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Friends, several people have ask that I post the manuscript from my sermon from yesterday, March 3.  It addresses the need for us to deal with our sin before it deals with us.  It also includes some personal information about my struggle with a particular sin, which I have confessed, repented of, and ask God and the congregation at Kishwaukee Community Church for forgiveness and the forgiveness.  This is one of the most difficult sermons I have ever preached.  However, I am grateful I have done so.  Pastor Rus

Developing a Heart for God, 1: Dealing with Your Sin

Ezekiel 36:22-30 and Hebrews 3:12-13

March 3, 2013

Pastor Rus Howard, Kishwaukee Community Church

Ezekiel 36:22–30

22 Say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 

24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 

26 I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and to be careful to obey my rules. 

28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.” 

Hebrews 3:12–13

12 Take care, brothers and sisters, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

===

In 1999, the Confessing Church Movement in the PCUSA which led to the formation of the New Wineskins Association of Churches, which led to Kishwaukee Church’s decision to become members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church began with a simple radio interview broadcast on WORD-FM in Pittsburgh, PA.

A woman in her mid 20’s was being interviewed about decisions she made which had recently transformed her life.  In the interview she tells the story of many single women in their 20’s.  She was raised Christian, was in love, and was living with her boyfriend.  However, she was not happy.  She decided that she needed God back in her life and went to worship at the local PCUSA Presbyterian Church, which she said was filled with warm and gracious people.  She did not hide the fact that she was living with her boyfriend, which we use to call, living-in-sin.  No one was bothered by her decision.  The congregation loved on her and the Pastor did not bat an eye when she went to him for counseling about what was wrong with her life.  She did not feel close to God and life was not any better, even though she had been worshipping at the church for a year.  Her live-in boyfriend did not worship with her.

One week someone invited her to attend another, more biblically conservative congregation.  The members were as loving and gracious as they were in the PCUSA congregation.  However, when she went to the Pastor of this church for counseling, looking for wisdom about how to feel closer to God and how to have a less difficult life, he responded differently to her admission of living with her boyfriend.

He essentially told her, God cannot bless you as long as you are living with your boyfriend.  You are more attached to your sin, than you are to God.  There is no room for God in your heart.  That’s why you do not feel close to Him and why you are having difficulties in your life.

He then told her, “You need to tell your boyfriend to move out, tonight.”

That evening she told her boyfriend that he needed to move.  She had doubts about doing something so radical.  Two years later she was on the radio rejoicing not only in her closeness to God, sense of His presence with her, and the changes in her heart, but the multitude of problems which had beset her life for years had ended.

Her story constantly reminds me of this truth: “If we do not deal with our sin, our sin will deal with us!”

While we naturally turn to the New Testament to read how God has chosen to deal with our sin, for those who come to Him, I frequently turn to Ezekiel 36 because I love the way it tells us how God helps us deal with our sin.

Sin corrupts and sickens our heart.  Sin leads to heart disease.  The more we cling to our sin, the worse our heart disease.  God’s desire is to cure your heart disease.

In Ezekiel 36:22-36 God promises that He will do all the work necessary to get get your heart healthy.  He has a plan to cure your heart disease and to deal with your sin:

  • He has promised to give you a new heart (Ez 36:26).
  • He has promised to cleanse your heart (Ez 36:24-25).  This cleansing will wash away your idols.  Your idols are you and the sins you hang onto for dear life.
  • He has promised that along with your new heart, cleansed of your sin, He will give you a new Spirit (Ez 36:26).

I love the language here … God says:

I will take you …

I will sprinkle you …

I will cleanse you …

I will give you …

I will put in you …

If you listened to your English or language arts teacher for only 5 minutes anytime between the 2nd grade and the 12th grade, you will know that God has promised to do all the work for you.  He is the actor, you are the recipient.

God is promising to give you a gift, which all you need to do is receive.  It’s like Christmas without having to buy gifts for anyone else.  It’s like a birthday party, but God is doing all the giving.

God is wanting to give you great things, a new heart and a new spirit.

There are two reasons God wants to give you a new heart and spirit.

First and foremost, if you re-read Ezekiel 36:22-23, He is doing this for His name’s sake, for His glory, for His honor, so that the world will see His holiness.  While it is humbling that God wants to do great things for us for His names sake, rather that because we are so wonderful, let’s rejoice that we are beneficiaries of His desire to prove the holiness of His great name by transforming us with His love and grace. (Ez 36:22)

If you are not numbed by your familiarity with Psalm 23 then you at least know God always acts on His behalf.  Psalm 23:3 reads, “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

God has promised to act on your behalf for a secondary reason.  Being second in God’s heart, just after Him, is a great place to be.  After His love for Himself, you are God’s next love.  I like knowing this.  It helps me feel better about myself.

