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Archive for the ‘obedience’ Category

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John Calvin wrote:

Men will never worship God with a sincere heart, or be roused to fear and obey Him with sufficient zeal, until they properly understand how much they are indebted to His mercy.

Remember that as we gather together with our brothers and sisters in Christ to worship the Triune God.

 

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weary

Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4).

The Midianites had oppressed Israel for seven years. In response to the cries and prayers of His people, God raised up Gideon as a judge and deliverer. After paring down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to a mere 300, God told him to pursue the Midianites and promised him victory.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, however. Gideon and his men, the Scripture says, were “weary yet pursuing” the Midianites. In the English Standard Version, weary is translated as “exhausted.”

We all get tired. We all become weary, even to the point of exhaustion. And the truth of the matter is that we can become weary, even if we’re doing precisely what God has commanded us to do – when we’re obedient to His will. Obedience doesn’t make us immune to weariness and exhaustion. That was true for Gideon and his men and it’s true for us. The weariness could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual (or any combination), but it happens and it’s real.

Gideon and his 300 men were weary, but they kept going – they pressed on and pursued by the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately gained the promised victory.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, we have God’s promise and a good dose of hope for the weary:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

When you’re weary, continue to pursue in the power of God’s Spirit. In the words of J.I. Packer, “Trust God and get going.”

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Reading from Deuteronomy chapters 27 through 32, the words of R.C. Sproul were prominent in my thinking: “God plays for keeps.”

God takes His law and word very seriously. It reveals His character, nature, and will – indeed, it is a reflection of Him. In those chapters, those who obey God’s law are blessed, while those who disobey are cursed. The detail of this larger passage shows us that not only does God take His law and word seriously, He also takes our response to it seriously.

In other words, God plays for keeps. He’s serious about His children obeying (or, conversely, disobeying) His law and word. In fact, in 32:45-46, it says, When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Emphasis added)

God’s Word and Law are not idle for us – they’re not meaningless or inconsequential; they are our life. Through His Word and Spirit, God saves us, sustains us, transforms us, and conforms us to the image of Christ. It really is our life, and there’s nothing idle about that!

God plays for keeps. Shouldn’t we be serious, too?

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This morning, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 2. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The one who submits to the kingship of Jesus Christ is blessed.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Daniel 1:8 (after sharing a bit about my teaching trip to Vietnam). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Daniel’s resolve came from a heart changed by God, a knowledge and submission to God’s Word, a deep love for God, an understanding of his situation, and a strong trust in God for the results.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching the fourth sermon in a short series on God’s Design for Gender and Sexuality. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: As Christians, we must respond to transgenderism and transgender people (and everyone else for that matter) with clarity, conviction, and compassion.

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Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers in their early years, is said to have begun training camp by gathering all of the players around him and, while holding up a football, said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

There wasn’t one of those men who didn’t know what a football was, but that wasn’t Lombardi’s point. He wanted all of his players and coaches to know that the fundamentals of the game were important and would be stressed. If you forget the fundamentals, you’ll lose games – lots of them.

In the epistle he wrote to Titus, the apostle Paul laid down fundamental truth. He said,

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. (Titus 3:1-8)

Two bedrock truths are emphasized in this paragraph:

First, sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. We can never be right with God through our own efforts or good deeds. The only hope we have is God’s grace extended to us through the finished work of Jesus Christ. That’s the gospel we preach.

Second, salvation by grace alone through faith alone produces good works or deeds. When God justifies us by His grace, the inevitable result will be good deeds. One of the evidences of true faith in Christ is the presence of good works. As the Reformers put it, we’re saved by faith alone, but never by a faith that is alone.

Both faith and works have a part to play in the life of Christian. We aren’t saved by works, but they are part of the proof that we are saved. In other words, we don’t do good works in order to get saved, we do them because we are saved.

Gentlemen, this is a football.

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