What's Our Local Church About?
God glorified through:
- Expository Preaching
- Loving Church Family
- Discipleship & Mentoring
- Declaring the Gospel of Christ Locally & Globally
- Church of The Redeemer is a church in the Reformed Baptist tradition, dedicated to the sufficiency of God’s Word through its weekly exposition of Scripture. Our mission is to glorify God by equipping the saints through Scripture to serve the church and share the gospel in the world. We are members of Fire ( Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals) and have connections with several like minded churches in the United States as well as overseas.
The Never-Changing Guidelines for the Local Church
‘The Never-Changing Guidelines for the Local Church’ – Acts 1-5
1. The church is built upon the gospel and exists for the gospel (Acts 1.1-11).
The one foundation upon which the church is built is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3.10-11).
We’re united to Christ & to His church, and enlisted as ambassadors for Christ.
We’re stewards of the church’s mission given in 1.8.
We mustn’t attempt to lift the local church off its foundation, or not fulfill its mission.
Already we’ve found 4 evangelistic sermons: 2.14-39; 3.11-26; 4.8-22; 5.27-32.
2. The church’s mission is empowered by the Holy Spirit & prayer (Acts 1.8; 2.1-21, 33).
Only by the Word & Spirit is Christ’s church built and souls saved for eternity. That’s why corporate prayer is so vital in the early church and always (Acts 1.14; 2.1, 42; 4.24-31).
3. The church’s mission fulfills God’s plan & works out by God’s providence (Acts 1.12-2.41).
The fulfillment motif is throughout. We look to God’s Word to comprehend the past, and know that right now God’s at work to fulfill His plan, as we trust that God in His providence is with us and directing us moving forward into the future.
4. The church assembles to worship by the Word, which directs all we do – the what & the why (Acts 2.41-42, etc.).
Where you should expect to find those converted to Christ is in the local church, devoted to doing these particular things together. These 4 essentials define the early church.
Plus praising the Lord in song & music too – we gotta sing people (Ps 95.1-2).
5. The church cares for its members’ physical needs via sacrificial giving (Acts 2.44-45; 4.32-37).
We give back to God in worship in our tithes & offerings. The funds are collected & utilized to fulfill the gospel mission and to care for Christ’s sheep. See 1 John 3.16-18; Titus 3.14.
6. The church doesn’t exist to enhance your self-image – you can’t ‘play church’ with God
(Acts 5.1-11). This principle comes from the account of Ananias & Sapphira in Acts 5.1-11.
Opposition arises to the church not only from without but from within, in the word sin.
They looked like generous givers, but their real heart motivation was to serve themselves and enhance their self-image and reputation.
7. The church must obey God over government when standing in conflict (Acts 4.1-31; 5.17-42).
These governing officials demanded that they stop preaching the gospel and obey them over God. How did the Apostles respond? See Acts 4.19-20; 5.29.
Their aim & ours isn’t to disobey human government. But when human government commands us to do what God says not to do, or not to do what God commands to do – we must obey God over government.
In obeying God over men, we should be prepared to suffer for Christ too, and to persevere thru persecution (Heb 13.6).
8. The church should expect opposition & suffering when preaching the gospel,
yet God’s Word will succeed and people will be saved (Acts 2.41, 47; 4.4, 31; 5.11, 14, 42).
Human opposition can’t stop the power of God’s gospel. So we mustn’t hide inside a church building, knowing that only by repentance & faith in Christ will anyone be saved (Acts 3.19-20a).
In Acts so far & moving forward, the Word of God prevails.
Theology Rightly Applied: Ponder, Praise, Plead
“Theology Rightly Applied: Ponder, Praise, Plead” – Psalm 139
I. God's Intimate Knowledge of Me (1 covenant child) (Ps 139:1-6)
It’s intimate, relational, personal, and active knowledge about ‘me’ singular.
He knows everything about me – way better than I know me (Paul – 1 Cor 4.3-4).
Considering that God knows you like this, is it comforting or terrifying?
See Ps 7.9; 44.21; Jer 17.10. Only in Christ is it comforting – John 10.27-30.
