Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Sunday, January 20, 2019
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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                                                                                                                                                                                  January 15, 2019

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.

~Psalm 43:3-4

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               Psalm 43 comes to us as a petition in a time of intense trouble for the anonymous writer. The enemies in his life, be they real or perceived, have seemed to gain the upper hand. And as he looks out over the landscape of the world around him, like may of us he seems to be asking, “God, where are you?” His soul has been cast down because of his circumstances. He is losing heart and losing hope. Have you ever found yourself in that kind of a position? Have you ever felt grief and loss and anxiety to that degree? Most of us have. And if we haven’t, just wait – you’ll most likely experience that feeling before your life is done. That kind of anxiety and uncertainty cripples us and leaves us doubting the most fundamental tenants of what we say that we believe. We, like the psalmist, may doubt that the Lord even cares about what is happening to us.

               In those times of anxiety, where should we turn? The psalmist prays to God, “Send out Your light and Your truth.” Only light and truth can overwhelm the uncertainty and darkness of the days we live in. Darkness is fearful and oppressive, but God’s light can be a beacon that you and I could run towards, something solid to hold to in that uncertainty. Jesus came into the world at one of its darkest times to spread the life and light of the Gospel to all men. “In Him was life,” John says, “and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4). In the beginning, God’s first spoken words were, “Let there be light!” and there was light (Genesis 1:3). Let us be reminded in the darkness that the light of God never compromises with the darkness. Instead His light overwhelms, illuminates, exposes, and conquers that darkness for His glory. Nothing can be hidden in the face of the light of God and His Word. The light of God has come into the world and given us a hope to believe in, a future to work towards, and an end to which we can strive. True, at times men might love the darkness more than the light (John 3:19), but that light cannot and will not be overcome by evil. Never let the light of God be drowned out by the advancement of darkness. No matter how dark the night, the Sun of righteousness will soon rise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).

               The psalmist also cries out for truth. You see, sometimes the darkness convinces us that God has failed or that He is punishing us…any myriad of possible falsehoods. Were we to give into these lies and doubts, the very foundation of our faith will begin to crumble. But the psalmist prays that God would send out His truth into this deceptive world. Now, in order for us to embrace truth, we must first realize that truth exists. If we allow truth to be relative to whatever public opinion might be the flavor of the day, truth will always be a moving target, an ideal that fades like smoke when we grab it with our hands. But the truth of God is not a truth that mankind has made. Someone said the other day in a public forum that mankind asked for the Law to show us what was expected of us. But that is simply not the case. God GAVE us the truth to show us who He was AND what was expected from us. There is safety in that truth. It doesn’t imply that it will always be easy to walk in the truth of God. It will never be easy to live for God in this broken, fallen world. But truth exists. There is the truth of a sovereign God that created all that there is. There is truth in the fall of mankind and the entrance of death into God’s perfect creation. There is truth in the worldwide flood, the creation of Israel, and the seasons of prophecy. There is truth in God’s love that sent Jesus Christ into the world as the embodiment of all truth. And there is truth that the consummation of God’s truth is simply waiting for the return of the King. The more we allow the foundations of truth to crumble underneath us, the less we have that is worthy of our faith and trust. In spite of what we see, God’s truth is working towards the finality of His plans. It would be a shame to lose out on it all because the darkness and falsehoods overwhelmed the light and truth of God.

               And in requesting the light and the truth, the psalmist understands that these two concepts will ultimately lead him to where he is supposed to be. I used to tutor math while I was a student at Bainbridge College. I remember leaving from tutoring one of the female students in the course one Friday night (who tutors on a Friday night??). I had just enough time to get from Bainbridge to the Miller County Pirates football game in Colquitt. The problem was I didn’t have any idea where I was. Some of my readers will find it hard to believe, but there used to be a day when GPS was when we got the paper map out of the glovebox and tried to find out where we were. Well, I had no point of reference to which I could ascertain my location. I was lost. As I drove aimlessly trying to find some landmark that looked even remotely familiar in the dark (was that a banjo I just heard?), my eyes picked up on the bright lights that were illuminating the sky in the distance. I knew what those lights meant. I knew they were the lights of our local football game. So long as I kept those lights in my windshield view, I knew I was heading the right way! Well, almost. They were lights from a football field...just not for Miller County. I ended up about 30 miles farther away than what I needed to be. Point to note, you better know for sure what you’re following. But the principle works nonetheless. There is leading that takes place when we seek the light and truth of God in His Word. When we pray and the Lord makes certain things clear, it is bringing us to the finality of that realization of who He is and what He is doing.

