[0:00] Alright, well James 1.5, we read there at the end that says, if anybody lacks wisdom, they should ask for it. Yep. So let's do that.
[0:10] Good idea. That's us. So let's pray. Lord, we ask now that you would make this time useful to your people, to us. Lord, give us wisdom. We lack it. We know we do.
[0:21] And so we ask for help, the help of the Holy Spirit as we do something a little different tonight and think about some of the questions that have come up from us as a church family. So bless us and be with us, we ask in Christ's name.
[0:32] Amen. Alright, so we do this a couple times a year and we try to do it because we want to take the things we've been talking about and worship on Wednesdays in city groups and give you an opportunity to put them out there and us to consider them in a public forum.
[0:50] So we do this a couple Sunday nights and here we are, question time. So we've got all the questions up on the screens for us and I've got them written as well right here in case we have a malfunction of any sort.
[1:01] And so let's do it. Let's think about it together. Okay, there were some good ones. The first one is a good one. What is the biblical evidence that the Sabbath is now Sunday?
[1:12] Is it still God's command to observe the Sabbath? So some of the questions are going to be pretty theological and some of them are more just kind of Christian life stuff. So I think one of the dangers here is that this question could take our whole time.
[1:25] So I'm going to try. So you might just stop me if you feel like you need to. So I'm going to start with this one and you can add if you want. Let me say this.
[1:36] Here at St. Columbus we are a Catholic Church, small C. So we're not Roman Catholic but we are Catholic. We're part of the one holy apostolic church across all the globe and in that we have an open table.
[1:52] Anybody that believes the gospel can come and eat from our table. And that extends into questions like this. So we would say that in the essentials that God is trying that Jesus Christ is God, that Jesus Christ walked out of the grave on the third day, we want unity.
[2:08] So to be a member here, if you say those things, you're very welcome to join our church, to eat at the Lord's table. And in secondary things, we're okay with diversity.
[2:21] So we have a confession of faith. We have a certain view of the Sabbath but nobody, anybody can come to our church and disagree with us about the Sabbath and that's okay.
[2:32] Just like I know some of you disagree with us about who gets to be baptized and all these sorts of things and that's fine. But in the church tradition we come from, the Reformed Protestant tradition, Presbyterians as we are, we've believed for centuries now that the Sabbath command still holds.
[2:50] And that the Sabbath command that's given in the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament is a command for us as Christians today. And that now the Sabbath is on Sunday. And this is what the questioner is asking about.
[3:03] One of the reasons that you get to that idea, it's really important qualification and it's something like this. When you go to the New Testament, you don't see anywhere a command that says the Sabbath is still in force and you New Testament Christians need to observe it.
[3:19] You don't see that anywhere. But you also don't see anywhere in the New Testament there is no longer a Sabbath day to be viewed because Jesus is your Sabbath. So there's no explicit command in the New Testament either way.
[3:32] And that's really important actually to say because there's a couple different ways you can come to read the Bible. One of those ways to read the Bible is you can come and say, well look, I need chapter and verse for everything.
[3:45] It's kind of an authorization mentality where if the Bible hasn't said it explicitly in the most plain language, I can't believe it. I can't do it. I can't say that that's a command from God.
[3:57] And then there's another way to read the Bible. And this would be the way I think that we would want to approach it. And that's to read the Bible theologically to put it in one way. One way you could say it is like that. And that's to say that we want to read every single passage of the Bible in the light of every single other passage of the Bible.
[4:13] So Genesis interprets revelation. Revelation interprets Genesis. Jesus Christ interprets numbers and Leviticus. And Leviticus helps us interpret Jesus Christ. And when you do that, when you put together a big picture image, I would argue that the Bible actually suggests to us over and over again that the Sabbath still stands.
[4:35] Just like the Ten Commandments still stand. So there's really no Christian tradition out there that don't think the Ten Commandments are still part of the Christian life, that they're still norms, right? And even a person who would say we no longer have the Sabbath day would still say, well, yeah, the Ten Commandments stand.
