Our Sunday School class ties in with the sermon at our home church. The sermon is preached and then we have Sunday School where there are questions asked and answered in light of the sermon text and in light of the breadth of Scripture. It’s a neat time for corporate growth in the life of the church.
I preached Sunday morning which meant I was the one leading in Sunday School. Sometimes in the spur of the moment you say something stupid or you say too much or you don’t say enough. I am a process thinker which means that I will chew on some things for hours, days, weeks, months, and, believe it or not, years, something that is done or said in light of Scripture. I believe that I didn’t say enough on Sunday morning.
We were in Psalm 27 and it’s a Psalm of suffering. David had some serious enemies on his tail and they wanted to take him out (and not on a date). David was speaking confidently about the God he served and he was crying out for God to rescue him from this gang that wanted his neck in a noose.
I referenced Jonathan Edwards in the sermon. He is one of the finest minds in Christian history. He’s one of the key guys that the smart guys read today (I’m not one of the smart guys but I read the smart guys who read Edwards). He pastored in Northampton, Massachusetts, first as an associate pastor and then as the teaching pastor. After twenty-three years at this church he was voted out by a ninety-percent vote. Ninety percent of the members of his church gave him the thumbs down…one of the greatest minds that people still read today. (I will post a link at the bottom of a talk I’ve listened to time and again by Mark Dever called ‘How Jonathan Edwards Got Fired and Why It’s Important For Us Today’).
One of the questions that I asked the class was ‘can you think of any heroes of the faith, in the Bible or in history, who suffered well?’ Joseph, Job, and Paul were mentioned. Some mentioned Edwards and a number of missionaries. That’s where I don’t think enough was said.
It’s great to have heroes of the faith whether they’re the Bible guys or gals or historical guys and gals. (I added gals because Esther is one of my all time OT faves and there are some great female heroes). But we must remember the common element of our heroes. Joesph, Job, Esther, Paul, and Peter were all empowered by God’s grace. Jonathan Edwards and Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon, all the victories they had, point to the cross.
If we see Bible heroes and Christians from history as simply heroes to imitate, we’ve missed the point. The real hero is the God-man Jesus Christ who came to live the perfect life and die a sinner’s death and rise again on the third day and ascend into Heaven a short time later.
His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension is the common thing that connects all the heroes of the faith. They did great things for God because they were each greatly saved by God and empowered to do amazing things for the glory of God alone. The grace of Jesus Christ ran through each of their spiritual veins…and each of us who have repented and believed have access to that same grace today.