Friday, October 17, 2008

The sinfulness of sin, the evil enemy, the 5 O'Clock news, and our gracious God through the cross of Christ

Long title for what will probably be a long blog.

Derek Webb speaks on his CD "The House Show" about how we are great at hiding our sin. He says it would be best if our sin would be exposed on the 5 O'Clock news so that we would have nothing to hide anymore and we could finally be real with each other, cry with each other, encourage one another, pray specifically for each other, rejoice with one another in victory over sin, preach the gospel to one another, etc...this is my version of the 5 O'Clock news because I'm tired of trying to hide my sin (and by hide I mean continue on in it) and pretend like I'm some spiritual giant trying to prove to everyone that I am holy and righteous and have everything figured out. Pride would keep me from writing this blog just like pride wants me to hide my sin. Well, I'm through with my sin and ready to walk in righteousness. I'm through spurning the Lord's grace in my life. I'm through loving the momentary pleasures of sin more than Christ who died to take the punishment for that very sin.

Yesterday the Lord, our gracious God, opened my eyes to my sin. At dinner I confessed everything to Jason and we carried on with our night as usual. When we got home it was as if Satan, the evil enemy, was awaiting me. He attacked me with shame and humiliation and accused me of being a failure and a disgrace and a horrible wife and a lousy daughter of God. He wanted me to believe that God was angry with me. I battled these things and preached the gospel to myself, "I am righteous before God in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He took the punishment. I should have no shame." I shared my struggles with Jason as much as I could through tears and I finally 'let him' go to sleep around 2 or 2:30 while I continued in the battle, still struggling to really believe the gospel. I finally got up at 3 to make the traditional chocolate muffins that my mom made for us on our birthdays growing up. While they were in the oven I sat in the hall and a song came to me. Keith Green put Psalm 51 to music so I just sang over and over and over again, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not from your presence O Lord. Take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation. And renew a right Spirit within me." (I think thats how the song goes). Well, I finally went to sleep around 4:30 this morning and woke up at 8 still feeling ashamed and humiliated. After a pep talk from Jason I do what I always do now when I need to think and process...I vacuumed the floor, unloaded the dishwasher, etc. When those duties were taken care of before our company arrived I opened up to the Psalms and started in chapter 17 since today is the 17th and my birthday...why not read the 17th chapter? I kept reading and read the familiar 19th chapter of Psalms but this time it really meant something to me instead of just being words on the page which the word can often be when I don't ask the Lord to reveal Himself to me by His Spirit through His word.

Psalm 19:7-14

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
THEN I will be blameless, and I SHALL BE ACQUITTED OF
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

I wrote this out in my journal and began to think about the sinfulness of sin. I remembered a preacher (maybe Jackson Boyette?)once saying that the bible describes sin using sin because you can't get any more wretched than the 'sinfulness of sin.' I somehow remembered it was from Romans 7 and I read it as well as a chunk of commentary on it...good stuff:

Romans 7:13-14 Therefore, did that which is good (the law that reveals sin) become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was SIN, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment 'SIN WOULD BECOME UTTERLY SINFUL.'

Here's the commentary:

Thus sin by the commandment does appear sin (Rom_7:13); it appears in its own colours, appears to be what it is, and you cannot call it by a worse name than its own. Thus by the commandment it becomes exceedingly sinful; that is, it appears to be so. We never see the desperate venom or malignity there is in sin, till we come to compare it with the law, and the spiritual nature of the law, and then we see it to be an evil and a bitter thing. 2. It was humbling (Rom_7:9): I was alive. He (Paul) thought himself in a very good condition; he was alive in his own opinion and apprehension, very secure and confident of the goodness of his state. Thus he was once, pote - in times past, when he was a Pharisee; for it was the common temper of that generation of men that they had a very good conceit of themselves; and Paul was then like the rest of them, and the reason was he was then without the law. Though brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, though himself a great student in the law, a strict observer of it, and a zealous stickler for it, yet without the law. He had the letter of the law, but he had not the spiritual meaning of it - the shell, but not the kernel. He had the law in his hand and in his head, but he had it not in his heart; the notion of it, but not the power of it. There are a great many who are spiritually dead in sin, that yet are alive in their own opinion of themselves, and it is their strangeness to the law that is the cause of the mistake. But when the commandment came, came in the power of it (not to his eyes only, but to his heart), sin revived, as the dust in a room rises (that is, appears) when the sun-shine is let into it. Paul then saw that in sin which he had never seen before; he then saw sin in its causes, the bitter root, the corrupt bias, the bent to backslide, - sin in its colours, deforming, defiling, breaking a righteous law, affronting an awful Majesty, profaning a sovereign crown by casting it to the ground, - sin in its consequences, sin with death at the heels of it, sin and the curse entailed upon it. “Thus sin revived, and then I died; I lost that good opinion which I had had of myself, and came to be of another mind. Sin revived, and I died; that is, the Spirit, but the commandment, convinced me that I was in a state of sin, and in a state of death because of sin.” Of this excellent use is the law; it is a lamp and a light; it converts the soul, opens the eyes, prepares the way of the Lord in the desert, rends the rocks, levels the mountains, makes ready a people prepared for the Lord.

So the Law of God is indeed perfect, reviving the soul. The gospel is indeed needed for the unbeliever and believer alike, daily. The gospel shoots down condemnation and shame and humiliation and does away with sin and exalts Christ and decreases us.

Oh that I would hate sin, take up the shield of faith to exstinguish the flaming darts of the enemy, expose my sin on the '5 O'Clock News', and trust wholeheartedly our gracious God who has made a way for us through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Church Search comes to an end at 3rd Avenue Baptist Church!

Praise Jesus! We have decided to join 3rd Avenue Baptist Church! Jason and I are very excited about this decision and this new community of believers to get to know. They already feel like our family! Here is a snippit from this morning's Sunday school and service:

The SS class was over Church History: the Early Church Fathers.

Gregory of Nazianzus (don't ask me who that guy is) said:

"For we ought to think of God even more often than we draw our breath; and if the expression is permissible, we ought to do nothing else."

Hymn from this morning: "O Great God"

O great God of highest heaven, occupy my lowly heart;
Own it all and reign supreme, conquer every rebel power.
Let no vice or sin remain that resists your holy war.
You have loved and purchased me-make me yours forevermore.

I was blinded by my sin, had no ears to hear your voice;
Did not know your love within, had not taste for heaven's joy.
Then your Spirit gave me life, opened up Your word to me;
Through the gospel of your Son gave me endless hope and peace.

Help me now to live a life that's dependent on your grace;
Keep my heart and guard my soul from the evils that I face.


That is such a great song. All the songs we sing up here are solid and filled with truth that causes you to reflect on who God is and worship Him.

It is so nice to know where we will fellowship every Sunday. There is so much joy found in the local church. We need the local church for so many reasons. It's our body. Of course we need our hands and our feet and our eyes and ears; not to mention our heart and lungs and other vital organs. It would be foolish to think we don't need them. Likewise, we NEED the local church that meets under the Headship of Christ. We need accountability. We need fellowship. We need encouragement. We need to encourage. We need to serve. We need to hear the word of God. We need to speak the word of God. We need to worship through song. We need discipleship. We need to disciple. We need the body. We need the gospel. We need Christ.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the church that meets at 3rd Avenue.