[4:49] But it's just that Jesus has fulfilled the Sabbath. And so Jesus is now our Sabbath. So we don't have a Sabbath day anymore. Good. Just explain what you mean by Jesus is our Sabbath.
[5:00] The day that Jesus walked out of the grave when the tomb rolled back, Jesus became our rest. We rest in him now. So we don't have to have a specific day of rest any longer, like in the Old Testament.
[5:12] Now here's what I would challenge that. It's yes and no. Jesus is our Sabbath, but the Sabbath is now and not yet. You know, if you say, well, everything that the Sabbath was meant to be has already been fulfilled in Jesus.
[5:27] Well, a few days later, Stephen got stoned. And a few years after that, Mark got dragged through the streets of Alexandria by horses. And the Sabbath is the day that God comes down into this world and reestablishes the Garden of Eden on planet Earth.
[5:44] That's the Sabbath. That's true rest. It's God's holy condescension into the garden. And so yes, Jesus is our Sabbath. And no, the Sabbath has not come yet.
[5:55] We don't yet have it. We have it, but we don't have it. We're living in the time of the now and not yet. So in Hebrews four, we have the phrase, because the rest remains for the people of God dot, dot, dot.
[6:08] And there's a chapter in verse because rest Sabbath is yet to happen for the people of God. We're pilgrims. We haven't yet gotten there. And so the 10 commandments, including the Sabbath, I think are still a command for us.
[6:20] This is a gift and a mercy to us that God commands us to rest and to stop and to worship and to be with God's people and to do works of mercy and nothing else.
[6:31] That's a mercy. And it stands from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Almost done. Why is it Sunday? Again, if you're looking for chapter and verse where it says, now the Sabbath is Sunday, you won't find it exactly like that.
[6:45] But the early church understood that it was. They practiced it from the time of the first century forward. The Sabbath has Sunday. You can read early church fathers that say this very explicitly.
[6:59] But also Acts chapter two would be in one place. People have said, well, the church was gathering every day of the week, not just Sunday. So why is Sunday so special? But one of the things you see is that it says, no, on Sunday they practiced the breaking of bread and the prayers.
[7:14] And that's not the same. So they gathered every day, but on Sunday it was the breaking of bread. And that's the Lord's supper. So it's showing there was something different about Sunday. John calls it the Lord's day in Revelation.
[7:26] I was in the spirit on the Lord's day. Last thing I said last thing, but this is the last thing. Last thing. Last thing.
[7:36] The last thing is this in the book of John. This is one of those ways of reading the Bible. In the book of John, there's a movement across the book of John, the gospel of John, where there are seven days talked about across the gospel of John.
[7:48] The gospel of John, actually you can map out John says the next day, the next day. He says it seven times across his gospel. John, in a three year ministry of Christ, is actually mapping Christ's ministry onto the seven creation days.
[8:03] And the New Testament scholars are really clear about that. The Sunday morning that Jesus rose from the dead, it's the eighth day. Meaning that Sunday started a new era of history.
[8:17] And that era, it's the eighth day era. It's the day that the Sabbath moved from Saturday to Sunday. So that would be some things we could say. That's decent. Covered quite a lot there.
[8:28] No, yeah, obviously that's a really helpful summary. And all I would say added to that is the desire to be together on a day that he's encouraged us so to do for perspective and for anticipation and for encouragement.
[8:50] Because he's given us that day together for these things. And for rest, physical as well, spiritual. So yeah, good. Don't say anything else. Let's go to question two then.
[9:02] This is a combination of three different people's questions. And we put them all together because we think the answer is largely similar for all three, even though they'll look a little different.
[9:12] So here it is. Christians are called to find contentment in all circumstances and in any hard time. But isn't it right to be discontent as well? That's what they're asking. Discontent with isolation, discontent with our suffering.
[9:25] If not, how do we get to true contentment? How does that work when the Bible also calls us at the same time to lament? So the questioner here is saying we're called, we're told that we should seek contentment in all things, but at the same time the Bible tons of times says, but also lament, also be sad.
