That Last Sermon Point...

As we approached 12pm this past Sunday I skipped the final point in a sermon on 1 Corinthians 12.  Here's what I had prepared to say,...

"What follows in v.27-30 connects Paul's point here, his detour in the next chapter, and his conclusion in Ch 14.  It is our final point and it is this – the same God who gives gifts calls us to desire more gifts so that we can build his church and reach the lost.  

In this section he mentions selective offices ranked with the word-based at the top and then those which support the ministry of the Word.  This is worth a sermon in itself, but the reason Paul feels the need to take just a few select gifts and rank gifts of word ministry first and supporting gifts like tongues last is because the church’s witness depends on people understanding the gospel and the Word of God.  The spoken, read and proclaimed word is God’ primary means of building the church and reaching the lost,….and the Corinthians were obsessed with speaking in languages nobody understood.  So when he says, “But earnestly desires the higher gifts” he’s telling them to, in my words, "cut it out and aspire for gifts that build up the body.”

There’s so much more we can say, but I will end here.  

Are you part of the body of the Christ?  If you do not yet know Him as Savior and King, not only is there forgiveness, peace, joy, righteousness and eternal life being held out to you this morning, but the Holy Spirit is ready, willing, and able to lavish gifts on you.  Maybe it’s a talent or ability that turns from being focused on yourself to focused on glorifying God,…maybe it’s a talent or ability you’ve never once had I your life,…either way He’s ready to give you the gift of eternal life and then make you a gift to us.  

If you are part of the body of Christ?  Be thankful for how God has gifted you, uniquely, and wonderfully and tailor made for us,…but don’t rest in that.  Desire to cultivate what he’s given.  Desire, for all the right reasons, even more gifts that build the church and reach the lost."

Reformed and Reforming

While I was in Jackson, MS. studying for ministry my wife had a conversation with a co-worker that went something like this:

Co-worker: "where does your husband go to school?"  

My Wife: "Reformed Theological Seminary."  

Co-worker: "I'm so sorry!"  

At that point my wife graciously clarified that Reformed Seminary was not a 'reform school' for felons and delinquents.  

If you can identify with that co-worker and terms like "Reformed" are new, don't worry.  You are not alone.  When you hear us use the term "Reformed" we are referring to an understanding of Scripture and salvation that was recovered in a time called "the Reformation."  It all started with a melancholy monk named Martin Luther who, 500 years ago, wrote 95 Theses in Latin and nailed them to the door of a German church in order to have some scholarly debate.  His goal was to reform the Roman Catholic church and bring her back in line with Scripture.  The theses were translated into the language of the people and the rest, as they say, was history.

This Fall we have a Sunday School class led by Dr. Jim Roche that will be studying the Reformation using an excellent video series developed by Westminster Seminary.  If you're new to the Reformation or would simply love a refresher course on what happened and why it matters for the present day, then I would encourage you to make time to attend.  

If you're unable to attend or would like to use the course in your small group or Sunday school, the link to all the videos, participant's and leader's guides can be found here.  


On Preparing for the Lord's Supper

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?

A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fullness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.

- Westminster Larger Catechism