Thursday, November 10, 2011

Communion- Life and Death and Life

What a privilege to come to this place each Lord’s Day. In the world, we have tribulation, but thanks be to God, that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. In this place is peace, hope, rest, strength, refuge, healing, forgiveness, promise, joy, goodness.  For the believer, this meal holds out all of the promises of God. And we have the added blessing to look around the room and see that our brothers and sisters in Christ have their hands out to also receive the promises of God. These promises are given by God and all we can do is to simply rejoice in His goodness to us, eat, drink and be filled with wonder at God’s goodness.
But the promise is not without suffering. Our Jesus suffered but He was able to look through the cross and see the glory of God’s fulfilled promises on the other side. We do not come to this table without suffering. In it, we do show the Lord’s death. We remember and reveal suffering and even death. This is one reason we should also remember all those faithful saints who have died and many who were martyred for their faith.
But Jesus also rose from the dead. And that is also the glory of this meal. It shows the death of Christ for sinners but also reveals the life that He has bestowed on His Church through His Spirit and the promise of Resurrection life and the ultimate death of death. 

So, let us eat and drink remembering these things and let us also receive God’s goodness and promises by faith as we do so.

All Saints

Today, Sunday, November 6, is All Saints Day observed. On this day, we remember the innumerable saints that have gone on before us. This is a great cloud of witnesses. From faithful John the Baptist to the most recent martyr in the Muslim lands, God’s people have sealed their faith in blood.  We look to them and we thank them for the relative peace that we have inherited through their faithful sacrifice. Through their faithful witness, we have attained that which they only saw by faith. By faith, they saw even our day and looked through their sufferings for the joy to be revealed on the other side.
But there are still martyrs in the world. Christians are attacked even in Christian lands. Through disobedience, the Church is in retreat in lands where she was once on a faithful victory march. Repentance is in order in these places.

And in lands across the globe, Christian s are still murdered, martyred, for their faith. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, to name a few places in the news, Christians still seal their faith in Jesus, through the blessed privilege of martyrdom.  And there are many such places, no more obvious than in the Muslim lands.   

May we look to the example of these great saints who were and are great in faith and be exhorted, encouraged and inspired. Where we have grown weak of faith, let us repent and ask God to restore a righteous zeal within our hearts, a zeal that would even embrace death rather than ever forsake our precious Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Exhortation- Believe

The only way to fail to receive God’s blessings here and now in the world to come is through unbelief.  This is the great and ultimate sin. For those who believe God and continue to believe God all the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen!
          But for those who fail to enter into God’s promises through unbelief, shall in the end be cut off from God.  They shall be assigned a place with unbelievers, that utterly outside of God’s covenant, God’s promises.
          So, what is belief? What is faith? Shall we always be questioning whether we are in, or not? Shall we wonder if we believe enough?
          No, don’t start down that path, for even belief as small as a hard to see grain of mustard seed is enough faith to move mountains.
          The issue is not how much faith you have but how faithful God is. Do you believe that? Do you believe that He is able to save you from your sins? Do you believe that He is able to save your children? And theirs?
          Not only this but do you believe that He is willing to do so? And not based upon any merit that you have to bring to Him. It is not based upon your goodness but upon the goodness of God in Jesus Christ.  Do you believe that?
          If you do, then you are a child of promise, having entered in through faith, like Abraham. Rest assured.
          But if you are unsure, weak of faith, wavering in faith, or in need of God’s assurance, as we all are, I can only speak to you of God’s promise. We are all in the same bout, driven and tossed by the sea. Cast your cares, hopes, sins, dreams, doubts, lives and children upon Jesus Christ, and you will not be disappointed. God’s promises are for you and for your children. Do not doubt, but believe.

Communion Meditation- Believe

This meal is for all who believe. Each of us comes to God in faith believing what God has done for us through Jesus Christ; His death, burial, resurrection and reign.  Thus, we know that God is faithful and we can stand before Him through our faithful High Priest, Jesus. 

But we do not come here only as individuals. This meal is a public meal. It is a wedding feast for the Prince of Peace. He has called a bride to Himself and we all partake of the meal, the bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus, as the people of God. So, we come not only as individuals but as the collected body of believers.  

Furthermore, the body is collected together not merely of individuals.  God’s people come from families and the promises of God are spoken to families. Each member of the family partakes in the blessings of God by grace through faith. But God’s promises also flow downhill. God makes promises to us and to our children and all who are far off who are now brought near by the blood of Jesus, and to their children, forever. This is all according to God’s promise to all them that believe. 

We are exhorted to look at these elements, the bread and wine, to remember what God has done in Jesus and to believe that God will keep His promises to us and to our children. Amen!