[9:46] So how does that work? This is the second part to this, I think, Maddie, thanks. This doesn't seem related, but it is. What is God consciousness? That's a quote from a recent sermon.
[9:56] That's why it's being asked. What is God consciousness and how does that matter for the Christian life? Is that all for question two? Yeah, okay. So I think the person that asked the first part of this question was asking it in the context, especially of the struggle for desiring to be married and being single.
[10:16] And so there's a certain call in your life maybe to both discontentment and contentment at the same time. And how do we think about that? That's the question. Well, you can answer that, but, and then I'm going to answer the bit about that came up after that.
[10:32] Okay. Okay. So I mean, to start or you start? Yeah, you start. Okay. I think that the big thing to think about here is that the reason the Bible can call us to be content and also sad, content and also full of lamentation is because there is a difference in spiritual satisfaction and earthly satisfaction or circumstantial satisfaction.
[11:00] So what the Bible is doing is saying always seek and desire spiritual satisfaction while you're in the midst of personal circumstances that are not satisfying at all.
[11:13] So you can lament, you can be completely discontent with your circumstance. You can look at evil that's happened to you that's happening in your life and say, I'm not happy with this. I'm discontent with this.
[11:25] And that's okay. That's exactly what the Psalms do all the time. But at the same time seek spiritual contentment, spiritual satisfaction that takes you beyond that earthly circumstance.
[11:36] And that's what Philippians four means when it says it's possible by the spirit to find a peace that surpasses understanding. The reason that peace surpasses understanding is because it is a piece that does not make sense because you shouldn't have peace.
[11:52] So that's the idea. Now maybe if I'll bring it home real quick and then you can go. I would say particularly because the questioner, by the way, all these are anonymous.
[12:02] So we have no idea who wrote them except for when people tell us who it is, one or two did that. So I don't know who wrote this, but it's something that many people feel the weight of and that's, it was in the context of discontentment with singleness, wanting to be married and yet trying to find contentment in Christ at the same time.
[12:22] Maybe one thing I could say is this, that spiritual contentment, spiritual satisfaction starts in some ways by realizing that the it that you're looking for and getting marriage is not going to be the it you think.
[12:41] Put it in it, now that's what Heather says about me, not me about her by the way, that it wasn't the it she was looking for. It is for me. Okay.
[12:52] No, the point is this, all of you, nobody needs to learn this. Just look at celebrity culture, it's the great epitome, right? People get married and then they want to do it again and they want to find somebody else and it happens all the time.
[13:06] People get the job and they need something different. People get the career, the wealth status and they don't care anymore and they realize they're actually pretty bored.
[13:17] And Lewis says it like this, if you're always looking for a contentment and a satisfaction that you haven't yet to find in all your accomplishments, then it means you were made for something bigger than that.
[13:28] And that's the type of thing that's being talked about here. Yeah, I think there's definitely an ultimacy with these things, that none of these things can bring you ultimate satisfaction and they're always going to be temporary, always.
[13:45] And I think it's important to recognize that. I think it's also, contentment can come by laying it down in a sense at the feet of Jesus is that you're taking it to Him in prayer, it's not that you're, it's not a kind of careless contentment, well, I don't really care what happens, but rather you're taking what are real burdens and real difficult situations and you find a contentment by leaving them at the source of all knowledge and all truth and entrusting it to Him where we don't know or we don't have the answers.
[14:24] That's really where faith comes in, I think, into our lives. And knowing that ultimacy helps us to see things slightly differently. I think sometimes as we do that, we begin to see that there may be things that we can learn from it or there's things that we can do to change the situation.
[14:45] Sometimes there's nothing we can do. And Corey tonight prayed about, oh, it's a you and actually prayed tonight about Ukraine and about Sudan. And we pray about these things, we're discontent, we hate these things. There's nothing we can do about them, really.
