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Message 7, Working for God’s Glory:

Reformation extends to all matters of life, including theology, church, home, and society. This session outlines the doctrine of vocation and explains how it relates to other doctrines such as the priesthood of all believers, with a view toward encouraging greater faithfulness, innovation, and productivity in the workplace and beyond. It considers why glorifying God in our callings is vital to the kingdom of God for future centuries.

Message Transcript

Thank you, Chris. What a pleasure to be here, to take in the feast that we have had so far. Hasn’t this been a feast? Yeah.

And, I’m here to put an end to it. Maybe, yeah, consider this cleansing the palate before the next course. No, it’s a great topic. I’m honored to be here and really thrilled to have been given this topic of vocation, because you know, a lot of historians have said that even though the Reformers themselves would have said that the Reformation was all about recovering the gospel.

What the Reformation is remembered for more, by secular historians today, is the impact on culture through the doctrine of vocation. And so, it is very much a part of the Reformation to talk about our callings in the world. But the doctrine of vocation wasn’t separate from all of the other doctrines, particularly the recovery of the gospel itself, as we’ll see in the moments we have before us.

How many of you have heard of Martin Waldseemueller? Raise your hand. OK. Well, there’s a lot of honest people here. And if you did raise your hand, I don’t believe you. He’s one of those people we’ve never heard of, who nevertheless had quite a great hand in the shaping of history for centuries, the Mapamundi; the map of the world was a sphere surrounding — surrounded by foreboding deeps, with a great mountain in the middle — Mount Zion — God enthroned and wrapped in holiness at the top of that mountain. Even the maps were intended to make you look up.

In 1507, Waldseemueller’s map (Universalis Cosmographia) was developed and it was the first time America appeared on a map as a continent, named after Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer. But that’s not the only thing that was new about it. The map of the world that everyone had grown up with was gone and now it was horizontal plains. A very accurate map, but reflected a flat horizontal view of reality, instead of looking up, you were looking out, and looking at a map like this, one would never see the world again in quite the same way.

Many centuries have passed since that map. Atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche announced that the upper world, with its hierarchy descending from God, the angels, and human souls was to be wiped from the horizon. It’s like he took an eraser, he said, and just wiped that upper world from the horizon.

Sigmund Freud demythologized the religious impulse by saying that it was basically a neurosis, people can’t handle the real world, and so they invent an upper world that is really in control of things, with God at the top. Transcendence moved indoors. Transcendence no longer was governed by that map of a creator and a creation. Instead of inhabiting the highest places in the cosmos, the enchanted world came to occupy the deepest recesses of the self.

Our world is very far from the sixteenth century with its own context, with its own map of the world that was shared with those who didn’t join the Reformation. In that world with that map, the question, “How can I find a gracious God?” was a relevant question. But with our map today, the only relevant question seems to be, “How can I have my best life now?” And if God can help with that, well, I’ll figure Him to the story.

I’ll give Him a supporting role in my life movie. There may be transcendence within this world. But is there a transcendent God who comes to us from outside of time, outside of history to be with us? Joining others in singing the national anthem draws tears, taps people’s deepest loyalties, a baseball game, a kiss. Or a ballet may bristle with intonations of the sacred. Cresting the summit of a great mountain may give one a sense of the sublime. Joining a march may charge one’s soul with the sense of something larger than oneself. Being a part of that arc of history that bends toward justice.

But all of this happens within the self, within ourselves, if God exists and God has any meaning for us. In Western societies today, it’s primarily within ourselves, to empower us and give us self-esteem and to make us happier. It’s hard to think of God breaking into our day and doing a new thing. It’s hard for us, even as Christians, who believe that and yet struggle with the fact that we live in a particular age that is resistant to that map of the world.

One more introductory point here: when the plague struck England in the fifteenth century, the Church of England called for a whole year of prayer with periods of fasting. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic struck England in the 1990s, the Church of England called for more health care funding. The sense of a genuinely transcendent God, who is other than us, but yet in whom we live and move and have our being, who doesn’t depend on us, but we depend on Him, is something that we desperately need to recover in our day.

