The Glory of the Lord’s Day

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For many years I have been convicted of what God not only says but what He implies in His own Word, about this day. With the conviction, has come more revelation, more understanding, more commitment, more discipline, and more joy.

In His Word, I see a continual pattern of God’s will, His working, and His way established for His kingdom here on earth. As His children and joint-heirs of His kingdom with Christ, His Son, we not only have the privilege of the written law, but we have the law by His Spirit written on our hearts and in our minds.

He not only reveals through His written Word what He wants us to know about Him and His kingdom but also by His Spirit works it in our hearts and lives.

The Pattern of Rest
The pattern from the beginning of time with His creation is continued through the work of redemption until we are brought to our final destination on what will be an eternal Lord’s Day.

The first was a resting from the Father’s labor; the second, the Son resting from His labor; and the third, a resting for His entire kingdom, as the Holy Spirit works in us, preparing us for that eternal rest in glory.

There is much that I could include in this document, but a lot of it would be what Jesus’ apostles, the early church fathers, the Puritans, the Reformers, and theologians have said. Documented in different Confessions, are the statements of faith concerning the Sabbath. Remember that what I write is all from “a sheep’s view.”

It is part of studying these, especially in the memorization of the Shorter Catechism with Scriptural proofs, that my convictions have been confirmed. Continuing to review these in prayer I seek to know and obey God’s word and glorify Him in this present day.

I share today a scheduled Bible reading from Luke 23:52-56.

“This man (Joseph of Arimathaea) went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

Jesus had finished His work of redemption and His body was laid to rest until the day of His resurrection. It was the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Why was Jesus’ death scheduled for this day?

I have not searched this question, nor do I write here of its significance, except that it was God, the Father’s plan and He established the Lord’s Day in covenant with His Son as the Christian Sabbath, the day in which we would weekly celebrate the risen Lord and Savior.

Those who stayed around after Jesus’ crucifixion was Joseph, one of the counselors, who had not consented to Jesus’ death, and the women who had followed Him from Galilee. The apostles, in fear, had scattered. Joseph asked to take care of Jesus’ body, and the women returned home, and prepared spices and ointments for His burial.

But these would never be used because when they returned after the Sabbath, the law of a seventh-day had been displaced by a new law of life in Christ’s resurrection.

They rested the sabbath day according to the commandment, while Christ was establishing a new covenant for God’s people. He was resting while they were resting, but in a different rest for a different purpose.

Living in Projection of the Eternal Sabbath
Preparation for the Lord’s Day and the practice of it today is in the fulfillment of God’s promises for an eternal sabbath. When we live, projecting from one Lord’s Day to another, we are practicing and preparing for Christ’s glorious return and eternity with Him.

We go through each day of the week, in private worship, and making preparation under this projection, look forward to spending the day in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, as He has appointed in His word.

God had appointed Joseph to ask for and prepare Jesus’ body for burial. We are commanded by Him to observe the day in His honor and in celebration of our new life in Him. We are to worship God through Him and the Holy Spirit in spirit and truth each Lord’s Day.

We take part in the body of Christ, the church, in communion with His risen body, through the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day, remembering His death until He comes again.

Would I have waited to see what or who would have been there for Jesus after His death? How do we now remember His death and resurrection? This is no longer a question for me  but in response to His sacrifice for me, mine is a sincere desire and commitment to spend the Lord’s Day with Him, without any division of time for other things.

How do you prepare for the Lord’s Day?

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Godly Stability

This post did not make it as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity, but the quotes may fit somewhere in the previous chapter, Surviving and Thriving in Enemy TerritoryLord willing, our last chapter should be ready to post on Monday.
Please pray for Jim as he is preparing our next post on Words of Life.

“And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD”
Jeremiah 15:20

    “Stability in the fear and faith of God will make a man like a wall of brass, which no one can batter down or break. Only the LORD can make such; but we need such men in the church, and in the world, but specially in the pulpit. Against uncompromising men of truth this age of shams will fight tooth and nail. Nothing seems to offend Satan and his seed like decision. They attack holy firmness even as the Assyrians besieged fenced cities.
The joy is that they cannot prevail against those whom God has made strong in His strength. Carried about with every wind of doctrine, others only need to be blown upon and away they go; but those who love the doctrines of grace, because they possess the grace of the doctrines, stand like rocks in the midst of raging seas. Whence this stability? “I am with thee, saith the LORD”: that is the true answer. Jehovah will save and deliver faithful souls from all the assaults of the adversary. Hosts are against us, but the LORD of hosts is with us. We dare not budge an inch; for the LORD Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide forever.”Spurgeon

May the Lord bless us as His people; that He teach us and prepare us for the battle for His kingdom in this world. We pray His blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Fran

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The Law of the Lord is Perfect

English: Scroll of the Psalms

The Law of the Lord is Perfect is the text of Psalm 19:7-11, which speaks of the work of God’s Word in the life of the believer.

The Law of the Lord Is Perfect        

The law of the Lord is perfect,
Converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
Making wise the simple.

(refrain)
More to be desired are they than gold.
Yea, than much fine gold,
Sweeter also than honey
And the honeycomb.