[14:58] Maybe the odd individual can, but we can find a contentment and leaving them at the feet of the one before whom all justice will be played out one day, however difficult that is for us.
[15:12] So I think that's part of it. One of the other sections there is about rejoicing always, how can we do that when the Bible calls us to lament and to be sad so much of the time?
[15:23] And I think that's just simply, I shouldn't say simply, simply is not the right word. But it's the reality of the paradox of the Christian life, isn't it? That these same psalms of lament, they often come to a conclusion of praise and adoration.
[15:41] And Paul himself, we've talked about Paul, that he was able to be sorrowful yet rejoicing, a strange paradoxical thing to say in all his heart. It wasn't like he had a... Paul was naive and he wasn't simplistic.
[15:53] He had an incredibly hard life and yet he'd learned to be content in his circumstance. It was something that didn't come easily. He learned it and learned that there was a sovereign over his life who loved him, however difficult that was in his circumstances.
[16:09] But for us to realize that our suffering and difficulties are not pointless and they're not random and they are not ultimate.
[16:22] And that what Corey was teaching the kids tonight, that the victory has already been won. There is an end, there is victory and we are not alone through it.
[16:33] It's a kind of change of perspective which allows us that paradoxical ability to rejoice even though we're sorrowful. But it can never...
[16:43] It should never... I always say it should never be slapstick or kind of insensitive at all. Hate that kind of idea of Christians that are come across as insensitive or careless about suffering and difficulty.
[16:57] As if, well, it doesn't matter, God will get me through it. It's not like that at all for us and it should never be. But it should, I think, it should make itself obvious in an inner strength and a balanced ability to come through suffering that recognizes that we are under the governance and care of a higher, loving, saving God.
[17:31] Good. All right. We didn't say anything about God consciousness, I guess. Yeah, yeah, see a little bit of that. I think that's just... That was something that came from a sermon recently.
[17:41] All that we mean by that is the same thing. All that we mean by that is consciousness of God. So meaning that at all times in your life, especially in suffering or when you're typing out email or washing dishes that we were called in the Bible multiple times to have an awareness of God's existence and presence.
[18:02] That's God consciousness or consciousness of God. So being aware that God is with me right now, God is for me, so it's growing in that sort of mindset. It's a mindset. Yeah, and I just let a different thought of that when we were thinking about God consciousness, I was thinking of someone asking, well, how do I know that God's in my life or how can I have that consciousness of God in my life?
[18:24] And I just thought of a couple of things that are not particularly theological, but I think when you have an awareness that you don't want to do the things that you know God hates, but maybe you love, is an awareness that there's someone working in your heart, the living God's working in your heart.
[18:40] You've got a kind of tension in a battle to do the right things, even though maybe your heart sometimes is attracted to the wrong things. I think one other really important point is in terms of God consciousness is you stop looking at your life as much in relation to other people, and you stop comparing yourself to other people, and you stop wanting everyone else to change to be more like you, and you start seeing the need for your own heart to be changed in every circumstance.
[19:13] Rather than saying, I wish God would teach someone else something from this. Rather saying, what is God teaching me from this? What do I need to see changed in my heart? Instead of being wronged all the time by other people's behavior, we start saying, well, what is it that I've done that God, even if I haven't done anything wrong, what is it that I can learn in terms of patience?
[19:31] And I think that's a big thing about God consciousness in terms of being aware that God is working in your life, because it's counterintuitive, and it's countercultural to think like that. And it's countercultural to lay down your life before other people.
[19:46] These kind of things, I think, help sometimes to encourage us that God's working in our hearts. Yeah, that God consciousness phrase is kind of a 19th century phrase you would see with the Alleges.
[20:01] It's kind of a, probably for us modern people, so it kind of sounds a little weird, maybe. Maybe not. I was around in the 1960s. Yeah, yeah, that's true. That's right. Well, fair enough.
[20:11] Okay. All right. I said it. I say that saying, I said the phrase, so I'm not admitting that. Question three, does God wipe away, wiping away every tear?
