Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
The Lord has called us to a life of Christ-like service. As Jesus tells us, “He who would be first of all must be last of all and a servant of all.” Of course, such a servant mentality does not come easily to us – in fact, it comes only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Such a servant mentality is not natural to us, but is supernaturally given by the Holy Spirit. And what does that mean?? It means we must actively and diligently pray for a servant’s heart. May the prayer of all of you and of our church be … “Oh Lord, give me a servant’s heart. Take away the ‘self’ mentality that comes so easily to me; and by your grace help me to be an obedient servant for you. To the glory of Christ! Amen.”
Here are some important announcements for the upcoming week:
- Mr. David Nakhla will present the diaconal ministry of the OPC during our Sunday school hour this Sunday at 9:30.
- The ladies’ baby shower for Melissa Haley and Stephanie Van Oudenaren will be at the McDonald’s home at 3:00 PM this Sunday. The McDonald’s address is 200 Cherry Oak Lane, Montgomery, TX, 77316.
- The men’s breakfast will be this Saturday morning at 8:30 at the Egg and I on Hwy 6 and Little York.
- This week’s devotion (attached) considers the ‘Greatest Commission’ – the commission from the Father to the Son to be the redeemer of his people.
- And remember tonight’s prayer meeting at the Perkins’ home at 7:00 PM. The address is 8830 Ballinger Drive, 77064.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Greatest Commission”
John 10:18, “This charge I received from my Father.”
Why did Jesus die? Why did Christ go to the cross? Why did the Son of God lay down his life? There are many ways to approach this question. For example, the Bible teaches us that Christ went to the cross because of his love for his people (Gal 2:20); and the Bible also teaches us that Christ died to satisfy the justice of his Father due to sinners (Rom 8:3-4). Moreover, Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13). Indeed, Jesus died in the place of sinners for a multitude of reasons … his love for his own, to satisfy the justice of God, to redeem those in bondage to sin, and many more.
But there is another reason to note which we can say ‘stands behind’ all the rest. That is, Jesus went to the cross in obedience to his Father. In other words, Jesus’ cross work was an act of obedience. Or perhaps we could put it this way, Jesus’ life and death (the entirety of his saving ministry) was an act of covenantal obedience to his Father. Theologians refer to this concept as the ‘Covenant of Redemption.’ Put simply, in eternity past the Father and the Son agreed – or ‘covenanted’ – to save a people. The Son agreed to take on human flesh, to live in obedience to His Father, and to lay down his life as a substitute for sinners. The Father, likewise, gave a people to the Son, appointed the Son to be the Mediator of his people, and promised to send the Spirit to sustain the Son in his ministry (see John John 3:16; 5:20, 22, 36; 17:2, 4, 6, 9; Ps 2:7-8; Heb 10:7). The many references of Jesus to his desire to do the will of his Father speak to the Son’s covenantal obligations (John 4:34; 6:38). Furthermore, Jesus speaks of “accomplishing the work” he was given to do (John 17:4). And in John 10 he speaks of a ‘charge’ or ‘commission’ he received from his Father (10:18c). What was the charge to which he referred? He was charged with ‘laying down his life’ for his sheep (10:11, 17). The Father gave the Son a great work to do – he commissioned Him to accomplish the greatest of all works … to live and to die for sinners!! Indeed, the greatest commission was the commission to save – the commission of the Father to the Son – the commission to which the Son replied, “Yes, I will save – I will be the Mediator – I will condescend”!! While the doctrine of the Covenant of Redemption may ‘appear’ to be ‘technical theology talk;’ in reality, it lies at the very heart of the Christian faith. Consider the following implications:
First, all three persons of the Trinity are involved in the great work of salvation. Salvation is not simply a work of the Son in isolation, but rather all the members of the Trinity covenanted to save a people. The Father appointed the Son – the Spirit prepared and sustained the Son – and the Son condescended to save and to bring a people to the Father!
Second, your salvation and mine can be traced to eternity past! The Trinity covenanted in eternity past. Our salvation is not a mere happenstance or chance occurrence. God had his ‘eye’ on his own before the dawn of creation and of time! Oh what love and grace! Oh what wonderful salvation!
Third, the covenant of redemption helps us understand the work of the Son. Jesus’ work was a work of obedience. It is obedience that delights the Father – obedience to the Father’s will. The reality is that we are saved by works – we are saved by obedience. But it is the obedience of another – it is the obedience of the Mediator and the Savior. It is the perfect obedience of the Son to the will of the Father. That is our plea! That is our cry! That is our hope! “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org