February 12, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Repentance of the Heart

Chris Patton
February 12, 2017
Luke 3:15-22
Sermon Audio

Main Theme: No one is greater than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

Our passage shows this to be true by bringing forth the testimony of John the Baptist and Heaven.

I. The testimony of John the Baptist

“he who is mighter than I is coming (v.17)” 

  • John said this because his  baptism was external; it was outward. It was symbolic of a repentant heart. But the baptism itself was powerless to change a person’s heart. On the other hand Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit had power to change a person’s life.
  • It seems clear, this baptism in/with the Holy Spirit = regeneration, the new birth.

II. The testimony of heaven

“[21] Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, [22] and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”


There is something deeply instructive, and deeply comforting in this revelation of the blessed Trinity, at this particular season of our Lord’s earthly ministry. It shows us how mighty and powerful is the agency that is employed in the great business of our redemption. It is the common work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All Three Persons in the Godhead are equally concerned in the deliverance of our souls from hell. The thought should cheer us, when disturbed and cast down. The thought should hearten and encourage us, when weary of the conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The enemies of our souls are mighty, but the Friends of our souls are mightier still. The whole power of the triune Jehovah is engaged upon our side. — JC Ryle

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • What was John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus?
  • One lesson from how John confronted Herod (verses 18-20) is that though it can be costly, it is also absolutely necessary for God’s messengers to speak the truth about sin.
    • What does it look like for believers today to be faithful to speak the truth about sin?
    • What can keep God’s people from being faithful to speak the truth about sin?
    • When we do speak the truth about sin, what should be our attitude?
  • As Jesus’ mission was about to kick into high gear in c.4, here at his baptism we see Him praying (v.21). What can we learn from Jesus’ example of prayer here?
  • In speaking of the baptism in/with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist was referring to New Covenant work of the Spirit called  “regeneration” or the “new birth.” What does it mean to be born again? What difference does the new birth make in our lives?
  • Re-read the JC Ryle quote above. How does what Ryle says hit home to your heart?

February 5, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Repentance of the Heart

Jeremy Bell
February 5, 2017
Luke 3:3-14
Sermon Audio


John comes on the scene, to bring objective news of the condition of peoples’ hearts. God knew the people needed a spiritual X-Ray, to show them what was really going on underneath the surface.

What was John’s message?

I. He tells the people that they are lost!

“You brood of vipers! (vs.7)”

II. He warns them that wrath is coming.

“Who warned you to flee from the wrath that is to come (vs.7)?”

III. He also mentions that there is an escape from wrath.

  • In verses 11-14, John makes it clear – ‘there is a way of escape, and its called repentance!’
  • Repentance changes our hearts towards God and others.
  • John gives the crowds, the tax collectors and the soldiers practical steps of repentance.
  • Let us embrace the repentance that God calls us to, knowing that when we fully embrace the Lord’s repentance, fruit will always follow
  • “Never do the flowers of grace grow more than after a shower of repentant tears.” — Thomas Watson


Let us embrace repentance.  Christian repentance is for every day and every moment.

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” — Martin Luther

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • John spoke in vs.7 of the need to ‘flee the wrath to come.’ What is the practical application for us?
  • Thomas Watson wrote, “Never do the flowers of grace grow more than after a shower of repentant tears.” What do you think of Watson’s statement? How does his statement reflect your own experience of repentance?
  • How would you summarize the practical steps of repentance John the Baptist gave to each of the three groups–the crowds, the tax collectors, the soldiers?
  • Martin Luther said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”  What does it look like practically to live a life of repentance?
  • What is one area of your life where you sense God calling you to repent?

January 29, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Repentance of the Heart

Jeremy Bell
January 29, 2017
Luke 3:1-9
Sermon Audio


  • The first two chapters have been the introduction of the Christ, while the main story of Jesus starts at this point.
  • The good news that came first to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Mary and Joseph, now takes definitive shape as John the Baptist and Jesus enter the scene as adults.