[20:22] This is Isaiah 25. Mean that if God makes all sadness untrue, that we will forget our sorrows from this life when we are in the next life, and if so, doesn't that make the heavenly life shallow?
[20:34] Do you just start on me? No, you can start. Yeah. Does God wiping away every tear mean that God, that we will forget our sorrows in the next life, the heavenly life or the life of the new creation?
[20:48] I don't think so. Not at all. I think that we will remember what has taken place in this life, and that God, for that very reason, will come and wipe away our tears.
[20:59] Now, the questioner in the original question asked, is that literal or metaphorical? And I think the answer is yes. So to what degree will Jesus wipe away my tears?
[21:12] Will I see Jesus in embodiment? Yes. Will Jesus come and be before me physically? Absolutely, he will. Mary gave the resurrected Christ a big hug, and I think you will too.
[21:28] And so yeah, why not? Jesus will wipe away your tears. What that means metaphorically is that Jesus will dismiss all your grief and give you the fullness of joy, right?
[21:39] And that's what it means. And so there's a notion out there that's in a lot of the evangelical world that when you get to heaven, you don't remember your previous life.
[21:54] And I'm not sure how that happened or where that came from. There's a couple of verses in the Bible that may lend you that way a little bit, but when you read them in context, you know that that's not what it's saying.
[22:07] So Derek and I were talking about this earlier, and we both mentioned that just to be fast. The best example that I think to give that we know that this is not the case is that Jesus Christ carried his scars and his wounds into the heavenly life.
[22:24] And I think he wants us to see them when we finally meet him. He wants us to see the scars and he wants us to remember. And it'll be the memory of the cross that will help us so much, the memory of the hell of the cross that will help us to understand to what degree our tears have been wiped away.
[22:41] Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, even Jesus telling the story of Lazarus and the rich man would suggest the rich man where he was, it wasn't in heaven certainly and his tears weren't being wiped away, but he remembered a past life.
[22:57] And I think it would, I mean, the question says that does that make God, does it make God make all sadness untrue?
[23:08] Certainly doesn't make sadness untrue, but I think we will, it's like all things. The new heavens and the earth will be so remarkable to us, and it'll be such a transformation that it's unthinkable that we can have a memory that's redeemed in such a way that enables us not to weep anymore about things.
[23:27] And yet I think that's what we will be able to do. What caused our tears, we will be able to see them differently because we'll see them from God's perspective. And the wiping away of tears is also, there's a finality about it because he's saying that well, the things that cause your tears will never happen here.
[23:44] It's just not going to happen here. And it's the end of tears at that level. So I think there is definitely a reimagining, a re-understanding of our past, but also the comfort of the nearer presence of Jesus.
[24:03] Yeah, that's good. We've got a few more and we'll have to be a little more brief, but no, no, I think it's the first question. I think that was the problem, my problem.
[24:15] Number four is Q&A. This is our favorite tonight. It's Q&A on Sunday night of valid church service. Or is it a valid element in a worship service? I added that.
[24:25] Could we do this every week and it be okay? Well, we should have that question. First we could have finished at six o'clock. Yeah.
[24:36] So I think this is a great question. The person who asked the question qualified it and said, I'm not saying this as a critique. It's more of an opportunity to ask, what do we do in worship and why?
[24:46] And they also noted that they enjoy these things, but I think it's a totally legitimate question. So a couple of things. One is that I would say, I don't have the most clear answer to this, by the way, but one is that this is our second service of worship today.
[25:04] So if we only had one service of worship, we wouldn't do this. We've preached the gospel. We've opened God's Word and preached the gospel this morning. We've prayed. We've sung.
[25:15] The gospel has been spoken this evening multiple times. And so we think that in that, we're obeying the principle that our church sets out to obey, which is what we call the regulative principle of worship.
[25:30] So there are kind of two ways to think about worship and what you do in worship. There's many more than that, but there's kind of two broad brush. One is called the regulative principle. One is called the normative principle. The regulative principle says that you only do in worship what the Bible commands you to do in worship.
