Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

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I love finding out the stories behind the songs we sing in corporate worship and spending time studying the deep truths in them. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" is filled with so many great truths that are worth meditating on this week. This article does a great job breaking down the content of this great hymn!

In Christ,
Brandon H.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

April 26, 2015 | Marshall Segal 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

In 1743, when Robert Robinson was just eight years old, he lost his father. Angry, bitter, and fatherless, Robert rebelled in excess through his teenage years — drinking, gambling, and causing trouble. But God broke into his heart through the gospel preaching of George Whitefield. Several years later he had followed the Lord into ministry and was later inspired to write Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

Every Good Gift

God’s amazing grace flows to us through Jesus, not only in our salvation, but in every single good gift we receive from his hand. James writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

Our gracious and sovereign God never changes, and he loves to shower goodness on his undeserving children. His grace takes many shapes in our lives — people, safety, health, insight, provision, large and small — and they’re all from God’s good hand.

We Cannot Proclaim It Well

Jesus sought us when we were strangers, while we were wandering — literally fleeing — from the fold of God. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s grace did not wait for us to want him. No, he came to us in the midst of our mutiny against him and won our life and affections by the cleansing blood of his Son. With Robinson, we “cannot proclaim it well.” We will never be able to adequately give voice to the victory we’ve received.

A Goodness That Keeps Us

And the victory doesn’t end with our conversion. Do you feel yourself drifting or wandering in your walk with God? Do the temptations feel too strong? Or the distractions too compelling? Has life become so busy you can’t find time for him? The good news is that all those whom God has called to himself by grace, he is daily keeping in that same grace until he brings them home. Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. God promises to seal and finish what he’s begun in our heart and life (Philippians 1:6).

Even when we feel weakest, God is demonstrating his perfect power by causing our faith to persevere until the very end. “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14). The inheritance is ours in Christ, waiting secure for us in glory. And it is secure because the Fount of every blessing, by his Spirit, will make sure you are found with him where he is.

A Song Worth Singing Forever

As we anticipate that day when freed from sinning we will see him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12), we give him all glory for every gift of faith and blessing. The beauty of our purity in his presence will sing his praise forever. And in this life, in our worship together, we can sing that song to our Savior and Provider for as many days as he gives us here.

Come, thou Fount, return to receive your ransomed people to their heavenly home and happiness.


Reprinted from Desiring God. Copyright 2016 Marshall Segal Staff writer, desiringGod.org. Find the original article here at http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/come-thou-fount-of-every-blessing.

Jonah Chapter 2 - Repent (Part 3)

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      Jonah 2:4 “Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight;
yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’”



We are given a rare glimpse into the life of someone that is going through the process of spiritual transformation. Jonah knew that saving grace and living grace was entirely of the Lord. He experienced this grace and learned very quickly what it really means; Grace is an undeserved gift from an unobligated giver. Basically, something that nobody deserves or could ever earn. Well then, if grace is a gift, what’s the gift that Jesus gave us? Simply this, His life.

So let’s explain verse four. He looks at the temple because he knows that the answer to his problem is in there. To us 21st Century Americans, that doesn’t mean much. But there is something bewildering about it that we’ve got to understand. What he remembers about the Temple is that sin is taken seriously, there must be a punishment, so blood is shed as a consequence of sin. But it’s not the sinner’s blood.

This is perhaps the most life-changing truth taught in the astonishing true story of Jonah. See, God cannot overlook or dismiss sin. He never has and He never will. But He does not deal with it according to the justice system we have in mind, where he punishes sinners until they’ve paid in full. He chooses to forgive the sinner by punishing his innocent Son.

But wait, there is an amazing parallel here that we won’t see at first, so we’ve got to dig in a little more to understand this. Like we said earlier, Jonah is a picture of us, but he is also a picture of Jesus. See, God sent Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh, just like Jesus was sent by God to bring repentance to the world. Nineveh was deserving of the wrath of God, just like the world. But neither the world nor Nineveh have received the punishment they deserve. God sent his wrath on Jonah through the storm, just like He sent His wrath on Jesus on the cross. And Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale, just like Jesus spent three days in the grave.

