The Baptism of Jesus (part 2)

Tomorrow morning, we will come back to the text I began unpacking on May 6, but then ran out of time! We will study the nature of repentance, the baptism of Jesus, and the declaration of God:

  So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (Luke 3:18-22, ESV)

I read something this morning from Doug Wilson that captures the essence of how you should approach worship tomorrow morning. To do so as an act of honesty. For worship itself is meant to bring you back to God (and away from your sin). And, critically, it is to point you to the perfections of Jesus Christ. And yet more, that these perfections are yours in faith.

Ponder Pastor Wilson’s words below. And go to church on the morrow, expectant for the work of God.

The central lesson we must learn as we approach God in worship is the lesson of honesty. Confession of sin is agreement with God over what constitutes sin, and in order to do this we have read two things rightly. We have to read the text rightly, which is harder than it looks, and we have read our own hearts rightly, which is impossible.

Only the Spirit of God can give you an accurate view of yourself, and He never does it apart from the ministry of His Word. He tells us in the book of James that reading the law of liberty, the Scriptures, is like gazing into a mirror. He also tells us that many of us come to that mirror with a fundamental unwillingness to remember what we see there. We look into the mirror, but as soon as we turn away, we forget what it looked like. Since this is unpleasant, it is not long before we start to avoid looking in the mirror at all.

Worship reminds us. Worship brings us back. Worship of the true God insists upon honesty before Him. And so here is the exhortation; here is the call. Place everything in your life on the table before God, and then, take your hands away.

Pray to God that He would show you as much of yourself as you can bear, and ask Him to help you remembers the perfections of Jesus Christ as He does this. It is a very painful operation, but it is a glorious one. The worst thing in the world is to spend your life in the church as one long exercise in kidding yourself. This is the place for brutal, cleansing honesty. It is not the place for evasion.

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