Discover | November 24th, 2014

Catechism Question #47: Does the Lord’s Supper Add Anything to Christ’s Atoning Work?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #47: Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Answer:  No, Christ died once for all. The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Verse:  “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”  I Peter 3:18

Prayer:  “O thou gracious and ever-blessed God, “who hast formed us for thyself,” and hast moreover redeemed us by the blood of thine only dear Son, thine we are by every tie. We are conscious that “we are not our own; and that, having been bought with a price, we are bound to glorify thee with our bodies and our spirits, which are thine.” We desire then now to consecrate ourselves to thee; and engage, as in thine immediate presence, “no longer to live unto ourselves, but unto Him that died for us and rose again.” May we never forget this vow, or act for a moment inconsistent with it! We avouch thee this day to be our God; and we give up ourselves to thee as thy people: and we desire, that “thou wouldest sanctify us wholly; and that our whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Charles Simeon (1759–1836). Rector of Trinity Church, Cambridge for 49 years, Simeon was offered the leadership of the church as he was preparing to graduate from the University. At first, the congregants showed their displeasure at his preaching by frequent interruptions and by locking the small doors of their pews so that no one could sit down. Simeon is best known for his 21 volume Horae Homilecticae—a collection of expanded sermon outlines from all 66 books of the Bible (from which this prayer is taken).
From “Asa’s Covenant with God” in Horae Homilecticae: or Discourses (Principally in the Form of Skeletons) and Forming a Commentary upon Every Book of the Old and New Testament, Volume IV (London: Holdsworth & Ball, 1832), 111. | November 17th, 2014

Catechism Question #46: What Is The Lord’s Supper?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #46: What is the Lord’s Supper?

Answer:  Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with one another; feeding and nourishing our souls. It also anticipates the day when we will eat and drink with Christ in his Father’s kingdom.

Verse:  “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  I Corinthians 11:23-26

Prayer:  To Thee, Lord. To Thee we commend our whole life and our hope, tender Lord, and invoke Thee, and pray Thee, and supplicate Thee: make us worthy to participate in…this…Table with a pure conscience, to remission of sins, to forgiveness of transgressions, to communion of the Holy Spirit, to inheritance of the kingdom of the heavens, to boldness toward Thee, not to judgment, nor to condemnation. And make us worthy, Lord, with boldness, to dare to call upon Thee, the heavenly God, as Father.”

John Chrysostom (347–407). Archbishop of Constantinople, John was born in Antioch. He was given the title Chrysostom which means “golden mouth” because of his eloquent preaching. He is recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church as a saint and Doctor of the Church. Chrysostom is known for his Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (from which this prayer is taken), and his vast homiletical works including 67 homilies on Genesis, 90 on the Gospel of Matthew, and 88 on the Gospel of John.
From The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople (London: Joseph Masters, 1866), 70–71. | November 10th, 2014

Catechism Question #45: Is Baptism with Water the Washing Away of Sin Itself?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #45:  Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

Answer:  No, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin.

Verse:  “John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Luke 3:16

Prayer:  “Our Father.… We come to Thee and pray that, for Jesus’ sake, and through the virtue of the blood once shed for many for the remission of sins, Thou wouldest give us perfect pardon of every transgression of the past. Blot out, O God, all our sins like a cloud, and let them never be seen again. Grant us also the peace-speaking word of promise applied by the Holy Spirit, that being justified by faith we may have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us be forgiven and know it, and may there remain no lingering question in our heart about our reconciliation with God, but by a firm, full assurance based upon faith in the finished work of Christ, may we stand as forgiven men and women against whom transgression shall be mentioned never again forever. And then, Lord, we have another mercy to ask which shall be the burden of our prayer. It is that Thou wouldest help us to live such lives as pardoned men should live. We have but a little time to tarry here, for our life is but a vapour; soon it vanishes away; but we are most anxious that we may spend the time of our sojourning here in holy fear, that grace may be upon us from the commencement of our Christian life even to the earthly close of it.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–1892). An English Baptist preacher, Spurgeon became pastor of London’s New Park Street Church (later Metropolitan Tabernacle) at 20 years of age. He frequently preached to more than 10,000 people with no electronic amplification. Spurgeon was a prolific writer and his printed works are voluminous—by the time of his death he had preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, hymns, and devotions.
From “Prayer XIII: The Wings of Prayer” in Prayers from Metropolitan Pulpit: C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers (New York, Revell, 1906), 71–72. | November 3rd, 2014

Catechism Question #44: What Is Baptism?

