Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Let the learning curve continue! Another week has gone by and the Lord is teaching me new things every day. I just last night had my first Session meeting since arriving here. We spent a significant portion of time at the beginning of the meeting praying for you, the members and friends of CCOPC. I praise the Lord for the commitment to our Lord Jesus and to His flock here at CCOPC that I see in the Elders of this church. I am truly blessed to serve alongside men of such caliber, who love the Truth of the Gospel, and as a result, also care greatly for the Flock of God entrusted to their care. It is rare to find men who are strong in conviction yet humble in spirit, and God has blessed us with such men in our Ruling Elders. And I equally praise the Lord for each of you, in whom the grace of our Lord Jesus shines in glorious splendor. He is day by day making each of you individually, and all of us collectively, in the Church, a Bride fit for a heavenly banquet when Christ comes again.
Allow me to highlight the Neighborhood Fellowship outreach at 3102 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis at 245pm this Lord’s Day. Join us as we assist this inner city church in serving a supper to their church community after their afternoon worship service. Be Christ’s hands and feet by serving a cup of cold water – and a hearty meal – in the Name of Christ. And be prepared to meet and greet others, some from that community who come primarily for the meals – and who might not know the Lord Jesus. It is an opportunity to meet physical needs and share the Good News of Jesus – and also to serve side by side fellow believers from CCOPC. If you want to be involved, please contact Elder Mike Gilbert (317-758-0564) or Elder Brian Wortman (317-225-1246).
· September 22 – Lord’s Day Worship, 10:15am
· September 22 – Neighborhood Fellowship Outreach, 245pm
· September 29 – Lord’s Day Worship, 10:15am
· September 29 – Hymn / Psalm sing at the church building, 6pm
· October 6 – Lord’s Day Worship, 10:15am
· October 6 – Feet ‘n Eat, after worship at Turkey Run State Park, details forthcoming
Meditations from Pastor Tim
Ronald S. Wallace’s, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life, a book I first read in seminary, continues to be a source of devotional inspiration to me. Wallace describes Calvin’s understanding of the relationship of the Christian to this present life in the section entitled “The Christian Attitude to this present world.” Adam was not meant “to find the end of his existence in the enjoyment of the immediately surrounding environment.” Instead, in all of the vast and varied creation our first parent was “to find in created things tokens of the grace of their Creator, and to use them as helps to himself to meditate upon and aspire to the better life for which he had been created.” Nonetheless, even though men’s hearts are “an insatiable gulf which it is impossible to fill to contentment with the things of the earth,” yet in sin men “go on vainly seeking satisfaction in this earth,” so filling themselves with an idolatrous lust for the creation that “while living in this world, they die to God.”
What this did not mean is that for Calvin, created things were somehow evil or that life in the physical world was somehow “unspiritual” or in conflict with the “things above where Christ is.” In fact, many Reformed theologians hold to the view that had Adam obeyed perfectly as our covenant Head in this life, that at some point when the Lord confirmed Him in righteousness, He would have entered into blissful, eternal life communion with the Triune God, an endless eschatological Day of uninterrupted joyful worship and service to God. In this view, the creation and this life are good gifts of God, and Calvin agrees with this: “…all the good things which God gives us in this life are to be regarded as preliminary tokens of the heavenly heritage which the same bountiful love has destined for us…”
The problem for Calvin, then, is not in the gift, nor in the Giver, but in the receivers of the divine gifts in creation. “The danger which besets us in the use of this world is that instead of its being a ladder to enable our hearts and minds to rise upwards to God, it should become rather a sepulchre in which our souls become buried on this earth. Our earthly possessions, instead of becoming blessings which lead us to God, can become like cords which strangle us.”
What is the solution for the Christian who seeks to make a proper use of the Creation, allowing it to be a ladder to raise us heavenward rather than a gallows driving us to a veritable hell on earth, and into an actual hell in Hell itself? Calvin called the attitude Christians should have toward this life as one of “contemptio mundi” – Latin for “contempt for the world.”
Again, Calvin is not advocating a mindset of being “so heavenly minded you are of no earthly good.” Rather by contemptio mundi Calvin means that we must strive against “an improper love of this present world” which “tends to involve us in compromise or allegiance with the evil powers that tend to dominate this present world.”
In other words, whatever aspect of your sinful flesh that would misuse God’s good gifts, that would produce in man’s heart such an “improper and intemperate love for this present world, which brings him into such bondage to this world as prevents him from even seeking God truly,” – THIS is to be the subject of your contemptio mundio, of “world-hatred” for you. It is in this sense that we are to hold the world in contempt, and to constantly press toward the goal for the prize of the upward heavenly calling that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. In this way you can properly enjoy and use the good gifts of this present world: by a healthy detachment from the things of this world – not despising the good creation itself, but rather, despising and holding in contempt the sin which still rages in your flesh, the sin which would worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator, who is Blessed forever.
Put on Christ, dear brothers and sisters, walk in a manner worthy of your heavenly calling, and run the race with endurance, laying aside every weight and sin which entangles us, and look “to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
See you Sunday!
In Christ’s Service,