Sunday sermon. A truth underlying the passage I preached from this past Sunday, 1 Timothy 5:1-16, is that as Christians we have two families: our natural family and our spiritual family (that is, our brothers and sisters in Christ). And this passage speaks of responsibilities we owe to each family. We are to take care of those in our own (natural) family who are in need, such as widows. Even unbelievers know they have a duty to care for their own, and often they do it. That’s why Paul says if a Christian fails to provide “for members of his household” he is “worse than an unbeliever” (v.8).
But we also have a duty to care for those who belong to the family of God. If a widow (or, we may infer, any Christian in need) has no family or other means of support, the church must provide the care she needs (vs. 3, 9, 16). As a Christian, she is our sister and mother in Christ and we must extend to her the same love and care we would for our own flesh-and-blood sister or mother.
As the church cares for her own brothers and sisters in this way, she becomes the means by which the Heavenly Father shows his love for his beloved sons and daughters.
Sunday School. I’ve been blessed the past several months as I’ve taught through John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Just in my preparing for the class and individual lessons, I’ve probably read through it about three times. And reading studies on Bunyan’s classic allegory has helped me understand it better.
In a recent passage we looked at from Sunday School, Hopeful describes how he came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I love the way he explains how he was transformed by the grace of God: “And now was my heart full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affections running over with love, to the Name, People, and Ways of Jesus Christ.”
That should be the testimony of every Christian: by the grace of God, I now have a heart that sincerely loves Christ and all that has to do with Christ. There can be no surer mark of true saving faith than these new affections for the Savior, his truth, and his church.
Family news. Last week was bittersweet, saying goodbye to our second daughter as she flew to Ohio to begin her first semester of college there. Our eldest daughter will leave in about a month to study abroad in Europe for the first semester of her junior year. The time will come only too soon when the three younger kids also start leaving the house. For this reason, it was especially sweet to be together with all five kids for a family vacation in July.
World news. My prayers are for brothers and sisters in Christ in Afghanistan, now at the mercy of evil men. May God protect his people from those who hate him and persecute his church, and may he give extraordinary faith and courage to his saints who will suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus. This is another reminder of how good we Christians have it here in the U.S. And how our true home is not this world but the world that is to come.
Soli Deo Gloria!