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Bible Reading Challenge

Join us as we read through all the NT as a Church this year.


Follow this link to read on your phone, tablet, or computer.

https://bible.com/p/48208409/6943799c55b9ef001d015f8bd1bbef97


Click here for a printable version.

https://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/navigators-5x5x5-new-testament-bible-reading-plan.pdf

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Advent with Spurgeon: Day 2 - A Swinging Blow for the Devil

Day 2 - A Swinging Blow For The Devil

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

(Genesis 3:15 ESV)


Christ [would be] bruised by the old serpent. That is all, however! It is only his heel, not his head, which is bruised! For lo, the Champion rises again; the bruise was not mortal nor continual. Though he dies, so brief is the interval in which he slumbers in the tomb that his holy body hath not seen corruption, and he comes forth perfect and lovely in his manhood, rising from his grave as from a refreshing sleep after so long a day of unresting toil!


By his sufferings Christ has overthrown Satan, by the heel that was bruised he has trodden upon the head which devised the bruising.


He comes to us in mercy, and puts enmity between us and the serpent. That is the very first work of grace. There was peace between us and Satan once; when he tempted we yielded; whatever he taught us we believed; we were his willing slaves. But perhaps you can recollect when first of all you began to feel uneasy and dissatisfied; the world's pleasures no longer pleased you; all the juice seemed to have been taken out of the apple, and you had nothing at all. Then you suddenly perceived that you were living in sin, and you were miserable about it, and though you could not get rid of sin you hated it, and sighed over it, and cried, and groaned. In your heart of hearts you remained no longer on the side of evil, for you began to cry, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"[3] You were already, in the covenant of grace, ordained to be the woman's seed, and now the decree began to discover itself in life bestowed upon you and working in you. The Lord in infinite mercy dropped the divine life into your soul. You did not know it, but there it was, a spark of the celestial fire, the living and incorruptible seed which abideth for ever.


The great power of the serpent lies in unpardoned sin. He cries "l have made you guilty: I brought you under the curse." 'No," say we, "we are delivered from the curse and are now blessed, for it is written, 'Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.' We are no longer guilty, for who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Since Christ has justified, who is he that condemns?

This is a swinging blow for the old dragon's head, from which he will never recover.


Christ the Conqueror of Satan -  Sermon delivered by Spurgeon on November 26th 1876

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Day 1 - The First Act Of Grace

Day 1 - The First Act Of Grace


“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”(Genesis 3:15 ESV)


This is the first gospel sermon that was ever delivered upon the surface of this earth. It was memorable discourse indeed, with Jehovah himself for the preacher, and the whole human race and the prince of darkness for the audience. It must be worthy of our heartiest attention.

Is it not remarkable that this great gospel promise should have been delivered so soon after the transgression? As yet, no sentence had been pronounced upon either of the two human offenders, but the promise was given under the form of a sentence pronounced upon the serpent.


Not yet had the woman been condemned to painful travail, or the man to exhausting labour, or even the soil to the curse of thorn and thistle. Before the Lord had said "you are dust and to dust you shall return[1]" he was pleased to say that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Let us rejoice, then, in the swift mercy of God, which in the early watches of the night of sin came with comfortable words unto us.


We do not know what our first parents understood by it, but we may be certain that they gathered a great amount of comfort from it. They must have understood that they were not then and there to be destroyed, because the Lord had spoken of a "seed." They would argue that it must be needful that Eve should live if there should be a seed from her. They understood, too, that if that seed was to overcome the serpent and bruise his head, it must predict good for themselves. They could not fail to see that there was some great, mysterious benefit to be conferred upon them by the victory which their seed would achieve over the instigator of their ruin.


That seed of the woman that glorious One - for he speaks not of seeds as in many but of seed as is one - you know how he abhorred the devil and all his devices. There was enmity between Christ and Satan, for he came to destroy the works of the devil and to deliver those who are under bondage to him. For that purpose was he born; for that purpose did he live; for that purpose did he die; for that purpose he has gone into the glory, and for that purpose he will come again - that everywhere he may find out his adversary and utterly destroy him and his works form amongst the sons of men. This putting of the enmity between the two seeds was the commencement of the plan of mercy, the first act in the programme of grace.


From Christ the Conqueror of Satan - Preached by Spurgeon on Nov. 26th 1876.

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Did Jesus go to hell?

David Crowder, a talented musician, has a song called I Know A Ghost. It speaks about the Holy Ghost empowering the believer. It has a line that would make some uncomfortable. It goes like this.


The things I thought I wanted, I

Never should have wandered, I

Let the Devil get the best of me

When, oh, my God's paid a debt for me


Now to turn this house into a home

It's the only thing that rattles bones

He went to Hell and back to leave us His own


Jesus and hell is a touchy subject. Half the world refuses even to acknowledge hell, but Jesus spoke about hell a lot! We see in the Apostles Creed similar language.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth;


And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;

who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven,

and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Ghost,

the holy catholic Church*,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.


We can also see references in the Bible that seem to hint at something that was happening:


Ephesians 4:9-10 (NASB)

(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended afar above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)


1 Peter 4:6 (NASB)

For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.


Commentaries are a great help in this matter, a way to look at the great teachers of the past, but occasionally Scripture acts as a commentary for us, which is by far better. The Apostle Paul is referencing Psalm 68 here. The psalm helps us to understand the purpose a bit better. The Psalm was about God's triumph of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem and the ascent of God up to Mt. Zion. Paul uses this to show us Christ returning from His battle on earth back into the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem with the trophies of His great victory at Calvary. Through His crucifixion and resurrection, Christ conquered Satan and death, and in triumph, returned to God those who were once sinners and prisoners of Satan. The spoils of conquering were the souls saved, but now He also bestows gifts to the redeemed through His Holy Spirit.


