First Baptist Jackson | December 9, 2018

Good morning and thank you James
Arrington for reminding us a mighty fortress is our God. Everybody on your
feet as we stand and give the Lord the best of our praise today. He’s been so
good to us. He’s saved us for our sin. God has sent son Jesus to save us from
our sin. One scripture that we honor this morning as we continue to lift our
voices and worship Christ together. Acts chapter 4 verse 12 and it’s easy to
remember because it’s so true “and there is salvation in no one else for there is
no other name under heaven that’s been given among men by which we must be
saved”. All that we’ve got to do all, that’s waiting for us when we leave this
place today, it’s gonna be right where we left it. Right now we’ve come to give our
total focus to Jesus Christ. Amen. Would you bow with me in the word
of Prayer. Father this morning we come to you in a spirit of worship we have sung
of the goodness of your son the greatness of your gift of eternal life
through him. Father the Christmas season is upon us and thus every heart in this
room is focusing on Jesus. That birth, that gift. We thank you for him and as we
have declared through song we summon our own hearts to the worship of Jesus in
his name we pray amen. thank you you may be seated it’s a night
to welcome you to worship this morning at the First Baptist Church of Jackson
Mississippi Christmas time of year brings with it a special sense of
expectation the sanctuary is beautifully decorated indeed this weekend we’re the
myths of Carols by Candlelight and i’m curious how many of you in the room have
had the opportunity to attend a carol service heretofore just raise your hand
wonderful as it bent was it not a spectacular presentation of the gospel
of Christ I’m appreciative of so many who’ve given so much those before you
and the orchestra on the stage and so many other servants some 500 volunteers
making this work and so be praying there are two more presentations this
afternoon and this evening and we look forward to what the Lord will do through
those again thank you for visiting with us this day if you’re our guest we’re
grateful you’re here you picked a great time of season to worship with us as
we’re celebrating Christmas the Sunday’s leading up to the 25th those
participating via livestream or through other forms of communication we’re
delighted you’re with us as well we pray this service will be enriching to you
and point you towards Jesus Christ why don’t we at this time take just a few
moments and greet one another in the name of the Lord Jesus let’s stand
together and do that oh it’s great to hear your warm
fellowship now let’s sing this Christmas Carol together here we go really father we love you we thank you
for the opportunity that you have given us to come together to assemble in this
house of worship to say that we love you and for you to know how desperate we are
for a touch from you we celebrate you we thank you and we pray it in Jesus name
Amen well amen Thank You choir and orchestra
brothers and sisters please be turning with me and your copy of God’s Word to
the Book of Isaiah Isaiah chapter 40 you’re looking together at this great
book this great declaration from the prophet Isaiah verses 1 through 11 this
morning the title of the message is comfort my people isaiah chapter 40
verses 1 through 11 and I come to this text this morning as I plan for many
weeks to preach it with an eye towards Christmas but also in the Lord’s kind
Providence with awareness of where we are as a church family these verses
speak so very powerfully to us I’ve been in ministry over 20 years now and I will
say more towards this at the end of the service well yesterday morning I was a
part of a church meeting that’s amongst the most encouraging meetings I’ve ever
been in and 20 plus years of ministry a sweet time came together in our deacons
a meeting of reflection on our church and the Lord I believe was speaking to
us and very pointed and clear and sweet and encouraging ways I’ll say more to
that in the service but I preached these verses this morning again with an eye
towards Christmas and an eye towards what they say in particular to us the
people of God here Isaiah chapter 40 read with me beginning in verse 1
comfort my people comfort Oh comfort my people says your God speak kindly to
Jerusalem call out to her that her warfare has ended that her iniquity has
been removed that she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins
a voice is calling clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness make smooth in
the desert a highway for our God let every valley be lifted up and every
mountain and hill be made low and let the rough ground become a plane
the rugged terrain abroad Valley then the glory of the Lord will be revealed
and all flesh will see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken verse 6
a voice says call out then he answered what shall I call out all flesh is grass
and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field the grass withers
the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows upon it surely the people are
