Behold the Lamb

Behold the Lamb

The Apostle John in his Prologue (the first 18 verses) goes to great lengths to demonstrate the truth that the Son is God–He is the eternal Word, and He has made God known. In verses 19-34, we come to the testimony of John the Baptist. John the Baptist is clear that he is not the Christ. Rather, his entire mission is to point people to Jesus, the true Christ.

When John sees Jesus, he cries out “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (verse 29) Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime is the Lamb who has come into the world to be slain for sinners. He is the One who has made His people right with God by dying as their Substitute.

We are grateful that December 25, Christmas Day, falls on the Lord’s Day this year. What better way to rejoice at Christ’s birth than to worship with the people of God? We will consider what John the Baptist teaches us about Jesus this Lord’s Day during worship at 5 PM at The Commons at St. Andrews Church in Little Rock. For directions, click here, or contact us for more information.

The True Light

The True Light

Last week as we began studying John 1, we saw that the Son of God is the Eternal Word–that He was with God and that He was God. The divinity of the Son of God is taught clearly in John 1:1-5. We also saw that in verse 5, John writes, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Christ is the one who brings light to the world, as He is the true light.

As we continue in verses 6-13, we are told that John the Baptist is the witness to the light. He is not the light–in fact, it’s clear that he is “a man sent from God…to bear witness about the light.” (see verses 6-7). He was the one who would point others to “The true light.” (verse 9) This light is the one who has made Himself known–He has revealed Himself and has revealed the Father. But we are also told that He came to His own people and was rejected. We know well about the Scribes and Pharisees who would have been seen to be experts in the Old Testament Scriptures, and yet they missed Jesus because of the blindness due to sin.

It’s a sobering thought that one can be around the things of God and can even have access to the Word of God and yet miss Christ entirely. This gives us reason to pause and ask ourselves if we have received His Word truly and if we have submitted ourselves to the Savior.

But John is clear that some did believe, that some did receive him. He writes, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”(John 1:12-13) All who believe on Him are received as the children of God. This means not only the people of Israel who would believe, but Gentiles also would be received into the family of God. Christ is the Savior to both Jew and Gentile. And the privilege of being a child of God is one of the greatest blessings of the Gospel. We will consider that truth in more depth this Lord’s Day during worship at 5 at The Commons at St. Andrews Church in Little Rock. You can get directions here, or contact us for more information. You can also watch on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.

In the Beginning was the Word

In the Beginning was the Word

This Lord’s Day, we will begin a new series considering John 1:1-34. This week we will be studying verses 1-5.

In the opening verses of John’s Gospel, John goes to great lengths to set forth the fact that the Jesus is divine. He is God. He opens with that famous statement, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (verse 1) John helps us to see that the Son of God has always been. He has always existed with God–the Son is the Second Person of the Trinity. And He is God and always has been.

Jesus is the Word–He is the revelation of God, the One who makes God known. He would tell Philip in John 14:9, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” And He has always been the divine Son of God.

John will go on to set forth more truths about the divinity of Christ in this passage, and we will consider those together this Lord’s Day evening. But for now, I want to ask the question. Is this the way you think of Jesus? Do you recognize that He is divine? Have you submitted yourself to the truth that He is “God over all”? (Romans 9:5) The claims of Jesus Christ are pressed upon each one of us, and we must bow to Him.

But in bowing to Him, we find true hope, because as John will tell us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Christ is that light, the One who overcomes the darkness of our sin and misery. This is a season of the year in which so many people look for hope and peace, but many seek it in the warmth of the season, in time with family, or in other ways. As much as those things may be blessings, they will never provide someone with the lasting and eternal hope of Christ. As we study John 1, we see the One who brings life. We see the One who is God and who would become man. We see the One who is truly our Lord and Savior.

Join us this Lord’s Day as we begin this series together. We meet for worship at 5 PM at The Commons at St. Andrews Church. You can get directions here, or contact us for more information. You can also watch on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.

Who Is This?

Who Is This?

As a boy, our attic was a place of mystery and wonder.  Its clutter was a treasure trove of self-discovery. Things, my parents and grandparents knew, but forgot.  Things my parents and grandparents experienced but wanted to forget.  But to me it was a place to discover people whose names I knew but whose lives I did not.  It was a place to understand how I came to be who I was. 

Family histories are precious.  Even if notorious or even scandalous.  The names on our family tree are not mere chronological markers.  They represent real lives.  And they had real impact on our lives through their character, their genetics, their successes and their failures.  And what is true of our particular genealogies is also true of biblical genealogies.

At first glance those genealogies, like my childhood attic, seem cluttered and unfamiliar.  But God has placed them in the Scriptures for our instruction.  To understand more who we are, and more importantly, who God is.   Like my attic, those genealogies are treasure troves of self-discovery.  The difficulty with them is not how to find something meaningful, but how to distill all we find to its impact on us.

At the head of the story of the Incarnation, God gave us a genealogy.  This ancestry framed the humiliation and exaltation of our redeemer with the picture of a dysfunctional family.  But Jesus’ family tree is ours as well.  It is a family into which we have been adopted.  A family that shows us God’s faithfulness and grace to those who will not and cannot get it together.

At every point in Matthew’s gospel the question is asked of Jesus, “who is He?”  Who is this? Even the wind and waves of obey Him?  Who is this who even forgives sins?  Who is this of whom the crowds cry “Hosanna?”   At every turn we find someone asking this question.  But it is the question the Holy Spirit anticipates and answers at every turn.   And like every significant milestone in the story redemption, this gospel is introduced by a ‘toledoth,’  a geneaology.

Jesus is the Christ.  The Son of David.  The Son of Abraham.  He is the Son of Man and yet, the Son of God.   The story of Jesus’ beginnings, tells us who he is.  And who he is not.  By giving Jesus’ toledoth, the Holy Spirit unveils what Paul called a “great mystery, Jesus Christ manifest in the flesh.” 

Jesus’ toledoth does not reveal a new way of salvation.  But declares that God has kept his promise.  He has fulfilled the covenant of grace he made with generations of men and women in the Old Testament.  Matthew’s genealogy is not the story of a man’s life, but of God’s saving work to give new and eternal life to men who receive him. 

Who is this Jesus?  The story of Jesus’ beginnings concludes with instructions about his name.  “He will be called Jesus, because He will save His people from their sin.”  Do you know who Jesus is?  More importantly do you know Jesus, himself?   Join us as we examine Matthew 1:1-17 and consider the question so many asked about Jesus – “Who is this?”

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube

Our Banner

Our Banner

Almost everyone you talk to who lived in 1969 remembers the moon landing. Many watched this event on television, as the men landed on the moon and planted the U.S. flag in the ground. There have also been those who have climbed great mountains, such as Mt. Everest and planted their nation’s flag in the ground. People do this when they want to claim a discovery or a victory of some sort. But when we look at the Israelite’s victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-15, we see that they do not attribute this success to themselves. Rather, as Moses builds an altar he says in verse 15, “The LORD Is My Banner.”

In this remarkable passage, the Lord gives victory to His people as Moses holds the staff of God with his hands raised. This raised hands posture shows us the principle that their trust was in the Lord to give them this victory. As he holds the staff with which the Lord has used in giving His people freedom from the Egyptians, the raised staff represents that the Lord is the One who is triumphant.

Every Christian can look to their hope and confidence and say that the Lord is the one who is triumphant. It is God who has sent Christ into the world to be the Banner of every believer in Christ. The word that is translated “banner” in our passage has reference to the staff–the raised staff is pointed us to the great Savior Jesus Christ who would conquer the greatest enemy of His people, the enemy of sin and ultimately give triumph to His people.

At the same time, as the people of God trust in Him, this does not serve as an excuse for laxity when it comes to obedience. Joshua carefully obeys the command of Moses to gather an army to fight against the unprovoked attack from the Amalekites. Moses carefully obeys by raising his hands, and Aaron and Hur assist him in keeping his hands raised. They put forth effort–so in the Christian life, we are called to fight against sin, to wage war on our sin. We are to pursue holiness, yet with the confidence not in ourselves, but in God to give the victory.

Join us this Lord’s Day evening for worship at The Commons at St. Andrews Church at 5 PM as we consider these things together. For directions, click here, or contact us for more information. You can also watch on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.