At SPT, we love the church. And because we love the church we love pastors. After all, pastors are to “care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). For the pastor to best care for the church—God’s blood bought people—he must have a heart warm to the work. That is, shepherds cannot be merely “going through the motions” on Sunday morning which makes Saturday night incredibly important.
To help pastors in their prep for Sunday, we offer this weekly digest of devotional material. This content is intended to serve you by you reading or listening or watching all or some of it. You decide what is best for your heart as you further prepare for the most important day of the week.
With you in caring for the church of God,
WHAT WE BELIEVE, TEACH, AND CONFESS
Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q&A #2 with Scripture proofs)
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, (1) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him (2).
1. Matt. 19:4–5. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? With Gen. 2:24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Luke 24:27, 44. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.... And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 1 Cor. 2:13. ... which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Cor. 14:37. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 2 Pet. 1:20–21. ... knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Pet. 3:2, 15–16. ... that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.... And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2. Deut. 4:2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Ps. 19:7–11. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great re- ward. Isa. 8:20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 20:30–31. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Acts 17:11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 2 Tim. 3:15–17. ... and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 1 John 1:4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
[To read the whole catechism, go here.]
“Because Christ is there” by John Owen
Here our souls are burdened with innumerable infirmities, and our faith is clogged in its operations by ignorance and darkness.
This makes our best estate and highest attainments to be accompanied with groans for deliverance: “We which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” (Rom. 8:23).
Yea, whilst we are in this tabernacle, we groan earnestly, as being burdened, because we are not “absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” (2 Cor. 5:2, 4, 8).
The more we grow in faith and spiritual light, the more sensible are we of our present burdens, and the more vehemently do we groan for deliverance into the perfect liberty of the sons of God.
This is the posture of their minds who have received the first-fruits of the Spirit in the most eminent degree.
The nearer anyone is to heaven, the more earnestly he desires to be there, because Christ is there.
–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 384.
[HT: Tolle Lege]
Does God Really Supply Every Need? (Michael Pohlman)
The Principles of Reformed Worship (R. Scott Clark)