Five Points Blog
- Brent Nelson
- Dec 06, 2013
Sometimes careful Bible readers will see Exodus 19:5-6 and conclude the covenant God made with Moses was based on good works to earn God’s favor: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” It is transparently clear that God requires obedience to keep his covenant with him. No obedience, no covenant.
But that leaves an important question unanswered: should God’s people obey in order to earn covenant blessings, or do we obey to reveal we’ve already been chosen by God in mercy? The above verses show it is the latter.
Note the short phrase at the end of verse 5, “For all the earth is mine.” It means that God could have chosen anyone, but he made the Israelites his treasured possession. He chose them and saved them before he gave them the Ten Commandments. So his call to obey doesn’t burden us with works to earn his favor but awakens a heart of joyful faith, confident in his love, that seeks to live out God’s love and mercy.
Exodus 20:2 shows the same. Just before God gave the Ten Commandments, he began, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” It is only after their salvation from Egypt that God gives the law to the people of Israel. Obeying the Ten Commandments was never meant to get us saved but to show that we’ve been saved!
No one pleases God by working for him but by trusting in his working for us! All this is purchased by the perfect work of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on behalf of all who trust in him. What a God, what a love, what a salvation!
Join us this Sunday at 9:30am for various classes during our BIble Study Hour and at 10:45am for our morning worship service where Pastor Brent will continue the series called "Royal Decrees."
- Brent Nelson
- Nov 29, 2013
All God’s love comes to us through his covenants with us.
After creating Adam and Eve, God said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Yet they failed to live in faithful obedience to God. Both ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and death entered the world. God granted his love covenant, and it was rejected by our first parents’ unbelief in him.
In love God did not destroy them but made promises to them. Though pain and death would remain on the earth, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, the devil (Genesis 3:15). In this promise, God embeds his kindness and love.
So also in the days of Noah, God sent a globe-engulfing flood in response to the wickedness of all humankind, which was only evil continuously. Everyone but Noah and his family perished. In love God granted grace to Noah. He promised to destroy the earth by water never again. Because of his great love, God re-established his covenant of fruit-bearing and blessing on the earth with Noah and his descendants.
God called Abraham from his paganism to sojourn into a new land and become the patriarch of a new people, the Hebrews. Fulfilling the great promises God made to Abraham, God graciously granted a son to old Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Yet Abraham grieves God by his unbelief. God fulfills his promise and makes a great nation of Abraham, in fact many nations, including you and me!
The breathless wonder of all these covenant acts of God is that they rest and climax upon the worth and work of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Join us at 10:45am on this first Sunday of Advent in celebrating the birth of the Savior. All Bible Study Hour classes will not meet, breaking for the holiday weekend.
- Brent Nelson
- Nov 22, 2013
God is king over all that is. And his Son reigns with him. Abraham Kuyper proclaimed, “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” Christ owns all and therefore rules over all. He is the supremely Sovereign One!
So when we creatures interact with God, it will only be through Christ and on his terms. These terms are called covenants. By royal covenants alone can anyone experience the love of God. We come to the king at his invitation—by royal decree—or we come not at all.
This means every blessing from God is a covenant blessing. That he hears us in prayer is owing to his covenant love. That we are not consumed by the blazing fire of his holiness is owing to his covenantal love. That he grants us his righteousness and its end, eternal life, is all owing to the royal, covenantal love of God. When we approach God, all we deserve is wrath; yet all we get is mercy.
This entrance into God’s covenantal mercy only comes by faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All the covenants of God find their climax in him. Listen to how the writer to the Hebrews proclaims the covenant-fulfilling excellency of Christ, “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
Beginning this Lord’s Day and until we celebrate Christ’s birth, we’ll explore the royal covenants. Our aim will be to see more clearly how the covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David arise out of God’s first covenant with Christ and climax in the new covenant with us through Christ. Having seen these glories, might we savor these glories in grateful worship of the King of Mercy.
Join us this Sunday at 9:30am for various classes during our BIble Study Hour and at 10:45am for our morning worship service where Pastor Brent will begin a new, five-week series called "Royal Decrees."
- Brent Nelson
- Nov 15, 2013
The Apostle Paul reverses common sense when he writes, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). Usually and unquestionably we assume that the one who sows sparingly will have more because he reserves more for himself. And we think the one who sows bountifully will end empty handed. Faith marginalized and eyes fixed firmly on what’s in hand, we calculate every decision according to the world’s values.
But with God it is just the reverse. His arithmetic magnifies his supply. The one who cautiously holds back realizes little. Yet to the one who gives generously in faith, God supplies even more bountifully. Our gift plus God equals boundless glory!
Why do I say glory? Because that is how Paul goes on to describe the outcome of such God-centered giving. It always results in the recipients of such gifts giving thanks and thus glorifying God. Listen to the flow of verse 13, “By their approval of this service [of our giving to them], they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others.”
No one is born with God’s values. They are granted to those born again by the Spirit as we grow in grace. How is God granting you supernatural growth in handling his wealth? Do you default to polite versions of the world’s values of fear and miserliness, resulting in emptiness? Or are you striving toward God’s values of faith and generosity that yield bounty and blessing to his name?
With every dollar and every decision, let your love for God and your confidence in his promises shine through your generous giving. Then watch his glory abound through you to others and redound through them to him.
Join us this Sunday at 9:30am for a second combined Bible Study Hour to further discuss the Planting Joy vision; at 10:45am, we'll come together for our morning worship service where Pastor Brent will preach on the role of giving in discipleship.
- Charles Spurgeon
- Nov 09, 2013
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
It is a grand thing when greatness and goodness are united; it is only in the Divine Being that either of them exists absolutely, and essentially. Happy is it for us that they both exist in the Lord to an equal degree. To be great and not good might lead to tyranny in the King, and for him to be good and not great might involve countless calamities upon his subjects from foreign foes, so that either alternative would be terrible; let the two be blended, and we have a monarch in whom the nation may rest and rejoice.
~ Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David
Join us this Sunday at 9:30am for Bible Study Hour and at 10:45am to come together to worship our Great and Good God.