grass the grass withers the flower fades but the word of our God stands forever
get yourself up on a high mountain o tsiyon bearer of good news lift up your
voice mightily Oh Jerusalem bearer of good news lift it up
do not fear say to the cities of Judah here is your God behold the Lord God
will come with might with this arm ruling for him
behold his reward is with him and his recompense before him like a shepherd he
will tend his flock and in his arm he will gather the Lambs carry them in his
bosom he will gently lead the nursing use a powerful passage of Scripture
every time I read these verses my mind raced to the great handle is in George
Frederick Handel and his composition Messiah perhaps the most famous piece of
music ever composed and certainly the most recognizable piece of Christmas
music ever composed Handel was born in Germany and 1685 he migrated to London
in 1712 became an English citizen he claimed great notoriety the pinnacle of
his achievement doubtlessly is the great Messiah and of all pieces of music ever
compose if one feels and sounds inspired no doubt it is
Handel’s Messiah why is that first of all because the text of Messiah is one
great compilation of Scripture one great calm polished compilation of
prophecies and the Psalms woven together and assembled by Charles Jennings this
great collection of biblical text but also because the story of how handle
himself actually composed the music he sequestered himself away days on end
totaling 24 days and all and over a period of 3 and a half weeks drafted 259
pages of music Handel would testify he felt divine inspiration divine and
abling along as far as even the physical endurance of the work but also the
quality of and the beauty of the music itself most magically it stands to us in
the most memorable way because of when the great Howley of course has played at
the end the the ritual that all people would stand
that’s reportedly traced back to king george ii it is reported who stood upon
hearing the one this piece presented in london in 1793 yet for me i’m struck not
so much by the Hallelujah course at the end as beautiful as it is but by how it
begins in the beginning act 1 scene 1 Comfort Oh comfort my people says our
God as Handel reminds us and the text this morning presents before us God is a
God who cares about his people the Prophet here declares beautifully
powerfully this word from the Lord this word of instruction that the Prophet
would go now and speak words of hope words of comfort for the people of God
they are under Babylonian so Babylonian subjugation we as a people
here the United States we have trouble identifying this because under God’s
kind Providence we have two great oceans that protect us and we have a navy that
is unrivaled and so we invade people people do not invade us but what the
picture in the ancient world of being under subjugation by an alien or a an
occupying power was a ruthless scene and God had used the Babylonians to punish
his people for their rebellion for their stiff necks for their forsaking his word
and his laws and God is saying in chapter 40 a new day is here punishment
is over hope is before you and he tells the Prophet to declare your debts are
paid up comfort Oh comfort ye my people there was an ancient application for
this text writing nearly seven hundred years before the time of Christ the
people hearing these words would hear hope there was also a Messianic
fulfillment of these verses as Jesus himself is pointed to from Isaiah 40 and
when he came 2,000 years ago there was a Messianic fulfillment to these verses
there is also a present-day application and fulfillment for these
verses as well we see the heart of God here declaring comfort and hope for his
people we all need the comfort of the Lord the best presented one among us
this morning needs the comfort of the Lord sin wrecks families wrecks lives
creates hardship leaves carnage behind it and just like ancient Israel needed
and longed for the comfort of the Lord so we are a people similarly who desire
the comforting hand of God see with me in these verses see
with me first this call from the Prophet for us to prepare our hearts verses one
through five to experience the comfort of the Lord the comforting hand of the
Lord there’s this first call to prepare our hearts read with me comfort Oh
comfort my people says your God so God is telling the Prophet now Isaiah speak
kindly to Jerusalem lift them up lift them up call out to her that her warfare
is ended their iniquity has been removed she has received of the Lord’s double
Lord’s hand double for all her sins in other words it’s a figure of speech
saying your sin is paid up you are no longer under my chastisement notice
verse three then what is the Lord’s Day to experience this comfort a voice is
calling clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness make smooth in the desert
a highway for our God now all of the Gospel writers in the New Testament
appropriate this verse and the ones that follow for John the Baptist who came to
preach and to make the way for the Messiah himself and we see here playing