II. God’s Unshakable Presence with Me (Ps 139:7-12)
Verse 7 – David asks, NOT where is God, but where can I go where God is not?
God’s presence is inescapable – no matter in which direction you go (Ps 24.1).
The inescapability, immensity, and intimacy of God’s presence ever with me.
Verses 11-12 – How about when it’s pitch black and a little spooky?
What should we do when we wonder where is God?
How is God’s presence supremely with us in the New Covenant Age? Mt 28.20; Jn 16.5-15.
III. God's Sovereign Power to Make Me & Me Meaningful (Psalm 139:13-18)
Verse 13 – “The Lord formed the individual as a spiritual and physical being.”
Verse 14 – In pondering it produces such praise & awe at God.
David exclaims that experientially in looking at myself, I know of Your great artistry.
Verse 16 – Before You formed me, You saw my end from the beginning. You planned the number of my days (Jer 1.5; Acts 13.36).
Verse 18 – Is it talking about waking up from sleep or from the sleep of death? Ps 17.15.
If our birth, life, and length of days are planned and written in the book of life, then what about the more important area of our spiritual birth & life? God planned it too.
See Rev 13.8; 17.8; Eph 1.11.
IV. The Outworking – Plea for God to Judge the Wicked & Guide Me (Ps 139:19-24)
Remember this isn’t abstract theology, but theology applied to real life, a hard-knocks life.
See this theme of dealing with the wicked in Psalm 140.
This section of the psalm is called a prayer of imprecation – calling down God’s judgment on the wicked. After pondering God’s beauty and the beauty of life, how does it lead to this plea?
He gives reasons as to why, which describes these wicked people. What are they? Ps 5.4-6.
Verses 23-24 – Since he knows that God knows him better than he knows himself, he asks God not just to deal with the wicked, but deal with me. Reveal where I truly am and lead me on your path, where I want to be with you.
Christ has a holy hatred for sin & wickedness because of His love for God’s righteousness (Heb 1.8-9; Ps 45.6-7; Jn 2.14-17; Mt 21.12-13). We united to Christ should as well.
But start with yourself, asking God to help you.
We don't want to go the way of the wicked, but the way of God, which is eternal. John 14.6.
In Christ we’re on the right road, but have yet to arrive. So keep pleading with God as here.
Only as I know God, and God enables me to know myself, will I rightly respond to God & others in life.
The Christian & Confession
“The Christian & Confession” – Psalm 32
Intro: The likely historical situation in David’s life – 2 Samuel 11-12.
Main Idea: Instruction to move from sin & sorrow to celebration via confession.
I. The Blessedness of Forgiveness – for sinner/saints (Psalm 32:1-2)
Here we have the beginning and end of his story, but he left out the middle of how to get from sin to forgiveness. He fills in the gaps in vv. 3-5.
II. The Sorrowful Situation of Sin & Silence (Psalm 32:3-4)
Consider the misery of walking in unconfessed sin like David did.
He provides 3 images to illustrate the pain he suffered. It’s not simply a spiritual problem, but expressed in physical symptoms. See Heb 4.13; 1 Cor 11.30; Jam 5.15-16.
III. The Realization of the Need for Confession for Absolution (Psalm 32:5)
Instead of keeping silent he acknowledged his sin to God. Instead of covering it up, he counseled himself to confess it. What God calls it, he calls it. He uses the same 3 words for sin in vv. 1-2.
How did it work out for David? God graciously forgave his sin, also He removed the guilt within. Verse 5 summarizes what’s amplified in vv. 1-2: forgives, covers, doesn’t impute it.
The Apostle Paul quotes Ps 32.1-2 in Rom 4.7-8. See 2 Cor 5.21.
Yet God only forgives those who confess their sin and “in whose spirit there is no deceit” (v. 2).
Why’s that important here?
Then in vv. 6-7 he moves to the next step.
IV. Restoration Leads to Instruction of Others & God’s Protection (Psalm 32:6-7)
This outcome happened to me, so listen up, so that you can experience it too. Being forgiven, I now run to Yahweh as my hiding place & protection. Let the godly pray to God and find it to be so – Isaiah 55.6-7. Even in extreme situations of peril.