Main Theme: Our confidence in salvation is found only in the mercy of God through repentance in Jesus Christ, which is available to all!

I. Who is John the Baptist?

His Background

His Call To Be A Prophet

The Emphasis of His Ministry

  • John has come to announce the way of the Lord and to preach repentance.
  • John has come to warn people of the coming wrath of God.
    • If people don’t repent in their hearts, turn away from sin and self-reliance, and turn to God for forgiveness, the consequences are grave.
  • John came to bring hope – through repentance and faith, salvation could be found.

II. His Message

  • He tells the people that they are lost!
  • He warns them that wrath is coming.
  • He also mentions that there is an escape from wrath.
  • What is John calling them to? A “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” – v.3
  • John’s baptism is an outward sign of what has occurred in the heart of the person getting baptized–that they’ve repented of their sins, and turned towards God for forgiveness.
  • The baptism of John is signal to the change of heart that already had taken place through repentance.

III. What Ultimately Matters

  • What ultimately matters to God is the condition of our hearts.
  • What ultimately matters is – “do you have faith?” Have you repented and turned to God for the forgiveness of your sins?
  • Repentance and faith is evidenced by fruit. John says, “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”
  • Repentance is turning away from sin towards God.
  • John the Baptist calls the people to a repentance that bears fruit.
  • Biblical repentance means to turn away from sin and self and to embrace what the Lord has for you
    • So no works, no family tree, no person is outside of the call of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ


Our confidence in salvation is found only in the mercy of God through repentance in Jesus Christ, which is available to all! Take no comfort from the family in which you were raised, the fact that you may be the member of a church, or the accumulated mass of good deeds. There is hope in none other than repentance and turning to Jesus Christ.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • In summary, how would you describe the purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry?
  • What was John’s main message?
  • What does it mean to repent?
  • Do you think after conversion, Christians still need to hear the message of repentance? Why or why not?
  • We heard the following application of this text to our lives…Take no comfort from the family in which you were raised, the fact that you may be the member of a church, or the accumulated mass of good deeds. There is hope in none other than repentance and turning to Jesus Christ.’ What practically does this mean for us today?
  • Martin Luther has said “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”  What does that mean? How can we today live lives of repentance?

January 22, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Jesus the Boy on His Father’s Mission

Jeremy Bell
November 13, 2016
Luke 2:39-52
Sermon Audio

I. Mary and Joseph’s Love For God’s Law  (v.39)

II. The Trip to Jerusalem to Celebrate the Passover (v.41)

III. Jesus’ Growth In Stature, Wisdom and Understanding (v.40)

IV. The Confrontation – ‘Son, why did you do this?’ (v.48)

V. Jesus’ Reply (v.49)

  • Jesus now recognizes and speaks of his unique Sonship to God, and that his mission will require of Him a devotion to His Father’s purposes that will supersede the closest of family ties.
  • Doing the Father’s mission was Jesus’ food (John 4). It was fulfilling to Him – He and the Father were One.
  • Doing the Father’s work was His focus, and he didn’t want family obligations, or expectations to get in the way.
  • He must complete the mission of the Father, even if it brings pain and potential misunderstanding.

VI. Application

How do we follow Jesus’ example of devotion to His heavenly Father’s purposes and will?

  1. By living in the good of our identity in Christ
  2. By treasuring the gospel
    “The gospel turns the duty of doing and experiencing God’s will into a delight.”  Sinclair Ferguson

Jesus recognized that His Sonship meant doing and accomplishing the will of His Father, even if he was misunderstood or caused disruption. He delighted to do the will of God. It was His nourishment and food! May we be true to the will of our heavenly Father, despite the disruption it will cause at times to our lives. May we live with an understanding that our lives are not our own, that we are sons and daughters of the Father, and are now commissioned to do the Father’s will

