We are commanded by St Paul in Colossians to walk in wisdom toward outsiders, letting our speech always be gracious, so that we may know how to answer each person (Col. 4:5).
While the truth remains the same and unchanged no matter the conversation – it can be presented in a variety of ways, some more edifying than others depending on the context. We see this in our Lord’s ministry and how he spoke to the Pharisees contrasted with how he spoke to contrite sinners.
Just like there are different tools for different jobs, there are different ways of speech for different conversations. For one person, you might need to use a rhetorical chainsaw to chop them down a peg, but often for others a rhetorical bandage is required to heal their gaping wounds. And it takes wisdom to know which tool to use.
Every Lord’s Day at this point in our worship service an exhortation is given. In these exhortations, you are reminded of God’s commands and are both admonished and encouraged to obey these commands. Naturally, this comes before our time of confession, because we are all reminded of the many ways in which we fall short of God’s standard and have sinned.
What I want to point out to you this morning is that what I am doing right now is really nothing more than what Scripture says you ought to be doing every day for one another.
This exhortation was delivered to Christ Church Downtown on May 30, 2021.
The summer season is upon us and for many of you an opportunity for a more relaxed schedule, more recreation, more bonfires and fun family vacations. All very good gifts from God for you to heartily enjoy.
But we must remember that summer is not a time to kick back and relax spiritually. There are no spiritual vacations in the Christian life.
As the Apostle Peter wrote, we must always be sober-minded and watchful, because our adversary Satan never ceases from prowling like a lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Now being watchful does not simply mean avoiding temptation and killing sin—the putting off of your old self. It also means further cultivating in your life and your home good spiritual disciplines and habits—the putting on of your new self (Eph. 4:22–24).
One foundational way to remain watchful and alert is to read the Word. We begin our summer Bible Reading Plan through the New Testament on Tuesday, and this is a great opportunity to jump into daily Bible reading with others at a pace of 4 chapters a day. If that’s not your speed or if checking off boxes does the exact opposite of motivating you, then I encourage you to just pick one book, like Ephesians, to read and reread all summer daily at your own pace, learning it front to back.
Regardless of your method, be in the Word consistently. Be vigilant. Be watchful. Take care of your soul and those entrusted to you.
This exhortation was delivered to Christ Church Downtown on May 23, 2021.
This week, as a church body we find ourselves in a time of corporate mourning, afflicted with the tragic death of a dear brother. And as we are all members of one Body, we certainly feel, even if comparatively so small, a tinge of the pain that is much, much stronger for some of our brothers and sisters.
In the midst of this grief, I am reminded of how we as Christians truly are a peculiar people in this world. Our response to suffering and death is similar in some ways, and yet fundamentally foreign to the world’s response. Yes, we weep and we mourn… we are not called to be unfeeling Stoics. But we do these things with a firm, genuine, and powerful hope.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and it is also the foundation for all the blessings of God. We see this in Psalm 128 which begins, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.”
This blessing is then exemplified by the psalmist in three essential areas of life: work, family, and worship. For work, you will eat the fruit of your labor. You will be blessed by having something to do and be successful in the doing of it. For family, you will have a wife who is like a fruitful vine in all sorts of ways, including children like olive-shoots gathered around your table. And for worship, you will experience the blessing of the Lord out of Zion, living to see the prosperity of the church not only in your day, but in your grandchildren’s day.
This exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown on February 21, 2021.
As I’m sure you know, last week was Ash Wednesday and the start of the season of Lent. And so very briefly I want to look at the Reformed tradition regarding the church calendar, our practice here at Christ Church, and how to go about differences in these matters.
This exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown on September 6, 2020.
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”
This morning I want to ask you: Does your God sing over you?
I don’t know about you, but I was astonished to realize that it’s 2020 and we still have Father’s Day on our calendars. Father’s Day, the one day a year in our culture to honor the patriarchy it otherwise has smashed, hasn’t been cancelled.