Sermon Notes for Sunday, July 30
Commending What We Cherish
by Tanner Fox
This week at First Pres, Dr. Thorp blessed the sanctuary with a millennial vocab lesson as well a debut of his only pair of jeans, proving that he is altogether “hip” and “with it” (even though anyone who is actually “hip” or “with it” would never use such words). In all seriousness, Dr. Thorp walked us through Mark 10:46-52 in which we find the story of a blind beggar being called by Jesus to newness of sight and newness of life.
Encounters with Jesus change everything. When Paul had his encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus it changed everything. He went from “breathing murderous threats,” to being the mouthpiece of the Lord to the all the Gentiles.
For many of us, our story is not quite so drastic. Paul went from killing Christians to evangelizing whole sections of the globe. Still, when we meet Jesus everything changes. As Paul will describe it in his letter to the Church in Ephesus, we move from death to life.
As we recount stories like Bartimaeus and other miracles of Jesus, each person leaves Jesus’ presence with new hope and infectious joy. They cannot wait to reveal to anyone who will listen to the story of their renewal. You and I are no different. It is human nature to brag about and elevate the things that we love! If I love something I bought on Amazon, I give it 5 stars and a good review. If I love a movie, I’ll tell my friends that they should watch it too. Because I love my wife, I can’t help but post an Instagram that inevitably embarrasses her for the sake of everyone knowing I think she is beautiful!
You see, no one taught us to talk about what we love: it simply flows from the joy of the experience. I may even argue there is a certain feeling of completion of the joy when you have been able to express your love for something to others.
With all of that in mind, I have to wonder, do I truly love and cherish my King? Do I truly believe that he plucked me from the clutches of death to give me newness of life? Is Jesus the person I love, cherish, admire, desire, praise, and commend above every other thing?
As Case spoke Sunday, Psalm 51:12-13 came to mind. This Psalm comes on the heels of King David’s darkest moment. He lusts after Bathsheba, impregnates her, kills her husband and takes her for his wife. After repenting of his sin he says this...
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51:12-13
In a Psalm centered on confession, David reveals a foundational truth at the heart of evangelism. When we sense and cherish the joy of salvation in Christ, we can’t help but talk about how great He is! Over the years, hundreds of teachers and churches have developed tools to evangelize the masses and many of them are quite good. The Roman Road to Salvation, the Four Spiritual Laws, discussions on worldview, apologetics, etc. all have their place and we need to be strategic and relevant as Dr. Thorp reminded us. But the simple truth is, we commend what we cherish. We give voice to that which we love.
So take some time today to search your own heart. Think back to the moment you knew you were saved and the joy you felt. Think about what Jesus is saving you from right now. Maybe even use Psalm 51 as a prayer guide asking the Lord to restore your joy. How does the reminder of God’s grace lead you to commend him to your friends, family, or peers?
Tanner Fox is the Minister for Mission at First Pres. He’s a recent grad of Reformed Theological Seminary and holds deep affection for people, movies, sports and Jesus Christ. As Minister for Mission, he leads the charge to help you love and serve the city and the world. firstname.lastname@example.org