Lord’s Day Exhortation

Here’s tomorrow’s post (I’ll be filling the pulpit at Providence Church, NC). Below is my Exhortation to the congregation:

Right now, we are doing the most important thing in our lives. Corporate worship, the worship of Christ’s Church, gathered together on the Sabbath, is the apex of our lives. God created Adam and Eve to tend to his garden, which clearly symbolized a worship sanctuary. Later, when God commanded Moses and Solomon to build the Tabernacle and the Temple, images of trees, leaves, and flowers adorned these meeting places. Here, in symbolic gardens, God came down to earth and met mankind.

In these garden-sanctuaries, God ordained priests to guard his house, to be his servants and his waiters. Those who wished to meet God were all welcome, provided they brought a sacrifice, provided they brought food. Just as we practice good manners and bring a bottle of wine, or a salad, to a friend’s house for dinner, so people were to bring food for God’s table. As God’s waiters, the priests took a portion of the food and ate it for their dinner. God provided for those who served in his house. God provided for his priests.

The good news of the gospel is that all who have called upon the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and repentance are united to his Body. Sinners are regenerated, washed, sanctified, and brought into the Church, the Bride and Body of Christ. Peter tells us that we are, in fact, stones in the New Temple of God (1 Pt. 2:4-7). We are not just waiters anymore, we are the beautiful garden-house of the Church. God wants to meet with us, just as a Bridegroom wants to meet with his Bride.

It is this wedding-feast that we celebrate every Sabbath. It is this wedding-feast we will celebrate in heaven: the marriage supper of the Lamb. Just as God fed his priests, so He feeds us now. We are now priests: 1 Pt. 2:9. Now we are able to eat the bread of God, given to us in the Lord’s Supper.

So, are we the Bride, or are we priests? Both! No one symbol or typology in Scripture is enough to represent the glorious salvation we have in Christ. Rather, we are given a prism, through which the light of God’s truth is refracted into a thousand brilliant colors.

But these truths are not just those who spend too much time studying theology and typology. The gospel is for all those who hunger for God; and all men and women have a God-given void, a hunger, which can only be filled by God himself. God calls you as his Bride—to feed and nourish you. God calls you as his priests—to serve him and bring others into his sanctuary. God calls all of his elect, and promises to fill them to bursting with grace given in his Word and Sacraments. If you are hungry for God, then come, hungry … and expect to be filled.

Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

We cannot come hungry for God if we come full and satisfied with our sins. Before we enter the sanctuary of God, we must pass through the sacrificial fire of cleansing and confession.Scripture Reading of Confession (Ps. 24:3-4): “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”

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