When they both came back, they brought revival through repentance to Nineveh and the world. Jonah suffered for Nineveh’s salvation and Jesus suffered for ours. So when Jonah looked toward the temple, he was thinking about the sacrifices that had been made for him, and the ultimate sacrifice that would be made for us. He was looking to Jesus. The one who gave His life. The one who deserves our obedient love.

Jonah shows us that Jesus dying on the cross in our place is the greatest gift we would ever receive. And once Jonah became emotionally available to God’s grace, he understood the process of receiving that grace through faith.

So grace is a gift offered by Jesus that we can only receive with faith. What then is faith? Faith is a dependence, a trust, in anything at all. I have faith that a grandé white mocha latte with a pump of peppermint will quench my desire for deliciousness. I also have faith that Jesus dying on the cross is enough to pay for my sins and provide forgiveness and redemption for me.

Jonah’s looking toward the Temple helps us to understand the process by which God works in our hearts to bring about spiritual change. Grace is God offering the gift of eternal life. Faith is us receiving that gift by putting our trust in Jesus and His death and resurrection.

That’s the process. That’s how we first experience repentance, and how we always will thereafter. We call this The Gospel.

Jesus Knows

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Take your bibles, turn to Matthew 11.  Give [our praise team] a big hand, one more time, that sounded amazing.  So good to be back with you.  I know a number of you had been praying for my family last week.  My brother came in from West Texas and we had a chance to go to Houston and spend a little time with my aunts and cousins.  Many of you know that my brother lost his wife about six months ago very, very suddenly; she was 45 years old and lost her to an aneurysm.  With the recovery process and that, it was such a good weekend just to spend time with my flesh and blood brother and get to go down there.  So thank you for your prayers.  I know James did a great job while I was gone, but I missed ya!  It's good to be back here today.  How many of you are glad you're in church today?  Say Amen.

I can tell that school is cranking back up because Monday and Tuesday, when I went to my gym, it was completely full.  Every single machine, every rack, somebody in it.  I've learned you can literally set your calendar by certain seasons where that gym fills up.  In January, beginning of a brand new year, new years resolutions like "this year I'm gonna doing it, I'm gonna drop that weight, I'm going to get in shape, I'm going to stick with it" and that gym will be packed in January.  In September, we're getting back in the roll of things.  We're getting the kids back in school.  Going to get that budget working finally. That gym will be full.  Here's the good news though (it's probably not very nice), I know that in about a month, it'll be back to normal again.  I was thinking what a microcosm, what a smaller picture of life that is.  How very often, our attempts to make positive change in our life, a change for the better, wind up being painfully temporary, incredibly frustration.  Next Sunday, God willing, I'm starting a brand new series and we have something special tonight as well.  Tonight Dr. Brady Blevins from the Watchmen Fellowship in Arlington is going to be here.  We're moving all our services to the auditorium and he's going to be speaking on understanding Islam.  With all that we have in the news about radical Islam, what they believe, and what the Quran teaches, and all of that.  There will be handouts, it's going to be incredibly informative to understand what this religion teaches and more than that, to understand if you have Muslim neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, how you can be a positive light in their life and how you can share the beauty of Jesus with them.  So tonight we'll all be [in the auditorium].  Next Sunday, we'll be starting a new series entitled Change your Life For Good.  If you've ever been on that hamster wheel of "this time it'll be better, I'm gonna work harder, I'm gonna do it, I know we gotta get the money straight. I know we need to spend more quality time with the kids and I know take your bibles, turn to Matthew 11.  Give [our praise team] a big hand, one more time, that sounded amazing.  So good to be back with you.  I know a number of you had been praying for my family last week.  My brother came in from West Texas and we had a chance to go to Houston and spend a little time with my aunts and cousins.  Many of you know that my brother lost his wife about six months ago very, very suddenly; she was 45 years old and lost her to an aneurysm.  With the recovery process and that, it was such a good weekend just to spend time with my flesh and blood brother and get to go down there.  So thank you for your prayers.  I know James did a great job while I was gone, but I missed ya!  It's good to be back here today.  How many of you are glad you're in church today?  Say Amen.

