December 11th – Sermon Plus+

The Wonder of Advent: Mary’s Response to Christ’s Birth


“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Sermon Plus.001Have you lost some of the wonder of the story of Christmas? If so, how can you reclaim the wonder in God inserting himself into human history?

“And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  – Luke 2:18-19 ESV –

Everyone was in wonder at what they heard, but Mary treasured and pondered these things in her heart. What are some ways that you can create time and space to personally to dedicate to pondering what Jesus has done for us this Christmas season? How can you lead your family or friends in making room to be in wonder of God’s story?

There was about a 400 year gap between the last old testament prophet and the coming of Christ. After such a long time of silence all of a sudden an Angel appears and announces the coming of a new Kingdom. Imagine being around in the time that Mary and Joseph got the news that they would be parenting the messiah, and even stranger than that the Angel tells her that she would give birth as a virgin. Her first response in Luke 1:34 is: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”.

Would you be able to say that God is faithful after 400 years? 

Is there anything in your life right now that feels like you have been waiting this long to see something change (sin, physical issues, broken relationships…)?

The angel’s response to Mary is fitting one in Luke 1:35-37: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

The angel tells Mary that with God all things are possible. How does this statement resonate with you? 

Is there any place in your life, family, or community that you have limited what God is able to do?

Application/Our Response to the wonder of Christmas:

Jesus came to earth not just to be born as a baby, but also to grow up and sacrifice himself as a ransom for many.

Do you believe your sin is serious enough that Jesus had to come and endure the cross?

God knows every detail of your life including your sin and yet somehow still loves you and calls you his child. Does this cause you to be in wonder?

How does the wonder of advent lead you to a place of submission and surrender?

How does the wonder of advent lead you to worship?

In order for us to believe in Christ in Smyrna, DE the message had to get here from Jerusalem over the past 2000 years. Wonder should lead us to enter into God’s mission. How is God calling to you engage in his mission of making him known to the world this advent season?

Building Offering Dates

We’ve selected a few Sundays we will take an offering specifically for the building project. You can give to the fund anytime by marking “building fund” on the memo line of your check, but these Sundays will provide us the opportunity to focus specifically on the building fund.

Here are the dates:

  • October 30th
  • April 30th (2017)
  • July 30th (2017)
  • October 29th (2017)

Trinity 101

 

If you’re new to Trinity we invite you to join our Trinity 101 class on October 21-22. This class will meet 7-9pm on Friday evening, and 9-11am on Saturday morning. We do not typically offer childcare for this class. If that’s an issue for you please let us know and we’ll do our best to work something out.

In this class we will go over our core beliefs, and how those beliefs are expressed in our church life together. It’s a great place to ask questions and learn about what Trinity Church is all about. It’s the place to be if you’re interested in becoming a member, or even if you just would like to find out more.

Please register if you plan to attend.


Trinity 101

Location: Trinity Office – 8 South Main St. Smyrna, DE 19977
Friday, October 21st, 7-9pm
Saturday, October 22nd, 9-11am



September 4th – Sermon Plus+

Gospel Renewal Romans 12.001Sermon Summary

On Sunday we continued to look at how the Gospel renews us from Romans 12.  In previous weeks we’ve seen how the gospel transforms us into a people who willingly offer our whole lives as worship to God (Rom. 12:1-2).  We’ve seen how the gospel creates a culture of service (Rom. 12:3-8).   Finally, we are looking at how the gospel renews us as a community of genuine love.  We looked at part 1 (Rom. 12:9-11) Sunday and we will finish part 2 (Rom. 12:12-21) next Sunday.

We saw that Romans 12 is actually the reversal of the fall of mankind.  In Romans 1:18ff Paul describes the fall of humanity in three (at least) ways: (1) Mankind exchanged the worship of God for the worship of creation, (2) mankind’s mind was corrupted through this idolatry, and (3) mankind’s behavior fell into all manner of unrighteousness.  In Romans 12 we find that reversed: instead of worshipping idols, we now offer our lives in worship to God through Christ; instead of a corrupt mind, we have minds that are transformed and renewed; and, instead of all manner of unrighteousness, our lives are now filled with the fruit of love.

