grace notes- pastoral letter 10.25.23

Monthly memory verse: “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Gal 3:16).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a delight to see you and come before the throne of our God together in worship this past Lord’s Day.  I have been praying for you this week and it is my sincere hope that this letter finds you sound in mind and body, and filled with a joy in the salvation of our God that moves you to good works of every kind.  Such works are to be a consistent part of the Christian’s life as, by the grace and strength of the Lord, we do much good in this world, blessing others and showing-forth His own goodness.  This is something I need to be reminded of frequently at a time when negativity seems to saturate the very air we breathe.Christians are to be a people marked by good works.  It is said of Jesus Himself that, during HIs earthly ministry, “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).  When reviled and assaulted by His enemies, He asked, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” (Jn 10:32).  And, the same is to be true of His people, as He instructs in Matthew 5:14-16, saying, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  In a dark world, among a crooked and perverse people, the Christian is to be a light as he goes about, like his Savior, doing good – that is, things that are, as the same word is variously translated, excellent, fine, noble, beautiful, honorable, and right.  And, as the Lord elsewhere makes clear, while we are especially to do good to those who are of the household of faith, we aren’t to limit our acts of goodness to other believers but, as we have opportunity, we are to, “do good to everyone” (Gal 6:10).  It should be a distinctive trait of the Christian life.  We are to be a people marked by good works.Among the reasons Christians are to do such good works is that it shows the distinction between those who belong to the Lord and those who don’t.  In the immediate context of the call to do good works in Matthew 5, the Lord Jesus says that we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Matt 5:13-16).  Whereas the world without God’s people and their influence tends toward moral decay evidenced in all sorts of corruption and violence, we’re called to have a presence like salt, which flavors and preserves food, improving its taste and keeping it from rotting.  And, whereas the world without faithful followers of Christ would be a dark and dreary place with countless hordes marching blindly toward destruction in lives of hopeless despair, we’re called to be like lights as we speak what is true and do what is truly beneficial in all kinds of good works.  We’re to speak words that point people toward the Lord by declaring the truth of His Word and to engage in deeds that show, among other things, His uprightness and undeserved goodness to all people, even the ungodly (cf. Matt 5:43-48).  As people all around us grope around as in the night, looking for some purpose that makes life worth living, or at least some pleasure to distract them from the dread and hopelessness that otherwise haunt them, we’re to be as lights – showing them that here is God worth knowing and serving, and a dignified and beautiful life that is full of meaning.  Such a life, filled with good works, can’t help but show that there is a great distinction between those who belong to the Lord and those who don’t.And the benefits of making this distinction evident are altogether wonderful.  In the first place, such a life and may well be used of the Lord to break down others’ walls of resistance to Him and His people, eating away at their false representations of the Lord and those who love Him until, by His grace, they come to see that they are the ones who are, in fact, in the dark.  If the Lord wills, this may even be used to soften them, such that they are willing to listen when we open our mouths to speak of sin and salvation, perhaps leading to the salvation of their souls, such that they, together with us, lift their voices and glorify our Father in heaven (cf. Matt 5:16).  And indeed, whether or not they ever join us in that chorus of praise, our good works themselves will honor Him by undeniably manifesting His goodness in the world.  This alone, of course, makes good works worth pursuing, knowing, as we do, that we exist to glorify our God, both now and forever.  Thus, there are wonderful benefits to making the distinction between Christians and non-Christians evident by our abundant good works.Therefore, let us be diligent to pray for opportunities to do good, to watch for and seek after them every day, and to zealously engage in them whenever the Lord provides opportunity.  Whereas the world around us is busy spewing falsehood and doing evil of every sort, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Her 10:24).  Let us do good to everyone as we’re able.  And should others ask why we do such things or offer us praise for doing them, let us turn it into an opportunity to open our mouths and glorify our God, praying as we do that they might be moved to magnify the Lord with us! Heb 10:24  In Christ,Pastor Eric P.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

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

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