Archives for November 2012

Prayer for Thanksgiving Day (URCNA)

Prayer for Thanksgiving Day
Our Sovereign God, who created all things for your pleasure and who gives to all life, breath, and every good thing, we praise you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life. For rain and sunshine, in abundance and in lack, we acknowledge that our times are in your hands. You supply all of your creatures with your good gifts: the just and the unjust alike. Nevertheless, we especially give you praise for the surpassing greatness of your saving grace that you have shown to us in Christ Jesus our Savior. For our election in him before the foundation of the world; for our redemption by him in his life, death, and resurrection; for our effectual calling, justification, sanctification, and all of the blessings of our union with him, we give you our heartfelt thanks. And we look with great anticipation toward that day when you will raise us to life everlasting, glorified and confirmed in righteousness, so that we may sing your praises without the defilement of our present weaknesses, distractions, and sins. As you have served us with these gifts, we ask that you would give us grateful hearts so that through us you may serve our neighbors. In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Why Baptize Babies, Does it Matter?

Rev. G. Mark Sumpter, Pastor of Faith OPC, Grants Pass, WA

In the discussion of the administration of the water of the rite of Christian baptism, the question about the subjects of baptism gets most of the attention. To whom should the sacrament of baptism be administered? Does the Bible teach that covenant children are to be baptized or only those of age, based on their profession of faith? But soon in the conversation another question comes: What does it matter anyway if we baptize at a very early age? Don’t we both, Baptists and Presbyterians, as church-going families with children, give ourselves to training the children in the love and grace of Christ? Don’t we both teach our kids to pray? Don’t we both teach our kids to sing to Jesus, memorize specific Scriptures and the catechism? Aren’t all faithful parents in earnest working at correcting and training their kids in obedience unto the Lord? So, whether baptized or not the kids of the church and Christian home get Christian nurture, right? Does it matter?

It does:

1. Its administration is obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ in His great commission (Matthew 28:19).

2. Signs in the Bible are directly associated with a teaching ministry, and in particular, a teaching ministry to children (Josh. 4:21-22).

3. Our children fundamentally need the security of belonging, of being included. They are kids. Baptism includes them in God’s Kingdom, under His ownership (Acts 2:39).

4. Baptism is a witness and summons to the parents to carry out their responsibilities to train, correct, nurture and admonish their children (Matt. 28:19; Gen. 17:7; Gen. 18:19). Just as a wife and husband have responsibilities to one another, respectively, according to one’s role in faith, so are parents called to faithful responsibility to the child who is set apart for Christ–holy in Him (1 Cor. 7:14).

5. Baptism includes the child in God’s story of the out-working of history–the story of the Old Testament, the New and beyond (Acts 2:39; and note the persons included in God’s story of grace in Hebrews 11, for example, Noah and his sons 11:7; Abraham and Issac 11:17-18, et al, and Hebrews 12:1-2). The child knows that he, like his parents and his grandparents, and other senior generations, shares in the generation by generation work of God. Baptism includes the child in God’s tale.

6. Baptism mirrors the societal relations that we know in the biological family and city of man. Just as our children bear a surname in God’s institution of the family and just as they hold a certificate of citizenship testifying to membership in God’s institution of the state, so he’s associated with God and His people with entitlement, expectations and opportunity in the institution of the church (Eph. 4:4-6; see Paul’s welcome into membership in the church Acts 9:19, 26-28). All three institutions ordained by God are rightly represented, starting with the child’s birth.

7. Water baptism of children unites them to the visible, historic body of Christ, distinguishes them from the world and reminds them to take up the tangible practicalities of weekly public worship and congregational service in the life of the church. They help to make up of the recognized body of Christ today, not merely the church of tomorrow (The Book of Ephesians). The historic marks of the church, specifically the administration the sacrament of water baptism, cover the younger generations of the church. The marks are not merely for the older generations.

8. Baptism includes children in the conquering work of the epoch or era of Christ’s earthly glory (John 17:4). It’s the day of the great glory of the One who is the express image of God, who has brought about His regenerating work. The Book of Hebrews denotes the superiority of Christ over the prophets, the angels and Moses, and specifies that this age is under His triumph and finished work (Heb. 2:5). The coming of Jesus signals the dawn of the era of fulfillment, and thus, water baptism, associated with Christ’s atoning, cleansing work, is their basis for claiming the promise of salvation.

9. Baptism of children keeps the corporate, historical identity of the covenant people of God in view (Acts 2:39). The materiality of water, as a means of grace, reminds the church of her glorious ways of ministry, preaching, fellowship, meal-sharing, prayer, evangelism, diaconal work and more, and it helps to keep at bay the notion that the secret work of the doctrine of election is all that matters. We must not allow the secret work of God to eclipse the tangible, revealed things, especially the means of grace (Deut 29:29).

