From the Pastor’s Desk (1/6/2015)

Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,

Our Lord Jesus teaches us that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of our Lord (Matt 4:4).  Just as we will physically starve without physical food, so likewise and even more importantly, we will spiritually starve without spiritual food.  And where do we find such spiritual food?  With what does our Lord feed us?  He feeds us in and with his word.  His word is food for our souls.  His word nourishes, satisfies, and strengthens us.  His word is the solid food we cannot live without.
  • This Sunday the Rev. Danny Olinger will be with us presenting the ministry of the Committee on Christian Education during Sunday school and preaching during worship.  Plan to join us for both Sunday school and worship.  For info on all that the CE cmte does, please see here:
  • This week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Acts 3 on Christ-centered preaching.
God bless and I look forward to worshiping with you this Lord’s day!

From the Pastor’s Desk

Mid-week Devotional

“Christ-centered Preaching”

Acts 3:19-20a, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

There is much talk about ‘Christ-centered Preaching’ in the church today.  And that is a good thing.  Indeed, all preaching – if it is Biblical – must be Christ-centered simply because Christ is the center of the Bible.  Such Christ-centered preaching, however, did not begin with today’s generation of pastors and writers.  Rather all faithful proclaimers of God’s word throughout the centuries have exalted the person and work of Christ in their preaching.  And this should not surprise us because that is what we find when we turn to the preaching of the early church (and we could actually go back to the preaching of the OT prophets as well).  The preaching of Paul and of Stephen, for example, was relentlessly Christ-centered (Acts 6:14; 13:16-41; 17:22-31).

In like manner, Peter was relentless in his proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And his sermon in Acts 3 is a good case in point.  In this sermon Peter expounds both the first and the second coming of Christ, the sin of man, and he calls the crowds to faith and repentance.  First, Peter expounds the first coming of Christ in his death and resurrection.  God the Father ‘glorified’ (i.e. raised and exalted) his servant Jesus (v. 13) … ‘you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead’ (v. 15).  Peter also describes the suffering of Christ as foretold by the mouth of the prophets (v. 18).  In short, Peter highlights the sufferings, life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is to say, Peter proclaims the first coming of Christ in its full-orbed reality.

But Peter also proclaims the second coming of Christ: “… that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (vv. 20-21).  Peter is looking ahead to the return of Christ – when all things will be restored – when all things will be made right.  Peter well understands that this world is not our home.  He understands that we live in a fallen world groaning for redemption (Rom 8:22).  Indeed, Peter will face persecution for this very sermon he is preaching (see Acts 4).  He knows that our true hope is the new heavens and new earth in which righteousness reigns (2 Peter 3:13).

At the same time, however, Peter presses home the sin of the people and calls them to repentance (vv. 14-15, 19, 23).  He doesn’t shy from calling their sin what it is … sin; but with equal conviction he calls them to ‘repent’ and ‘turn’ that their sins may be blotted out (vv. 19-20).  Next week we will examine Peter’s ‘hermeneutic’ – his interpretive method – what grounds and structures his preaching..  But for our purposes today, note the clarity and simplicity of Peter’s preaching.  He exalts Jesus as the remedy for sin and calls sinners to repentance.  But the Jesus he proclaims is not the watered down Jesus of much modern preaching; rather Peter highlights Christ’s humiliation (1st coming) and his exaltation (resurrection to 2nd coming).  He calls sin what it is, and he boldly exhorts his hearers unto repentance and new life.  May this simplicity, clarity, and boldness mark the preaching of God’s word each and every Lord’s Day!