GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 1.9.23

Monthly memory verse: “Teach me Your way, O LORD, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Ps 86:11).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a privilege and joy to be with you this past Lord’s Day as we learned together in Sunday School, worshipped, and shared in our monthly fellowship meal.  I have been praying for you in the time since, especially in light of the call we heard from Psalm 82 for all nations to submit themselves to the sovereign rule of Christ.  Of course, this honoring of Christ begins with each of us bowing the entirety of our lives before Him, taking not only every thought but the whole of life captive to our risen and reigning Lord and Savior.  It is a lifelong endeavor and one that requires zealous, wholehearted effort as we strive to grow in righteousness and put every sin to death.  This is something of which my family and I were recently reminded in reading through the account of Jehu in 2 Kings during our family worship.Jehu was a man with great zeal for eradicating much wickedness in the land of Israel.  Having been anointed as the next king in Israel by the prophet Elisha, Jehu undertook the destruction of the evil house of Ahab, which had participated in and led Israel into horrific sins (cf. 2 Kgs 9:1-10:28).  He put wicked Joram and Ahaziah to death with the bow, casting the body of Joram on the plot of ground that previously belonged to Naboth, whom Jezebel had conspired to murder with the help of false witnesses.  Jehu then turned his attention to Jezebel herself, having her cast out of a window, crashing to her death on the ground below where dogs then devoured her body, fulfilling the Lord’s curse against her.  Having done this, Jehu wrote to Samaria, threatening to attack unless the heads of Ahab’s seventy sons were delivered to him.  The rulers of the city were exceedingly afraid and did as he instructed, cutting off the line of Ahab, again in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord.  What now remained was to wipe-out the Baal worship that Ahab and others had encouraged in the land.  Therefore, Jehu gathered all the priests of Baal under the guise of wanting to worship with them, only to have every last one of them slaughtered right in the house of their false god.  To drive the point home, Jehu had sacred stone, or pillar, that was kept in the house of Baal destroyed, turning the place into a latrine, such that no one would be tempted to return to such idolatry.  2 Kings 10:28 summarizes, “Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel.”  And, with this, the Lord was well pleased, declaring to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel” (2 Kgs 10:30).  Jehu saw a prevailing sin, confronted it head-on, and put it to death.  In this he showed that he was indeed a man with great zeal for eradicating much wickedness in the land of Israel.However, for all of this, Jehu remained divided in heart, allowing much sin to remain.  Having read of so many mighty acts undertaken in the name of the Lord, we’re stunned to arrive at 2 Kings 10:29 and read, “But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin – that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.”  The point is reemphasized a few verses later, when, after having made a great promise to Jehu of a dynasty that would endure for four generations, we’re told, “But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kgs 10:31).  He had, it seems, a good deal of zeal for assaulting certain sins in the land, but not others.  He seemed to greatly enjoy opposing and eradicating many enemies of the Lord and much that threatened the welfare of God’s people, but there were some sins he simply wasn’t willing to confront, and he didn’t have a heart united to fear the Lord and diligently walk in all His ways.  Thus, the end of his life is marked by the above sad pronouncement, and by the Lord beginning to cut away at various parts of Israel through the hands of her enemies (cf. 2 Kgs 10:32-33).  It is a disheartening conclusion to a life that was filled with valorous acts and so much promise.  For all of his zeal in eradicating some strains of wickedness in Israel, Jehu remained divided in heart, allowing much sin to remain.In light of this, I want to issue a challenge to us as we enter into the year 2024.  Let’s not be a people who pick and choose which sins we’ll destroy in our hearts and lives and which ones we’ll favor and leave undisturbed.  Rather, let’s be a people who endeavor and resolve before the Lord, in reliance upon His guidance in His Word and the continual supply of His Holy Spirit, to mortify – that is, to put to death – each and every sin of which we’re made aware in our hearts and lives.  To that end, let’s ask the Lord to search our hearts and lives, showing us those areas that are displeasing to Him, and to not only give us the strength to conquer this territory for the glory of Christ but to give us desire to do so.  Let’s make 2024 a year of marked growth in holiness, as we determine to no longer be conformed to the degenerate and degenerating world around us, but to be transformed in the entirety of our being and doing through the renewal of our minds, coming to hate what the Lord hates and love what he loves, without exception.  And may He grant that at the year’s end, and indeed at life’s end, He would truly be able to say that, by His grace, we did what was right in the eyes of the Lord! 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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