And folks, this is not something happening to other people out there. It’s not a part of the political culture wars. This goes a lot deeper than who’s in the White House. We’re all on this tectonic plate that is shifting. That has been shifting for a very long time. And if we believe differently than I have described, it’s because by God’s grace we have been riveted to the truth, by God’s Word again and again and again, but we drift.

This is what we drift toward. Bringing God indoors, measured by our small aims and ambitions, rather than a God who speaks to us, who addresses us, who comes to us from the outside, more than anything else, who sends His Son to become one of us to bear our sins and be raised as the beginning of the new creation.

Some of you may remember the band ‘Loverboy’ — now, better than Waldseemueller. How many of you remember the band ‘Loverboy’? OK. Several more. The song, ‘Working for the Weekend’? Yeah. That song really is an anthem about how most people go to work today and if we think about it, our default setting is to go to work the same way. Working for the paycheck, so that we can do what we really want to do on the weekend. Dr. Sproul says, “Right now counts forever,” and I think we all agree with him, but do we live on Monday as if we’re working for the weekend? What does a new Reformation have to say to us, not just on Sunday, but on Monday?

The pendulum often swings in church history as you often hear around Ligonier, with all the church historians. At one end, there’s the tendency to confuse the great commission with the great commandment. You know the great commission, of course, to go in to all of the world, and preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you.

And then the Great Commandment, which teases summarizes loving God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself, and Jesus was just repeating Moses. So it’s always been a summary of God’s eternal moral law that never changes. To love God with all we have and our neighbor as ourselves — as our self.

There’s always been a tendency in church history to either confuse these mandates, so that we think by loving and serving our neighbors, we’re expanding the gospel. Or, to separate these mandates, as if we can take one over the other. And I want to focus now on these two callings that are both important for us as believers.

I want to look at it in terms of the Great Commandment, love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourself, and the Great Commission, to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. And I want to do this by looking at three key distinctions that were very important for the Reformers as they thought about our callings in the world. And I think that these three distinctions are crucial for us to recover as well today. If we want to see a new Reformation in our time.

The first distinction is that between the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of Christ. Now, it’s a distinction, not a separation. They’re not the same thing. In the Roman Catholic Church, the medieval church, the church was seen as over the state, and all other spheres and callings. The radical Protestants, the Anabaptists saw the church versus the state and culture. Christians aren’t to have anything to do with the secular culture. But the Reformers advocated the church and the state as two distinct ways in which God operates in the world. One by providence and one by saving grace.

They’re different spheres over which Christ rules, but differently. The Reformers emphasized that only in Israel was the church ever a nation. Only in Israel was the church also a nation. It was a geopolitical theocracy. Calvin pointed out that the national constitution of Israel, all those laws that governed Israel as a nation and made it a holy people, consecrated to God, that national covenant was annexed or stapled to the everlasting moral law that never changes.

So the Great Commandment, love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. That never changes but there were all of these other laws, ceremonial and civil laws that were annexed or stapled to that commandment for that period in redemptive history. The old covenant saints were not dual citizens. To belong to the nation of Israel was to belong to God’s people, was to belong to His family. Every vocation was sacred, every vocation, every calling was subject to detailed laws for society as well as worship.

But in this time between Christ’s two comings, the Kingdom of God is not identified with any temporal power or temporal nation. And that’s why you have the Sermon on the Mount, which is rather different. Jesus says, “You’ve heard it said, drive out the Canaanites and the Hittites and the otherites.” I say, “Pray for your enemies and for those who persecute you.” It’s a regime change in this time between the times, the gospel goes out with power, but it’s not as if God has given up on the world and now He’s just focusing on the church, He still upholds the world by His providence and care.

And so now the Sermon on the Mount is stapled to that everlasting moral law as the marching orders for the new covenant church. Like Augustine, Luther emphasized the distinction between things heavenly and things earthly. Unbelievers can know quite a lot about things earthly. It’s when we bring secular knowledge into the realm of understanding God and His ways with us that we pervert the truth about things heavenly. Luther put forward his doctrine in detail and his important work on temporal authority in 1523.