I can tell that school is cranking back up because Monday and Tuesday, when I went to my gym, it was completely full.  Every single machine, every rack, somebody in it.  I've learned you can literally set your calendar by certain seasons where that gym fills up.  In January, beginning of a brand new year, New Year’s resolutions like "this year I'm going to doing it, I'm going to drop that weight, I'm going to get in shape, and I’m going to stick with it" and that gym will be packed in January.  In September, we're getting back in the roll of things.  We're getting the kids back in school.  Going to get that budget working finally. That gym will be full.  Here's the good news though (it's probably not very nice); I know that in about a month, it'll be back to normal again.  I was thinking what a microcosm, what a smaller picture of life that is.  How very often, our attempts to make positive change in our life, a change for the better, wind up being painfully temporary, incredibly frustration.  Next Sunday, God willing, I'm starting a brand new series and we have something special tonight as well.  Tonight Dr. Brady Blevins from the Watchmen Fellowship in Arlington is going to be here.  We're moving all our services to the auditorium and he's going to be speaking on understanding Islam.  With all that we have in the news about radical Islam, what they believe, and what the Quran teaches, and all of that.  There will be handouts; it's going to be incredibly informative to understand what this religion teaches and more than that, to understand if you have Muslim neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, how you can be a positive light in their life and how you can share the beauty of Jesus with them.  So tonight we'll all be [in the auditorium].  Next Sunday, we'll be starting a new series entitled Change your Life for Good.  If you've ever been on that hamster wheel of "this time it'll be better. I'm going to work harder. I'm going to do it. I know we have got to get the money straight. I've got to get this habit under control.” But it never lasts and that's not my topic today.

Today, I just want to ask you a question, and I don't want you to answer it out loud, I just want to ask you the question “how are you?” Honestly, I’m finding out increasingly the value of this.   I wish that I could sit down, one-on-one with every single person in this auditorium, and just take a minute and look you right in the eye and say “tell me how you're doing”. We ask that question casually to each other, right? “How are you?” “I’m good.” But when somebody really asks us that, I can't tell you how many times that I’ve been in that scenario. Where I look somebody in the eye and said “tell me how you're doing” or frankly a close friend or somebody I love reached over to me and said “Brian tell me how you're doing”. I can't tell you how often the individual being asked that question immediately breaks down in tears. Some of you right as I’m speaking feel moved by that question. “How are you?” In the text were about to read, Jesus Christ is standing in front of this Incredibly diverse crowd, much like I am this morning - all different ages, all different backgrounds, all different life settings. There were dedicated followers of His. There were religious leaders that were frankly skeptical if not outright hostile. There were curious spectators, people who just weren't sure who He was or what he was doing, but wanted to find out. And there were just plain miracle seekers. They were just there because they thought “Maybe He's going to do something spectacular. Maybe we'll get a meal out of it. Maybe we'll get a miracle out of it.”

But here's the thing, Jesus who doesn't see people in photographs, didn't see like we see in exterior He sees in x-rays. He sees right down to your heart, right down to your motives, right down to what you really feel, and what you really believe.  Listen Jesus is standing in front of that crowd, sees and knows exactly how they're doing, body and soul. And the One who sees and the One who knows says this in our text, 