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • In this narrative, what qualities can you identity in Joseph and Mary that are worthy of emulation?
  • How does this story reveal the humanity of Jesus?
  • The New City Catechism (question 22) asks the question “Why must the Redeemer be truly human?” The answer is: “That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also that he might sympathize with our weaknesses.” What does that statement mean?  Why was it important for the Redeemer to be truly human?
    • Consider taking time to review questions 21-23 of the New City Catechism as well.
  • What does Jesus’ reply to his mother’s question reveal about his attitude and mindset at this early age?
  • What does it mean to live in the good of our identity in Christ?
  • “The gospel turns the duty of doing and experiencing God’s will into a delight (Sinclair Ferguson).” How does the gospel turn the duty of doing and experiencing God’s will into a delight?
  • What are one or two ways do you find it difficult and hard to do the will of God?

January 15, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Simeon & Anna

Chris Patton
January 15, 2017
Luke 2:22-38
Sermon Audio

The truth is, none of us knows what awaits us in 2017. None of us knows what is coming even a few weeks from now. Things could be great or not so great. Things could get better or things could become worse. However this next year goes, we as believers can have true peace and rest no matter what lies ahead. And the reason for that is we have something infinitely valuable that nothing in this world can compare with–we have Jesus and the glorious salvation that we’ve been given through Him.

Main Theme: Because we have salvation we have every reason to rejoice and praise God.

I. Joseph, Mary and Jesus Go To The Temple

  • They went to Jerusalem, to the temple in order to obey the Old Testament law regarding purification after childbirth (vs.22) as well as to to present or dedicate Jesus to the Lord.
  • Even though Joseph and Mary were very young — perhaps teenagers–they were already at this point in their lives deeply concerned about and committed to obeying God’s law. In this they were mature beyond their years
  • An encouragement  to our youth:  It is never ever  to early to start serving God.

II. Simeon

  • Simeon was a man who was among the faithful remnant of worshipers of Yahweh waiting for the the consolation of Israel, the comfort of Israel–or more simply put, he was waiting for the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Christ.
  • We heard about the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing Simeon to Christ.
  • As Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms,  he knew this child had come to bring salvation, and his heart was at rest, his heart was satisfied and his heart rejoiced

III. Anna

  • Vs. 38 Anna gave thanks to God and began to tell others about Him who were like her waiting for the Messiah saying something like “He’s come! Salvation has come! salvation is here!


  • God by the Holy Spirit gave Simeon and Anna a glimpse of the glory of the salvation Jesus came to provide.  This glimpse was only a small fraction of what we see and know of his salvation, yet what they did know caused them to rejoice.  How much more, should we rejoice who know the full story of what Jesus came to do? How much more should we rejoice and praise him no matter what this next year, 2017 looks like?  Whether prosperity comes our way or adversity comes our way, or some combination of both, may we resolve to bless the name of Jesus for this great salvation He has given us.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  1. In the narrative, what do you find compelling about Joseph and Mary’s example?
  2. What does it mean that Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel (v.25)?
  3. What do you think it was like for Simeon to live his life knowing that at any moment, he could see the Christ?
  4. What kinds of thoughts do you think were going through Simeon’s mind when he entered the temple that day?
  5.  What did Jesus mean to Simeon? What does Jesus mean to you?
  6. If Jesus is the greatest treasure in our lives, what difference can that make practically when life doesn’t go the way we anticipate?
  7. Consider taking time to pray and ask God by the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart allowing you to see your Savior Jesus as more amazing, wonderful and beautiful than ever before.

December 18, 2016– Sermon Recap

A Divine Rescue Mission

Chris Patton
December 18, 2016
Luke 1:57-80
Sermon Audio

We heard the story of a a 45 year old Young Life group leader, Bobby, who in 2008 rescued three youth from his Young Life group out of a burning car. Just as Bobby acted decisively on that Friday night to rescue those teenagers trapped in that burning car — so God (in sending His own Son into the world) has acted decisively in history to rescue and to save sinners like us.