out in verse four and verse five in this beautiful poetic way this making of the
way for the Messiah to come for the Lord to come and to comfort his people there
is a relationship here do you see with me between the preparation for the way
of the Lord and the comfort the people of God will realize the prophet doesn’t
declare experience the comfort of God the peace of God while you live in
rebellion while you cling to your sin while you bow down before your idols no
the promise of comfort is set forth as the people of God’s hearts are made
right my wife and I were hustling to Kansas City Friday and I preached
commencement service Friday morning at the seminary and we dashed to the
airport and we need to get it right carols and that’s important to you it’s
important to me and we were wanting to get here intended to get here and we
were indeed able to get here but our our travel here got complicated because as
we were dashing to the airport and dashing to fly out of Kansas City
someone else decided to disrupt our city and disrupt our life and indeed had the
audacity to complicate my travel his name is Donald J Trump and as we’re
going to fly out Air Force One is coming in and the the airport was shut down the
city was halfway shut down and we are driving north on iFit on on i29 driving
driving north of our house the airport’s about 10-12 miles north of our house and
we’re driving north and we’re riding along and my wife says somebody defect
oh boy there’s no track there’s no traffic in the southbound lane and we
got to thinking and looking there was like no traffic in the southbound lane
of the interstate and we at the same time Ross it’s shut down for the
presidential motorcade and we look over and sure enough you see every exit is
shut about every quarter mile there’s a police car on the side of the road it I
mean it is airtight and then finally you see you begin to see the presidential
motorcade itself coming and you see this long motorcade consisting of about 50 or
so vehicles everything with a the the event guard out front of it is
motorcycle police officers and then you get in you get into the armored vehicles
and then you see what is referred to as the Beast the presidential limousine
that basically is like a luxury tank that rides along this is impervious to
blast and to most anything a one can imagine assailant get with and then this
whole motorcade goes along and I’ve seen them before but I’ve never seen on this
up-close as I did on Friday afternoon and you see that that motorcade has
cleared the way of everything it is shut in the southbound lane no one assumes
anything every precaution is taken nothing is left for chance that way has
been prepared for the president and his safety brothers and sisters if you can
imagine with me take that picture and read it into these first five verses
what in your heart needs to make way for the presence of the Lord
what Idol in your inner person are you clinging to what hidden sin are you
holding fast to what past deed or present habit are you hiding and it’s in
your heart and you wonder why you don’t feel the presence and comfort of the
Lord or collectively are there idols as a people of God we are holding – are
there sins that we need to put behind us that are hindering us experiencing the
full comfort and presence of the Lord notice verse 4 let every valley be
lifted up every mountain the hill bait made low the rough ground plain the
rugged terrain a broad valley and it was cleared out make a way for the Lord then
verse 5 then the glory of the Lord will be revealed in other words as the
terrain is rough and the weeds are growing and the barbs are there don’t
expect to see the glory of the Lord don’t anticipate experiencing the
comfort of the Lord but brothers and sisters this isn’t a chapter of rebuke
the chapters of rebuke have been one after another after another coming up to
verse 2 chapter 40 chapter 40 is a chapter of hope because alas the people
of God get a glimpse of the glory of God and the comfort of
God and the Prophet is saying all you have to do is let it go repent of your
sin relinquish your idols reach for the glory of the Lord we have to prepare our
hearts notice secondly we are called to obey His Word verse 6 we see a second
voice now calling out a voice says call out then he answered what shall I call
out all flesh is grass and it’s loveliness is like the flower the field
however the glass the grass withers the flower fades the breath of the Lord
blows upon it surely the people are grass verse 8 but the grass withers the
flower fades but the word of our God stands forever
what is the Prophet saying he’s saying there’s nothing in your life that is
permanent your money is not permanent your physical well-being is not
permanent you can jog a morning marathon each and every day but you still will
die one day you can forego fried foods and sweets
and everything else but you’re still going to age and die one day you can
take a mountain of vitamins every morning and every night drink no soft
soft drinks do everything right humanly speaking and you might delay the aging