He complained, “The devil never stops cooking and brewing these two kingdoms into each other. In the devil’s name, the secular leaders always want to be Christ’s masters and teach Him how he should run His church and spiritual government.” Similarly, the false clerics and Schismatic spirits always want to be the masters of the world. Though without God’s approval, and to teach people how to organize the secular government, thus the devil is indeed very busy you can see on every side and has very much to do everyday.

In fact, he says, “No ruler ought to prevent anyone from teaching or believing what he pleases whether the gospel or lies. It is enough if he prevents the teaching of sedition and rebellion in his realm.” He says when Paul came to Athens he didn’t destroy the idols by force but proclaimed the Word. And you remember, that’s what the apostles got in trouble for: they preached the Word and nobody wanted to buy the idols anymore.

He says for the Word created Heaven and Earth and all things. The Word must do this thing, and not we poor sinners. In short, I will preach it, teach it, write it, but I will not constrain any man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force.

I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s word, otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenburg beer with my friends Phillip and Amstorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing, the Word did it all. He’s not engaging in self-flattery when he says, “Had I desired to foment trouble, I could have brought great bloodshed upon Germany. Indeed, I could have started such a game that even the emperor would not have been safe. But what would it have been? Fool’s play. I did nothing, the Word did the work.”

Calvin also extorts, “Therefore in order that none of us may stumble on that stone, let us first consider that there is a two-fold government. One aspect is spiritual, whereby the conscious is instructed in piety and worshiping God.

The second is political, whereby Man is educated for the duties of humanity and citizenship that must be maintained among men. The question is not of itself very obscure or involved. It simply requires a distinction between the outward conformity of — to the laws of society and the ultimate surrender of the conscience to God alone, assured of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.”

Wouldn’t this be helpful today? And on this basis, Calvin challenged the medieval view that the state, lower in rank, must take its cues from the church, higher in rank as well as the Anabaptist rejection of the secular as such. With Luther, he said there is a two-fold government. Man contains as it were, he says, “Two kingdoms capable of being governed by various rulers and various laws. This distinction will prevent what the gospel inculcates concerning spiritual liberty from being misapplied to political regulation.” End quote.

He recognized that God still cares about this world. He still cares about people suffering from cancer who don’t know the Lord and never will. But he cares for the world in different ways. In some ways through common grace and in other ways through special grace.

The second distinction I want to draw your attention to is the distinction between the law and the gospel. Now, this was at the very heart of the Reformation. The Reformers made the point that Scripture speaks two words: commands and promises. Or, imperatives and indicatives. Indicatives tell you what is in fact the case. The patient is healed! That’s an indicative, it’s an announcement. Patient, heal yourself! That’s an imperative. It’s a command.

And we have both of these in Scripture and we’re obligated to hear and respond faithfully to both of God’s words. The law gives us an agenda, something to do. The gospel gives us an announcement of what God has done for us in Christ. If we get those two confused, the Reformers said, it’s all over.

Charles Spurgeon once said there are three ways to wholly corrupt God’s Word. The first is to confuse the law with the gospel. The second is to take the law without the gospel and the third is to take the gospel without the law. We see all those versions in the world and in the church unfortunately today. Now, both the great commission and the great commandment are imperatives. Right? They’re mandates. God is calling us to do something. But they’re both based on indicatives.

On an announcement of something that is true about us before we do anything. In the case of the great commandment, the indicative is that we are all created in the image of God and therefore we owe to our neighbors, Christian and non-Christian respect and reverence and love. Because we’re created in the image of God, we love our neighbors as ourselves.

The Great Commission, of course, is based on a great announcement. You of how the Great Commission actually starts? I was wrong when I said it starts with go in to all the world and preach the gospel. Actually the Great Commission starts with the announcement, the indicative announcement: all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

He doesn’t say “Now, go in to all the world and bring everything in subjection to me.” He says, “No, no, no, no, it is! I don’t think you understand. No, everything in heaven and on earth belongs to me. Now, go you scaredy cats. You know, shaking like a poodle all the time, you know, what are they going to do to us? It all belongs to me! Now, go! Get out there and announce to people what has happened.”

