Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC October 9, 2016
“Though Things, and We, Change—Revisited”
Text: Hebrews 13:8
(READ TEXT AT OUTSET)
Just before eleven o’clock on Monday morning, October 10, 2011—five years ago tomorrow—Karen and I found ourselves at Mobil On-the-Run just north of Mountain City, Georgia, on US 441. Just before we got back into our car, I made one telephone call—to Prudential Markham/Bankston Real Estate some seventeen miles north in Franklin, North Carolina. I gave Mrs. Shelby fair warning, “We’re on our way to you—after a quick stop at Eller and Owens Furniture in Otto.” The warning thus administered, we crossed the state line into North Carolina, indeed stopped at Eller and Owens, and arrived at the Prudential Agency just after noon. From thence we were escorted to a house a mile north of downtown. Our children and pets arrived with their grandparents an hour later. Eller and Owens arrived with a mattress set not long after that—and other subsequent events further contributed to our family’s first day in Franklin.
For five years, now, I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of serving you as your pastor. We together—even in five short, fast years—have seen appreciable change. The Jordan family has seen significant change. Our children, then elementary-school age, are now senior-high/junior-high age. My mother is in Heaven. Our ZIP code has changed—and with it, the way we heat and cool our home, among other changes. Also, our church is somewhat different. In particular, when we consider two groups—first, the group of people who were here then, but aren’t now, and, second, the group of people who weren’t here then, but are now—we must note that we have quite a different constituency than five years ago. Add to this the changes both in our world and in our nation, and you have a significantly different situation than we did in the fall of 2011.
You have heard it said, perhaps (I have), “The only constant in this life is change.” The statement is incorrect, and presently I shall prove it, but it is true that change happens. At times this change is diametric. That is, change occurs from one thing to its total opposite. This huge degree of change can be bewildering. Change also occurs quite rapidly or suddenly. This rate of change, whether the degree of change be considerable or modest, can disorient us as well. How good it is to note—as we did earlier—that there is One Who never changes.
The author of Hebrews, led by the Holy Spirit, writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” This is a declaration of Christ’s eternal sameness. Theologians, when wont to speak of Who God is or of what He is like, often speak the language of attributes. Today we have two important Scriptural attributes of God: His eternity and His immutability. These Scripture attributes to God generally and, as here, to God Incarnate specifically. Hence, though things, and we, change, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, does not change. He was, is, and evermore shall be—and He was, is, and evermore shall be what and Who He is.
Therefore, things concerning Him do not change either. The written record bearing witness to Him, Scripture (the Bible: the Old and New Testaments), does not change. It testifies of our undone condition, of our helplessness in ourselves to rectify that condition, and of our God to the rescue in Jesus Christ. The attributes of Jesus, which Scripture declares, do not change either. Examples of these attributes include eternity, self-sufficiency (or aseity), love, longsuffering, and the like. Because He does not change, His attributes neither change nor fade. Moreover, the promises of God in Christ never fail. No matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yea,” and, “Amen,” in His Son. Therefore, inasmuch as Jesus promises concerning His sheep, “No one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:28) none ever will. Because Jesus promises, “…that whosoever believeth on Him may not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16), whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have life evermore. In such a changeable world as ours, a changeless Christ—and both changeless truth concerning Him and fail-safe promises guaranteed in Him—is welcome indeed.
Change comes, beloved ones, and it comes irresistibly. Many a young person person, whose vision is ever future-oriented, welcomes change. For such a one, this present moment seems not that great, and the future looks much rosier by comparison. On the other hand, many a seasoned saint—many of whom have their vision oriented toward the past—resists change. The good old days were very good (and, moreover, has been selectively sanitized), and these golden days aren’t nearly as golden as previously advertised. To both extremes along this line—and to every point and person in between—I declare, on the authority of the Word of God, that there is One Who never changes: our triune God generally, and our great Savior, Jesus Christ, particularly. Therefore, by God’s grace, let us meet His providential changes from inside His changeless self.