Worthwhile – December 7, 2018

It has been a busy week. Our youngest had surgery on Tuesday to take some hardware out of her reconstructed hips so we have been caring for her as priority. The surgery went great and she is recovering like a champ. 

Also this week I have been reading Advent from Fleming Rutledge. I have been intrigued by the liturgical history having been raised in a low church context. Rutledge’s correct view of the posture of Advent has been helpful, not shying away from the sorrow, darkness, and pain in the waiting. Here is an article that might give you a flavor. 

Across the internet this week people have begun the tradition of publishing their best books of 2018 lists. One list that is worthwhile is Andrew Wilson’s if for no other reason than to motivate us to read more next year! 

We Are a Silly, Misguided People

My house was crowded and people were more keen to talk than listen to what was coming from the TV so I missed a lot of the Superbowl commercials that America tunes in for. I remember reading the words on the screen, that it was audio from a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr., and saying “well that is good.” But I didn’t get the full sense of what was said other than they were selling trucks.

It’s America, who doesn’t want to sell a truck? Well, funny thing or massively idiotic thing is, it wasn’t the full sermon in which Dr. King tears down the American dream proffered by marketers and our own little greedy hearts. Thankfully someone has remedied the situation with the pertinent portion of his sermon.

Hmm. Now that is better…

Sola Dynamis

In my corner of Christianity these days you can’t swing a cat without hitting a sermon series on the Solas of the Reformation. And I like it. It is timely as we are a week off of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther asking ninety-five questions that would right the trajectory of the church. A turn back to Jesus. To his grace, the majesty of the gospel for salvation.

From the positions, writing, and preaching of the Reformers, we get the five Solas. A biblical rebuttal to the justification by works embraced by the Roman Catholic Church. These truths are:

Sola Fide, by faith alone. Justification, being made right with God is by grace through faith alone in Christ and his work.

Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone. Scripture, as the divine revelation of God, alone makes clear what is necessary for salvation.

Solus Christus, through Christ alone. Our salvation is accomplished through the mediatorial work of Jesus alone – none of our own, or anyone else’s (Pope), just Jesus.

Sola Gratia, by grace alone. Those saved from the wrath of God against sin are saved not by their own merit but grace alone – the unmerited favor of God.

Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone. If salvation is a work of God alone, then it is accomplished for his glory alone.

Yes and amen. Over and over again. We must preach the gospel these truths point to continually, that lives would be freed from the bondage of works righteousness and trusting in anything other than Jesus for salvation.

From salvation, though we enter into real life – this abundant life promised by Jesus and delivered in his resurrection. And this is where we can go wrong way too often. Some might say that since you are now saved it becomes “your work that transforms you… that carries out Christian duty in order to earn rewards…” Or others will latch onto our ability to cling to the right set of doctrines to ensure we never deviate from the Solas, against trusting in our ability to keep it up…

But what if we are meant for something different, something more… powerful?! Following the God-aloneness of the Reformation – we are to live by the power of God alone.

As we have been studying Acts at Reservoir Church, I have once again been struck by the power promised by Christ and delivered by the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Jesus. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” and you will be witnesses (Acts 1:8). I was at first inclined to see this power as ONLY for witnessing, preaching the gospel of Jesus. But that is not what the clear language from Christ says – it is AND witness. So we are given power, not only to witness but to live.

This is the exact posture of the Apostles in their preaching and writing of Epistles, that God’s people, the church, would experience the fullness of Christ, the power of God for life.

I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday that I desired to be Sola Dynamis, living by the power of God alone. It might mean any number of things in my life and the life of the church. That we might see addiction broken, healing happen, the word of God preached with boldness. It will also mean power to pursue and live from the good news of Jesus.

Why would we miss what we are meant for in the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God for all of life?

Sam Storms hosted a conference on the continuing work of the Spirit in the church and he opened it with a sermon on power. I submit it to you and invite you into the Sola Dynamis life – by the power of God alone.