V. Readiness to Heed the Divine Admonition for Joyful Celebration (Psalm 32:8-11)
David quotes Yahweh’s wise Word, which he received & now passes on. Along with divine protection, God promises divine direction/guidance. His eye is on you for good (33.18; 34.15).
Verse 9 – A lesson from nature as an admonition. Delight to walk the path of understanding, don’t be a fool or stubborn mule (Prov 12.15). It can go one of two ways.
Verse 10 – Many sorrows await the stubborn, the fool, the wicked.
The opposite portion awaits the one who trusts in Yahweh – His covenant love (hesed).
Verse 11 – The joyous end matches up with the blessed beginning (vv. 1-2).
Conclusion: There are many wrong ways to deal with your sin, but only one right way.
See 1 John 1.9-2.2.
Blessed by God, So Now Bless God – Part 2
“Blessed by God, So Now Bless God” – Psalm 103 (part 2 – Psalm 103:13-22)
Intro: The Praise Challenge.
I. The Best Thing We’re to Be About – Bless the Name of the LORD (Ps 103:1-2)
II. Bless Yahweh for His Salvation & Exaltation of You Personally (Ps 103:3-5)
#1 – He forgives all your iniquity (Ps 103:3a).
#2 – He heals all your diseases (Ps 103:3b).
#3-4 – He redeems your life from death & exalts you (Ps 103:4).
#5 – He satisfies you by clothing you with His goodness for renewal (Ps 103:5).
III. Bless Yahweh for His Loving Care of His Covenant Children (Ps 103:6-19)
#1 – Yahweh righteously recompenses (Ps 103:6).
#2 – Yahweh reveals His ways & Himself in His Word (Ps 103:7-9).
#3 – Yahweh graciously forgives (Ps 103:10-12).
#4 – Yahweh, our eternal Father, compassionately cares for His frail children (Ps 103:13-18).
God not only acts like a Father, He is the eternal Father of the eternal Son. When united to Christ by faith, thru the Holy Spirit, we become the adopted children of God (Rom 8.16-17).
Verse 14 – He remembers/calls to mind that we are but dust (Gen 3.19).
Verses 15-18 – A stark contrast between our human frailty as covenant children and the Father’s eternal covenant love.
Verse 17 – Bless God that thankfully as we are, our Father’s covenant love is not.
It’s emphasized that He’s the Father only of those in a covenant relationship with Him, who respond to His gracious love with praise & faith, fear & obedience (Ps 103:13, 17-18; 1 Jn 5.3).
#5 – Yahweh, our King, sovereignly reigns over all (Ps 103:19).
He’s more than able to keep His promises to His people for both now & forever, because of WHO He is – Yahweh God; because of WHERE He sits – on His throne fixed in the heavens; and because of over WHAT He rules – everything. See Ps 145.13; Ps 11.4; Ps 96.10; Ps 99.1.
Despite the chaos & confusion happening now on earth, that’s not how it is in heaven.
What’s the only rightful response to what we’ve heard recounted in list form?
In vv. 20-22, he closes with a 4-fold call to bless Yahweh.
IV. Bless Yahweh – Everyone & Everything Everywhere (Ps 103:20-22)
Here David’s personal praise chorus on earth must be joined by praise in heaven.
Verse 20 – The obedient angels.
Verse 21 – Either the heavenly host of angelic armies or the stellar bodies.
Verse 22a – All God’s works/deeds, in all His creation.
Verse 22b – Last but not least, David commands himself to bless Yahweh again.
Remembering & recounting God’s covenant blessings, grows our delight to return back praise to Him, and for others to join in (Ps 72.19; Ps 96.1-5; Ps 67.5).
Conclusion: Lyrics from the hymn “The Love of God Is Greater Far.”
Blessed by God, So Now Bless God - Part 1
“Blessed by God, So Now Bless God” – Psalm 103 (part 1 – vv. 1-12)
I. The Best Thing We’re to Be About – Bless the Name of the LORD (Psalm 103:1-2)
David starts off by commanding himself.