The secondary reason for God promising you a new heart is that your current heart is like a stone, it is cold, dead, lifeless, devoid of love, compassion, and feeling.  If your cardiologist said, “Your heart is like a stone” you would not hear him because you’d be dead.

Without the new heart God wants to give you, you are dead to God.  Periodically, we hear someone say about a family member or former close friend, “He is dead to me!”  If you say this about someone you are recognizing that while the individual is still physically alive, you abhor that person, you hate them, you despise them, you have rejected them 100% with absolutely no chance of them ever meaning anything to you again in your life.

But God’s feelings and desires for you are the total opposite of this.  Instead of you being dead to Him and suffering the consequences of God’s curse, He wants you to have a heart which is alive to Him and in His love.  God does not want to say, “You are dead to me!”  Instead God wants to say, ”You are my people, and I am your God!” (Ez 36:28).

Not only does God desire to be your God, He wants to bless you with abundant provisions which will sustain you the rest of your earthly life.  He makes this promise in Ezekiel 36:29-30.  He wants you to be rich in His blessings of land, grain, and fruits.

God wants you to be able to sing Psalm 23:1 at the top of your lungs: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want!”

This is what God desires for you.  It was His desire yesterday, it is His desire today, and it will be His desire for you into His eternity.

What do you need to do to receive all of this?

Accept His gift, let Him do His work!

Have you ever been forced to receive a gift from someone whom you do not wish to receive a gift?  Of course you have, we all have.

Each of us painfully remembers what we felt when someone we hate, despise, don’t like, with whom we are angry, and towards whom we have a cold heart.  When this person shows up at our house with a gift, any gift, but worse yet a lavish gift of love, we stand before them frozen.

You say to yourself: “I don’t want this.  I don’t want a gift from you.  Please take it away because if I accept the gift, I will have to love you and I will have to make room for you in my heart and I do not want to do that!”

Jesus taught us that the Greatest Commandment in life is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

If I asked each one of you,“Do you love God?” I am confidant that each of you would say, “Yes!”

However, if I asked you if, “Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and you told me “Yes”, I am not sure I would believe you.  I would not believe myself, if I said Yes to you if you asked me this question today.

My disbelief may offend you, but let’s be honest.  All of us love ourselves and a few other things in this world, more than we love God.  It’s part of our human condition.  Remember Romans 3:23, “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”  Our first and foremost sin is that God is not our number one love.  This is our heart disease … God is not our first love!

When the Holy Spirit inspired to John to write the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Spirit told John to write to the church at Ephesus saying:

“You guys are doing a great job being faithful to so many of my ways. You can recognize a false apostle from a mile away, you have the patience of a saint, you have endured hardship and suffering without whining, and you even hate those people who endorse believers marrying non-believers and who write-off sexual immorality as an insignificant offense against me.”

If I heard these accolades from God, I’d be smiling a mile.  But, then God lowers the hammer when He tells John to also write:

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had for me at first.”

Haven’t we all.  Our sin is self-love.  Our sin is idolizing the self!  Our sin is self-indulgence!  Our sin, in whatever shape or form it has taken up residence in our heart prevents us from loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said,

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Our sin is that we have loves which prevent us from serving God as lord of our life.  If you think you are exempt, remember the Call to Confession used earlier in today’s worship, it is from 1 John 1:8, 9

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Ours heart are diseased because of our sin.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews exhorts us to deal with our sin.  In our world which approves of doing anything we want this is a tough truth for us to practice, even in the church.  Listen again to what the writer of the Hebrews said:

Take care, brothers and sisters, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The writer of Hebrews makes two specific points:

  • A heart filled with sin and evil can become an unbelieving heart;
  • A heart filled with sin can become a hardened heart, a stone cold heart, dead to God.

A heart tainted by sin will reject God’s gift of mercy and grace.  It will reject God’s new heart and new spirit.  It will reject life in order to cling to the sin it loves, even when the sin is killing it.

His exhortation is clear.  Either deal with the sin which has captured your heart or sin will deal with you!

I have told you this today not only because it is The Truth and it is a Word for all of us, but it has become a Word specifically for me.

For several months I have been wrestling with God about a particular sin which set up camp in my heart before I cam to Kishwaukee, but which did not reveal it’s ugliness until after I began my ministry here at Kish.

Last week my brother in Christ Jim Yearsley and this week my Spiritual Advisor Hope Parks, God convicted me that I must confess and repent of this sin, confess and ask your forgiveness because this sin has hurt my ministry here at Kish.

My sin has diseased my heart.

For the past 6-8 months I have been struggling mightily with a multitude of stuff in my life.  For a long time I was convinced that my struggle was related to my circumstances, which if changed, would cause my struggles to disappear.  I had developed a long list of circumstances to blame.

This week God convicted me otherwise.  He told me that my struggles are related to the condition of my heart not my circumstances.

My struggle is related to my heart being out of sorts, out of tune, out of sync, with Him and with His heart.  Simply put my heart has wandered from my first love for Him.  I want that love back.  I need it back.  Losing it has come at great cost to me and, I fear, to you.