Matthew 11:28 [I’ve preached and taught this text a lot of times I’m still not over it] 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Father, we come before you this morning knowing that we’re always before you. You're here. You see. You know. And yet seeing and knowing everything, You invite. You tell us to come to You. And today Lord I felt so strongly as I’m studying for this other series (and that's on my mind) and all the possibilities of how we human beings really change, and yet God today this was the message, and the songs Brandon picked, and all of it syncs up. Lord I just know today this is what you have. So Spirit fill it, use it for Your glory and our good.  It’s in Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Two things in this text that jump immediately off the page: Jesus... who sees, Jesus... who knows exactly where they are, exactly where you are, first of all describes their true condition and secondly He makes them an offer. He says, I know this is where you really are.  Not what you tell people, not the appearance you try to put on to make yourself more palatable for public distribution, but the real you.  I know exactly your true condition and I’ve got something for you, right in the middle of where you really are.

First of all their condition described...
There are a few terms that I would use to describe their condition that may be yours today The first one is a powerful word RESTLESS. Restless - that lonely, unsettled feeling that there's something missing, something undone, something incomplete. I'm telling you, for most of my life, this has been a tremendous struggle that I didn't even understand. It’s in quiet times, times where I wasn't out doing something, I wasn't occupied with some pursuit, times when I’m on the couch, times with the family, times where the TV is off.  I get this feeling, this “hair-shirted” discomfort, this restlessness like something's off, something is not done.  I’ve told you I'm a believer in counseling; in this last year, going through all that stuff, the depression, then ultimately an eating disorder and all that stuff.  Finding out from this counselor, he said “let’s examine those. Let’s find out what is that thing when you feel that restlessness.” And in talking about it, what he came down to is this: that is based in performance. You feel like, “I got to do something more to be okay with me. I got to do something more to be acceptable to people.” Jesus described this as a restlessness of soul. You want your soul is? It's the real you beyond the merely physical. Your mind, will, and emotions.  Your personality - that thing that makes you, you. Jesus said, the Creator of life said, that [thing] can be incredibly restless something’s off and I don't know what it is. Somebody listen, that's why when you get in the car, and it's quiet, you're by yourself, you will immediately reach for that radio knob.  That's why some of you are always, always, always on twitter, always on Facebook, always on social media.  If there's a moment's pause in the action, that discomfort, the restlessness starts bubbling to the surface and it's so miserable you’ll do almost anything to head that off at the pass. They were restless.

Here's the second thing...
They had bought into the saving power of more. They bought into the saving power of more.  Man alive, is this not 2016? If you're restless, if everything's not right in your life, if something's missing here's what you need. You need to have more money. You need to have more status. You need to have more possessions; you need to have a better body. You need to have more sex appeal. You need to have more education. You need to have more status. Maybe you need to do more. Maybe you need to do more hobbies.  Do more vacations, do more drugs, drink more alcohol, have more partners. You need to be more, you need to be more educated, be more athletic, be more qualified, be more loving, be more moral, be more religious, be more spiritual. Whatever it is, if I could just be, have, do that I wouldn't feel like this. That's exactly where they were 2,000 years ago y'all. I know sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking like, “man if only I lived 2,000 years ago, things would have been so much easier.” Really? I don't know about you, but I love having running water and like a toilet. That’s a really good thing to me, right? I love that we're not living like in Roman occupation. There are a lot of good things about living in America in 2016. And here's the deal, humans have always been humans. We've always wrestled with this same garbage. They were wrestling with it then; we're wrestling with it now. They were restless and they, like us, had bought into the saving power of more.

Here's the third way Jesus described them.  They were restless, chasing after something more, and the pursuit had left them unbearably burdened; BURDENED. Kathe Koja wrote this:
Everyone is cored by that existential void, the deep hole in the heart that cries for radiance; our entire consumer culture is [built] on the belief that, if you stuff enough things down that hole, you can finally satisfy it into silence. [But] that has never been the case. [Paraphrased] Creativity won't do it, sex won't do it, art won't do it, and even love can't fill that hole.

