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Archive for November, 2010

God’s Gifts

“First Corinthians 12 is but one of several passages that tell us God has given at least one spiritual gift to every single person whom He calls, which gift is to be used to build up the body of Christ. Whether the gift is encouragement, teaching, hospitality, discernment, or any of the host of other talents granted to the Lord’s people, there is no such thing as a believer who has no spiritual gift. This means that we are in sin if we do not use our gifts, for loving one another involves using our gifts to benefit others (I John 3:16-18). Pastor Jeremy encouraged each person at Legacy to look at their giftedness and where it may apply to build up the body of Christ. Let’s consider what each of us can do to carry out the great commission. May God bless us with His grace and mercy as we strive to fulfill this command.

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The Bible is a treasure of inestimable worth, preserved through the ages so that it might be the steady and cherished companion of God’s people.  To that end, the believer is commanded to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the truths therein, and to saturate his/her mind with their unfailing instructions.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3) said the apostle to the church at Colossae.

The word of God is, of course, the reflection of the pristine mind of God, and therefore ought to arrest our devout attention. It ought to be desired as the source of our nourishment and growth in Christ.  “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Ptr. 2) To be sure, those pilgrims who have shone with the brightest luster for Christ, those who radiate joy inexpressible are those who have loved and esteemed most the word of God.  And why would we not cherish this inexhaustible treasure??  It is the message from God Himself pertaining to the gravest of issues.  It expounds an imminent judgment, thus soberly and authoritatively revealing Jehovah as an infinitely holy, deathless, sovereign, omnipotent Spirit to whom all must appear and give an account in order to be actualized into an eternal state that can never, ever be altered.  So too the word of God discloses the adorable Christ, reveals a second life, uncovers an eternal world, and depicts a colony of redeemed humanity triumphing in the fullness of joy in the glory of the presence of their Savior for all eternity.  What sort of treasure is this book compassionately preserved for our discovery!

To that end, the Lord Jesus said “It is these [the Scriptures] that bear witness of me”.  (Jn. 5:39) Oh, how important is such a statement by our Lord!  The word of God guides a man  to eternal life, diffusing life-giving light when made effectual by the Spirit of God, to reveal Jesus Christ as He alone who provides the righteousness that God demands.  Rest assured, then, we cannot prize the word of God sufficiently.  It was David who said, “Thy testimonies are wonderful!” and “My eyes fail with longing for Thy word.” (Ps 119)…..and rightly so, Christian!   The Scriptures lead our thoughts beyond the temporal; beyond the concerns of a few vain mortal years; beyond the circumstances and issues of this life to those awful and glorious scenes that await a man after the advent of his certain death. 

How foolish then is preoccupation with the wisdom of this world and with its “books”?  Be warned, the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.  The conclusion when all has been heard is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment; everything which is hidden, whether good or evil.” (Ecc. 12) Vain is that transient knowledge that can catalogue all of the world’s discoveries, and yet has rendered itself ignorant and barren to the precepts of the infinitely wise and immortal God. 

Scripture exceeds all that could ever be commended by human wisdom in this fleeting world.  How foolish it is then, particularly for that man or woman who, having tasted God’s redemptive grace, shuns the very written expression of His grace, preferring instead to relegate it to a mere fancied, half-hearted reading….and even that on rare occasions.  Let the word of God be your continual delight, Christian! Let it receive your continual reverence.  “Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool; but to this man I will look, to Him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at MY word.” (Is. 66)

Grace to you, today.

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The Lord Jesus has left us 2 ordinances…namely, the ordinance of baptism, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper; both of which picture our identification and union with Christ (a topic we have invested significant time in as of late).  Baptism, of course, accents of our salvific initiation into the body of Christ.   The Lord’s Supper, on the other hand, accents the sharing/participation of our life in the body and life of Christ.

At Legacy Baptist Church we observe the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month.  It ought to be more frequent than that, I think, but in any case it is fitting and proper that we observe this great memorial regularly and frequently, as was urged by the Lord and the apostles.  On this coming Lord’s Day, when we gather to commemorate Christ’s dying love by way of this sacred ordinance, I want to remind us that it is the disposition of our hearts that requires more needful examination than the issue of frequency.   “Do this in remembrance of Me” is the plain, reasonable, and solemn command of the Lord (1 Cor. 11). To that end, it is a cold heart -or a cold church – that does not soberly, thoughtfully reflect upon His table.   

To aid us in that regard, perhaps we do well to closely consider the setting in which our Lord instituted this ordinance.  Citing 1 Corinthians 11 again, Scripture reveals plainly that this observance was inaugurated “…in the night in which He was to be betrayed”.  Now that, for me, begins a string of sobering thoughts.  Here stands the Son of God before His disciples and on the eve of Calvary….. Judas has departed to invoke his betrayal.  Soon Christ will see the sufferings of Gethsemane and the scandalous indictments of a mock Jewish trial.  Thereafter, awaits the relentless torturings of blasphemous Roman soldiers and finally the horrors of the cross… all of this looming quite vividly before Him as He institutes this ordinance.  Here stands the innocent, immaculate Savior about to bear the incalculable load of the sins of millions; about to interject Himself between God’s elect and God’s offended justice; about to come under the awful “rod of Jehovah” (as the old Hymn says)…and all of this, mind you, is to be precipitated before the setting of the next sun.  Yet, here stands the adorable Christ, fully aware of every detail but choosing instead to lay aside the awful contemplation in order to… what? To minister to His flock.  He graciously breaks the bread and pours the wine, and thus institutes the emblems of our irrevocable union and identification with Him… while He Himself stands at the very precipice of the crushing reality of the cross.   Cold indeed is the heart that comes ill-prepared and thus irreverently to this table.

Beloved…what thankful remembrance our Lord deserves.  Christ has opened heaven for you…having purchased peace for you…having bore upon Himself incomprehensible agonies for you.  He was made the curse, He is your propitiation, He is your righteousness, He is your hope, in Him you are made complete.  Every mercy flows through the adorable Christ and the blood of His cross.  And will you not come before the table this Lord’s day with ears and hearts echoing His words “Do this in remembrance of Me.”?  Friends, may our very hearts forget to beat, may our very life leave us before we ever forget Him who yielded up His life for the eternal salvation of your once destitute soul.  What a privilege is ours to have been invited to His table.  Consider very closely what you are doing this Lord’s Day, if you have been called a guest there.

Grace to you, today,

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