Five Points Blog

Hope Heralds Grace!


Ephesians 1 promises a sweet inheritance received by faith for those on whom God has set his electing love. Ephesians 1:11, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” What is this inheritance and what should it do for us?

This inheritance of which Paul speaks is the very grace of God he has been celebrating. Consider Ephesians 1:18, where Paul prays that our eyes might see “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” When Paul uses terms like riches and glory, he is talking about God’s grace.

But why does Paul call this grace an inheritance? Here’s my answer: he calls grace an inheritance to encourage all true believers now that they will be fully received by the Father as his adopted sons in the age to come. In short, the Bible means for you to brim with salvation assurance! How does this assurance feel? It feels like hope. Paul continues, “… so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12).

Do you see what this means? You are to know that you have an inheritance of grace presently and in the age to come because you have hope in Christ right now! Hope heralds grace!

Can you look to Christ and see his death and his resurrection and find in your soul a flicker of hope? Do you cherish the slightest hope in the wild wonder of sins forgiven, your adoption secured, your election confirmed, and your future joy assured as you fix your eyes upon Christ? If so, then your inheritance of God’s grace now is a powerful thing; it supplies hope that heralds grace in your heart.


Join us this Sunday for Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and for our morning worship service at 10:45am as we revel in the God who has promised us an inheritance of grace.


Activities Cancelled This Afternoon & Evening


With all the snow and wind, we have cancelled all activities for this afternoon and evening.

In addition to enjoying a cozy evening indoors with family or roommates, consider spending some time praying for …

  1. God's favor in pursuing the sale of a portion of our property (the team handling this endeavor has met with a couple potential buyers and representatives from the city—a "for sale" sign will go up soon).
  2. The Levi's Room building project to have all the contractors, supplies, and volunteers needed weeks before the May 5 building push.
  3. The elders to have wisdom as they meet Thursday night to discuss how to shepherd the congregation and pray for you.
  4. The gospel to advance in the places the people of Five Points live, work, and play leading up to Resurrection Sunday.
  5. Women to be encouraged and edified through Tapestry and a new Tuesday prayer gathering.

The Mystery Revealed


The Bible knows it’s hard to understand how God could elect his people from before the foundation of the world, and yet each person who trusts Christ does so as a whole-hearted act of their will. Paul writes, “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). That means we are chosen due to no virtue or effort of our own but solely according to the will of God. Here our understanding ends and mystery begins. That’s why we worship him. We always worship where our mystery lies.

But this mystery cannot be merely an obscure enigma. It doesn’t glorify God to passively give up on seeking to know him because his will is a mystery. Paul uses the word “mystery” not so much for what it conceals but for what it reveals. God means for us to desire to know the fullness of his plan that was for so long a mystery but now has been revealed in Jesus Christ.

As God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, the mystery of God is revealed. In the good news of Jesus Christ, God is “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9). The mystery God is revealing in Christ is not merely answers to philosophical questions about free choice coexisting with God’s election. That question will be answered in the age to come—if we even care to pose it then. Rather, the mystery revealed is this: how does God work within any one person to open their spiritual eyes to see Christ and savor him unto salvation. That is the great wonder of God’s work.

I invite you to read afresh Ephesians 1 and ask God to open your eyes to the wonder, joy, and hope of glory—of this mystery by which sinners like you and me are given new eyes to see and worship Christ.


Resolved: One Life


Please join us in praying for the Resolved: students on the Winter Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend! Below is a summary of what they will be learning and the prayer aims for each session.

Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last

Introduction and gospel testimony [FRI PM]
PRAYER AIM: That everyone would get to know me a little. That Christ and His gospel would be magnified through my story of grace (Galatians 1:24). And many would “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)...throughout the entire weekend!

One Life: Then What? [SAT AM]
Text: Luke 16:19-31, Romans 5:8-10
HEART-TRUTH: Life is short. Eternity is forever. You will either enjoy God’s love forever in heaven (New world) or endure God’s wrath forever in hell.
PRAYER AIM: That the believers would rejoice with trembling over the eternal agony that they have been rescued from through the Cross of Christ!  That the unbelievers would flee the wrath to come and find eternal refuge and safety at the Cross of Christ!

One Life: Enjoy It [SAT PM]
Text: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 6:35, Psalm 16:11
HEART-TRUTH: Flee the world’s ‘fading pleasures’ that temporarily satisfy and find in Jesus ‘forever pleasures’ that eternally satisfy.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father of glory would open our eyes to taste and see: that Jesus is 10,000 times better than the world. That Jesus is the eternal pleasure that the eternal soul was made for!  That to be saved is to be satisfied in Christ!

One Life: Lose It [SUN AM]
Text: Mark 8:27-38
HEART-TRUTH: Whoever tries to save his life for this world will lose it for eternity, but whoever spends his life in this world for the cause of Jesus and His gospel will save it for eternity.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father would cause us to hear and see Jesus as so irresistibly beautiful and powerful and glorious, that we gladly and daily deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow King Jesus!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

 


Christ’s Blood, the Fiery Core of Reality


At the nuclear center of all reality is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

By the shed blood of Christ, all things are redeemed to God. Colossians 1:20, “Through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

By his shed blood, Christ secures an eternal redemption for his people and purifies their conscience from guilt and shame to serve God forever. Hebrews 9:12-14, “He entered once for all into the holy places … by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption … how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

The blood of Christ is the boundless power that raised Jesus from the dead. Hebrews 13:20, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant … .”

The blood of Christ, being spurned by countless millions, will one day be fully and completely avenged by the fierce justice of God. Revelation 6:10, “They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”

And the powerful blood of Jesus will wash away our sins and fully shield us from the wrath of God for all who trust in him. Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

Forbid that we ever assume, diminish, ignore, mistake, or underestimate the immense power of the blood of Christ. Rather, let us worship in wonder and adoration; let us bow in holy fear and trembling at the surging and infinite power of the precious, redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


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