My sin has held me back from God.  My sin may not sound serious to you, but it has become a millstone for me, pulling me away from God and from people I love, i.e. you.

My sin is a fear of rejection.

All of us fear rejection.  While I fear rejection from my enemies, my friends, and others, the rejection I most fear is rejection by you. I will come back to this in a moment.

I do not fear rejection from God.  I have Romans 8:35, 37-39 down pat:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It sounds good that I do not fear rejection of God.  But this is my problem, I am so fearful that you might reject me, I take very little comfort in knowing that God will not reject me.

My fear of rejection by you has become so overwhelming to me that it is dominating my life.

Furthermore, this fear is paralyzingly my pastoral ministry with you and for you.  If you said to me, “Pastor Rus, I like you, but I don’t know if …” I’d understand.

My fear of being rejected by you me is preventing me from loving you, caring for you, and leading the church, in the way which God intends.

My sin, my fear of rejection by  you or I should say by the members of any church, began before we ever met.  You’d think that after being loved and cared for by you so well for the past 2 1/2 years, I would have overcome my fear of being rejecting by you.  But I have not.  My sin which is my fear, has taken deep root within me and is hurting us.

The skeleton in my closet is I was once betrayed, rejected, by multiple groups of Christians who I knew, loved, and served faithfully in a four year prior to coming to Kish.

I was rejected …

  • By clergy in the PCUSA who I had encouraged and supported in their faithfulness;
  • By members of the Peters Creek Church, people I had pastored well, but who did not want to leave the PCUSA;
  • By staff members who I hired, who I had believed in when no one else did and who I had fought to hire and to keep;
  • By members of the Peters Creek Church whom I had trusted and called close friends after we entered the EPC;
  • By leaders in the New Wineskins Presbytery with whom I worked and fought alongside in the trenches;
  • If this was not enough, I was then rejected by a very close friend of 30 years. Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

The details of how I was rejected or whether I deserved this rejection are insignificant to me anymore.  Nor are these details something which Rori and I desire or plan to discuss in the future.  These are details which God has told us to leave in the past.

What is significant is that their rejection, the rejection of brothers and sisters in the body of Christ was so severe, my family and I, particularly Rori and I lost many of our dreams for our future.

I do not want to be hurt like that again.  I do not want Rori to be hurt like that again.  Three years ago, I promised myself that never again would I allow this to happen to us.

To protect myself from rejection, I have built walls around me.  You may not see walls, but I am sure you have felt them.  Please understand, you are not responsible for my building these walls.  Only I am.

These walls have prevented me from having genuine intimacy with you as your Pastor and friend.  Yet this is an intimacy and friendship for which I am desperate.  As you can imagine, my walls have kept God at bay.  In the process of protecting myself from rejection, I have kept God out of much of my heart.

John says you cannot hate your brother and claim to love God.  My sin, my fear of rejection by you, is a evil and insidious variation of this truth:

You cannot NOT love and not have intimacy with others and have loving intimacy with God!

Please hear what I say next!

It’s not that I do not love you, I love you with all my heart or the part of the heart which does not fear rejection.  I know that you love me.  If I have $100 for every time I have told someone that I am serving the most loving and caring congregation I have ever served, I could retire comfortably.

But here’s my sin, my problem, I have been afraid to love you to the point where if you ever did reject me, it would hurt me.

My focus on self-preservation has grown into a sin with serious ramifications in the 3 most important parts of my life:

  1. Spiritual – My fear has caused me to keep God at bay.  This is the most serious ramification of my sin.
  2. Personal –  I am denying myself the intimacy and friendship which I desire to have with you.  I, like you, need close friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ in my church.  Yes, Kish is my church.
  3. Pastoral – My fear has affected my leadership and service as your Pastor.  Your Elders who are the best group of 12 Elders I have ever worked, can attest to this.  I know that I am frustrating them.  I have been timid and erratic in my leadership.  I have been defensive and have become hyper-sensitive to any whiff of criticism or conflict.  I have been moody.  I have been distant.  I have been afraid to personally engage with you.  I have been like a skittish cat in your presence.  I have been unable to relax as your Pastor.  I have come to realize that even when I am trying to communicate love, compassion, grace, and mercy, I frequently communicate hardness and a harsh judgmental spirit.  I want the old Pastor Rus back, the Pastor Rus which many of you have never seen.

My fear, my sin has not served me well.  C Neil Strait wrote this about sin, which I am afraid has become a fair description of my ministry:

Sin does not serve well as a gardner of the soul. It landscapes the contour of the soul until all that is beautiful has been made ugly; until all that is high is made low; until all that is promising is wasted. Then life is like the desert, parched and barren.  It is drained of purpose.  It is bleached of happiness. Sin then, is not wise, but wasteful.  It is not a gate, but a grave.

