The human heart cannot ignore Jesus Christ. God presents himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ and that presentation demands a response from every individual. Simply mention the name of Jesus in a group setting and it will arouse a response from all, even if that response remains unspoken. Some scorn Jesus, some love Jesus, others are fond of the benefits that come from being near Jesus and the people who love Jesus but deep-down they prefer their independence from Jesus. In the opening verses of the twelfth chapter of John’s gospel we find an intimate setting in which we are shown a contrast in responses to Jesus. Among them we find in Mary the heart the beats for and worships Jesus without reservation.
This sermon is the first of four sermons in a mini-series on the public means of grace. Romans 12:1-2 teaches Christians that we are to offer ourselves up to God as living and holy sacrifices. We are to no longer be conformed to this world. Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, thereby proving out the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. The Word of God is , of course, central to this process of transformation, because the whole of Scripture testifies to the Person and Power of Christ.
With the beginning of Romans 12, Paul makes a distinct shift in his letter to the Romans. Given the robust theology of the gospel expounded in the first eleven chapters, he now turns to the subject of how believers are to live the truth of the gospel in all their relational as societal spheres. Here in the fist verse, he exhorts believers, on the basis of God’s incredible mercies, to offer themselves as living and holy sacrifices. This is the only fitting response for those redeemed by Christ: to offer our whole self to Him is thanksgiving, praise, worship, and adoration.
The goal and natural result of all theology is doxology — In other words, the study of doctrine naturally leads to praise and worship and exaltation of the glory and splendor of God. Some have wrongly interpreted these verses to be Paul’s way of waving the white flag of mystery over the doctrines of election and divine sovereignty. A false view! God, through Paul, has clearly taught us the doctrine of sovereign election for all who will give it an honest reading. And having pulled back the veil to show us the sovereign purpose of God in exalting His mercy, even through the existence of sin, Paul is now marveling over what these doctrines have revealed about the eternal wisdom and transcendence of Almighty God!
The Corinthians church frequently put Paul in the position of having to defend his apostleship and ministry. In this text, Paul is specifically defending His preaching ministry, but through his words, God gives us a magnificent picture of the church’s role in lifting up Christ. As we proclaim Christ, the church is edified, the world is judged guilty of sin, and the lost are saved as God sovereignly gives the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Christ.
Christ here puts his compassion on full display as he gently exposes the sin of the Samaritan woman and guides her in the truth of what true, new covenant worship ought to look like.
When we get into the doctrine of election, the reason people struggle with it the most is not just because it challenges our individualistic notions of free will, but because it challenges our understanding of God. A Sovereign God, a God who is in the heavens and does whatever He pleases (Psa 115:3), does not seem to us to be a “good” God. The problem lies with our perspective. What we see in Romans 9 is that God is good, and in his goodness, He chooses who will be saved, thereby establishing the certainty of His purpose and the wonder of His grace.
Psalm 110 sets forth God’s decree that Jesus Christ will govern the world politically and spiritually as the Divine King and Priest. The Psalm reveals the LORD’s Oracle of Christ’s Reign, the LORD’s Oath of Christ’s Priesthood, and the LORD’s Overthrow of Christ’s Enemies.
Jesus was born among a conquered people to a common family under coarse conditions, but every circumstance surrounding His birth was in accordance with the sovereign purpose of God. From the proclamation of the angels to the earnestness of the shepherds, we see the good news of salvation begin to unfold before the world and we learn again the wonder of the incarnation as we are brought to the manger to worship heaven’s King.
Why is it important to gather for worship with God’s people? What’s really happening when we assemble in Christ’s name? What are the consequences of forsaking the assembly? This sermon answers those questions and more.