Hope in Assurance

Worship Service for August 2, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and hopefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Since we changed our worship time to 9:30 am, I will remain after worship until 12 noon for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box that is located in the lobby.

If you prefer to send your offering in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Today, as always on the first Sunday of the month, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion together. I want to assure all of us that you do not have to be a member of CrossPointe to do so. Everyone in Christ is welcome. So, if you’d like to participate, if you haven’t already, I would advise you to pause this video and prepare your communion elements so that you are ready when after today’s message we will partake of the sacrament.

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

CALL TO WORSHIP

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

HYMNS OF PRAISE

Amazing Grace

Newton, John/Excell, Edwin/Rees, John P.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Breathe

Barnett, Marie

This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your holy presence, living in me.
This is my daily bread,
This is my daily bread,
Your very Word, spoken to me.
And I, I’m desp’rate for You.
And I, I’m lost without You.
I’m lost without You.
I’m lost without You.

©1995 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing (admin. by Music Services)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, we bring honor to Your name for the wonderful grace that You have lavished upon us in Jesus, Your Son. We pray, that as a result of this worship experience, in which we will once again have the opportunity to Commune with You, that our hearts and minds will be filled with the assurance of Your unfailing love for us through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
(II Corinthians 9:7).

PRAYER SONG

Hear My Prayer

Owens, Debbie

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
From the ends of the earth, I cry.
Your peace will lead me to
The Rock that is higher than I.

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
From the ends of the earth, I cry.
Your peace will lead me to
The Rock that is higher than I.

For You have been my strength in times of trouble;
A tower above my enemies;
And Lord, I will abide with You forever
In the shelter of Your wings.

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
From the ends of the earth, I cry.
Your peace will lead me to
The Rock that is higher than I.

©1993 Maranatha Praise, Inc.
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Robyn Tresch

Dear Lord,

We thank You for each day we’ve been given and for those we get to share them with. You know that when we pray, we are seeking Your heavenly council. Whether we are seeking your Godly wisdom, an answer to something we can’t understand, or healing for ourselves or others, we call upon Your name, demonstrating our reliance on You. We know Your promise to hear and respond to the prayers of Your children, so help us to remember that prayer is a form of worship, for it is Your desire that all people seek after and find You. Help us to come humbly and believe in advance that You completely understand our needs. Teach us to trust in You and forgive us when we sometimes lose faith in the midst of Your answer. Thank you for always being ready to hear our prayers.

In Jesus name.
Amen.

SCRIPTURE

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

“He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits; to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also; not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.”

I Peter 3:13-22

(For those of you who wish for a comment on Jesus preaching to the “imprisoned spirits,” please watch the video).

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope in Assurance

The devil had a going-out-of-business sale and was selling all his tools and devices of destruction. Someone asked him, “Hey devil, how much do you want for this wedge of doubt?”

The devil replied, “Sorry, that tool is not for sale. I can get back into business with that anytime.” 1

Indeed, I am sure the devil was plying his trade using that nasty wedge of doubt to separate faith from the Christians to whom Peter is writing this letter. They are relatively new first generation Christians. Some preacher had brought them the good news and they took hold of it. Sometime later, they began to experience persecution as a result of being a Christian.

Peter hears about this and determines to write a letter of hope and encouragement because he knows that those conditions are going to lend themselves to people beginning to have some doubts: doubts about whether they want to continue being a professing Christian, and/or doubts about their faith in Jesus.

And in today’s passage, Peter wants to assure his readers that because of who Christ is and what He has done, they can rest assured that they are indeed on the right track clinging to, holding fast to their faith in Jesus.

Why is this so? Peter’s about to tell them.

He first reminds them of the death of Christ.

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God” (18a).

It’s important to note Peter has already spoken in this letter about Christ’s death 5 times (1:2, 3, 18-19, 22; 2:24) and in 5:10 he will emphasize it again.

Christ died for sinners; that is He died for them!

But wait a minute, Peter’s not done yet!

Yes, he continues, “He suffered physical death, BUT He was raised to life in the Spirit” (18b).

This is the third time in this letter he has mentioned the resurrection (1:3, 21) because without the resurrection the death of Jesus has no meaning.

