The Majesty is in the Magnitude

The majesty of God’s glory is seen in the magnitude of God’s grace!  So it is that all of God’s eternal, sovereign, adopting, redeeming work in Jesus Christ is “…to the praise of His glorious grace…” (Eph. 1:6)!  And so it is that the multitude of heavenly host burst forth with praise at the birth of Jesus:


“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)


Beloved, the depth and darkness of our sin is far more heinous than we can fathom.  But the wealth and wonder of God’s grace in Christ is far more abundant than we can imagine!  Dr. Homer Kent said it well:


“The higher one’s conception of God’s holiness and the deeper his sense of human sin, the greater is his discernment of the riches of grace that were necessary to provide such a redemption.”  (Homer Kent, Ephesians Commentary, pg. 22-23)


What can we say, but amen, and amen!  And what can we do but sing on, knowing that a “worthy walk” (Eph. 4:1) is first and foremost a walk of worship!!


Beholding, singing, walking, and growing with you,


Divine Discipline for Fleeting Foreigners

What faith-strengthening truths flow from Psalm 39, as we heard this past Lord’s Day through Tim Ingrum’s faithful preaching!  Tim helped us see that “fleeting foreigners need divine discipline to travel light”, and thus we should respond with faith and submission to God’s loving discipline.  I don’t know about you, but I continually need to be reminded of these truths!


Following this same theme, and reflecting on Rom. 8:28, the Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) made these observations:


“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose!”

Whatever is truly good for God’s children–they shall have it, for all is theirs to further them to Heaven. Therefore . . .
if poverty is good for them–they shall have it;
if disgrace is good for them–they shall have it;
if crosses are good for them–they shall have them;
if misery is good for them–they shall have it;
for God makes all things work together for the good of His redeemed people.

God takes a safe course with His children–that they may not be condemned with the world.

God’s providence is often mysterious–yet He is just and righteous in all that He does. Therefore when any difficult thing befalls us for which we can see no reason, yet we must reverence the Lord and adore His counsels and submit to Him who is infinitely more good and wise than we.

Praying for you, and with you, as we learn to walk in our Father’s holy love through Jesus Christ,


Into His Heavenly Family

How can we ever fathom the wonder and wealth of all God’s spiritual blessings to us in Jesus Christ??  What assurance, confidence, and security are within these glorious truths:


…in love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…(Eph. 1:4-5)


There never has been, and never will be, a perfect earthly family.  But as believers we have been adopted by God our Father into His heavenly family!  And through His revealed word, God wants us to know the full comfort and significance of our calling as His children, all “…to the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6)!  May your hope be strengthened as you trust the riches of His grace, walking worthy as His beloved child!


When a child of God is crushed with guilt over sin,

Or pressed hard by deep trials without and within,

Burdened and troubled, and filled up with fear,

What words from the Lord might this child hear?


Is there harsh condemnation from the King on His throne?

Angry words of rejection and banishment known?

“I despise you, how dare you think not to obey”,

Is this what a Christian might hear the Lord say?


Surely Satan would tempt us to think it is so,

Fiery darts of deception does he constantly throw.

But the Lord, He has spoken – all His words firm and true,

Great, precious promises which ignite hope anew!


O My child, my child behold who I AM,

Your Father, who chose you, from before time began!

Drink now all My blessings, given through My Son’s blood,

And walk by faith in the fullness of My holy love!


Grace upon grace,


A Worthy Walk is a Worshipful Walk

At the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul declares and demonstrates that a “worthy walk” (Eph. 4:1) is first and foremost a walk of worship.  His anthem of doxology in Eph. 1:3-14 is a call to all believers to join him in praising the God of all grace.  As John Calvin has observed, ““The lofty terms in which he extols the grace of God toward the Ephesians, are intended to rouse their hearts to gratitude, to set them all on flame, to fill them even to overflowing with this thought” (from Calvin’s Commentary on Eph. 1:3).  So gripped is Paul by the weight and wonder of the glories he heralds, he then pleads with God to help all believers know the fullness of these lavish blessings (Eph. 1:15-23).


Later in his letter, Paul exhorts believers to address “…one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” (Eph. 5:19).  One recent song that richly fulfills this exhortation is Come Praise and Glorify (see the lyrics here).  As you’ll hear, the song is based fully on the truths of Eph. 1:3-14.  Lord willing, we’ll be singing it corporately at RCG in the near future.


Beloved, the wealth, riches, and power of all that God has blessed us with in Christ is far more abundant than all we could ask or think (see Eph. 3:20-21).  Together as His people, by faith, may we keep feasting upon, praying, singing, and walking in light of His glorious grace in Jesus Christ!


Because He lives, and is returning,


Into the Sanctuary of God

What a joy it was to feast together with you this past Lord’s Day on Psalm 73.  As Asaph came to learn through his experience, God is good…always!


Asaph’s candid testimony reveals his doubts about the goodness of God, brought on by his envy of the wicked (see vs. 2-16).  The turning point which delivered him from embittered despair to exuberant praise is identified in vs. 17 – “…until I went into the sanctuary of God…”.  When Asaph returned to the regular worship of God, with God’s people and under God’s word, he then saw the truth of God’s goodness more fully and accurately.


