Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- There will be NO BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT. We will take a break for the rest of August and resume in September!
- Men’s breakfast is scheduled for this Saturday, August 15th at 8:30AM at the Egg and I (Hwy 6 & Little York)
- Our church end of summer pool party at the Van Tubergen’s home is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd. Time TBA.
- Ladies’ night of service and fellowship will be Friday night, August 28th. Invitation forthcoming.
- SEPTEMBER 13 is the first Sunday in our new location at Birkes Elementary School. And we will move out of our current location and set up in the new location on Saturday, Sep 12.
- Our Fall Theology conference with Dr. Carlton Wynne is scheduled for Saturday, Sep 26. For information and to register, click here: http://providencepres.com/2015-theology-conference/.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Luke 16 on sin and the word.
From the Pastor’s Desk
Luke 16:31, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
In Luke 16:19-31, the Lord Jesus Christ delivers a parable in which he contrasts the present and future conditions of both the Godly and the ungodly. This parable, often referred to as “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus,” teaches us that neither poverty nor riches has any bearing on our eternal inheritance. In the parable, the Rich Man dies and goes to be tormented in Hades. After Abraham tells the Rich Man of a great chasm through which no one may pass after death, the Rich Man is suddenly burdened over his five unrepentant brothers and longs for them to be warned of the judgment to come (v. 27). He is certain that if ‘someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Then comes Abraham’s stunning response to the Rich Man: “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (v.31). There are two important truths to see from this verse.
First, this verse speaks to the enslaving power of sin. Think for a moment of what is being communicated in this exchange. To put it simply, the ‘bare miraculous’ does not have the power to change the heart. As Abraham states, “Neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” This may sound strange to our ears, but is this not what we see throughout the gospels? In city after city, Jesus heals the sick and raises the dead as a sign that the kingdom of God has come in power, yet by and large the masses reject him. In fact, it was Jesus’ raising of Lazarus that sparked the religious leaders’ final plot to put him to death (John 11:45-53). But why is this the case? Why do such miraculous events not change sinner’s hearts? Because of the enslaving power of sin. The apostle Paul tells us that sinful man is dead in his sin (Eph 2:1, 5). The sinful heart is at war with Christ (Rom 8:7). The sinner is blind to the things of the Lord (John 3:3). He does not accept the things of the Lord; indeed, he cannot even understand the things of the Lord (1 Cor 2:14).
At the same time, however, this verse (Luke 16:31) implicitly speaks to the authority of the Scriptures. In v. 31, we see a ‘lesser to the greater’ argument. If one rejects the word of God, how much more will he reject a ‘bare miracle.’ In other words, the word of God has more authority than the miraculous. In fact, the word of God is the ultimate authority (2 Tim 3:17; John 17:17). Only the word of God – accompanied by the quickening and life-giving power of the Spirit – can change the sinner’s heart. As the Apostle Paul puts it to the Thessalonian Christians who had turned from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thess 1:9-10), “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction” (1 Thess 1:5; John 6:63, 68). It is the word of God that brings about the greatest miracle of all – the conversion of a Christ-hating, sin-loving, self-exalting rebel. When the crowd heart Peter preach the gospel on that great Pentecost Sunday, what was the effect: “Now when they heard [the preaching of the word] they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37).
Brothers and sisters, if a relative or co-worker or neighbor is hardened towards the things of the Lord, pray for the Spirit to be at work in their heart. Invite them to church. Invite them to read the Bible with them. Befriend them, build a relationship, and seek to expose their hard heart to the jackhammer of the gospel of Christ! Ultimately it is not miraculous signs that sinners need to see, but rather they need to see and to hear the Lord Jesus Christ speaking in his word!