Posts Tagged ‘Hope Baptist Church’
Or so it felt this weekend.
Despite my intentions to get out on the square on Friday or Saturday and speak to the youngsters who gather, I was not able to do so. I was all lined up for Friday, but my eldest son is having some bedtime challenges at the moment, and – with William taking up a lot of my wife’s time – I did not think it was reasonable to leave her unsupported, especially as Friday night was particularly intense.
I woke up on Saturday morning to discover that part of the fence at the back of my home had been ripped out and carried off. Admittedly, it was pretty shaky, but it still meant the garden and back of the house exposed to anyone walking past, and required an emergency visit to the nearest place selling fence panels, followed by a comedy balancing act as I tried to get a 6’x6′ fence panel home on the roof of my car. I was pushing it already with preparation for Sunday, but managed to get enough of the sermon under my belt to spend forty minutes or so digging, hammering, and nailing so as to secure the house.
I then disappeared to London where I was preaching at the 119th anniversary of Hope Baptist Church. I preached on the love of God from 1 John 3.1, and then had a tea before heading home to weigh in on the great bedtime challenge. I was back on the road at 8.30am the next morning to preach in the same place, where I looked at the care of God from Job 23.10. In this regard, we simply noted that God knows the way that we take; that our testing in the way is imposed and controlled by God; that the testing will have an end; and, that it has a gracious and glorious purpose – we shall come forth from the testing as gold, the precious metal of our faith both approved and improved by the painful process.
I enjoyed a meal and a delightful conversation about God’s dealings with his people (and some chat on parenting) with a few of the families from the church before getting back on the road to come back to Crawley. I had enough time to complete my sermon before getting out for the evening service, where we had a good congregation, including one visitor along for the first time. I preached from Zechariah 13.1 on The cleansing fountain. Pausing only to note that the realities of this text are not restricted to the Jews, we looked first at the filth that needs to be cleansed. The prophet identifies it as sin (judicial guilt) and uncleanness (moral impurity). This covers the sins committed by us, around us and against us, the taint from within and without that renders us obnoxious to God’s justice and odious to his holiness, and – in the awakened conscience – foul and filthy in our own eyes.
This took us on to the fountain opened for cleansing. I answered a series of questions:
What is opened? A fountain of living water, dwelling particularly on the accessibility and permanence implied by its being open.
For what is it opened? For pardon and purity, the complete purging demanded by sin and uncleanness.
When was it opened? It is opened, absolutely, in the day of Christ’s dying, when his blood was shed for the cleansing of his people. It is opened, relatively, in the day of gospel preaching, when Christ’s saving work is made plain and pressed upon the consciences of sinners. It is opened, experimentally, in the day of repentant hearing, when we humbly approach the cross to be made clean.
For whom is it opened? From Romans 11.11 and Isaiah 49.6 we conclude that the blessings of this verse are not restricted to the Jewish nation alone, and see here three pictures: all classes and kinds of people (cf. Zec 12.8); the most wicked of people (cf. Zec 12.10); and, ultimately, all God’s elect.
I closed by urging people to employ the fountain (whether for the first time, or in the light of fresh defilements and new transgressions), and to extol the fountain, pointing to and proclaiming Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
I went home weary, and – unfortunately – did not have the best of nights. Today is a catch-up and admin day, so I should catch up and start administering (or should that be administrating?). Anyway, I have stuff to do.