"For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
This is the glorious truth of the new covenant that God promises and keeps in Christ. This is the same glorious truth that also creates a new people, a new covenant community made up of regenerate, redeemed, repentant sinners; the church.
Let's consider this new covenant promised by God in Jeremiah 31 and how it's reality informs our church covenant .
(The following is a lightly edited transcript from a sermon on 1 John 5:18-21 entitled, “We Are in Him Who is True” delivered by Pastor Nathan Brooks on December 27, 2020.)
God's Sovereignty and 2020
There’s a trend of talking about the current year as if it were a real thing. Especially during difficulties. As if the year 2020 is the cause of everything that happened in 2020.
“How could you do this to me, 2020?”
“Really 2020? You wrecked my plans!”
As Christians, we must be careful that social and cultural trends don’t begin to define what we believe. We must be careful that we do not start attributing strength and ability and causality and power and sovereignty to a year, to time. When we do that, we become idolaters. Very soon, we begin to sound less like children of a sovereign God and more like animistic, pagan hybrids, detesting and scolding our idol, time.
God is Sovereign Over...
Seemingly random things
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." -Proverbs 16:33
The heart of the most powerful person in the land
"The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will." -Proverbs 21:1
Our daily lives and plans
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." -Proverbs 19:21 (We’ve learned that this year. Amen?”)
"For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." -Romans 9:15-16
Life and death
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand." -Deuteronomy 32:39
“'Then the LORD said to [Moses], 'Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?'” -Exodus 4:11
The death of His Son
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” -Acts 2:23
“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” -Isaiah 45:7
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” -Ephesians 1:11-12
In 2020, God was sovereign, and in 2021, He will continue to be sovereign.
For complete audio of this sermon and more, visit www.glorietabaptist.com/sermons
This Advent, if you’re wondering what it looks like to adore Jesus, Luke is a good place to look. Repeatedly in his gospel, Luke shows us many different types of people adoring Jesus.
And in Luke 2:36-38, he introduces us to Anna, an elderly, widowed prophetess who gets to meet Jesus as a baby in the temple in Jerusalem.
In the incarnation of Jesus, there is so much to savor. And we should strive to savor it all.
Imagine two weeks ago, sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal saying, “Wow, there is so much food here! I’m just not going to eat anything.” You wouldn’t say that. Instead, you might take one bite at a time, enjoying everything on the table. This should be our approach to the story of the incarnation of Jesus. The truths in this story are best savored one bite at a time.
“Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."
This is a famous line from the beginning of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, said in annoyance by Ebenezer Scrooge to his jovial nephew Fred. While Scrooge barks this reply to justify not celebrating Christmas at all, it nevertheless raises questions: How should Christians keep Christmas? Can we keep it in our own ways? Are they’re ways we shouldn’t keep it?
1Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
This year, you may have a harder time being thankful at Thanksgiving.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--
of whom I am the worst.
(1 Timothy 1:15)
Advent is the twenty-five days leading up to Christmas Day that anticipates the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. This year, it begins officially on Sunday, November 29. It is meant to be an intensifier of the joy we have at Christmas.
In 2019, our church's Advent theme was A Thrill of Hope, a lyric taken from the popular Christmas song, "O Holy Night." As a church, we celebrated the hope that God has not left us in our sin, but has sent His Son to earth as a man to be an atoning sacrifice for our sin.
It seems only fitting, given the year that 2020 has been, to consider the next lyric of the song; a weary world rejoices. This year, perhaps more than even, a weary world needs reason to rejoice.
The church has reason to celebrate Christmas with truer joy than the world.
That’s why we celebrate Advent; so that at Christmas, we would say, “How can we make everything point ourselves and our families, our children to the joy we have in Christ? How can we build joyful anticipation for the celebration of his arrival? How can we put on display the real, only, true, lasting, delightful joy in Jesus that was purchased for us on the cross that puts every other plastic joy to shame?"
May these advent resources help to intensify your joy in Christ this Christmas season!