For this week’s Sermon of the Week, I would like to add a resource that relates to this Sunday past’s AM message. The sermon was “Salvation Is Of The Lord” from Jonah 2. C.J. Mahaney has preached an excellent sermon on Sovereign Grace from Ephesians 1:3-14. His approach is one of humility with a longing to serve us by exposing God’s Word. I commend this sermon for your benefit.
I am drawn to think that I could just learn one more truth, or find one more formula, or have one more experience, or get into the right fellowship — then my battle with sin would diminish. The right leader, the right theology, the right diet, the right worship style — these are what I need.
This is the error of church growth. It leads us to think that the key to the church is finding the right external form. Power is hindered by the wrong form, power is unleashed by the updating of the church to new forms. No — power comes from the Gospel and its being applied. Tradition or “hip-ness” are not the issue. There is not a whit of power in going ancient (candles and dim lights, formal attire) and there is not any more power in going cool (graphics and urban decor, jeans in worship). Neither matters.
I think he is right on here. Too often as a pastor in a local church, I am tempted to think this. I am tempted to think, “If my church could be more cool…” or “If we could just hook people in …” or “If I could be a hipper communicator…” All of these statements reveal that I am consistently close to neglecting the central power of the gospel. The Gospel must be all that the local church centers on. It needs to be the consistent theme of all we’re about. Therefore, be reminded of that today and find your true help from the Helper Himself.
It occurred to me that I failed to post something for last Monday’s marriage Monday, so please forgive me. At HomeWord a couple of weeks ago, we looked at the role of the wife. In the application time, we focused on the following areas highlighted by Martha Peace in her wonderful work, The Excellent Wife. She gives the following:
EIGHTEEN WAYS A WIFE MAY BE THE GLORY OF HER HUSBAND:
1) Ask your husband, “What are your goals for the week?”
2) Ask your husband, “How can I help you accomplish these goals?”
3) Ask your husband, “Is there anything that I can do differently that would make it easier for you?”
4) Be organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking. As you fulfill your God-given responsibilities, your husband is then free to do his work.
5) Save some of your energy every day for him.
6) Put him first over the children, your parents, friends, job, ladies’ Bible studies, etc.
7) Willingly and cheerfully rearrange your schedule for him when necessary.
8) Talk about him in a positive light to others. Do not slander him at all, even if what you are saying is true.
9) Do whatever you can to make him look good, to accomplish his goals. Some examples are offer to run errands for him, organize your day to be available to him with his projects, pray for him and make good suggestions. Give him the freedom not to use your suggestion, and do not be offended if he does not follow it.
10) Consider his work (job, goals, hobbies, work for the Lord) as more important than your own.
11) Think of specific ways that you can help him accomplish his goals. Examples are get up early in the mornings to help him get off to work having had a good breakfast, take care in recording telephone messages for him, anticipate any needs he may have in order to attain a specific goal, and keep careful records of money spent to keep up with the budget.
12) Consider the things that you are involved in. How do they glorify your husband? Ask his guidance.
13) Be warm and gracious to his family and friends. Make your commitment to him obvious to them.
14) Do and say things that build him up instead of tear him down.
15) Dress and apply your makeup in an attractive manner that is pleasing for your husband.
16) When your husband sins, reprove him privately and gently, always giving him hope and pointing him to the Lord.
17) Encourage him to use his spiritual gifts in ministry.
18) Realize that just as God is glorified when man obeys Him, your husband is glorified when you obey your husband.
As you can see from her suggestions, being a godly wife is a high calling. I hope today you are encouraged, ladies, to realize that God has given you the grace for this kind of following. Cling to Him and watch Him do wonderful things through you.
The Lord was so gracious to me yesterday morning. From Jonah 1:17-2:10 we were able to see a picture of God being sovereign over salvation. I referenced Spurgeon a couple of times, so I thought I would point you to Phil Johnson’s excellent Spurgeon site to see a sermon by Spurgeon entitled “Salvation Belongs To The Lord!” If you are looking for ways to go deeper with yesterday’s message, this might be a great place to start.
Over at the Gospel Coalition website, they have some incredible audio available. Here are some of the main sessions…
Don Carson – What Is The Gospel?
Tim Keller – What Does Gospel Centered Ministry Look Like?
John Piper – The Triumph of the Gospel in the New Heavens and the New Earth
Crawford Lorrits – Passing The Torch
I’ve only heard about half of Carson’s talk, but I am excited to get to the others. The Gospel Coalition website has helpful articles and recommendations and would be very helpful.
My good friend, Brad Russell, is the new senior pastor of Old Powhatan Baptist Church in Powhatan, VA (which is a suburb of Richmond I believe). Brad has begun blogging…
They are worth checking out and frequenting.
I have been challenged recently in my practice of family worship and have asked some godly people I respect to answer some practical questions about leading Andrew (my 18 month old) in family worship. Dr. Don Whitney was my Spiritual Formation Professor in seminary and has spoken at 2 churches I’ve had the privilege to serve. He has written an excellent piece on Family Worship. I asked Dr. Whitney about some practical solutions in dealing with a child of Andrew’s age. His counsel was excellent. Among other things, he encouraged me to not neglect using the Bible. He said,
I would not abandon use of the Bible. Perhaps you’ll want to read just one verse, repeating it several times. Perhaps get him to repeat one word with you. Let him see you holding and reading from the Bible every night so that the importance of the Bible will be reinforced visually. Of course, do not neglect your wife, either. Either find another time for the two of you to enter into things at an adult level, or else let part of your time be on an adult level and part directed toward your son.
Are there any additional thoughts out there to help with the practice of the discipline of family worship?
John Piper responds to changes in Wayne Grudem’s changes in the recent edition of his Systematic Theology on the issue of churches being divided over baptism. These are helpful words to the discussion…