Letter to the Reformers - November 25, 2018

Brothers and Sisters,

A quote I read this week on the concept of thanksgiving in general, not having to do with turkeys…

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if it is bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” - C.S. Lewis

What made Job a righteous man, a man who loved the Lord and was well known by those on earth, in heaven and even hell, was that his righteousness was really a deep and abiding faith that whatever God did was right. He need not understand, he need not be clear on the Divine objective, he needed only to know that God’s purposes were good, and this he knew ever before he suffered and throughout the course of suffering because he believed. Job was a man of profound faith, and it was due to this faith that he, in correcting his wife when she had given up on possessing any more joy in that shared life in which they had lost so much exhorted Job to curse God and die.  We see the dialogue in Job 2: 

[9] Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” [10] But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (ESV)

Thanksgiving is not the exercise of thanking God for the good things, it is the exercise of thanking for all things, for all things come from the hand of God whose chief purpose in bringing about both good and bad for us, was the same for Job - to teach a man who already possessed even great faith, even greater faith and the greatest gift that Job would ever receive a direct and Divine revelation that God is good, that He in fact rules and reigns from heaven and that the greatest testimony of His goodness and greatness is that He will raise up the dead, He will reward the faith of His people with resurrection through His Son.

Sermon Rundown

Sunday Morning, John 18:33-19:16 | This coming Sunday morning we will be returning to John’s Gospel where we find tensions mounting between the light of God, and the darkness that so deeply and violently surrounded him. We see just how alone Christ was in his faithfulness to the mission of Christ. His disciples failed to be faithful. His people, the Israelites had abandoned him, and the chief priests wanted Him dead for blasphemy. They drummed up these charges and others of political insurrection seeking to paint a target on his back before Rome. What we can say about Christ is this, Rome and the Temple in Jerusalem were not the objectives of Christ because they were not the institutions Christ came to conquer in the way that Rome and the high priests thought. Christ thought himself a king, and spoke as a king, but Christ was a suffering king, whose subsequent destruction over death, and redemption of his people would be the foundation for the establishment of the greatest institution of human history, the covenant people of God, the church. Chesterton touches on this concept: 

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.” - G.K.Chesterton, Heretics

Sunday Evening, 1 Corinthians 15:12-34 | Sunday evening we will turn our attention again to Paul’s lengthy treatise on Christ’s Resurrection and its implications for the meaning of the Gospel, the mission of the Church, and the heart of what we believe and preach in a world touched so deeply by death. Because Christ is raised, you do not need to loose hope that you will be raised. In fact all men, saint or sinner alike will be judged and raised. Let the reality of the resurrection drive you to obedience, and to bearing in your body which will be raised those outward signs that point to that most glorious inward, spiritual reality that are, the Christian, if anything, a people who believe in Christ’s resurrection and hope in that in the future we too will be raised. In short, live in light of the resurrection of the dead, and bear the signs of Christ resurrection in your body.