               And where does the psalmist ultimately find himself? Back at the house of God! Back to where the light and truth of God are expounded and lived out. Back to where he finds true companionship in his pursuit of God. Back to where the Word of God reigns supreme. He finds his way back to God’s house (for us, the church) as he is led by light and truth. Folks, we dare not think that we can have any semblance of a healthy life in Christ when we ignore the places to which His light and truth are pleading us. There are times of solitary wilderness wanderings that are beneficial to us. But God intends for His light and truth to be lived out in the community of believers. I cannot fathom the profession that an individual is a mature follower of Christ when that person never darkens the doors of God’s house. Such ought not to be the case. The coldness of the world is met with the warmth and love of God’s people. The deception is shattered by the proclamation of truth from His Word. The darkness is dispelled when God’s people work to be salt and light for the world…and for each other. The beacons which lead us home ultimately lead us back to fellowship with God’s people. So why aren’t you putting more of a priority in being in His house as you seek to serve Him?

               The psalmist continues his journey right into God’s tabernacle, all the way to the very altar of God. There was the place of ultimate and necessary communion between God and the believer. All the searching the writer had engaged in all of his life found its fulfillment in the presence of God. And do you know what he found? Joy! He found in communion with the Lord the joy that had alluded him all of his days of wandering in the world. Light and truth had led him home. And his heart found its fellowship in the One first gave him the light and truth he asked for. And light and truth and joy come bursting forth from his life in praise. He says, “On the harp I will praise You.” There is a significant, noticeable, and blessed impact that comes from his pursuit of the right things. He understands his life in the context of God’s light and truth, and it is a blessed place to be. So why should his soul be cast down and disquieted? He in essence concludes the Psalm by reminding himself, “Just wait and see. Hope in God and you’ll learn how to praise Him again.” Might we be encouraged to do the same this week?

               “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). That is a direct promise from God’s Word, a point of light and truth for us to hold onto. But will you dare to believe it? Will I? I cannot believe for you and you cannot believe for me. But the pathway towards the right kind of relationship with the Lord is the same for us both. Recognize your anxiety as an indicator of your need. Ask Him for His light and truth. Seek His light and truth will everything inside of you. Eventually we will all find ourselves face down at God’s altar where all things will be made clear in the communion of fellowship with the Lord. And then…praise. Simple, unapologetic, loud praise. In that is our confidence. Will you seek that light and truth this week?

               Be blessed!

 

 ~Bro. Benjamin 

 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
January 15
January 8                                                                                       January 13 (AM)
January 1                                                                       "To the Least of These: the Denying One"
December 18                                                                   Luke 22:31-34, 54-62 [John 21:15-17]
December 11                                                                                 
December 4
                                                                                   January 13 (PM)
November 27                                                                              "Know Your Enemy"
November 13                                                                               Ephesians 6:10-13       
November 6                                                                                  

October 30                                                                                   January 16 (WED)
October 16                                                                                      Acts 21:17-40

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page

January 20 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Murderous, Thieving Rebel"--Luke 23:13-25
January 20 (PM) "The Whole Armor of God"--Ephesians 6:13-17
January 13 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Denying One"--Luke 22:31-34, 54-62
January 13 (PM) "Know Your Enemy"--Ephesians 6:10-13
January 6 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Blind Man"--Luke 18:35-43
January 6 (PM) "The New Man in the Workplace"--Ephesians 6:5-9
 
*No Recording Available
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2018!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and with real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a 5th grade teacher at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta.
She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 5th grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure. Nate started Pre-K this year, and is doing well learning his letters & numbers.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!