The Lord’s Table is a special place and time for the deepest form of Christian worship. It is a time for serious rejoicing — serious in that it is reverential, but also joyful in that we celebrate the Lord’s victory over sin, death, and grave. The communion service is not a funeral dirge — we are not grieving a dead king but glorying in a risen Savior. Such is what the gospel tells us and what the Table shows us.
There is, perhaps, no more human quality (fault) than forgetfulness. No sooner are we told something than we are in need of being reminded. Such is the fickleness and forgetfulness of human finality. I, too, confess to being a forgetful person, to the point where I have to write tasks, ideas down in order to be reminded to remember them. Such, too, is why David is writing in Psalm 119.
In 1 Timothy 2, Paul begins his actual, practical instructions to his young disciple, Timothy. And it is not by accident that the first of these exhortations mentioned is prayer. Prayer is the chief assignment for those entrusted with the gospel of grace. Prayer is absolutely paramount to the Christian in the life of faith.
The great scheme of the devil isn’t to annihilate the gospel entirely — he knows he can’t do that — but to adulterate the gospel. Satan’s gambit is, and always has been, to mar, muddy, mix truth with error. As the “angel of light” (2 Cor 11:13–15), his plot remains to steal men’s hearts by swindling their faith from God’s gospel and to “another gospel.” He enacts this plot gleefully and successfully so long as Christ is not preached.
In Psalm 119, David prays over and over again for consistency in the Word and life of faith. We humans are a fickle bunch, characterized by ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Thus, if our confidence in salvation rested on our consistency, we’d be in deep trouble. Fortunately, that’s not at all true. Our consistency is found as we are found in Christ, and that’s something that cannot change.
Throughout Paul’s letters to Timothy, he employs military language in order to convey the seriousness of Timothy’s call to the pastorate at Ephesus. Paul understood the significance of their mission in the fight for the truth. Now, he is passing that fight onto his young disciple. Paul has been at frontlines of ministry — these, then, are his dispatches from the front in order for Timothy to take over the campaign.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus comes suddenly on the scene and immediately begins preaching the gospel of the kingdom. But, overall, his actions are less than kingly. He serves. He stoops. He touches unclean people and spends time with the riffraff. He subverts all the understood ways the Messiah should act and conduct himself. He is our unexpected Friend.
In the fifth stanza of Psalm 119, there is a clear picture of King David praying to God for assurance of his repentance. Prayers for assurance are, perhaps, the most popular prayers among believers, especially young believers. We all go through seasons of doubt, though — seasons wherein we crave and crawl for anything to give us assurance of heaven.
In 1 Timothy 1, after alluding to what “sound doctrine” is not, Paul moves on to expound what “sound doctrine” is. And in contrast to the fraudulent and counterfeit doctrine being proclaimed by these false teachers, “sound doctrine” is chiefly concerned with sinners. Paul knew this deeply because his life is a living testimony to the “sound doctrine” of God.
In Mark 1, we learn that Jesus was not opposed to benevolence in his earthly ministry; he healed countless lives, after all. However, I seriously doubt all those in crowd with “diverse diseases” were seeking him for his doctrine. And rather than merely being known as one who performed miracles, Jesus was desirous of being known through the fundamental elements of his ministry: death and resurrection.