Month: November 2016
Today I share the words of a new communion hymn written by my good friend, John McGarvey, pastor of the Cochranton Alliance Church in Cochranton, PA. They are to be sung to the tune of Come All Christians Be Committed. May your heart be warmed for your next celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Gather at the Table
We have come to give attention
To the story of the cross
Where our Savior laid His life down,
Willingly for all the lost.
But our minds are so distracted,
And our hearts are drawn to sin,
So we gather at the table
To remind ourselves again.
Come and see God’s gracious working
On behalf of sinful man
Come and give your full attention
To the gospel truth again.
When our hearts become complacent
And our worship has grown dull
We will gather at the table
Till our hungry hearts are full.
We have come to share the supper,
Come to hear the truth retold,
Come to see and taste and handle
These reminders from of old,
For our senses are bombarded
With the vain pursuits of men
So we gather at the table
To remind ourselves again.
Turn aside, for God is calling;
Come and see what He has done!
For His presence is among us
And we stand on holy ground.
Come and ponder all the mysteries
Of His matchless love and grace.
Let us gather at the table
For He meets us in this place.
Well that certainly was interesting. What an election year we’ve seen! Surprise and shock is the response of a great many Americans, even those who voted for President Elect Trump.
As followers of Christ we must ask, “What now?” “How are we to live following this election?”
God left us clear guidance through the pen of the Apostle Paul as he instructed Titus on how to guide the new believers on the island of Crete to live out their faith in Christ while living under difficult leaders in a difficult time (Titus 3:1-8). Here God tells us …
There are certain DEMANDS that rest upon us as Christian citizens. We are in constant need of being reminded of these demands (“Remind them to be …” v.1a). Among these are …
- Submission (“to be submissive to rulers and authorities,” v.1b)
- Obedience (“to be obedient,” v.1c)
- Good works (“be ready for every good work,” v.1d)
- Gracious speech (“to speak evil of no one,” v.2a), and …
- Peacemaking (“to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people,” v.2b).
There are certain REASONS why God calls us to live in this way as Christian citizens in whatever country we may find ourselves.
- Christians have a past (“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another,” v.3)
Before Christ’s grace we were …
Deceived (“led astray”), and …
Dominated (“slaves to various passions and lusts”)
- Christians have grace (vv.4-7)
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
This is a MANDATE under which we must live as Christian citizens. This mandate is …
- Obligatory, not optional: “This saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things” (v.8a)
- Exclusive, for no one else can fulfill this for us: “… so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works” (v.8b)
- Strategic, not insignificant: “These things are excellent and profitable for people” (v.8c)
What Abraham Lincoln said in calling the nation to a day of fasting and prayer in 1863 is still true of us today:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
May we as followers of Christ lead the way in repentance, prayer, and good works. And may God once again bless America.
“We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us … most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself …”
“You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must … upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself … instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. … this self of ours, this other man within us, has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; upbraid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, pp.20, 21)