From this comparison we made the very important note that this means that the church is actually a redeemed, renewed humanity.  We are the New Creation now, although not yet perfected.  We are to be a witness to the reality that Jesus is present and His Kingdom has come.  Therefore, the list of attributes given in Romans 12:9-21 is not a list of how to get into God’s kingdom.  Nor is it just some general list of “Christian” virtues.  Rather, it’s a description of what it means to be a member of a renewed human community in Christ.

We looked at four expressions of this.  A New Creation community is marked by: (1) Genuine Love, (2) Righteousness, (3) Brotherly Love, and (4) Zealous Service.  Of course, these markers overlap with one another and influence one another.  For example, we explored how righteousness and love are actually compatible, not at odds with one another, because love always seeks what is good and right for others. We noted that a New Creation community will abhor evil, but cling to the good.  Finally, we saw that the Presence of God’s Spirit ought to cause us to “be on fire” or to “boil”.  The same Spirit that infused the first creation is not at work in us as the New Creation; therefore, we must be lively and zealous.  However, this  zeal is to be put to good use, to “serve the Lord.”  Zeal can be quite self-centered, but zeal that is from the Spirit will result in serving the body of Christ.  May this very Spirit help us to live as a New Creation community!


Application Questions

  1. “Never in the NT does the author tell us what to do before he tells us what God has done for us.” How should this shape our mindset when it comes to checking things off our lists?
  2. Abhor what is evil and cling to that which is good. When it comes to entertainment, do you abhor that which is evil and cling to what’s good? What would that look like for you? How can you tell if you’re dull and unresponsive toward evil?
  3. Outdo one another in showing honor – How can you show honor toward a brother or sister in the body this week?
  4. What are some things that prevent you from “boiling in the Spirit”?

August 28th – Sermon Plus+

Gospel Renewal Romans 12.001Sermon Summary

Last Sunday we looked at Romans 12:3-8 together. We’re right in the middle of a 3 week series on Gospel Renewal from Romans chapter 12. This sermon was on the topic of service. We are family, we are learners, and we are servant-missionaries. One of our core identities as disciples of Jesus and members of the local church is that we serve one another.

It’s all by grace!

Paul begins this passage by acknowledging that any gift that’s given in the body is given by the grace of God. This grace gives us what we don’t deserve and what we could never earn. There is no Christian ministry that’s done outside the umbrella of God’s free grace. In addition to giving gifts of grace, God also assigns a measure of faith to each member to exercise that gift. We understood measure of faith in reference to stewardship or a trusteeship. This is the idea – God has great wealth, a great trust, and from it he shares with his body appropriately the measure of that trust that is required to use their gift(s). So God both gives the gift and the ability to use that gift for His glory and for the good of the body. It’s all from Him, through Him, and for Him. Therefore, to Him be all the glory!

There were two main points to the sermon. First, the grace and mercy of the gospel renews the way we view ourselves. Paul instructs us not to think too highly of ourselves, but rather to think of ourselves with sober judgment. We should not be puffed up with pride, but instead we should be reasonable, honest, and humble in our self-perspective. In order for us to have any prayer of serving others well, we can not have an inflated view of ourselves. We must repent of pride, be reasonable as we view ourselves, and then we can begin to consider serving others.

Second, the gospel renews how we view others. When we forget about grace, we tend to view others as a threat or obstacle. An inflated view of self leads us to be selfish, and overly possessive of our things and time. Grace on the other hand leads us to serve others sacrificially. All that we have comes from God, therefore we are free to share. God has given every member of the body gifts to share. He hasn’t just gifted a select few, he has gifted all! Young or old, male or female, young or experienced Christian, all are gifted for service in the body. The conclusion is simple, if all are given gifts – Let us use them!


Application Questions

1. On Sunday we learned that the prerequisite for serving one another, is not thinking higher of ourselves than we ought. Practically speaking, how can we go about thinking of ourselves more appropriately?
2. On Sunday we learned that Christ requires humility from us before we can serve him(Rom 12:3). We also learned that He was not exempt from this standard in that He humbled himself becoming a man that He might die for us. (Phil 2) What does this truth teach us about God?
3. It’s easy to see the gifting in other people, especially with ‘up-front’ gifts like preaching/teaching, singing and playing instruments.
Are there any other gifts that bless the body of Christ? Can you identify needs in our body that your gifts meet?

August 21st – Sermon Plus+

Gospel Renewal Romans 12.001Sermon Summary

For the next few Sundays we’re going to be exploring Romans 12.  Specifically, we want to see how the gospel of Christ leads to renewal in the life of a Christian and in the life of a Christian community.  Last week we saw how the gospel renewal results in transformed lives.  Next week we’ll look at how the gospel renews us for service.  Finally, in two weeks we’ll see how the gospel renews us as a community of brotherly love. Each of these messages corresponds to the identities that we wear as Christians: we are Learners who are being transformed into the image of Christ.  We are Servant Missionaries who use our gifts for Christ.  And, we are one Family in Christ.

In regards to last Sunday we saw how the gospel, or in other words – the mercies of God, transforms us.  We examined this under three headings: What are God’s Mercies? What Do We Do in Light of God’s Mercies? How Can We Live Out God’s Mercies?

In the first category we highlighted our need for mercy.  This realization is challenging because we live in a culture that does not clearly define right and wrong; therefore, the concept of mercy gets muddied. Our need for mercy is often overlooked as well because of our own tendency to justify ourselves.  Despite these obstacles Romans 1-3 clearly points to our need for mercy, but it also points to the joyful reality that God is willing to show it to us!  Of the many mercies presented in Romans 1-11 we highlighted four: the mercy of justification in Christ, the mercy of reconciliation in Christ, the mercy of glorification with Christ, and our inheritance in Christ.

All of that mercy comes to us freely; we receive it as a gift by faith.  And it comes to us at the cost of the life of Christ! What should we do in response? We should offer our entire being, body and soul, to Him as an offering of worship.  That conclusion is as simple as it is challenging.  In this second section we saw that all of life is an expression of worship based on the past, present, and future mercy that we receive from God.

In order to live a sacrificial life of worship to Christ we noted that it is necessary for us to be transformed by these mercies.  This was the final move in the sermon.  Justification by grace through faith in Christ must change our hearts.  It moves us from pride and self-sufficiency to humility. If we’ve been reconciled and united to Christ, then righteousness and holiness must emanate from our lives.  And, if we have such a glorious inheritance, then we can have hope even if we are groaning and suffering.  The mercy of Christ makes us a humble community, a holy community, and a hopeful community.

May this glorious gospel bring renewal to us all!


Application Questions

  1. What are some ways that you can continually remind yourself of your need for God’s mercy?
  2. How would an awareness of God’s mercy on you change the way you respond to correction?
  3. In light of God’s mercy, are there areas in which you are holding back from presenting yourself as a sacrifice of worship to the Lord?

Recommended Reading – The ESV Study Bible

Recommended ReadingThe ESV Study Bible hit the shelves nearly 8 years ago and it remains one of the best tools out there. A good study Bible contains a reliable translation of the Scriptures joined with articles, notes, and other resources to help you understand what you’re reading.

Here’s what we love about the ESV Study Bible:

A Reliable Translation – The goal of the ESV translation is provide a modern English translation that follows a “word for word” translation philosophy. The result is a text that’s easier to understand than older translations while retaining Biblical accuracy. No translation is perfect, but the ESV is a solid choice, and it’s the one that we use at Trinity.

Book Introductions – Prior to each book of the Bible you’ll find 3-5 pages of introductory material. You can quickly find information to help you answer some of these important questions. Who wrote this book? When was it written and what was going on at that time? What’s the purpose and theme of this particular book? What should I be looking for as I read this book? In just a few pages you can easily find this valuable information to help you better understand what you’re about to read.

Text Notes – As you’re reading the Scriptures you often come across details or terms that you might not be familiar with. Underneath the text you’ll see notes on some of these issues. The notes include definitions and brief commentary statements. There are also many cross-references included to help you compare Scripture with Scripture.

