My husband’s exhortation as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper together last Sunday was about how God loves leftovers and makes a point with them. Scripture recounts the exact number of leftovers in the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand. There were lots of leftovers. We have leftovers every week after breaking the bread. This symbolizes the atonement. God never runs out of grace and forgiveness. There is enough for the whole world.
A few tidbits from the last two sermons:
True prophets love the world without trusting it; false prophets trust the world without loving it.
Your heart should be lower than your knees when you bow down.
When leaders get above themselves and let their hearts go to seed, God does not mind taking them down. God is fully willing to overthrow His appointed leaders. Creative destruction is something He knows how to do.
We like comfort more than holiness.
Sometimes God crosses His arms to bless, just like Jacob did when he blessed the sons of Joseph.
My husband has started preaching through 1 Samuel, and just so you know, you can listen to sermons here at our church website. Or if you want to skip having to click a button, just go here. I meant to post some highlights from last week’s, but like so many blog posts, they are on my brain, but they never get out from rambling around in there and on to the page. But now I’m determined to give you the three main points of this week’s sermon.
1. We cannot peer into hearts to see who is born again. But the Bible says the works of the flesh are manifest (drunkenness, etc.) and the fruit of the Spirit is also manifest. We don’t have to look into hearts because we can see the actions. So if someone calls himself a Christian, but is carousing around town, it is not peering into his heart to be concerned about his spiritual state.
2. The sons of Belial are not Belialites, as though they belong to some political party. They are sons. There is a covenantal connection. So the bottom line is, “Who’s your daddy? Is it Christ or is it Belial?” Your baptism says who your Father ought to be. How does your life match up?
3. God loves the gospel, and He loves the gospel story. He has promised that His gospel will prevail in the earth. He is always either pouring the champagne, in times of great blessing, or He is shaking the bottle. Sometimes in our unbelief, we wonder why He doesn’t pop the cork. But if we believe His story, He will be soon pouring it out again. Hannah had the faith to believe, even when she saw God shaking the bottle. We must believe and ask God to pour it out now. This is His pattern. This is the arc of the story that He loves best. He has been doing this from the beginning, and He will keep doing it until the end of the world.
P.S. If you are a parent of little people, you might want to listen to the two sermons on Parenting Young People that are listed as well. Oh, my, yes. They were wonderful.
Every year my husband gives a “State of the Church” sermon around the first Sunday of the new year. This past Lord’s Day the sermon was about the Church at large, and the steady bearing rate of the secular state and the Church. This means we are on a collision course, due to collide in the near future. In this fallen world, we will always have to deal with competing words from competing lords. And we cannot serve two masters, so these competing words will always be on a collision course. The Church must lead the way in declaring that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is not the Silent Lord. He is Lord of all. His Word is authoritative over all things, and so the Church must not be reluctant to confess Jesus in the public square. If the Church is too timid to do this, no wonder we are losing our liberties. You’ll just have to listen to this one.
And, while I’m at it, I may as well plug a recent post of his on transparency. It’s very helpful.
Yesterday’s sermon was on “joy unspeakable and full of glory” from 1 Peter 1:6-9. The joy Paul speaks of here is not the froth at the top of the wave, but a joy in the midst of significant trials and testing. God is the goldsmith who pulls the gold ore out of the mine and begins to remove the dross by means of the fire. And then the gold is shaped by the goldsmith, which requires some pounding! But this is not because the gold is hated, but because it is being formed into a beautiful crown. Faith helps us to see the process of testing as a means of purification, a token of God’s love for us, and that enables us to rejoice in the trials. The gold of our faith is precious to God, and He removes the dross because He is making us into something wonderful.
The sentimental view of Christmas can’t deal with trials; this view wants Christmas to be trouble-free, a peaceful zone of silver bells and hot cider. But the first Christmas was a trial for Joseph and Mary, and it was certainly a trial for all the mothers who lost their sons to the sword of Herod’s jealousy and envy as he tried to destroy the Messiah.
So we should view our celebrations with the eye of Christian realism, knowing that a beautiful snowfall does not remove our sins. Only our Savior can make our hearts a suitable place for Christmas celebrations, hearts that understand the Savior’s mission to destroy sin. Knowing that He is dispensing our trials with wisdom and love, that each one is perfectly suited for each of us as He shapes us into crowns, gives us joy unspeakable and allows us to partake of his fullness of glory! And that is what enables us to say with faith, “Merry Christmas!”
From Psalm 57:
When David was in the back of the cave, in the dark, he cries out to God with strong faith: God shall send forth his mercy and his truth (vs. 3). He praises God from the recesses of the cave: Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth (vs. 5). When David is under a cloud of trouble, he trusts in God and makes his refuge in another shadow: in the shadow of thy wings (vs. 1). Praise begins before deliverance. Praise begins in the midst of trouble. Trouble reveals in whom we put our trust. David has resolve; his heart is fixed (vs. 7). He is anchored and steady, so he sings and gives praise, waking up the dawn with his psaltery and harp (vs. 8). Troubles are God’s ordinary means of teaching His people, so we can seek His glory and exalt His name, trusting Him even as our troubles approach….always and for everything giving thanks.