Meditation in Preparation for the Lord’s Table: Luke 24:13-27

Occasion Sunday Worship 8th March 2015

Text: Luke 24:13-27

Purpose: Luke recorded this event from the end of Christ’s earthly ministry so that we can see that Christ’s ministry is the center of Bible.

Proposition: God wants us to worship Him for His wonderful plan of redemption!

Interrogative: How can we properly do that this morning?

Three truths

  • Christ is the center of the whole Bible:
  • The Old Testament points forward to the coming Messiah Luke 24:25-27 He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?   And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
  • The New Testament points back at the Messiah who purchased our redemption: Ephesians 1:3, 16-20  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…I pray that God may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead. Ephesians 3:15-21 I bow my knees…That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God…Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

A brief survey:

  • Seed of the woman: Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  • The Seed of Abraham: Genesis 12:3; 15:6 In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
  • The Lamb of God: Exodus 12:11-14 It is the LORD’S Passover…And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt…this day shall be unto you for a memorial…ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
  • The Seed of David: Psalm 89:34-37 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips…I will not lie unto David.  His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
  • The Atonement: Exodus 29:36-46 Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it…two lambs of the first year day by day continually…And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory…And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
  • The Scapegoat: Leviticus 16:21-22 Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away…the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities.
  • The suffering servant: Isaiah 53:4-12 He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken…Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities…he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
  • God with Us: Isaiah 7:14 The Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Isaiah 9:6 Unto us a child is born…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom…The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
  • Yahweh pierced: Zechariah 12:8-10 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem…I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.

Application:

  • Let’s worship God for His grace shown to us in Christ
  • Let’s worship God for His power to providentially accomplish what He said He would accomplish
  • Let’s worship God for His faithfulness to do what He said He would do no matter the unfaithfulness of His people.
  • Let’s worship God for His personal work of redemption that brought you to conversion.
  • Let’s worship God by responding to this work in humble trust and holy living.

Conclusion:

  • How will you come to the Lord’s Table this morning?
  • Will you come in pride lightly considering the work of Christ for you?
  • Have you placed your faith alone in this Christ, the center of the Bible?
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Keep Christ First: Revelation 2:1-7

Sunday Worship 31st August 2014

Your name is Apollos, and you come from a tradition of skilled silversmiths in the prosperous city, Ephesus. From youth, you have worshipped idols, and eaten your daily bread through the trade of making idols. It has been your security, identity, and only source of income. Everything about your life has in some way been connected to the pagan temple till you met Paul and his team of Christ preaching evangelists. The day you trusted Christ, everything changed. Your life was radically transformed, you experienced a peace and joy you had never known, and you began a new life of suffering for the cause of Christ.

Text: Revelation 2:1-7

Purpose: Christ speaks to the church of Ephesus, to encourage them in their faithfulness, and to warn them of the danger of serving without love.

Proposition: God wants you to love Him first.

Truth 1: Strength: they were strong: I know…2:2

Christ encourages the church by reminding them that He knows their strong points.  And this encouragement covers two areas of life for the members of the church. 

First: Standing against the world outside the church:

  • Works: God knew their occupations, which had been effected by their commitment to Christ.

Acts 19:11-28 Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds…many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed…and there arose a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship, and they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! So the whole city was filled with confusion,

  • Labor: God knew how they had suffered for Christ’s sake

Philippians 1:27-29 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…and not in any way terrified by your adversaries…for to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

  • Patience: God knew that they had been faithfully enduring under the burden of livening in a pagan society.

Second: Standing against the world inside the church:

  • You cannot bear those who are evil: God knew they resisted evil in the church. People who have a divisive, dishonest, and hurtful character are not only outside the church.  Sometimes they get into the church.  They profess faith in Christ, but have never truly embraced it. It takes time, but eventually these people will be exposed, and their presence will cause trouble into the church. They must be removed.

Acts 5: Ananias and Sapphire are struck dead by God for causing division in the church.

Jude 1:4 Certain men have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men.

3 John 1:9 Diotrephes, loves to have the preeminence among them…prating against us with malicious words…do not imitate what is evil.

2 Timothy 2:16-18 Shun profane and idle babblings…their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort.

 2 Timothy 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him…beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.