affects a touch but you still will die there is nothing that we can cling to
that is unchanging and certain and fixed but the Word of God verse 8 again is not
a rebuke it is a gift to God’s people it is the Lord saying look this is your way
forward my people receive my comfort I’ve given you a picture of a messiah
who is coming to save you I’m presenting you with a picture of my word which is
your rule book and your guide into life life abundantly life eternal this is for
you it is good a basic sign of life maturation is when you can receive
instructions and understand those instructions and apply those
instructions at five children the oldest now is sixteen the youngest is ten and
they’re at that sweet age of maturing and the one who is sixteen the one who
is fifteen they understand we say things like you know take a shower and brush
your teeth and groom yourself and do your homework and we give them these
basic instructions because it’s good for them and they have matured to the point
when I have to tell them those things because they understand it is good for
them I have an 11 year old son that doesn’t quite assess brushing of the
teeth and taking showers the same way hasn’t matured enough yet to understand
those are instructions that are good for him the growth pattern of the Christian
and the one who is a follower of Christ is similar as you mature in Christ you
understand the instructions from the Word of God are not there to stymie your
happiness they are not presented because God is a cosmic killjoy afraid someone
somewhere might be having a good time they are before us because they are good
for us this is basketball season and in the Outland household as well we have a
five children to which playing basketball this time of year and our
daughter our oldest child our daughters playing varsity basketball she’s a
sophomore we have a 7 year old son that’s playing basketball and actually
we have a third child playing basketball our fifth grade son is playing
basketball our seventh grade son is playing basketball well last year we had
a full eventful season and we shuttle from games the games from day to day and
weekend a weekend and you know our kids are in these small Christian private
school so this is not exactly you know top tier competition there’s not much
college material on the court I can tell but but still it’s your kit so the game
matters right to me you want them to play well you want them to to get to
play you want their team to win and and so your emotional investment in the game
really out over torts what an objective assessment of the importance would be
but we’re at the game and get great this is a junior high basketball and so these
poor referees aren’t making much money and they have a day job and some of them
are like they need to stick to their day job we were at a game last year and
watching this game and I’m mr. quiet I’m not up there yelling you know do the
polite applause just kind of there watching the game and wonder this gem
and it’s a junior high girls game and again we’re playing along and these
routes are just I mean they are they’re out to lunch and so the fouls are like 8
to 2 our team has said eight balls caught against them and the other team
has had two fouls called against them and you know the basketball that means
they’re in the bonus and it’s a disparity and so I’m just there watching
the game and this little gem is you got about a hundred fifty people in it and
it’s so quiet and and then the the other things about shoot a free-throw and it
is it is so quiet you hear you hear a pin drop in this moment and I just
thought the referees need a little help I mean
being the kind Christian gentleman I am and always want to lend a hand and I
just said I wasn’t mad I didn’t yell it out I just said in that moment of
absolute quiet in the gym I just said with a voice I said the the fouls are 8
to 2 let’s even them up refs well every eye in the gym turns to me
and my wife my wife is here this morning she is like you just did that and I said
well what did I do and she said you just yelled out about the fouls I said I did
not yell that wasn’t yelling I just made a public observation there’s a big
difference between the two when I read these verses in verse 8 they prompt me
they necessitate a few public observations I’m not yelling I’m not mad
at anyone but these are public observations based upon the text for
God’s people this morning what does it look like to prepare the way for the
Lord clearly it’s a high view of Scripture and the authority of Scripture
in verse 8 and I want to make three observations for us that I believe
endanger us that hinder the work of the Lord
number one if we’re going to be a people who understands the Word of God as our
authority three responses we must have number one to guard our tongues to guard
our tongues you should never say anything that you do not know to be true
and there’s a whole lot of things you do know to be true that you do not need to
say I say this to my children Alford if they come to me to report on a one of
their siblings and they say something that may even be true and I will just