I know that once I let God get into my heart again, He is going to take away my fear of rejection and He is going to help me to love you with abandon, as any Pastor should.  But, I hate to say it, but this scares me big time.  Because if I love you with God’s abandon, and if you ever reject me (which I no reason to believe you would), I will be crushed.

This is my sin, it is my problem.  You are not at fault for my fear of rejection.

So what am I doing about this sin which has taken up residence in my heart when God wants full claim to all my heart.

Since my sin, my fear of rejection has affected my ministry for God I must confess my sin, repent of my sin, and ask Him for His forgiveness. I have done this.  I have also asked God to restore my heart.

While I am mindful of the truth of David’s prayer of confession in Psalm 51:4, when he prayed:

Against you Lord, you alone, have I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

I am equally mindful that I have sinned against you.

My sin has affected my ministry with you, probably in more ways than I am aware.  I know that my sin has hurt you and has hurt us as a congregation and community of faith.  I apologize that I have clung to the pain of my past and in so doing I have hurt you.  I ask for your forgiveness.  I ask that you will pray for my healing and that I will let God bring His grace to me so I can bring His grace to you.

I am praying that I will let God soften my heart.  I am praying that I will accept His amazing grace and that I unchain myself from my sin, my fear, and that God frees me from hurts of the past.

On Monday, Hope Parks told me to read Deuteronomy 1:6-8 when God spoke these words to Moses:

“Moses, you have stayed long enough at this mountain.  Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country and into the lowland along the sea. I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land, enjoy the blessings I have set before you.”

Hope and Jim, on behalf of God, have been telling me the same:

Rus it is time to move off of your mountain of hurt, anger, bitterness, fear, and shame.  It’s time for you to break camp from your sin, your fear of rejection, and take possession of the good land and the blessings God has set before you.

They have reassured me that once I leave this mountain of bitterness and fear, God’s anointing will penetrate my heart rather than be like water which runs off of hard, dried-out, drought stricken soil and is wasted.

As God’s anointing penetrates me, my head and my heart, I will, again, be filled up with His grace, mercy, love, and acceptance.  Then as His love reigns in all of my heart, in all of my soul, and in all of my mind, He will remove from me my fear of rejection.

Then, like a miracle of biblical proportion, the walls of Jericho which I have constructed with such care, will come tumbling down and we, as Pastor and congregation, as sheep and the over-promoted shepherd, as brothers and sisters in Christ, can walk into His Promised Land together.

This is the work I have to do.  I am not asking for pity or sympathy, but I do want you to understand my struggle.  I need your prayers, your encouragement, and your forgiveness, as I begin this journey from my mountain of pain, bitterness, anger, loss, shame, and fear, to where God wants me to feast with you in the work of His harvest.

Closing prayer

Communion Invitation

For Communion today, instead of the Elders serving you in your seats,

I invite you to coming forward for Communion

Let your coming forward represent your decision

to confess and repent of your sin

to leave the mountain of your sin

in to come to His grace.

As you wait to come forward,

as you are coming forward,

and as you return to your seat,

join the congregation in singing the two songs

as lead by Julia and the Praise Team.

The words will be on the screen.

Remember God’s promise given in the Book of Isaiah:

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: 

though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 

though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Then your eyes shall be opened and your ears unstopped; 

Then you shall leap like a deer, and sing for joy. 

For waters break forth in your wilderness, 

and streams will flow in your desert.”

Benediction

Seven or eight years ago after worshipping with my Dad in my home church, he said to me, “I am concerned for our new Pastor, I really like him, but he does not seem to be connecting with the congregation.”

I said to him, “Dad there are 3 types of pastors.  The professional who does his work very well, but is emotional disengaged from his congregation.  There is the all-in pastor who is fully engaged, in personally caring for his congregation.  Then there is the pastor who use to be all-in, fully engaged personally caring for his congregation.  I will bet money your pastor has been hurt badly.  He’s wounded and he’s trying to protect himself.”

Never did I realize that my words to my Dad would be prophetic words about me.  But they were.  I put the emphasis on the past tense.  I know there may be days when I limp, but it is easier to run when you are not clinging to sin in your heart.

If you are limping because you are clinging to sin in your heart.  Leave the mountain and enjoy the blessings promised in Isaiah:

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; 

the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, 

and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 

The Lord will give you 

a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, 

the oil of gladness instead of mourning, 

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; 

that they may be called oaks of righteousness, 

the planting of the Lord, 

that He may be glorified.”

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Daily Bread for November 11

Hungry for All Truth

John 4:25-42

Preaching Notes

John 4:25-42

25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”

28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 

37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 

38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 

40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word.