10. Baptizing children is the gospel in miniature. Helpless, dependent children display the mark of discipleship in the kingdom (Matt. 18:3). Fleshy works fail; complete dependency on God, the granting of the gift of faith in Christ, secures life (Eph. 2:8-10). Man’s strength does not save, only God (Rom. 5:6).

11. Baptism is the seal, the stamp of God’s love for all ages, all generations of the church–from birth to death. His care doesn’t skip over anyone (John 3:16; 1 John 2:12-14).

Visitor Praise for Grace and Peace June 2012

I have visited and worshiped at G&P several times over the last two months or so.  I must offer praise and thanks to be able to participate in a worship service with a Body that understands completely that corporate worship is His service, not ours.

Your classic liturgical order of worship that honor’s holy scripture across the board, would not be unique in an earlier day.  What you practice is now precious indeed.  Gratitude to the Lord for His redemptive work came across with clarity in every Service.

I have been with you occasionally due to transitioning from Maryland to Arizona where my wife (who’s been out there several months) & I are worshiping at Prescott Presbyterian OPC.

While my time of worshipping in Maryland is now past, I pray that the Body at G&P continues to thrive confessing our faith and worshiping our Triune God.

In Christ Holy name

Geoffrey Parker, Col, USAF (Ret)

Reformation Day Sermon 10/28/12

Of Sinners and Saints

How did you become a sinner?


Original Sin: A Study in Evangelical TheologyDavid Parker


The doctrine of original sin which refers to the ‘morally vitiated condition in which we find ourselves at birth as members of a sinful race’ is commonly regarded as one of the most difficult parts of Christian theology. With talk of such matters as imputing Adam’s sin to the race and our real incorporation in Adam, the doctrine seems to many to be a good example of some of the worst features of medieval scholastic speculation.

Some theologians would go further and regard it as ‘offensive’ and quite ‘untenable in its traditional forms.’


In an essay in The Fundamentals Thomas Whitelaw lists a number of key Scriptural passages in support of the doctrine, and then concludes:


If these passages do not show that the Bible teaches the doctrine of original, or transmitted and inherited, sin, it is difficult to see in what clearer or more emphatic language the doctrine could have been taught. The truth of the doctrine may be challenged by those who repudiate the authority of Scripture; that it is a doctrine of Scripture can hardly be denied.


How did you become a sinner? By imputation of Adam’s first sin: Which yields a life of increasing ungodliness, independent of the influences of the Holy Spirit.

Does not seem fair! Not democratic! How do we know it is true? The Bible!

[12] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—[13] for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. [14] Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

[19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

Every child conceived in the womb is a sinner by constitution! That’s why they commit sins as soon as they become cognizant and have the motor skills to do so. Similar to venomous snakes…cute, but they will bite you and inject venom as soon as they gain the maturity—-by nature!

How do you become a saint? By imputation of Second Adam’s righteousness: Which yields a new life of increasing holiness in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

A leading evangelical in the Church of England- Bp. Tom Wright, has called this imputation “legal fiction”

He says it is not possible for a judge to pass his personal righteousness across the courtroom to a criminal. The mistake he makes is a category mistake. A human judge may be compared to God but important differences remain.

1. God is not a mere human!

2. God is able to declare things creatively by his Word!

(Genesis 1:3-26 ESV)

  • And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  • And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”
  • And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.
  • And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
  • Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And man became a living soul.

(Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

  • Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (the Word), whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

BUT, God could not declare us righteous without a legal basis. It would be pure fiction (a lie) to call me a saint “holy one, righteous” without a legal ground.>> Perfect life, sacrificial cursed  judgment of death “cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

This declaration of you and me as righteous also does not seem fair!

Do you want fair? Or do you want to be saved?

THANK GOD this RIGHTEOUSNESS is not “legal fiction” but Legal imputation of a real alien righteousness-

-the record of Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrificial atoning death is imputed in place of my disobedience. Without the legal ground of the righteousness of a legal representative to absorb my sin and clothe me with his perfect record, I am hopeless!~

Rom 5 [15] But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. [16] And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. [17] For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

          [18] Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. [20] Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Summary: this could not work in a human courtroom because human judges are mere creatures- limited, but God is able to legally declare by creative fiat what is impossible for humans.


(2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV)

 [16] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.

We don’t look at people the same way they are viewed in the world: children as ornaments, neighbors and colleagues as assets. We don’t view each other in the church as mere human SINNERS>>but as Saints, Elect, brothers and sisters, co-heirs of all that Christ gives!

