“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

These are desperate words from a desperate man. You feel the intense struggle in his words. If you look closely, you can feel your struggle.

You may be surprised to find out these words came from one of the most influential Christian to ever live, the Apostle Paul.

Paul expressed what we have all felt. The truth is we have all uttered these words. All of us have buried our head in our hands and felt the crushing guilt of our sin. Why did I say that? What was I thinking? I can’t believe I did that.

The poem “Set Free” expresses the Christian’s struggle with sin, self, and our archenemy, Satan. The devil’s greatest tool tempts you to not believe what God has spoken over you. Your enemy wants you to doubt the truthfulness of your good God’s staggering love for and commitment to you.

Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon:

Come boldly O believer

For despite the whispers of Satan

And the doubting of thine own heart

Thou art greatly beloved

The disciple of Jesus has been set free by a conquering King who defeated death on his behalf. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s plan and lived a law-keeping life. Jesus completed his work on the cross and triumphantly declared, “It is Finished!” Three days later he was gloriously raised from the dead by the power of the Father. He then placed his foot on Satan’s throat and said, “I win!” God stills allows the tempter to be active in the world, but only under his sovereign authority. Christ imparts power to his followers, so they might overcome temptation and sin and live in obedience and victory!

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a) These words are from the same man. Ten verses later Paul declares that in Jesus there is glorious, stunning, and astonishing victory.

The Christian has been empowered to obey Christ now, and one day as we gaze on Him, we will be transformed into His likeness and finally and fully be set free!

This poem expresses our present power and our future hope. Christian you have been “Set Free!”

Set Free

Lord we fail you time and again

Temptation is strong and we succumb to sin[i]

The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak[ii]

Satan tempts us, if only Christ, we would seek

We long to be satisfied in things other than Jesus[iii]

If only we would realize, your grace has freed us.[iv]

Lift our heads and may we see[v]

Our Savior dying on that tree[vi]

His blood poured out, redemption has come

The price has been paid; Jesus has won[vii]

Abiding in His love, this is the key[viii]

Treasuring Jesus, O now we can see[ix]

His love is eternal; His grace is free

Our sins have been cast in the depth of the sea[x]

Freedom is yours as you gaze on your King[xi]

Jesus has told us, everything to Him we may bring[xii]

One day, sin will be no more, and our Lord we will see

In His presence, we will gloriously be set free.[xiii]

[i] Romans 7:15 [ii] Matthew 26:41 [iii] Ecclesiastes 1:14 [iv] Galatians 5:1, John 8:36, Romans 8:1-2 [v] Numbers 21:8-9; John Newton, Letters of John Newton: Wonderful are the effects when a crucified, glorious Savior is presented by the power of the Spirit, in the light of the Word, to the eye of faith. This sight destroys the love of sin, heals the wounds of guilt, softens the hard heart, and fills the soul with peace, life, and joy. And makes obedience practical, desirable, and pleasant. If we could see this more, we should look less at other things. [vi] John 19:30 [vii] Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Galatians 3:13-14 [viii] John 15:9 [ix] Matthew 13:44 [x] Micah 7:19 [xi] Numbers 21:8-9 [xii] 1 Peter 5:6-7, Matthew 11:28-30 [xiii] 1 John 3:2-3

The inspired text of 1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I want to zero in on one arresting thought in this passage. Peter speaks of believer’s offering “spiritual sacrifices.”

The context speaks of believers as a “holy priesthood.” The primary function of the Old Testament priest, as they ministered in the tabernacle and later in the temple, was to offer animal sacrifices. These sacrifices were for atonement for the sins of the Old Testament people. When Jesus inaugurated the new covenant, animal sacrifices were no longer necessary. The only sacrifices remaining for the believer to offer up were spiritual sacrifices. That begs the question, what are spiritual sacrifices?

Spiritual sacrifices are “offerings” or “sacrifices” a follower of Jesus offers to the Lord. Let me share with you six acceptable spiritual sacrifices found in the New Testament.

Your Bodies - Romans 12:1-2. We are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is acceptable to God. We are to crawl up on the altar and offer to our Father our complete body. As someone once said, the only problem with live sacrifices is they can crawl off the altar. Every day offer yourself to the Lord.

Your Praise - Hebrews 13:15. We are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” Our verbal praise from a grace-filled heart is a spiritual offering unto God.

Your good works and possessions - Hebrews 13:16. Let me quote this verse, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” The believer’s good works and generous desire to share what God has given to Him is a sacrifice offered to God.

People you have led to Christ - Romans 15:15-16. This invigorating and encouraging passage speaks of Paul’s offering of Gentile believers to the Lord as an acceptable offering. People you lead to the Lord are a spiritual sacrifice to our rescuing and saving Father.

Your financial giving to the Lord’s work - Paul refers to monetary gifts that the church at Philippi sent him through Epaphroditus. These gifts are described as a “fragrant offering and a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”

Your prayers - Revelation 8:3-4. In these verses the prayers of the saints are seen rising unto God. The unbelievable thought in these verses is that the incense cloud of the saints’ prayers rises into the presence of God. Your prayers, child of God, are a spiritual sacrifice offered to the Lord.

Today, my encouragement to you is to offer spiritual sacrifices to your loving, faithful, redeeming, and gracious Heavenly Father.

Updated: Jul 20

Dear Church Family,

Isaiah 40:28 declares, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”

We serve a sovereign and strong God “who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” God’s church is filled with hope!

I am excited to announce that we will begin regathering for worship on June 7. Last week I went on Facebook Live and laid out for you our regathering plan. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the video, please go to the FBCZ Facebook page. It does give a number of important details.

This printed copy is a succinct summary of our plan. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the church, which is now open again!

I trust and pray that you are finding strength in the Lord during these uncertain days. I think of 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Reading this verse is like standing under a spiritual waterfall and allowing the love and care of God to wash over our souls. Follower of Jesus be strengthened today in the grace of the Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Paul

Click here to read the "Worship Guidelines" we're following as we Regather

Worship Guidelines
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  8:30 AM Worship

  9:45 AM LifeGroups

11:00 AM Worship

11:00 AM Livestream

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