Paul writes, “If Christ was not raised from the dead, then what we preach to you is worth nothing. Your faith in Christ is worth nothing. That makes us all liars because we said that God raised Christ from the dead. But God did not raise Christ from the dead if the dead do not come to life again. If the dead are not raised, then not even Christ was raised from the dead. If Christ was not raised from the dead, your faith is worth nothing and you are still living in your sins. And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (I Corinthians 15:14-20).

But wait a minute, Peter’s not done yet!

“So he went and preached to the spirits in prison; those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you” (3:21).

Notice the parallel here: As Noah was surrounded by disbelieving and disobedient people who slandered him and yet God saved him and his family; so Peter’s recipients are also surrounded by disbelieving and disobedient people who are slandering them; just as God saved Noah, God will save them.

But wait a minute, Peter’s not done yet!

“Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority” (22).

My friends, can you see how this paragraph was meant to encourage his readers that they should continue to remain faithful to Christ, not only because of what Christ has done for them through His death and resurrection, but more than that, because Christ now sits on His throne and He has authority over everything and everyone!

This little pericope was meant to convey what theologians call today THE DOCTRINE OF ASSURANCE.

That is, followers of Christ can be assured of their salvation because it is based solely on who He is and what He has done.

And because it is, we never have to doubt.

Now, of course, we will doubt. We doubt because we are human and we can’t help it. George Barna reports that two-thirds of Christians have doubts. Having doubts is normal. Questioning your faith or experiencing doubt does not mean that your faith isn’t real or that you are not spiritual enough.

But when that wedge of doubt begins to pry us away from our faith, we need to put the clamps on it with the doctrine of assurance.

The devil uses his wedge of doubt most effectively in two ways.

The first is when we don’t feel worthy of grace; and that occurs when we sin!

We think, I’m a Christian, I should be free of sin, I read in the scriptures that I am to be “dead to sin and alive to God” (Ro. 6:11). But I just sinned; and it was a whopper! I must not really be a Christian at all.

Wait a minute; hold on their partner. When you came to Christ, did He save You knowing that would continue to sin? Yes. Did He save You knowing you would commit the sin you’re thinking about now? Yes. And He forgave and saved you anyway? Yes, but I don’t feel like it. Sound familiar? There’s that nasty old wedge of doubt.

A Christian man once came to D. L. Moody and said he was worried because when he sinned he didn’t feel saved. Moody asked, “Was Noah safe in the ark?”
“Certainly he was,” the man replied.
“What made him safe, his feeling or the ark?”
“How foolish I’ve been!” he said; “It is not my feeling; it is Christ who saves!” 4

Which leads to the second wedge of doubt that comes between us and assurance.

We doubt the ability of God to completely clean us up.

We often treat the gospel like an old laundry detergent commercial, where a kid spills grape juice on his white t-shirt. Mom says, “No problem Billy; and she whips that stained t-shirt in the wash with the advertised detergent, and then presto, chango . . . the stain is gone!

Then we see a side-by-side comparison of the shirt before and after the wash. A stained shirt is on the left and the washed shirt is on the right, white enough to make an angel self-conscious.

And we say, “Yeah, right!” because our experience with grape juice stains and laundry detergent tells us that it is impossible. 2

That “yeah, right” attitude causes us to doubt that in Jesus we stand before God blameless, without a single fault. We hear the message of amazing grace and think, “Yeah right, I was forgiven when I first came to Christ, but since then I have spilled so much grape juice, my life is so stained that the best detergent could not clean me up.”

If that is our attitude, we are forgetting the commercial’s secret. The shirt on the right is not really the one that went through the wash. It’s a brand new shirt! No laundry detergent works that well.

But the blood of Christ does! We must trust 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

An elderly man was on his deathbed and said to his pastor, Dr. Harry Ironside, “I will not go until I KOW I’m saved, I need a definite sign that will assure me.

Ironside said, “Suppose an angel came and told you your sins were forgiven. Would that be enough to rest on?”

“Yes, I think it would; an angelic vision is exactly what I need.”

Ironside continued, “But suppose an hour later the devil came and whispered, ‘I was that angel, transformed to deceive you.’ What would you say?”

The man couldn’t say a word.

Dr. Ironside told him God has given us something more dependable than an angel. He has given His Son, who died for our sins, and He testified in His own Word that if we trust Him our sins are gone. 3

“This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe, Your very WORD spoken to me.”

