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Showing posts with the label Church

Church Membership Should Matter to You

 By Pastor Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts From Parson Farms: Why Christ Made the Institutional Church For His Sheep Good Morning! There is probably no other doctrine which is more under attack, either directly or by apathy than what the Bible teaches about the Church. Yet, while we remain on this mortal coil there is no institution that we should more deeply care for than the universal (or as the Apostles’ Creed calls it catholic ) body of believers. The Church’s significance is immense and in today’s look at the Catechism we are going to talk about why. It’s form, purpose, and definition cannot be forsaken or forgotten by individual believers. All of it matters and hopefully when we are done today you’ll have a greater appreciation for why it does. Here’s the Q/A’s to get us going: Q. 62: What is the visible church? A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children. Q. 63: What are th

Bullinger for Today

Posted at Zwinglius Redivivus : They serve God … who by faith and obedience gather themselves into the holy assembly at specified times; who keep the ecclesiastical discipline derived out of the word of God; who hear the word of God, or the holy exposition of the sacred scriptures; who pray publicly with the church; who religiously participate in the sacraments; and observe other lawful and wholesome rites or ceremonies. By this their service they glorify God among men… Truce-breakers are they, disloyal, and infamous through their adultery, whosoever, being not knit to one God by faith, or worship him alone, or call upon him through Christ, and who do not serve him also as he himself hath said in his word he would be served.— Heinrich Bullinger Source:

The Ruling Elder: Past & Present

By Jeffrey A. Stivason - Posted at Place for Truth : I don’t know about you, but I find it interesting that Hebrews 13 ends with an encouragement to obey and submit to the elders of the congregation. In fact, leaders are mentioned three times from v. 7 to the end of the chapter. Now, we’re not told why it ends this way but one certainly wonders. And as I have wondered about that question the answer dawned on me. In verse 7 the pastor speaks of past leaders and in v. 17 he speaks of present leaders. But a cursory reading of these eleven verses reveals no apparent rhyme or reason. Let me put it another way. Taken as individual sayings what the pastor says makes sense. In fact, even the words and expressions tie us back into the letter itself. But when we try to understand the basic theme between verses 7 through 17 it is difficult to say the least. In fact, it seems almost dizzying! Let’s think about it for a minute. Verse 7, as we said, begins with an encouragement to rem

The Church is Still Christ’s Glory

Posted at Reformation Scotland : The Church is often given scant regard in society at large. Changing values and trends push the church well into the shadows. Statistics like those in the recent Scottish Church Census are not lacking to underline how secularised things have become. It is easy to see the Church as weak when viewed outwardly. Again, however, we must see the Church from Christ’s perspective rather than look through the blurred lens of unbelief. Christ’s true Church in Scotland seemed perhaps even more weak and despised in the times of James Renwick than it does now. Renwick was ordained as a minister in Holland in 1683, before coming back to Scotland to begin preaching. The flocks to which Renwick returned were in his own words, “a poor, wasted, wounded, afflicted, bleeding, misrepresented, and reproached remnant and handful of suffering people”. They had no congregations and no buildings in which to worship. Conventicles or illegal worship services in the field

The Mission of the Church, by J. Gresham Machen

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : [*An Address delivered under the title, “Safeguarding the Church,” before the Presbyterian Ministers’ Association in Philadelphia, March 1st, 1926 , and (under the title, “What the Church Stands For”) previously in the Washington and Compton Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, 12 February 1926. Excerpted from The Presbyterian, vol. 96, no.14 (8 April 1926): 8-11.] Before we can consider the mission of the Church, we must determine what the Church is. What are its limits? What forms a part of it and what does not? Where is the true Christian Church to be found? According to the Westminster Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, the invisible Church is to be distinguished from the visible Church. The invisible Church consists of the whole number of those who are saved; the visible Church consists of those who profess the true religion, together with their children. There is absolutely no warrant in Scripture for supposin

Cleansing the Church

By Pastor Sam Powell - Posted at Sermon Audio: Series: Psalms of Ascents · 7 of 16 Scripture Text: Psalm 125(KJV) 125 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. 2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. 3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. 4 Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. 5 As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel. Link:

Of the possessions of the Church

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XXVIII Of the possessions of the Church THE POSSESSIONS OF THE CHURCH AND THEIR PROPER USE. The Church of Christ possesses riches through the munificence of princes and the liberality of the faithful who have given their means to the Church. For the Church has need of such resources and from ancient time has had resources for the maintenance of things necessary for the Church. Now the true use of the Church's wealth was, and is now, to maintain teaching in schools and in religious meetings, along with all the worship, rites, and buildings of the Church; finally, to maintain teachers, scholars, and ministers, with other necessary things, and especially for the succor and relief of the poor. MANAGEMENT. Moreover, God-fearing and wise men, noted for the management of domestic affairs, should be chosen to administer properly the Church's possessions. THE MISUSE OF THE CHURCH'S POSSESSIONS. But if through misfortune or through the

Of Rites, Ceremonies and Things Indifferent

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XXVII Of Rites, Ceremonies and Things Indifferent CEREMONIES AND RITES. Unto the ancient people were given at one time certain ceremonies, as a kind of instruction for those who were kept under the law, as under a schoolmaster or tutor. But when Christ, the Deliverer, came and the law was abolished, we who believe are no more under the law ( Rom. 6:14 ), and the ceremonies have disappeared; hence the apostles did not want to retain or to restore them in Christ's Church to such a degree that they openly testified that they did not wish to impose any burden upon the Church. Therefore, we would seem to be bringing in and restoring Judaism if we were to increase ceremonies and rites in Christ's Church according to the custom in the ancient Church. Hence, we by no means approve of the opinion of those who think that the Church of Christ must be held in check by many different rites, as if by some kind of training. For if the apostles did no

Of The Ministers of The Church, Their Institution and Duties

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XVIII Of The Ministers of The Church, Their Institution and Duties GOD USES MINISTERS IN THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH. God has always used ministers for the gathering or establishing of a Church for himself, and for the governing and preservation of the same; and still he does, and always will, use them so long as the Church remains on earth. Therefore, the first beginning, institution, and office of ministers is a most ancient arrangement of God himself, and not a new one of men. INSTITUTION AND ORIGIN OF MINISTERS. It is true that God can, by his power, without any means join to himself a Church from among men; but he preferred to deal with men by the ministry of men. Therefore ministers are to be regarded, not as ministers by themselves alone, but as the ministers of God, inasmuch as God effects the salvation of men through them. THE MINISTRY IS NOT TO BE DESPISED . Hence we warn men to beware lest we attribute what has to do with our conve

Of The Catholic and Holy Church of God, and of The One Only Head of The Church

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XVII Of The Catholic and Holy Church of God, and of The One Only Head of The Church THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS EXISTED AND IT WILL ALWAYS EXIST . But because God from the beginning would have men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4), it is altogether necessary that there always should have been, and should be now, and to the end of the world, a Church. WHAT IS THE CHURCH? The Church is an assembly of the faithful called or gathered out of the world; a communion, I say, of all saints, namely, of those who truly know and rightly worship and serve the true God in Christ the Savior, by the Word and holy Spirit, and who by faith are partakers of all benefits which are freely offered through Christ. CITIZENS OF ONE COMMONWEALTH. They are all citizens of the one city, living under the same Lord, under the same laws and in the same fellowship of all good things. For the apostle calls them "fellow citizens with the saints

Belgic Confession: Church Officers

Belgic Confession Article 31: The Officers of the Church We believe that ministers of the Word of God, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by a legitimate election of the church, with prayer in the name of the Lord, and in good order, as the Word of God teaches. So everyone must be careful not to push himself forward improperly, but he must wait for God's call, so that he may be assured of his calling and be certain that he is chosen by the Lord. As for the ministers of the Word, they all have the same power and authority, no matter where they may be, since they are all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal bishop, and the only head of the church. Moreover, to keep God's holy order from being violated or despised, we say that everyone ought, as much as possible, to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church in special esteem, because of the work they do, and be at peace with them, without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting. Source:

The Government of the Church

Belgic Confession Article 30: The Government of the Church We believe that this true church ought to be governed according to the spiritual order that our Lord has taught us in his Word. There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and adminster the sacraments. There should also be elders and deacons, along with the pastors, to make up the council of the church. By this means true religion is preserved; true doctrine is able to take its course; and evil men are corrected spiritually and held in check, so that also the poor and all the afflicted may be helped and comforted according to their need. By this means everything will be done well and in good order in the church, when such persons are elected who are faithful and are chosen according to the rule that Paul gave to Timothy.^75 ^75 1 Tim. 3 Read more...