PART 3:  Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #44: What is baptism?

Answer:  Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church.

Verse:  ” Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:19

Prayer:  “May God open our eyes and give us a certainty that we are true believers, born again, born of the Spirit of God, and therefore children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981). A Welsh medical doctor and Protestant minister, Lloyd-Jones is best known for preaching and teaching at Westminster Chapel in London for thirty years. He would take many months, even years, to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. Perhaps his most famous publication is a 14 volume series of commentaries on Romans.
From Compelling Christianity (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 149. | October 27th, 2014

Catechism Question #43: What Are The Sacraments or Ordinances?

 Part 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #43:  What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Answer:   The sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by his death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.

Verse:  “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'”  Romans 6:4 & Luke 22:19-20

Prayer:  “O Jesus, poor and abject, unknown and despised, have mercy upon me, and let me not be ashamed to follow thee. O Jesus, hated, calumniated, and persecuted; have mercy upon me, and let me not be afraid to come after thee. O Jesus, betrayed and sold at a vile price, have mercy upon me; and make me content to be as my Master…. O Jesus, clothed with a habit of reproach and shame, have mercy upon me, and let me not seek my own glory. O Jesus, insulted, mocked, and spit upon, have mercy upon me, and let me run with patience the race set before me. O Jesus, dragged to the pillar, scourged, and bathed in blood, have mercy upon me, and let me not faint in the fiery trial. O Jesus, crowned with thorns and hailed in derision; O Jesus, burdened with our sins, and the curses of the people; O Jesus, affronted, outraged, buffeted, overwhelmed with injuries, griefs, and humiliations; O Jesus, hanging on the accursed tree, bowing the head, giving up the ghost, have mercy upon me, and conform my whole soul to thy holy, humble, and suffering spirit. O thou, who for the love of me hast undergone such an infinity of sufferings and humiliations, let me be wholly “emptied of myself,” that I may rejoice to take up my cross daily and follow thee.”

John Wesley (1703–1791). An English preacher and theologian, Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles, with founding the English Methodist movement. He travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day, and is said to have preached more than 40,000 sermons. He also was a noted hymn-writer.
From “Forms of Prayer: Friday Morning” in The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, Volume 6 (New York: J. Emory & B. Waugh, 1831), 395–396. | October 20th, 2014

Catechism Question #42: How Is The Word of God to be Read and Heard?

PART 3:  Spirit, restoration, growing in grace. 

Question #42: How is the Word of God to be read and heard?

Answer:  With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Verse:  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.II Timothy 3:16-17

Prayer:  “Almighty and everlasting God, we pray in the name of your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. First, send a spiritual kingdom and a blessed gospel ministry. Give us devout and faithful preachers who communicate the wealth of your divine Word in truth and clarity. Graciously guard us against divisions and heresies. Do not focus on our ingratitude, by which we have long deserved that you take your word away from us. Do not punish us as severely as we deserve. Again we ask you to give us thankful hearts that we may love your holy Word, prize it highly, hear it reverently, and improve our lives accordingly. And so may we not only understand your Word rightly but also meet its demands by our deeds. May we live in accordance with it and day by day increase in good works. Thereby may your name be hallowed, your kingdom come, and your will be done. Amen.”

Martin Luther (1483–1546). A German Protestant pastor and professor of theology, Luther was the son of a mining family, intended to become a lawyer, and at first took monastic orders. On 31 October 1517 Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, sparking the Reformation. His refusal to retract his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X and Emperor Charles V resulted in his excommunication. Luther wrote many works, including his small and large catechisms, and preached hundreds of sermons in churches and universities.

From Luther’s Prayers, edited by Herbert F. Brokering, from the translation by Charles E. Kistler (Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 1967), 97–98. | October 13th, 2014

Catechism Question #41: What Is The Lord’s Prayer?

PART 3:  Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #41:  What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Answer: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, 
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Verse:  “This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”  Matthew 6:9

Prayer: “Our Father which in heaven art,
Thy name be always hallowed;
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done;
Thy heavenly path be followed
By us on earth as ’tis with thee,
We humbly pray;
And let our bread us given be,
From day to day.
Forgive our debts as we forgive
Those that to us indebted are:
Into temptation lead us not,
But save us from the wicked snare.
The kingdom’s thine, the power too,
We thee adore;
The glory also shall be thine
For evermore.”

