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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 42

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 42

Chapter 25 – Of the Church Cont. (Paragraphs 4-6)
IV. This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.


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The Beauty Of Churchgoing (via Trevin Wax)

Treven Wax offers an observation about how to nurture an appreciation for corporate worship in an individualistic culture:

In an individualistic age, many people come to church for therapeutic reasons. Does my church help me through my week and give me inspiration and strength? We should not dismiss these reasons for coming to church, but we want people to discover a beauty that goes beyond finding personal fulfillment. We want their ultimate satisfaction to be found in the God whose beauty is life-giving.
For this reason, we pray that people will see how churchgoing fits into the wider lens of God’s redemptive work. God wants to change us. But how?
Virtuous habits in response to God’s grace play a role here. Churchgoing is a spiritual habit, a beautiful one. We should not lift up the occasional visit to church, in which we expect to be awestruck by our experience with God, to change us. Instead, we need to recognize the power of frequent and regular visits to church, the ongoing habit of singing praise to God and hearing him speak through his Word. It’s not the one sermon that changes your life, but the 1,000 sermons you hear over a decade. It’s not the one worship experience that forms you, but the weekly rhythm of refocusing your heart and mind on the God who made you as you praise the Savior who redeemed you and sense the Spirit who indwells you. As James K. A. Smith writes:

We are creatures of habit, that God knows this (since he created us), and thus our gracious, redeeming God meets us where we are by giving us Spirt-empowered, heart-calibrating, habit-forming practices to retrain our loves. This is the means of the Spirit’s transformation, not an alternative to Spirit-shaped sanctification. If we don’t take this seriously, we will, in effect, be giving ourselves over to all of the rival habit-forming practices of our culture.

The beauty of churchgoing is something that happens over time. We long to grow as worshipers who know and love Jesus.

source


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Forty Years On And A Question About Protective Investment Or Sacrificial Investment (via John Wilson)

John Wilson, current moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia remembers the time forty years ago when the Presbyterian Church of Australia continued after the departure of those who formed the Uniting Church.
It was a season in which the desire to continue had to be matched by a vision of what was worth the struggle of continuing.
After some history and some observations John includes six questions that are posed as challenges to a denomination that has no reasons to rest on its proverbial laurels.
Here’s the sixth and final challenge:

Notwithstanding our generous giving to support cross-cultural work here in Australia, world mission and relief of the poor, the PCA is not free from the love of money. Somewhere … between our personal wealth and congregational accounts and our denominational resources … we have enough wealth within PCA to securely fund 600 first-inducted ministers and then 600 assistants to the ministers and then to fund 600 church plants. (Spending time working alongside our colleagues and friends in India and Africa has shown me that). But we have our wealth tied up in seldom-used property, worldly investments, material comforts, insurance safety nets and superannuation nest eggs. We still have a holding mentality (holding reserves for a rainy day) instead of releasing funds for expansion, church planting, new works and different works for the kingdom (refreshing our memory of my point 2 above).

Question: Can we be content with less, for the advancement of the kingdom (1 Timothy 6:7)? Are we really free from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10).

Read the whole post here.


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A Place Where Love Comes True (via Jon Bloom)

Jon Bloom writes about the nature of the church at Desiring God.
Church is never an extension of our agenda.
It’s the place where our agendas yield to the purpose of growing like Jesus.
Jesus did not design the church to be a place where our dreams come true. Actually, it’s where many of our dreams are disappointed and die. And this is more of a grace to us than we likely realize, because our dreams are often much more selfish than we discern.
Our personal expectations easily become tyrants to everyone else, because everyone else fails to meet them. When we are more focused on how others’ failings and foibles obstruct the ideal community we want to pursue than we are on serving those others and pursuing their good and joy, our expectations can kill love, which impedes the real mission.
Jesus designed the church to be a place where love comes true, where we lay our preferences aside out of deference to others. It is meant to be a living laboratory of love, a place where there are so many opportunities, big and small, to lay down our lives for each other that the love of Christ becomes a public spectacle.
That’s why when it comes to church in this age, the picture of community we should have in our minds is not some utopian harmony, but Golgotha. In living life together, we die every day (1 Corinthians 15:31). We lay down our lives for each other (1 John 3:16).

Read the whole post at Desiring God.


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Pastors Exist For The Church, Not The Other Way Around (via Francis Turretin)

The church does not exist for the sake of pastors; pastors exist for the sake of the church.
It’s a helpful reminder of who is supposed to be serving who.
Shane Lems refers to this quote from Francis Turretin:

“…Now the church is superior to pastors, not pastors to the church; the church does not belong to the pastors, but the pastors to the church. ‘All things are yours,’ says Paul, ‘whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas’ (1 Cor. 3:21-22). Here he rebukes those who gloried in men as heads and for whose sake they raised dissensions and parties among the Corinthians. He shows that they acted falsely because the church is greater than and superior to all. Hence pastors are called servants and ministers of the church: ‘We are your servants for Jesus’ sake’ (2 Cor. 4:5).”

Read the whole post at The Reformed Reader.


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New Pastor At MGPC

Ordinations in the Presbyterian Church of South Australia are rare. Most ministers who serve here have usually been ordained and served in other places before coming here. 
We’ve been blessed to have hosted three ordinations at MGPC over the last forty years.
The latest is my colleague Mark Lewis, ordained and set apart for ministry tonight.