Episode 13: His Name – Wonderful!

Sermon text

I apologize for the delay between episodes.  Life has been busy, not the least of which has included my helping to teach some classes at church and my time being taken up writing materials for them.  It’s been a great experience so far and I’m excited to see how things continue.  I am very hopeful that what this leads to for me is an opportunity to watch God produce fruit in my life and in the lives of others.

This is actually going to be the very first, albeit short, sermon series I have done here.  It’s only going to be three parts, but as this is such a well-known passage of Scripture I was excited to see three sermons that he had done so closely together, and I thought it would be fun to start doing something with a little continuity.  Well, fun in kind of a theology nerd way, but that’s who I am!

But much more importantly, what I am is a man who, like Spurgeon, has seen the truth of who he is by the grace of God, by the pounding of the law on a heart rendered able to perceive and respond by the Holy Spirit: a sinner who has no standing by his own righteousness before God.  The Son hangs on the cross because my sins put him there, yet at the same time, He went willingly to die.  He went to the cross to atone for my sins out of love.  That is the marvelous paradox, the life-giving, eye-opening truth of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ: He came to redeem His people, people who did not deserve a bit of it, yet He atones for them all the same out of love.

And so I look at my sins, at the worries and wicked desires of my flesh, and the world’s whispered promises, and the enemy’s taunts of unworthiness, and I am tempted to feel despair.  I struggle when staring at these things to think anything other than, “How in the world could God ever love me?  If being guilty were a ship I would be its uncontested captain for life, with a bunk reserved for me in the brig.”  Yet God, even while opening my ears to hear the law that compels my rightful condemnation for rebelling against God, for seeking pleasure in idols like filling my stomach, pursuing porn, pouring out all my energy into filling my pockets and hoarding it as though it were mine…He at the same time brought to my hearing the Gospel that says that Jesus knew all these things, and went to the cross to pay for them perfectly.  While I was still a sinner, while I was at my darkest, Christ died for me, and now I have nothing left to boast about except for Him.

But the truth is, I don’t want to boast about anything else.  I take joys in the small things of this world that bring in joy, that shine with the reflected light of my beautiful Creator, but it is only a reflection.  When I love my wife, I do it because I was first loved by God and because in loving her, in giving up myself and serving her, in pursuing her, I am able to see the true beauty of the love of God shine through clearly and I thrive on it.  I am set free by it, to soar, and to sing out!

Friends, this freedom is real, and it is here.  The command is true: repent, and turn from your sins, and know the one true God and Jesus Christ who He sent.  That’s eternal life, that’s real life, knowing the One who made you.  He is wonderful, and I pray that my heart wonders after him more tomorrow than it has today.

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