Sunday, August 26, 2012

Life and then Food

We are told that, just after creating Adam, God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed, it shall be food for you” (Gen 1:29).

This is a paradigm of how God deals with us.  He creates and He feeds.  He brings to life and then He provides the sustenance for our lives to continue and grow.

Your baptism is the declaration of the life of the Spirit given to You – a gift of new life.  You are to walk in that baptism, according to that baptism, by faith – and even that faith is a gift of God.  Nevertheless, you are to walk in it by faith.
And this Table is provided for those of you who have life in the Spirit, the new-birth in Jesus Christ.  Having been given life by faith, you are now to receive the sustenance and nurture of your life, which also is Jesus Christ, by faith.  Always remember, you did not earn your new life and you do not earn the right to be at this Table.  This is all a gift – it is all and always grace – from beginning to end.  Believe and come.

Jesus Reigns Over All

When we come to worship the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as revealed to us in the Scripture, we must realize that what we are doing is political.  It is not partisan, as though it was democratic or republican, independent or green – but it is political.

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered,” Luke tells us – and in the same chapter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are told that an angel said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

 But Who is this Christ, this anointed one?  Well, it is declared, as we declare in the Apostles’ Creed that He now sits at the right hand of God the Father.  John tells us that there it was and is and will ever be declared that Jesus Christ is “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.  We are told that “out of his mouth goes a sharp sword that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:  King of kings and Lord of lords.”  As He took the throne in heaven, a throne over all heaven and all the earth, there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.  And He shall reign forever and ever.”

 So what does this all mean?  This means that we are coming to the throne of the King of the world right now at His summons.  And He has summoned the world.  To not bow the knee, to not submit your power, your authority, your life and riches to this King now is to be in rebellion to the One who is reconciling the world to Himself.  City, State and National governments, all ecclesiastical bodies, and every family is required to render worship and praise and to the bow the knee publicly and from the heart with gladness to this Jesus we have come to worship.

The elections are coming and so of course this has ramifications for us in civil government.  But today, do not harden your heart as they did in the wilderness.  Today and right now – the application is for you as well.  Have you and will you in all things bow the knee to this great and mighty Savior?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Covered - Psalm 32

Psalm 32:1 says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered..." and in the NKJV, verse 5 says, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden..."  But the ESV makes the Hebrew word connection clearer, "...and I did not cover my iniquity..."  The word, ka-sa, is the same in both verses.

And here is the point of the Psalm, wrapped up in this use of the verb.  When we try to cover our sins, as Adam and Eve tried to cover their ashamed nakedness, nothing is covered at all.  There is no forgiveness.  But when we come to the Lord acknowledging our sins, showing them to Him, and not covering them, then they are covered by Him, just as He covered Adam and Eve Himself with the skins of animals.

There is another way to say this.  When we say to God, "I didn't do that," He will say to us, "Oh, but you did do that."  But when we say, repenting as we speak, "I did that," He will say to us, "You did not do that.  It is gone.  It is covered."  And He will not keep track.  He will not keep a hidden account.  For your sin has been covered in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Baptisms - Uncle William and Nephew Bobby Lee

In this multi-family baptism this morning, we do see many facets of the rite of baptism being declared and reaffirmed.  God is in the business of saving people, individual by individual.  There is no presumption to be had that you are saved because you are born into a covenantal family, a Christian family.  Both William and Robert need to be brought to the Lord for baptism at His command because both, even though brought up in a covenant family, need themselves to be saved by grace through faith in the perfect atoning work of Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t matter if your parents or even if your parents and grandparents have been saved.  Each one of these boys must also be saved.

But covenantal faithfulness for families is, at its heart, promise believing.  And these baptisms are a declaration by the believing parents and grandparents that God has made promises to them and to their children and grandchildren.  The work of baptism is a work of God and a response of faith by promise-believers before the great Promise Keeper – our Father and His Son

And with this baptism comes vows made by the parents of the children that they will love, train, and discipline these boys according to the instructions of God’s Word.  Being born into a covenant home does not take away your status of being conceived in the first Adam.  Baptism declares that you have been transferred to a new humanity, another Adam, and a perfect future-grace.  But with the promises comes the declaration that sanctification will come with it.  These two boys are anything but perfect and over time I promise that they will prove me true.  But God has promised that your training of them by faith and in faith will be blessed by His work – a perfect work.
God is setting these boys apart for His service, for His kingdom, and to the praise of the glory of His grace.  You, as their parents and family, are called on to walk accordingly even as we command these two saints, brothers with us in Christ, to do the same.