Discover | December 15th, 2014

Catechism Question #50: What Does Christ’s Resurrection Mean For Us?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #50: What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?

Answer:  Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.

Verse:  “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”  I Thessalonians 4:13-14

Prayer:  “Grant, Almighty God, since we have already entered in hope upon the threshold of our eternal inheritance, and know that there is a certain mansion for us in heaven after Christ has been received there, who is our head, and the first-fruits of our salvation: Grant that we may proceed more and more in the course of thy holy calling until at length we reach the goal, and so enjoy that eternal glory of which you afford us a taste in this world, by the same Christ our Lord. Amen.”

John Calvin (1509–1564). A theologian, administrator, and pastor, Calvin was born in France into a strict Roman Catholic family. It was in Geneva however where Calvin worked most of his life and organized the Reformed church. He wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion, the Geneva Catechism, as well as numerous commentaries on Scripture.
From Calvin’s Bible Commentaries: Ezekiel, Part II, translated by John King (Forgotten Books, 1847), 304. | December 8th, 2014

Catechism Question #49: Where Is Christ Now?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #49: Where is Christ now?

Answer:  Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.

Verse:  That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”   Ephesians 1:19-21

Prayer:  “O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). A colonial American preacher, theologian, and philosopher, Edwards became pastor of his church in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1726. He is widely known for his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” as well as his many books including The End For Which God Created the World and A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University).
From Edwards’ prayer quoted in Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 76–150, by Steven Lawson (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2006), 81. | December 1st, 2014

Catechism Question #48: What Is The Church?

PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace

Question #48: What is the church?

Answer:  God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.

Verse:  “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Prayer:  “My daily prayer, honoured brethren, shall be…that in the days wherein we see so many fall from the truth, and oppose it, on the one hand; a great indifference as to the things of God, leading captive so many on the other; so few remaining, made useful to God in their generations by a conjunction of zeal for the truth, and ability unto its defence;…you may receive help from above, and encouragement to engage you by all means possible to spread abroad a savour of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to labour continually that the truths of God…may not be cast down, nor trampled on under the feet of men…. That you may not faint, nor wax weary, notwithstanding all the opposition, contempt, scorn, you do or may meet withal: nor even be turned aside to corrupt dalliances with error and falsehood…but keeping close to the form of wholesome words, and answering the mould of gospel doctrine, whereunto you have been cast, may shine as lights, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; knowing that it is but yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry; yea, come, Lord Jesus, come.”

John Owen (1616–1683). An English Puritan theologian, Owen went to Oxford University at 12 years of age, gained his MA at 19, and became a pastor at 21. Years later he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University. He preached to parliament the day after the execution of King Charles I, fulfilling the task without directly mentioning that event. He wrote numerous and voluminous works including historical treatises on religion and several studies on the Holy Spirit.
From “The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance Explained and Confirmed” in The Works of John Owen, edited by Thomas Russell, Volume VI (London, 1826), xxix–xxx. | 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.


Sunday at Trinity Fellowship:

Advent Week 4 - Love

Dec. 21, 2014