Sam Caldwell, March 18, 2020
Hello, brothers and sisters. I just wanted to give you a brief word of encouragement and a word of refreshment in this time of uncertainty.
I was thinking when I woke up this morning of that man in Psalm 1. It says he is “blessed,” and he will be “like a tree planted by rivers of water.” And think about it: what makes that man blessed? What makes that man planted? What makes that man fruitful and makes it so that he has leaves that do not wither? It says in the Psalm that “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” He doesn’t take counsel from elsewhere, from sinners, from scoffers and scorners, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.
I want to encourage you, and to encourage my own soul, to fly back to the Word of God – to fly to Christ in a time of chaos, in a time when we are tempted to check the phone every second, to read new reports every minute, to watch the news all day. We want to stay wise; we want to know what’s going on, and there is something very right in that. But I want to encourage you to fly back to the Scriptures, to remember: that’s where we get stability. That’s where we become like that “tree planted by rivers of water,” when we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate in His law day and night.
The word I want to give you right now is this simple word: “Remember.” I have three things that I’d like to encourage you to remember in these days.
1) Remember: Christ is risen
The first is in 2 Timothy 2:8. It says, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel.”
What beautiful and cutting words! “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.” I remember when we were outside Planned Parenthood and it was very cold – and very dark spiritually – one morning. And our brother Danny preached from this verse. I remember him saying, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” And those words cut like a lightning bolt through the dark, through the spiritual darkness and even through the cold of that morning. I remember it being so strong, so enlightening, so refreshing! I remember even talking to Kiara about it that morning, saying, “Yes! That is exactly what we need!” That was exactly what we needed!
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.” This is a very good time to ask yourself, dear brother or sister in Christ: Do you remember Him? Do you believe in Him? Is the resurrection just a proposition that you assent to, or is it something that you believe in your heart – that God raised Christ from the dead? So, remember a risen Christ in this time. Remember the Lord you serve.
Remember what His name means. Jesus means “Yahweh saves.” It means that the God of the Old Testament saves. It means what Jonah himself believed, that “salvation is from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).
What does that second part of His name mean – “Christ”? Christ means, “The anointed One of God.” It means the Messiah. It means that Jesus is the One that God the Father chose to pour out all the oil of His blessing upon!
He is Jesus Christ. He is “Yahweh-Saves, the anointed One.”
And then this verse tells us that He was risen from the dead. We ought to remember Him risen from the dead. Remember His resurrection. Remember all the glory in it. Remember the love of the Father shown to the Son in raising Him from the dead. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.”
And then it says, “…of the seed of David, according to my gospel.” Consider that in your meditation, that Jesus Christ was of the seed of David. That brings two things to mind:
First, that Christ was royal. He was of this royal lineage of David. He was of the kingly line.
Second, it reminds us of Christ’s humanity. Christ was on this earth, fully man and fully God. And it is as the seed of David in His humanity that He went to the cross and took on our sins. And He went to the grave and died an actual death. And then there was silence over the earth. And on the third day He rose again. We are to remember that. We are to remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead – all the hope that’s wrapped up in that, all the glory that’s wrapped up in that! All the power that’s wrapped up in that! And to remember that He is our Lord – we’re going to rise with Him!
This is the time to remember the resurrection; when we are feeling shaky, when we are in need of hope, of life, of the promise of life in Christ Jesus. That’s the first thing I want you to remember: Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to Paul’s gospel. Amen.
2) Remember: Christ is perfect
Secondly, I want to encourage you to remember that God’s ways are perfect, and they are higher than our ways. We must remember that.
As so many around us are saying, “Where is God in all of this?,” so many around us are questioning God’s ways and maybe even tempting you to question God’s ways, you need to remember that that is a temptation – ultimately – from the devil. That is a satanic temptation.
