Good News for Hard Hearts - Part 1: Looking Inward
It is a joy to be a part of Calvary Grace Church. We all benefit from sound preaching as we worship God together. As elders, we talk about keeping the main things central. We don’t want to compromise our high view of God’s Word and God’s promise to accomplish His purposes in His people through the Word. This means that sitting under good preaching is not an end in itself. The Word works. God works through His people as they are changed by His Word. This work in us begins with prayer and leads to an overflow of evangelism and mission.
We have just finished a brief sermon series on mission and we are launching a new monthly church prayer meeting on Wednesday, September 24th. The gospel is good news, The Good News. We sing, pray and hear this gospel every week as we gather for worship. The point of the whole Bible – the point of creation – is God’s glory in this Good News.
When we get the gospel out there in the world, we can feel like we’re crazy. We may be told right out that we are fools. This can tempt us to be quiet. Even the possibility of rejection can make us silent non-witnesses. The gospel is good news, but it is good news that is proclaimed to hearts that are often hard.
Pastor Clint reminds us from time to time that one of the great things about meeting as a church family on a regular basis is the reminder that we aren’t crazy. To be with other people here in the Calgary area that believe the Bible and trust Christ in the gospel is a wonderful affirmation that these things are true and urgent. We don’t get this affirmation by merely being a community, but by submitting to the Bible as it is preached, but we do this together.
As we think about good news for hard hearts, we need to start by examining our own hearts. Yes, we know that there are unbelieving, hard hearts all around us. But do we believe the good news ourselves? Do we believe the power of the gospel that we are hearing in the new sermon series in Romans? Am I more conscious of the disapproval of man than I am the power and the glory of God in the gospel?
As a word of encouragement, if you are convicted that your heart has hard parts and you feel the sting of the world’s rejection, you are not alone. As we seek to obey Christ, our sins and shortcomings as weak witnesses will accuse us and maybe even silence us. What can we do about this?
The first thing that we must do is to pursue a greater vision of God’s glory. If we fear God, we will fear no man. We are already sitting under God-glorifying preaching and participating in serious, biblical worship together. This is very important. We must also pursue God privately by reading the Bible and praying. The basic spiritual disciplines will help us to find joy in obeying God.
We must also pray together. This is why we are starting a regular church prayer meeting on Wednesday evening. We will pray for the world, for Calgary, for our friends and loved ones. But we will also pray for one another. We will rejoice in fruitful gospel conversations, but we will also encourage each other as we admit missed opportunities and confess our hard hearts. I trust that we will see healing, softening, strengthening and gospel fruitfulness as we are drawn more closely together for a common cause – the glory of God in the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.