John Calvin paraphrases Asaph’s statement in verse 17:  “Until God become my schoolmaster, and until I learn by his word what otherwise my mind, when I come to consider the government of the world, cannot comprehend, I stop short all at once, and understand nothing about the subject.”  (John Calvin, commentary on Ps. 73:17)


Beloved, how necessary for our minds to continually be transformed by God’s word, rather than squeezed into the mold of this world’s godless thinking (Rom. 12:1-2)!  And this is one of God’s primary reasons for having us gather weekly in corporate worship – that he might shape and mold us through His word.


Looking forward to gathering with you again this coming Sunday, even as we eagerly await that great and eternal gathering with Christ in heaven!



Gazing into the Riches of God’s Grace

As we gaze into the riches of God’s grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, there are simply not enough superlatives to describe the wonders of all He has given us!  These riches are all the more amazing in view of our helpless and hopeless sinful condition (see Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3).  The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, couldn’t stop talking about the wealth of these riches!


  • “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33)
  • “…according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” (Eph. 1:7-8)
  • “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…” (Eph. 2:4)
  • “…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7)
  • “…to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…” (Eph. 3:8)
  • “…to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge…” (Eph. 3:18-19)
  • “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20)


When Paul speaks descriptively of these riches in Titus 3:4-7, his intent is to spur believers on in living lives that overflow with good deeds.  In possessing, tasting, and growing in the knowledge of these riches by faith, believers are to eagerly obey God and zealously do good to others for His glory.


Beloved, living a godly life that abounds with good deeds involves effort and intentionality on our part.  But it should be effort motivated by deep joy, gratitude, and humility in view of all the Father has lavished upon us in Christ.  Hence our need is not just to try harder, but to gaze deeper upon all the riches of God’s grace.  Martin Luther expresses this well in his book The Freedom of a Christian:


“Although I am an unworthy and condemned man, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation without any merit on my part, out of pure, free mercy, so that from now on I need nothing except faith which believes that it is true.  Why should I not therefore freely, joyfully, with all my heart, and with an eager will do all things which I know are pleasing and acceptable to such a Father who has overwhelmed me with his inestimable riches?  I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.”  (quoted by Matt Perman in What’s Best Next, Zondervan: 2014, pg. 110)


Amen!  What a joy to gaze, grow, and give together with you!



On Mission for Worship

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.   Worship is.  Missions exists because worship doesn’t.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever.”


These words from John Piper, in his book Let the Nations Be Glad, rightly express a Biblical understanding of worship and missions.  All of God’s mighty, sovereign works – through creation, providence, and redemption – are accomplished by Him “…to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:6,12,14).  Likewise, “…from him and through him and to him are all things.  To Him be glory forever.  Amen.”  (Rom. 11:36)


These truths certainly undergird all that Paul has to say in his letter to Titus, which we began studying this past Lord’s Day.  We see this as the letter opens in Titus 1:1-5, with Paul declaring that God, through Jesus Christ, is the One who sends, saves, speaks, and sets in order.  The clear implication is that God alone is worthy of all trust, submission, and adoration; He is worthy of all worship.  All of this has great implications for the church.


Within the body of his letter, Paul works out in specific and practical ways what the worship of God is to look like in the godly leadership of the church (chapter 1), and the godly lifestyles of the saints (chapters 2-3).  I’m excited to be considering these truths afresh, and walking with you in God’s will for us at RCG.  As we do so, let me encourage you to read the short letter of Titus weekly.  And be praying for the Lord to inflame all of us with zeal for His worship, and concurrent zeal for His purposes in missions and the church.


Because He lives, and is returning,


Fellowship in Christ

As Paul begins his first letter to the local church of Corinth, he reminds them of their identity and connection with the larger body of Christ:


To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours…(1 Cor. 1:2)


In this context, what a special time we had this last Lord’s Day evening, as we gathered with a few other local churches to share in the Lord’s Supper together.  It was a joy to be tangibly reminded of the fellowship we share with saints in other places, in and through the work of the Lord Jesus.  As we sang, prayed, heard God’s word read and preached, partook of the meal together, and talked with one another, Christ seemed to be uniquely ministering among us – encouraging, instructing, convicting, comforting, and strengthening our faith in Him and the living hope He’s called us to.  Like many others, my heart was filled with thankfulness!


Lord willing, we’ll have other such opportunities in the future.  And by the way, you can find Pastor Nick Haight’s excellent sermon from Ecclesiastes on our RCG Website.


Because He lives,


The Love of Christ Is Rich and Free

As we saw again yesterday from John 20, Jesus Christ loves His own with a perfect, persevering, and holy love.  May the words of the following hymn encourage you to dwell upon and trust in the immeasurable love of Christ all the more!  (You can listen to a more recent version of this hymn here.)


The Love of Christ Is Rich and Free

Words:  William Gadsby.

1. The love of Christ is rich and free;

Fixed on His own eternally;

Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove;

Long as He lives, His own He’ll love.

2. His loving heart engaged to be

Their everlasting Surety;

’Twas love that took their cause in hand,

And love maintains it to the end.


Chorus :

Love cannot from its post withdraw;

Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law,

Can turn the Surety’s heart away;

He’ll love His own to endless day.


3. Love has redeemed His sheep with blood;

And love will bring them safe to God;

Love calls them all from death to life;

And love will finish all their strife.

4. He loves through every changing scene,

Nor aught from Him can Zion wean;

Not all the wanderings of her heart

Can make His love for her depart.

(Repeat chorus)

5. At death, beyond the grave, He’ll love;

In endless bliss, His own shall prove

The blazing glory of that love

Which never could from them remove.