Main Theme: In Christ Jesus, divine rescue has come.

Mercy means rescue of those in distress. This morning, we consider from this narrative the theme of God’s mercy from three vantage points:

I. The vantage point of Zechariah and Elizabeth

“And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her and they rejoiced with her (v.58).”

We considered the character of God revealed in the mercy of God towards Zechariah and Elizabeth and how that applies to us.

II. The vantage point of the Old Testament people God

From the vantage point of the few humble Old Testament Saints such as Zechariah and Elizabeth  and Simeon and Anna later–they got it.  They understood that the events of these opening chapters were an expression of vs.78  the tender mercy of our God” as God was fulfilling His plan to bring salvation to His people.

III. The vantage point of God’s people today

  • We read this narrative from the vantage point of knowing where the story is going.
  • We read the phrase “tender mercy” in vs.78 and we know where the story is going.
  • God the Father out of tender mercy in His heart towards  sinners like us, sent his dearly loved only Son into this world in order to take upon Himself the judgment we deserved.


  • This is what God is like: He is the God of tender mercy.
  • This is above all what Christmas is about.
  • We have a wonderful,  tender-hearted merciful Savior who came into this world to save us.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  1.  What is the difference between “God’s mercy” and “God’s grace” ?
  2. How do we see the mercy of God expressed towards Zechariah and Elizabeth?
  3. How can the story of God intervening and rescuing Zechariah and Elizabeth from their distress by providing a child be an encouragement to us in the trials we face?
  4. How does this story inform our perspective of God’s character–of what God is like?
  5. In this life, sometimes God does rescue us and pull us out of various trials. At other times, he says to us like he did to the Apostle Paul “my grace is sufficient for you (2 Cor. 12:9).” How can meditating on Jesus’ death, resurrection and promised return solidify and strengthen our faith in those times when we have to endure suffering?

December 11, 2016 — Sermon Recap

Rejoicing and Trusting in God Our Savior

Jeremy Bell
December 11, 2016
Luke 1:39-56
Sermon Audio


The purpose of Luke’s gospel is that Theophilus and those like him “may have certainty about the things you have been taught (v.4).” The more certain we are that God is faithful to fulfill that which He’s promised, the more we will trust Him, and the more faith we’ll put in Him. Certainty transforms simple belief into real faith. And that’s why Luke wrote. He wanted to assure his friend that these things are true. Luke writes with a fulfillment motif. The assurance comes from knowing how God has already been faithful in the past, so we can be assured that He’ll be faithful in the future. Luke tries to impress that upon his readers, God is One who fulfills and always keeps His promises.

Main Theme: Blessed are they that believe the promises of God, for He will surely do it.

I. Mary’s Humility

  • We see Mary’s humility in her response to the Lord
    • v. 38 – “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord”
    • v. 48 – “for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant”
  • Mary knew that her life was not her own – she lived for her Master.
  • Mary rejoiced that God had taken note of her “humble estate.”
  • She took upon herself the posture of a servant.

II. Mary’s Faith

  • Elizabeth concludes: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” – v.45
  • Mary’s internal faith leads to external expression!  Her soul bursts out!, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

III. Mary’s Confidence

  • Mary has confidence that God will act on behalf of all people, and His judgments will be just and good
  • He will humble to exalted and exalt the humble – v.52
  • He will scatter the proud and bring down the mighty – v.51
  • He will strengthen His people – v.51
  • He will fill the hungry with good things – v.53
  • He will help His servant Israel – v.54

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • While we don’t venerate Mary, her example has much to teach us. As you consider her example in these verses, what most stands out to you?
  • Re-read chapter 1 verse 38 and chapter 2 verse 45. What was it about Mary’s faith that is so commendable?
  • Why can trusting and believing the promises of God at times be so difficult for us?
  • In what ways has God helped you to trust in Him over the years?
  • How did Mary model humility and submission to the will of God?
  • Humbly submitting to God’s will is not always easy. Often it is hard. In what ways are you needing God’s grace and help to humbly submit to His purposes and will?

