Friday, December 13, 2019

God's Recipe for Courageous Christians (2019.12.13 Pastoral Letter from the Hopewell Herald)

The following is the pastoral letter from today's Herald. You can click the red link in the upper-lefthand corner to receive the Herald, and other occasional congregational communications, via email.

One of today’s Scripture readings on the M’Cheyne plan is 2Chronicles 15.

To Israel (as both a nation and a church), Yahweh sent a prophet to say, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them” (2Chr 15:2-4). The Lord Jesus speaks similarly to churches in Revelation 2-3.

So, how will we respond to this reminder? What was its effect in the life of Asa? “And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land.”

He took courage. Undoubtedly, courage was needed, as his actions would be unpopular. But it was the Word of God, announcing how mercifully God responds to repentance, that God used to give Asa courage.

This, too, is the aim of the warnings/invitations in the letters to the churches in Revelation: that we might take courage to overcome our fears and all other resistance to faithfulness to Christ (cf. Rev 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21, 21:7).

As Christians, we need the Word of God, to press into us the reality of the unseen world, so that we will walk by faith and not by sight. It is difficult to do so. Asa couldn't see the living God. The first century church couldn't see the ascended Christ seated in glory. 

Do we desire to live corum deo, “before the face of God”? Do we desire the courage to be so mindful of Him that earthly fears and resistance fade? Do we desire to live courageously?

Then, here is one means toward that end. God sends His Word to sharpen our view of the seriousness of His threats. God sends His Word to sharpen our view of the strength and certainty of His merciful response to repentance. God sends His Word to bring the unseen world into focus, and push all competition into the background.

And never is this more true than when we worship Him by that Word, and visit that unseen world by faith in the Lord’s Day assembly (Heb 12:18-29).

Looking forward to doing so together,


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