Sickness and death are on all minds. COVID-19 now ravages the U.S., straining if not mocking our knowledge, skill, and preparedness. And on top of the threat to life is tremendous toll this could take on our economy. Lives and livelihoods falter.
But there is a far more fearsome disease. The human heart has been infected by sin, the God-challenging, self-destructive virus we all inherited from our first parents. “And as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” This virus is infinitely more lethal than the Coronavirus. And no hospital, no doctor can treat it.
But God, looking down with pity on our sin-sick race, sent His Son. Jesus came as the Doctor, the Master Physician. And He has come to heal you, friend.
Tomorrow morning we will be considering the following passage at our 10:30 livestreamed service. Join us then on our Facebook page. We also have a service in the evening at 7:00.
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? Mat But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:9-13).
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“Jesus Christ is like the white of an egg, tasteless in the world’s mouth.”
-Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
“And even the very continuity of the creation, and its preservation and government, teach us that there does exist a Deity, who supports and maintains and preserves and ever provides for this universe. For how could opposite natures, such as fire and water, air and earth, have combined with each other so as to form one complete world, and continue to abide in indissoluble union, were there not some omnipotent power which bound them together and always is preserving them from dissolution?”
– John of Damascus (c. 675-749)
“They shall see every thing in God that gratifies love. They shall see in him all that love desires. Love desires the love of the beloved. So the saints in glory shall see God’s transcendent love to them; God will make ineffable manifestations of his love to them. They shall see as much love in God towards them as they desire; they neither will nor can crave any more. This very manifestation that God will make of himself that will cause the beatific vision, will be an act of love in God: it will be from the exceeding love of God to them that he will give them this vision, which will add an immense sweetness to it. When they see God so glorious, and at the same time see how greatly this God loves them, what delight will it not cause in the soul! Love desires union. They shall therefore see this glorious God united to them, and see themselves united to him. They shall see that he is their Father, and that they are his children. They shall see God gloriously present with them; God with them; and God in them; and they in God. Love desires the possession of its object. Therefore they shall see God, even their own God; when they behold this transcendent glory of God, they shall see him as their own. When they shall see that glory, power, and wisdom of God, they shall see it as altogether engaged for them; when they shall see the beauty of God’s holiness, they shall see it as their own, for them to enjoy for ever; when they see the boundless ocean of God’s goodness and grace, they shall see it to be all theirs.”
– Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“In dying [Christ] became the plague and destruction of death. When death slew him, it slew itself: for Christ, through death, destroyed him that had the power of death, even the devil (Heb. 2:14).”
-Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
‘The end and intent of the Scripture is to declare that God is benevolent and friendly-minded to mankind; and that he hath declared that kindness in and through Jesu Christ, his only Son; the which kindness is received by faith.”
-from Protestant martyr George Wishart’s (1513-1546) translation of the First Helvetic Confession (1536)
“What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.”
-John Chrysostom (c. 349-407)
“The last time I saw your father [Cotton Mather] was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received me in his library, and on my taking leave showed me a shorter way out of the house through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, “Stoop, stoop!” I did not understand him, till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man that never missed any occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me, “You are young, and have the world before you; STOOP as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.” This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high….”
-Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Samuel Mather, 1784
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Friend, Benjamin Franklin passes on good advice. Yet sadly, from what I know if him, he did not stoop far enough. We as sinners must stoop, indeed, bow down in the dust before God in Christ, begging for mercy. Only when we are hopelessly prostrate in the dust, looking for free and sovereign grace in the blood of Christ, can we be lifted up and spared for time and eternity. So stoop, sinner, stoop!
“The tokens of the Passion we recognize as the fruitage of the ages of the past, appearing in the fullness of time during the reign of sin and death (Gal. 4.4). But it is the glory of the Resurrection, in the new springtime of regenerating grace, that the fresh flowers of the later age come forth, whose fruit shall be given without measure at the general resurrection, when time shall be no more. And so it is written, ‘The winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth’ (Cant. 2.11 f); signifying that summer has come back with Him who dissolves icy death into the spring of a new life and says, ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Rev. 21.5). His Body sown in the grave has blossomed in the Resurrection (I Cor. 15.42); and in like manner our valleys and fields which were barren or frozen, as if dead, glow with reviving life and warmth.”
-Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)
Last Lord’s Day (Sunday), we considered the weighty saying of Christ, “The Son of man came not to serve, but to be served, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Jesus was going to the cross, but sadly, his disciples detoured him with their foolish question. Yet Jesus made this sad detour a boundless blessing for them and us, if we have ears to hear.
Listen – if even for a minute or two – to the message here.