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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 14th July 2013

14/07/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Order of Service: Sabbath 14th July 2013
Service Theme: The Law, The Loved and the Lost

Call to Worship

Psalm 118:1-9
(Tune: Dominus Regit Me)

Because He’s good, O thank the Lord,
His love endures forever!
Let Israel say with one accord,
His love endures forever!

Let Aaron’s house this tribute pay,
His love endures forever!
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
His love endures forever!

When to the Lord, distressed I cried,
The Lord replied and freed me,
Because the Lord is on my side,
From fear I have been set free.

Why should I fear what man can do,
The Lord stands by to help me,
I’ll look in triumph on all those
Who hated and opposed me.

In men place not your confidence,
To trust the Lord is better,
Instead of hoping in a prince,
Find in the Lord your shelter.

Prayer:

Reading: 2nd Corinthians 3:17-4:6

Children’s Address

Praise: I have a Shepherd

Sermon: The Law, the Loved and the Lost

Text:2 Corinthians 3:17 – 4:6
1. The Law!
Although its glory has been superseded by the Gospel, the Law is still glorious! It cannot be neglected!
Here’s why:

The Preaching of the Law provides a MORAL STANDARD for believers! We need to have something to aim for in a moral sense. The Law provides that target! In the Law, we see what God expects from us, we examine our lives in the light of it, and we confess our failings and sins unto the God who forgives us.

The Law always POINTS US TO CHRIST! After all, only Christ could perfectly keep the law. Every time we read the Law, we thank God for Christ, our redeemer, our substitute, our deliverer – who gives us liberty from the overwhelming burden of condemnation that is the Law! 2 Cor. 3:17 Galatians 3:13. And, of course, we see Jesus in all the Scriptures! So, the Law is part of THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE! WE believe that the WHOLE BIBLE IS INSPIRED.

The Preaching of the Law CONVICTS us of our Sin! Paul, in Galatians tells us that the law was his schoolmaster, teaching him that he was a sinner, bringing him CONVICTION OF SIN. Galatians 3:24 We never hear enough of the doctrine of Conviction of Sin these days. We need to be CONVICTED (CONVINCED) of our sin, so that we will sorrow over it, and be repulsed by it, and loathe it, and turn from it, and cry out to the Lord for deliverance from it. 2 Cor. 7:10. When we hear the Law properly preached, we realise just how far off God’s standards we fall! We realise that we cannot keep the Law and that we are sinners.

2. The Loved! 2 Cor. 4:1-6
Now here Paul seems again to be countering criticisms from the false pastors of Corinth, but his defences will help us all to evaluate our own service for the Lord. He illustrates for us, four positive characteristics of those who have known God’s love:-

We are not quitters! Someone is saying, “Paul has given up! He has lost his nerve, and he’s just a quitter. Paul answers them by saying, Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not. You see, keeping going in the Christian life, is linked to the mercy of God. God never gave up on us! So, Paul has this ministry – this work to do for the Kingdom, and God in his mercy and love gave him this work, and Paul simply won’t give up! We don’t faint in the Lord’s work. We are not quitters!

We are never underhand in our dealings with others! They say, “That Paul – you just don’t know what he’s up to behind your back. He manipulates people!” He replies, But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness. Christians should never use any underhand method – even if they think that doing so will advance the Gospel. No emotional blackmail, no cajoling, no plotting or scheming… Openness and honesty in all our dealing should be our way.

We never misuse the Word of God! nor handling the word of God deceitfully. Some people will quote the Bible very selectively. They will engage in a type of Bible reading called ‘eisegesis’ – that’s where you get some idea in your head, and you look through the scriptures for texts that will support your theory. The opposite to eisegesis is exegesis, objectively reading the scriptures, and putting the verses in the overall context of the passage and the book in which they are set, and comparing them with similar passages, and drawing the meaning OUT of the Bible, instead of reading it in! Paul never handled the Word of God deceitfully – he never made the Scriptures say something which was not there, and what was there he faithfully and boldly proclaimed.

We live our lives in the sight of God and other men! “What is Paul doing when your back is turned – that’s what I’d like to know! After all, he’s not here, is he, so we just don’t know what he is up to!” But Paul is a man under scrutiny. Intense scrutiny, as we all should be. He says, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God

3. The Lost!
Finally in this section, Paul makes a very sombre comment about those who will reject the Gospel. He speaks of:

The Blindness of a Christ Rejecter! It’s important for our understanding of evangelism and the practice of our Christian witness that we see this. Paul says that there is only one reason why the Gospel does not penetrate through to the hearts of Christ-rejecters – It is because the god of this world has blinded them! But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Nowadays, some people want to simplify the gospel and make it easier to understand by introducing modern methods of communication. It’s often a well-meaning attempt to communicate with modern mankind, but it won’t work, because the devil has distorted their thinking and kept their minds obsessed with the things of this world. Satan is ‘the god of THIS WORLD.’ That’s why gospel ministry is essentially a spiritual matter, and the practices of the evangelist must be spiritual practices, preaching the word and prayer, so that the spiritual blindness of the lost can be healed.

The Fate of a Christ Rejecter! They are described here as ‘lost’ or ‘perishing.’ Every single Christian needs to understand the doctrine of eternal punishment of the lost. How often have you heard people say, “Ah well, at least he/she is out of their suffering now” when they have gone into a lost eternity? And how many Christians have said that, – or agreed with that, when the reality is far different, for the suffering of a soul on this earth is nothing in comparison with the endless suffering of a soul in hell. As Christians we need a greater motivation in evangelism. For prayer, for spiritual activity. I believe that one of the great motivations for us to work fervently for the Lord, is to understand the fate of the lost! Jude 1:1-25

The winning of a Christ Rejecter! Here is Paul’s evangelistic method laid out for us, very simply. It is all contained in this great statement. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Simple, isn’t it. It’s all about preaching. It’s all about preaching Christ; it’s all about shining out a light for Jesus in the darkness!

Praise: Let us Sing of His Love

Benediction.

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