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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Edit and Edify

The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
Isaiah 50:4

The closer Jerry and I come to the riverside, the more vivid the other side is becoming. What is behind is fading away, holding less of our interest. And we desire with grateful hearts for others to see what we see.

In the last twenty-seven years, I have been saving in notebooks and file boxes treasures the Lord has given me. Before I started to publish books written over the years, I had no special need to edit. Since beginning to publish three years ago, I want to make clear what the Lord has given .

The kingdom of our Father is too great for me to minimize, so I pray and desire that His glory be expressed as best as I can by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The grace of our Lord is so precious that I cannot present it apart from His Holy presence in the text.

His love is so needed by His children that I dare not paint a false picture with the brush of my own thoughts.

Editing is not only necessary for publishing books, but a great need in everything we write, in everything we say, and in everything we do. Editing is not just something we do ~ as much as we attempt ~ but it requires another editor to correct what we cannot see in our own writing, speaking, and living.

I have other editors but my trust is in the Holy Spirit ~ editor and  guide ~proofing everything by His Holy Word.

The Lord continues to teach me that I am proclaiming His kingdom of righteousness and grace for His glory. His purpose for giving me the truths and gifts of His Spirit and Word are to edify His people.

Our books are primarily an archive for future generations but we are making them available for His people everywhere, hoping that those who are distressed in this generation may receive a word of encouragement and edification even as we are being taught and edified through His Word and His church ~ passing on any profits to missions and charity.

Writing this post has impressed upon my heart the importance for God’s people to speak the truth in love wherever we are. We need to edit as much as we can while praying for the Holy Spirit to work in us to discern if our thoughts are aligned with His.

Is our speaking and writing for the purpose of edification? All we do should be for the building up of His people ~ His body ~ His church. In the following references, we see the meaning and importance of edification.

Ephesians 4:29 relates to our personal speech so as to edify those who hear us.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

These relate to what is being taught.

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
1 Timothy 1:4

Paul writes to the Romans and the Thessalonians of edifying one another.

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Romans 15:2

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The following are in reference to spiritual gifts; that they should be to the edifying and comfort of the members of the church.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:3

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12

Paul writes of his relationship to the Corinthian church.

For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 2 Corinthians 10:8

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
2 Corinthians 12:19

Paul writes to the Ephesians of the edifying of the whole body of Christ.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4;12

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

Gracious Father, thank you for revealing the brightness of your glory through your Son, Jesus Christ. By your Holy Spirit, take away those things of our own thoughts so that nothing stands in the way of your truth. So encourage our hearts that we only speak what edifies your people. Let the light of Christ shine through us to reveal your love and grace ~ for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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

Images: Google

Preaching, Teaching, Reaching

Week after week we are blessed to witness of the Lord’s work through the ministers of our church. This gives me much by which to express my thoughts on the Christian life that is beyond what most experience in the world today (Beyond a Mere Christianity).

A mere Christianity may serve some who are independent of the church, but to see how God’s Word leads His minsters to serve Him, we experience the church that He creates. God’s Word teaches us that we are all members of one body, with each one having its special place. Some are leaders, knowing and preaching God’s Word on the Lord’s Day as the center of His worship. From this Word preached, the members are given direction as to how we are to live in faith during the week. We learn how to worship at home personally and with our families, and to prepare for worship on the next Lord’s Day; this all, in preparation for that eternal worship to which we live onward and upward.

 PREACHING

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4

“But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” Titus 1:3

 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Preachers are also pastors to the Lord’s sheep, knowing each family and its members.

“And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:4

TEACHING
But the pastor cannot do all the work. Elders are ministers who teach and serve the members, reaching out beyond what the preacher is able to do.

“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:23

REACHING
Deacons are also servants of the Lord, knowing and attending to needs of the church.

Families and other members of the body of Christ are taught to reach out, to exhort one another; to love and teach as they are taught.
Everyone prays, interceding for other members of the church.
Before there is a need, a child of God knows their church family and knows where to turn; either to a close member or to a minister of the church.

It is through the body of Christ that He reaches those in need outside the church. When they see the work of Christ in us, He draws others to Him and His church.

THE TRUE CHURCH
This is the true church, growing in grace, knowledge, love and devotion to Christ and His people; knowing the Father, the Son; their presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life. Jerry and I have experienced this love and relationship with the whole of our church; blessed and praising the Lord everyday for the church family He has given us.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that as your sheep, we have been brought into your fold under the true Shepherd who leads us in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Thank you for placing us in the care of your under shepherds from whom we receive the truth of your Word. We are taught the doctrines of your grace; to experience heaven opened to us so that we are able to witness of Christ to others, to reach out in love when there is a need, and to praise you together for all that you are and promise to be in and through us ~ to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Photo:Pixabay