1 Timothy 6:3-7 If anyone teaches otherwise…he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words…men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth…from such withdraw yourself.

  • Tested those who say they are apostles: God knew they were careful about following false apostles. They put their claims to the test and found they are not valid.
  • Labored for my names sake: God knew their motivation. They did all these things for the name of Christ, not to uplift their own names. They were not like Ananias, Sapphire, Diotrephes, Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Alexander.  They were living for Jesus.

Truths 2: Rebuke: they were living in sin: Nevertheless, I have this against you…2:4

  • You have left your first love

Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength…these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

1 John 5:1-3 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…and also loves him who is begotten of Him…this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

1 Samuel 15:22 Has the LORD as great delight in sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, stubbornness as idolatry.

Truth 3: Warning: They were in danger of judgment: Or else I will come to you…2:5

  • Remember from where you are fallen: Think back to the way you viewed God shortly after your conversion, and realize you have fallen from that initial love.  Even though you have done all these good things, you are still in this condition.
  • Repent: You must have a radical thinking change
  • Do the first work: Your primary occupation is not driving, working with numbers, teaching a class, or any other occupation. It is loving God. All objects of love that replace God are idols in your heart.
  • Or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candle stick: God will personally fight against the church, and remove its witness in the local community, if they do not repent!

Conclusion: A few questions to reflect upon in light of this passage:

  • Do I get more delight out of my daily labor then my communion with God?
  • Am I more concerned with my own reputation than doing what God says is right?
  • Is there some sin in my heart that I love more than God?
  • Do I have a greater love for knowing the truth than being held by that truth?
  • Do I do right for others, myself, or a love for God?
  • Is my commitment to Christ stronger than my commitment to husband, wife, father, mother, friend, or employer?

If Christ would warn the church of Ephesus who has given far more than we have given, and done far more than we have done, then what would He say to us? May we today remember from where we may have fallen, repent, and do the first work of loving God with all our person, or maybe there will not be a 10th anniversary service at Anchor Baptist Church Cape Coast.

Good Reminder on Preaching from MacArthur

Thankful for this very good reminder, from an excellent book:

Rightly dividing the Word of truth, then, is the central mark of a truly successful preacher. In the end, when he stands before the Chief Shepherd, only one factor about his ministry will ultimately matter: Was he faithful? He may have been a dynamic orator, a master storyteller, and a winsome communicator. His church might have been large and his ministry well known. But if his own faithfulness is absent, all of those externals are merely wood, hay, and straw (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10–15).

Wallace Benn et al., Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007).

Excerpt on Bible Interpretation and Preaching

We all read the Bible through our own presuppositions. Inevitably, we cannot approach any text without inputting our own cultural conditioning into our reading of it. We have a particular background. We live at a particular time in history. Our past experience, values, and priorities have all combined to build up a personal, individual framework of thought and behavior, convictions and attitudes, that makes each of us the unique people we are. But this framework can be the enemy of careful observation.
The danger is that certain words or ideas in the text will trigger ideas in the preacher’s memory bank that are then downloaded and uncritically included in a sermon. So we end up preaching our frame work rather than the biblical text, unless the Bible text is questioning our framework every time we are preparing. It is not that framework preaching is wrong if the framework is itself biblically orthodox. What is said will probably be true, but the preaching will soon become re-ductionist and predictable. The problem is that such preaching does not challenge the church, and it will not change the world. It becomes impository of the preacher’s word upon the text, which has to dance to the preacher’s tune—the agenda that he has constructed—rather than being expository of the fundamental meaning of the Bible, with all its necessary challenges and unsettling disturbance to our inherently sinful, this-worldly patterns of thought and behavior. In John Stott’s words, it is the function of biblical preaching both “to disturb the comfortable and then to comfort the disturbed.” And that process begins with the preacher in his preparation.

Wallace Benn, Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007).

An Appeal to Fathers

Occasion: Sunday Worship 15th June 2014

Statistics:

  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]
  • High Schools
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows f for all God’s Children]
  • Put simply, the role of a father in a child’s life cannot be underestimated.

Text: Proverbs 2:1-22 

Purpose: Solomon wants to see his children experience God’s blessings as they walk in the fear of the LORD, therefore he teaches them to fear the Lord and to reject the company of those who do not fear Him, so their lives will be preserved in the Promised Land.

