Pastor Daniel's Letter (An Impromptu Series & Kingdom Come Summary)
Well, we’ve taken a bit of a detour this last month wrapping up our “series” on ordinances in a sermon on baptism, and then continuing on with two more initially unplanned sermons on church membership tying the ordinances and church membership together. The goal has been to see the benefits and blessings of the ordinances and membership at our church and I hope we we’ve all been encouraged by what God has provided to us for our good here at FBC Gallatin. But now that we are transitioning back into the Gospel of Matthew, I want to catch us all back up with a summary of what we’ve seen so far as we dive back into the Sermon on the Mount the next few months.
I’m so thankful that as Christians we have Gospel hope in a savior who is for us and with us. As we saw in December, Jesus is the long-expected messiah who has come to save us from our sins. So, in that sense, Jesus is clearly for us because the very reason he came was to die to cover our sin and guilt. If you are a believer, that should encourage you because your sins are covered by the savior who came to rescue you!
The savior is not only for you though, he is also with you. Matthew 1 showed us that the birth of Christ was not only for the reason of saving us from our sins, but also to be with us in a miraculous way! And these two great truths go hand in hand as God the Son became human in the incarnation to be with us. The incarnation is just a fancy theological term that describes the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. The newborn baby in the manger truly was God with us! Can you believe that? A baby in all of his helplessness and need was at the same time a human baby and also the second person of the Trinity, God himself! Immanuel means God with us!
Furthermore, as God the Father protected the infant and baby savior from the evil intentions of Herod in countless providential events fulfilling prophecy all along the way, John the Baptist then paved the way with the message of repentance that Jesus would also later preach himself. And the fact that the sinless savior Jesus would stoop down to our level and get baptized by John still amazes me. He had no sin to repent of, yet he gets baptized to identify with sinners like us!
It’s also amazing how wise and powerful he was and is in comparison to so many false teachers who try to compete with Jesus in their own manufactured supposed “works of miracles.” Unlike the fakers and false prophets, when Jesus came on the scene, everything changed and it was undeniable. He was doing things that no other teacher or prophet had done before. And he was teaching with a different level of authority and persuasiveness than anyone else and it was causing crowds to believe his message and become his disciples. Jesus is so clearly the real deal and we should worship him because of it!
We also saw the comforting reality that Jesus who identified with us as sinners then also defeated Satan in the wilderness as he was tempted but didn’t sin. I say comforting, because as sinners ourselves, we are in big trouble. Unless, that is, we have someone to be our substitute and to take our place and to do what Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, and the disciples, and all mankind couldn’t do on their own. What a comforting thought that is, that Jesus has done all of this for us! He lived for us, and he also died for us, and he was tempted and tried for us as well. And in addition to all of this, he can relate to us and he has compassion for us because of his ability to relate to us as human beings. If this doesn’t get you excited about Jesus, I don’t know what else will! He is our great savior and King!
And last but not least, the greatness of the savior is evident and on display as we are currently going through the most “game-changing” sermon that was ever preached. This series has caused me to continually praise him for who he is, and what he did, and what he said, and what he preached. Jesus did not waste a word, he did not hold back any punches, he did not back down, he did not pander to his audience. Jesus preached!
And I hope we are all encouraged by Jesus’ example and for those of you who are listeners of preaching and teaching, I hope you hold your pastors and anyone else who teaches or preaches here at FBC Gallatin, to preach and teach the Word to you because you should want nothing less than what Jesus modeled for us in our church and in our sermons and in our Bible studies or in our one on one teaching conversations. And if you have experienced this from your pastors, or Bible study teachers, or if you have seen this in children’s or youth ministry teachers, or heard this kind of teaching in a Deacon’s meeting, or if you’ve heard that kind of teaching in any other ministry whether a formal or informal setting where the preaching or teaching or discussion of the Word goes on, thank God for providing the shepherds, or other teachers, or other church members, who follow in Jesus’ footsteps. And take heed to what the Word says because it is for you and your edification and good!
Sincerely, Pastor Daniel Pelichowski