We are hosting our first ever Fall Retreat this September 28-29! We are looking forward to a great time of fellowship and worship together down in Columbiana at the Alabama 4H Center. The cost is $40, and that includes dinner, breakfast, and lunch, lodging, and transport. Invite your friends, it’s going to be incredible! Click here to sign up.
This summer in Sunday School, we have been “learning from Jesus” together. So far we have explored what it meant for Him to be Messiah, how the Trinity challenges us to jump into the deep things of God, explored different ways people and we respond to Jesus, considered who the Kingdom of God is for, and last week Chad helped us walk through the practice of Christian rest.
To help us prepare to engage together, each week we will be posting a devotional thought related to the coming Sunday’s topic. This week Amy will be leading us through John 6, and we’ll be honing in on what it means for Jesus to be our satisfaction.
With that topic in view, our devotional nugget for the week comes from David Platt’s October 24, 2010 sermon, “The All-Satisfying Christ,” preached at The Church at Brook Hills where he explains some quotes from Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis:
So this first one is from Jonathan Edwards, a penetrating quote about how our desires are so caught up in so many other things and how dull our desires can be for God. Listen to this quote. Edwards said, “Our external delights, our earthly pleasures, our ambition, our reputation, and our human relationships, for all these things our desires are eager, our appetites strong, our love warm and affectionate. When it comes to these things our hearts are tender, and sensitive, deeply impressed, easily moved, much concerned, and greatly engaged.
We are depressed at our losses and we are excited or joyful about any worldly success or prosperity, but when it comes to spiritual matters how dull we feel, how heavy and hard our hearts. We can sit and hear of the infinite height, and length, and breadth, and love of God in Christ Jesus, of his giving his infinitely dear Son, and yet sit there cold and unmoved. If we are going to be excited about anything shouldn’t it be our spiritual lives? Is there anything more inspiring, more exciting, more lovable and desirable in heaven or on earth than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? We should be utterly humbled that we are not more emotionally affected then we are.”
We can get so excited about who wins a game, and we can get so depressed over who loses a game, and our emotions can swing so much on things that do not matter. There is one who matters, and he deserves not just our intellectual belief, but our emotional affection. Our desire, and our joy, and our satisfaction is found in him. And the danger is if we’re not careful we will fill our stomachs. We will gorge ourselves on stuff, and entertainment, and things in this world that don’t matter. And when it comes to Christ our stomachs will be so full that there is little taste left, and what I want to call us to, as the people of God in this room surrounded by all kinds of pleasures, and entertainment, and stuff, and things in this world, let’s fill our stomachs with the satisfaction of Christ so that when it comes to the things of this world we have little taste left for them. Jesus alone can fulfill our desires.
This is probably my favorite quote from C.S. Lewis, highlighting exactly what John 6 is talking about here. C.S. Lewis said:
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant, and the Stoics, and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward, and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures fooling about with drink, and sex, and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
What does that mean? More importantly, what does John 6 mean here? If you are living in adultery, if you are indulging in pornography, if your life is full of greed for the next and bigger thing, next and bigger advancement, if you find delight in those things then your desires are weak. It takes so little to please you. All it takes is a little mud pie in a slum to please you when you have been offered paradise, infinite joy. So I want to call you, based on God’s word this morning, to paradise and infinite joy, to trust in Christ, to find your satisfaction in him and in the process be free from the chains of sinful desires to stuff in this world. He is better. God give us new tastes, new desires, find our ultimate and infinite pleasure in you. Jesus alone can do this work. Believe him. Trust him.
This summer in Sunday School, we have been “learning from Jesus” together. So far we have explored what it meant for Him to be Messiah, how the Trinity challenges us to jump into the deep things of God, explored different ways people and we respond to Jesus, and last week Chad helped us consider who the Kingdom of God is for. To help us prepare to engage together, each week we will be posting a devotional thought related to the coming Sunday’s topic. Check back every week and tell your friends.
This week’s thought is an excerpt from Virginia Stem Owens, Looking for Jesus (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1998), 188-90.
My generation will probably be the last that remembers “blue laws,” those now antique attempts to impose Sabbath sanctity on the operation of businesses. Up till the 1960s, practically all stores, at least in my part of the country, were required by law to close on Sundays. Department stores, supermarkets, most service stations, in some places even movie theaters, shut down on that day. At most, a few restaurants in town stayed open in order to accommodate the after-church diners—although some congregations refrained from patronizing such establishments on Sunday, sometimes all week.
But life in general proceeded at a more peaceful pace then. Not only did our town observe the fourth commandment, to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” it didn’t have interstate highways punctuated with McDonald’s, which would later encourage weekend trips and non-stop Sunday sports marathons. Particularly devout families sometimes had their own peculiar rules about what was and was not acceptable Sabbath behavior. In mine, for instance, no one was allowed to read the comics from the newspaper until after church. This will strike many as quaint or even silly today, but such customs were a way of following the commandment’s injunction to “remember.”
You never forgot it was Sunday when I was a child. You wore special clothes on that day—your “Sunday best,” including your best underwear—and ate special food, usually pot roast or fried chicken. The day made a small blip of celebration in my parents’ otherwise flat-line workweek. My father was glad to put aside his paintbrush and ladder, and my mother was grateful the Bible freed her from the wringer washer and clothesline at least one day a week. They were both thankful for their own rest and sympathetic with a like need in waitresses and delivery boys…
As likely as not, we see Sunday as a chance for exercise, a time for physical exertion at a health club or ball game to make sure our muscles don’t atrophy…And those averse to exercise want entertainment, not reflection, distraction rather than rest. These days, we want more to do on Sundays, not less. For us the Sabbath means forgetting, not remembering.
No single subject was disputed more often between Jesus and the Pharisees than the kinds of activity permissible on the Sabbath. This was not a novel issue for debate then. The boundaries of Sabbath-keeping had been disputed for generations. The Pharisees and Sadducees had argued about whether the golden table in the Temple, where the twelve showbread loaves were displayed, should be washed on the Sabbath…For Jews of the first century, Sabbath keeping (along with the physical, though not visible, sign of circumcision) provided the outward sign that set them apart from the surrounding pagans.