We who are Simul Iustus et Peccator – require special treatment. Guidance, government, support, reproof, correction, training in practical righteousness

??Wait a minute, why do we need to be trained in righteousness if we have already be declared righteous? Because we are>> “Simul iustus et peccator”

Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

He sees Christ, not as a mere human, prophet, etc. but as the creator and redeemer of this world! NOW WE ARE IN Christ

[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

That’s justification: He made Him sin…we have become the righteousness of God!

How do we get this Righteousness?  FAITH!!!!! Described here->>             (Romans 4:13-25 to 5:1 ESV)

The original example of a justified sinner.

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief  (unfaith) made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is trusting God’s provision! Clinging to Christ!

Faith does not exist in isolation.

(1 Timothy 3:15 ESV)

Elders……Deacons….   I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

The church as founded and ordered by Christ her head is not besides this faith, not an extra-curricular option to this faith!

The sacraments are not incidental or unessential to this faith but comport with this faith and nourish it.

Confession of Faith 25

2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.


The core remains by faith only in Christ only who has ordered and constituted the church and sacraments empowered by the Spirit for the life of faith while we are “Simul iustus et peccator.”

How did you become a sinner?  By imputation of the sin of another.

How do you become a saint? By imputation of Second Adam’s righteousness received by faith. Which yields a life of increasing holiness in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, a new life………. in the church the household of faith…the pillar and buttress of truth.                        Amen.

AM Worship 11/11/12

Trinity Season

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


When the style of our music is always upbeat, loud, and ascending in enthusiasm, we miss the range of biblical teaching about God, ourselves, worship, and the Christian life. To be sure, the Bible in general and the Psalms in particular include zealous praise and thanksgiving. But an over-realized eschatology has caused much of contemporary worship to get stuck in the “victory” and “excitement” mode that down-plays the reality of ongoing sin, unbelief, and disappointment, as well as the attributes of God that are most disturbing to us. This cannot help but produce weak and immature Christians who cannot stand in times of trial and testing.

Michael Horton, A Better Way: Recovering the Drama of Christ-Centered Worship Baker Books 2002, p. 134

Good hymns are an immense blessing to the Church of Christ. I believe the last day alone will show the world the real amount of good they have done. They suit all, both rich and poor. There is an elevating, stirring, soothing, spiritualizing, effect about a thoroughly good hymn, which nothing else can produce. It sticks in men’s memories when texts are forgotten. It trains men for heaven, where praise is one of the principal occupations. Preaching and praying shall one day cease for ever; but praise shall never die. The makers of good ballads are said to sway national opinion. The writers of good hymns, in like manner, are those who leave the deepest marks on the face of the Church.

~ J.C. Ryle




The Lord’s Service

Grace and Peace Presbyterian Church


          The Lord’s Day

November 11, 2012


Please program all communication devices to silent mode. Thank you.


Gathering to Worship

We worship one God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit


*indicates standing for those who are able



Choral Introit:

Apostolic Greeting and Call to Worship:

Minister: Grace and peace be yours in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

*Call to Worship (from Psalm 92:1-4)

Minister: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made us glad by your work; at the works of your hands we sing for joy.

All: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.     


* Prayer of Adoration

Minister: All honor, glory and praise to you Triune sovereign God for rescuing and redeeming your people throughout history; and we gathered here in your name join with them as co-heirs and of this great salvation. Receive our praise and hear our prayers we beseech you through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Reconciliation with God     (1 John 2:15-17)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Unison Prayer of Confession

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

Like lost sheep we have forsaken the whole counsel of your Word.

In these and all our sins we have offended you, grieved the Spirit of adoption and wounded our own conscience.


(Private confession in silence)
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
Through the redeeming work of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us; free us from our sins
that we may delight in your will,  and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Words of Comfort

Minister: Hear these words of comfort found in 1 John 3:1-3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Declaration of Pardon

Minister: Brothers and Sisters, you have confessed your sins to almighty God. Do you believe that Jesus Christ, by His perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, has atoned for your sins and satisfied the wrath of God toward you? If this is your case, in the name of Christ and by the authority of His Word I declare to you that your sins are forgiven and you are not under condemnation of God. Amen.

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22-23 ESV)


*Hymn 43       You Righteous, in the Lord Rejoice (Psalm 33:1-12)          OLD 113TH


                                    God Speaks to Us through His Word

Old Testament Reading:  Ezekiel 34:11-16

*Hymn 85                 The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want              EVAN

New Testament Letter Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-25

Gospel Reading: John 10:14-18

Minister:  The Word of the Lord

People:  Thanks be to God!

Prayer for Illumination

O Lord, we have read and sung portions of your holy Word. Help us now to truly understand it as you intended; that, understanding, we may believe and believing, we may follow in all faithful obedience, seeking your honor and glory in all that we do; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sermon:                       Our Good Shepherd                         The Rev. Dr. Edd Cathey


*Hymn  131     Children of the Heavenly Father                TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA       

The Westminster Confession V:V

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

We Offer our Gifts and Prayers

Offering God our wealth/Offertory      The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want Goodall


Prayer of dedication

Items for Prayer

Call to Prayer

Minister:  The Lord be with you

People:  And also with you.

