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.”Zephaniah 3:14–17
This morning I want to ask you: Does your God sing over you?
If we are being honest with our Reformed–Presbyterian selves, the claim that God is singing over us may seem a bit much at first. It sounds a little squishy, kind of suspicious, maybe like something you’d find in one of those poetic devotional type books at Walmart, “In embracing our brokenness we hear Abba Daddy singing shalom over us.”
Right? Sadly, that is where our minds tend to go when someone starts talking about God in this way.
We like to sing imprecatory psalms here.
We tread in Bible passages that other Christians dare not go.
We want preachers that preach the whole counsel of God.
But this same God, according to Zephaniah, tenderly sings over His people. And it is absolutely glorious.
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.
This exhortation was given on December 8, 2019 at Christ Church Downtown.
Many years ago, a messenger of God named Gabriel visited a young virgin in the city of Nazareth. Her name was Mary, and she was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.
After greeting Mary and comforting her, the angel Gabriel presented her with a message from the Lord:
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:31–33).
“But how can this be?” asked Mary in all sincerity, “since I do not know a man?”
Gabriel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).
And Mary, in all meekness and humility, responded to the greatest mystery of our faith saying: “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).
This Lord’s Day I want us to consider the Virgin Mary, our example in the faith.
The following exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown.
Here at Christ Church, many of us hold to an eschatological position called ‘postmillennialism.’ Postmillennialism, put simply, is the optimistic belief that the gospel will be victorious in history, and that the nations of the earth will be largely won to Christ prior to His return in the end.
This is not a new doctrine in Church history. From Athanasius to Calvin, many have found this truth in their study of the Scriptures. And as an evangelical church in the Reformed tradition, we too share this vision. While you may only hear a sermon specifically on this topic from time to time, this confident attitude and expectation permeates how we worship, how we raise our children, how we work, and how we generally live in our community.
But sometimes, even though this conviction undergirds much of our activity, we can forget this great hope and expectation in the busyness of our daily lives as husbands, wives, parents, children, students, and employees. It is one thing to intellectually agree that by God’s grace, the world will be won, someday, down the line, and in a future that you can barely imagine. It is another thing to live, and work, and fellowship, and study, and evangelize, praying and expecting to see this happen in front of your own eyes.
The following exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown.
Proverbs 10:7 reads, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.”
Or put another way, the name of the righteous is blessed in being remembered—there’s memory of it, while the name of the wicked will perish, being ultimately forgotten.
Now one can think of many infamous and wicked men, such as Hitler, and ask then why their names live on; while countless missionaries or ordinary Christians who led many to the Lord in their lifetimes have been forgotten by their communities and even their families.
The following was preached at Christ Church Downtown during our time of exhortation prior to our confession of sin and assurance of pardon.
“He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:7-9).
I came across a headline in the Daily News recently that read: “Local man steals nearly $200,000 in merchandise from NRS.” Eager to make sure that our fellow Greyfriar Chase, who works at NRS, was not this “local man,” I clicked on the article and can happily say that Chase is not a thief.
What did stand out to me in this report was the man’s reasoning behind stealing nearly 200 items from his employer to sell on eBay. He said, “I was trying to do good things to achieve certain goals and made a mistake.” The article goes on to say the man no longer has the money he made, since these “good things” and “certain goals” included a wedding, student loans, and a house.
What this man calls a mere “mistake” God calls a “sin.” But have you ever considered why God commands us not to steal?
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV