Mark  Broadus
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Our World Belongs To God 17

We look forward to being together on Sunday for worship with the online Coffee Hour to follow. Remember, even if you don’t have a computer with a camera, you can still join the online Coffee Hour by phone (if you don’t know, check the church bulletin); we would all be very encouraged to hear your voice, even if we can’t see your face!

Today we conclude a week of looking at sin and the Fall in "Our World Belongs to God: A Contem-porary Testimony.”   

Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)

Paragraph 17 (today)
In all our striving
to excuse or save ourselves,
we stand condemned
before the God of truth.
But our world,
broken and scarred,
still belongs to God,
who holds it together
and gives us hope.

[See Psalm 62 and 89:28-37; Romans 5:3-11; 15:13; and Hebrews 11:1.]

Our song today is Aaron Keyes’ version of Stuart Townend’s “My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone.” The song comes course from the opening verses of Psalm 62, one of the Scriptures which the editors of this Testimony refer us to today.  This is a fitting response to the chaos of sin and COVID-19!

Paragraph 17 is a hinge between this week’s, and next week’s, themes.  Having looked this week at the fall of humanity into sin, its effects on humanity, how sin has defaced our God-image, and the pervasiveness of sin, the Testimony will next week begin to look at redemption. Today, it both reminds us of the precarious nature of our situation in sin, and offers us God-held hope.

One thing we note, from all we have looked at to date, is that we weren’t made for this. God created us for much more than wallowing in the consequences of sin. As the Psalmist declares about us,

What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:4-5, 9)

In this we reject evolutionary claims that our species will ultimately perfect itself. We were created “very good” and, despite being tarnished by sin, are being remade by God into something of restored glory and honor.  If we did not know the next part of the story, that God acted first to free us from the effects of sin, then hope would be out of reach.  But because we do know, we do not give up hope, despite the gloomy short-term forecast, despite whatever circumstances a fallen world might throw our way today.

The Bible is so generous with us in this. It is the story of God working through individuals and nations struggling with sin—struggling with God, one another and themselve. It is the story of God acting on behalf of a world he loves. And though we may at times cry with Paul, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” we also reply with shout that echoes through creation, “ Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24).

“God, thank you that, even as we struggle with our sin, we can praise you and trust you completely.  Because you have crushed the curse of death, we are yours forever, even as we struggle. The effects of sin are ever present, but you are our reality and our hope! Hallelujah!”

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

Go with this blessing:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Pastor Mark

PS – There will be no “Elbow Bump” this weekend.  Enjoy Victoria Day, even if all the days feel the same right now!

PSS - My Online office hours on Tuesday will be 11am-noon and 1-2pm.  Drop in if you'd like to chat, or just say hi!

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