Monday, June 30, 2008

Performing the Impossible

When Jesus instituted this meal, he did so with the full knowledge that he was at the end of his ministry. He was leaving, and as he left he promised that this was a good thing because he would send the comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with them and lead them into all truth. One of the central ways that the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth is here at this table. The Lord’s Supper is itself the proclamation of the Lord’s death; it is evangelism; it is the gospel. But someone might say; that’s funny, it doesn’t look like a highly effective marketing tool. But this is the glory of the Spirit, the Spirit often works silently, mysteriously, and it’s glorious because the Spirit does what is impossible. As Jesus leaves, he says it is better that he go because he will send them the Spirit. In order to be led into all truth, you must be led by the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Jesus. And all of this is proof that it’s the Spirit doing the work. Churches that have everything quickly fall into many temptations to rely on particular people, buildings, traditions, whatever. But churches that lose pastors, churches that have very diverse congregants, churches that have to meet at odd hours or in odd places, those kind of churches know (or should know) in their bones that if they make any kind of impact at all, if anything they do brings glory God and builds his kingdom in a significant way, it was a miracle, something only wrought by the Holy Spirit. And so here we are, doing the impossible. We are proclaiming right now with bread and wine that Jesus died and rose again. That he ascended into heaven and reigns over Greer, South Carolina as her rightful King. And we are doing so in faith believing that Greer will come streaming into the Kingdom one way or another. Since we know that is utterly impossible, we are all the more confident that it is the very sort of thing, our God will delight to do. So I’m leaving, and Craig is coming on. And some of you have challenges in your families, in your work, in your finances, whatever. Good. If it was all easy and straightforward you’d have to wonder if the Holy Spirit is leading you. But if the skies look stormy, if you see death and suffering in your future, if you feel surrounded, if you know you need mercy and grace, then come. This bread and this wine are for you. This meal is for people who need the impossible. And this meal is full assurance that the most impossible thing in the world has already occurred: your sins have been forgiven. And if that impossibility has become reality, how will He not also give you all these things. How will he not also give you faithful children, how will he not also provide for your needs and perfect your marriage? How will he not also establish this church for many generations? So come in faith, believing the promises of God.

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