When life is difficult we can “hope” that things will get better, and we can “imagine” how our circumstances may change and get better. But such hope is transient and uncertain. However, as Jeremiah laments the tragic and total destruction of Jerusalem he “calls to mind” the character of God, and thus he has real hope. His circumstances do not change, but by considering the character of God he has hope. This sermon gives us four reasons for a believer to have a secure and joyful hope in all the storms of life. Lamentations 3:24 — “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
There is much confusion today in the church about the purpose of the Lord’s Supper, as well as how it should be practiced — it is has been forgotten by many that it was given to be a vivid reminder of Christ. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). This portion of Scripture gives us three distinctives of the Lord Jesus which we remember at the Lord’s Supper, distinctives which should make us all the more bemoan our sin and adore our Saviour.
It has been well said that to imitate God is the Christian life, and to be perfectly like Christ is the goal of the Christian life. This morning we will look specifically at God’s example of love, of mercy, of forgiveness, and of giving Himself – along with the exhortation believers are given to follow His example, to the praise of His glory and grace.
We all know the pain of words that hurt, whether they are from our mouths or from the mouth of another. James writes, And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue (James 3:6–8).
In this passage we see the gravity of ungracious speech, and in particular we are given four reasons why we must replace ungracious words so that we can be a means of grace to others. Supremely ungracious words hide Christ from view, the Word who became flesh and gave Himself up for us, something every true believer should want to avoid.
In Romania there is a word pocăit. Roughly translated, it means “repenter.” It was a derogatory label given to evangelical believers in the last century. There were cultural “Christians,” and then there were pocăiții – “repenters” who believed an ongoing life of repentance was essential to the Christian life. The nick-name, repenter, set them apart from those who called themselves Christians but did not demonstrate any repentance in their lives. People who grew up in the church, called themselves Christians, but had never truly repented, who are not truly saved. The same is sadly true today.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21).
This morning we will consider last two marks of genuine conversion so that you may know who you are. In particular we are going to put true, biblical repentance under the spotlight – so that you can determine whether or not you have truly repented unto eternal life.
How is your love for Christ? If you are honest then it waxes and wanes according to your moods. Think of the love you had for your Saviour when you were saved. How is that love for Christ now? It is all too easy to love the world and the things of the world – to have a growing affection for our possessions or our achievements, our family, or even our ministry, and to grow out of love for Jesus – the One who is all-together lovely.
In looking at this passage we see three aspects of love for Christ which, I hope, will make us examine our love for Christ, will make us want to love Christ more, and will give us the means by which we can pursue love for Christ.
Why do we ‘go to church’ on a Sunday? Why do you go? Joel James helpfully unpacks these verses to show both the importance, and the reason, for regular church attendance — and it might not be the reason that first comes to your mind. At the end of the sermon he helpfully gives some practical pointers towards making more of our meetings on the Lord’s Day.