Visuals – The ESV Study Bible is loaded with maps, charts, drawing, and other visuals to give you a broad view of things.

Articles – Most editions include a series of theological articles that serve as an introduction to different areas of theology. Having all these articles in one spot provides you with a valuable reference resource.

esvsb-featureThe ESV Study Bible is certainly not the only study Bible out there, but it’s theologically sound and loaded with resources. If you’re looking to grow in your understanding of the Scriptures, you’ll definitely want to check it out. There are many different styles and editions, everything from ebook to hardcover to leather, personal size to giant print. You can find them on Amazon or at the WTS Bookstore.

 


 

August 7th – Sermon Plus+

Sermon Summary

Matthew 2:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

On Sunday, Pastor Fran Lerro preached the seventh sermon in our series diving into the Beatitudes. There were two main emphases in the sermon:

  1. Jesus, the Ultimate Peacemaker, has made peace between us and God through His death on the cross.
  2. Because of the cross, we have received the mantle of peacemaker, through the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5)

We dealt with the reality that everyone wants peace, we want freedom from opposition and tranquility, but also that society’s idea of peace is very shallow. Countless peacekeeping efforts have sprung from this secular, humanistic paradigm, but they have all failed. We looked at some compelling statistics, tracking all of the recorded armed conflicts that have taken place over the past 60 years. This data made it clear that our ‘peacemaking’ has been ineffective.

We then examined the reality that only God gives peace. We spent time looking through the OT for examples of peacemaking and found, that God gave Israel peace when they were obedient to His commands. And by contrast, in times of disobedience, they experienced no peace. This made clear the point that horizontal peace with others is only the by­product of vertical peace with God . This truth we followed into the NT as Jesus made peace during His earthly ministry. He made peace for Zacchaeus and for the demon­possessed, who then turned and became peacemakers themselves. This is the model for Christians, Christ the ultimate Peacemaker, met the righteous requirements of the law for us, died to take on Himself our punishment, and has sent the promised Holy Spirit that we might be peacemakers in the Earth. As we experience peace with God through Christ, we are empowered to make peace for others through the Gospel in the power of the Spirit.


Application Questions

1. We learned on Sunday that God is the God of peace, and that He has authority to give peace in the midst of any circumstance… Do you believe this truth? Have you seen this promise in your own life?
2.We learned that we’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation, helping people to have peace with God. Who are you currently praying for that they would be reconciled to God? When is the last time that you shared the Gospel with someone who is in conflict with God?
3. We heard Sunday that Jesus is the ultimate Peacemaker. In what ways has he brought peace between you and God the Father?

July 24th – Sermon Plus+

Sermon Summary – Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

This past Sunday we heard the fifth sermon from our Beatitudes summer series.

Chris Lindsay shared Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”  He first investigated the concept of mercy from the OT. We saw from Scripture that biblical mercy had at least two expectations.

  1. Biblical mercy or (chesedh in the Hebrew) entailed showing steadfast, unconditional covenant faithfulness. (Psalm 136; Lam. 3:1-24; Ex. 34:6-7)
  2. Biblical mercy also entailed doing justice for the poor and oppressed. (Prov. 19:17; Zech 7; Micah 6:8)

So, when Jesus pronounces this Beatitude he means both of these dynamics. Mercy is the motive, desiring to show steadfast unconditional love, because we have received incredible mercy from God. Doing justice is the action: being generous and correcting oppression —  both of these are the inevitable expression of having received this mercy from God.

After exploring the mercy and justice from the OT, we looked at the mercy and justice of the cross. As Ex. 34:6-7 declares, God is merciful and gracious, abounding in chesedh, but he will not overlook sin. As the Scripture declares, he will not fail to punish sin. This classic paradox of God’s unfailing mercy, and his relentless wrath, found it’s full resolution in historic and cataclysmic event: the Cross. At the cross, God’s fulfills his mercy and justice by pouring out the fullness of His wrath for sin, on His Son, instead of us, the covenant breakers. This reality then shapes our mercy showing. When we remember God’s mercy for us, we see how He came down and engaged in the life of men. He didn’t isolate himself; He didn’t stay in Heaven; He came to us. And because we bear His image in the earth, we are responsible for showing His character in the world, by making disciples, and doing justice in the name of Jesus Christ.


