Providence Church Blog A gospel-centered church in Austin, Tx


Archive for the ‘sermons’ Category

God’s Purpose for Sabbath Rest

This past Sunday, Will preached on God’s intention and design for Sabbath rest by looking at the creation account in Genesis 2. He sought to answer three questions: 1) What is the purpose of Sabbath rest? 2) Why do we struggle to do it? And … 3) How do we redeem a rhythm of rest in our lives?

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Walking in the Light (part 2)

How does the gospel help us walk in the light? In 1 John 1, there are three things related to walking in the light: confession, honesty, and cleansing. I want to consider briefly how the gospel enables these three things.

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Walking in the Light (part 1)

The basis of any relationship is truth— the representation of things as they really are. I think this is John’s point about what it means to have fellowship with God and with one another (1 John 1:5-2:2). He begins with God: “God is light” … God is true, and what he reveals is true. He cannot lie. With him there are no shifting shadows. He operates entirely in the realm of truth.

To have fellowship with God means to live in the realm of truth. Not just in what we believe or say, but in our actual lives. Fellowship with God is not just knowledge about God, but also to share in his life, to have intimacy with him. I read someone who put it this way: “To walk in the light is to live in openness to Him who searches our hearts and endeavor to live in conformity to whatever He reveals to us.” God is calling us into the light, to share in His life. When we resist, when we ignore him and go our own way, we walk in darkness.

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God’s Purpose for Relationships (part 2)

God gives us relationships for our maturity. Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:1-3 is to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” It is not that we must create community. God has already secured that in Christ and called us into the “unity of the Spirit.” We must walk in that calling by “making every effort to maintain” that unity.

I tell my two boys how blessed they are that God put them in the same family. They get to live in the same house, share their things, go on vacations together … they could be the best of friends! I am usually giving this speech because they have been fighting. They compete, argue, bother each other, and all the things siblings tend to do. It’s not the reality of their unity that is broken. They are brothers, like it or not. Rather, it is how they walk in that unity that is broken. As parents, we address their issues because we love them and want to help them learn and grow. In the same way, God has brought us into His family, but we have to walk in it. When we struggle, he lovingly corrects and disciplines us so that we might learn and grow.

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God’s Purpose for Relationships (part 1)

God gives us relationships for our joy. This was the design in the beginning, and it is central to our redemption in Christ. Jesus reconciles us to God (Eph 4:1-10) and to one another (Eph 2:11-21).

When God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness (Gen 1:26),” he was saying something about community, because God himself lives in community. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have a wonderful interplay of love and affection, always creating and working together, deferring glory to each other, serving each other, affirming one another’s roles. Do you see the utter joy in the life of the Trinity? This is what God wants for us, that we might experience joy in community even as He does.

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Already But Not Yet

The land is a major theme in Deuteronomy. God had delivered Israel out of slavery. But he didn’t deliver them so they could just be wanderers and exiles. He was taking them to a place! He was taking them to the land of Canaan, which God had promised the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) that he would give to their descendants. The land was to be a place of abundance, flowing with milk and honey, with lush hills and valleys, and lots of produce. The land was to be a place of blessing and a place of rest. The land was to be a home for a people who had never had one.

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What Does the Lord Require of You?

Our lives are filled with expectations. It starts when we are born and never stops. Every parent expects and longs for their newborn son or daughter to begin walking and talking, which is funny, because in no time at all their expectations will completely change – they will long for nothing more than for their child to sit still and be quiet.

I became an uncle this year to two beautiful girls, and I am discovering that this is perhaps the greatest thing ever. As best I can tell, the expectations are that I will spoil my two nieces to no end, and at the end of the day, I give them back. All of the good without any of the bad. Those are expectations I am willing to live with, I can handle that.

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Contentment: “Do Not Covet”

Now that we have worked our way through the Ten Commandments, we see what Paul discovered in Romans 7, namely, that we are guilty: “For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.” His use of the Tenth Commandment here is instructive. The issue is not that we are doing bad and need to do better. This commandment is not about a behavior problem. It is about a worship problem.

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Honest to God

In the last post, I said that we live for the good of others by being generous. Continuing in that vein, the 9th commandment teaches that we live for the good of others by being honest.

Just as we are made to have and care for things, we are also made for relationships. We are created in the image of a Trinitarian community (Genesis 1:26). Jesus prayed that we would be one, just as he and the Father are one (John 17). Still further, much of the imagery for the church is communal in nature: body, family, flock, a people.

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Generous God

Younger siblings usually go through a phase when they feel like they have to protect their world from the older siblings. My youngest used to worry about a food shortage. Whenever his older brother would start to scoop corn onto his plate, he would start yelling, “He’s taking all the corn! He’s taking all the corn!” I would have to calm him down and assure him that there would be enough corn to go around. I would explain, “Hey, buddy, even if we run out of corn, there is a grocery store around the corner. Daddy has access to more corn.” He would store up food in his cheeks like a squirrel. We would find food in his room. It took a while for him to trust that I would take care of him, and not let his brother have all the corn.

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