[25:47] So things like pray, sing, read scripture, preach, proclaim the gospel. The normative principle says, on the other hand, that you can do anything in worship that's wise.
[26:00] So anything in worship that you think is for the benefit of getting the gospel out there to people, whatever it might be. So in the regulative principle, you wouldn't have like a drama, a play or something in worship.
[26:12] In the normative principle, it would say, that's fine. You can have a drama. You can have a play at worship, something like that. So that's the difference. We are a regulative principle church in tradition.
[26:22] Q and A is a little bit of a gray area to be maybe, but it is an extension of reflection on the word of God and something that I think a couple of times a year is okay as long as it's couched in a Sunday where the word of God has been preached.
[26:39] So that would lead us also into asking about worship on Sunday nights even, I think. But probably don't want to do that. Okay.
[26:49] I would argue as well, preaching and teaching is a legitimate part of, obviously, preaching, legitimate part of the regulative principle. It's part of orderly worship as it's laid out in the New Testament when Corinthians 14 talks about a word of instruction.
[27:05] And I think answering questions biblically would come under that word of instruction. I think sometimes we're a little bit narrow in our understanding of preaching as it's got to be a 28 to 35 minute monologue from the front, which isn't necessarily the only form and you'll see lots and lots of evidences of Jesus asking questions and also answering questions.
[27:33] And even from a young age, he would go into a synagogue and ask a lot of questions. And also they were amazed at his answers so he could do both. So I know you're not amazed at our answers, but we're good at asking them anyway.
[27:46] Well, you're very good at asking them. And spirit and truth, the whole kind of broader concept of worship being in spirit and truth. So we're guided by that recognition as well.
[27:57] Yeah. Last thing I'll say quickly is just a regulative principle. You can be really strict about it or you can be a little more porous about it. And we would definitely be the little more porous culture about it here.
[28:09] But the problem is being really strict about it, saying I'll never do anything in the worship service. There's not a direct command or I'll always do what's directly commanded is that nobody does everything that's commanded.
[28:19] So 11 times in the Psalms we're told, lift holy hands when you pray. First Timothy 2, when the men pray and worship, they should hold their hands in the air.
[28:33] We don't do that. Indeed. And there's reasons to say that. There's a lot of cultural questions going on there, right? But it doesn't work like that. You can't just say every passage is so clear cut.
[28:46] It has to be interpreted. And so we would have that heart about something like questions and answers, I think. Okay. I think two more.
[28:58] What are some of the current theological controversies or discussions that are happening? Just quickly, there's all sorts.
[29:08] There's so many answers you could give to this. One of the important things to say is that this depends on where you live. This depends on what country you're in. So the controversies that are happening in Scotland are different than parts of Africa, parts of East Asia, parts of... Because all controversies rise up when people come and ask questions or give challenges or teaching that may be not in accord with what we think the Bible teaches.
[29:34] And so that always depends on where you are. But maybe I'll just mention three that are in our context. And I say our context, meaning pretty broad, western evangelical sort of context.
[29:51] One that comes to my mind would be the questions about sexuality and questions about God's law and ethics as it pertains to human sexuality in general and how the church should relate to those questions.
[30:06] So one of the biggest that I see is what do we do with sexual desire in particular? So are all sexual desires that aren't in accord with God's word illicit?
[30:23] So the controversy would just be over how to categorize sexual desire, when is it sin, when is it not sin? So that's one of the major ones. By the way, we're not trying to answer these or deal with them.
[30:36] I'm just trying to mention what they are. The second one I think that comes to my mind is on following on from that questions about gender.
[30:47] So there's a lot of theological controversy right now about gender, as many of you well know, and maybe to bring it down into just one thing, it would be something like has the complementary and egalitarian discussions of the last 50 years really accurately understood the Bible on gender, on a theology of gender.
[31:10] That's kind of the big question. And it all comes down, I think, to largely what you think about Genesis 3.16. So there's been interpretations of Genesis 3.16 that have tried to go back to the early church and I think that's really changed the discussion in some ways about a theology of gender.