Sadly, there has been much confusion around the descent. Much of it comes from a misunderstanding over terms regarding death and hell. The term in the Old Testament is Hades, and it could mean what we think of by grave or cemetery, the place where the body is laid to rest. It also is used in a way regarding hell and all its torments.


So we are left with asking, did Jesus descend to the grave?


Yes! This is what Good Friday is all about but the story doesn't end there.


His body is testified to have laid to rest in the tomb until the glorious third day of which we celebrate every Lord's Day and especially Resurrection Sunday (Easter).


Did He descend into hell (as in torment and fire)? No!


Now consider an updated reading of the Apostle's Creed:


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day, He rose again.

He ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church*,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.


*meaning the universal Christian church—all believers in Jesus Christ

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Exciting News!

Today we witnessed Gavin Riley getting baptized. It is such a blessing to watch someone grow from attending kid's club to placing their faith in Christ and get baptized. We sang Victory in Jesus after his baptism!

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This February

So many people seem to be angry, war-like rhetoric by our politicians and media. What is really going on? Make sure you understand and are able to fight the real war, a spiritual one.

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Join us in reading through the Bible this year

Has 2020 taken its toll on you? Join us and help get back on track by being in God's Word. The Binge Reading the Bible challenge will take you through the Bible in a year. It requires you to be willing to read 5 out of 7 days a week. Don't worry if you get behind, as you can always catch up or even read ahead. Pastor will be posting questions to help guide you from going from reading to studying God's Word. Simply go to https://faithlife.com/gbcprotection and join the Grace Bible Church group on Faithlife to interact with others going through the challenge as well. The readings will also be posted in the weekly bulletin and on Facebook.

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Day 15: Jesus Enters into the Guilt of Human Beings

Jesus Enters into the Guilt of Human Beings


Jesus does not want to be the only perfect human being at the expense of humankind. He does not want, as the only guiltless one, to ignore a humanity that is being destroyed by its guilt; he does not want some kind of human ideal to triumph over the ruins of a wrecked humanity. Love for real people leads into the fellowship of human guilt. Jesus does not want to exonerate himself from the guilt in which the people he loves are living. A love that left people alone in their guilt would not have real people as its object. So, in vicarious responsibility for people and in his love for real human beings, Jesus becomes the one burdened by guilt—indeed, the one upon whom all human guilt ultimately falls and the one who does not turn it away but bears it humbly and in eternal love. As the one who acts responsibly in the historical existence of humankind, as the human being who has entered reality, Jesus becomes guilty. But because his historical existence, his incarnation, has its sole basis in God’s love for human beings, it is the love of God that makes Jesus become guilty. Out of selfless love for human beings, Jesus leaves his state as the one without sin and enters into the guilt of human beings. He takes it upon himself.


We have something to hide. We have secrets, worries, thoughts, hopes, desires, passions which no one else gets to know. We are sensitive when people get near those domains with their questions. And now, against all rules of tact the Bible speaks of the truth that in the end we will appear before Christ with everything we are and were.… And we all know that we could justify ourselves before any human court, but not before this one. Lord, who can justify themselves? 


Bonhoeffer’s sermon for Repentance Sunday, November 19, 1933


For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

2 Corinthians 5:10

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Day 14: An Unfathomable Mystery

An Unfathomable Mystery


In an incomprehensible reversal of all righteous and pious thinking, God declares himself guilty to the world and thereby extinguishes the guilt of the world. God himself takes the humiliating path of reconciliation and thereby sets the world free. God wants to be guilty of our guilt and takes upon himself the punishment and suffering that this guilt brought to us. God stands in for godlessness, love stands in for hate, the Holy One for the sinner. Now there is no longer any godlessness, any hate, any sin that God has not taken upon himself, suffered, and atoned for. Now there is no more reality and no more world that is not reconciled with God and in peace. That is what God did in his beloved Son Jesus Christ. Ecce homo—see the incarnate God, the unfathomable mystery of the love of God for the world. God loves human beings. God loves the world—not ideal human beings but people as they are, not an ideal world but the real world.


We prepare to witness a mystery. More to the point, we prepare to witness the Mystery, the God made flesh. While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task, to suppose that we ever know anything about him except what he has made known to us. The prophet Isaiah helps us to remember our limitations when he writes, “To whom then will you compare me …? says the Holy One.…” Think of it like this: he cannot be exhausted by our ideas about him, but he is everywhere suggested. He cannot be comprehended, but he can be touched. His coming in the flesh—this Mystery we prepare to glimpse again—confirms that he is to be touched.


Scott Cairns, in God with Us


To whom then will you liken God,

or what likeness compare with him?…

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to live in;

who brings princes to naught,

and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

Isaiah 40:18, 21–23

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Day 13: The Mysteries of God

The Mysteries of God


No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ—that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ.… If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the Son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.


Wonder is the only adequate launching pad for exploring this fullness, this wholeness, of human life. Once a year, each Christmas, for a few days at least, we and millions of our neighbors turn aside from our preoccupations with life reduced to biology or economics or psychology and join together in a community of wonder. The wonder keeps us open-eyed, expectant, alive to life that is always more than we can account for, that always exceeds our calculations, that is always beyond anything we can make.


Eugene Peterson


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:15–20

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