Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I think there is a time when you move from one place to another where it really hits you that, after all the dust settles, after the old utilities are paid, the new ones set up, you discover the leaky faucet in the bathroom and learn how to get to the bank and find the doctor’s office, the insurance office, the post office, it hits you that, hey, we live here now! We are kind of at that place now after a month of life as Hoosiers! We are so grateful for this first month here and praise the Lord that He placed us into such a loving fellowship of Christ followers.
I hope you will use the attached worship bulletin to prepare your hearts for worship this Sunday. I know you are busy, but take the time to read the various scripture texts, psalms, and hymns, chosen to dovetail with themes found in the sermon. This Sunday’s sermon is on Malachi 2:1-9, “From the Sanctuary to the Dungheap!” (and that is putting it politely.) This week’s sermon will pick up where we left off last week in Malachi 1:6-14. In that passage the priests and people in Malachi’s Day had gotten stuck in the cycle of Despise God’s Glory àDeny God’s LoveàDestroy God’s Worship. A deficient view of God’s glorious Person leads to a deficient view of His Redemptive work, with the result that God’s great Name is trivialized and His worship becomes defiled and corrupted. Worst of all, the great cost of Christ’s atoning work was obscured when blemished, lame, blind, or stolen offerings were brought to be sacrificed. AS you read this week’s text, you might ponder questions like, Does God just sit idly by and let the priests do this with no consequences? What happens when defiant priests refuse to hear what God is saying to them? Is there a perfect Priest or Minister who will never let you down or fail you? Is there a Divine standard for Old Testament priests, or New Testament ministers? What is the “covenant with Levi?” Come ready to dig in to the text on Sunday!
· 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
This week I found more gems in the spiritual goldmine of Ronald S. Wallace’s powerful devotional/theological work, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life. I have been using it in my devotions and wanted to pass along the nuggets that I have been finding.
In the opening section of the book Wallace deals with Calvin’s notion that the Scriptures sometimes use “violent” or “inappropriate” language to describe the self-offering of Jesus to God on the cross. Of course, Calvin doesn’t mean that God has somehow inspired the wrong kind of language to describe the work of His Son in Scripture. But he means that it sounds shocking to our sensibilities to hear that Christ’s death was to “interpose between us and God’s anger” or that, as Calvin wrote, that on the cross Jesus was “beaten and struck by the hand of God.” Yet one quick reading of Isaiah 53 will dispel any notion that Calvin is overplaying the language of Scripture. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, led as s lamb to the slaughter, cut off from the land of the living, bruised by God, numbered with the transgressors. So what does this have to do with us? Great question, glad you asked!
When Jesus thus presents Himself to God to interpose between us and God’s anger, He subjects Himself to God’s judicial wrath, yes, but He also is here consecrating Himself, we can even say sanctifying Himself to God, both as High Priest and King, in order that we might be made into a royal priesthood in union with Him by faith. You might say we are washed by His blood, cleansed truly, then presented Holy before God by virtue of Christ’s presentation of Himself to God as King and Priest. Wallace then unpacks the essence of Calvin’s teaching on this subject in the second section entitled, “The sanctification of the Church in the sanctification of Christ” where he writes,
“It is true that Jesus’ self-consecration to His royal priesthood was in a sense entirely vicarious, unique, and something done in separation from the rest of humanity. It was nonetheless in our name that Jesus stood and acted before God. In His atoning and sanctifying work He acted not only as our substitute but also as our representative in the deepest sense of the word. In His person, then, we have indeed been presented to the Father in the full and complete act of consecration to royal priesthood.” [Emphasis mine.]
What is the practical payoff of this devotional theology for your daily life? Meditate on this which immediately follows the quote above: “The fact that we have been once-for-all consecrated as a royal priesthood in Christ can be the basis of the confidence with which we can continually approach God in worship and prayer and thus seek to live the Christian life.” You don’t come to Him in yourself; you come before Him because Christ has first consecrated Himself to God on your behalf! So when you pray, pray confidently in Christ. When you come to worship on Sunday, come confidently, for Jesus your Great High Priest, offered His blood and died; your guilty conscience seeks no sacrifice beside; His powerful blood did once atone, and now it pleads before the throne!
See you Sunday!
In Christ’s Service,