let them say why are you telling me this and that is a good question to ask
ourselves before you speak something to someone else it could be hindering to
the church or unhelpful to a brothers or sister in Christ ask yourself why am I
about to verbalize this and if someone else says that you asked them why are
you telling me this number one guard your tongue number two number two be
careful about self-interest the mature church the healthy church the happy
church understands the distinction between conviction and preference
convictions are big and important and they’re things like the Word of God the
gospel the Great Commission personal integrity and there are things that a
healthy church holds sacred preference are things that a healthy church
understands we don’t hold sacred it’s not about my wish or my interest
it’s not about getting what I want but understanding it’s a mere preference and
happy to to the people of God and to the
governing leading responsibilities there’s a third observation want to make
here that hinders the way of the Lord in a church and that is this pride self-reliance it can be pried over your
past pride over your present pride over yourself pride over anything but where
the Spirit of the Lord of bounds humility is present and the church that
thinks it’s perfectly equipped to accomplish God’s work and God’s will
without God’s power is the church that is delusional the Lord chooses to work
through broken vessels humble servants people who are contrite in heart who
have been brought to the end of themselves and are eager to see the
Lord’s will the Lord’s work and the Lord’s glory why because they understand
the grass withers the flower fades but the word of our God stands forever see
with me third and quickly prepare your hearts obey his word third believe his
son that’s verse 9 believe in his son get yourself up on a high mountain Zion
bearer of good news in other words he’s saying to my people the blessing I want
you to have is not for you exclusively but for you to proclaim it to all people
Zion get up on high mountain you bear good news lift your voice mightily
projected Jerusalem bearer of good news lifted up do not fear say to the cities
of Judah here is your God behold the Lord God will come with my again
pointing us to the Savior and notice how he has come with both a ruling arm and a
gentle hand his arm rolls behold his reward is with them and his recompense
before him he is a sovereign Lord but also he is a tender shepherd he will
tend his flock in his arm he will gather the Lambs he will carry them in his
bosom he will gently lead the nursing his brothers and sisters this is our
Savior he is one who was eager to forgive eager to draw in eager to
comfort he is not into holding people under the weight and burden of their sin
a thousand times no he is into taken their brokenhearted and lifting up
taking the repentance and lifting up taking the humble and lifting up at the
same time he’s a sovereign Lord he will share his glory with no one
he will compromise his convictions with no one he will compromise his declared
word for no one this is the Sun and this Christmas season Isaiah 40 calls out to
us as a people of God personally and collectively and says comfort is before
you Jesus is before you hope and joy and
cheerfulness and health and growth is before you you prepare your hearts
remove idols remove self alight reliance repent of sin leave no stone stone
unturned you obey his word you believe and
embrace and submit to his son Christmas is a special season because as a way of
bringing together families I don’t know about your family but about 9 there’s a
mind there’s a closeness that you also don’t feel January through November it
prompts you to express your appreciation and your love one to another to the
exchanging of gifts but also to the can of of words of sweetness and support
it’s also that way for church families it’s a time for us to remember and knew
why God has called us here what we’re doing together and to express one to
another our love and mutual commitment and desire collectively to come together
and to serve and honor the Lord Jesus Christ I’m very encouraged about the
future of this church has I truly am that future will be realized more
quickly and more thoroughly as we as a people come together in a spirit and
enjoy and realize Isaiah 41 through 11 should pray with me father we come to
you this morning we come to you this morning and we pray father to these
verses these verses would register in every way in our hearts father we long
for we desire we need the comfort that you give father we long for the glory of
the Lord to be revealed help us father to make the paths straight father enable
us incline us towards obedience to your word father position us optimally for
ministry and mission as we read at the end of these verses we need to lift our
voices in this as I on declaring the beauty of your son and we pray father as
we do that you will be pleased you will be pleased to do a great and new work in
Jesus name we pray amen just a moment we’re gonna sing a hymn a