Minister: Let us pray.


(Offered in the Minister’s words and concluding together with the Lord’s Prayer)


Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

As we forgive those who sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. 


God Sends Us out to Serve


*Hymn 349                 O Thou Who the Shepherd of Israel Art            JOANNA


*Dismissal and Benediction

Go bearing the name into which you were baptized, the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you forever.  Amen.


Monday Ezekiel 34

Tuesday Psalm 23

Wednesday Luke 18

Thursday Isaiah 43:1-21

Friday 1 Peter 2

Saturday 2 Samuel 7:1-17



Our Good Shepherd


1. Our Shepherd Provides.


2. Our Shepherd Leads.


3. Our Shepherd Restores, Defends and Comforts

What we believe in brief view

Our faith and practice are based entirely on the teachings of the Bible. We affirm the historic statement of these truths expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647-8), which our church officers are required to uphold.
We are called Presbyterian because we believe that Christ commits the government of his Church to councils of ordained men (Greek: presbuterion = a council of elders).
The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms are the most widely-accepted standards for English-speaking Presbyterian churches throughout the world, and are compatible with continental Reformed standards such as the Belgic Confession (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) and the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1619).
The following is a concise overview of our beliefs expressed in words from our standards:

  • The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added.
  • There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
  • There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
  • The work of creationis God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
  • Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate in which they were created by sinning against God, and brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.
  • It pleased God to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, to be the mediator between God and man: unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified.
  • The Son of God, being very and eternal God, took upon himself man’s nature, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
  • This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; he was made under the law and did perfectly fulfil it; he endured most grievous torments, was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he rose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of his Father making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
  • The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance.
  • God was pleased to make a covenantin which he freely offers to sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, the only mediator of the covenant; requiring faith of them in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give to all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe in Christ according to the gospel.
  • As an act of God’s free grace to sinners, only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ imputed to them and received by faith alone, he pardons all their sins and accounts their persons righteous in his sight.
  • True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God and his decree and covenant, are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; are renewed in their whole man after the image of God; are joined to Christ as their Head; and are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow heirs with Christ in glory.
  • God requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with diligent use of all the outward meanswhereby Christ communicates the benefits of redemption, especially the Word, sacraments and prayer.
  • The Lord’s supperis a sacrament in which, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, and have their union and communion with him confirmed.
  • Baptismis a sacrament, rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water, that signifies and seals ingrafting into Christ, partaking of the covenant, and engagement to be the Lord’s, whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church. Infants descending from parents professing faith in Christ are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
  • The visible Church, which is catholic or universal, consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, and of their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
  • At the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, and the general and final judgment. Believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.

Does Worship Style Matter?

When the style of our music is always upbeat, loud, and ascending in enthusiasm, we miss the range of biblical teaching about God, ourselves, worship, and the Christian life. To be sure, the Bible in general and the Psalms in particular include zealous praise and thanksgiving. But an over-realized eschatology has caused much of contemporary worship to get stuck in the “victory” and “excitement” mode that down-plays the reality of ongoing sin, unbelief, and disappointment, as well as the attributes of God that are most disturbing to us. This cannot help but produce weak and immature Christians who cannot stand in times of trial and testing.

Michael Horton, A Better Way: Recovering the Drama of Christ-Centerd Worship Baker Books 2002, p. 134

Good hymns are an immense blessing to the Church of Christ. I believe the last day alone will show the world the real amount of good they have done. They suit all, both rich and poor. There is an elevating, stirring, soothing, spiritualizing, effect about a thoroughly good hymn, which nothing else can produce. It sticks in men’s memories when texts are forgotten. It trains men for heaven, where praise is one of the principal occupations. Preaching and praying shall one day cease for ever; but praise shall never die. The makers of good ballads are said to sway national opinion. The writers of good hymns, in like manner, are those who leave the deepest marks on the face of the Church.

~ J.C. Ryle


“The ministers, therefore, on their part administer the sacrament and that which is visible, but our Lord gives that which is signified by the sacrament, namely, the gifts and invisible grace; washing, cleansing, and purging our souls of all filth and unrighteousness; renewing our hearts and filling them with all comfort; giving unto us a true assurance of His fatherly goodness; putting on us the new man, and putting off the old man with all his deeds. For this reason we believe that anyone who aspires to reach eternal life ought to be baptized only once without ever repeating it– for we can-not be born twice. Yet this baptism is profitable not only when the water is on us and when we receive it but throughout our entire lives.”— 

Belgic Confession, article 34 Baptism