Verse 2 – David reveals a natural tendency we all have – to forget.
Note that these benefits aren’t enjoyed by all mankind, but by God’s covenant
II. Bless Yahweh for His Salvation & Exaltation of You Personally (Psalm 103:3-5)
In vv. 3-5, David uses “you” singular.
#1 – He forgives all your iniquity (Psalm 103:3a). How do we receive God’s forgiveness?
See Heb 9.22, 26; 10.12-14. Praise God for the word “all” here (Ps 32.1-2).
With all our sin forgiven in Christ, then sin’s effects in sickness are vanquished too.
#2 – He heals all your diseases/sicknesses (Psalm 103:3b; Isa 53.5).
God’s our Great Physician now mostly spiritually, yet in the future totally (Rev 21.4).
#3-4 – He redeems your life from death & exalts you (Psalm 103:4).
Yahweh doesn’t just take you out of the pit, He also lifts you up to sit with Christ (Eph 2.4-6).
Yahweh crowns you with His covenant love, hesed, and mercy.
#5 – He satisfies you by clothing you with His goodness for renewal
As Yahweh’s covenant child He clothes you with all His blessings & seeks your
See Ps 23.6; Jer 32.40. This leads to our renewal like that of an eagle (Isa 40.31).
In v. 6, he moves to recount Yahweh’s benefits to the whole covenant community.
III. Bless Yahweh for His Loving Care of His Covenant Children (Psalm 103:6-19)
#1 – Yahweh righteously recompenses (Psalm 103:6)
Those oppressed have an advocate in heaven (Ps 33.5). He protects & punishes now to varying degrees, but at Christ’s return none will escape His justice (Rev 6.10).
#2 – Yahweh reveals His ways & Himself to us in His Word (Psalm 103: 7-9).
Verse 8 – Quotes from Exodus 34.6. Why does God reveal Himself to us? Verse 9 – See Isa 54.8.
#3 – Yahweh graciously forgives (Psalm 103:10-12; v. 3).
Only because Yahweh graciously forgives our sins, thru the perfect & final sacrifice of Jesus, are we His people & remain such (Ps 130.3).
Verse 12 – Our sin is gone forever. Never to enter into heaven’s court, so that no charge will ever stand against God’s elect in Christ (Jer 31.34; Jn 19.30; Col 2.14; Rom 5.20; 6.23).
Conclusion: A challenge for you.
‘A Cry of Hope in a Desert of Despair’ – Psalms 42-43
‘A Cry of Hope in a Desert of Despair’ – Psalms 42-43
I. The Situation
A. Separation from God’s presence: Verse 2 – When?
B. Oppression from pagan men: See verses 3, 9b-10; 43.1.
C. Inner consternation: Where he wants to be, is where he’s not. He feels abandoned by God, yet he still turns to God in prayer. This man of the righteous remnant shows us how to respond.
II. The Prescription
1. Keep seeking God alone for satisfaction (Ps 42.1-3).
The Psalmist knows Who he’s missing, and Who he needs & wants (Ps 63.1). He won’t be satisfied with anyone else or anything less. Don’t turn to broken cisterns (Jer 2.13).
How does this apply to us the NT people of God? See John 17.3; 4.13-14; Col 3.1-3.
2. Remember past seasons of joyful corporate worship & bounty in God’s presence (Ps 42.4, 6).
He’s removed, but he remembers, and it helps to soothe his soul.
The height of his worship experience isn’t at home alone, but with the assembled people of God.
How does this connect with us now, physically separated from the local church? Heb 10.24-25.
3. Question God from faith, when you feel forgotten by God (Ps 42.2, 5, 11 & Ps 43.5; v. Ps 42.9; 43.2).
He questions from faith, because he’s praying to God. Although he feels forsaken by God, he hasn’t forgotten who his God is. Consider his many descriptions of God.
“A loss of the present sense of God’s love is not a loss of that love itself” (Spurgeon, 175).
See Rom 8.35-39.
4. Stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself (Ps 42.5, 11, Ps 43.5).
(This point #4 is taken from a statement by Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones.)
He commands himself in the refrain, “hope” or “wait” in God to act for you.
