Grace NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 3.22.23

Monthly memory verse: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith ” (Gal 6:9-10).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a blessing to praise the Lord with you this past Lord’s Day morning as we considered the benefits believers receive at the time of their death, and in the evening as we opened to Romans 8.  I have been praying for you since – asking the Lord to gird up your minds with the truth, guard your hearts with His peace, and fill your mouths with His praise.  And indeed, it is fitting that those who have received such blessings from the Lord as every believer in Christ has received should be ever about the business of praising Him and proclaiming His excellence for all to hear.  It is a pattern we see in the praise offered by David in Psalm 34, which should both inform and motivate our praise of the Lord.As David writes, he has experienced a great deliverance, as have all believers in Christ.  The title of the Psalm lets us in on this fact from the start: “Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away” (Ps 34, title).  Saul was seeking to take David’s life and, in order to escape Saul’s wrath and remain alive, David had fled to the Philistine territory of Gath (cf. 1 Sam 21:10-15).  But, David’s identity was made known to the king of Gath, so that David needed to act quickly and flee once more.  To this end, he behaved like a madman, drooling and scratching at the doors of the gate, so that the king had him sent away.  David had thought and acted with wisdom and speed, but, as our Psalm makes clear, he knew full-well that this salvation was of the Lord.  Yes, David had used his skill and wit to do all that he could to deliver himself, but not without knowing that no plan can be established apart from the Lord, nor without relying on his God to rescue him speedily.  And this was just one of many such deliverances David experienced throughout his life, as is surely the case with all who seek to love and serve the Lord in a wicked world, amidst a crooked and perverse generation.  Every day He preserves us from the wrath of many who would love nothing more than to see the church abolished in the land, and the godly silenced in one way or another.  Many times He has rescued those who trust in Him from specific attacks by the ungodly – seeking to destroy the livelihood, reputation, or even the very lives of those bearing the name of the Lord, striving to walk in His ways, and openly declaring His truth.  Of course, greater still is the eternal salvation in which all who are united to Christ, including David, have come to share – saving us from the condemnation our sins so rightly deserve, freeing us from the fear of death and pains of hell, and surrounding us with steadfast love and mercy.  Thus, David’s deliverance, which motivated him to write Psalm 34, is something with which all believers in Christ can easily identify.And, in writing as he does, David shows that having experienced such deliverance should move us to praise the Lord and faithfully witness to others.  So, David says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord” (Ps 34:1-2a).  And, he says he specifically intends for this praising and boasting in the Lord to lead others to seek the Lord as well, adding, “let the humble hear and be glad,” or, “the humble will hear and be glad” (Ps 34:2b).  In other words, he is saying, “The Lord has done great things for me – He has saved me! – and I’m not going to keep quiet about it.  I’m going to worship Him and announce what He has done to others, so that they can hear and come to rejoice in His saving goodness.”  Here, we have something of a pattern that should be evident in the life of every believer.  The Lord has helped us in countless ways throughout our lives, and sometimes in very obvious and great ways in times of desperation.  More than that, He has sent His own Son to be made a curse for us, a laughingstock before His enemies as the wrath of the great King fell on Him, so that it will never fall upon us.  In this, He has saved us from the greatest threat we have ever faced, or will ever face – He has saved us from our sins.  This should produce all kinds of changes within us and in our lives, among them the result that David’s experience of deliverance had upon Him – it should produce hearts, lips, and lives filled with praise, as we worship our God for, and freely proclaim to others, the great things He has done.  Which is to say, if our sins have been cleansed and our hearts renewed, then our mouths shouldn’t be closed, but opened in declarations of the saving goodness of our God, letting it be known to those who hear that they too may come and be glad in the Lord, humbling themselves and receiving from Him the forgiveness of sins, life everlasting, and an inheritance among the saints in light.  This is the right and proper effect of sharing in the Lord’s redemption.  Having experienced such deliverance should move us to praise and faithfully witness to others.Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not be silent!  Let us not be intimidated into keeping the truth to ourselves.  Let us not quench the flame of joy that ought rightly to burn within every believing heart, moving the lips to speak.  Let us consider the Lord’s saving mercies toward us, and let us speak – calling others to know Christ and the salvation that belongs to all who belong to Him – saying to as many as we have opportunity, “let the humble hear and be glad.  Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!” (Ps 24:2b-3). In Christ,Pastor EricP.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:  https://covenantofgracews.org/event-calendar/· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.

 

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508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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