Thursday, March 18, 2010

All I Have is Christ

I've had a song going through my mind lately. It breaks the rules because it is a good song. Usually, songs I don't want to think about provide my mental soundtrack, but this one is welcome. I just need to learn all the words.

These lyrics are powerful. We sang this song at the Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastors and Wives Conference last April and it left an impression. I had to buy it when we got home.

All I Have is Christ

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Jordan Kauflin
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)
As recorded on Looked Upon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Lord's Table: Where Do We Look?

People ask me from time to time if there is any value to reading blogs. Well, last week I took two things from blogs to use in the Sunday service. I admit that using blog stuff in ministry is somewhat rare, but I do benefit from what I read.

Last week, I was thinking about interrupting my Hebrews series to do a more pointed reflection upon the Lord's Table. I found this post at The Gospel Coalition Blog to be very helpful. I stole the outline and wrote my own material under each point. It was well received and I think it is a very good guideline for thinking through the meaning of Communion.

The second thing that caught my attention was this post by Tim Challies from Saturday. I used part of this powerful Spurgeon quote in my message.

My notes for the reflection are below. My message from Sunday is up on our website as well.

Text: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

1. We look up in worship.

Jesus is Lord. He is the Son of God. We must worship no one but God. When we come to the Communion Table we worship Jesus. He is God. No one else and nothing else can bear the weight of worship – not because our worship is so great, but because God created us to worship Him alone.

Think about it. When we look to Jesus as Saviour and worship Him as our Lord, we know that He is absolutely perfect, our all sufficient Saviour. He is BETTER than any other, and absolutely powerful, faithful, loving and eternal.

If we lean on anyone else as ULTIMATE, they will fail us. But with Jesus, we can put all our hope and trust in Him and He will never let us down and never let us go.

Our worship includes joyful praise and DEEP THANKSGIVING to Christ. He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves – He has given us forgiveness, reconciliation and adoption so that we can call God our Father and enjoy Him forever!

As you participate in these elements today, worship Jesus as your God and King.

2. We look back in Remembrance

Jesus told us to remember when we eat and drink. Our thoughts should turn back to that hill outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago and remember what it cost the Saviour to suffer for my sin.

Our only altar is that blood-stained cross.

Think about that last meal – the Passover supper – that Jesus had with his disciples before He was betrayed. Think about the mockery of the trials that He endured. Remember the crown of thorns and the purple robe, the flogging and the jeering of the leaders and the crowds.

Think about that day – how the earth shook, how the sky grew dark, how the pagan centurion said, “Surely, this is the Son of God!”

Look back and remember.

3. We look forward in anticipation.

Jesus told us to continue to eat the bread and drink the cup until He comes. This solemn meal is very small, but it points ahead to a great feast in that Great Day to come – the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

At that meal, we will be clothed in our FOREVER BODIES. We will be done with faith and hope, because we will have Jesus with us physically and we will OWN the INHERITANCE of the saint – reunited with all those that have gone before us, done with sin and corruption and sickness and death FOREVER.

Look forward to that day, savour the reality of the New Heavens and earth and determine to build up your treasure THERE, not here in this broken-down world!

4. We look outward in proclamation.

Whenever we eat the Lord’s Supper our actions proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. I often say that these elements are a sermon in material form. That may not sound very Baptist, but it is biblical.

1 Corinthians 11:26 – as we eat and drink, we proclaim.

If you are here this morning and you are not a Christian, we want you to feel that you are on the outside looking in. Without that sense of distance, of alienation from this sacred meal, you will not appreciate what you are missing.

Don’t get me wrong – we WANT you to come in by faith, confessing Jesus as Lord and trusting Him as your Saviour.

I don’t want you to participate if you do not believe. There are warnings of judgment for taking part in an unworthy manner. This does not mean that any of us consider ourselves to be worthy BY OURSELVES, but only through faith in the forgiveness and righteousness EARNED by ANOTHER – namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. We come by faith – but we participate because we really do believe in the merit of Christ for us.

5. We look inward in examination.

As believers, when we eat the bread and drink from the cup, it should only be in a spirit of humility and repentance. It is our sin that cost Jesus such suffering – particularly the suffering of the cup of the Father’s wrath that He drank for us as He absorbed the penalty for our sin.

If we are Christ’s people by grace through faith, then sin no longer reigns. However, it still remains until we see Jesus face-to-face, and we must learn to hate it more and more.

We should not focus merely on the physical sufferings of Jesus, but confess our sin that caused our Saviour grief. Just yesterday I read this quote on Tim Challies’ blog:

*You need not weep over the crucifixion, but weep over your transgression, for your sins nailed the Redeemer to the accursed tree. To weep over a dying Saviour is to lament the remedy; it were wiser to bewail the disease. To weep over the dying Saviour is to wet the surgeon's knife with tears; it were better to bewail the spreading cancer which that knife must cut away. – C.H. Spurgeon

So participate in this holy meal only after you have looked deep within and have confronted and confessed the sin that remains in you.

Remember, though, that your sin is wonderfully and supernaturally forgiven by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Confess it. Trust Christ that He will remove it from you “as far as the east is from the west.”

6. We look around in consideration.

Look at each other. We who are joined together in a fellowship of faith in Christ are His Bride, His Body.

In 1 Corinthians 11 the context is love for one another. This church was messing up their celebration of the Lord’s supper and even doing more harm than good because they were not considerate to each other.

I read somewhere recently that, “One of the reasons the church exists is to teach us to love people that we don’t like very much.” Christ’s ministry of reconciliation not only teaches us an example of love, it promises to change our hearts so that we do love one another.

Be considerate, understanding, patient, courageous to exhort when necessary, speaking the truth in love.

We are going to have a few moments to silently prepare to take the Lord’s Supper together.

Look to God in Worship; look back to the cross in remembrance; look forward to Heaven in joyful anticipation; look outward in proclamation at those who are watching you; look inward in examination as you confess your sins; and look around in consideration at Christ’s body that is sharing this meal with you.

* C.H. Spurgeon, "Wherefore Should I Weep?" 22 October 1876, from Luke 23:1-31.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Is it Christian?

In seminary, our theology professor encouraged us to evaluate preaching by asking the question, "Do you have to be a Christian to say what he's saying?" In other words, could an unbeliever give the same message? If the preaching is moralistic, a character study, a collection of stories or merely the opinions of the speaker, then it is not good preaching. It may not even be Christian.

I thought of this quote this morning at our early men's Bible study (5 am). We are studying 1 John and as we were discussing 2:1-8, on of the men made a comment on verse 4 that I thought was very good. He said, "If you took this verse out of context, you would really misunderstand the passage." Here's 1 John 2:4: Whoever says, 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

We talked for a while about the context and agreed that the grace of 2:1-2 is essential for a right understanding of this obedience. This obedience must be a fruit of God's prior work for us in Christ. What John is describing is the work of God that we are set free to do in obedience and love, not wages that we must do in order to earn our peace with God.

This reminded me what the Lord said He would do for His people as He gave them the Promised land, that they would enjoy ... houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant.... This is true with Christian obedience as well: We benefit from the grace that God gives as we love Him and others and serve him in gladness. It is all of grace. Even our best works make us greater debtors to His grace in Jesus Christ.

Christian proclamation must be focused on what only we have, namely, Christ and the true gospel. This is particularly true for preachers, but it is also true for all Christians all the time. When we are faced with challenges at work, we must turn to the cross. When we discipline our children, we must point them to the root of sin and the glory of the cross. Whether we are encouraged or discouraged, we must preach the gospel to ourselves every day and make it our aim to make gospel application in everything.

In every area of life as Christians, we should be asking, "Is it Christian?"

Friday, March 05, 2010

TV Interview

Thanks to everyone for your gracious comments both here and over on Facebook.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

TV Interview

Last fall, on September 28 to be exact, Juanita and I were interviews by a reporter from 100 Huntley Street, a daily Christian TV program here in Canada. This morning, our family went downstairs at 9 am to watch the interview.

It was very well done. Maggie Johns, the reporter, did a very good job with it. It was a challenge to watch. Perhaps more so for the kids. However, we are thankful for the opportunity to declare God's goodness and faithfulness.

The interview should be up on the 100 Huntley Street Website soon if you would like to watch it.

If you are new here because you saw the interview, welcome! If you would like to read through my posts from immediately after Emily's death, go to 2008 Posts, scroll to the middle of the year and look for the picture of Emily and then read from that point to the top of the page.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Free Audiobooks

Such a deal!

Christian Audio has two free audio books for download this month: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship and John Piper's 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.

Go to, click on the free downloads button and check it out. You will have to register, but it is well worth it. They have a free book each month, so check it out regularly. You'll notice that they have some good books on sale, too.

Let me end with a caution: not everything they have there is good, so use discernment! This month's titles are well worth your time, however.