Sunday Citation

“Water, milk, and wine correspond respectively to our human needs of refreshment, nourishment, and joy…While Israel sat on the brink of destruction, the prophet’s use of this imagery couldn’t have been more timely. What water, milk, and wine do for us physically, the gospel does for us spiritually. It refreshes us with the living water of Christ (John 4:14; 7:37-38), nourishes us so that we may ‘grow up to salvation’ (1 Pet. 2:2), and causes our hearts to rejoice in the promise of glorified life (1 Pet. 1:8). Every Sunday, in the public means of grace, Christ sets these beverages before us in abundant supply…

“In a similar way, God does not want his people eating garbage. There is lament in the prophet’s question, ‘Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?’ Like rats comfortable with eating trash, we are prone to consume spiritual rubbish and junk food. Left to ourselves, we will spend our livelihood on a subhuman diet of drive-through spirituality, grasping for instant gratification in our quest for self-improvement…searching for anything that might resemble practical advice or helpful principles for living. Meanwhile, we are oblivious to the fact that our Master has set the table and called us to dinner.

“That is why preaching is so important…Curved in on ourselves in selfish introspection and idol worship, we need an external word, a voice that comes from outside ourselves, to interfere with our make-believe worlds and tell us the truth. We need to hear that surprising message of a holy God justifying the wicked through Christ. The living preaching of His Word, as the Heidelberg Catechism puts it, is God’s ordained means to accomplish this. It is an intrusive act by the Holy Spirit, driving us out of ourselves and directing our faith to the promises of God, which in Christ are yes and amen.”

-Michael Brown in “Local Church, Local Restaurant,” July/August Modern Reformation, p. 26-27

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