42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

===

I.  Samaritan Woman View of Jesus 

Enemy – Foolish – Unaware

Intriguing – Accepting – Prophet

Messianic

She went from being

Hostile – Engaged – Witness

II.  Jesus offered her grace and then Truth

Grace was His welcome

Truth was His unveiling

Grace paid the debt

wiped away the guilt

erased the shame

softened the heart, and

opened the mind

to receive The Truth in faith

This led to her return to town to be a witness for Jesus

She went and told others

They saw and her something different

They came to Jesus

They believed, initially, because of her word

They came to full faith

Because they heard Jesus’ Word,

The Truth

III.  Meanwhile – The Disciples

Returned from “Food Run” into town

Culver’s and Starbucks

Serving the picnic

Concerned that Jesus was not eating

Concerned the Lamb of God

… Was not eating well

Concern became speculation

Had someone beat them to the punch

And brought Jesus a “Happy Meal”

In stories, we are usually the Disciples

They were concerned about insignificant worldly things

While …

Samaritan Woman was off witnessing about Jesus

Jesus talks to them about

The harvest, sowing, and reaping

They are indulging in worldly concerns

Missing the call to call others to faith

So true in today’s church

We worry, fret, gripe, complain about insignificant things

While Jesus calls us

to bear witness

And => others to faith

We know The Truth

But continue to dabble in self-indulgent ministry

And ultimately leading people away from God, Jesus

Leading them away from Grace and Truth

IV.  Grace and Truth

Jesus offered Grace AND Truth

John 1:17

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Truth Jesus offered was not The Law

Not legalism

That came through Moses

The Truth Jesus offered

Was Himself, God, The Holy Spirit,

Grace and salvation

Which =>

forgiveness of sins,

which the woman and all of us desperately need

Eternal life

Which the woman and all of us desperately desire

John 14:6

Jesus said to him,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 1:16–17

The gospel is the power of God

for salvation to everyone who believes,

to the Jew first

(including the Samaritan)

and also to the Greek

(the whole world ….

Not just disciples on a picnic)

For in the Truth of the Gospel

the righteousness of God is revealed

from faith for faith, as it is written,

“The righteous shall live by faith.”

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Daily Bread for November 4

Worshipping God in the Fulness of Your Life

John 4:10-26 

 

 

Thoughts

1. Not beginning of casual Rus

 

2. Election – dig into facts, pray for guidance, vote

Civil authorities other God’s authority

 

3. Hurricane Sandy – Be Watchful, Be Faithful, Be Merciful

Asking Mission Team to determine faithful response

Gifts accepted

 

Preaching Bible Series

One and one with text leaves lots on the Table

 

What does it say about God, Jesus ….

Last week grace extended even when Jesus knew her sin

Looked at her and us dealing with shame, hiding secrets

 

But missed part

What about her, us

Faith is relationship with Jesus, not just belief

This story reveals questions about the depth

of our relationship or lack thereof with Jesus

 

Read scripture – John 4:10-26

 

 

She was In

Just in case

 

No real difference in her life or living

In different

Not invested

 

Time will come

When God tires of indifference

Yet what should we do

Our inactive members

 

She would have been one

She knew the history of land

Claimed the heritage as hers

Her response calling Jesus a prophet,

Then later Messiah revealed opened

Yet in her life she was closed

 

 

Families trapped in works righteousness circle

No grace in youth sports

Little grace at work or bank

 

Only one place to find grace

Church’s ministry

Let keep grace as response to indifferent

Jesus grace to her

=> her to see Jesus

=> her to show others, next week

 

Group of 16 men laying foundation for

Men’s ministry to connect transform strengthen activate

 

 

Easier to look at others who are not here

Always look for self

 

But what about us who are

Only here with God on Sunday

Worship on Sunday

Yet are we worshipping in spirit and truth

 

Jesus … God desires worship in spirit and truth, here

 

Sychar, Jacob’s Well not a worship center,

Neither will be Jerusalem’s Temple

 

Worship is not about the place where one worships,

but the person one worships, it’s a relationship

Which flows into everyday life, daily life

 

Proof is on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday night

Faith which does not extend past weekly worship

 

 

Worship is neither spirited if it does not transform

Romans 12:1–2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 

 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

Nor is it truth if we re-adopt world as the way

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, 

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. 

No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

 

 

Worship in all of life

1st Q of WC glorify and enjoy God forever

 

Use of time

Watchful, faithful, merciful

Use of money

Treatment of others

Mercy and grace

Leading others to Jesus

Strivings goals objectives

Leisure

Ethics morals integrity

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Bread for Oct 14

John 3:22–36

Decreasing and Increasing

 

3:22-36

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

 

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”

 

27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.

 

28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.

 

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

 

34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

 

 

Famous Preachers and Churches

Cottage industry of fame and profits

 

John the Baptist

Had become famous and well-known

 

Both Jesus and JtB baptizing

==> Jews and JtB’s Disciples

Saw it as a competition,

JtB saw it as a reality …

JtB was still pointing to Him.

JtB’s ministry is yet complete.

 

The presence of both JtB and Jesus baptizing was causing confusion.