And so, when we confuse these two Words of God, the law and the gospel, we end up proclaiming ourselves rather than Christ as the answer to the world’s problems. We end up embracing a social gospel. One evangelical writer says, “To say that Jesus is Savior is to say that in Jesus, God is intervening as Savior in all these ways, judging, naming evil as evil, forgiving, that is breaking the viscous cycle of cause and effect” — I’m not sure what that means — “Making reconciliation possible and teaching, showing how to set chain reactions of good in motion.” He doesn’t even mention Jesus suffering for us on the cross, or His resurrection for us from the grave.

And then he says, “Then, because we’re so often ignorant, wrong, and stupid” — not sinful, evidently — “Jesus comes with saving teaching, profound yet amazing compact. What is that saving teaching: love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself and that is enough.”

What has he done? He’s just told us that the summary of the gospel is what Jesus called the summary of the law. It doesn’t get worse than that. Be very careful as we think about our callings in the world, what we’re doing. What are we doing when we go to work? Are we going to work in order to save the world or are we going to work in order to serve the world?

See now, this is where the Reformation really gave people a new basis for their various callings in the world. Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father to fully satisfy for all of our sins. Not only are we forgiven, but we’re justified, we’re declared righteous. We’re even being sanctified, being renewed and one day we will be glorified. All of this is the gift of God and a whole culture was trying, at least those that were serious about it, to offer their works to God so that God would pay them back.

Calvin had a great way of describing the monks in one of his sermons. He says, “The monks are in trouble in three ways.” He says, “They are offering their works to God as if he should repay them and therefore God is displeased.” They don’t get any benefit out of it because it’s zeal without knowledge. They don’t know about the righteousness which comes by faith and are trying to climb the ladder up to God, so they’re not served by it.

God isn’t served, they’re not served, and their neighbor isn’t served. What does monk do all day? Nothing that loves and serves their neighbor. A cobbler is doing a lot more for their neighborhood than a monk. Now, if you realize all good gifts come down from God, we don’t send our gifts up to Him, He sends His gifts down to us. And in the way we worship Him on Monday is to take those gifts out to the world, now you have the right flow of the gifts.

Luther had a great line, where he says, “God doesn’t need your good works. Your neighbor does.”

God says, “If you want to serve me, serve your neighbor.”

You see we’re not offering atoning sacrifices when we go to work or when we go to worship. That has been offered. Now that that has been offered, we are not running up the down escalator, rather we’re receiving God as He is descended to us and He hands us all these presents like it’s Christmas and says, “Distribute these. Take these out to the world, there are people out there who need you.” That’s why the Reformation unleashed a new sense of calling.

As Dr. Ferguson pointed out, we go to church for God to give His good gifts to us. That is God’s work for us on Sunday, and then on Monday, God’s work through us for others. That’s how we ought to think about our calling, our vocation. Now, is that just a job? No, it’s a calling, because there’s a God outside of us and outside of our pension plans who is calling us to our neighbors, who need us.

And then the second distinction, distinction between saving grace and common grace. Now again, these aren’t dualisms, in other words, separate silos. We live in one silo on Sunday then on Monday we live in a different silo, kind of schizophrenic existence. They’re distinctions, not separations. Common grace is wonderful. Common grace is spectacular.

In fact, against the Protestant radicals, who railed against all secular learning and culture, Calvin exhorted “But if the Lord has willed that we be helped in physics, dialectic, mathematics and other like disciplines by the work and ministry — listen to that, by the work and ministry of the ungodly. Let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s gift, freely offered in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloth. And then after offering examples from the arts and sciences and medicine, he concludes, “Let us accordingly learn by their example, how many gifts the Lord left to human nature even after it was despoiled of its true good.”

Even after the fall, human beings cannot completely destroy God’s good creation. Even though we run to smother those embers, those flashing embers that speak of our being created in the image of God, we can’t put it out. But common grace isn’t saving grace, is it? Common grace does not redeem, common grace does not reconcile sinners to God. You can have some reasonable order, some degree of justice in a fallen world by people who take their calling seriously. But with God’s other hand, He’s doing something even mightier. He is drawing His elect from every nation to the end time feast.

But if we’re looking for miracles, if we’re looking for signs and wonders, come to church. Where the Word is proclaimed and the sacraments are administered. And where you’re cared for, in body and soul. With CNN, you wake up everyday to the same dreary headlines of this passing age of sin and death. But you come to church, gather together again, and realize that you’re part of a different family, with a different end, different hope, through different means because you belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Because of God’s common grace — because of God’s common grace, even atheists minister to us. God so restrains their evil and inturpitude that they cannot help but contribute to the common good and so Christians can work alongside non-Christians in a whole host of vocations, but it’s not saving grace. For that, we need the gospel. We need good news. The good news that God justifies the wicked. He doesn’t just restrain their wickedness, He justifies the wicked and He regenerates and sanctifies them.

We need to have God’s law written not merely on our conscience, but on our heart. And have our hearts of stone taken away and replaced with a heart of flesh, we need the Spirit not only to restrain wickedness, injustice and vice, but to raise the dead, and to insert us into Christ as the beginning of the new creation.

OK, the last one. The church as people and the church as place. See, again. The danger here is that we either confuse them, we collapse them into each other, or we separate them. The church is only a people, it’s not a place. We hear this all the time. A friend with whom I disagree on this point has written in one of his books, “You can’t go to church, because we are the church.” That sounds really — it sounds right at first and then you start thinking about it. If you don’t go to church, you can’t be the church. The church is the re-salinization plant.

You say, “I don’t want to be a Sunday Christian.” Well, if you’re not a Sunday Christian, you won’t be a Monday Christian either. You see, we have to come to church, like we go to the mall — well, I don’t really mean that. You can edit that part out right? You go to the mall and you see that sign, “You are Here,” right? And then you know where to go. We come to church to find out where we are. Say, “Well, I’m a white, middle-aged, middle class guy from San Diego.” No you’re not. I mean you’re kind of that, that’s sort of on the fringes of who you are, but that’s not really who you are. “Oh, I’m a seminary professor preacher, minister of the gospel.” No, that’s not really the deepest part of your identity.

Well, what am I?”

You’re in Christ. So set your mind on heavenly things where Christ is. We’re not first and foremost workers, brothers and sisters. And this is hard for us, especially as Americans. We are what we do. We come to church to remember we aren’t what we do. We are what God has done to us. Then we go out on Monday to do for others. Actual concrete neighbors. Not neighbor with a capital N as an abstract idea, or the world, you know “Think globally, act locally.” No, think locally, act locally. Start with a neighbor who’s right in front of you. You’re looking for a cause?

You know, I got all sorts of causes that bore me to death right in front of me. There are probably some of you who are tired of changing diapers. Tired of saying, “No.” Tired of yelling at your kids in the van when you’re on a vacation and you thought this might actually be worthwhile, but you spent a fortune on just having them closer together to attack each other. But they are your concrete neighbors! They’re the ones right in front of you, it’s easier to go save the world than it is to change a diaper.

It begins with the holy family. And what I mean by the holy family is the church. Then our second — that’s our first family, actually. Our second family is our nuclear family, then to our next door neighbors. And then to our coworkers. You see, the church as an institution can’t do everything that the church as people can do. Abraham Kuyper had a great distinction between the church as organism and the church as organization or institute. The church is an institution in the world, it’s not just a people.

It’s also a place. As a place, as an institution, the church can’t say whatever it wants to say to the world in God’s name. It has a very limited script. A very limited mandate. The Great Commission is not the Great Commandment. They’re all sorts of ways of loving and serving our neighbors, that pastors and theologians are not qualified to deliberate on. There are people in the congregation who know their callings far better than I do or any preacher does. They have to take what they get in church, being re-salinated, made salt again, and take it out in to the world with the best practices they understand in their field.

And Christians are going to disagree sometimes on how best to love and serve their neighbor. They’ll agree on loving and serving their neighbor but they’ll disagree on the best way of doing that sometimes. And the church must allow for Christian liberty there, for Christians to disagree how best to accomplish that.

But when it comes to the Word of God, whatever God has decreed in His law and the gospel, the church not only can, but must speak. Ironically, brothers and sisters, I know you know what I’m talking about here, we live in an age when doctrine is eschewed as divisive for churches. While we seem quite happy to divide the body of Christ over all sorts of things the Bible isn’t clear about. Do we think that our callings in this world rank higher than our calling as Christians united to believers of every race, kindred tongue, people, and nation around the world today?

Instead of more soldiers in the culture wars, we need more salty Christians, who go to work on Monday and love and serve their neighbors. Who know the gospel well enough to be able to communicate it and in the light of that gospel to show the love of Christ in ways that people have never seen before. We need more churches that are re-salinization instead of desalinization plants. People know what they believe and why they believe and they’re formed in that community of faith.

They are new creatures as they go out into the world, as the salt is shaken out into the world. And then they will be enriching force in their families, in their neighborhoods, their schools, their workplaces, little league, soup kitchens, volunteer organizations. Loving their neighbors through their vocational excellence as well as through their witness to Christ.

OK. So there it is. Those are the three distinctions. Distinguishing the Great Commandment and the Great Commission by a further set of distinctions, that between our two citizenships, the two Words, and the two graces: common grace and saving grace.

So how do we go to work on Monday? We go to work saying, “I’m transforming my workplace.” The nineteenth century revivalist Charles Finney said the church is a moral reform society. Is that how we go into the workplace? Or, swinging the pendulum to the other side, we say, “It’s all going to burn anyway.”

No, I like the phrase that James Davidson Hunter has come up with: faithful presence. Isn’t that great? Faithful presence. If we have time to unpack that — faithful presence. Being there. Os Guinness says, “The problem is not that Christians aren’t where they should be, the problem is they’re not what they should be where they are.”

And so we go to work reminded after Sunday that it’s like Christmas. We’re waiting not for Santa Claus, but for the return of Christ where He will make all things new. He won’t destroy the world, He said, “Behold, I make all things new.” That’s the business He’s in. And in the light of what He does, when He comes at the end of time, we can bandage wounds, in the meantime. And spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

It is said — and usually when people go on to give a Luther quote, preceded by that phrase, it isn’t actually a Luther quote. It is said that Luther said when someone asked him, “What would you do if you knew Christ was coming tomorrow?” “I’d plant a tree today.” And it’s almost certain he never said that, but he should have, because it totally fits with all of this theology, the whole way he’s thinking about vocation. Plant a tree today. Why? Because you’re going to change the world. No. Because that spot over there needs a tree. My neighbors need it.

I want to close with this. We have to remember, folks, that at the end of the day, you know, there’s a legitimate place for work. But only after we have been served by God and His work in Christ. There’s a legitimate place for building things, but the one thing we do not build — we build all sorts of kingdoms in this world — but one thing we do not build is the Kingdom of Christ. There’s not one verse that says go out and build the kingdom. On the contrary, here are some passages.

James reminds us “Every good 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. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Similarly, Paul told the Athenian philosophers God doesn’t need anything since He’s the one that gives everything. God is the giver, not the receiver of all good gifts.

Paul says in Romans 11, “Who has given Him a gift that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be the glory forever.” That’s the theology that drove the Reformation and that drove Christians out into the world without fear. I love the line that Jesus gives in Luke 12:32, “Fear not little flock” — I love it. First of all, “little flock.” Oh no, we’re a big flock. No, have you — you haven’t seen the news? Yeah, we’re a big flock. We can decide things in this culture. No, we’re not. The body of Christ in the United States, speaking specifically here of the United States, the body of Christ in the United States I think is really small.

It’s OK. “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Yeah. That is the promise. He doesn’t tell us in the Great Commission to go into all the world and bring everything under His authority, He says everything is under my authority, now go out and rob Satan’s prisons. Bring them home. So brothers and sisters, let’s stop wringing our hands. Hanging our head low. Let’s stop whining as if our faith were in our works. Or in our kingdoms, or in our country. Read Stephen Nichols’ ‘A Time for Confidence.’ Yeah, we’re living in a secular age.

Yes, we’re living in that map of the world that doesn’t have God at the center. But the light is that much brighter in the dark. There is a gospel to proclaim, and there are neighbors to serve, and “Since we are receiving a kingdom,” as the writer of the Hebrew says, “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us worship God with reverence and awe. For He is a consuming fire. Preparing His disciples for His departure, Jesus said — and I’ll close with these words: “I have said these things to you, that in me — in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” Amen.