Thursday, October 20, 2011

Communion- God Remembers and Not

Today in the sermon, you have been called to both remember and forget. God remembers His covenant and He chooses to not remember our sins against us.  These promises are held out to you here at the Lord’s Table.  God looks at the bread and wine as a memorial, like the rainbow, only better.  In it, He sees the fulfillment of all of His covenant promises. He has provided the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. God looks upon the sacrifice, remembering His promise and then choosing to not remember your sins against you, since they have been cast upon Jesus. 
Do likewise with your neighbor, your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your boss, your employees.  Look upon the bread and the wine and remember what Jesus has done for you, how He chooses not to remember what evil you have done towards Him. Then, do that same thing with those who have sinned against you. Remember that Jesus has forgiven you and that you have promised to forgive others and then choose to not remember their sins against you.
 In this way, we are all drawn closer to God and closer to one another, reflecting the Triune nature of God in our midst, many persons but one mind and one body.

Exhortation- God is a Father with a Son and a Spirit

This month, we have been confessing the sin of serving the god of Americanism. I should give some explanation of that. We are not confessing a sin of being Americans.  We have every right to be proud to be Americans.  We live in a truly great country abounding with blessings far beyond the wild imaginations of the rest of the world.  We are not ashamed of that, at all. On the contrary, these blessings are a testimony to the greatness of our God, who has granted them to us.  But our nation is due a warning from the Scriptures and it is time that God’s people woke up and realized that we are in the process of forsaking the very God who has blessed us, the Triune God of the Bible.

The God of the United States is not Allah, not Buddha, not some Hindu idol.  Our God is none other than Yahweh, from the burning bush, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and the Holy Spirit who lit the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.  It is He and NO OTHER.  There is but one God only, the living and true God. All other gods are dead and false gods.

Americanism is a false religion, one that professes belief in god but not the God of the Bible. We Christians reject all such claims as false and deserving the chastisement of the one true and living God.
Hear the Scriptures. 

Deut 8:10-19 10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
 18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I am pleased to announce that my eldest daughter, Rebecca, is engaged to be married. The lucky gent is Simon Esmond.  The title of this post is 'courtship'.  I don't really have a lot to say about that here but want to make a couple of observations.

First, the basic idea of courtship is that the parents of the bride are involved in the process of her choosing a mate.   That's the main principle. The methods in different homes and churches will be various.  The parents actually have veto power over her decision in the area of choosing a husband. That may strike some as arcane in our day of ultimate personal freedom.  But it is also an accurate and clear biblical principle.

Second, in order for the father of the bride to cash the check of close and even controlling involvement in his daughter's courtship leading up to marriage, he has to have a big savings account.  If he does not have enough put away in that account, when it comes time to cash the check on some difficult decisions, say, turning down a suitor, he may find that he has to quickly and radically alter his view of 'where we go from here.'

Third, the outcome is wholly reliant upon the good grace and mercy of our Lord.  It is true that both the daughter and the father have free will and at the point of decision or conflict, they will do whatever seems best to them at that point. However, God gives us promises with our children, not just children. If we raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we should have every confidence that at the point of decision, they will choose to follow God and do what is right, even to the point of trusting their father who has, Lord willing, a large of enough checking account to be trusted.

I am pleased to say that the Lord has brought together two such young people, Simon and Rebecca, who were raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and have proved that in the way that they have loved God and their parents and have submitted to and honored both.

I trust the Lord will give them many wonderful and fruitful years together.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Communion Meditation- A Good Name

The most significant thing that occurred at our Council meeting last week is that the name of the CREC was changed to the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches.  The impetus behind this change was that our brothers in the Southern churches were dealing with some misconceptions about the name Confederation, some folks wondering if we had views holding to the old Southern Confederacy.
This was making things difficult for our churches in the South who are doing urban ministries.  In addition to this, many felt that the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches is a better fit for who we are as a confederation. We are not 'merely' a group of sovereign churches gathered together under one Covenant. We are one portion of the gathered church, a particular Communion of the broader Communion of the Saints.
No doubt, we will still have some confusion about our new name. For instance, what does it have to do with the Eucharist?  Well, not a lot and a whole lot at the same time. In our name, when we say Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches we are not referring to the Lord’s Supper. However, we are referring to the fact that we are a gathered and unified people, the communion of the saints which we say in the Apostle’s Creed, which is part of what the Lord’s Supper represents.  The name change is good because it enables us to explain our name in the context of Church history and practice as opposed to trying to explain the name in the context of a form of civil government. 
So, here we are at Communion, the Lord’s Supper, as the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, gathered with all of our brothers in the CREC around the world and with all of God’s people around the world, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.


At our Presbytery and Council meetings there were various disagreements at various levels of importance. For the most part the issues at stake were wisdom issues and not issues of right and wrong, correct or incorrect theology. Some things were easily worked through and compromises agreed upon. In other areas, differences ran deep and strong and compromises were not reached so easily. This took more patience, more listening.  When seeking wisdom, it is good for us to listen to one another and make adjustments in our own ways of doing things.

I am pleased to report to you that our CREC men did this very well. They are good men committed to listening to one another and honoring one another. And then after the compromises, not smugly thinking or acting as if their view won, or in the cases where they lost the argument, not feeling bitter or envious towards others. 

Let us also think this way. And where we have failed to listen to our brothers, or if we have grown bitter or envious of our brothers, let us confess our sins and seek to be in a right relationship with God and with our brothers.