Reflection Questions

  1. Is it clear to you how the concepts of mercy and justice are linked? Recall Chris’s illustration of Jim and Bob.  What do we owe (justice) our Christian brothers and sisters – especially the downtrodden? Our neighbors – especially the marginalized?
  2. Are you motivated to show mercy to others? If not, why? If yes, why? What can you do in community with others to cultivate desires for mercy showing?
  3. Chris expressed a real desire for us simply to be aware of the need/oppression around us.  He called it the “new car effect.”  Can you identify any needs in your immediate surroundings? What could you/we do to engage?
  4. Chris gave a powerful example of how one family wisely invested their resources for adoption from Haiti.  They did not simply “give money and get their kids.” How can you/we grow in wisely caring for those in need?

July 10th – Sermon Plus+

Sermon Summary

Beatitudes Logo No Ref.001Last Sunday Chris Lindsay preached to us concerning Jesus’s Beatitude “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”  He provided some rich, necessary background context, which gave us insight into what meekness is and how it can be misunderstood.  In Jesus’s day there were four (at least) groups who were seeking to inherit the blessing of God.  In other words these four groups were trying to “inherit the earth”.  The Pharisees were seeking to show their strength and worthiness through pristine Law-keeping.  The Sadducees were seeking to show their strength and worthiness through their political alliances with Rome.  The zealots were seeking to show their strength and
worthiness through military action. And, the Essenes sought to show their worthiness by separating/isolating themselves from the “corrupt” society.  The problem was that each of these groups was showing their own strength and worthiness in order to inherit the promises of God, when, in fact, the promises are obtained through meekness.  To demonstrate this concept more fully Chris described meekness with three checkpoints: the Witness to Meekness in the OT, the Faithful Witness to Meekness in Christ, and Our Witness to Meekness.

Chris showed us from Psalm 37 (Jesus actually is quoting this Psalm in the Beatitude), the life of Moses, and Simeon and Anna that meekness is not demonstrating one own strength and worthiness, but rather trusting God to act on our behalf.  This often involves waiting on the Lord. While these OT examples were helpful in seeing what meekness is, each of them failed to fully realize the promise of inheriting the earth.  They leave us looking for more.

The second check point was the witness of Christ to meekness.  Chris showed us that Jesus truly fulfilled the essence of this beatitude.  Jesus was the ultimate meek One.  He was totally righteous, yet He was mistreated.  However, He did not seek to vindicate Himself, but instead waited on His Father to vindicate Him, which He dramatically did through the resurrection.  Chris showed us from Philippians 2:6-11 that because of this meekness Jesus is the One who has inherited the earth: He is the King of kings.  He supported this from Revelation 5 where Jesus has authority to take the scroll of the Earth – the title deed to the earth.  So, if we are to inherit the earth we don’t do it in our own strength, but humbly rely on Christ’s work.  We must abandon our own righteousness and resources and meekly receive Christ’s offer of inheritance by grace.

Finally, Chris challenged us to live lives of meekness in the power of the Spirit.  The Spirit Himself is the first installment of our inheritance.  In other words, we are already inheriting the earth as Jesus promised through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He claims us as God’s own children and He guarantees our fulfillment of it.  In the mean time, between the “now” and the “not yet” we are to exercise meekness in all of our relationships, trusting God to act on our behalf in all of life.

 

Application Questions:

  1. In what ways would meekness shape and change the way you act with those in your family?  Husbands, is meekness the same as being passive? If not, what’s the difference? Wives, how does meekness show itself in 1 Peter 3:1-6?
  2. How should meekness shape our interactions online?
  3. What does it mean that the Spirit is already our inheritance? What does it mean that He guarantees the fullness of our future inheritance? How can we live in the Spirit now in a way that show meekness?
  4. In days when the church is facing increasing pressure from the culture how can we cultivate a Spirit of meekness in our public witness? (See Titus 3:1-5)