Sermon for Saturday

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11

A barbarian spy was sent to infiltrate a legion of Roman soldiers at an outpost on the edge of the Roman empire. The spy’s mission was to sow discord among the legionnaires, to cause them to become unsatisfied with their legatus (legion commander) and to eventually rebel against him. But the spy quickly encountered a problem. The legionnaires were all deeply attached to their legatus. He was a brilliant leader who had led them to several victories, and he was a considerate and fair man who treated everyone under his command well. He had wisely chosen centurions who treated their individual bands as well as the legatus treated the entire legion. The spy could find not a single legionnaire who had a grudge against the legatus or who could be persuaded to think ill of him in any way. In fact, all of them praised him and were openly excited about his abilities and his personality. So the spy’s mission was a total failure. Spies are operating today among God’s legionnaires (Christians), seeking to sow discontent with our Legatus (the Lord Jesus Christ). Are they having any success?

We joy in God. The Greek word that is translated ‘joy’ in our text carries the meaning of rejoiceful boasting. That is – or should be – our attitude toward God, and especially about the Lord Jesus. The devil’s spies have a mission to destroy our rejoiceful boasting of our Lord, a mission that they will eventually lose. But in the meantime, they are making inroads among the Lord’s people, inroads that are limiting our ability to be all that our Lord would desire of us. The enemy would have us unhappy with our leadership, both with our Lord Jesus Christ and with His centurions, the overseers who are tasked with shepherding God’s Assemblies. The enemy would have us become more interested in tasting the tinsel and dainties of the world around us than in seeking the commendation of our Lord. The enemy’s success is in inverse proportion to our rejoiceful boasting in our Lord.

We joy in God. Our joy in God comes from our knowledge of Him as revealed in His Word, and as experienced in our daily following Him. We will learn more of His loving kindness to us, of His desire to bestow on us all that is for our very best, of His gracious character. We will deepen our understanding of His salvation and of the exceeding rich and precious promises to us. The more we know of Him, and the closer we follow, the more excited we will be about His leadership and His mission. And the less attractive will be the devil’s distractions.

We joy in God. How excited are you to be among His followers? – Jim MacIntosh

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