Two Different Good Friday Observances

Good Friday

Holy Week fast approaches.

Good Friday brings with it two options for observing the day, both unique in their own respects.

First, at 10 AM at the All Women’s Health Center (abortion clinic), there will be an hour of praise and prayer commemorating Jesus’ Preaching at All Women'sdeath on the cross and the advocacy for life at this modern killing field. The service will involve a blend of the regular sidewalk counseling that goes on, singing, Scripture reading, and praying. Furthermore, I have been asked to preach as I did last December for an Advent service. Any and everyone are invited to attend. You do not have to participate in the actual counseling, but your prayer and praise can make a powerful impact on this front-line spiritual battle zone.

Second, at 6 PM at OGC, we will host an agape love feast for our church-wide agape feastobservance of the day. In this we will break our 24 hour fast for conversions, baptisms, and discipleship here in Central Florida. Each household is asked to bring some bread, cheese, and fruit to share. We will have time for community around the tables, sharing, singing, and, of course, the Lord’s Table. I will share a brief homily from Matt. 27:51-54. All are welcome.

May these unusual approaches bring enhanced appreciation for all Jesus has done for us in His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross!

Fit Receivers of the Sacrament

Puritan Richard Sibbes, in his book Glorious Freedom, offers excellent counsel for approaching the Lord’s Table in a worthy manner.

The entire book constitutes his exposition of 2 Corinthians 3:18, a most important New Testament text on the doctrine of sanctification.

I commend this to you in preparation for our Good Friday observances in growth groups this week or for any Communion observance for that matter.

Now that we are to receive the sacrament, think of the sacraments as glasses in which we see the glory of the love and mercy of God in Christ. If we consider the bread alone, and not as representing better things, what is it? And the wine alone, as it does not represent better things, what is it but an ordinary poor thing? Oh, but take them as glasses, as things that convey to the soul and represent things more excellent than themselves, and they are glorious ordinances. Take a glass as a glass, it is a poor thing; but take the glasses as they represent more excellent things than themselves, and they are of excellent use. Bread and wine must not be taken as naked elements, but as they represent and convey something more excellent: that is, Christ and all his benefits, the love and mercy and grace of God in Christ.

Therefore I beseech you now, when you are to receive the sacrament, let your minds be more occupied than your senses. When you take the bread, think of the body of Christ broken; and when you think of uniting the bread into one substance, think of Christ and you made one. When the wine is poured out, think of the blood of Christ poured out for sin. When you think of the refreshing by the wine, think of the refreshing of your spirits and souls by the love of God in Christ, and of the love of Christ that did not spare his blood for your soul’s good. How Christ crucified and his shedding of blood refreshes the guilty soul, as wine refreshes the weak spirits! So consider the sacraments as glasses in which better things be are presented, and let your minds as well as your senses be occupied, and then you shall be fit receivers.

Good counsel. Holy Table. Great Savior.

Seeing & Savoring the Savior’s Superior Sacrifice

Today’s Good Friday message from Hebrews 10:11-14 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summarized the theme and aim of the sermon:

In vv. 11-14 he puts the capstone on this argument. He drives it home with full force. Let me put it into the form of a theme: Because Jesus made a superior sacrifice for sins in every way we should not return to our old ways but persevere in holding fast the confession of our hope in the gospel of Jesus. I want to show you from the text four things that make the sacrifice of Jesus superior in every way, especially to Old Covenant Judaism, but essentially to every other religion or system of dealing with the human dilemma. My aim is that we will do anything but shrink back from our faith in the face of trouble rather even joyfully accept the plunder of our property (10:34) if necessary because of these things – His power in the sacrifice, His place after the sacrifice, His plan since the sacrifice, and His perfection by the sacrifice.

All hail to King Jesus who gave His body an offering for sin once for all and who now waits until all His enemies are brought under the footstool of His feet.

Man of Sorrows, What a Friend

Today’s entry, April 3, in Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts, leads with Proverbs 18:24.

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Making application to Jesus, the friend of sinners, Winslow writes:

There is no sympathy, no love, no gentleness, no tenderness, no patience, like Christ’s! Oh how sweet, how encouraging, to know that Jesus sympathetically enters into my afflictions—my temptations—my sorrows—my joys. May this truth endear Him to our souls! May it constrain us to unveil our whole heart to Him, in the fullest confidence of the closest, most sacred, and precious friendship. May it urge us to do those things always which are most pleasing in His sight. Beloved, never forget—let these words linger upon your ear, as the echoes of music that never die—in all your sorrows, in all your trials, in all your needs, in all your assaults, in all your conscious wanderings, in life, in death, and at the day of judgment—you possess a friend that sticks closer than a brother! That friend is Jesus!

As we observe this Good Friday day of remembering the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross, may we also recall and treasure the words of Jesus in John 15:13.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

Hallelujah, what a Savior! He calls me, he calls you, friend, and sticks closer than a brother.