Dear King’s Cross Family,
I want to extend my warmest and sincere regards to this New Year and I pray that it has been a means for you to reflect back on 2015 and also approach 2016 with great expectations. This past Sunday, I shared part one of a three part sermon on what are to be the some guiding principles as we move as a church. I shared Paul’s prayer for the spiritual strength of the church from Ephesians 3:14-21.
I would like to share an excerpt from Jonathan Edward’s sermon called Divine and Supernatural Light:
“…a real sense of the excellency of God and Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, and the ways and works of God revealed in the gospel. There is a divine and superlative glory in these things; an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind, and more sublime nature than in other things; a glory greatly distinguishing them from all that is earthly and temporal. He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart. There is not only a rational belief that God is holy, and that holiness is a good thing, but there is a sense of the loveliness of God’s holiness. There is not only a speculatively judging that God is gracious, but a sense how amiable God is upon that account, or a sense of the beauty of this divine attribute.
There is a twofold understanding or knowledge of good that God has made the mind of man capable of. The first, that which is merely speculative and notional; as when a person only speculatively judges that any thing is, which, by the agreement of mankind, is called good or excellent, viz., that which is most to general advantage, and between which and a reward there is a suitableness, and the like. And the other is, that which consists in the sense of the heart: as when there is a sense of the beauty, amiableness, or sweetness of a thing; so that the heart is sensible of pleasure and delight in the presence of the idea of it. In the former is exercised merely the speculative faculty, or the understanding, strictly so called, or as spoken of in distinction from the will or disposition of the soul. In the latter, the will, or inclination, or heart, are mainly concerned.
Thus there is a difference between having an opinion, that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness. A man may have the former, that knows not how honey tastes; but a man cannot have the latter unless he has an idea of the taste of honey in his mind. So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of his beauty. The former may be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance. There is a wide difference between mere speculative rational judging any thing to be excellent, and having a sense of its sweetness and beauty. The former rests only in the head, speculation only is concerned in it; but the heart is concerned in the latter. When the heart is sensible of the beauty and amiableness of a thing, it necessarily feels pleasure in the apprehension. It is implied in a person’s being heartily sensible of the loveliness of a thing, that the idea of it is sweet and pleasant to his soul; which is a far different thing from having a rational opinion that it is excellent.”
What is the distinction is Edward is saying that when we hear about God’s grace, you feel loved. You hear about God’s holiness, you feel a deep affinity to be a holy person yourself. In other words, when the Holy Spirit is actually warming your heart, it’s not just you hear about God’s love, you hear about God’s holiness, you grip it. It grips you. It comes in. It changes you.
Right now you say, “I know God loves me, but this person has criticized me,” or this person says you’ve failed and you’re devastated. That’s because you know it rationally but you haven’t grasped it. You haven’t been gripped by it.
So as we enter into a new year, may we grasp this as a community. As we seek in our community groups, let’s consider if we have a wide love that extends to others in the church as well as outside.
Prayer Prompt (taken from the Worship Sourcebook)
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we, your unworthy servants, give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life,
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Thank you for joining us in praying where you are today and I hope to see you soon as we worship each Sunday as a body rooted in the love of Christ serving our Flushing community.
Remaining in Him,