Proposition: God wants to bless young people as they walk in the fear of the Lord.

Interrogative: How can He do this?

Truth 1: Fathers must teach their young people the word of God 2:1-2 IF…

  • Solomon as the wise father is presenting a pattern for fathers to follow: The following statements showing us that Solomon was actively instructing his children.  This must be a regular part of family life. Which echoes Moses’ instruction in Deuteronomy 6These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
    • Receive my words
    • Hide my commandments
    • Incline your ear
    • Apply your heart
  • Paul commands fathers to do the same: Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
    • Nurture: Nourish or bring them up them by means of training and discipline (Do not let your children be undisciplined, disrespectful, shelf, and lazy.  You must restrain them, though the ultimate motivation for that restraint is not your ease as a parent or your pride, but their own good and growth in maturity.)
    • Quick note: Know where your children are in their relationship to the Gospel.  If they are unconverted, realize the need to instill within them the need to be reconciled to God through the Messiah.  If they are converted, instill within them a need to walk as disciples in light of their position in Christ.
    • Admonition: Warn them by means of instruction (Do not allow your children to learn everything the hard way.  Teach them what is right and wrong, so they can avoid some of the great hardships you may have experienced in your past before you were converted.)

How can this be done?

  • You must live with your children.
  • You must spend time with your children.
  • You must interact with your children. (ask questions)
    • Why do young girls pursue the attention of guys with no character who will take advantage of them and ultimately hurt them? They may not feel loved and valued by their fathers.
    • Why do young guys sit around the house and do nothing but look at porn and chase after women? They may not have seen the example of a Godly father.
    • Why are young people not industrious, hard working, and respectful? They have never been taught the importance of hard work, nor do the adults in their lives carry themselves respectably.
  • You must systematically set aside time to teach your children the word of God.
  • You must watch you children.
  • You must lovingly affirm them where they are doing well so you will have credibility and their confidence when you must rebuke them.
  • Be a father to the fatherless. There are many young people who practically speaking are fatherless.  Mercifully reach out to them and be for them what their father is not.

Truth 2: Fathers must be specific in their instruction: 2:7-22

Saying son: “you need to love God and do right,” is good, but not specific enough.  You need to get down to the practical basics of loving and obeying God.

  • Solomon emphasized the need for children to have a heart for God’s wisdom and truth. 2:3-4
    • Cry after wisdom (emotionally moved)
    • Seek wisdom as silver (motivated by the value of the object)
    • Search for wisdom as if it a hidden treasure (persistence)
  • Solomon warned his children about two specific categories of people:
    • Evil man: How will you know who is an evil man? 2:12
      • He uses perverted speech 2:12
      • His pattern of life is godless 2:13
      • He enjoys doing evil and hanging out with those who do evil 2:14
    • Strange woman: How will you know who is a strange woman? 2:16
      • She is a seductress 2:16
      • She uses flattery to get what she wants 2:16
      • She rejects the instruction of her parents 2:17
      • She ignores the things of the LORD 2:17
  • Solomon presents a contrast between the end result of two ways of life:
    • Way of the righteous (THEN)
      • God defends those who obey Him: 2:7-8
      • God will be his satisfaction: 2:9-10
      • His way will be consistent: 2:20
      • They will enjoy God’s blessings (for Israel in the Promised Land) 2:21
    • Way of the unrighteous
      • They are walking down a road that leads to an untimely death: 2:18
      • They are isolated from God’s blessings: 2:19
      • God will remove them from His presence: 2:22

Truth 3: Youths must humbly submit to godly instruction from their fathers

  • If you do not have a heart for God, it is your own fault.
  • If you do not obey God, it is your own fault.
  • If you do not listen to instruction it is your own fault.
  • If you choose your friends poorly and they hurt you…it’s your own fault.

Conclusion: Solomon wanted to see his children experience God’s blessings as they walked in the fear of the LORD, therefore he taught them to fear the Lord and to reject the company of those who did not fear Him. God wants to bless our young people as they walk in the fear of the Lord.  Are you fathers being faithful to your God given responsibility and calling?  Are you young people responding correctly to your fathers, and taking personal responsibility for your action?  May God convict us deeply where we are being disobedient and unfaithful, and encourage us as we walk in His ways and interact with those He has put in our care.