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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 32

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 32

86.
Q. Since we are redeemed from our sin and its wretched consequences by grace through Christ without any merit of our own, why must we do good works?
A. Because just as Christ has redeemed us with his blood he also renews us through his Holy Spirit according to his own image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves grateful to God for his goodness and that he may be glorified through us; and further, so that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits and by our reverent behavior may win our neighbors to Christ.

87.
Q. Can those who do not turn to God from their ungrateful, impenitent life be saved?
A. Certainly not! Scripture says, “Surely you know that the unjust will never come into possession of the kingdom of God. Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolater, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God.”


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Negative Splitting The Christian Life (via Stephen McAlpine)

Maybe its because I’ve started cranking the treadmill at the gym up to a bit of a canter in the mornings, but this article by Stephen McAlpine caught my eye.
A 51 year old pastor with a passion for running McAlpine comments on completing the second half of a recent half-marathon (about 10kms) in a faster time than the first half – a negative split.
McAlpine develops the thought of completing the second half of a Christian lifetime with more purpose than the first, rather than settling and coasting home.
From his article:

So what about negative splitting your Christian life? What about making the second half stronger, more purposeful than the first half of it?
I say that in the light of being a Christian long enough to see peers either seemingly struggle to reach the finish line and settled into a low grade anger or cynicism, or give up altogether and go down some sidewalk. It’s not unusual for me to meet 50 to 60 year old men who, having started the race with joy and endurance, go into positive split territory or leave the faith altogether, and all the time getting closer to the finish chute.

Read the whole post at Stephen McAlpine.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 31

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 31

83.
Q. What is the office of the keys?
A. The preaching of the holy and Christian discipline. By these two means the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and shut against unbelievers.

84.
Q. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?
A. In this way: The kingdom of heaven is opened when it is proclaimed and openly testified to believers, one and all, according to the command of Christ, that as often as they accept the promise of the gospel with true faith all their sins are truly forgiven them by God for the sake of Christ’s gracious work. On the contrary, the wrath of God and eternal condemnation fall upon all unbelievers and hypocrites as long as they do not repent. It is according to this witness of the gospel that God will judge the one and the other in this life and in the life to come.

85.
Q. How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by Christian discipline?
A. In this way: Christ commanded that those who bear the Christian name in an unchristian way either in doctrine or in life should be given brotherly admonition. If they do not give up their errors or evil ways, notification is given to the church or to those ordained for this by the church. Then, if they do not change after this warning, they are forbidden to partake of the holy Sacraments and are thus excluded from the communion of the church and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ. However, if they promise and show real amendment, they are received again as members of Christ and of the church.


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First And Last (preparing for MGPC 5/8/18)

Song: In Tenderness
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: No Other Name
Prayer Of Confession
Song: God, Be Merciful To Me
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism Q25
Song: Now To The King Of Heaven
Bible Reading: Nahum 3 – Nineveh’s irreversible doom and the delight of the nations who endured her oppressions.
Bible Memorisation:
Song: Praise My Soul, The King Of Heaven
Bible Reading: Mark 9: 30-37
Sermon: First & Last
Song: Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: Rescuer


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Allowing God To Set The Agenda (via Stephen Neale)

The bulk of sermons at MGPC follow an expository, systematic Bible teaching pattern. Sermon series follow books of the Bible, sometimes in sections. This year we’ve been through the book of James and we’ll finish with Ecclesiastes; we’ve also been through sections of 1 Kings (chapters 12-17) and Mark’s Gospel (chapters 9-11). We’ll return to those next year.
Sunday nights has been John’s Gospel, which I took up after finishing Psalms. Currently after John (whenever that finishes I think I’ll go through Isaiah).
Through summer and at various points of the year we have occasional sermons.
Our expository sermons focus on the passages at hand, not on themes drawn from them.
I believe this is the best way for people to hear God, and not the preacher’s themes and interests. We don’t ride hobby horses. We simply preach what the text is this week. And next week we preach the next text.

Stephen Neale points out that this is a balanced diet of God’s word, in contrast to the what might be understood as a dessert buffet version of preaching if the series reflect the preacher’s interests.

The regular diet of expository, systematic Bible teaching is like your meat and potatoes main meal. It will fill you up, it is good for you and it will build you up. I am convinced that the best diet for our churches is one that majors on teaching the scriptures faithfully, book-by-book and allowing the Lord to set the agenda for your church.

Read the whole post here.


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With Prayer (preparing for MGPC 29/7/18)

Song: From The Day
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: No Other Name
Prayer Of Confession
Song: Man Of Sorrows
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism Q25
Song: Now To Him Who Loved Us
Bible Reading: Nahum 2 – A vision of Nineveh’s destruction, though lying in the future, told in a vivid present tense.
Bible Memorisation: Proverbs 19: 20-21
Song: Within His Heart The Fool Spoke
Bible Reading: Mark 9:14-29
Sermon: With Prayer
Song: Sweet Hour Of Prayer
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: Rescuer


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 29

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 29

78.
Q. Do the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
A. No, for as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, nor becomes the washing away of sins by itself, but is only a divine sign and confirmation of it, so also in the Lord’s Supper the sacred bread does not become the body of Christ itself, although, in accordance with the nature and usage of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ.

79.
Q. Then why does Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood, or the New Covenant in his blood, and why does the apostle Paul call the Supper “a means of sharing” in the body and blood of Christ?
A. Christ does not speak in this way except for a strong reason. He wishes to teach us by it that as bread and wine sustain this temporal life so his crucified body and shed blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life. Even more, he wishes to assure us by this visible sign and pledge that we come to share in his true body and blood through the working of the Holy Spirit as surely as we receive with our mouth these holy tokens in remembrance of him, and that all his sufferings and his death are our own as certainly as if we had ourselves suffered and rendered satisfaction in our own persons.