– I started reading Sinclair Ferguson’s book In Christ Alone this morning during my quiet time. In the second chapter, he stressed the need for us to recognize the reality of Jesus’ coming – the true Christmas story.
The Scriptures systematically strip away the veneer that covers the real truth of the Christmas story. Jesus did not come to add to our comforts. He did not come to help those who were already helping themselves or to fill life with more pleasant experiences. He came on a deliverance mission, to save sinners, and to do so He had to destroy the works of the Devil (Matt. 1:21; 1 John 3:8b).
There is, therefore, an element in the Gospel narratives that stresses that the coming of Jesus is a disturbing event of the deepest proportions. It had to be thus, for He did not come merely to add something extra to life, but to deal with our spiritual insolvency and the debt of our sin. He was not conceived in the womb of Mary for those who have done their best, but for those who know that their best is “like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6) – far from good enough – and that in their flesh there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). He was not sent to be the source of good experiences, but to suffer the pangs of hell in order to be our Savior.
What a powerful reminder for us as believers. Why do we need Jesus? We are worse than we ever imagined! Why do we celebrate his coming? His grace is greater that we could have ever imagined!
– This article by Thom Rainer on why churches are declining is very helpful. Much of the discussion has to do with members and their commitment level. In our busy culture people have numerous reasons why they miss church. I have always thought it would be great for people to come up with reasons why they can’t miss church! Here are a couple that come to mind:
1. I can’t miss church because the Bible makes it clear that I am not to forsake the assembly.
2. I can’t miss church because I want to be a good example for my kids. I want them to be involved in church in the future!
3. I can’t miss church because I’m hungry to gather with God’s people and hear from His Word.
4. I can’t miss church because I want to exercise my gifts in the body.
5. I can’t miss church because I want to be there to encourage my pastor (smile…smile…wink…wink)!
**There are hundreds, probably thousands of other reasons one could give for coming to church – what are yours?