John Bunyan (1628–1688). Known as the tinker of Elstow, Bunyan underwent a dramatic conversion experience and became a leading Puritan preacher. As his popularity grew, Bunyan increasingly became a target for slander and libel and was eventually imprisoned. It was during his time in prison that he commenced his best known work The Pilgrim’s Progress, first printed in 1678.

From “Upon the Lord’s Prayer” in Divine Emblems (London: Bicker and Son, 1867), 14. | October 6th, 2014

Catechism Question #40: What Should We Pray?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #40: What should we pray?

Answer:  The whole Word of God directs and inspires us in what we should pray, including the prayer Jesus himself taught us.

Verse:  ” For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:14-21

Prayer:  “Gracious and holy Father!… Unworthy we are in ourselves to appear in thy most holy presence, both by reason of the sins of our nature, and the sins of our lives, even since that time that we have had some knowledge of thy blessed truth; which holy truth we have not entertained nor professed as we should have done, but oftentimes against the light that thou hast kindled in our hearts by thy Word and Spirit, we have committed many sins…. But thou art a gracious and merciful Father unto us in Jesus Christ, in the abundance of thy love and mercy. In him we come unto thee, beseeching thee, for his sake, not to give us up to these inward and spiritual judgments; but vouchsafe us a true insight into our own estates, without deceiving of our own souls, and from thence, true humiliation. And then we beseech thee to speak peace unto us in thy Christ, and say to our souls by thy Holy Spirit, that thou art our salvation. And for clearer evidence that we are in thy favour, let us find the blessed work of thy Holy Spirit opening our understandings, clearing our judgments, kindling our affections, discovering our corruptions, framing us every way to be such as thou mayest take pleasure and delight in. And because thou hast ordained thy holy word ‘to be a light unto our feet, and a guide and direction to all our ways and paths,’ and to be a powerful means to bring us more and more out of the thraldom of sin and Satan, to the blessed liberty of thy children, we beseech thee, therefore, to bless thy word to these and all other good ends and purposes for which thou hast ordained it. And grant, we beseech thee, that now at this time out of it we may learn thy holy will; and then labour to frame our lives thereafter, as may be most to thy glory…for Jesus Christ his sake, thine only Son, and our blessed Saviour. Amen.”

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635). An English Puritan theologian, Sibbes was known in London in the early 17th century as “the Heavenly Doctor Sibbes.” Preacher at Gray’s Inn, London and Master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, his most famous work is The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax.
From “The Author’s Prayer Before his Sermon” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 7 (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1864), 337.
TFC | October 4th, 2014

Walking Partners

WalkingPartners4webDo you have someone in your life who knows you, not on the surface but in the deep places where you dream, grieve, celebrate and struggle? Where you worship, and sometimes wrestle with God? Someone who encourages you and has permission to tell you the truth in ways that help you want and know more of Christ?

This is the kind of person a Walking Partner (or two) can be. And this weekend, our guest speaker and former TFC member Rowland Forman will provide us with some practical ways to find and grow a mutual mentoring, life-transforming relationship.

This Saturday, Rowland will offer a “Mentoring One Another” seminar at TFC (Oct. 4, 9 am – noon in Fellowship Hall, coffee and rolls beginning at 8:30 am). TODAY is the last day to register, both for the seminar and child care if needed.

And Sunday, during the Connection Hour in Fellowship Hall, Rowland invites us to sit in on an actual mentoring conversation and interact with him about what we observe.

Please join us for both of these unique opportunities to “walk in love, as Christ loved us” (Eph.5:2), sharing Real Life together. | September 29th, 2014

Catechism Question #39: With What Attitude Should We Pray?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #39: With what attitude should we pray?

Answer:  With love, perseverance, and gratefulness; in humble submission to God’s will, knowing that, for the sake of Christ, he always hears our prayers.

Verse:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Phil. 4:6

Prayer:  “The prayer preceding all prayers is “May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.”

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963). A fellow in English literature at Oxford University as well as chair of English at Cambridge University, Lewis wrote literary criticism, children’s literature, fantasy literature, as well as theology. His most well known works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia. A member of the Church of England, his conversion to Christianity was influenced by his Oxford colleague and friend J.R.R. Tolkien.

From Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (Orlando: Harcourt, 1964), 82.

Sunday at Trinity Fellowship:

Advent Week 1 - Hope

Nov. 30, 2014