response together and we have the stage redone obviously during Carol’s season
but we will be here down front and if God has touched your heart today I want
to invite you to come we would love to speak with you about giving your life to
Christ maybe you’ve come to Carol’s as a guest and you’re here this morning and
and God is touching your heart we want to receive you and this song of
invitation is for you perhaps to join the church or pursue baptism or some
other spiritual decision this moment is for you come down front through the
always be glad to receive you to pray for you and to point you to Jesus
maybe supposed to come in Neil as an expression of Prayer and solidarity with
the Lord and his people this time is for you as well but as God has touched your
heart you respond to him today with full obedience let’s stand together and sing
out to the Lord other stands if God has touched your
heart this morning you come forward and pray or pray in your pew but we’re
reflecting together on the glory of the Lord let’s sing one more stanza if God
has touched you come forward latest brother I’ll to invite Cindy Townsend to the
platform and this is Christmas time which for Southern Baptists and in
particular for First Baptist Jackson means it’s also Lottie Moon time who was
Lottie Moon what is Lottie Moon time Lottie moon was a a pioneering Southern
Baptist missionary nearly a hundred years ago now who went to China and
served overseas and gave her life literally for the calls the gospel the
cause of the nations now for many many decades Southern Baptists have collected
an offering this time of year to support our missionaries serving overseas every
dollar that’s given through the Lottie Moon offering goes directly to the
mission field not to administrative or other legitimate costs but just to make
plain every dollar given goes to support our overseas missionaries this church is
so generous and so every time I speak of a need or a giving opportunity you have
to just preface that by saying you guys are incredibly generous and I want to
thank you for that at the same time we are a pace setting church you have been
for many years for the Lottie Moon offering and your gifts continue to to
be one of those pay setting churches for our convention so I want to commend the
offering to you and invite sending you up here to pray and perhaps that word
thank you dr. Allen can we just say amen to the goodness of God in his presence
with us today amen he is so good you know I was thinking about the Lottie
Moon Christmas offering it and I thought about a crisis that took place in our
home just this week actually it’s a Christmas crisis that’s taken place in
our home like several Christmases and Christmases past maybe you can relate to
it we got out we got out our nativity scene we set up Mary and Joseph and the
shepherds and the sheep and the three kings and the camels and the manger and
guess what we could not find baby Jesus Wow
I looked at that nativity scene and I thought without Jesus there’s no story
at Christmas for people all over the world
that do not know Jesus as their Savior there is no story for them of Jesus and
his saving love would you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering following
the commands of God’s Word so that people all over the world will have a
story that includes Jesus as their Savior would you join me in prayer
artemus gracious Heavenly Father we have heard your word sung we have heard your
word preached and we stand on the authority of your word saying we want to
be a people that understand the power that can be found in your word Lord
Jesus let us at First Baptist Church Jackson be people who stand on your word
and your word tells us to go into Jerusalem Judea Samaria and the ends of
the earth and tell people of your love Lord you’ve told us to be on mission
everywhere that we go help us to see the world around us through your eyes and
people around us through your eyes and Lord especially this weekend in this
season we sing praises to you through carols and we have emphases on missions
around the world but Lord every gift that we have to give you is given from
your grace we know that everything is by your grace it is not by our power or by
our strength but it is by your spirit and by your grace so we come to you now
and we ask you to bless the offering and Lord would you break our hearts to give
so that others can know you personally and Lord we do that because we want to
be a people in your word on your mission by your grace and for one reason and
that is for your glory and your holy and precious name I pray amen music for thy more to eat Oh Church family some great news to share
with you today like fee to meet Jason forbus Jason is coming to make first
fattest Jack’s in his church home today my transfer of letter so would you
please welcome him Jason we welcome you look forward to serving and worshiping
with you dr. Allan he is here thank you Bruce so much brother why don’t you guys
have a seat for a moment hey if you ought to get tired back there it’s an
Olympic event getting out there – up here this time of year so bear with me
