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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Mitch Lamotte preach on 1 John 1:1-10.  Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Faith in Jesus Christ produces fellowship with God and forgiveness from sin.

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Contemporary Evangelicals need to rediscover the wisdom of the catechisms which were written during the Reformation. The theology found in them is rich, pastoral, and thoroughly biblical. As a church, we’re poorer because of our neglect of them. Here is a little bit of that wisdom:

Question #60

Q – How are you right before God?

A – Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ;

so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them,

and am still inclined to all evil;

notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine,

but only of mere grace,

grants and imputes to me, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ,

even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me;

inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart.

“How can I be right before God?” is the most important that anyone will ever ask. Our destinies depend upon it, and the Heidelberg Catechism gives us a brief answer of what is found in God’s Word, the Bible.

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Repentance and faith are not the same thing, but they’re linked together and can’t be separated.

In Scripture, the gospel is the objective good news of salvation. It is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. That message is declared to mankind in a way that summons us all to do two things—repent and believe. This repentance and belief are all the same fundamental and entirely fluid motion. Repentance is turning away from all that is not Christ, and belief is turning toward all that is. Repentance turns away from sin, and faith embraces Christ. This is the way it is by definition, and so it is not possible to turn to Christ actually without turning away from not Christ actually. This means true and real repentance.

To be given an opportunity to do this is good news indeed. However, there are two kinds of good news. One kind is the “out of the blue” sort. You get word that you have inherited millions from a distant relative you never even knew about. The other kind of good news is the kind that presupposes some awareness of antecedent bad news. The governor signed the pardon and you won’t be executed in the morning. A further review of the tests shows us that you do not have cancer. This is the kind of good news that shows us how turning away and turning toward can essentially be the same thing. This is good news that displaces the bad news.

Douglas Wilson, “Gospel for Snowflakes” blog post at Blog and Mablog (Dec. 20, 2017).

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching my final sermon as Pastor of Cross Creek Bible Church on Romans 1:16-17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We are not ashamed of the gospel – believe it, preach it, and live out it’s consequences for God’s glory and our good!

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Psalm 56:3 is good medicine for the soul.

In context, David writes, “Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long, for they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise; in God i have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Ps. 56:1-4)

When David wrote this psalm, King Saul was in hot pursuit of him, trying to kill him. David, the man after God’s own heart, admitted the nature of the battle and the effect it had upon him, but he was convinced of a deeper truth that was even more real then the personal effects of the battle.

He states it in verse 3: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” When we are afraid, even as a precious child of God, we know our Father can be trusted. We may be trampled upon, oppressed, and fought against, but it never has to be simply endured, stoically accepted, or even raged against. David’s prescription is medicine for the soul – when I am afraid, I will trust God.

The deeper truth is that God is worthy of our trust. He knows what He’s doing. He’s causing all things to work together for our good and His glory. Our sovereign God (sovereign over everything) sees to it.

This truth, which is also a command, has an application that is far wider than being on the run from a king! It applies to everything! We can say:

When I am discouraged, I will put my trust in You.

When I am worried, I will put my trust in You.

When I am angry, I will put my trust in You.

When I am confused, I will put my trust in You.

When I am discontent, I will put my trust in You.

When I am impatient, I will put my trust in You.

When I am irritated, I will put my trust in You.

When I am tempted, I will put my trust in You.

When I am “out of my comfort zone,” I will put my trust in You.

When I am proud, I will put my trust in You.

When I am nervous, I will put my trust in You.

When I am joyful, I will put my trust in You.

And finally,when I am afraid, I will trust in You. That’s good medicine for the soul!

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 20:30-31. what follows is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: John wrote his Gospel in order to lead us to faith in Jesus Christ and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.

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I was reminded of an important truth today as I listened to a sermon on Luke 1:5-25 delivered by R.C. Sproul: there’s a big difference between believing in God and believing God.

I believe in God as a result of His sovereign grace. He opened my eyes to see Him, my ears to hear Him, and my heart to believe. But what’s more significant and important is to believe God. In other words, to trust Him, to take Him at His Word, and to act on what He says.

You can believe in God without believing Him, but you can’t believe God without believing in Him. It’s the difference between being convinced that God really does exist and trusting that He’s good and knows what He’s doing when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s the difference between believing God has spoken and knowing that what God says about you is true (that you’re dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath) and, as a result, you repent of your sin and trust Christ alone for your salvation.

Our walk with the Lord consists of believing God one day at a time for as long as He gives us on this earth. Believe in God – yes. Believe God – far better.

A little two-letter word – “in” – makes a gigantic difference.

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