I usually do my Sunday afternoon church thoughts from the morning service - but it just didn't get done yesterday. I love going to a church where I know the Word is going to be preached and it is going to be done in a loving way that brings me to repentance and conviction. Thank you Holy Spirit for working yesterday.
1. This is from their statement of faith - which we read aloud as a congregation yesterday. Listen to the God-working voice in this paragraph:
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickens the dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually and savingly enlightening their minds to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature so that they voluntarily love and practice holiness; that it is a work of God’s free and special grace alone; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.
I am grateful for this salvific work in my own life - but also am praying this for conviction of sin (yes, in my own life) but also to work Truths in other people's lives.
2. Isaac Watts today - Give to Our God Immortal Praise. This one refrain line stood out to me as I went back and re-read it: "repeat his mercies in your song". His mercy and grace should ever be coming out of our mouths - in all of our songs, thoughts, etc because that is how we draw our very breath (Ps 150.6, Ps 34.1)
3. We read one of my favorite OT passages - Ez 36.22-32 - all how God is going to work in our behalf to bring us back to him. But, this isn't for my good - it is for the good the Lord that others may know Him!
4. I remember the first time I heard "Beautiful Savior". It was at a Young Life Leader meeting during college. I think Brad Layland introduced it. I loved it. Every time I got to pick the songs I would choose this one. We sang this yesterday. My favorite verse is this:
"I will trust in the cross of my Redeemer, I will sing of the blood that never fails, of sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed, of death defeated and life without end." Again - listen to the God-working voice even in this modern hymn.
5. The main Scriptural passage today was 1 John 3.4-10 - continuing in his sermon series through 1 John. His main thought was why we don't get over to sin. Here are his whys: a) sin is in opposition to God v 4, b)Union with Christ forbids it v 8 c) We've been born of God (which comes from the entire passage).
I love the logic of verse 6: No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.. so its an if then statement. If I abide in Christ, I won't keep sinning. If I do keep seeing then I don't know Christ. We are not talking about sin here. We are talking about habitual, unrepentant sin. We are not perfect because John also says in his letter that if we think we are perfect, then the love of the Father is not in us - we deceive ourselves. But, there shouldn't be repentant, unconfessed, habitual, daily sin in our lives. Here are three more random thoughts from the sermon: a) What sins am I tempted to make peace with or rationalize? b)We are included in Christ's victory over sin because we are in Christ - Ephesians! c)The work of the devil is slavery to sin - that is his main goal. God has already freed us from that slavery.
Final: If we are in Christ and see no fruit, have a lack of conviction in our lives over sin - don't be content with the lack of evidence of grace in your life. Repent - God has promised forgiveness. His Sons life paid the price for it.
I pray that each of you are in a church where the WORD is the Central part of the worship service. So often our churches are showy, performancy, lights, skits, tons of songs, and then the Word is preached for about 25 minutes at best, or even some with longer sermons 50 minutes are more stories - I pray that the Word would be preached in churches.