Five Points Blog

Seeing Do You See?

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and the cross. Enroute he stops at the ancient city of Jericho – possibly the oldest city on the face of the earth. There Jesus encounters a well-known blind man. His name was Bartimaeus. This man was forced by his blindness to sit by the road and beg.

But God was at work. As soon as he heard Jesus was near his faith erupted from his soul to his mouth and he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). When others tried to ‘shush’ him, his faith surged all the higher and he cried out again, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Bartimaeus knew Who he was imploring. God had given him sight long before his eyes could see. He could see what the disciples could not: Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah of David, God’s only Son. Christ is the only Begotten of the Ancient of Days. The God who formed and felled the world’s oldest city, Jericho, sent forth his Son before whom every worshipping knee will fall.  And the Son of God was crucified for our sinful blindness before the very foundation of the world (Acts 2:23).

This was now the second time Jesus healed a blindman (the first was Mark 8:22-26). Both of these accounts serve as bookends to frame the healing of the disciples’ willful blindness in their hearts. All the teaching and events that occur between these two healings represent Jesus giving spiritual sight to His blurry-eyed disciples. By contrast, Bartimaeus was far more eager to see and savor Christ’s true nature, than his own disciples were!

What about you? Seeing do you see? It’s the most important question in the world. Only those who see with the eyes of their heart the true beauty and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ can be sure of their eternal salvation and truly say, “All is well.”

Our Witness Glorifies God

We glorify God by working out our own salvation. God has twisted together His glory and our good. We glorify Him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; now, His design of free grace takes, and God has the glory of His mercy; so that, while we are endeavoring our salvation, we are honoring God. What an encouragement is this to the service of God: to think, while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heavent, I am increasing God's glory. Would it not be an encouragement to a subject to hear his prince say to him, "You will honor and please me very much if you will go to the gold mine and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away?" So, for God to say, "Go to the biblical ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified."

Thomas Watson, an english puritan in the 1600s, knew that God is most glorified by us when we find our greatest satisfaction in Him. And he knew we cannot do this with our own strength, as is shown in his illustration when the prince tells the subject to go and do. The more happiness you have in God, the more He will count Himself glorified! So, what about today?

Father, may you grant the grace we need to dig into you for our joy for your great glory!

Preparing Our Homes for Easter

Many families celebrate the various holidays throughout the year with different traditions. In our home we have generally given the most attention and preparation to Christmas, but after reading Noel Piper's blog and contemplating her thoughts on the Lenten and Easter season, we have been encouraged to rethink what preparation for Easter looks like in our home.

In Treasuring God In Our Traditions, Noel writes:

Over the course of the Lenten and Easter season, we are remembering the lowest points of sin and the highest heights of what God has done for us through Jesus. Through Jesus we have the only way to the Father. That’s worth celebrating!

Jesus said . . ., “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
And yet, every year somehow, it’s so easy for Easter to slip up on us, and suddenly we’re saying, “Oh my goodness, it’s Palm Sunday already!” Let’s try to think of some ways to be prepared, to be waiting for Easter.

Although Easter is the highest celebration of the Christian’s year, it doesn’t have the fascination and thrill that surrounds Christmas. There’s a reason; the death of Jesus and our part in causing it was a very somber and tragic event. But we mustn’t avoid preparation for Easter simply because the sober, contemplative season of Lent precedes it. As with all the other special times of our year, we’ll be wise and obedient if we start by preparing our own hearts and lives. Lent offers us seven weeks for this purpose.

Lent comes from an Old English word that means lengthen, signifying that the days are getting longer because Spring is here.

Traditionally Lent is a season of sober, realistic reflection on our own lives and our need for a Savior. It is a time for turning away from anything that has kept us from God and for turning or returning to him. It is a time to pray that God renew our love for him and our dependence on him.

Such a helpful reminder! For other thoughts and ideas on how to prepare for the Easter season, check out these resources:

Lenten Lights: Eight Biblical Devotions to Prepare for Easter by Noel Piper

A Season of Lent by Geoff Ashley

A Guide to Lent by The Village Church

Pray With Us

The junior high and high school students are at their annual winter retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend. We invite you to be in prayer for us this weekend that God would move mightily through the preaching of His Word. Here is a note with a prayer aim from Pastor Kempton Turner of Bethlehem Baptist Church who is speaking to the students in the four chapel sessions:

Theme: Walk Worthy Of The Gospel

Retreat text: Ephesians 4.1-6 (see also Philippians 1.27)

Central verse: "I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Eph. 4.1) ESV

Core-truth: Only spiritually living, "called" people, who have been "made alive" through the gospel of Jesus Christ can "walk worthy" with God in a way that is in line with the truth, beauty and goodness of the gospel! Our present "worthy walk" is based completely upon God's past "gospel work"!!

Prayer aim: Father in heaven, would you be so pleased to take your regenerate children deeper into who you have already made us through the gospel, that we would increasingly live in line with our new identity as followers of the Living Christ! Lord Jesus, please cause your Spirit to awaken faith in the faithless and call spiritually dead sinners to life through Your glorious gospel - that they too might walk worthy of the gospel call (Eph. 2.1-9)! Glorify Your Name among us, in us and through us!

The Cross: Christ’s Mission, and Ours

It is now the third time in three chapters that Jesus has predicted his own death and resurrection (8:31-32, 9:30-32 and now in 10:32-34). His suffering and death and the resurrection are the foremost events on His mind. They are the means by which all He said proves true and all he has done finds its climax. In His death, Christ will most fully glorify the Father (John 17:1). The cross is Christ’s mission.

Since it is Christ’s mission, it becomes our boast. For by it our guilt has been fully cleansed (Colossian 2:15). God’s just wrath against our sin is fully satisfied (Romans 5:9). Our righteousness has been accomplished (2 Corinthians 5:21). Even the faith God requires of us to come to the cross has been purchased by it (Ephesians 2:8,9). By it we are brought near to God (1 Peter 3:18). All bondages to the flesh and the world are broken by it (Galatian 6:14). So that by the cross alone do we find peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Revel with the great English puritan, Stephen Charnock at the great effect of the cross on our behalf: “When we tremble under a sense of our sins, the terrors of the Judge and the curses of the Law, let us look upon a crucified Christ, the remedy to all our miseries. His Cross has procured a crown. His passion has expiated our transgressions. His death has disarmed the Law. His blood has washed a believers soul. This death is the destruction of our enemies, the spring of our happiness, the eternal testimony of divine love. We have good reason, as well as the apostle Paul, to determine with ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and especially him crucified.”

If Christ’s mission climaxed on the cross, how much more must ours?

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