Isaiah says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (61:10).

Paul writes the Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1).

Paul says to the Colossians “Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” (1:22).

In his first letter to the church, Saint John wrote: “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (John 5:11-13).

The great evangelist to South America, Luis Palau, talks about a time in Guatemala, when a man came to him who had dishonored the Lord’s name. He was truly broken and had repented; yet he was still without joy. It was obvious he needed to be assured that he was forgiven; otherwise the devil would have gained an advantage over him.

I put my arm around him and said, “Brother, you’ve repented; your sins are forgiven; let me pray with you.”

And this broken, humble Guatemalan said, “Thank you, thank you. Now I’m free!”

With tears running down our faces, we hugged each other. He was so excited, because a fellow brother in Christ had reassured him.

But this man should have been reassured earlier by his local church. When someone is obviously broken, the church must stand up and say, “In the name of the Lord Jesus, rejoice! He has forgiven you, and we forgive you too.”

The assurance from such corporate forgiveness brings healing and joy to the entire congregation. 5

My friends, in the name of the Lord, rejoice! Christ had forgiven! You are blameless, clean, forgiven, holy, righteous. Not because of anything you have done or not done, but because of what Christ has done and who He is!

No wonder Peter began this letter with:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance; an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation”
(1:3-5).

What more can we say, than, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).

The great Christian author and philosopher, Dallas Willard, died at 6am on May 8, 2013. In his biography on Willard titled Becoming Dallas Willard, Gary Moon describes Dallas’ last moments:

At 4:30 a.m. a nurse came in to turn Dallas in the bed. Her visit woke Dallas’ friend Gary, who was in the room with him. Moving Dallas awakened him too. Gary (who was the only visiting at that moment) took Dallas’s hand. Dallas turned to him and told him to tell his loved ones how much he was blessed by them and how much he appreciated them. Then, as Gary described, “In a voice clearer than I had heard in days, he leaned his head back slightly and with his eyes closed said, ‘Thank you.’” Gary knew that Dallas was not talking to him, but to another presence, a holy presence living in Him. And those were the last words of Dallas Willard. “Thank you,” he said, to a very present and then finally visible to him God. 6

Rest assured beloved, you will be thanking Him too.
“When we’ve been there ten-thousand years.
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days, to sing God’s praise.
Than when we’ve first begun!”

Amen.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led).

COMMUNION SONG

Give Thanks

Smith, Henry

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son.

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now let the weak say,
‘I am strong.’
Let the poor say, ‘I am rich’
Because of what the Lord
Has done for us.

And now let the weak say,
‘I am strong.’
Let the poor say, ‘I am rich’
Because of what the Lord
Has done for us.

Give thanks.
Give thanks.
Give thanks.

©1978 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

COMMUNION SCRIPTURE

For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

Colossians 1:19-23

COMMUNION PRAYER

We thank You O lord for this opportunity to stand firm in the assurance of our faith through this act of participating in the body and blood of Christ. And we give You thanks for providing this perpetual reminder of Your amazing grace and kindness. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, amen.

“The Body of Christ” (please receive the sacrament).

“The Blood of Christ” (please receive the sacrament).

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.

CLOSING SONG

In Christ Alone

Townsend, Stuart/Getty, Keith

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love,
What depths of peace,
When fears are stilled,
When strivings cease!
My comforter, my All in all,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone!
Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save;
Till on the cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine.
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

©2002 Thankyou Music (PRS)
(admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope!

Romans 15:13

1 https://hotsermons.com/sermon-illustrations/sermon-illustrations-doubt-unbelief.html

2 Eric McKiddie, Show Then Tell; 52 Illustrations for Believing and Living the Gospel. [Copyright © 2013 by Eric McKiddie]. Page 43.

3 https://bible.org/illustration/angel-light

4 D.J.D Our Daily Bread, March 9
https://bible.org/illustration/feelings

5 Luis Palau, Discipline in the Church, Discipleship Journal (July/August 1983) https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/may/13680.html

6 Gary Moon, Becoming Dallas Willard, [Downers Grove, Illinois:
Intervarsity Press, © 2018], Page 240
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2019/january/dallas-willards-last-words-thank-you.html

Randy K'Meyer

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