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  1. Maundy Thursday (Mt. 26:17-30)

    March 28, 2013 by Pito

    For the last two thousand years, men and women and children have never failed to fulfill Jesus’ will in celebrating this meal instituted by our Lord before His crucifixion.

    Throughout the history of the Church, in times of peril and destruction, in times of being hounded to death, in times of plenty or poverty, the Lord’s Table is always there. It is here before us now, and it takes us back to Him and it takes us up to Him, to eat with Him in heavenly places.

    The call to share in this Communion is the call of Christ Himself, for He is the host and we are His guests. It is as free and broad and generous as Christ Himself. We don’t come because we are good enough and we don’t refuse to come because we are too bad. Come to the Table then and your needs will be met.

    By partaking of this meal we are pledging that we will love our neighbors as ourselves, that we will live at peace with all men, that we will cast aside all bitterness and malicious talk, that we will feed the needy, clothe the naked, visit the widows and those in prison, that we will lay down our lives a living sacrifice for others. We do this willingly because Jesus lay down His life willingly for us.

    The family dinner is a reflection of this Eucharistic meal, the meal that welcomes all members of Christ to the Table. This Supper overturns all table fellowship that would exclude the lowly and puff up the high and mighty. And in overturning such table fellowship, the gospel overturns all such social order and establishes the Church’s social order as the true order.

    Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The Lord’s Table is here before us. Let us ascend up into heavenly places to sup with Him and He with us. Our husband calls us so let is respond in faith and thanksgiving


  2. The Triumph of Humility (Mt. 21:1-17)

    March 24, 2013 by Pito

    Jesus came into Jerusalem heralded, not the rulers, but by the common folk. They understood more about the Kingdom than any of the elite.

    In keeping with His humiliation, Jesus rode on a donkey, not a white horse. There were no trumpets, no keys to the city, and no chariots of state. Jesus, the owner of the whole universe, even had to borrow an animal to ride on.

    In the midst of all this humiliation, he was faithful to be sure the animal he borrowed was returned to the owner. Even the donkey was a fulfillment of the Scriptures, in detail.

    Everything that happened to Jesus was according to God’s plan and so it is for us. Although that plan may appear to be arbitrary and capricious at times, let us not for a moment think that it is so. God’s plan for you is grounded and rooted in the eternal love of the Holy Trinity. Everything fits His purpose for your salvation. God declares that He His plan for you is good and not evil, that you might have a future and a hope.

    According to the plan of God Jesus emptied Himself as He took the form of a servant, in his birth, life and death, subjecting Himself to the law, enduring the indignities of the world, the temptations of  Satan, the infirmities of the flesh, being betrayed by Judas, forsaken by His disciples, scorned and rejected by the world, condemned by Pilate, tormented by His persecutors, and having conflicted with the terrors of death and the powers of darkness, He felt and bore the full weight of the wrath of God. He laid down His life an offering for sin, enduring the painful and shameful, cursed death on the cross.

    Like the lowly crowd, we bring our praises to the King. We lay down our lives at His feet as we obey His commands, as we worship together, as we raise our children in the fear of the Lord, as we take dominion over all things for His glory, as we eat His body and drink His blood each week. Through all these things we enjoy the victory Jesus accomplished on the cross.

    And we sing with the Jerusalem crowd, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”


  3. Moving Out or Moving Up? (Hebrews 6)

    March 13, 2013 by Pito

    The fact is, the church is made up of wheat and chaff and trying to divide them before the consummation can hurt the wheat. While the elect can never fall from grace, men and women in the church, men and women in covenant with God, men and women who have tasted of the Holy Spirit, men and women who have been baptized into His body, can and do fall away. This is what the writer of Hebrews is telling us for our own progress in salvation.

    His warnings are not hypothetical. Real people in real covenant with God commit real apostasy, in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. This means that the New Covenant, like the Old Covenant, has sanctions, real sanctions, more terrible sanctions because rejection of Christ is a greater sin than rejection of the Mosaic Covenant. Apostates in the church are sinning against greater knowledge, greater Grace and the Person of Christ, God incarnate.

    It is an error to identify the New Covenant as the elect, but this is what so many in churches today do. This hurts the wheat by encouraging pride in them and by robbing them of sober Biblical admonishment.

    After his genuine and fearful warning, our author seeks to encourage us with the things that accompany salvation; full assurance of hope to the end, faithful and patient inheritance of the promises, the unchangeable nature of God’s intent to save, strong encouragement for heirs of this hope and an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast.

    Covenant members with a true faith are not left to twist in the wind. Along with real warnings is the real grace of God which is able to keep us from falling.

    The power we need to persevere comes from His broken body and His shed blood. Our watchword this morning is never “We are able” but “He is able. God is able. Christ is able.” Able to succor the tempted, able to save to the uttermost, able to support you and keep you from falling, able to subdue all things unto Himself, able to secure you in death’s darkest hour, able to raise you up to feast with Him in heavenly places. “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”


  4. Grow Up! (Hebrews 5)

    March 7, 2013 by Pito

    In Hebrews 5 the author rebukes his readers for not being able to teach, for needing to be taught the basics, and for needing milk and not solid food. They were not mature enough to pass judgment on sticky situations of controversy or applications of wisdom. Like Adam, they were seizing the fruit without having the experience or the training to make good decisions.

    Being able to discern between good and evil takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. Are you still on milk or are you able to digest solid meat? What are some of the signs of maturity in the Christian life? If maturity does not infer perfection, what are some signs by which we may judge ourselves?

    A mature Christian has stability in knowledge, a biblical knowledge that keeps him from being tossed to and fro by the winds of doctrinal goofiness. Forcing ourselves to see the big picture by learning and submitting to the whole counsel of God fences us in for our protection.

    A mature Christian has stability in discerning right and wrong. Mature Christians have come to understand their own flesh, the temptations of the world and the devil and to know what is sin. They have their senses trained to sniff it out when it is about.

    A mature Christian learns from God’s wisdom the difference between what is significant and what is not. We must not strain at gnats and swallow camels. Church members who cannot distinguish significant issues from insignificant issues are used by Satan for the destruction of the peace of the Church. These are dishonoring to the Lord.

    A mature Christian believes the Lord. We must trust Him in the good times and in the hard times. This is the stability of faith. Our faith is not to ebb and flow like a wave driven by the winds. Faith is a constant aspect of the Christian’s life.

    A mature Christian has a stable character. Even in and especially in the storms of life, he is a blameless, sober, a patient man, walking in humility, without guile and without self-deception.

    A mature Christian’s prayer life reveals his maturity. He realizes that walking humbly with the Lord is a confession of his sin. He realizes that being thankful is the habit of his life. As he sings his way to the heavenly City, he is offering the praises of his heart. Prayer is more than a few timed hours out of his week. His whole life is a prayer to God. All this does not eliminate verbal prayer; it undergirds it as the mature Christian remembers  to supplicate for his friends even as he meditates on God’s law, day and night. This is how we obey the command to “pray without ceasing.” Our life is to be our happy, thankful, humble, petitioning prayer. May God grant us all the stability to walk as mature Christians, laboring in God’s vineyard and bearing much fruit to the glory of God.

     


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