Monday, January 15, 2018

CREC 11 Sermon- Gathered Churches

CREC 11. Churches 1- Gathered Churches
Sermon Notes
Acts 19:8-10, 20:17-28
January 14, 2018
Lynchburg, Virginia

EXHORDIUM
         Gathered churches- We are the CREC, that last C is for churches. Some of our men object to the gathered church itself being a church. In this sense we are congregational more than Presbyterian. We are not the Reformed Evangelical Church. We are a group of Reformed Evangelical Churches.
         The CREC is confederation of churches with each church having a great deal of independence as to its local function. The oversight of the churches is through the Presbytery and the Presiding Minister of the Presbytery. The oversight is not particularly strong. That is to say, the Presiding Minister or the Presbytery do not hold strong authority over the local church. The local churches participate in Presbytery and may be called upon to judge disputes at churches or among churches. But their ability to actively intervene into the life of the local church is greatly limited. This is mostly good but there are some drawbacks.
         It is mostly good in the sense that there is a great deal of autonomy for local churches. But they are not completely autonomous. The local churches must adhere to a specific standard of doctrine. Furthermore, if they change their standard or the views of any portion of their standards, then they are required to notify the Presbytery. At that point, the Presbytery can decide to receive those views, admonish them to change them, or remove them from the Presbytery.

Open Table

Our Table is open to all those who profess Jesus Christ as Savior, who have been baptized in a Christian Church and are not under church discipline. We call this an open table.
This represents a view that all who partake of Jesus Christ are our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been making my way through some of the particular views of our CREC doctrine and practice. But those doctrinal and practical views are not bounds of table fellowship. Whomever Christ receives as a child of God, we embrace as a brother in Christ. We leave it up to the Lord to sort out hearts.
We are seated in just a very small portion of the Lord’s Table. It extends to all of our CREC Churches. We eat with them today. It extends to all the churches around Lynchburg who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We eat with them today. It extends to the ends of the earth, to those who embrace the Triune God of the Bible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We eat with them today.

And the Lord’s Table has yet more room and many more will come and when they do we are pleased to eat with them, every one.  Amen.

Now Stand Up!

Last Sunday I preached about the need for repentance. If you understand grace, you are glad for an opportunity to repent. Another very important part of being a Christian is understanding forgiveness, or at least walking in its victory. The Lord wants us to be humble and repent and the reason that He wants this is because it is His desire to bless us, to fill us with joy, to grant us His peace, to enable us to stand before Him free from the fear of wrath.
         Needing to repent regularly does not mean that we live in a state of despair or desperation. It means that we continually get to hear the Father’s gracious words of forgiveness to us in Jesus.
         We need to learn to hear those words, arise to those words, stand up in those words and walk in those words. This is why we stand before the Lord after we confess our sins.
In a liturgical church, everyone wants to comply so everybody stands up. But are you standing, really, even on the inside? Do you know the grace of forgiveness? Are you relieved? Joyful? At peace?

Hear God’s gracious words to you. Believe Him. Believe me when I tell you the Father forgives you. Now stand up!

Praise

O Lord God, we exalt You this Lord’s Day. You are the One who sent Your only begotten Son to dwell with us. Though He was a Holy Child and not tainted by sin, You made Him a little lower than the angels that He might save us from our sins. He submitted to circumcision and John’s baptism, so that as the first born of creation, He showed Himself fully man that He might fully redeem man. He, who knew no sin, was washed by man and we are washed in Him. We give You the praise for sending Him to redeem us through His perfect life, atoning death, and powerful resurrection. Glory to God in the highest. Amen.