FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Jesus I Come!
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought!
[We] are not expected to go it alone in this hard and joyous thing of discipleship. Precisely where [we] hear the gospel, where [we] see both its glory and [our] own inadequacy, there Jesus is with [us]. The one who calls disciples to follow him does not abandon them for glory, but turns from glory to accompany them “on the way” to Jerusalem and the cross. – James Edwards
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
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, we humbly confess our need of your pardoning grace. We shelter arrogance and pride in our hearts and believe that our efforts are good enough to secure what only you can give us. We are quick to judge and grumble when our plans, pleasures, and preferences are threatened. We are slow to offer mercy, both inwardly and outwardly, towards those people you have placed in our lives and called us to love. Forgive our self-righteousness and our self-absorption. Fix our eyes on our savior, Jesus Christ, that we may become enraptured with Him.
Words of Grace
[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. 25. How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executes the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Sermon Text: Mark 9:2-13
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
1. You need a vision of glory you can trust (vs. 4, 7b)
2. You need a vision of glory that includes suffering (vs. 9-13)
3. You need a vision of glory that draws near and will go with you (vs. 5, 7a, 8)
The story of Jesus' transfiguration follows immediately after his call to follow after him. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (8:34) That is a daunting, daily calling that flips every instinct we have about safety, comfort and reputation on its head. "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it." (8:35)
How can you respond with any hope of making it? The answer is found in the glory of Jesus on the mountain.
On the mountain, Jesus reveals his glory in an undeniably similar but altogether new way modeled after the greatest revelation of God in the Old Testament. Compare the follow description of Moses on Mt. Sinai with Jesus on the mountain.
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. (Ex. 24:15-17)
Do you see the similarities? However, it is even more important that we notice the differences. What does the glory of the Lord look like in Exodus? A cloud covering the mountain and a consuming fire that made the whole mountain tremble! (re: Ex. 19:18) But notice when Jesus' reveals his glory none of that happens. Why not? Because now all the glory of God is located in Jesus. He is the glory of God in human form. "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being." (Heb. 1:3) He is the beloved son and we must listen to him. (v. 7) He is the one to whom all the prophets point. He is the very speech of God. "Long ago, at many times andin many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son." (Heb. 1:1-2)
On the mountain we get a glimpse into the true nature of Jesus, his glory, purity, and beauty unlike anything the world has ever seen. Here we get a glimpse into where the story is headed...a glorified Messiah!
However, all this created quite a stir for the disciples. Therefore, Jesus tells Peter, James and John not to say anything about what they saw until after his resurrection (v. 9-10). Why does he tell them that? Well simply put the disciples were already having a hard time with Jesus' teaching that the Son of Man must suffer many things. They were looking for a path to glory that wouldn't require suffering. And for a moment on the mountain when Moses and Elijah appeared they thought perhaps what Jesus said earlier (8:31) might not be necessary. Why would they think that? In Malachi 4 both Moses and Elijah appear in a passage looking to the great day of the Lord. The day when God would make everything right! However, what they didn't realize is Elijah had come and he had been killed. The Elijah of Malachi 4 was John the Baptist (Mt. 17:13) who was the messenger of Malachi 3:1 who went before the Lord to prepare the way for God to come and restore all things. He came preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins and baptized the one greater than him. So on the one hand, Jesus agrees with the disciples, "Elijah does come first" (v. 12) but his coming doesn't prevent the suffering of the Son of Man, it anticipates it! In other words, Jesus is teaching us that his glory comes after suffering...that is how God will restore all things...through suffering, death, and then RESURRECTION!
Let me put it to you like this. You need a vision of the glory of Jesus because denying yourself and taking up your cross daily is THE normal Christian life. It isn't limited to a few weeks a year. It is the daily calling of a follower of Jesus. This means everyday we are called to die to ourselves in our marriages, in our parenting, in our friendships, in our vocations, in our neighborhoods...in everything! It is quite literally what it means to "live out the Gospel". As Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-9...
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
If you want to know Jesus more...if you want to grow in grace...you need two things: the humility of Jesus and the glory of Jesus!
But let's be honest, this is scary stuff. What the disciples saw on the mountain terrified them (v. 7). What Jesus calls us to do to follow after him means everything in our lives must die for his sake and the gospel's. Thankfully the glory of Jesus also teaches us that he draws near and will go with us. Peter's bumbling words point to something even better than he could imagine (v. 5). The mention of tents recalls a time when God tabernacled (dwelt) with his people on their way to the promised land. But with Jesus' arrival there is no longer any need for tents or a tabernacle or a temple because God has now provided his own tabernacle in Jesus. He has come in human form to draw near and remain with you! Even better he has come to live in you! (Gal. 4:4-7)
Not only that, the glory of Jesus reveals something astounding compared to its Old Testament analogies. In the Old Testament when God revealed his glory there were very strict boundaries. God never came down the mountain and God's people were never allowed to come up the mountain. But in verse 8 suddenly it is just Jesus, Peter, James and John alone...on the mountain. And what does Jesus do? He turns with his disciples and heads down the mountain! The glory of God comes down the mountain to endure the cross for us! Jesus doesn't abandon his disciples in order to hold on to his glory. He abandon's his glory and turns to accompany them down the mountain "on the way" to Jerusalem. Do you see the glory of Jesus? He draws near and he goes with you! Will you listen to him? Will you follow after him?
- 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 struggle of the disciples at this point in Mark's gospel (re: 8:31-9:1)?
- Why did Jesus reveal his glory to Peter, James, and John up on the mountain?
- Which part of Jesus' glory do you need most right now?
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
This week on Tuesday I attended a meeting of the regional body of our church, Evangel Presbytery (29 Churches). As a Presbyterian church, Red Mountain Church is part of a larger movement of the gospel here in the state of Alabama our country and the world. Therefore, I want to suggest to you a helpful, readable book on the church and why it matters for your daily life and journey as a follower of Christ this side of heaven.
If you don't want to read a book here is a helpful article laying out the biblical basis and importance of the church and your membership in it.
Songs for this week:
Come, Christians, Join To Sing
Come, Holy Ghost
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Help My Unbelief
Until next time,
And Can It Be?
He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own