Exhortation delivered at New Saint Andrews College Morning Prayer February 24, 2014
I John 3:18-4:6
By wisdom the Lord founded the Earth, by understanding he established the Heavens; by his knowledge the deep broke open, and the clouds dropped down the dew. Think about what’s going on there. While still maintaining an element of mystery, we see a connection of understanding, knowledge, and wisdom with implementation, action, and things happening. Cause and effect. The Lord has wisdom – he founded the Earth. The Lord has understanding – he establishes the Heavens. The attributes of God tangibly express themselves. They are incarnational. Things about God do not exist purely in an abstract, Platonic way. They have manifested themselves to us in the things that we see.
So, when John tells us not to love in word or talk, but in deed and truth, we’re being God-imitators. God’s Word became flesh. God’s Word didn’t stay word. It manifested itself by doing things in the world that we see. So all of our talk, all of our words, all of our, for example, “I love you’s,” are a type of “in the beginning was the Word.” In the beginning was the proposition “I love you,” but it can’t simply stop there. It must not stop there. It has to manifest itself into things seen. So, the question becomes how does your “I love you” become flesh? How does it manifest itself in what it does?
You, as NSA students, are particularly blessed to be in this community. And you will no doubt walk away with a lot of knowledge and a lot of understanding. You’re growing in these things daily, and for you to even be here indicates that you have a measure of these things already. I’m continually astounded by the level of ability which NSA students possess. It’s humbling to me. So the exhortation is this: take that knowledge, take that understanding and don’t keep it to yourself. Don’t restrict that understanding to formal abstractions. Do something with it. Find ways to serve, to love your friends, family, church better. Find ways to do this and as John says, “you will know that you’re of the truth and you will reassure your heart before God.”
Greyfriars Hall Exhortation delivered at Anselm House August 27, 2013
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
We would do well to examine what transpired leading up to the flood, the preparation period. The time before the flood. The building of the Ark. Consider how overwhelming it may have been to Noah after God instructed him in the Ark’s dimensions. Think about the number of trees that needed to be cut down, moved, shaped, fastened and suitable to the Ark’s purpose. This work was long, tedious, and difficult. It took over a hundred years for Noah to build.
This expression of faith and obedience to God over an extended period of time is something we should emulate because we are all building arks. More specifically, we’re all building the Ark. Just as the Ark saved Noah and his family from a deluge of God’s judgment, Christ saves us from God’s wrath. Christ’s body, the church, represented by the Ark continues to be built. And if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a servant, a worker, a partaker in this massive building project. We have a seemingly impossible task before us: books to read, papers to write, languages to learn, people to save, all peoples to be saved, all nations to be baptized, the ushering in of a kingdom. So overwhelming are these glorious prospects that it can present the temptation to be paralyzed with fear, but we have not been given a spirit of fear. We’ve been given a Spirit of power, of love, and self-control. This time is set aside for us that we may be prepared for the crushing waters. The workload at this point looks like a forest of trees that we’ve been tasked to cut down with a butter knife, but take heart. We live for a Savior who has overcome this world. He gives us better things than knives. He gives us His Holy Spirit. This same Spirit raised Christ from the dead and now lives in us. And if the Spirit living in us, helps us in our weaknesses and declares that we are more than conquerors, which it does, then we may confidently go forward in our work.