 

More people were following Jesus.

Jesus was gaining market share.

Were they not seeking to make John envious?

==> Question Am I good enough?

==>  Question Who should I follow?

It’s amazing how we are attracted

to the crowd.

to the popular

 

How easily do we do this in religious matters?

 

JtB is indicating simply he is doing what God called him to do

which is to point the way to Jesus.

As recorded in Luke 1:16–17

He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

 

JtB knew that when we are faithful to God’s call,

God will make sure the work bears fruit,

Isaiah 55:10, My word will accomplish that for which it is sent …

 

In the midst of this confusion and questioning

JtB’s does two things

1. He compares himself to Jesus

2.  He talks about his joy that people are following Jesus, not him

 

The Comparisons

He is the Christ

I am a witness sent as a forerunner

 

Jesus is from above/heaven (born from above)

I am from the earth

 

We both bear witness to what we have seen and heard

Jesus has seen heaven

I have seen earth

 

Jesus seals you to God

I point you to Jesus

 

Jesus speaks words of God

I simply “” them (implied)

 

Jesus gives the fullness of the Holy Spirit

I at best am filled with the Holy Spirit (implied)

 

Jesus is The Son, God loves

I am, at best, a son of God (implied)

 

Jesus is the Estate

I am simply an heir (implied)

 

Jesus brings eternal life

I only receive it (implied)

 

If you disobey Jesus you lose life and gain God’s wrath

If you disobey me … What does it matter (implied)

 

Thus receive His testimony

Reject me, but not Him

Thus, set your heart on Him, not me

What a wonderful understanding of his ministry!!!

 

 

Then JtB indicates his joy

that people are now following Jesus, rather than him.

 

Imagery of the bride and bridegroom is lifted up

2nd time in John’s Gospel

He clarifies that the believer/church is to be the Bride of Christ.

Our covenant relationship with Jesus

 

There is joy for being in covenant with Jesus

because the covenant ==> eternal life

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

 

JtB’s desire is that people are joined to Jesus

==> JtB to say:

Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.

 

Not 1st time Jtb experienced joy

Elizabeth’s baby jumped with joy in the womb when visited by Mary

 

Joy is a theme in Jesus’ ministry

Birth of Jesus – good news of great joy

Parable of the Sower

Finding the Great Treasurer

Reward for being a good and faithful servant

Joy of the lost being found

 

Jtb had what Jesus wanted him to have … JOY

John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, 

and that your joy may be completely full.

 

John and Jesus were given their roles by heaven

and John was entirely content with his.

 

The best man for Jesus found his greatest joy

knowing that the groom and his bride

were being united with great rejoicing.

==> watching Dan and Judy last Sunday

 

This Gospel repeatedly associates ‘joy

with the verb ‘to fulfil’, ‘to complete’

John the Baptist is satisfied

knowing that his God-given ministry has been successful.

 

 

==> JtB to say

He must increase, but I must decrease.”

 

JtB knows it is not about him

==> he understands he is not the focus or the light

==> he recognizes the need to get our of the way and limelight

==> Question

How often when doing important ministry, 

do we want the light to shine on us?

 

This ties back to John 3:21

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, 

so that it may be clearly seen 

that his works have been carried out in God.”

 

All ministry is about Jesus and should point to Jesus

All of your/our ministry should complement to ministry of others

 

Churches do not have competitive ministries

Larger congregations like Kish

will always have ministries that overlap

We should always see them as complementary

… Our worship change

… Our 3 children ministry programs

 

Churches are NOT in competition with each other

God does not call us to beat out or to best the ministries of

Heartland, Red Brick, Evangelical Covenant, etc ….

 

How are we known at Kish?

How do people know us?

The only acceptable answer is:

They are about Jesus ….

His Word, Work, Grace, Mercy, Love, and Salvation

 

When you do ministry

You are essential to God’s work,

but you are not the focus of His ministry

 

If I died today … 

You’d have a great funeral and funeral lunch, 

perhaps a few tears … 

Yet, the Word will be preached next Sunday

THIS IS WHAT’S IMPORTANT!!

 

Always deflect praise given to you for your ministry service to Jesus

==> my ambivalence with Recognition Events in the church

Fine line between a genuine Thank You and dangerous pedestal building

 

JtB statement that he must decrease

And Jesus must increase

==> a great perspective for all who do ministry

 

I am on a personal mission in my own ministry 

to NOT have a pastor-centered ministry

==> 2 critical implications

Don’t come for Pastor Rus

Don’t leave because of Pastor Rus

 

I am simply an over-promoted sheep …

This is not meant to diminish my ministry

nor what God has called me to do as your Pastor

nor the office of pastor

nor the authority given to this office

but rather to keep myself in proper perspective.

 

I have to deal with my ego

 

Calvin said

It is a great and lofty distinction, 

that men are appointed over the Church, 

to represent the person of the Son of God.

