Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lord's Day EXHORTATION

Ps 15:1-3 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

Who are fit for the tabernacle? Honest men and women. The psalmist does place a requirement upon us for upright living but we must understand the nature of this requirement. Upright living is not perfect living. We are told by Jesus that we must be like children to come to Him. But little children are not perfect. They are some of the greatest offenders of pettiness, lack of kindness, stinginess, sharp tongues and many such things. But this is not because they are inherently rebellious, hate God or are His enemies. Those are lies that drive our children away from God.

Our children do these things for two reasons. The first is that they are sinners in fallen bodies. Without the grace of Jesus Christ, they are not able to do anything that pleases the Father. But Jesus was pleased with the children because He granted them grace. The second reason children do these things is because of immaturity. They do not know any better, have not been taught well or have not been properly disciplined. This discipline comes in different forms. It includes spankings and other forms of discipline but it also includes an increasing expectation on the part of the parent that the child will discipline himself.

This is important for us to understand. We come to God with all of our imperfections. For Christians, already possessing the Holy Spirit, the root cause is our fallen bodies as well as our immaturity in Jesus Christ. But if we come to God honestly and look to Jesus Christ in faith, we are then qualified to come into the tabernacle. This looking to Jesus means seeing Him as He is which causes us to see ourselves as we are. Our sins are then put in a stark contrast to the glory and perfection of Jesus. But this ought not to cause us to shrink away from His presence. It should cause us, like little children, to come to Jesus and desire a blessing. Jesus forgives all that come to Him honestly and humbly. We know that if men, women and children do this honestly, then they are not only forgiven of their sins but also sanctified in the body. This kind of grace from Jesus changes us into the kind of people that want to please Him and not be the source of a rebuke from Him like He gave to Peter.

We understand this. We have all had parents that we wanted to please. Unfortunately, some of them would never be pleased and this caused us a great deal of sorrow. But good parents are pleased when their children seek to do what is right. Our God is like that. Jesus is like that. The Holy Spirit is like that. So come into the tabernacle. Dwell in God’s holy hill. Walk uprightly before Him. Work righteousness in His sight. Speak truth in Your heart to God and from Your lips to Your neighbor. And know that in Christ you are welcome.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Exhortation-To Tell the Truth

Prov 12:19 19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

The lip of truth, or the truthful lip shall be established but the lying tongue, or a liar, is but for a moment. Be sure your lie will find you out.

Be wise with your tongue. Lies are not comely for the saints. We often deceive ourselves before we deceive others. We think telling a technical truth is not a lie but we are greatly mistaken. An attempt to deceive is a lie. If you are deceiving those to whom you have placed a trust of honor then you are sinning. A twisting of truth to your parents is a sinful lie. Children, when your mother asks if you cleaned your room and you answer yes, are you telling the truth or spinning it again? Picking up one shirt in a messy room is not the same as cleaning your room. The fact that you cleaned one thing does not make your technical truth, the truth. This is a lie. Did you do your homework? Well, starting on it but not finishing it is not the same thing. If you know that your mother means “Did you finish your homework?” and you are trying to spin starting your homework into answering the question yes, then you are getting too good at telling lies. These same kinds of truth spinning are also lies when told to your teacher.

A lie to a boss is a sin. He says, "Did you guys get that project done that I asked you to do?" If your mind immediately begins to find ways to answer yes, when the answer is no, then you too are prone to telling lies. Better to answer, "We are not done yet" than to say “Yes” and intend to get done before he checks up. You men and boys, particularly, need to listen. Do not make excuses. Do not deflect your responsibilities. Just because you may get away with it with mother or with a na├»ve boss, does not mean that you get away with it. God sees all from heaven. He even sees into your heart. He knows you in your inmost dwelling and most secret place. What do you do there? Do you honor God in your thoughts and in your secret deeds? If not, do you then try to spin the truth to your mother, father, spouse, boss, or even to God?

Spinning the truth is a modern political euphism for telling lies. All such lies are sinful. Do not do this.We must be known as Christians, indeed, followers of our Messiah in true integrity. Too many Christians are very busy about keeping up appearances of righteousness while all the while nursing a secret precious sin. Nursing a precious sin will make you ugly, hideous and inhuman. But forsaking the sin for Christ’s sake will give you cleanliness, peace and rest, and put you on the path of that most precious possession, a good name.

Believe God-Communion Thoughts

It is important that we understand what is going on in this meal. God is telling us something that we must get hold of. He is telling us that we are His guests and friends at His table.

There are some of you who think that you are not fit to be here. You struggle with sin, confidence before God, depression, doubt, fear or many other such maladies. Given the rather complex state of our fallen minds, this is no wonder. We have to do a lot of self-talk to convince ourselves that what is happening is really happening. We really are here in God’s house. We really are seated at His table. We really are invited to eat. We really are welcome.

There is a tendency with the more tender saints, and sometimes the more immature saints, to think of themselves as unworthy of all this. But that is the great laugh to those of us who have figured this out. Of course you are unworthy. All who gather here are unworthy. That is what makes the meal so fabulously glorious. The issue is not whether you are worthy to be here but whether you believe God? It is not your estimation of the situation but His this is important. He says come. He says eat. He says enjoy the intimate fellowship of His Son and all His Son’s friends.

Put away all your brooding thoughts for five minutes. Quit looking at yourself for two seconds. Look at the bread. It is given to you, for you. Look at the wine. It is a gift to make your heart glad. You think, “But if He only knew me, He wouldn’t give me this food and drink.” But I say, “He does know you. And because He does know You, He has given you this food and drink.”

These other smiling saints know the joke. They are at a table far above their deserts and expectations. They know that God knows them and they do not shrink from His presence but run into His presence. Our Father delights in His children. So, let us eat and drink, rejoice and give thanks. For God is good.