[31:28] Really important. I'll probably talk about it in detail sometime, but I'm not going to right now. And then thirdly, I think the last one I'll mention is that in an age where there's no longer moral consensus in our nations, there's no longer moral consensus across the Western world as there once was.
[31:50] There's a lot of people struggling and debating about the church and the Christians' relationship to the state, to the government, to the political domain, and to what degree we should speak into it and questions about what is our actual goal.
[32:10] So if we were to get everything we wanted in the city of Edinburgh, what would that actually be? Would it be that the church gets re-established as a part of the state, for example?
[32:24] What would revival to its greatest in prior to Christ coming back really be for us if we could map it out ourselves? That's really the heart of the question.
[32:35] So this is all to do with what we call our political theology. So those are a few of the big things. Yeah? Yeah, some of that might come out, or that last one, in the coronation next week.
[32:48] Yeah, yeah. Some of the things that are being said. In our denomination, the free church has a couple committees that's dealing with some of these things. One of our own elders is in charge of this question about the church's relationship to the political.
[33:01] So, yeah. All right. I think we'll just have one more. Does prayer cause a change in God? If not, how does it work?
[33:12] Well, that's a good question. But our understanding of God is that He doesn't change.
[33:24] But in His sovereignty and with a degree of mystery, we also recognise that He chooses to work through the prayers of His people, which is an incredible reality.
[33:37] That the sovereign God chooses to work through the prayers of His people. I should think I need to say much more than that.
[33:47] Yeah. Yeah, there's not a lot to say in terms of trying to work out the mystery. But I think it's important to say what you said, and that's that.
[34:02] It's kind of maybe, it's absurd to think that I can change God. If I could change God, He wouldn't be God.
[34:15] Actually our great hope and strength and refuge is the fact that God doesn't change. He can't be swayed. He can't be tricked. He's not capricious.
[34:26] So it's so important to say God doesn't change, and yet as you put it in some grand mystery, God in His providential knowing of all things from beginning to end has decided that our prayers will be powerful and will work to make things happen in the world.
[34:41] For Him to truly respond at the same time. So yeah, I said the same thing you said. I think that that's kind of... Yeah. A couple of books on that.
[34:52] If you want more on that, that that question is just not, that answers are just not satisfying at all to you. J.I. Packer's evangelism and the sovereignty of God treats this question because it's the same question as what actually happens in preaching, what actually happens in evangelism, what actually happens anytime we do things and we want God to act.
[35:12] How does that work? Well, J.I. Packer, in very short little book deals with prayer, evangelism, preaching, whatever it may be. D.I. Carson wrote a book with someone else, I can't remember his name, called something like When We Call Upon the Lord, and they called upon the Lord or something like that.
[35:30] That's from the first moment we see prayer explicitly mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 4, where it says that Cain murdered Abel and then Adam and Eve called upon the name of the Lord because they no longer had their son.
[35:46] They saw the Lord's help. So it's a book and they deal with this question really, really in detail. So those are a couple of good resources. That's us.
[35:57] Okay. Well, we hope that that was helpful. We only do this a couple of times a year and so you can give us some feedback maybe in time about what you think, whether this is a valid element of worship or not.
[36:12] But for now, let me pray. Lord, we thank you for the fact that you call us to seek wisdom and to put away our foolishness.
[36:23] So we just ask, Lord, that you would give us all, every single person in this room, the wisdom of Christ, the mind of Christ, redeemed reason and all these difficulties.
[36:34] We recognize that ethics is so complicated that enacting the Christian life and wisdom is so difficult. And you've given us the Bible. You've given us stories from which we have to think well about our own lives and the deep questions.
[36:51] So we ask for help, we ask for your presence, we ask that you would help us as a people in a church to do well by you and forgive us when we get it wrong, forgive Derek and I for things that we've gotten wrong tonight.
[37:03] And so we pray that prayer, Lord, we seek your wisdom. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.