 

We must be mindful of our rank

And not appropriate to ourselves

what belongs exclusively to the bridegroom, Jesus

 

To “decrease” is to be less and less occupied with ourselves.

And occupied with Christ

 

Why is this critical?

Jesus saves,

not us

Not Pastor Rus

Not Kish

 

We cannot offer to Jesus a greater insult 

than to exalt ourselves, 

our Pastors, 

our churches, 

our ministries

Over Jesus

And believing the Gospel;

 

Problems at church

Where the Session which is infatuated

with the previous/foundering Pastor

More than they are with Jesus

==> death to the church and her ministry

 

JtB is NOT depreciating his ministry

or the work given to him by God

He understands it’s worth, value, and critical importance

He simply understands that his importance pales in comparison to Jesus

And pales in comparison to any ministry which gets others to Jesus

 

The goal of all ministry is …

To get people into a loving and saving relationship with Jesus

 

If you love your Pastor/Church more than Jesus

You are in trouble

If you stay away from worship

because you do not like

your Pastor, Church, songs, etc.

You are in bigger trouble than you think

 

JtB warns of this danger in verse 36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; 

whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, 

but the wrath of God remains on him.

 

This verse is a fitting climax to the entire chapter.

By laying out the only two alternatives,

genuine faith and defiant disobedience,

 

Receive Jesus and receive life

Reject Jesus and the wrath of God remains on you

 

With this being the only two alternatives

It is critical that ministry be focused on Jesus

 

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Two Loves – John 3:16-21

Preaching Notes October 7, 2012

John 3:16–21 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I.  God is Love, but what kind?

World wants God’s love to be …

World treats God’s love as …

The world cheapens any love which …

Love can never be demanded it can only be received. Thus, all love is a gift

So, what is the nature of God’s love?

This passage contrasts two loves …

God’s love for the world

vs

Our love for the world

II.  The 7 Attributes of God’s Love for the World

1. God’s love was preexistent to creation 

Ephesians 1:3–6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

2. God’s love’s is unearned 

John 5:42

I know that you do not have the love of God within you.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Romans 5:8 and 10

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

3. God’s love is purposeful

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The word “might” expresses design.

If God wanted to destroy/judge us for our sins, He would not have sent Jesus!!

4. The purpose of God’s Love is Salvation

1 John 4:14

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

The Atonement was not the cause, but the effect, of God’s love

The benefit of God’s love is everlasting life.

Why God sent Jesus Christ to us:

1.  To be our Savior, because our sin (love for the world) kills us

2.  To bring life, because God does not wish that we not perish.

The Son of Man came into an already lost and condemned world. He did not come into a neutral world in order to save some and condemn others; he came into a lost world  in order to save.

5.  God’s love is a sacrificial and suffering love

It cost God so much for 3 reasons:

1.  Jesus gave up so much to suffer so much

Philippians 2:6–8

Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2.  It required He who hates sin to suffer so much for sinners just to prove His love

Men are not easily convinced that God loves them. In order to remove all doubt, he has expressly stated that we are so very dear to God that, on our account, he did not even spare his only-begotten Son. (John Calvin)

3.  His love could only be revealed in fulness on the cross

A suffering love can never be demanded

6.  God’s love is not a condemning love

Romans 1:16–17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Only when we reject God’s love are we condemned

Romans 1:24, 26, and 28:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind.

When we reject God’s love have not been condemned by lack of faith, but by their sin.

The reason many hate Jesus is their rejection of it leaves them in death

We were already in need of a Savior before God’s Son comes on his saving mission

7.  God’s love must be received in faith because it cannot not be earned (see 2nd attribute)

Jesus’ 3-fold emphasis:

John 3:15

That whoever believes in Jesus may have eternal life.

John 3:16

That whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned

God has done His work, we need to receive it in faith, which is belief and trust

III.  Our Love for the World is a love is of darkness

Our love for darkness

Our love for the world is pictured metaphorically in terms of light and darkness

Our love for darkness proves our depravity!

We love darkness because our deeds are evil and we do not want them exposed

We hate God’s sacrificial saving love because it exposes our sin

We hate the light and refuse to come to (near) it because exposes their darkness

To expose someone’s sin summons them to repentance.”

The verb exposed suggests not only exposure but shame and conviction

Jesus (light) exposes our sins 

Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Timothy 5:20

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

This is why men refuse to read the Scriptures. God’s Word would condemn them.

Instead we desire a pandering and permissive love 

Sweet and permissive love leads to false happiness as it leads to death

We are ashamed of our love for the world

Our denial of our love for the world begins at an early age

Why do babies smile when they poop in their diapers?

