GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 4.12.23

Monthly memory verse:  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). 

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I hope this letter finds you well in body and soul.  I was greatly blessed by our time together this past Lord’s Day, from growing in knowledge in Sunday School to worshiping in the morning service to sharing our monthly fellowship meal.  I hope and trust that you found the time together refreshing as well, and I have been praying for you ever since, asking the Lord to keep your minds and hearts fixed upon Christ, seated at the right hand of God, and on the things of His kingdom.  The necessity and value of such a mindset has been repeatedly pressed upon me over the past few weeks through health scares among family members, the death of a grandmother, and some rather serious health-related matters in our own congregation.  All of it has served as a clear and present reminder that our true treasure is to be stored up in heaven, and that our lives are to be fashioned accordingly.  This is the plain teaching of our Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:19-21.The Lord tells us that the things of this life are vulnerable and fading.  Thus, He speaks of treasures on earth as those things that are susceptible to things like theft, and destruction by moths and rust (cf. Matt 6:19).  It is a simple concept that greets us every day in this fallen world.  The things that so many people spend their lives pursuing are fleeting at best.  Brand new cars lose their sheen with time, and are subject to ruin by rust over time.  Valued possessions can be stolen, gone in the blink of an eye.  Homes can be damaged or destroyed by water or fire.  New electronics are outdated before you unwrap them in the store parking lot.  Fine clothes are soon last year’s style, and can be stained or torn in a thousand unexpected ways.  Recent bank failures remind us that even money saved and stored away for safekeeping isn’t certain to be around tomorrow.  And, though perhaps not a material possession per se, our very bodies break down and weaken with time, until we die and they return to dust.  Indeed, no earthly possession can be kept forever.  Naked we came into this world, and naked we depart, taking nothing with us (cf. Job 1:21; Ps 49:17; 1 Tim 6:17).  Thus comes the instruction of the Lord Jesus, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matt 6:19).  After all, who could be called anything but foolish who, knowing the transience of earthly possessions and the reality of eternity to follow, goes on to lay all his hope in this world anyway?  Who could be deemed anything but shortsighted and blind who, seeing and being explicitly told that all earthly things quickly perish, nonetheless lives to gather and grow his possessions, stock portfolio, or bank account, as if it could somehow be kept or enjoyed forever?  Therefore, we must remember the Lord’s clear declaration that the things of this life are vulnerable and fading.At the same time, the Lord teaches us that there are heavenly treasures that, once stored up, can be enjoyed forever.  So, having warned against living for earthly treasures, our Savior goes on to say, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt 6:20).  In other words, for those who have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, who are citizens and heirs of the kingdom of heaven, there is the opportunity to invest in future treasures that will never be destroyed, nor taken away.  All of this comes in the context of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which helps us to see what kind of life we’re to live if we would possess and enjoy these heavenly treasures – namely, a life of heartfelt devotion to the Lord demonstrated in willing obedience to His law, a life of godly kindness and generosity toward others – a life built upon the solid foundation of God’s Word, and filled with the fruits of good works aimed at the true good of those around us.  These are the very works that the Lord Himself has prepared beforehand for us to do, and which He also produces within us the desire and ability to do (cf. Eph 2:10; Phil 2:12-13).  And yet, though they are ultimately His doing, in His grace He is pleased to reward His people for doing them, promising that we will be granted to enjoy His gracious rewards for endless days and years to come.  They will never grow old or become dilapidated.  They will never be outdated or somehow stolen away.  Those who have them will always have them, and they will always enjoy them.  And those who are pursuing them will show it by their lives.  As Jesus goes on to say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21).  Which is to say, if our sincere desire is to live for the already-here but not-yet-consummated kingdom of Christ, then our hearts will be fixed on Him and the things of His kingdom, resulting in lives that are different from those whose hearts are fixed on the things of this world, which they must soon release forever, no matter how firmly they grasp at them.  If our hearts are set upon Christ and His kingdom, then we will have very different lives, and we will enjoy a far better end.  What a blessing it is, then, and what a transformative thing it should be, to know that there are heavenly treasures that, once stored up, can be enjoyed forever.Therefore, beloved, let’s not be dazzled and drawn in by the allurements of this world and all of its false promises of lasting happiness via increased earthy prosperity and possessions, but rather be caught up in the hope of the kingdom to come, and thus moved to heartfelt worship and abundant good works, for which we shall surely be rewarded, since He who promises is faithful.  Let us be eager to serve and speak the truth in love.  Let us be ready to show generosity with our money, our stuff, and our time.  In the hymn-writer’s language, let us view the things of this world as strangely dim in the light of Christ’s glory and grace, and in light of the kingdom of which we’re already a part, the treasures of which those who are zealous for good will enjoy for endless ages to come.  Let us fix our hearts, and store-up our treasure, where Christ is seated in heaven, knowing its fault can never be breached, nor its rewards in any way diminished.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.

 

 We are located at:
508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

Our mailing address is:
Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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