How Our Union With Christ Moves to Worship and Praise

Good Morning!

As many of you know I spent the past week in Mexico visiting with Christian brothers and sisters. It was a blessing to see the Lord’s work, especially the mercies of God in continuing to witness the flowering of seeds planted by faithful men resting in the promises of the gospel. However, sinners don’t just live in America. Praise be to the Lord. The preaching we heard was soaked in the reminder that our union exists because Christ has laid down His life at the cross and took it up again on the third day.

While we remain MexicanHuasteca, and Hillbilly in person our identity is no longer tied up in these earthly bonds. Our fellowship is with the Spirit, and the Spirit’s dwelling in us is what allows those who know the shed blood of the Lamb to speak the language of Jesus despite not being able to totally understand what we are saying at times. Yet, that cultural world is itself of course a blessing. I was blown away by the kindness expressed in the meals we ate. However, I like red beans and rice with some andouille sausage and sweet tea. To be sure the cane sugar coke down south of the border is superior to the corn stuff in America. There are also worship styles that while similar likewise take on a different flavor, yet express the same type of joy and thanksgiving for the goodness of God. In some sense we deny the work of God when we try to form fit circumstances into everyone’s life. People who know better how to live someone else’s life for them usually are failing in their own. There is little to be learned from folks with agendas. That all being said I want to spend today’s worship and prayer help looking into how our union with Christ allows us to adore the goodness of God together as one people.

Whenever the Apostle Paul went around in his missionary journeys he was quick to point out that he wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t from Philippi, Athens, Rome, Spain, or Galatia. He was a Jew from Tarsus and that meant his experiences were different from those around him, it also meant that he needed to understand what was going on in the day-to-day life of the residents of these towns so that he knew how exactly to apply the gospel in these places. To that point as he writes to the citizens of the city of Corinth there is concern about pagan meats procured from the pagan temple. He reminds them that they are free to eat it because the gods of Rome/Greece were not real. Something can’t do you harm if it doesn’t exist. Yet, due to his love for the Christians in Corinth he made note that if it bothered their conscience then they were to stay away from it until they had sufficiently matured in their faith in order to rightly understand the connection, or lack thereof, to their place in Christ and the dumbness of the idols of wood and stone. This means that for Paul he needed to appreciate the cultural situation and that it was not likely to change any time soon. It was an act of mercy then to encourage them not just to gain strength through the means of grace, but to learn to live in the knowledge of God.

What does this have to do with worship or union with Christ?

It has everything to do with it as we will see in a second.

Stepping back a second to a scene from Jeremiah will help us get our feet:

Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.

Similar to the counsel of Paul to Corinth (and Rome) there is a reminder that God alone is God. There is no other like Him nor can there be. It is part of the reason why the Israelites must stop their false worship of the deities of the surrounding nations, not only is it vanity, but it leads them to forget their uniqueness in the eyes of the one who made them and gave them life. It’s like giving thanks to a pen for the writing of a letter. It has no agency of itself, it only moves and strokes as it is willed by a maker, kind of like Paul’s witness to the clay and the potter. Our reasons for worshiping our Maker are born out of love and not slavish fear. That devotion derives its spirit for our twice-born status, born by Genesis 1:28 and 3:15. The assurance of the promised seed is what John is pointing to in his opening words of his gospel when he writes:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In closing, we read there of the meat (no put intended) of the message this morning. We rejoice and declare the praises of our Lord because He has spoken and done the work of redemption, pulling us out of the depths of darkness and evil. Unlike the false idols people’s work had to support, we do not bring one thing to the feet of our Savior, our SalvadorNothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling Toplady teaches us to sing. It’s in this blessing that we have our unity in Christ, regardless of whether we eat livermush or black beans for breakfast. No matter our place on earth, our place in Heaven is secured by our gracious Jesus who has done all this for our blessing, to unite us together with Him, forever and ever.

One more word:

Faith and Union with Christ | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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