December 4, 2016 — Sermon Recap

That You May Have Certainty

Chris Patton
December 4, 2016
Luke 1:1-38
Sermon Audio


The book of Luke was written, “…that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught (Luke 1:4).” Certainty is connected to faith. The more certain a person is that Jesus is fulfills God’s plan of salvation, the more inclined they will be to invest all of their faith, their trust, their confidence, their hope in Jesus and Jesus alone–even when life is perplexing and hard. Every single word of every single line recorded in Luke, including the familiar Christmas narrative before us, every word speaks of things that fulfill God’s sovereign, redemptive plan
that unfolds progressively throughout scripture–that is his plan to save and to rescue lost sinners like you and me. The purpose again of recounting these things is to inspire and strengthen faith in Jesus.

Main Theme: Because Jesus fulfills God’s redemptive plan, He is worthy of wholehearted faith and trust.

Scene I: Gabriel appears to Zechariah

  • Zechariah and Elizabeth’s Plight
  • Offering Incense: Zechariah’s Privilege
  • Zechariah’s Encounter With The Angel
  • Lessons About Unbelief
  • God’s Kindness to Provide
  • The Significance of John The Baptist

Scene II: Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary

  • Mary’s Encounter With Gabriel
  • Considering vs. 33 “of his kingdom there will be no end.”
  • As part of God’s saving plan the Son of the Most High, God Himself has invaded the sphere of human existence in order to establish, to set up His kingdom by rescuing lost sinners like you and me who are now citizens of heaven; citizens of his everlasting kingdom.
  • See Colossians 1:13-14


Jesus alone fulfills God’s saving/His redemptive plan and purpose. God’s plan continues to move forward to that Final Day when we will be seated at His table in glory. Because all of that is true, because we are certain of it — Jesus is worthy day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment of our wholehearted trust.

“People struggling with life in a fallen world often want explanation when what they really need is imagination….They need imagination – the ability to see what is real but is unseen.. They need to scan history and see God accomplishing his purpose.” — Paul Tripp

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • What lessons can we learn from Zechariah’s failure, at first, to believe God’s Word through the angel?
  • How would you define unbelief? Why is unbelief so dangerous ?
  • In what ways do you struggle with unbelief? That is, in what ways do you struggle to believe and hold fast to the promises of God as revealed in the Word of God.
  • What can we learn about God’s provision of a child for Zechariah and Elizabeth after all these years of waiting and praying?
  • What should our attitude be towards those areas of our lives that have been matters of prayer for years, yet we have yet to see God answer those prayers in the way we had hoped?
  • Scan through the dialog between Gabriel and Mary again. What can we learn about the identity of this Son Mary would soon bear?
  • How can knowing that God fulfilled His promise, given and repeated through the OT, that a Savior would come strengthen our faith as we look to the future?


November 27, 2016 — Sermon Recap

Rejoicing In Hope

Jeremy Bell
November 27, 2016
Romans 5:1-2
Sermon Audio


Good news has power to change your life. We heard the story of a wife hearing news that her husband, who was a POW, was alive and returning home. This news changed her life. Likewise, the good news of the gospel has power to change our lives.

Main Theme: Through faith in Christ’s sacrifice, Christians receive eternal peace, indestructible grace and inexhaustible hope.

I. Peace With God (v.1)

Our Sinful State Before God

The Reconciliation and Peace Jesus Brings

II. Grace To Stand (v.2)

Through Christ Jesus We Have Access To God

Clothed In Robes of Righteousness

III. Hope In the Glory of God (v.2)

God’s Glory Through His Son

God’s Glory On The Last Day

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Read through Romans 5:1-2. What aspect of the good news in this passage most thrills your heart causing you to rejoice?
  • What does it mean to be justified by faith?
  • Why is the doctrine of justification so important to for the believer to understand and grasp?
  • What does it mean for the Christian to live in the good of his/her justification?
  • How would you describe our relationship to God apart from the justification the Apostle Paul speaks of here?
  • What does it mean to have “access by faith into this grace in which we stand (v.2)” ? How do we live in the good of the access Jesus has provided for us?

