Erik’s sermon this past Sunday had me thinking about the old hymn Onward, Christian Soldiers, particularly how the opening verse encapsulates the entire passage.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
Christ, our Royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see his banner go!
Erik’s sermon highlighted that:
- Jesus is the anointed Christ of Godwho will fulfill all God’s promises to redeem a world cursed through sin, to defeat Satan who led us into this curse, and to lead a redeemed people into an eternal inheritance of glory and peace and life.
- But to do this He must suffer many things, be killed, then raised again… the road to triumph would come with great costs and casualties, none greater than the cost He would pay in Jerusalem.
- But it would also come with costs for all those would follow Him; to come after the Man of Sorrows means we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow Him.
I was convicted that I (and probably we) all could do with a greater dose of the Onward, Christian Soldiers mindset and spirit. I think one of the effects the last two years of Covid-19 quarantining may have had on many of us has been a drift toward living on defense and retreating to our own homes and hobbies and entertainment. But the call to discipleship is not “shelter in place, but “forward into battle!’
I wonder how many of us hear the call to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and think, “Yeah, I can try to fit a little more of that into my schedule as long as it doesn’t interfere with my agenda, my leisure, my past times, etc” when this calling is radical in its scope and to be our priority #1.
The transfiguration was Jesus’ gracious way of inspiring his disciples (and us!) to greater courage and willingness to count the cost and follow Him. He knows our fearfulness, our aversion to pain and suffering, and how prone we are to doubt. So he reveals a glimpse of his divine glory and the certainty of what He is about to accomplish in Jerusalem that will radiate outward with great power to the ends of the earth.
The transfiguration reminds us that Jesus truly is our Royal Master who will triumphantly lead us against our foe. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).” This passage should increase our confidence to follow him into battle for the assured victory on the other side.
Kenny Clark will be preaching Luke 9:18-27 for us this Sunday and Walt Harrah will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for them as they prepare? And let’s pray, like Moses did when God called Israel to the daunting task of entering the land and driving out the enemy nations, “Please show us your glory!” (Exodus 33:18)
Let’s see you this Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
Song Link of the Week
Lion and the Lamb by Fernando Ortega
Who is He who’s the mightiest of all?
Who is He creation trembles at His call?
Who is He the lowly sacrifice
Who paid a victim’s price?
His name is Jesus