And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday Preperations

As I prepare for Sunday, and the Lords Supper my thoughts run that this should not be taken for granted. But what can be done to make the most out of communion? Too often this act of worship has become cheap grace, as Bonhoeffer would say. It is my desire that every one of my flock leave the service having worshiped and been renewed in a passion for God. Only God can do this in us, but we must be mindful to remove hindrances to the Spirit. So again, how can we go about our week being prepared for the sacrament.

Here are some rough notes I have at present. Enjoy.
There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. (Ephesians 4:4-7)

Last week I introduced the ideas of Indicative and imperative moods o the text.

Indicative is indicating what has been done it is a past tense work, such as grace.

Imperative is a work to be done, such as law

Both of these are relevant. Keeping the law as a Christian is part of our desire to keep close to God and give proper weight to the grace we have been shown. We are grateful for the law as it reveals our sin that we might repent and seek God. But we must not confuse grace and law. Law says obey these rules. Grace says Christ is the fulfillment of the law. When you listen to a sermon or read a book, you will find those that list “imperatives to happiness” and "solutions for a better life" will tend to be law centered as well as man centered. This is what Paul rallied against when the Jews were demanding that the Gentiles be circumcised in order to be saved. However, what sets us free is the grace in what Christ has done, this is indicative as we can ascribe them as being cross and Christ centered. Law will wear you out, grace will fill your cup.

So as we take the Lords Supper today we must see that law works in us to open our remembrance to our need for God and what was to happen to us, and then mount up with grace in adoration of what now will be.

God has created the church to have a nature of self denial in which unity is a notable character. This is based on what Christ has done.

Scripture attests that man is selfish. It also attests that when we become a Christian there is an intrinsic change of nature within us. This change moves us from selfishness to self denial, taking up a cross and following Christ. The one of the greatest evidences of the church is its unity and love for others.

Notice not division, no lack

One Body

One Spirit

One Hope

One Lord

One Faith

One Baptism

One God

One Father

Of all

Over all

Through all

In all

To each grace given

according to the measure (worthy?)

Christ’s gift. The Cross

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