Episode 21: It Is Finished!

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This week’s song: In Him There Is No Darkness by The Loverlies

This sermon centers on what is arguably the most important phrase in all of Scripture.  Please listen and feel free to download and share!

Episode 13: His Name – Wonderful!

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Sermon text

I apologize for the delay between episodes.  Life has been busy, not the least of which has included my helping to teach some classes at church and my time being taken up writing materials for them.  It’s been a great experience so far and I’m excited to see how things continue.  I am very hopeful that what this leads to for me is an opportunity to watch God produce fruit in my life and in the lives of others.

This is actually going to be the very first, albeit short, sermon series I have done here.  It’s only going to be three parts, but as this is such a well-known passage of Scripture I was excited to see three sermons that he had done so closely together, and I thought it would be fun to start doing something with a little continuity.  Well, fun in kind of a theology nerd way, but that’s who I am!

But much more importantly, what I am is a man who, like Spurgeon, has seen the truth of who he is by the grace of God, by the pounding of the law on a heart rendered able to perceive and respond by the Holy Spirit: a sinner who has no standing by his own righteousness before God.  The Son hangs on the cross because my sins put him there, yet at the same time, He went willingly to die.  He went to the cross to atone for my sins out of love.  That is the marvelous paradox, the life-giving, eye-opening truth of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ: He came to redeem His people, people who did not deserve a bit of it, yet He atones for them all the same out of love.

And so I look at my sins, at the worries and wicked desires of my flesh, and the world’s whispered promises, and the enemy’s taunts of unworthiness, and I am tempted to feel despair.  I struggle when staring at these things to think anything other than, “How in the world could God ever love me?  If being guilty were a ship I would be its uncontested captain for life, with a bunk reserved for me in the brig.”  Yet God, even while opening my ears to hear the law that compels my rightful condemnation for rebelling against God, for seeking pleasure in idols like filling my stomach, pursuing porn, pouring out all my energy into filling my pockets and hoarding it as though it were mine…He at the same time brought to my hearing the Gospel that says that Jesus knew all these things, and went to the cross to pay for them perfectly.  While I was still a sinner, while I was at my darkest, Christ died for me, and now I have nothing left to boast about except for Him.

But the truth is, I don’t want to boast about anything else.  I take joys in the small things of this world that bring in joy, that shine with the reflected light of my beautiful Creator, but it is only a reflection.  When I love my wife, I do it because I was first loved by God and because in loving her, in giving up myself and serving her, in pursuing her, I am able to see the true beauty of the love of God shine through clearly and I thrive on it.  I am set free by it, to soar, and to sing out!

Friends, this freedom is real, and it is here.  The command is true: repent, and turn from your sins, and know the one true God and Jesus Christ who He sent.  That’s eternal life, that’s real life, knowing the One who made you.  He is wonderful, and I pray that my heart wonders after him more tomorrow than it has today.

Episode 4: Healing By the Stripes of Jesus

I thought for Easter Sunday, this one seemed very fitting.  It comes from the text of Isaiah 53:5: “By His stripes, we are healed,” and truly we are.  I recently ran across a blog post from a man who I would venture to say identifies as a Christian but seems to hold a great deal of contempt for Christians and Christianity as an entity.  He said that he believes the Gospel, yet he rejected the first tenet of the Gospel: man’s sinfulness.  I wrestled with how to respond, and in the end I decided to let Mr. Spurgeon make my response for me in this sermon.  This, along with the subject of episode 2, make the case clear: man cannot begin to know God, or grow close to God, without first coming to Him as a sinner in need of grace, which is lovingly and freely given.

Please listen and enjoy, and pass it along!  I hope it has an effect on listeners of turning eyes to Christ, just as much as it did to me in reading it.

Morning and Evening – Good Friday

Happy Good Friday to all those who have begun to follow this podcast as we slowly figure out what exactly we’re doing here.  Today is a day to celebrate the death of death, and the payment made in full for our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ!  We will be releasing Episode 4 very soon.  In the meantime, I present this morning’s entry from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional:

April 3 – Morning

They took Jesus, and led him away.
John 19:16

He had been all night in agony, he had spent the early morning at the hall of Caiaphas, he had been hurried from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate; he had, therefore, but little strength left, and yet neither refreshment nor rest were permitted him.  They were eager for his blood, and therefore led him out to die, loaded with the cross.  O dolorous procession!  Well may Salem’s daughters weep.  My soul, do thou weep also.

What learn we here as we see our blessed Lord led forth?  Do we not perceive that truth which was set forth in shadow by the scapegoat?  Did not the high-priest bring the scapegoat, and put both his hands upon its head, confessing the sins of the people, that thus those sins might be laid upon the goat, and cease from the people?  Then the goat was led away by a fit man into the wilderness, and it carried away the sins of the people, tso that if they were sought for they could not be found.  Now we see Jesus brought before the priests and rulers, who pronounce him guilty; God himself imputes our sins to him, The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all; He was made sin for us; and, as the substitute for our guilt, bearing our sin upon his shoulders, represented by the cross; we see the great Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice.  Beloved, can you feel assured that he carried your sin?  As you look at the cross upon his shoulders, does it represent your sin?  There is one way by which you can tell whether he carried your sin or not.  Have you laid your hand upon his head, confessed your sin, and trusted in him?  Then your sin lies not on you; it has all been transferred by blessed imputation to Christ, and he bears it on his shoulder as a load heavier than the cross.

Let not the picture vanish till you have rejoiced in your own deliverance, and adored the loving Redeemer upon whom your iniquities were laid.