How we Respond to Christ’s People when they are Oppressed Reveals the condition of our Heart

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:41-46)

The Scripture virtually applies itself, right? Think about it. How many of those adjectives fit the Christian who is being terrorized by an abuser? –

  • Hungry
  • Thirsty
  • Stranger (isolated by her abuser)
  • Naked (another sign of economic oppression)
  • Sick (most victims suffer from poor health)
  • In prison (abuse is a prison, and the legal abuse so often effected by the abuser through the courts is a kind of prison)

Who is it that Jesus has a beef with in this Scripture? Answer: “Christians” who blew off such a person’s needs. Notice carefully (read the entire passage to see this more clearly) that Jesus is saying that the acid test that discerns a sheep from a goat is how a person treats one of Christ’s true people when they are in need or distress. This passage is not about the typical social ministries churches so often carry out and even boast of (prison ministries, feeding the poor, etc). Those are actually easy things to do and they earn society’s praise. No. Jesus is speaking here of true Christians who are oppressed for being Christians and of how a person who claims to be a Christian responds to them.

This Scripture would indicate that there are lots and lots and lots of pastors and church leaders and church members who CLAIM to be followers of Jesus Christ but who, indeed, are not. How do we know? Because the typical response of churches to abuse victims is… well, you all know the answer, don’t you?

And therefore, there are many people today who claim the name of Jesus Christ for themselves who ought to be doing some serious soul-searching about the reality of their professed salvation. After all, they are flunking the very test our Lord has set out here.  Pretty sobering, huh?

The End of Jerusalem – CRC Sunday Sermon

July 25, 2021

Sunday School Songs

Come People of the Risen King
Verse 1
Come people of the Risen King
Who delight to bring Him praise
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in
Chorus
Rejoice rejoice let ev’ry tongue rejoice
One heart one voice
O Church of Christ rejoice
Verse 2
Come those whose joy is morning sun
And those weeping through the night
Come those who tell of battles won
And those struggling in the fight
For His perfect love will never change
And His mercies never cease
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace
Verse 3
Come young and old from ev’ry land
Men and women of the faith
Come those with full or empty hands
Find the riches of His grace
Over all the world His people sing
Shore to shore we hear them call
The truth that cries through ev’ry age
Our God is all in all

Keith Getty/Kristyn Getty/Stuart Townsend
2007 Thankyou Music
CCLI #108183

Christ Our Hope in Life and Death
Verse 1
What is our hope in life and death
Christ alone Christ alone
What is our only confidence
That our souls to Him belong
Who holds our days within His hand
What comes apart from His command
And what will keep us to the end
The love of Christ in which we stand
Chorus
O sing hallelujah
Our hope springs eternal
O sing hallelujah
Now and ever we confess
Christ our hope in life and death
Verse 2
What truth can calm the troubled soul
God is good God is good
Where is His grace and goodness known
In our great Redeemer’s blood
Who holds our faith when fears arise
Who stands above the stormy trial
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh
Unto the shore the rock of Christ
Verse 3
Unto the grave what will we sing
Christ He lives Christ He lives
And what reward will heaven bring
Everlasting life with Him
There we will rise to meet the Lord
Then sin and death will be destroyed
And we will feast in endless joy
When Christ is ours forevermore

Jordan Kauflin | Keith Getty | Matt Boswell | Matt Papa | Matthew Merker© 2020 Getty Music Hymns and Songs, Getty Music Publishing, Jordan Kauflin Music, Love Your Enemies Publishing, Matthew Merker Music, Messenger Hymns
CCLI  # 108183

Sunday Service

Pastoral Reading
Psalm 56
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
    all day long an attacker oppresses me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
    for many attack me proudly.
3 When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?
5 All day long they injure my cause;[b]
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They stir up strife, they lurk;
    they watch my steps,
    as they have waited for my life.
7 For their crime will they escape?
    In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
8 You have kept count of my tossings;[c]
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that[d] God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?
12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

Opening Hymn
Worthy of Worship (HMA #132)

Worthy of worship, worthy of praise, 
Worthy of honor and glory; 
Worthy of all the glad songs we sing, 
Worthy of all the offerings we bring. 

Refrain
You are worthy, Father, Creator. 
You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer. 
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful; 
Worthy of worship and praise. 

Worthy of rev’rence, worthy of fear, 
Worthy of love and devotion; 
Worthy of bowing and bending of knees, 
Worthy of all this and added to these. 

Almighty Father, Master and Lord, 
King of all kings and Redeemer, 
Wonderful Counselor, Comforter, Friend, 
Savior and Source of our life without end. 

Prayer
Focus this week: Joenne Courtney

Offering Hymn
Let the Earth Resound (HMA #73)
“Let the earth resound with songs of praise
To the Father’s power and love;
For the One who set each star in place
Chose to set His heart on us.
To the One whose might gives victory,
Yet whose mercies never cease;
As the tapestry of history
Tells the story of His grace.
King immortal, Faithful God
Crowned with splendour, rich in love.
Let the heavens and the earth resound
With songs of praise to You.
Let the earth be stilled before the sight
Of a Father’s sacrifice –
That revealed the depths of love divine
In the face of Jesus Christ.
Through a life of full obedience
And a death in agony,
He removed the rebel’s punishment
And He set the prisoner free
Let the earth resound with songs of faith
At the wonder yet to come,
When all sin and pain are put to death
And the church and Christ are one.
When we stand as God’s great family
And we meet the Father’s gaze,
And we share in His eternal joy
As we join in ceaseless praise.”
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Keith Getty / Stuart Townend
Let The Earth Resound lyrics © Thank You Music Ltd.

Scripture Reading
2 Peter 2

Preaching the Word
The End of Jerusalem and 
the Preservation of the Remnant
Jeremiah 52

Closing Hymn
Forever Settled in the Heavens (TH #59)

1 Forever settled in the heavens,
Thy Word, O Lord, shall firmly stand;
Thy faithfulness shall never fail;
The earth abides at thy command.

2 Thy word and works unmoved remain,
Thine every purpose to fulfill;
All things are thine and thee obey,
And all as servants wait thy will.

3 I should have perished in my woe
Had not I loved thy law divine;
That law I never can forget;
O save me, Lord, for I am thine.

4 The wicked would destroy my soul,
But in thy truth is refuge sure;
Exceeding broad is thy command,
And in perfection shall endure.

 

(links to sermon and songs are in blue font) 

“You Meant it for Evil, But….”

Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

These words of course were spoken by Joseph to his brothers who had abused him so terribly. The brothers – a very rare case – came to him in what appears to be genuine repentance. But even if they had not, this particular part of Joseph’s words to them would apply. “You meant it for evil…but God meant it for good.”

I think that at least at the other end of abuse, especially when we have been enabled to get out of the abuser’s evil control, and we look back, we can see this. I was reviled by many “fine Christians” down through the years and what they did (NONE of them have ever repented) they will give account for to God. But I also know that in these years of misery I was in school. I suppose we can also think of Moses out there for 40 years in the desert thinking that his usefulness for the Lord was done and kaput! In fact, it was just beginning!

Evil people are evil. God’s wrath is upon them. But He uses them in our lives to wake us up to evil and its tactics so that we can expose it and help others and continue to stay free of it ourselves. “Thanks,” abusers. Your evil has turned to my good.