The statutes of the Lord are right,
Rejoicing the heart:
The commandment of the Lord is pure,
Enlightening the eyes.
(refrain)

 The fear of the Lord is clean,
Enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true
And righteous altogether.
(refrain)
Music by Joanne Roberts Graham  

Dear Father in heaven. Lead us to meditate on your law day and night. On this special day, enable your ministers to proclaim your Word in power as you open our hearts to hear and respond. Use your Word today for conversion, wisdom, rejoicing, and enlightenment for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Soul Food for Sunday

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:2

 I am addicted to the Word of God.  In it is the power of the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The power of the gospel to save (Romans 1:16) is the same power that raised Christ from the death, so that His life would be a continual flow of power in and through His people.  Feeding on His word daily is coupled with the Lord’s Day proclamation in the preaching of His word.  His word goes forth in power to those whose hearts and souls feed on Him.  How can we fast on the Lord’s Day when He has prepared a feast for us from His word?

Sword-Word-God-118735“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

By His Word and Spirit, He searches and knows my heart; He tries me and knows my thoughts, sees any wicked way in me; and leads me in the paths of righteousness (Psalm 138:23-24; 23:3).

 “Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

I need His word ~ the same word that penetrated my being ~ to permeate, and perpetuate the life of Christ in and through me; for His sanctification by the “washing of the water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63

Through His Word are all God’s promises made and fulfilled in Christ, the living Word.

For he satisfieth the longing soul,
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness
.”
Psalm 107:9

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”
Psalm 130:5

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever.”
Psalm 73:25:26

sarasota-tropical-garden-design“And the Lord shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58:11

Dear Father, as you bring us this day into your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise, open our hearts to your word, that our souls may be fed, nourished, and receiving the bread of life in Christ, your Son, and your Spirit, knowing the abundance of His life within us. Let us this week, in the obedience of faith, be about our Father’s business of life, doing all your will ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

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Celebration of a Resurrection

Many people come to this particular Lord’s Day to honor or celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A lot of time and money are spent on this day to present a grand performance.

For some, it is simply a season called Easter. Even as for the Christmas season, people who have no thoughts of God join their families or friends for a meal.

Those of a different faith came through our neighborhood this past week, handing out invitations for their once-a-year presentation. It sounded like a spectacular event ~ even to surpass the resurrection, itself.

It was a joy for me to tell them that we plan and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ every Lord’s Day.

They continued to tell me how great their event would be.  I continued to tell them how great ours is every week. They left, after asking what church I attended.

Once a year cannot compare to the planning and celebration of Christ’s resurrection every week; as a taste of, and planning toward that final gathering.

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven,
and which are on earth; even in him: 
Ephesians 1:10

Faith in a man who actually “rose from the dead” brings us head-on, face-to-face with this man who claimed to be God; died for the “sins of His people;” and was raised in victory over death. His resurrection was the final presentation planned to deliver us once-for-all from death to eternal life (Hebrews 9:24-28).

This man is the center of all of life, for every day and everything.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren,
in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Hebrews 2:12-13

Faith brings us daily to worship at Jesus’ feet and ~ at least ~ weekly, to worship and celebrate His resurrection and our salvation, with His people. We, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, OPC (Reformed) also “remember His death” every week, in the observance of the Lord’s Supper.

We bear no judgment upon those who worship differently; we rejoice greatly in what we have.  If they have something we don’t have, we don’t miss or need it. We have Christ, His Word, and Spirit ~ we have everything.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
 Philippians 4:4

Father, we thank you for another Lord’s Day; for this day of worship with your people. Thank you for each week, remembering what we have heard and learned from your Word; the truth that is transforming us by the renewing of our minds, and conforming us to His image. Thank you for pastors that lead and feed your flock; for your Word and Spirit that continually prepare us for the next Lord’s Day, and for the glory that you have planned for us in that final gathering in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we praise you. Amen.
Fran

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The Purpose of Jesus’ Resurrection

Most Christians go all-out this season of the year to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the need of Christ’s resurrection the rest of the year? It is important that we as His disciples look into God’s word for His purpose for Christ’s death and resurrection. We are not covering this topic thoroughly but want to shed some light on this special time in the history of our Lord. The whole of God’s Word is to be studied in order to grasp the full meaning of this glorious victory that needs our attention and celebration every day of the year. We will post this week through next Lord’s Day our most-read articles on the subject of Jesus’ work for our salvation.

To Fulfill the Scriptures

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For New Life, Testing, Praise, Honor, and Glory of Jesus Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:1 Peter 1:3-7

For our Justification:

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:25

For our Assurance, Faith and Hope

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 1 Peter 1:21

And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 1 Corinthians 6:14

To Reveal God’s Power

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: Romans 1:4

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,Ephesians 1:20

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:6
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10

That We May Be Conformed to His Image

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29

That We May Follow in His Footsteps

Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that he loved us,

and sent his Son to be the propitiation
for our sins.

 
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we ought also to love one another.

1 John 4:10-11

Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us:

and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren
.

1 John 3:16

Dear Father, keep us this day and every day in the reality of your redemption, loving you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Make the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ an ever-present working in our hearts and lives for everyday worship in spirit and truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Fran

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The Fullness of God in One Body

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is.

Hebrews 10:25

What happens when we neglect corporate worship?

A part of the body of Christ is missing.  Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you?  Usually, more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day.  So, imagine a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing.  You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Jerry’s left leg was amputated twelve years ago.  He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.

So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness.  True — worship is planned and carried on for those who are there, but let’s imagine what worship looks like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23

The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory.  It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all His body.  His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ.  In this prayer, Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man —–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.

Can one member receive all?  Can one heart conceive of the love of Christ? No! It was never meant to be. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love.  Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16)  For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ.  It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.

When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.

And so the members of the body of Christ go through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be.  We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs. As members of one body, let us exhort one another for the faithful attendance to His worship and His Word.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable
in holiness before God, even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all his saints.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love. Move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

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