Women’s Fellowship Annual Address 2011

Women’s Ministry In Christ’s Strength for the Church

Thank you for allowing me to come and share with you this afternoon. As Paul reminds us in Romans 1, we are mutually blessed by each other, and as I’ve been so blessed and strengthened and encouraged by so many of you, I hope that what we look at today from God’s Word will be a blessing you and our Women’s Fellowship as well.

At our last meeting, it was suggested that I speak a bit about how Women’s Fellowship fits into the overall ministry of the church, its role, etc. As I prayerfully reflected on this concept, I thought it might be best for us to first remind ourselves about what Jesus’ ministry, how His ministry instructs the Church’s ministry, and then lastly how our Women’s Fellowship and you as women in our congregation might live and serve for His glory from these truths. When we do that, I think we see that Christ is really our strength and our life for empowering all of our ministry in His Church.

Jesus’ Ministry
Well let’s start then by first reminding ourselves about the distinctives of Jesus’ ministry for what He was sent to do by the Father. You know, I’m working with our 9th grade catechism students, and this year it just happens that all of them are girls, and their mentors are moms and women here at the church. So I’m the only guy in there! And there are times when I think I’m going to have to leave the class; too much estrogen! But one of the things these girls have been struck by time and time again as we’ve worked through the Gospel of Luke is how Jesus’s actions are so completely against what the world expects, but also so contrary to what “good,” religious people expect as well.

For example, Jesus’ puts the priority of His ministry on teaching and preaching rather than on miracles.

Luke 4:42-43 he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

We can understand why the people were so desperate to keep Jesus around; the previous context shows Jesus performing miracles at every turn: healings, restoring health, and casting out demons. We would think that this is the good life, to be rid of the evils of living in a fallen world, but Jesus has his sights set on proclaiming the Good News. Continue reading

The Glory of God for Worship

Dear Zion,

One of the things I enjoy doing most with you is spending time in worship to give glory to God. Thinking about what we do in worship helps us to realize how important it is to bring glory to God in all that we do.

The activity of bringing glory to God is something that we learn chiefly from God Himself. Everything our Triune Lord does brings praise, honor, and glory to Himself. Scripture is replete with the fact that everything God does is glorious, and it is all “from Him, and through Him, and for Him forever” (Romans 11:36). Even our existence falls into this category, as we are those “whom I created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7). “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” and the purpose of this was “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). More specifically, He called Israel “in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3). When He brought Israel through the Red Sea in the Exodus, it was for His glory (Psalm 106:7-8), and it was this same reason He never forsook them in their later rebellions (I Samuel 12:22). For the glory of His Name’s sake, God forgives our sins (Psalm 25:11; Isaiah 43:25), He welcomes us (Romans 15:7), He gives us the Holy Spirit (John 16:14), and brings us to our heavenly home (John 17:24) – all for His glory! When God tells us in Isaiah 48:9-11 “I will not share My glory with another,” John Piper reminds us in his book Let the Nations Be Glad that God’s ultimate goal is His glory, and that “the most passionate heart for the glorification of God is God’s [own] heart.”[1]

So when we live our lives for God’s glory, we are joining with the Almighty Jehovah in the most important activity in the universe: glorifying our glorious God! We pray for God’s glory in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory!” Even our sin is primarily about God’s glory: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our obedience and evangelical service is for God’s glory (Philippians 1:9, 11; I Peter 4:11). We are to do everything for God’s glory: “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

Reformed Christians have emphasized this important truth for centuries. Over four hundred years ago, the Westminster Catechism started Question #1 by asking, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer? “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The most important thing we can do as human beings is to glorify and enjoy God.

So not only do Christians give their every living, breathing moment for the glory of God, but we explicitly set apart time on the Lord’s Day – Sunday – to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness (I Chronicles 16:28). This worship that we render to God is subtly different from how we glorify God throughout the week. During the week, we glorify God at our jobs and vocations individually by faithful obedience. But in worship, we gather corporately as the Body of Christ, called out of the world as His washed people in the name of our Triune God. In corporate worship, we do not worship God as we choose, but as He has commanded us. As the First and Second Commandments remind us, we must not only worship the true God (First Commandment), but we must worship Him in the way that He prescribes (Second Commandment). We are commanded to be very careful to do only what God has commanded us to do, and not to turn aside to our own ideas or desires (Deuteronomy 12:28).
As we worship our Lord together on Sunday, may we be a people who glorify God throughout the week, and then gather to glorify His Name together as the Family of God. He is glorious!, and it is our privilege to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.

Praying with you to worship our glorious God,
Pastor Brian