bring our lives before God in prayer, but we must also wait on his response and seek it through reading scriptures.

Faith grows as we become more obedient to God’s voice. Not only should we be in communication with God through scriptures, but we should live those scriptures out in our lives. We begin our faith by hearing from God through scripture, but that faith will not grow if we don’t put the scriptures into action. Our faith is only ever a reaction to God’s faithfulness in our lives.

A great illustration of faith comes from the story of Abraham and Isaac. In this story found in Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. In a great act of faith Abraham proved his loyalty to God by preparing to sacrifice the son he had prayed for and whom he loved so much. In Genesis 22:1-2, as God calls Abraham to make this great sacrifice he speaks to him and asks him to, “take your only son, Isaac, whom you love.” With this statement God shows that he knew exactly what he was asking Abraham to do. He knew that Abraham loved his son very much and yet he called him to bring his son to the altar. Just before he was to put his son to death God sent a scapegoat in the form of a ram and spared Isaac. This testing of faith proved that Abraham was willing to be obedient even in something as huge as sacrificing his son.

In closing, we should remember to keep faith as the linchpin of our relationship with God. We know that God loves us, is faithful, and is good. Let our faith be the piece that brings all of these truths to light for each of us. May our faith increase through our obedience to scripture, and may the truths that we find in the Word of God illuminate his character.

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