Sir, We Would See Jesus!
Each week we will be sharing a post from a staff member in response to the most recent sermon in our “Good News” series. Click to watch or listen to the sermon shared by Senior Pastor Roger Patterson on Sunday April 18, 2021.
This past Lord’s Day, Dr. Patterson began his sermon saying: If you have your Bible, (open it) to Romans chapter seven. We are walking through a study of the Book of Romans called Good News.
Then, Pastor Roger prayed, saying: Lord, we love you, and we come to open the word of God together and humble ourselves and say, Lord teach us, lead us, train us. Help us find your leading for this season and this time, and the culture in which we live. And so, Lord, may the word of Christ now come forth and give us faith, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. We love you and we bless you. And the people of God said: Amen.
I love … and so appreciate that our pastor bathes his sermons – and the delivery of the same – in prayer. And, I know you do as well. Every sermon I have heard preached from the various CityRise pulpits begins with the preacher praying for God to move in the hearts of all listeners, of all worshipers. It reminds me of the prayer the psalmist prayed:
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18)
Many pulpits have the following words from John 12:21 inscribed for only the preacher to see: Sir, we would see Jesus. (KJV) These words remind the preacher that it is his solemn task to focus all present on the Person of Christ, and not on the messenger.
When I was a young child, a wise person instructed me to keep my eyes on the Lord, and my knees on the floor. One of the Bibles now in my library, which my Great Aunt Bertha owned, has the following inscription: These verses (then two checks in red) I prayed on my knees in 1939. Nineteenth-century Danish theologian/philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard said: The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
Following his prayer this past Sunday, Dr. Patterson faithfully instructed us in the authority and in the ministry of the law. Through the text, our pastor admonished that Christ-followers are to avoid legalism which is overbearing, harsh, shameful, judgmental, angry, and disappointing. No one, including the Christ-follower can live up to the rigid constraints of legalism which pervades our lives, both inside and outside the church.
Nineteenth-century hymn-writer and revival song leader, Philip P. Bliss wrote the following text:
Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it; Once for all, O friend, now believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Now we are free, there’s no condemnation, Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call, Come, and He saves us once for all.
“Children of God,” O glorious calling, surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call, blessed salvation once for all.
Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
A more recent worship song reminds us that Christ is our only hope in life and in death.
What is our hope in life and death? Christ alone! Christ alone!
What is our only confidence? That our souls to him belong.
Who holds our days within his hand? What comes, apart from his command?
And what will keep us to the end? The love of Christ, in which we stand.
O sing hallelujah! Our hope springs eternal!
O sing hallelujah! Now and ever we confess,
Christ our hope in life and death!
Christ, Our Hope in Life and Death, 2020
Jordan Kauflin, Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Matt Merker, Matt Papa
May we remember that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Paul Magyar is the Worship Pastor at our West U Baptist Church Campus, overseeing all aspects of music for the traditional and contemporary worship services for that campus. He also serves on the Executive Leadership Team for the CityRise Network, helping to carry out our vision to lift our city and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul lives in Houston with his wife, Mary, his partner in life and ministry.