So here's what happens, at the end of all that “more”, they find they are not only now still restless, still lonely, still “hair-shirted discomfort”; now they are weighed down by a thousand and one obligations, addictions, expectations. Now I got my kids plugged into 75 things a week and I’ve got to take them to all of them. I’m running myself ragged to the point of exhaustion but I can't stop. Now I’m working so many hours I’m flat exhausted. I’m still in debt but now I’m stressed as well. Whatever the burden might be, it's on your heart, it's on your shoulder, that’s on your life.  I want to ask you this morning... Man, I know this is personal. Oh, this is personal. It’s personal for me too. Some of you as I’m talking (and don't you dare think it's the words) the Spirit of God is moving your heart you’re like, “that's exactly where I’m at! That's exactly where I’m at, and preacher I know you're going to have like some solution that's all hyper-spiritual and I ain’t that spiritual. I wish I was. I don't know how to get off that hamster wheel. I don't know how to climb off that treadmill and but that's so much a part of the fiber of my life. Wearing the right thing, and saying the right thing, and impressing people... I don't know how to stop. So please don't give me something so high that I can't reach it. That I can't do it. That I can't go there.”

Are you restless this morning? If you are, I want to ask you this question. Nobody needs to answer out loud: What's your functional Jesus? What's your functional savior? I'm not asking you who your savior is because nine-tenths of you would say Jesus Christ is my savior. I'm asking who or what you turn to when you're restless. That's your functional savior. Is it food? Has been for me for a lot of years, man. You know what? A lot of us use that like other people use cocaine or alcohol to numb away the pain. Is it work?  Is it sex?  Pornography? Trying to wear the right thing, to do the right thing, attain the right thing? Who are you turning to, to fill that hole in the middle of your soul? And can I ask you that old Dr. Phil question (though I’m not a huge Dr. Phil fan): How's that working for you? Because I got to tell you for me, hadn't worked very well at all.

Thank God, thank Jesus He knows exactly where they are. He knows exactly where you are. The title of this sermon, listen to me, is Jesus Knows. Jesus knows.  And instead of crossing His arms, and instead of clenching His fists, He opens up his Hand and here's what He says, (gets me every time)

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What is He saying when He says “come to me..”? You know what He's saying first of all? Listen to me. He's saying come as you are. Come as you are. Some of your like, “Man I wish I could be this, but I can't.” He's saying forget about trying to be that. Come as you are! He didn't say come to Me when you're better. He didn't say come to Me when you're more. He said come to Me when you're less, come to Me when you're less than you ever thought you were. When you're restless, when you're busted up, when you fail for the hundred and fifteenth time, come to Me when you're hurt, come to Me when you're drowning in obligations. Don't try to clean it up, don't let your pride banish you, and don't let your shame keep you away! Come to Me. I've got rest and I can give it to you!

Listen, you know what the real problem is y’all?  It's not that Jesus won't take us, it's that we banish ourselves through either pride “I'm not going to do it; I’m going to try my way, that's boring, that's hard, that's legalistic, that's puritanical. I don't believe really in my heart that Jesus is all that good so I’m just going to keep doing this. It ain’t really working and it's not really great, but it's better than that. Pride or shame, “you don't know what I’ve done, Preacher. You don't know how far I’ve gone. Jesus couldn't possibly use this. I’m not good enough. I’m not right enough. I’m not smart enough.”  Either one will banish you when all the while the Son of God is saying, Come on, I’ll take you like you are. Come on.

It means come as you are. You know what else it means?  Come to a person, not a system. Man alive, if you're still in here with me say Amen. Come to a person not a system. A whole lot of us, when we hear “come to me” here's what we think: Well I really do need to read my bible more. Well I really do need to pray more. I do need to be in church more often. There’s this whole list of additional obligations, and frankly that doesn’t give you any hope because you're like “I’ve already got obligations that are drowning me. Adding five more, it's going to sink me!”

