We have all seen them. At some crossroads somewhere, on a dangerous curve in the road, one of those little makeshift memorials, a cross, a wreath where some ones loved one died in a car accident. Each one of those memorials a testimony to the value of life. Last year when we visited Kent in San Diego we went out to Point Loma and visited the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. It’s especially sobering when you see not just one but 101,000 memorials, each one a testimony to the value of life. Tomorrow Americans all over the world will set aside time to remember and honor those who have died in military service. We will be reminded again of the value of live and the value of those lives we knew and loved, who’s lives touched ours. Life is valuable because it is God-given, created by Him and for Him. The value of the life He gives is first learned and instilled in the home, the place where life is conceived, nurtured, trained, given roots and wings. Last week we looked at Psalm 127 which tells us the source of all blessings is God’s grace. “Unless the Lord builds the house they who labor, labor in vain.” Solomon wrote “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 128 continues the message of God’s blessings and tells us how we receive those blessings and the realms in which they are experienced. Home life is the first and best life. Or to put it in other words Psalm 127 is the blueprint for the foundation and Psalm 128 is the building materials. Both Psalms are well suited for the occasion of the dedication of our new building and for our consideration of themes related to the building of godly homes, a theme I occasional take up between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Psalm 128 begins with blessed, which is sometimes translated happy. Most everyone in the world wants to be happy. Seniors graduate and they just want to be happy. Couples get married and just want to live happily ever afterward. We start jobs just wanting to be happy. We live in a pleasure and happiness seeking world. Everyone wants to be happy, but no one wants to follow the road to happiness mapped out by the one who is more committed to our happiness than anyone else, the God who created us. People think the road to happiness in the Bible is too hard, so they set off bushwhacking their way through the juggle of their own wants and desires and never getting where they want to get. There is a well travel road to happiness, the trouble is few today want to take it.
Holy Father, I am a man of unclean lips and unclean heart among a people who are the same. By the power of your present Holy Spirit purge and purify what is evil in us, deliver us from the work of the evil one and cause what is said and heard now to glorify you and exalt Jesus and benefit the saints. Unless you do this my labor and our listening are in vain. In the name of Jesus, Amen. The first and greatest building project in recorded Biblical history ended in disaster. The reason the Tower of Babel ended so poorly was not because they didn’t have a good plan or a good design, the reason was not because of shoddy materials or a lousy general contractor, the reason it failed was because it was done to the glory of man and not to the glory of God. That building disaster resulted in a shattered community totally broken apart by an inability to communicate or understand each other. Our world still bears the fruit of that building project gone very bad. What they did was in vain. Psalm 127 gives us wisdom for avoiding that disaster in our church and in our homes. Verses 1-2 give the principle and verses 3-5 illustrate the truth or teaching of the principle.
As we traveled to southern California and back we were thanked several times for flying Southwest airlines. They said they knew that we had many choices in airlines and they thanked us for flying Southwest. We know you have many choices in churches these days and we thank you for choosing First CRC. Not all airlines are created equal, nor are all churches created equal. There are differences, some of the differences are minor, some of them are huge. There are true churches and false churches, churches that teach the Word of God and churches that teach heresy. With the changing landscape in America it takes discernment to know which churches are being faithful to the Word of God. Jesus said by their fruit you shall know them. But even the fruit is hard to judge sometimes. What about Joel Osteen’s church in Houston, Texas? Is it a true church? It’s huge, it’s growing, can we say by that fruit that it must be a true church? We can’t use growth as a mark of a true church or fancy new buildings or success or great programs.
Scripture says that we should honor our fathers and mothers and I want to honor mothers and motherhood today. But I also know that this is an emotional issue for quite a few of us. Some of us no longer have our mothers and we miss them. Some of us had mothers that for whatever reason weren’t very good mothers or failed us, so the subject can be painful. Some of us desperately want to be mothers and that’s especially painful. Our pain and suffering and heartaches are known to God intimately and He is Lord over all our suffering. It’s never meaningless in the hands of our God who makes all things meaningful. In the midst of all these mixed emotions we can still affirm that mothers and motherhood are gifts from God. I want to affirm this morning that motherhood is the highest calling that a woman can have. No career or job on earth takes more diligence, perseverance, hard work, prayer and faith. And there is also no more soul-satisfying labor than raising God-fearing and God-loving children. It is hard work but it is good work. Because it’s hard work I want to preach a word of encouragement this morning to all mothers and to all who aspire to be mothers and to all who play a role in supporting mothers (like aunts and uncles). Galatians 6:9 Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
KNOWING CHRIST (II) I. Knowing His person II. Knowing His power INTRODUCTION There is a verse of a beautiful hymn that goes like this: “There are depths of love that I cannot know, till I cross the narrow sea. “There are heights of joy that I may not reach, till I rest in heaven with Thee.” Now, in light of what we saw this morning, we may never sing this with the idea that knowing & experiencing the depths & heights of Christ & His love ii only for the other side of the grave. for we saw that our hearts’ desire & delight & determination; our life’s aim & ambition must be to explore the exhaustless Christ. o & to more & more know & experience & enjoy Him in an intimate & personal, fuller & deeper & richer way now already in this life, & then in eternity. th’fore, it’s like an old Christian who kept on praying: “Lord, make us all that redeemed sinners can become this side of heaven.” So maybe we ought to change the lines of that hymn a little & sing: “There are depths of love that I ought to know, before I cross the sea. o “There are heights of joy I ought to reach, before I rest in heaven with Thee.” then, you see, if we so seek & strive now daily to know & experience Jesus more & more with greatest joy, then we can sing with thankfulness, as another verse of that hymn, I just quoted, says: o “Oh, the pure delight of a single hour which before Thy throne I spend. o “When I kneel in prayer & with Thee, my Lord, I commune as a friend with a Friend!”
Well we have celebrated Easter again with shouts: “He is Alive! Jesus Christ is risen from dead!” & because He lives, we live. salvation & eternal life are now ours. But, I hope our commemoration & celebration are a lot more than just a lot of shouting. or more than just a customary thing we do 1 day each year. you know, we can be a lot like that little lad who was walking one night in a garden with his dad. o he saw the moon, big & bright & full-faced, just coming over the tree-tops. o the boy was delighted & exclaimed: “Oh, look! Get it, Daddy!” Well, many of us Christians can be like that little lad. we think we are so wise, but yet are so spiritually childish. o we think we can get Christ like that small boy thought he could get the moon. o we have received Him as Lord & Savior, read our Bibles daily, say our daily prayers, go to church & worship regularly, & we are active in it. o & we think that’s all there is to know Jesus, & to bea Christian or follower of Him. but that’s as infantile as the little fella’s idea of getting the moon. For the question is: do we really believe & live the Biblical truth that Jesus actually lives as our Savior & Lord? do we really personally possess & experience & enjoy & exercise the fact of His resurrection in our everyday living? is it seen in all of our talk & walk wherever we are? Well, if Good Friday & Easter are going to mean anything to us, then it must be our desire & delight to daily commune with the risen Lord & Savior. our text says: “That [we] want to know Christ & the power of his resurrection & the fellowship of sharing his sufferings, & become like him in death, & so attain the resurrection from the dead.” that’s what it means to be a real disciple of Jesus. o that we have this sole life’s aim & ambition: that I may know Christ. 2 We consider then the meaning of this Biblical truth of KNOWING CHRIST. 1st, knowing His person, &, 2nd, knowing His power.