Sunday was a foretaste. Hundreds of people of every age, background, gender, race, style and socioeconomic status belting out praises to the God who saves. Shadowy idols that lurk in darkened hearts being crushed by the substantial word of a true and weighty God through the crushing of a perfect Substitute. Weary saints finding rest in their laboring Savior, welcoming familiar friends and finding faces they never expected to see. It was a foretaste of what John saw, the very same John who penned the book that we have been marveling at for months now, 1st John:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
Every Sunday of worship of the living God in spirit and in truth is a foretaste of that great day to come—the day when our fellowship over coffee and potluck meals will become a feast of the choicest meats and finest wines served by the Lord of the cosmos who washes the filthy feet of men. But this past Sunday, the launch of iNVERSION’s 11 A.M. service, was also a foretaste of something more immediate, something starting this very next Sunday.
We finished our current series, 1st John: The Basics, this week. To understand John’s closing plea that drips with pathos and pastoral love, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” we turned back the pages of our Bibles to a famous account of a slaying of a very specific idol. Thousands of years ago, the father of our faith, Abraham, was asked to slay his own promised son, to destroy his own source of identity, hope, joy and security. Isaac was born of a miracle; he was the promised seed of Abraham through whom all the world was to be blessed. But on this day he was to die a death at the hands of his loving father, a death ordered, even ordained, by the sovereign will of the very God who chose him. On this day, Isaac carried his own instrument of death up Mount Moriah, the cluster of hills that would become Jerusalem, Golgotha and Calvary. God was testing Abraham’s faith: was it in the gift or the giver? Had Isaac become an idol: “a good thing gone bad by being given God’s place”? In a grim victory, Abraham passed his test: he reached the summit and raised the knife. But God graciously intervened by providing a substitute ram to sacrifice and Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Yesterday we found that this astounding account is meant to point us to a Truer & Greater Isaac. Isaac prepared us for a promised Son of a faithful Father, a baby born by a miracle, the seed of Abraham through whom all the nations would be blessed, who would carry his cross up Golgotha to die a sacrificial death ordained by His sovereign God, to be crushed by His Father’s wrath as our substitute. Only in Jesus Christ, the Truer & Greater One, can we find the source of identity, hope, joy and security that the world constantly offers in the form of various idols. Only he can bear the weight of our ultimate trust without being crushed because he has already been crushed by a greater weight and yet rose from the grave victorious. And when, by the grace of God, we place our faith in Him as Abraham did, our faith is counted as the very righteousness of Christ, our entrance into eternal fellowship with His Heavenly Father.
Welcome to iNVERSION’s new series, Hebrews: Truer & Greater. For the next ten months, we will embark together through the wilderness of Hebrews, seeking out its gospel treasures. It will continue to stagger us as it points back to the Old Testament, shining light on the shadows of the Old Covenant that have found substance in Christ. In studying this majestic book, we pray that God’s Spirit will move through His Word to shatter the shadowy idols that remain in all of our hearts and replace them with the substance of His Son, Jesus Christ, the final Prophet, Priest and King.
We cannot wait to worship with you this Sunday, January 26th, for our A.M. service’s Grand Opening. We have some surprises for you that we are absolutely giddy about. Also, thank you to everyone who was there last week for our launch. Over 300 adults and 50 kids gathered to hear the Good News preached and lift praises to King Jesus, almost doubling our largest ever attendance. Three new comGroups, our church scattered throughout the city to make disciples of Jesus, are launching this week alone. By God’s grace we are succeeding in our mission to make Gospel-centered disciples for the glory of God. Whether you have been with us for four years or this article is your first exposure to iNVERSION, we hope to see you this Sunday and that you will be a part of this every member mission.
iNVERSION meets every Sunday at 4455 Del Valle Parkway in Pleasanton at 11AM and 5PM.