Monday, 8/2/21 – Pressing on… Exceptional…

Exceptional…

This past Sunday our brother Joseph shared with us from 2 Thessalonians 4…

In this chapter Paul has just written several lines refuting the false claims of deceivers posing to be him and saying the second coming of Christ had already occurred. We have those folks today! Documenting them all would be beyond the scope of these posts!

To allay their fears Paul reminds them the antichrist must first appear. He will deceive many who “refused to love the truth and so be saved” (v.10). Because of this, they are condemned with all who have chosen wickedness.

Paul’s thoughts next turn with delight to his readers, the Christians in Thessalonica. They were the great exception to the wickedness he has just described. “But…” he begins…

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thess. 4:13).

There’s enough theology in that one sentence to fuel a hundred sermons — a thousand! There is the great Love of God, the inclusion of male and female alike, on even ground, the depth of doctrine in the concept of firstfruits, it’s heritage, potential, connectedness to root and vine, fruitfulness, reproductivity, joy and eternity. There is the idea of sanctification… transformation… hope! The truth of God, by His Holy Spirit, indwelling, recreating, redeeming and making actual what at first was only legal: the holiness of a once lost soul! There is the agency by which the soul receives — belief in the truth, Jesus, Who said “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,” and there us none other. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

That God should do such a thing to a creature in itself just as wicked as the worst! What amazing skill! What demonstration of the divine’s grace and mercy! What a creature to point to – redeemed prodigal – that He could do so… would do so… does not that alone cause us, by our very redemption, to be testimony to His Glory? Yes indeed, as Paul writes on…

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.14).

Oh! — Marvelous Saviour! — Blessed Spirit! — Almighty and Holy God!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 3/30/20 – Pressing on…

Christians on the Checkerboard

20191220_091803There’s an optical illusion which has long amazed me. Perhaps you have seen it. It’s hard to believe, I know. Yet it is completely true: both checkerboard squares ‘A’ and ‘B’ are exactly the same shade!

woman in red long sleeve shirt holding her clothes

The reason our brains are tricked by this illusion is that we tend to view things in relation to the things around them. I remember when I was a rough and tumble kid my mom would say the reason she bought me darker colored jeans was “They don’t show the stains as much!” She was depending on the power of illusion to hide my soiled condition.

The devil can play that same trick on us! When Christians stray away from fellowship with other believers they can begin to see themselves in relation to the behaviours and values of the world rather than to the behaviours and values of the kingdom of God!

20191220_091821But God’s standards remain unchanged. His call upon us is to bring light into darkness, not to turn down the dimmer to blend with the sinner. Not that we believe ourselves to be without sin… no, no, no! But we who claim Christ our Lord and Saviour have a mandate to fear as well as to love our Lord. It is the fear of the Lord that purges our sin.

blur bokeh bright close up

We are called also to be lights in this world. To be bright lights in this world we need to be shone upon by the Brightest Light, revealing the dirty spots and soiled bits which need removal so we might shine unhindered. When we stray from that Light we are poorly illumined, blinded from seeing that darkness within us.

Jesus said “…if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23). I think these words have application here. Just as our physical eyes can get accustomed to the dark so can our spiritual eyes. Soon we think a darkened room is bright, but it is not. We need frequent contact with the sun to show us just how dim the room really is.

Let the fiery brilliance of the Son purge you. Fear His rebuke. Embrace His Love.

 “By the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” (Prov. 16:6)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 22:37; Luke 10:27).

More tomorrow…

To see and hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look for the March 29 upload. Or, link to the page from the church website.