Friday, July 27, 2012

Pure Hearts at Communion

Some of what has been said today is disconcerting. God requires that we be pure and chaste and yet we find in ourselves defilement and the wanton pangs of remaining sin. What are we to do? How can we be as pure as God desires us to be? The answer, of course, is Jesus. He takes us in our mess and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  He presents us to His Father as those who have been purified by His forgiveness.
         He then gives us His Holy Spirit so that we are enabled to die to those things that unlawfully attract us and to live towards those things that are true and lovely in God’s eyes.
         All of us have sinned and sinful thoughts still assail us, some, no doubt, more than others. But God has cleansed us. God has called us to life. God has given us His Holy Spirit. God has called us friends. God has called us sons and daughters, children in whom He is well pleased.
         At this place, let us believe God. Through Jesus He has made us pure and we come to Him with pure hearts full of thanksgiving.

Holy Daughters

One of the defining attributes of a godly daughter is her purity. God desires daughters to be unstained by the world. This requires that they have hearts that are pure so that what flows from their hearts; their words, glances, the clothes they wear, their hairstyle, the respect they give, all reveal a deep inner purity.
As we think about our daughters, it is easy for us to grasp the truth that God requires chastity. We can all understand that God desires our daughters to be virgins and to have carnal knowledge of only one man, their own husband. We fathers particularly understand this as we seek to protect the honor and purity of our daughters, saving them for that one man.
But we need to understand that this is not only true of our daughters. God requires our sons, our wives and ourselves to possess this deep inner purity and beauty. He desires that we have chaste hearts and minds and therefore live faithful chaste lives.
We got a restart when we came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. God forgave us, making us pure and blameless. Like the woman at the well who had five husbands or the woman caught in adultery, Jesus forgave us and told us to go and sin no more. 
We should grasp these two things. One, Jesus forgives us so that we can be pure in heart and body once again. And two, we must put aside those sins which so easily entangle us, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Whose Your Daddy?

Today, at the Table, I want you to think about who your daddy is. For some of you, that is a good thought or memory. For others, not so much, especially at this Table. Because of your family resemblance to your father, you may feel unworthy to be here at God’s Table. The reality is that all of us by nature, are, sons of Adam the First. He was a failure and got us kicked out of our homeland in disgrace. But by grace, we are all now sons of Adam the Second, Jesus Christ the Savior, who has brought us back from exile and established us in the garden of God, having cleansed us from our former sins, even our former bad name in Adam the First.
         This is a great truth. You were bad sons in Adam. But you are sons brought home in Jesus. He is your Father as well as Jesus’s Father. Thus, this is your Table as well as the Table of God, the Father. Jesus calls him Father and He encourages us to see the family resemblance so that we have the courage to also call God, Father, Abba, Daddy. Be at peace at this Table. You are home.

Derecho-Breath of God

The power of God is revealed to us in many ways. We recently saw what He can do with a simple breath. He conjured a super Derecho and it knocked down thousands of trees and revealed our weakness in the presence of God’s great power. Our seeming strength is an illusion and if we are not careful we get caught up in the illusion thinking we are safe and protected from calamity. We may think this because we have fine homes, good jobs, a decent bank account or a good retirement fund. But the fact of the matter is that we are dependent upon God at every little turn of our lives. Were He to remove His blessing and protection for even a moment, we would find ourselves utterly helpless.
         I, for one, am thankful that He has graciously revealed this to us and that He has protected us Providence saints in the midst of this storm. Let us confess our tendency for self-reliance and once again cast ourselves into the caring hands of God, our Savior.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Communion with a pleased Father

Sons and daughters are known for striving to please their parents. There are many middle-aged men and women still struggling to please their parents. Sometimes the parents are dead and gone and the opportunity to please them has completely vanished and yet the living child is still unsatisfied, a gnawing lack of assurance that they were pleasing to their father.
         This is an all too common and sad state of affairs in families at every level. Some of the blame goes on the fathers, no doubt, who simply refuse to be pleased with their children.  Men, we need to learn to take pleasure in those God has put in our charge. The first step to getting there is for you to rest, knowing that your Father is pleased with you.
         If you are here at this Table, invited by and seated with Jesus, then rest assured, the Father is pleased. 

But my sin, but my failures, but my own earthly father’s displeasure! 

Stop all that. Now is rest, now is assurance, now is peace, now we are God’s children, in whom He is well pleased. Can you rest in this? Can your receive it? Can you be at peace? God, our Father is pleased with Jesus and His choice of friends. Don’t argue with Him. Thus, you are friends of God and have even become His children through Jesus. You are His beloved sons and daughters in whom He is well pleased.

Exhortation- True Sons

Jesus is the Son of God. The Father is pleased with Him. The Father is particularly pleased because Jesus laid down His life for those the Father loved and desired to draw to Himself. Thus, Jesus did exactly what the Father would have Him do, that is, deny Himself and reveal the Father’s will on the Earth among men.
         In that little paragraph is a lot of room for our own condemnation. We know that we have not always been faithful sons and daughters. We have sought to establish our own wills and ways, sometimes even in opposition to our own earthly fathers, or even in opposition to our Heavenly Father. We are not surprised that God is pleased with Jesus and the comparison of ourselves to Jesus only makes our guilt and shame increase. What are we to do?
         First, be honest. It is true that you are not the perfect son, like Jesus. But God has looked upon you in your condition, taken pity upon you and brought you to Himself through Jesus, adopted you and called you son. You were by nature the very object of wrath that causes you to shrink from His presence. But God, the Father, by grace, has picked you out, named you Christian, a friend and brother of Jesus, and written you into His own divine will.
         Second, forsake those things that make you an odious son. And Third, come up out of the slop and your squandered inheritance. Return home to your Father and be received back into the family as a full joint heir of all the promises of God. All such sons will put on the royal robe and feast on the fatted calf.