but it’s it’s so good to be here I was so I have been multiple services so
touched and just so blessed by the Carol’s presentations the anthem they
just did is the opening anthem for Carol’s and I think it’s my favorite of
the entire service and how powerful my mother I was talking to her yesterday
and called to check on her my father felt last weekend broke his help so he
had have a partial hip replacement I was checking in on them and telling her
about Carol’s and and my mom said do you have a pardon I said yeah I’m actually
have a solo I sing oh holy night and my mother who is incapable of thinking a
negative thought about me and who is the most global person on the planet even
she laughed out loud when I said that so my great fear in life is when I’m
singing like the sound guy forgets to turn this off and my voice comes through
the PA system all that to say is I not only worship but I marvel at the get
Tunis in the town of people in this church so we rejoice in that a couple of
words of update here and then I’ll have a moment of personal privilege at the
end I want to say word about a meeting we had yesterday and those who know me
know I am constitutionally incapable of spin a direct person I believe that best
honors the Lord and that’s just how I’m wired and so what I’m about to say I say
not as a glib word of encouragement but as a heartfelt assessment and expression
of our church I’ve been a three-hour deacons meeting yesterday morning right
at three hours and I got to it is probably one of the top two or three
church meetings i’ve ever been in life in 20 years of ministry and the
Lord showed up there it was healthy it was open it was transparent it was Frank
it was unifying it was a very sweet time together so I see that you as a church
this year 2018 we’ve had some challenges the past few weeks church leadership has
been having to work through an angular personnel matter and resolution to that
appears to be before us and I believe some communication will be coming out
the first part of the week to you all this to say I want to just open my heart
before you for a moment and say I think we have reason to be really encouraged
and if I didn’t feel that way I would be the last guy on the planet up here
saying that okay I believe what I preached this morning that it we have to
come back to our hearts and be a people that are repentant and humble and open
before the Lord as we lower ourselves personally congregate congregational II
God will raise us up if we raise ourselves up personally and
congregationally God will lower us down I’ve done it both ways in life trust me
you want to do the former and so I’m encouraged and I want to thank you for
that I don’t think the God’s people here the men who in the room yes I was a very
sweet time as a church we leave worship today I believe we should be encouraged
about where we are and encouraged about what the year 2019 portends one of the
word I want to take here again bear with me just a word of personal privilege my
in-laws are here this morning my wife Karen’s parents you all have heard that
the line behind every successful man there’s an astonished mother-in-law and
my in-laws are not that way they cared and I have been married nearly 20 years
and they’ve been so sweet and so supportive throughout those 20 years my
father-in-law mr. Bronson’s here he’s been dealing the past year and half with
a very acute health issue pulmonary fibrosis and it’s been a very long road
for him and a difficult road ahead I had the opportunity to do something here in
in recent days and this is a surprise to them but I want to honor them this way I
wrote a book recently and I dedicated that book to them and they’re here this
morning I won’t have the opportunity to present that to them in public I will
not ask them to come up here because that would delay our lunch given the
difficulty of getting up here but here’s what I would I dedicate to them this
book is called Sola it’s on the five solos of the Reformation we’re saved by
grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the
Goulet unto the glory of God alone by the power of Scripture alone and I wrote
this with profound appreciation and deep affection this book is dedicated to my
father and mother-in-law Clayton and Betty Bronson who through their
steadfast support helping hands constant encouragement and faithful parenting of
my then future wife are one of God’s greatest blessings in my life so won’t
you know I love you guys very much and I’m honor to get to do this for you I know y’all are thinking how does they
can have time for these books and he just do this a few months ago and that
was a different book but the Lord had a few things in the pipeline let’s stand
together and I’ll conclude with this word of benediction now to him who is
able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his
glory blameless with great joy to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ
our Lord be glory Majesty Dominion and authority before all time and now and
forever amen Lord bless you you’re dismissed

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