Friend, I want to tell you something, listen to me: your salvation is not found in religion. Your salvation is not found in a system. Your salvation isn’t found in a list of do's and don'ts. Your salvation is found in a person, Jesus Christ the Son of God and the bible is a means of chasing Him. Coming together with believers, all of whom are just as banged up as you (and if you're in here and you think you're not banged up you may be more banged up than the rest of us). Let me say that again... *speaks deeply into the microphone* If you're here and you think you're not banged up you may be more banged up than the rest of us.  *laughter* I can't do that with my lapel mics, I’m going to utilize this for all it's worth.

The truth is,  all of those things that if we're not careful we make ends in and of themselves: scripture, prayer, worship, community, church.  Those are pathways to a living Savior.  I want to know Him, I want to chase Him, and I’m going to feel Him.  I want to walk with Him.  Listen don't make any of that stuff an end in and of itself; that's exhausting. Make it a means of getting to Jesus.  I was talking with somebody recently and somebody had shared this with me and it blessed my heart...

If I am digging for buried treasure, I'm going to need some implements. I’m going to need a pick, I’m going to need a shovel to get down to the treasure, but you know what? It would be foolhardy of me to make a treasure out of the shovel. It would be stupid of me to make the goal of my life the pickaxe. But I tell you what; I’m never going to get to the treasure without that stuff.  The word, prayer, community, are our ways to get down to the treasure that is Jesus Christ.

An offer extended, “come to me” and He says take my yoke upon you and learn of me”  Now, we have a vague understanding when we hear “yoke”.  That's that wooden instrument placed around the neck of two oxen to pull a plow, to pull load of some sort, and I think I’ve heard preachers and commentators talk about, Ok Jesus is saying I’m the one pulling, its My energy, it's My work, just link up with Me and let Me do the pulling.  I don't think that's bad, but I think we do need to understand that in Jesus’ day and culture, the most impressive calling that a person could have was to be a Rabbi; to be a teacher of the Hebrew scriptures. I mean in that culture, that was the tops. And interestingly enough a Rabbis thinking, his philosophy, his particular interpretation of scripture, guess what it was referred to as: His yoke. So whenever a Rabbi chooses an apprentice they call them their “Talmudine”, a disciple. It was a tremendous honor. 

He would ask this young pupil “come take my yoke, my teaching, my thinking, my way upon you, become my disciple. This is an honor, I'm choosing you, come walk with me, take my yoke on you.” The boy would then leave everything.  He’d leave his home, leave his mom, leave his dad, leave the synagogue, he’d leave the community, he would devote his entire life to being with, and like, that Rabbi.  He followed his teacher so closely that one of the Jewish sages was quoted as saying this “may you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi. “ You're walking so close with them that the dust of their feet is covering you.  Jesus said I want you to be My disciple. I want you to take My way, My learning, My teaching on you. I want you to leave behind thinking that your job is your identity. You're not a lawyer, you're not a teacher, you're not an athlete, you're not student, you are mine. Those things are secondary. I'm calling you with the highest calling there is; not to do, but to be. Come be with Me. Come walk so close with Me that My dust gets all over you. Can you imagine? Listen that was the highest of callings. That's what we think, “Well yeah, for that gifted one, for that beautiful one, for that holy one; God would call them to that.” No, listen, what Jesus said a couple of verses earlier in

Matthew 11:25-26

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Listen to me, He wants you. He's calling you. That restlessness you feel, and do almost anything to get away from, is the greatest gift God could ever give you. It will save your life if you let it; because He's calling you finally to come on. You're not going to do it perfectly. You're going to mess it up all along the way, that's alright. He knows. Jesus knows.  “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek [approachable, gentle, calm, unspeakably powerful but that power is controlled] and lowly in heart [I’m not too good to be around you]: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

One author paraphrased these verses and I want to close this: Come to me and I will give you rest, all of you who works so hard beneath a heavy load. Come wear my yoke, it fits perfectly.

 

"Jesus Knows" Brian Loveless Sermon on August 21, 2016 at Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas.