May 2nd, 2021 - Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
Paul Tripp in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, explains that spiritual growth does not come through changing outward behaviors but rather through a process of heart change. To explain what he means he uses an example of a fruit-bearing tree. Imagine a tree that produces crab apples. They are hard and sour and generally inedible. This is a picture of a person dead in their sin. They produce fruit in keeping with their unregenerate heart. How are you to address this poor fruit? The standard religious and legalist approach is to remove all the crab apples and replace them with delicious, sweet, and juicy apples. You take the bad fruit off and replace it with good fruit. That is the law. The problem is that the good fruit will rot, fall to the ground, then, after a season, the poor fruit will return. Sinful behaviors will return. The gospel provides a different and more effective solution, yet one that takes a miracle of God: Change the nature of the tree. Don’t change the fruit, change the root. Transform the tree so that it no longer produces sour hard fruit, but rather it produces the sweet juicy kind. While this process will take time for the new fruit to appear, over time it is more effective in providing lasting fruit. The heart must be changed by the gospel so that the heart will produce good fruit. This process takes time. This process takes faith. This process takes a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. However, in the long run, this is how God conforms his people to the image of his Son. He doesn’t merely change the fruit, rather he changes the root. In our passage for this Sunday Paul explains that to return to the law as a means of growth is not a step toward maturity but rather a step toward immaturity. It is to return to hanging fruit when we are called to bear fruit. To come prepared for the sermon take time this week to read and to meditate upon Galatians 4:-20, Luke 6:43, John 15:1-16, Romans 7:4, and WCF 13.
This week we will celebrate that sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during our worship service. As we receive the elements of bread and wine look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. For as we physically receive the signs of the Lord’s body and blood, spiritually we feed upon him and all his benefits. Our hymns for this week include “Give to Our God Immortal Praise,” “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!” and “Psalm 117” (sung to the tune of All Creature of Our God and King).
Text: Galatians 4:8-20
Title: Growing in the Gospel
- Every Christian Must Pursue a Personal Knowledge of God (8-11)
- Every Christian Must Pursue an Active Love of the Gospel (12-15)
- Every Christian Must Pursue Zealous Endurance toward Growth (16-20)
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