One of the most reassuring truths of the Christian life is that God can be trusted. One of the most famous verses in the Bible – Psalm 23:1 – demonstrates this: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David has confidence that the Lord will provide for Him because of what he knows to be true: the Lord is a good shepherd who provides for His sheep. But what if it were possible for God to become a bad shepherd or to stop providing for His sheep? How is it that David could have such confidence and that we can echo that confidence? The answer is found in God’s immutability. Put simply: God does not change. We can know certain things about God with absolute certainty because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever – as is His Son, Jesus (Heb. 13:8).
Last Sunday, we continued our sermon series through Revelation by looking at the letter to the Church in Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29. It is a pointed reminder that the Church must not listen to, or tolerate, false teaching in its midst. Audio and notes can be found here.
In Sunday School, we continued looking at the Gospel According to Mark by looking at the call of Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) in Mark 2:13-17. It is a glorious reminder that Jesus came for sick sinners and not for the well who have no need of a doctor. Notes and audio can be found here.
Life is full of details and little things. Everyday we do a thousand “insignificant” things without really thinking a lot about them. Usually, we also do a number of things that are more “important” and “significant”. Typically, we devote far more time and energy to thinking about the things we deem “important” than to the things we consider “insignificant”. While understandable, this sort of approach to life can cause us to forget a key Biblical reality: God cares deeply about how we do everything – great or small, “important” or “insignificant”.
Ephesians 2:8-10 is a very familiar passage for most Christians. It is a summary of the good news of Jesus Christ. In 2:1-3, Paul reminds us of what we used to be. In 2:4-7, he reminds us of what God has done for us. And he closes the section in 2:8-10 by summing it all up. It is a glorious reminder of some of the most essential, and thus important, parts of the Christian faith, because it is a simple – yet profound – meditation on the nature of salvation.
Immediately after the revelation of God’s plan to bless the nations through Abraham’s offspring in Genesis 12:1-9, we read of a series of episodes in which the promise seems to be put in danger by various situations and circumstances. At times, it appears as if the promised plan will be thwarted before it can even really begin. And yet, as we work through Genesis 12:10-14:24, we are reminded again and again that God’s plan is sure and certain. It cannot be thwarted by anyone or anything. Even so, we are also reminded that obedience is always best, because disobedience brings trial and difficulty and pain.
The fact that God has made Himself known means it is possible for us to know Him. Even though we can never know Him fully and completely, we can know Him truly and accurately. He has given us this gift. There are many places you can start in studying the nature and character of God, but we will begin by looking at the attributes of God before looking at His nature as three persons in one. In looking at these attributes, it is good to remember that these are things which are true of all three persons of the Godhead – not simply the Father.
If you have time, I would encourage you to read this meditation on the nature of true community by Burk Parsons – editor of Tabletalk magazine and copastor (alongside R.C. Sproul) of St. Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, FL. It is excellent and will not take too much of your time.
If you’re not able to give it a read, I would highlight just a couple of particularly exceptional parts for your attention. These are good reminders for any child of God and member of His flock.
Sometimes, the most wonderful word in the English language can be the little conjunction “but”. In the midst of receiving bad news, that little word can be the difference between complete despair and hope. We see this interesting reality in the Bible as well. Ephesians 2:1-3 is a very bleak, sad reminder of the natural condition of every human being. We are dead in our sins – following the world and Satan, and as a result, we are objects of God’s wrath. Verse 4 shines out in the midst of that darkness, however, with that little word: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5).
This past Sunday, we continued walking through Revelation by looking at Revelation 2:12-17. Jesus – as the One who stands in the position of judgment – commends the Church for holding fast to the faith in the midst of hostile territory. But He also rebukes the Church for allowing in its midst those who encourage an inappropriate relationship to the world and to sin. Notes and audio can be found here.
Also, we continued walking through the Gospel According to Mark by looking at Mark 2:1-12. This is scene in which Jesus demonstrates His power and mercy by granting help to the helpless – both physically (in the form of healing) and spiritually (in the forgiveness of sins). Notes and audio can be found here.
Genesis 1-11 tells us the story of this world’s beginnings. It tells of God’s good creation as well as man’s rebellion. It also demonstrates the effects of that rebellion. In reality, Genesis 4-11 serves as a clear demonstration that human beings are incapable of delivering themselves. The problems we have created are beyond our ability to fix. Understanding that helps us truly appreciate Genesis 12:1-9. In light of man’s inability to fix his own problems, God stepped in and initiated His own plan. After allowing humans to make very clear that they cannot succeed on their own, God stepped in to fix the problem Himself by choosing Abraham.