Preach the gospel to yourself (Rom 7.25; 8.31-32).
In Christ, I know that any suffering isn’t for my destruction, but for my sanctification.
In hope we wait for God to act again. We anticipate the fulfillment of His promises.
See Hebrews 6.19-20.
5. Plead for God to enact His promises for deliverance & to lead you home to Him (Ps 43.1-3).
In moving from Ps 42 to Ps 43, we move from the contemplative side of things – what he must do, to the command side of things – what he calls God to do (Ps 124).
What’s he mean by send out your light & your truth?
Ultimately, the Psalmist doesn’t want to return merely to a place, but to a person, to enjoy God.
III. The Resolution (Ps 43.4-5)
God’s redemption results in great rejoicing in His presence (Ps 27.4; 30.5).
Here the Psalmist ends his lament with confidence in a future homecoming.
Even though his physical situation hasn’t changed, what has changed?
This happens sort of right now, similar to Judah’s return after the Babylonian Captivity.
But our heart’s longing won’t be fully satisfied until Christ’s 2nd Coming (Jn 17.24).
Defying Expectations at the King’s Burial & Resurrection
‘Defying Expectations at the King’s Burial & Resurrection’ – Mark 15.40-16.8
Intro: 1 Pet 2.18 & Rom 5.6-9.
I. The Unexpected Choice of Women Witnesses (Mark 15.40-41, 47; Mark 16.1)
Who are these women? Mary Magdalene – Lk 8.2; Jn 19.25-27.
That they’re still there, what’s it say about them?
Why are they important to the story?
What’s so unexpected about God’s choice to first use women witnesses?
What’s it say about God’s use of you? See 1 Cor 1.27-29, 31.
II. The Unexpected Man Connected to Christ’s Burial that Confirms His Death ( Mark 15.42-47)
Verse 42 – Time is of the essence (Dt 21.22-23; Ex 12.6).
Why is Joseph such an unexpected & unlikely man to act for Jesus?
Also consider Lk 23.50-51; Mt 27.57; Nicodemus too – Jn 19.38-42.
Joseph’s bold request is risky business. Why?
Verses 44-45 – What’s emphasized is that Jesus is in fact dead.
Verse 46 – They honor Jesus in preparing His body for burial (Jn 19.40-42; Jn 11.44).
What’s so special about Jesus’ tomb? It’s His alone & fulfills Isaiah 53.9.
How does Joseph’s identification with the condemned corpse of Jesus apply to us?
See Mark 8.34-38 & Rom 8.16-17.
How wonderful that Jesus also came to save sinners who are rich rulers.
III. The Unexpected Empty Tomb that Confirms the Resurrection (Mark 16.1-8)
Is this a noble deed of great devotion or maybe not?
Jesus predictions – Mark 8.31; 9.31; 10.33-34. Jesus’ earlier anointing – Mark 14.3-9.
Verse 4 – Mt 28.2-3 – an earthquake, provoked by an angel, rolled away
Verse 5 – A surprise guest greets them, an angel in human form (Mt 28.2-5).
Of course, they’re alarmed, terrified, frightened, etc.
Verse 6 – The angel knows why they’re there, and tells them why
Jesus isn’t (Jn 20.6-7 – grave clothes).
Consider the situation from the women’s perspective. You need an explanation by divine revelation to interpret the event, which matches up to previous prophecy – Ps 16; 22; Isa 53 & Jesus’ earlier Word (Mark 16.7; Mark 14.28).
What’s the most reasonable explanation for the missing body?
Verse 7 – Why is Peter singled out? See Mark 14.66-72.
Verse 8 – What a shocking set of emotions for the first human witnesses.
Yet isn’t this the response that you should expect in this situation?
I believe Mark originally ended at v. 8. How is it perfectly fine for Mark to end with v. 8?
By Mark leaving us unsettled in the end, what’s he directing us to do?
Conclusion: How transformative is Christ’s resurrection for us believers.
God defies our expectations with the events surrounding the King’s burial &
What’s the word for those who don’t yet believe in the Lord Jesus? Romans 10.9.