Praise for the Incarnation

Another benefit of my recent search for Advent resources came in the form of this lovely piece by the Puritan, John Newton.

Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Immanuel’s name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.

John NewtonWhen he came, the angels sung,
“Glory be to God on high;”
Lord, unloose my stamm’ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I?

Did the Lord a man become,
That he might the law fulfil,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

No, I must my praises bring,
Though they worthless are and weak;
For should I refuse to sing,
Sure the very stones would speak.

O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Ev’ry precious name in one,
I will love thee without end.

May this be our praise and prayer this Christmas and always.

Why Giving Makes Sense at Christmas & Always

Last night’s Christmas Eve message from 2 Cor. 8:1-9 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here is the quote from Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) with which I closed the sermon:

And shall we not pause and bestow a thought of admiration and gratitude upon Him, who was constrained to stand in our place of degradation and woe, that we might stand in His place of righteousness and glory? What wondrous love! what stupendous grace! That He should have been willing to have taken upon Him our sin, and curse, and woe! The exchange to Him how humiliating! He could only raise us by Himself stooping. He could only emancipate us by wearing our chain. He could only deliver us from death by Himself dying. He could only invest us with the spotless robe of His pure righteousness by wrapping around Himself the leprous mantle of our sin and curse. Oh, how precious ought He to be to every believing heart! What affection, what service, what sacrifice, what devotion, He deserves at our hands! Lord, incline my heart to yield itself supremely to You!

May the Lord do a deep work in all our hearts toward the end of our sacrificial giving in all aspects of our lives because we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why We May Safely Believe Jesus' Claim to be the Light of the World

If you missed this morning’s message, here is the summary. The sermon should be posted on the audio portion of our website in the next day or two.

The text of the message was John 8:12-20.

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

We may safely believe Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world because of His knowledge of self as one who came from God and went back to God, because of His oneness with God – He does not judge alone but the Father who sent Him, they judge together, because of His witness of two – Himself and the Father, thus fulfilling the requirements of the law in a most superior way.

So how are we to apply this challenging section of Scripture? Let me suggest a few things. First, Jesus claims to be the light of the world. Without Him you are trapped in darkness and subject to eternal death. Believe and follow Him, trust His death on the cross for your sins and you will have the light of life. Second, maintain a healthy suspicion of fleshly capacities to judge. Rely on the Spirit to help you make judgments not according to human appearances, superficiality, and sinful distortions, but according to the things of the Spirit and the word. Third, given who Jesus is and what He claimed, hang on His every word and seek to follow him in obedience. Beware the most dangerous activity found among men, hardening the heart to Jesus’ word which results in total blindness and ignorance. Fourth, remember that unbelief never has enough evidence. These men didn’t know God because they didn’t know Jesus and refused to follow Him. Fifth, rest in God’s providence as evidenced in the hour to which Jesus was subject. Nothing can befall you at any time apart from God’s sovereign appointment and timing. Sixth, if you follow Christ, the light of the world, that makes you a light to the world. Let it shine in your good works and gospel words as you engage people where you live, work, and play.

Jesus is the light of the word. Believe, follow, and you most certainly will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. Amen.