Too Familiar?

September 5, 2008

Getting Ready for Sunday Morning, September 7

There is a fine line between familiar and too familiar.  Familiarity includes a sense of intimacy and close relation.  “Too familiar” almost carries the sense of “former intimacy.”  When we become too familiar with something, we stop looking, thinking, and cherishing it to some degree.  It’s not caused by overexposure, but by a decision that what is familiar is now known, and no more investigation or intimacy is needed. 

This weekend, as you prepare for worship with the saints at Concord, think about the way you view the cross.  Is it familiar or too familiar?  Because we’ve heard the Gospel story so often, we are at risk of slipping away from intimacy towards indifference.  Our hearts aren’t as touched by God’s great mercy.  We aren’t as aware of our great sin, or the greatness of God’s wrath that we have been saved from – saved by the mercy of the very one we have rejected through our sin.  To too familiar eyes and ears, the Gospel is what we expected God to do.  The Gospel becomes normal, and we remain in our seats for the most amazing display of God’s glory.

The antidote for being too familiar isn’t distance apart – the cure is getting closer and finding joy and wonder.  Direct your heart away from passive overfamiliarity and towards active and intentional intimacy with the Gospel.  Meditate on this passage for several minutes, and consider that the “you” in the passage is …YOU!

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  Eph. 2:1-7

YOU were dead in trespasses and sin.  YOU followed the enemy of God.  YOU were on the wrong side and deserved judgment, and God would be absolutely right to destroy YOU.  Then, YOU received mercy.  YOU were loved by God, made alive in Christ, and You were saved, all for the glory of God in Christ.  It truly is wondrous.

On Sunday morning, we will celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection and sing “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus … and wonder how he could love me, a sinner.”  Will being too familiar dim your affection for Christ at that moment, or will refreshed familiarity cause your heart to sing “how marvelous!  how wonderful is my savior’s love for me!”

I look forward to worshiping Jesus with you on Sunday.

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