This past Sunday was a joyous day of gratitude and joy as we celebrated the beginning of a new chapter in the story of our South Fork church family. As we gathered to praise our God and seek His blessing, what an encouragement it was to see the passion and commitment in these men, and to share as a congregation in that commitment. I know you join me in continuing to pray for these nine men who serve as our shepherds and overseers, and look forward with anticipation and expectation to the future God has ahead for us, a future filled with growth in the Lord and service in His world.
If you were unable to be here you can go online and hear the special part of our service during which we shared that commitment with each other and with the Lord in appointing these men as our shepherds. And you can also listen to the sermon from the morning and evening assemblies as well. If you would rather have a CD just give a call or send a note to the church office.
The theme of newness struck me as very appropriate as I considered the theme of our sermons for the rest of the summer. It is a very Biblical theme, and is consistent with the renewal and blessing we feel as we consider this special time for our church family. Prophets such as Jeremiah (31:31-34) and Joel (2:28-32) look ahead to this new relationship God will create for His people. The writer of the book of Hebrews (chapters 8-10) uses the Jeremiah passage as one of his sermon texts in arguing convincingly that the New Covenant is better than the old. Luke (Acts 2:14-21) says the events that marked the beginning of the church were a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.
Our sermon this week focuses on this theme of newness, and specifically the new standing that we have with God. We gratefully, humbly, joyfully declare the newness God gives to us through Jesus Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor. 5:17)
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6:3-4)
The Bible story closes with this same theme, as toward the end of the book of Revelation God declares this:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev. 21:1-5)