Made Like Him, Like Him We Rise
How do you read the signs of the times?
- A day when the strong moral core of a culture is eroding from the inside out.
- A people once made strong through self-denial in pursuit of a higher goal now weakened with excess and indulgence.
- An economy that was once the envy of the world now saddled with debt and the government left with no recourse but to raise taxes.
- A government which assumes more power to itself creating more dependents.
- The people distracted from waking up to the realities of the world by being obsessed with violent entertainments held in huge stadiums.
- An elite class removed from the daily sufferings of the people; yet setting the immoral agenda for daily life.
- An increase in home invasions and violence in the streets. Vandals afoot.
- A pervading fear of terror. Hostile nations flexing their might against the culture more and more.
Meanwhile, the church itself confused about the person of Jesus. Prominent leaders backing away from the staggering reality that the man Jesus is the Lord God himself taking up our flesh and bone. And in spite of all this a bold bishop calls upon Christians to be people of unfailing optimism. He calls upon us to be people of conviction and joy. He sees a great host of the lost coming home to Christ and urges the people to live in the confidence of the victory of Christ.
Present day America? Present day Europe? Try ancient Rome in the fifth century.
Barbarians were literally at the gate as moral rot caused the empire to collapse from within. The imperial government no longer had any moral voice to rally the people. All the decades of living off the people, encouraging their excess to line Rome’s coffers, had left the official rulers helpless in the face of terror.
The emperor looked to a pastor who, by the power of moral persuasion, turned a bloodthirsty general away from Rome and saved the city. This is the same pastor who looked out on a world falling apart, sinking in sin and disgrace, and declared that Jesus was winning a great victory against Satan.
As we look this week at Romans 6:5-14 we will wrestle with two questions. First, how do you get such optimism amidst a world so clearly falling apart? Repeatedly, the Scriptures urge us as Christians to recover our hope and to face the world with the joy of the risen Jesus overflowing our hearts. Secondly, why are we so removed from the optimism and hope of the gospel? Jesus teaches that for those who believe in him (John 16:16), joy is as certain as the resurrection; yet, why is our experience of joy so thin?
We invite you to join us this Lord’s Day as we learn the key to experiencing the joy Jesus promises his people. I give thanks to God for your faithfulness as you regularly invite your friends and family to come along with you. I delight in meeting those who are near to you.
Let me remind you that on Sunday April 15, we will begin our study through the book of Revelation. This may be an excellent time to invite your friends and family to visit with you. As always, I covet your prayers as I am discovering Revelation to be one of the most encouraging letters of the New Testament, and especially for today.
Finally, join me in giving thanks to the Lord for our worship and media teams. Each week the worship team eagerly prepares in thoughtful prayer and practice to lead us spiritually in offering praises to our Lord. Thank you Richy for your leadership, and to each of the members for their commitment. Behind them, and the church, stands our media team. From providing sound support to posting blogs and emails, videos and maintaining a quality website, to preparing the weekly worship guide, this team is responsible for making us sound and look good. Thank you media team for your labor of love for the Lord.
Michelle and I count it as one of our greatest privileges and joys to serve you in Christ. May our good God grant us gospel reformation in our area and around the world.
For His Glory,