“We are…sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:8, 10)
This weekend LifePoint will do two things that, on the surface, seem to contradict one another. On Saturday, we will bury a member of our congregation who passed away a few days ago. Then on Sunday, we will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of our church.
Because the Gospel is true, these two things—celebration and grief—belong side by side.
The Gospel fully acknowledges the sadness of today’s realities while injecting into today the hope of future glory.
One on hand, Paul is able to be honest about the nature of death, that it is an enemy of God and His church which remains at large (1 Cor. 15:26). Moreover, Paul was quite honest about the emotional impact of death. For instance, when his fellow worker, Epaphroditus, fell ill and nearly died, the apostle feared that he would be overwhelmed by “sorrow upon sorrow” over the loss (Phil. 2:25-27). No one—not even a spiritual giant like Paul—can deny that as long as bodies are being laid to rest in the grave, the world is not how it was meant to be.
Ultimately, however, death cannot steal future glory’s thunder.
This is why Paul can call death a defeated foe, boasting, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54b–55). One day, says Paul, the mortal will put on immortality; the perishable will put on the imperishable. Because this is our future in Christ, we have every reason to celebrate in the present. So celebrate we will! For it is a gift and a blessing that LifePoint has been around for the past fifteen years to impact lives for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Because of what God has done through our congregation, a great many more people have believed the Gospel and are able to join in with Paul’s boast over death and the grave.
This Sunday, as we gather to worship, there will be a sense of loss among us; the stench of death will remain. However, when the Gospel begins to resound through our songs, through the testimony of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, through the proclaimed Word of God, the stench of death will have to give way to the sweet aroma of resurrection. Thus we will be sorrowful and rejoicing at once as we confess the mystery of our faith: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” Because this Good News is true, our loss and celebration can freely co-exist as we worship God together.
Set List for Sunday, October 06, 2019:
- The Passion (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, S. Davenport)
- How Great Is Your Love (K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)
- I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) (C. H. Gabriel, C. Tomlin)
- World Needs Jesus (A. Johnson, E. John, R. Williams, W. Schrock)
- More to Come (J. Ingram, K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)