Transfixed and Transformed

Nathan George, Speaker

2 Corinthians 3 | April 28 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
April 28
Transfixed and Transformed | 2 Corinthians 3
Nathan George, Speaker

If you would, turn to 2 Corinthians, chapter 3, and we will read through this passage. First, would you pray with me. Father, as we come to Your Word, we simply ask that You would open it to us. We ask that we might see Christ, that we might behold Him as He is, and we ask that as we walk through Your Word, You would change us. This is our prayer. Hear us, we pray, O Lord. In Christ’s name. Amen.

2 Corinthians, chapter 3.

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of the covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters of stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. If what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.”

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

May the Lord bless the reading of His Word.

Well, two weeks ago, on Sunday evening, this was Palm Sunday evening, Kevin peached on Exodus chapter 34. Several months ago, when I picked this passage in 2 Corinthians, I was not thinking about how much he might pull from this passage, and when I heard his sermon, well, I saw a couple a weeks ago, I said “oh, we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about the same stuff,” and then I heard his sermon and I thought “yep, he’s got this. I need to change.” [laughter]

It was convicting, it was insightful. It was a great sermon. You should go listen to it.

However, after talking with Kevin and looking at this passage, and as you know the Living Word always, always has more for us. It can be applied in a myriad of ways. Kevin pointed out that just like Moses’ face showed that he had been with God, so it is with us. If you spend all your time gazing at cars, just guess what you will enjoy talking about. If you spend hours a day meditating on pop culture, guess what you will enjoy and be like. It’s a natural progression.

I could not think of this little ditty when he was preaching, “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh, be careful little eyes what you see…” You remember this. Well, the scriptural principal is decidedly, however, not monkey-see, monkey-do. If right thinking would also come by right acting, then our whole philosophy of the Christian faith would have to change. Habits are very important, but we were not created as behaviorists, like my daughter’s puppy.

Rather, as our Catechism states, we were created in the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. We were given rational souls and we were set apart to live before God righteous and holy lives. In obedience to God’s Word.

And of course, that came first of all to Adam and then through the prophets and then through Jesus Christ. You know this. And then of course in His written word. Practically speaking, this means that the word we meditate on, whether God’s Word or the world’s word, becomes what we love, what we fixate on becomes what we want.

I was living in South Dakota many, many years ago and my son Jonathon was just a toddler at the time and we got some ice cream, and when he got to the end of the ice cream, he just burst into tears. It’s over. He was just totally fixated on this ice cream and when it was gone, he fell apart.

You see, what you ingest makes you the person that you are. Unfortunately, this is both true with books and doughnuts. [laughter] As well as shows and conversations and weekly worship. Do you see? All these things begin to form our internal thought life and eventually it affects our external walk.

Now you’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” right? I’m fairly convinced that Kevin would like to be lucky and charmed. [laughter] He does not want to be a small, round thing. A pea.

Well, that old cliché might be rooted in philosophical naturalism, but it does sort of make a point. Your diet, your, determines your appetite, your demeanor. That is, your internal narrative is who you really are.

Proverbs puts it this way, chapter 23, verse 7: “For he is like the one who is inwardly calculating. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”

The footnoted translation of that says this: “For as he calculates in his soul, so is he.”

The proverb teaches us that we can say the right things, do the right things, go through the right motions. We can have beautiful, historic worship services, or loud and exuberant worship services, but what you’re pondering in your heart becomes who you really are.

Or as we find in Corinthians, and we’ll get there in just a bit, you become what you behold.

So, children, as you’re doodling on your bulletins, I would encourage you to perhaps make crossword puzzles with the themes and the words from the hymns or from the sermon, meditate upon what we’re thinking about today.

Finally, before we jump into the passage, I admit that I have completely lifted a phrase that Kevin used in his sermon for the title of mine: Transfixed, transformed. And this passage that we’re about to look at really does apply to all of sanctification, but at the end I want to apply it to one specific item. My main theme is this: We are transformed, week by week, by being transfixed on Christ.

The letter of 2 Corinthians. Chapter 1 brings up the issues of affliction and suffering, and then of course Paul’s change of plans. Just giving you a little background. Chapter 2, he brings up forgiving the sinner and then Christ’s triumph in salvation. And then in chapter 3, based on what has come before, Paul turns to an apology for his apostleship. Once again, he needs to sort of say “no, no, no, I am an apostle of Christ.” But it comes with a twist.

And so as we walk through this passage, we will see four areas of transformation. First of all, verse 1 through 3, transformed hearts. We read that already. Are we beginning to commend ourselves? Do we need letters of recommendation? Paul’s very first argument is simply that the very existence of the church, of the believers themselves, provides his credibility. So sort of turns that argument on its head. Changed lives point to the reality and the truthfulness of the Gospel that Paul had delivered.

Apparently there were some that were naysayers, they were saying Paul maybe didn’t have this authority. And so he simply points to the Corinthian church and says “um, friends, look around. I delivered the message of the Gospel and it changed your hearts. Enough said. Do you need to be distracted again?”

A similar idea comes up in 1 Corinthians 9. He says “are you not my workmanship in the Lord. If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”

Then he takes it one step further. Look with me in verse 3. “And you show that you are a letter from Christ, delivered by us.” Paul is only the deliverer. In fact, they are not Paul’s letter, they are Christ’s letter, written by the Spirit, written with the Spirit of the Lord.

And so Paul then introduces this comparison that he will pick up on between the old covenant and the new, and he makes the case that our hearts are no longer stony, but they are fleshy, not in the bad sense but in the sense of being soft and moldable and alive.

So the first three verses point to transformed hearts.

The next couple verses speak to transformed confidence. Verse 4 makes it clear that his confidence is in Christ, not in his skill. He does not have to rely on the fact that he out-oratored the orators. His confidence was in Christ’s message, and he sees that Christ’s message, Christ Himself made the change.

Read with me there: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim, but our sufficiency is in God. He made us competent to be ministers.”

Ministers of the Gospel are not sufficient because of skills in and of themselves. One commentary puts it this way: “God sufficiencied them.” Turned the word into a verb.

There are many able orators who can wow us with beautiful language, but does their message change hearts of stone into hearts of flesh?

Think TED talks. I like TED talks. Some of those presenters are excellent. But does their message change hearts of stone into hearts of flesh?

Clearly, Paul was skilled, but he was not traveling the Roman Empire just to give beautiful speeches. He was traveling the Roman Empire in order to point to the spirit of life.

This is true both for those that have apparent skill and for those that have less apparent skill. Just think with me for a moment of Moses. What was Moses like? He was rash, he was reticent to enter the ministry, he was not a very good orator, he was unsure of himself, he was worried about authority. On top of all this, he was a classic workaholic, doing all the judging himself until his father-in-law said “hey, there’s some leadership principles here, delegate.” Plus he had an anger problem. He’s out there striking rocks instead of speaking to them. And yet God used all this, even for our example, and made him fit for his priestly and prophetic service.

On the other hand, Paul was very skilled, right? And yet he had been a murderer, he gets in people’s faces, he’s a little defensive, and yet God made him fit.

Certainly certain skills can be suited for different roles, but what makes Moses and Paul, and by extension any minister of the Gospel fit for their calling is not a lack of natural skill or an abundance of it. Hopefully there’s a lot. But that’s not the point. Being burdened and called and set apart by the Spirit of God makes all the difference.

So, some were trying to discredit Paul, but Paul had been transformed, he was now immune to this and no longer was he self-sufficient, he was God-sufficient. And the message he brought, brought life to the church. Once again, enough said.

So we have transformed hearts, then transformed confidence, and now we will look at a transformed hope. This is a fascinating passage: “Now if the ministry of death carved in letters on stone came with such glory that the Israelites couldn’t gaze, then” verse 8 “will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory.”

First of all, when we say that the ministry, or the letter kills and has the ministry of death, or the old covenant was a ministry of death, we’re not saying that the Old Testament is now useless and dead and the New Testament is alive. Okay? That’s certainly not what we’re saying. So what are we saying? I think it points to at least three very simple points. One, it’s not worthless because it simply shows us our sin, it shows us our need for a redeemer. It’s been said for many, many years it’s the tutor that drives us to Christ, the teacher that brings us to Christ. So it’s very useful.

Number two, it was a glory that could not last because the folks just kept dying out. The priests would have to be brought up again and plus they’d have to wait for the yearly sacrifice, or the weekly sacrifice.

And number three, it’s simply a comparison. The new is so amazing that the old is dull in comparison.

You see, there are jelly beans, and then there are Starburst jelly beans. [laughter] Have you had these? I had them for the first time recently. There are flat four VW engines, and then there are flat four Porsche engines. Totally different ballgame. There are spotlights, and then there’s the sun.

The new covenant has a glory that far outshines the old.

Verses 7 through 11 make the case that the new covenant surpasses the old in its righteousness, in its freedom as opposed to condemnation, and finally in verse 11, it has more glory because it has permanence. No longer do we need that yearly sacrifice, no longer do we need another death. There is one sacrifice, one death, one Lord, and His atonement lasts forever and ever and ever and ever.

And then verse 12 begins this way: “Since we have such a hope.” You see, our hope has been transformed from a temporary hope that needs to be filled again and again to a permanent hope, this is lasting. We’re no longer planting annual flowers, we’re planting perennials. It lasts over and forever.

We have transformed hearts, transformed confidence, and now a transformed hope, and finally in this next section we’ll see a transformed sight. The great unveiling by the power of the Holy Ghost. Verses 12 through 17. These verses contain a wonderful testimony to the work of the Spirit in that great unveiling. It’s the effectual calling of our souls. Just look ahead there, verse 16: “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” This is pointing to the specific work of the Holy Spirit.

Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question “What is effectual calling?” Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit whereby convincing of us our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and renewing our wills, He doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.

In other words, He uses the law to convince of us our sin, He brings light to our eyes, He renews our wills, and He enables us to turn to Christ freely. The spirit rips the veil off our eyes and we see Christ for who He really is so that we might embrace Him. That’s a great ministry of life.

Therefore, and now we’re jumping back up to verse 12 and 13, “therefore we are very bold, not like Moses.” Look there. “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses.” And then what comes after that almost feels like a, a little bit of a parenthetical thought, and it lasts for a little bit of time, so not like Moses, and then you have this: “Who would put a veil over his face… because it was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened, and to this day the veil remains unlifted, only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, when Moses is read the veil… And when one turns to the Lord, it is removed” and now it starts to escalate, “now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” because we were convicted of sin, and then our minds enlightened, and we turn to gaze on the Lord, we are both bold and free.

Commentaries oftentimes sort of stop here. They come to a screeching halt and have to spend a little time with verse 17. “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” You can spend a lot of time here. You could enter into a trinitarian quagmire very, very quickly, but I think this sort of hinges on an interpretation of one little bitty simple word, and that is “is.”

The entries in a Greek lexicon on the word “is” get pretty long. They can go on and on about this. I never thought about what “is” is.

I was reading my grandfather’s books. He’s a philosopher and when I got to the point in the history of philosophy on what “is” is, I was in early high school and I was completely lost. What do you mean, what “is” is?

Well, here we have a couple different options. One, it can refer to existence, and we have some Scripture verses like that. You believe that He exists. But also we have other places that have a one-to-one relationship, and then thirdly sometimes it’s very close. Think of a CEO, Steve Jobs is Apple. Well, no more, but is Apple. You don’t mean that he is the company, but he is so closely connected that you can say “he is Apple.”

In this verse, the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of the Lord are so closely connected that what is said of the one may be said of the other. In other words, if one is working in your heart, the other is also working in your heart. They are not to be separated. When they work together, freedom comes. There is freedom because the Word of God is no longer landing on stony hearts. There is freedom because our confidence has been ripped away from ourselves and placed on God. There is freedom because our hope has been transferred from a temporary hope to a permanent hope, and there is freedom because the veil has been removed from our eyes and we can actually see Christ and be like him. There’s freedom. And we boldly enter into the throne room to see Christ, and say I’m gonna hide it under a bush, oh, no, I’m gonna let it shine.

In other words, with new hearts, new confidence, new hope, new sight, we are free to behold and become more like Christ, one step at a time, one glory after another.

Now, that’s a walk through the passage, except for verse 18, and we’ll come back to that in a moment. But if you would, you can either use your bulletins or turn to Exodus chapter 34, and I want to walk very quickly through this passage. We’ve already read it once, so I won’t repeat it. But notice there, just in the first two verses. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Cut for yourself tablets,” verse 2, “and be ready in the morning and come up.” What does that sound like? A call to worship. “Hey, Moses, prepare, and then come on up.”

Verse 5. This translation doesn’t bring it out quite as much, but there’s a sense in which there’s a prayer of invocation. “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him and proclaimed the name of the Lord,” or sometimes it’s “and he proclaimed the name of the Lord,” referring to Moses or the Lord, that’s a hard one. Nonetheless, Moses is standing in the presence of the Lord, and verse 8 we find him bowing, actively, physically, worshiping before the Lord.

Verse 9, look at that one. “And he said, ‘If I have now had favor in your sight, O Lord, please… We’re stiff-necked… We sin… Take us for your inheritance.”

What’s that sound like? A prayer of confession and a prayer of supplication. O Lord, hear us, forgive us, take us, help us.

And then verses 10 through 26 is God’s sermon, with a whole lot of very practical application. Lots of instructions.

And then verse 27: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.’ He was there for forty days… Ate neither bread nor drank water.”

Moses was charged to chisel. To take notes. And then he was sent out with a covenant, or a promise.

And then of course in verse 29 and following, you have the shining face of Moses, that whole context.

So, I say all this just to bring out this point. The specific context that Moses is in is what? Meeting with God. Worship before God. And the structure itself is very much like our worship service.

Also, if you kept reading, in the next five chapters you would find that all the instructions for the rest of the book of Exodus have to do with tabernacle worship, getting ready for worship.

Now I’ve planned for this service to be applied an hour and a half, that’s what we do every Sunday, and so I’ll ask you what about a 40-day worship service? [laughter] Now some of you laugh, I suspect some of you are like groaning, no. And how about, some of you may be saying yes, let’s do it! Well, how about with chisels and stones and no food and no snacks and no breaks? This is an amazing scene, where Moses is worshiping before the Lord, and he’s both overwhelmed by His presence and he’s taking notes. He’s doing mundane tasks in the middle of worship.

As an aside, this passage seems to challenge what has been my default view, and maybe some of yours, our view of worship, what is worship. Perhaps we don’t need to start bringing stones, that’d be a very loud way to take notes and Bill would have a hard time keeping the volume of the sermon over all your chiseling. But, a decent inference is this: What the deacons do in preparation, what the childcare workers are doing right now, what the musicians do as they mark their scores and think about tone and pitch in the middle of worship, what the tech personnel are doing at the moment, all of this is no less a service of worship than what you do in lifting up holy hands.

The roles and the corporateness of that changes, yes, of course. But it’s not as if you are worshiping and the nursery care workers aren’t. So while in worship, all that just to make this point, while in worship, Moses was both overwhelmed, moments of rapture, and he had mundane tasks to do.

Head back now to Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, chapter 3.

I have a question. Have you ever noticed that the words we use the most sometimes are the most difficult to define. Take for example the word “person.” Well, Aristotle and Plato and Augustin and Richard of St. Victor and Aquinas, they’ve all offered definitions of the word “person” and they were quite a bit different, each of them. Modern attempts at the definition of “person” have been equally varied, sort of all over the map. Well, what about heart, emotion, truth. Are we going to use the Bible’s term of truth, or are we going to use the post-modern view of truth? Well, how about love? That’s been defined many ways. Justice. Even the word “worship.” All of these words need nuancing. And so we’d need to look at context, because the meaning can drastically change.

One of the best book titles ever is a grammar book. Now I promise you, I don’t do bedtime reading in grammar books, it’s just not who I am, but here’s the name of the book: Eats, Shoots &Leaves. Depending on where you put the comma, you either have a murderer or a panda bear. The context changes. What we mean by the words change drastically in the way that we use them.

So, what if someone stopped you and asked you, “What is glory?” You might come up with some adjectives, some synonyms, maybe awe, maybe honor, maybe raw power, maybe resplendence if you love the literary terms, or maybe a shining light, or God’s divine attributes displayed in the universe. The Scripture uses the word glory in all those contexts and in more.

Notice verse 7. It’s used twice. Verse 8 once, verse 9 twice, verse 10 thrice, verse 11 twice, and then in verse 18 again twice more. In this context, hear the glory of the Old Testament as Paul weaves his way through this, was the ministry of death showing us our sin, and the ministry then of righteousness far exceeds the old, and you know that Christ’s righteousness on our behalf is a wondrous doctrine. It’s glorious.

So the contextual meaning is really not that difficult, but I want us to see the progression more fully. So if you will, here we go. Remember that God’s glory lingered on Moses, and for a time he looked more like God, right? Then as Exodus continues, we come to Exodus chapter 40, after five chapters of instructions on the tabernacle, and we find this verse, chapter 40, verse 34: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

When Moses met with God, he came away looking more like God, so much so that the Israelites couldn’t stand it. And then God’s glory, after resting on Moses, filled the tabernacle, overshadowed the mercy seat, as Hebrews says.

And then, as we move to the New Testament, we learn God’s power overshadows Mary and the Holy Son of God, the exact imprint of God was born into the earth, and His tabernacle became with mankind.

2 Corinthians 4:4 says: “To keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

The exact imprint, or the spittin’ image, of God was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He did all things well.

Verse 6 in chapter 4 reads this way: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

What’s that saying? It’s saying our dark hearts have been transformed by the light of the knowledge of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God. In other words, God’s glory now shines in you.

That is God’s ways, God’s will, God’s desires, become our ways, our will, our desires. The spirit of life transforms lives to make them look more and more like Himself, this is the splendor, or the glory, of God.

And now verse 18. With all this transformation now in the background, we come and read “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

We behold the glory of the Lord, that is, the power of the Gospel to transform, to make us more like Jesus, to make us shine like God. In other words, being transformed from glory to glory starts with the Gospel and then by the work of the Spirit He enables us more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness. Or as chapter 4 explains, it is setting aside disgraceful and underhanded ways and beginning to look more and more like Jesus.

So back to where we began, I’ll say it again: We are transformed by being transfixed on the word of Christ, week by week, month after month, year after year.

So, clearly this passage has to do with sanctification, right? It’s, it’s very obvious, and I would like to then make one specific application.

A couple things to keep in mind. First of all, the backdrop to this passage is meeting with God, worship. Number two, in that worship, Moses was clearly compelled to bow before his God, so we saw that worship includes moments of rapture as well as then moments of notetaking, and working hard to remember. And then finally, in a worship service, we intend to behold the glory of the Lord, which brings about transformation.

Therefore, we should find that the weekly worship forms our appetites. We want to go to use the root word, we want to undergo a metamorphosis and this ongoing change is brought about by beholding Christ in His Word and then applied in a myriad of ways from week to week.

I’d like to walk you through a worship service.

First, God calls us to worship. Actually, first He calls us to prepare, which we do weekly. To prepare and then to come and meet with Him. You can prepare in a myriad of ways, that’s a wonderful one. You can also prepare by downloading a PDF and meditating, especially on the hymns that are hard to sing and the lyrics are hard to understand and meditating on those things then causes you to have an appetite for those things.

Second, we respond with praise. We respond to the call to worship and just as we read in the call to worship today, they go from strength to strength as they appear before God in Zion. We respond with hallelujah, thine is the glory, not my glory, not my confidence, but Your glory. My confidence is in You, O Lord.

Third, we confess our sins and hear of His grace. Our culture has a really bad habit of self-defense, self-excuse, and self-redemption and truthfully, this rubs off on me. It rubs off on all of us. And so this, this whole confession thing is just a little odd. It’s a little strange. However, it becomes our joy to confess our sin and hear grace, again every week we re-enact the Gospel of Jesus Christ because we wish to see Christ invade every single corner of our hearts, and above all, our hearts are deceitful, so may the Lord splay it and heal it. It becomes our joy to come, behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree, in the stead of ruined sinners hangs the lamb of victory. Because we have a permanent hope, we have no fear to walk boldly into the throne room and say “Lord, show me my sin. O Lord, take my sin. Thank You, Lord, for taking my sin.”

Fourth, we bring requests, offerings to God. And we hear God’s voice, over and over, week by week, saying “‘If with all your hearts you truly seek me, you shall ever find me,’ thus saith our God.”

Fifth, we hear a sermon and a whole sermon could be preached on sermonizing, but let me just quote what we sang: “O Lord, teach me to follow you, instruct me in your way, and lead me on a level path because of foes, I pray!” My prayer is that the preached Word from week to week would prepare us all for life and godliness.

Sixth, we commit to serve our God. Whether we respond to the sermon with a confession of faith or a hymn of commitment, we want to remember as we depart, every single week we want to remember and be near the cross, for in the cross is our permanent glory.

And finally, just as in Exodus 34, we are sent out, reminded of His covenant promises, a benediction. Joyfully charged to serve.

In all this, what are we doing? We just want to hear the old, old story again. We want to hear the story of the Gospel. We want, we want to walk down memory lane, lest we forget that He has transformed us, and is transforming us.

You see, we don’t advertise a worship experience because we stand rooted in the truth, trusting that the Word of God does not return void. It will cause us to walk in grace, and we trust that Christ Himself will form our appetites through His Word.

Every single element is intended not to just walk you through another historic element. That’s not the point. The point is to force us, to push us, to seek Christ over and over again.

Finally, last little word, and I’ll close. If you begin to look like Christ, you’re going to stick out. Moses certainly did. Remember that holiness both attracts and repels, but blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you. But ultimately, the byproduct of worship should be getting into the lives of sinners all around us. Evangelism, true evangelism.

The light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms hearts, confidence, hope, and sight, and as we are fixated on Christ, we are transformed from glory to glory. That is, we begin to look more like Christ. That is, the glory of the Lord begins to fill the earth. As He fills worshipers, His living tabernacle, His church, His children with His Word, His desires, and His will.

Next week, once again, God will call you to worship. Plus, next week we will be able to rehearse the Gospel in the Lord’s table. And so my last word is this: Prepare your hearts.

Let’s pray. Father, I ask that as we come before you today and week by week that You would cause us to see Jesus Christ. Father, I pray that as we come before you week by week, you would cause us to glory in what we have in Jesus Christ, the redemption of our souls. I pray that You would cause us to see Jesus Christ as we are called to worship, as we pray, as we confess, as we hear grace again, as we sing together. I pray, Father, that Jesus Christ would be front and center as bright as the shining sun, and that there would be moments of being overwhelmed by the grace that You have shown us through Christ, and that there would be moments where we commit ourselves, that we work hard to remember. Lord, I pray that You would make us like Jesus Christ. Amen and amen.