November 13, 2016 — Sermon Recap

Our Mission and the Sacraments (Pt.1): Baptism

Jeremy Bell
November 13, 2016
Matthew 28:19
Sermon Audio


The sacraments of baptism and communion are meant strengthen us continually as we participate in Jesus’ mission. Today we focus on baptism. In the Great Commission, baptism is part and parcel to Jesus’ command to make disciples. 

I. The Value of The Sacraments

What is a sacrament?

A sacrament – “An outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.”   Bruce Milne

“A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, in which by sensible signs of the grace of God in Christ, and the benefits of the covenant of grace, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers, and these, in turn, give expression to their faith and allegiance to God.”    Louis Berkoff

How many sacraments are there?

The Biblical witness recognizes two sacraments that were instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (Matt. 28:19, 20;1 Cor. 11:23-25; John 13)

What Are the Elements of a Sacrament?

  • A Visible (Sensory) Element
  • A Definitive Activity Ordained by God
  • A Gracious Benefit Given to the Believer

II. Two Common Errors Regarding The Sacraments

  1. To Regard the Sacraments as Necessary for Salvation
  2. To Regard the Sacraments as Unnecessary

“The sacraments are not absolutely necessary unto salvation, but are obligatory in view of the divine precept. Willful neglect of their use results in spiritual impoverishment and has a destructive tendency, just as a willful and persistent disobedience to God has.”   Louis Berkhoff

III. The Sacrament of Baptism

What is baptism?

  • Baptism is the initial sign and seal of our trusting in Jesus Christ.  It signals the inward cleansing of our souls (Acts 22:16, I Cor. 6:11) by faith in Christ alone, and the Spirit-born regeneration of our souls (Titus 3:5)
  • We affirm that salvation is by faith in the death of Jesus Christ for our sins.  His resurrection from the dead was the seal of His victory over death, and we repent of our sins and place our faith in Him

What is the mode of baptism?

  • The practice of baptism in the New Testament is carried out through immersion in water.  Baptism by immersion is therefore the pattern we seek to follow.
  • The Greek word “baptizo” means “to plunge, dip, immerse” something in water.  According to scholars, this is the recognized and standard meaning of the term not just in the Scriptures but also in ancient Greek literature.
  • Texts: Mark 1:5, Mark 1:10, John 3:23 , Acts 8:36-39

What does baptism symbolize?

  • Baptism symbolizes our union with Christ, as we identify with him in his death (as we go under the water), and in his resurrection (as we are raised out of the water). See Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:11-12
  • Baptism clearly pictures one’s death to their old way of life and rising by God’s strength to their new life in Christ!

Who may be baptized?

  • All who are trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and are able to give a credible profession of faith are to be baptized. An infant is not yet capable of making a professing faith in Christ, therefore at GCC we do not baptize infants

Why should a person be baptized?

  • Jesus commands those who are his followers to be baptized   
    • Matthew 28:20
  • To identify with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection
    • Romans 6:3-4
  • To testify that they are disciples of Christ
    • Colossians 2:12

How does baptism encourage our faith?

Baptism serves as a shorthand means for remembering our very salvation and cleansing through faith in Christ.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Among other things, baptism symbolizes spiritual death and resurrection.
    • What is the significance of the fact that a believer has died to their old way of life in sin?
    • What is the significance of the fact that a believer has risen to new life in Christ?
  • How can remembering their baptism and what it symbolizes help the believer who is struggling to overcome a certain pattern of sin?
  • How can remembering their baptism help the believer is burdened and weighed down by a deep sense of condemnation?
  • As you consider your own baptism, what was meaningful to you about that time?