From the Pastor’s Study – January 11, 2022

We’ve come through another holiday season and we’re off and running with the New Year. For our family, the last month was eventful. Our two daughters away at college came home for the winter break, and our whole family took a trip (7 of us, plus luggage, crammed into a minivan!) to Washington for a friend’s wedding, and then to Montana to visit my parents. Despite driving in the dead of winter, and over several passes, God mercifully kept us from any serious snowstorms.

One stop we made along the way was Moscow, Idaho, where we discovered one of the best coffee shops I’ve been to: Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub. Not many coffee shops offer a large selection of used theological books for sale (or, if I’m not mistaken, are named for a hero of the Reformation!). Speaking of coffee, for Christmas my kids bought me a ballcap with the logo of one of my favorite local coffee haunts, Old World Coffee. I shall wear it with pride.

With Advent over, I returned to preaching from Isaiah at the morning services. This past Sunday our passage was Isaiah 47:1-15, in which the Lord declares judgment against the nation of Babylon for her sin and pride. I spoke about how in the Scriptures, Babylon signifies not just the historical city and empire but stands for every nation or people who build a society and culture in opposition to God’s truth and righteousness.

With that in mind, I mentioned some aspects of our society that can only be described as “Babylonian.” Isaiah’s message for the world is that God will bring his judgment upon every person whose heart is filled with Babylon’s pride and unbelief.

But as Christians we have every reason to be hopeful and thankful. God will redeem his people out of this world’s Babylons, and keep us in his love and grace. And, the judgment that we deserve for our own sin and unbelief (for apart from God’s grace we are all Babylonians at heart), Jesus took upon himself for our forgiveness and redemption.

At the evening service I preached on the Parable of the Sower from Mark 4:1-20. What a wonderful encouragement that though the seeds of the gospel may not bear fruit in the lives of many, God will see to it that his Word is received by many others whose hearts are fertile soil and so produce (by God’s grace) much fruit for his glory.

Finally, I’ve started reading one of the books I bought at the Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference last fall. The book is Thomas Boston’s Human Nature in Its Fourfold State. I’m still near the beginning, but so far I love it. Boston is clear and profound, and he brings out truths from Scripture passages I’ve never seen before. It’s been a feast for my soul.

The Lord’s abundant blessings on you this New Year!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Johnson