God uses calamity, He uses disaster, to bring about His perfect judgements in this earth. When we look around and we see the coronavirus taking hold of those near us, causing much panic, we must rest assured that God’s ways are perfect. Whatever He’s doing here, whatever His plans are, whatever His counsel is, it is higher than our ways. And understand this: it is fitting that we don’t currently understand exactly what’s going on – because our ways are not His ways. Let me just give you a few Scriptures that I would encourage you to feed and meditate on.
Remember what Nebuchadnezzar prayed in Daniel 4:37. He said, “I praise and I extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” Did you get that? “All of His works are truth, and His ways are justice.” We must stand on that solid ground! That our God is always true, His ways are always just. He is perfect in everything He does.
That’s confirmed again in Genesis 18:25 where we get this question: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The answer of course is, “The Judge of all this earth is always doing right!” Even if we can’t entirely and always discern it, the Judge of this earth will do right.
That’s again affirmed in Isaiah 55. This would be a passage to open up and meditate on in these days. Consider this, remember this. It says,
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Comfort yourself in that, Christian. Remember that great truth: that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and if we don’t fully understand His hand of providence right now, then this is a wonderful time for us to humble ourselves and wait upon Him. Let God be God and let us be worms and sinners saved by grace, who are humble enough to say, “Lord, Your ways are not our ways. I don’t fully understand what You’re doing, Lord, but You are just and true in everything You do.”
3) Remember: Christ is reigning
Third, and finally, please remember that God is in control.
Remember that God is in control. If you’re a Christian and you’ve studied the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, that’s great. But this is a time to believe that doctrine. This is a time to ask yourself how much you truly believe that, as R.C Sproul says, “there is no maverick molecule in this universe.” God is in control of everything. God is in control of your heart. He’s in control of your head. He’s in control of your faith. He’s in control of your family, of your life, of this world, of disease, of calamity, of evil, of disaster. God is sovereign and He’s on His throne.
Here are some Scriptures that I ask you to comfort your soul in:
Listen to these glorious words in Habakkuk 2:20: “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” I love that! “The Lord is in His holy temple.” I encourage you to pull up that old Rich Mullins song, “Calling Out Your Name.” Rich Mullins quotes that line in Habakkuk and sings it like this:
“I can feel the earth tremble
beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
and the fury of the pheasant’s wings.
There’s fury in the pheasant’s wings.
And it tells me the Lord is in His temple.”
Isn’t that a beautiful lyric? Mullins perceives that there is chaos and rumbling here, and fury in the pheasant’s wings, and it tells him that the Lord is in His temple. Mullins continues, “And there is still a faith that can make the mountains move, and a love that can make the heavens ring, and I’ve seen love make heaven ring.” Go listen to that song – Rich Mullins, “Calling Out Your Name.” Think about that! The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord is there in heaven. The Lord is ruling there. The Lord is on His throne. Though you may not feel it, you must perceive it by faith.
Here are three more astounding verses:
Isaiah 40:22 “God sits upon the circle of the earth.” Imagine Him with your spiritual glasses on. Imagine God sitting upon the circle of the earth, controlling all – transcendent, high above it all, but in control of everything.
Isaiah 37:16 “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Who is enthroned above the cherubim.” Imagine the two cherubim upon the mercy seat, looking at one another and bowing down, and the Lord sits enthroned above the cherubim. Isaiah continues, “You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 29:10 “The Lord sits enthroned upon the flood, and the Lord sits as King forever.”
The same God who is enthroned upon this earth, who is now ruling and reigning over every single thing that happens with the Coronavirus, that happens in our church, that happens in Maine, that happens across this nation – everything that happens in this globe is under our God’s sovereign control. And He’s the same God who controlled the flood, who sat upon the flood in Noah’s day. The same God – ruling, reigning, controlling, judging, and bringing all things about for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
I pray you take comfort in these three things. And I pray you will take some time to remember them and meditate on these Scriptures.
First, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.
Second, remember that God’s ways are perfect, and are higher than our ways.
Third, remember that God is sovereign. God is in control.