Thank you for being flexible this past Sunday and making the adjustment to 9:30. It was a good move. By the time 12:00 rolled around at the field (I was still there), it was baking. One of our guys did a temp check directly on the top of the turf about 11:30 and it was 156 degrees. So, needless to say, the earlier time slot was better for us and we got through it well.
And it was great having everyone together for 1 service. While we realize the heat forecast kept several away, it was really good to be together. It’s crazy to think that the last time we were all together in 1 service was March 15, 2020. Our church has responded very well to the changes in the past year. Together, we have served each other, worked to make changes in our church services possible, and we have grown in grace and in number. Sunday was another expression of God’s grace among us. Our staff and volunteers set up and took down everything without complaint or hesitation. It was remarkable to see. Whether it was the Children’s ministry team getting stuff organized or the greeters showing up with joy, our entire church pitched in to make things happen. I’m very grateful to serve this church and am humbled by the way our people respond.
Now, on to the sermon.
Too deep for words:
I chose this text for Sunday because it is one of my favorites. But, as I started preparing for preaching on this text, I realized something odd…I was at a loss for words (which if you know me, is really odd:). I was stunned by the depth of this text, more than I have been before. It was simply too deep for words. To try to express the depths of the things Paul mentioned in this text was very challenging.
But there was another part of the challenge for me…it’s hard to relate exactly why something is your favorite. It’s like when someone asks me, “how do you communicate with you men?” and because I’ve done it so often, so naturally, I don’t know exactly how to explain it. And that’s what happened in my prep. I love this text…because I love this text…
Putting us in our rightful place:
After wading through the depth of this text and pondering how to explain why it’s one of my favorites, it dawned on me that I love this text because it has been used often by God to put me in my rightful place. I love texts like that that remind me of how vast God is and how small I am. I love texts that humble me, that draw my gaze to God’s grandeur, and challenge me to think more about Him and less about me.
And I think that’s the point of this. Paul has just exposited the deepest theology of the gospel ever written. He has just told us the remarkable news of God’s saving work and how all of this works into God’s plan for Israel and other nations and it’s like Paul just steps back and declares…”no one could’ve thought of this but God. His thoughts are way bigger. Mankind, you never would’ve dreamed of this plan! Isn’t God amazing??” And all we’re left to do is stand with jaws dropped mesmerized by God.
I didn’t use many quotes Sunday because they can be hard to follow when you don’t have them on a screen or printed. So here are a few:
- “This is the New Testament equivalent of Isaiah 55:8f. where God declares his thoughts to be higher than our thoughts, and his ways than our ways. But of course! How could finite and fallen creatures like us ever imagine that we could penetrate into the infinite mind of God? His mind (what he thinks) and his activity (what he does) are altogether beyond us.” John Stott
- “All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who he is and what he has done. It was the tremendous truths of Romans 1–11 which provoked Paul’s outburst of praise. The worship of God is evoked, informed and inspired by the vision of God. Worship without theology is bound to degenerate into idolatry. Hence the indispensable place of Scripture in both public worship and private devotion. It is the Word of God which calls forth the worship of God.” John Stott
- “Paul is not breaking into praise because he has been able to give a final and complete solution to some very difficult problems. He has certainly given some of the answers, but to some very important questions the answer is still not revealed. But it is Paul’s conviction that there is a solution and that that solution is in God’s hands. Therefore he breaks out into this doxology.” Leon Morris
- “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deut. 29:29). The only way we can know the mind of the Lord is if the Lord is pleased to reveal it. When he does, we can know for sure that what he reveals about his mind is not deceitful or inaccurate. That is why I love the Bible—it reveals the mind of God to us.” R.C. Sproul
From the Cheap Seats:
- NC State…what a heartbreaking story. https://www.espn.com/college-sports/baseball/story/_/id/31719370/college-world-series-2021-no-contest-vs-nc-state-sent-vanderbilt-finals
- All-Blacks Rugby begins this week with friendlies. Here’s a 10-minute video of their legacy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7Or3xTL-f0.
- July…Training Camp begins.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.
Have a great week!