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s That Smell

IV.  Those who love God’s love instead of the world’s

Those who love God do the truth

Semitic expression which means to act faithfully or ‘to act honorably

Suggests adherence to the truth as in adhering to Jesus

Those who acknowledge Jesus, recognize the good they do is by the grace of God

While the lover of darkness shuns the light out of fear of exposure, shame and conviction, the lover of light does not prance forward to parade his wares with cocky self-righteousness, rather he comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (DA Carson)

We welcome and receive God’s love not because we are better, but because we desire what God’s love brings salvation and life, rather than what the world’s loves brings which is  condemnation and death

 

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How to Be Born From Above

Preaching Notes  September 30, 2012

John 3:1–18 (ESV)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 

Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

===

I.    From Problems to Solutions 

God’s Two Desires – Titus 2:14 – Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

God desires salvation and sanctification

Dealing with Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Even the saved keep sinning

Nicodemus and Jesus

An educated old-school enquirer reveals a lack of knowledge and faith

Jesus’ drives the conversation

Seeing and Entering the Kingdom of God

Requires rebirth

II.  What Does It Mean to be Born Anothen

Born again …

Born from above …

Not a new concept – see Ezekiel 36:25-28 and Jeremiah 31:28-31

The old way has not and will not work

Christian hell, fire, and damnation

The importance of worship

God does not want us to fail, thus He helps us to succeed

We have to accept the help

We accept God’s help, through faith, not through personal effort

// kids, I want to do it by myself

III.  How to Be Born from Above

The work of the Spirit – John 3:5-8

A God-initiated transformation of our lives

// to the work of the wind (another word for spirit)

Comes at its will, works at its will

Effects are felt and seen

Powerful effects in small ways

Spirit work predicated on work of Jesus

Jesus promises the Spirit to come after Him

The work of the Son – John 3:10-14

The work of Jesus

To die for the forgiveness of our sins

Nicodemus – knew about need for forgiveness, atonement

This may be part he genuinely did not get

Jesus work predicated on work of God

The work of God – John 3:16-18

The work of God was His love for the world

Generous, gracious, steadfast merciful love

Nicodemus knew – Hesed

These 1st three works built on each other

Revealed by God over time

The work of the Believer – John 3:15, 16, 18

Final work or action ==> salvation

Individual coming to faith in Jesus

Belief or faith – also the work of God

But is one which must be received

Irresistible Grace – core of reformed theology

Faith is a gift received through an open heart

Hard hearts are closed to God’s work

IV.  What about You?

DA Carson

God’s ultimate purpose is the salvation of those in the world who believe in him. Whoever believes in him experiences new birth, has eternal life, and is saved.  The alternative is to perish, to lose one’s life, and to be doomed to destruction. There is no third option

God has done His work, we need to receive it in faith, which is believe and trust

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John 2:12–16 (ESV)

After this Jesus went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.  Making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen.  He poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.  He told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of robbers.”

We usually gloss over passage believing it is not about us

But it is because it is about worship

Worship is main event

Everything that happens in the church

Begins and ends with our worship

The Setting

Passover

One of the three annual pilgrim feasts

that all Jewish men were to celebrate in Jerusalem

All leaven must be removed from the houses of His people.

It was a time rigorous examination

Lest one defile the worship of the people

Leaven refers to covetousness, extortion and idolatry.

Colossians 3:5

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

The outer court of the Temple

The Gentile Court

Where the outsiders came to worship

This is where the selling of animals and coin exchange was now placed

The statement of Jesus

Do not make my Father’s house a house of robbers

Is from Jeremiah 7:11

To understand the phrase house of robbers

We need to listen to Jeremiah 7:1-11

Jeremiah 7:1-11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 

 

“Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord.  

 

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ 

 

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

 

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’ only to go on doing all these abominations?  Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? 

House of robbers

Is not about money

It is about the desecration of worship

By the people of God in His house

Since this is God’s House 

We ought to ask ourselves:

What would Jesus overturn in the church today?

How do we desecrate worship?

How might we misuse the sanctuary and desecrate worship?

A. W. Pink wrote:

God is inflexibly righteous as well as infinitely gracious. God is holy as well as merciful. 

We must ask ourselves:

How must God now regard the desecration of the many places, hearts and times which have been consecrated to His name?

A. W. Pink, again:

The desecration of these “houses, times, and hearts of prayer” leave them devoid of spirituality and strangers to the power of God.  The Lord will not tolerate an unholy mixture of worldly things with spiritual.

Calvin wrote:

Nothing is more dangerous than hypocrisy. While we deceive ourselves by empty flatteries, we imagine that God is blind like ourselves. 

MW Smith song

Here I am to Worship

When we come to worship, we need to ask ourselves

What are the spiritual purposes of the worship?

Does my behavior and spirit mirror the purposes of a Holy Godwhen I come into His house?

Calvin wrote:

We ought always, therefore, to keep before our eyes the majesty of God, which dwells in the Church, that it may not be defiled by any pollutions; and the only way in which its holiness can remain unimpaired is, that nothing shall be admitted into it that is at variance with the word of God.

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