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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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The Royal Wedding Sermon

People have asked me from time to time what I thought of the sermon that was given during the recent royal wedding.
I have a few observations.
One train of evangelical thought is that the preacher gave an introduction to the Gospel, laying down a number of threads that could later be drawn together in a full Gospel understanding. Such a sermon is an exercise in restraint, not saying everything, but just saying enough to point the way. It is a technique that preachers committed to the Gospel sometimes use in public contexts.
My perception of the message is that a very skilled and committed communicator took the opportunity presented to him and actually gave the entirety of his gospel message. He didn’t hold anything back, and what he said is the sum total of what he believes the good news to be.

Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t . . . he wasn’t getting anything out of it.
He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world . . . for us.
That’s what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives and it can change this world.

“Love can be sacrificial and in so doing, becomes redemptive”
Trying to be charitable by maintaining he chose not to say it all, instead of simply accepting that everything he did say was all he has to say, is a work of unnecessary condescension.

Now, if that is the case, my observation about the sermon is that it sort of reminded me of this message, wherein the preacher says much the same thing and takes considerably less time to say it.


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The Gospel Will Empower Its Own Implications (via Jared Wilson)

Jared Wilson writes about the mission response to Gospel preaching and teaching.
Christian ministry can’t be motivated by fear and guilt.

The good news about Jesus doesn’t just tell Christians how to respond, it is the power by which they respond.
Remember that the gospel will empower its own implications. So remind your church that they have all the wind of the Spirit at their backs, that God has always been roaming the earth seeking whom he may revive, that the kingdom is not contingent upon them but upon him, and that they are not responsible for evangelistic success, but evangelistic faithfulness.
The motivation of grace better triggers a church’s impulse for gospel mission.

Read the whole post here.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 11

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 11

29.
Q. Why is the Son of God called JESUS, which means SAVIOUR?
A. Because he saves us from our sins, and because salvation is to be sought or found in no other.

30.
Q. Do those who seek their own salvation and well-being from saints, by their own efforts, or by other means really believe in the only Saviour Jesus?
A. No. Rather, by such actions they deny Jesus, the only Saviour and Redeemer, even though they boast of belonging to him. It therefore follows that either Jesus is not a perfect Saviour, or those who receive this Saviour with true faith must possess in him all that is necessary for their salvation.


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Billy Graham In Sydney (via Philip Jensen)

There’s no shortage of Billy Graham reflection pieces since his death.

I watched Peter Jensen be interviewed on Dominic Steele’s The Pastor’s Heart webcast where he mentioned his response to the Graham Crusade of 1959 as a 15 year old, and that his 13 year old brother followed him forward.
Philip Jensen provides his perspective of being that 13 year old.
But it’s the human story of the impact of Graham’s ministry that remains.
From Jensen:

However, the main impact of the Graham crusades was felt at the grass roots of our society rather than in the public domain. Certainly, many who made a decision for Christ, later fell away – but the long-term impact in the lives of individuals, families and churches can still be found across Australia. Half the students training at Moore College to become Ministers during the 60’s were converted at the ‘59 crusade. Nearly all the youth group I lead were converted in the ‘68 crusade. The church I pastored doubled in size during 1979, largely as a result of the that year’s crusade. At university I met a girl who, as a young teenager, was converted in 1959 listening to Billy Graham on a landline in Broken Hill. That’s how my wife became a Christian.
Read the whole post here.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 7

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 7

20.
Q. Will all men, then, be saved through Christ as they became lost through Adam?
A. No. Only those who, by true faith, are incorporated into him and accept all his benefits.

21.
Q. What is true faith?
A. It is not only a certain knowledge by which I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in his Word, but also a wholehearted trust which the Holy Spirit creates in me through the gospel, that, not only to others, but to me also God has given the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation, out of sheer grace solely for the sake of Christ’s saving work.

22.
Q. What, then, must a Christian believe?
A. All that is promised us in the gospel, a summary of which is taught us in the articles of the Apostles’ Creed, our universally acknowledge confession of faith.

Q. What are these articles?
A. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty’ from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

16.
Q. Why must he be a true and righteous man?
A. Because God’s righteousness requires that man who has sinned should make reparation for sin, but the man who is himself a sinner cannot pay for others.

17.
Q. Why must he at the same time be true God?
A. So that by the power of his divinity he might bear as a man the burden of God’s wrath, and recover for us and restore to us righteousness and life.

18.
Q. Who is this mediator who is at the same time true God and a true and perfectly righteous man?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given to us for complete redemption and righteousness.

19.
Q. Whence do you know this?
A. From the holy gospel, which God himself revealed in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, afterward proclaimed through the holy patriarchs and prophets and foreshadowed through the sacrifices and other rites of the Old Covenant, and finally fulfilled through his own well-beloved Son.