I’m preaching on Sunday night and it keeps hitting me how scary a prospect this actually is. I’m full of doubts, Will I mess up? will I say something blasphemous? will I just get the whole thing wrong??? I’ve got so many worries and fears about the whole thing. This isn’t my first time, but I have these constant worries before each sermon.
I spent some time with my pastor today and just had a chat about these things and also various questions about the atonement.
The first thing is that I need to remember that the sermon is not all about me. All those questions I had, began with me, the worries focus around myself; Will I, What if I etc. But it does not rely on me – it relies on God, it relies on the Holy Spirit speaking. Yes, if I’m living a life that contradicts what is being exposed from the Scripture then I need to reassess myself, I need first and foremost to preach to myself – I need to deal with myself first, and God will help me do that. Not only help me, but he will do it.
The second things is that though I am a weak, frail, earthen vessel and God is my strong tower (Psalm 61:3). Just look at Peter, even after denying his Lord, he spoke so powerfully during Pentecost! As Spurgeon walked up to his church he would say with every step, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”. I need to believe that God will presence himself in the expounding of his Word. I need to believe and trust him in that.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but today I pray that I’ll learn these two things more – that it isn’t all about how I perform, and that I need to trust God and hold him to his Word – he will be with me, he will help me, he will give me the grace while I speak his most amazing Word.
As William Tyndale was mocked and opposed for his work in translating the Greek New Testament into the common language of English, he made this amazing declaration to the local clergy, which he lived up to:
“If God spares my life ere many years I will take care that a ploughboy knows more of the Scriptures than you do”
Praise God for people like Tyndale!
It’s just one week until I finally move out, until I finally carry on my education in this wonderful country of Wales.
I’ve paused my reading of Alcorn and Stott to focus on Faith Cook’s “The Nine Day Queen of England“. Even though it’s physically unreadable (whoever decided the font type need a clip around the ear), Cook has shown me how God worked during those times of Reformation among the rich, most importantly, in the lives of Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey.
I’m not finished yet, but halfway through it seems as if Jane’s life was one God used so much even though it was tainted by so many around her, including her parents. Jane, despite being 16 when she died, had such a strong faith in Jesus Christ it puts me to shame.
She had a grizzly end, but was ready for eternity.
This is an extract from Randy Alcorn’s book “Money, Possessions and Eternity” which is a definite read for every Christian:
John Wesley posed four questions that will help us decide how to spend money. Notice how the last three flow directly out of the first one:
- In spending this money, am I acting as if I owned it, or am I acting as the Lord’s trustee?
- What Scripture requires me to spend this money in this way?
- Can I offer up this purchase as a sacrifice to the Lord?
- Will God reward me for this expenditure at the resurrection of the just?
If we really believe he is the owner of all that has been entrusted to us, shouldn’t we regularly be asking him, “What do you want me to do with your money and your possessions?” And shouldn’t we be open to the possibility that he may want us to share large portions of his assets with those whose needs are greater than ours?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)
Verses 1-6 of Psalm 19 show how creation makes the glory of God plain – “the heavens” and “the sky” (v1), the “day” and “night” (v2) and “the sun” (v4b-6). All these things leave men and women with no excuse of unbelief in God. Therefore, David praises God for all these wonderful revelations of himself that have been put to us as mankind.
Through these cosmic activities, God is speaking. God is revealing himself to the whole world, “The heavens declare the glory of God“.
From creation we learn that there is a God and so humanity has no excuse – Paul reiterates this in Romans 1:19-21:
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Not only do we have creation bearing witness to the existence of God, but Paul explains later in Romans 2:14-15 that we also have the law “written on [our] hearts“, along with our “conscience” and “conflicting thoughts” that all point to this one truth. These revelations in nature do not only reveal that there is a God, but they also imprint on our hearts the law (1:32) and leave us with no excuse (2:1).
Yet creation is constrained to this one thing – to “declare the glory of God“. There is need for more than creation. It isn’t enough to bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ. Creation leads people to God but stops there. This is where the Word of God comes in – where he reveals the answer to man’s terrible sin, where he reveals the gospel (Romans 10:13). God has not chosen to reveal his gospel through creation but through his Word, his Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:1). His special revelation is reserved for the Scriptures, the Word of God.
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For these studies I’m using The Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book by Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. available at Amazon.co.uk for £8.99. Bargain.