From the desk of Will Spokes, Senior Pastor
Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul
Dear refuge of my weary soul,On thee when sorrows rise; On thee, when vows of trouble roll, My fainting hope relies. To thee I tell each rising grief, For thou alone canst heal; Thy word can bring a sweet relief, For every pain I feel.
But oh! when gloomy doubts prevail, I fear to call thee mine;
The springs of comfort seem to fail, and all my hopes decline. Yet gracious God where shall I flee? Thou art my only trust; And still my soul would cleave to thee, Though prostrate in the dust.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
This week we resumed our series in the Gospel of Mark after a four-week break to renew our vision and values. You should see vision sermons on our website under the vision and values tab. So much of the christian life seems to be lived at the intersection of fear and faith. So often these two realities are at odds. But is it possible for fear and faith to work together? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge... (Prov. 1:7) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Q&A: Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Q. 8. How does God execute his decrees?
A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
Food For Thought:
Lay all your loads and your weights by faith upon Christ. Ease yourself, and let him bear all. He can, he does, he will bear you. - Samuel Rutherford
The persistence of Jesus in discovering who touched him rivals the woman's persistence in reaching Jesus. She wants a cure, a something, whereas Jesus desires a personal encounter with someone. He is not content to dispatch a miracle; he wants to encounter a person. In the kingdom of God, miracle leads to meeting. Discipleship is not simply getting our needs met; it is being in the presence of Jesus, being known by him, and following him. - James Edwards on Mark 5:21-43
- The strengthening of faith (v. 25-34)
- The test of faith (v. 21-24, 35-43)
- The savior of faith (v. 28, 34, 41)
Sermon Recap: See Mark 5:21-43
Here we have two stories. An outer story and an inner story. It's called the "sandwich" method. The inner story is a means of instruction for the outer story. The outer story is about Jairus, one of the local synagogue rulers, and particularly his 12-year old daughter "at the point of death." (v. 23) The inner story is about a much older woman, who for the same 12 years has suffered sever internal bleeding. Both come to Jesus hopeless, with nowhere else to turn.
Mark combines these two stories in order to show us how Jesus graciously but powerfully moves us from fear to faith in him. Central to the story is Jesus' word to Jairus after receiving news that his daughter was dead (v. 35), "Do not fear, only believe." (v. 36) How is Jairus to respond? What does that even mean? The answer is found in the story of the woman. Faith begins by hearing about Jesus (v. 27) and thereby transferring all our trust from our resources and abilities to Jesus alone. But there is much more to faith than getting our needs met. Faith, however weak or immature, always leads to relationship with Jesus. A relationship in which we can tell him the whole truth and receive his blessing. (v. 33-34)
Do not fear, only believe! Jairus witnessed what it looks like to come to Jesus in utter desperation, beyond all discernible hope! Up to this point we've seen Jesus' power over the natural realm, the spiritual realm, and the physical realm. But what about death. Is faith in Jesus good for this life only?
It is understandable that we might ask, "if God can did this sort of thing, why doesn't he prevent awful things from happening today?" In answer to this question N.T. Wright says, "Just as Jesus wasn't coming to be a one-man liberation movement in the traditional revolutionary sense, so he wasn't coming to be a one-man emergency medical center. He was indeed bringing God's healing power, but his aim went deeper; these things were signs of the real revolution, the real healing, that God was to accomplish through his death and resurrection.."
How can you know that what Jesus does in these two stories has an relevance or significance for you? By the touch of the woman and by touching the young girl, Jesus shares in the uncleanness of the woman (Lev. 15:25) and the death of the girl (Num. 5:1-3; Lev. 21:1). These are a preview of what Jesus would do for us on the cross. On the cross, Jesus became unclean and died so that we might be clean and receive new life through faith in him. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21)
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- How would you describe the relationship between the inner story and the outer story?
- What stands out to you most about Jesus from this passage? What is your reaction to him? (re: v. 33, 42b)
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
From time to time people ask me if I have any good devotional resources. There is one I would like to pass on to you. It is called Isaiah By The Day written by Alec Motyer. It offers clear guidance through perhaps the most significant book in Scripture with helpful reflections on each day's passage.
Songs for this week:
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
My Jesus Has Done All Things Well
He Leadeth Me
My family and I will be out of town this coming weekend. However, Bill Boyd, Senior Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian in Homewood, will be preaching. Bill will be preaching from Romans 12. One thing this means is I won't be sending out a Sunday Recap next week. Perhaps it may give you opportunity to revisit one or two from weeks past and consider how God has been at work in your life or in your community group since then.
Until next time,
Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul
Hast thou not bid me seek thy face? And shall I seek in vain? And can the ear of sovereign grace Be deaf when I complain? No, still the ear of sovereign grace Attends the mourner's prayer; O may I ever find access, To breathe my sorrows there.
Thy mercy seat is open still; Here let my soul retreat, With humble hope attend thy will, And wait beneath thy feet. Thy mercy seat is open still; Here let my soul retreat, With humble hope attend thy will, And wait beneath thy feet.