Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters in the Lord,
I’m sure we’ve all heard the question from a child’s mouth, “What is God like?” That is a great question! I have always found a helpful answer to be something along the lines of, “God is like Jesus.” In other words, if we want to know what God is ‘like,’ we are to look to Christ. In fact, our Lord Jesus Christ tells us this very thing, “He who has seem me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). If we want to see the heart of the Father, look to Christ. If we want to see the holiness of the Father, look to Christ. If we want to see the mercy of the Father, look to Christ. As many of the saints of old have said, “There is nothing ungodly in Christ.” And of course this makes sense given our understanding of the Incarnation … that in Christ the fullness of the God dwells bodily (Col 2:9). This week may we consider the great question often posed by children, “What is God like?” And may we look to Christ to find the answer.
- THIS SUNDAY we will continue our adult Sunday school in Revelation and our sermon series in the gospel of Mark (9:45 and 11:00 respectively).
- THIS SUNDAY we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and collect the Deacon’s offering (funds used in meeting mercy needs).
- FELLOWSHIP LUNCH this Sunday after worship. Please bring a pot-luck item to share and a side dish. We will provide drinks.
- Men’s and Women’s studies and fellowship. Be on the lookout for upcoming Bible studies and fellowship opportunities.
- This week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from the Gospel of Matthew on why Jesus came to earth.
- NEW FEATURE in “FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK”! As a small church in a huge city, we want to make every effort to get to know each other and to rejoice in how the Lord has worked in one another’s lives. To that end on the first Wednesday of the month, a brief testimony from one of our members will be included. Today, Steve Shimeall shares how the Lord has worked in his life. Please read these as an opportunity rejoice in the goodness of our Lord!
God bless and I will see you this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Not Peace, But a Sword”
Matthew 10:34, “Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ come to earth? For what did the Son of God become incarnate, live, die, and rise again. Ultimately, Jesus came to bring glory to his Father. As Jesus says, “Bur for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father glorify your name” (John 12:27). But the Bible also speaks of other purposes for which Christ came. For example, he came to fulfill the law and the prophets and to seek and to save the lost (Matt 5:17; Luke 19:19). In Christ’s fulfillment of the law and in his salvation of sinners, he brings glory to God! In Matthew 10, Christ gives us another secondary or ‘proximate’ purpose for his coming: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (v. 34). There are several things to note in this passage.
First, it is important to note that in this statement Jesus is correcting a misunderstanding. “Do not think …,” he says. That is, do not follow the prevailing opinions of the crowds. And what were these prevailing opinions? This question leads to our next observation.
Second, Jesus tells us why he did not come. As he puts it, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.” Well … in John’s gospel Jesus seems to say the exact opposite: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). The ‘peace’ that Jesus did not come to bring – the peace for which the crowds were longing – was an earthly, temporal, material, this worldly peace. They were looking for a political and earthy Messiah to bring political and earthly peace. But Jesus is not that kind of Messiah and the peace he gives is not that kind of peace. In fact, the context of Matthew 10 is one of Christ preparing his disciples for ministry in the midst of a hostile world (see vv. 16-33). Rather, the peace that Jesus brings is an eternal peace of being reconciled with the Father – it is the peace of union with Christ – the peace of belonging to the one who numbers our hairs and sovereignly works all things for our good (Rom 5:1; Matt 10:28-32; Rom 15:13).
Third, Jesus tells us why he did come: “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” One purpose of Christ’s coming was to bring a sword. Now this does not refer to a literal sword for a physical battle; rather the sword Christ brings is the sword of division. And in vv. 35-36 the seriousness and the depth of the division is described; namely, Christ brings a division that will extend even to the closest of social units, the family. And why does Christ bring such division? Because he comes as God in the flesh – he comes as the one to whom we owe worship and adoration – he comes as the one to whom belongs our hearts and our deepest loyalty. Put simply, the great dividing line of humanity is Christ himself – between those who worship Christ above all and those who do not. Christ did not come to be second in one’s life, but he came to be the all-sufficient Lord and King of his people. Our love and loyalty to Christ is to supersede all other loves and loyalties in life. Like a sword, Christ divides humanity. And Jesus’ purchase and protection of his people – of those who belong to him and who love him above all – brings glory to his Father.
Brothers and sisters, Christ came to seek and to save the lost. And he also came to bring a sword – a sword of division in humanity. In fact, it is Jesus’ saving the lost in his death and resurrection that brings the sword of division. For the sinner saved by grace is a new creation – no longer does he love the world and live for the world. Rather he has new affections and loyalties. And indeed, the loyalties of the believers stands in radical contrast to the loyalties of the unbeliever. On which side of the ‘sword’ do you stand!