Way, way back in October, I wrote about wanting to think back and write about the sermon I heard the Sunday previously. I've thought about it since then, but not accomplished it. This past Sunday's sermon made me even more desirous to spend time doing this, so here goes ...
The Life of the Baptized
by Pastor Kirklin
Grace OPC, Columbus Ohio
1 Corinthians 9:24-10:14
We had a baptism on Sunday, so exciting. So, this baptism sermon was an excellent exhortation on what it means to be baptized and how that life looks. I think my husband summed it up best - it's a fearful thing to be baptized and have the requirements of the Christian life placed on you, but it is far worse to not have the mark of the covenant upon you.
Pastor Kirklin pointed us to Exodus and how the Israelite community was baptized yet tested. The Egyptians were drowned in the flood of God's judgement.
The same thing is required of those of us baptized into Christ: faith. Paul tells us that we must run the race in order to win it. We must live out the faith with self control and discipline - put away the cravings for evil things.
We must face temptations like s3xu*l immorality - when the Israelites worship Baal with the Moabites, the Lord sent a plague. How are you tempted in what you watch and see?
We must face temptations like grumbling. The Lord really was angered by grumbling of Israel - what do we complain about in our hearts and words? Are we trusting His providence - do we have faith?
We must face temptations like idolatry. The Israelites made a golden calf - but they thought it represented the Lord. When we re-make the Lord in our image or even our mental image, we must have a care. We must be careful about what we consume that teaches about Him and His nature.
Yet: He gives us what we need to resist temptation.
1) The reading of scripture. In verses 6 and 11 of our passage, he refers us back to Israelites as written for the instruction of the church. Don't just read a few verses quickly, but dwell & meditate. Abide. God will change you and teach you to not crave evil in his word. He will instruct you as to His true being.
2) At the Lord's Supper we have fellowship with the Lord himself as he feeds us.
The life of the baptized requires disciplined self-control. But it is full of joy when energized by the Lord in His Word and at His table.
This was quite convicting to me that I need to be reading the scriptures more ... more carefully, more regularly, more thoughtfully.
I am thankful that starting in 2013, Jason and I have made the effort to go to evening worship regularly. This is a change in our culture, two worship services. It is hard. Sundays are long because we are with my family all afternoon. Mondays are hard because we're home late and trying to get back in routine. But, we have been hugely blessed by the fellowship, teaching, love, and worship of the Lord. At our church, the Lord's Supper is served at the morning service on the second Sunday and the evening service on the fourth. It has been particularly encouraging to be able to come to the table more often.
I've been thinking about what it means to abide. When Pastor Kirklin talked about dwelling in and meditating on the scripture, I was thinking about what it means to intentionally abide in what I read and what I'm taught. If I want to abide in the Lord's presence, remembering the exposition of the scripture is one way to carry that into the week. Abiding in His Word throughout the week in a more purposeful way even through my own reading. Abiding in his presence in prayer. I want to think about Abiding, and may do so for a while (and may not).