The Marks of the True Church

Belgic Confession Article 29: The Marks of the True Church We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church-- for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of "the church." We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it, even though they are physically there. But we are speaking of distinguishing the body and fellowship of the true church from all sects that call themselves "the church." The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks on

Belgic Confession: The Church

Belgic Confession Article 27: The Holy Catholic Church We believe and confess one single catholic or universal church-- a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects. And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world, even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men-- as though it were snuffed out. For example, during the very dangerous time of Ahab the Lord preserved for himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal.^74 And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in h

The Curse of Using Carnal Methods for God's Work

By Dr. Alan Cairns - Posted at Sermon Audio : Scripture: Isaiah 31:1 (KJV) "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!" Link:

Christ's Church Travailing

By Pastor John Greer - Posted at Sermon Audio (50:35 Minutes) Link: Scripture Text: Isaiah 66:1-13 (KJV) 66 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear:

To the Evangelical Nicodemites

By Dr. R. Scott Clark: Over the last few years there have been a few laments about “Reformed rocks stars.” Carl Trueman has rightly warned against the cult of personality. Now I would like to turn the tables. If we should be concerned about rock stars and personalities in evangelicalism and Reformed-dom then we should also be concerned about about another party to all this: those who attend those conferences and those who do not. First, there are lots of Christians who attend congregations which, shall we say, are part of the problem more than they are part of the solution, where the gospel is not preached purely, where the sacraments are not administered purely, and where discipline is not practiced. These folk also attend Reformed conferences. They attend because they are “fed” there, because they can fellowship with like-minded folk there, because, in some cases, it’s a relief from their congregation. Still they stay in their congregations. I know this happens because I hav

How to Walk into Church

Going to the Lord's House Posted at Reformation Scotland : Going into Church easily can be a matter of routine, but it shouldn’t be. We do a lot of everyday things without thinking, but going to Church isn’t an everyday thing. We might well drive the car on autopilot because we’re so familiar with the route, but our minds should be on the vital encounter ahead of us. The Bible tells us that we need to exercise great care in meeting with God in public worship. Alexander Nisbet draws on Ecclesiastes 5:1 to make this point. It speaks about carefulness in going to public worship which at that time was in the temple. He says that we need to keep our hearts free from sinful disorder in our hearts which mars communion with God in His ordinances. We also need to receive the declaration of God’s mind sincerely and with affection. We should be “ready to hear” or literally “draw near to hear” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). We hear not only the voice of ministers but the Lord Himself speaking

A Plan For Reforming Worship

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Let’s say that a pastor decided that he wanted to reform the worship services of his congregation toward the earlier Reformed pattern of singing God’s Word without musical instruments. How would he go about it? Though we’re working with a concrete example, this is really a larger question: how does a session/consistory lead a congregation toward Reformation? Where does the leadership begin? How long does might it take? How can a session/consistory lead a congregation to Reformation without fracturing the congregation in the process? Prayer Reformation is a spiritual business. It’s not just politics, i.e., the struggle for control, the struggle to get one’s own way. Sometimes when people write about making changes in church they forget prayer and go directly to strategizing. That is ironic because nothing is more spiritual than the act of worship. We need to begin by calling on our Triune God in the name of the Spirit, for the Hol

From Grace Gems: 'He has a window into your heart!'

( George Everard , " Little Foxes, and How to Catch Them! " 1878) " You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me!" Matthew 15:7-8 Many professing Christians go to church from Sunday to Sunday, but in God's sight their worship is altogether in vain, as they offer their listless, heartless prayers. The lips speak--but the heart is dumb. The knee is bent--but the soul is unhumbled. Their thoughts are to the ends of the earth. Whether it is the prayers or the hymns--it matters not; for business and a multitude of worldly matters engage the mind, and there is no room for true worship. Those who go regularly from habit to the House of God, are often living altogether unmindful of the truths they hear, or of the petitions they offer. Such is mere lip service, and profits nothing--but is rather abomination in the sight of God. How many sit before God as His people--and yet n