Jan 162022
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “POWER IN THE SON AND POWER IN THE SACRIFICE”

     Last Sunday was a blessed Sunday…more than what was anticipated or expected.  The weather was projected to be dangerously cold, and hazardous with ice.  On top of that Bill had covid. His family was exposed and unable to come.  Regeneration had to be cancelled for both reasons.  I had my second covid shot and was extremely sick…again.  Craig was sick.  A cloud hung over the services with the gloomy expectation we would likely have to cancel it too.  Early Sunday morning, after seeing that it was a go with the weather, we began to plan to move forward with the service, all the while very pessimistic about the crowd, and about our own inability to perform up to our potential.  But upon arrival and commencement of the service there was a different feel to the worship service.  As it progressed it seemed as God was supplying our lack.  The songs were exceptionally enthusiastic.  Each one seemed geared to the message, although Craig and I had not communicated about the subject for the message.  The testimonies were exceptional.  When I got up to speak, I told the people I felt extremely weak, and it might be an abbreviated service.  WHAT DID I KNOW?  GOD SHOWED UP IN AN UNUSUAL WAY.  I ended up preaching for an hour.  There was not one complaint!  Several people as they shook my hand at the end of the service said, “Pastor…that was the BEST sermon you have ever preached!”  Go figure.  What made the difference?  I have spent the week meditating on that, and looking for the answer.

     Then I remembered something I heard a long time ago about what Charles Spurgeon attributed his blessed services at the Metropolitan Tabernacle to…He had a sign on the pulpit, in large print, to remind himself, and any other speaker the key to be blessed in the service.  It read…” SIRS WE MUST SEE JESUS” It was a reminder that God does not need our abilities…though He does often choose to use them.  Spurgeon often told anyone that asked about the reason for God blessing the services at his Church…” I ANNOUNCE MY TEXT, (WHEREVER IT COMES FROM SCRIPTURE), AND MAKE A BEE LINE FOR THE CROSS!”  That is precisely why last Sunday was so blessed.  JESUS WAS LIFTED UP.  He said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself!” (John 12:32).  Also, the message on Psalm 22, “THE FORGOTTEN I AM” was about the cross.  Paul said, “The preaching of the Cross if foolishness to those who are perishing, but is the POWER of God, to those being saved” (I Corinthians 1:18).  Those two things are the explanation for a Blessed Worship Service, when everything else was stacked against it!  God always shows up to honor His Son and His Sacrifice!  WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT!  WHAT A BLESSED REMINDER FOR ALL OF US!  AMEN?  AMEN! (And as my Pastor Russell Pittman used to say, “And AWOMAN TOO!).  After a glorious service at Salem Baptist Church, I remember as a young preacher boy, he would say…” I am so excited and uplifted I could kick a tire off a car!”)  I felt that way too…but was able to restrain myself! LOL).

     THE CHRIST AND THE CROSS.  THE SON AND THE SACRIFICE.  God has promised to honor Him and His Cross.  He always has and He always will!  We can count on that.  We must never forget that!

That is why Spurgeon also said “Abide hard by the cross and search out the mystery of His wounds” in his devotional Morning and Evening.  John Stott reminds us “the cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to stay near enough for the sparks to fall on us”. Hymn writer Jennie Hussey reminds us “lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow…lead me to Calvary. Psalm 22 is an inspired Psalm, written 1000 years before Jesus’ death, that reads like an eye witness account.  Spurgeon was so taken by it. He called it “a photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours…if there be any Holy ground of Scripture it is this Psalm. We must pull off our shoes and worship there.” 

     The title of the message is THE FORGOTTEN I AM.   In 22:6 He cries “But I am a worm”.  The normal word for worm in Hebrew is Ramah…like those that devour in the grave. This word is TOLA. It means “scarlet thing”. This worm was crushed and used as base liquid for the most expensive purple dye in making royal garments. We think of Isaiah’s invitation from God…“Come let us reason together…though your sins be as crimson they shall be white as snow or white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  Jesus became sin for us that we might be dressed in “His Royal Righteousness”.  God will never take us beyond the cross…only deeper into it. Amen? A-woman too!  That is why the Cross is the only way to God. There is no other way!  Jesie Pounds Brown, the Hymn writer wrote those beautiful words….

THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME

I must needs go home by the way of the cross

There’s no other way but this

I shall never get sight of the gates of light

If the way of the cross I miss

I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way

The path that the Savior trod

If I ever climb to the height subline

Where the soul is at home with God.

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