Ten Things About the Lord’s Supper

communion02Article by Dr. Sam Storms, 10 Things You Should Know About the Lord’s Supper from 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 (original source here)

The primary biblical text on the nature and meaning of the Lord’s Supper/Table, also known as Communion or the Eucharist (from the Greek word for the giving of thanks) is 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Here are ten brief observations on what we see in this text.

1) The Lord’s Supper is primarily (but not exclusively) designed to elicit or to stimulate in our hearts remembrance of the person and work of Jesus: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25).

2) This remembrance is commanded. Participation at the Lord’s Table is not an option. Prolonged absence from it is spiritually unhealthy and willful neglect of it may be grounds for church discipline.

3) This remembrance entails the use of tangible elements: bread and wine. It isn’t enough simply to say, “Remember!” The elements of bread and wine are given to stir our minds and hearts. The physical action of eating and drinking is designed to remind us that we spiritually “ingest” and depend upon Jesus and the saving benefits of his life, death, and resurrection. Just as food and drink are essential to sustain physical existence, so also the blessings and benefits that come to us through the body and blood of Christ are paramount to our spiritual flourishing.

4) It is a personal remembrance. We are to remember Jesus. The focus isn’t on Abraham or Moses or Isaiah. The focus is no longer on the Jewish Passover or the night of his betrayal or anything else. The focus is Jesus. “Do this in remembrance of ME” (1 Cor. 11:25).

5) In this remembering there is also confession. In partaking of the elements we declare: “Christ gave his body and blood for me. He died for me.” This is one among many reasons why I reject the practice of paedo-communion (the giving of the elements of the Table to infants). If one cannot and does not personally and consciously confess that the bread and wine symbolize the body and blood of Jesus sacrificed for sinners, he/she should not, indeed must not, partake of them. Continue reading

Building a Vision of World Missions

john-piperArticle: 5 Points for Building a Vision of World Missions by John Piper (original source here)

A shared vision for world missions is crucial in the life of the church. Why should world missions be fundamental in the ministry of the church? What do we mean by it? How do we go about it? What is your place in it? Consider these five points for building a vision of world missions in our congregations.

First, we must understand that the Word of God is the foundation of world missions. Let us be a church that builds our missionary vision on the Word of God, which has to do with the truths about God and His way of salvation and His way of life revealed in the Bible. This also has to do with doctrine—not the less central ones but the crucial, central doctrines of the Bible. When we choose and send missionaries, let us send those who can preach and teach the truth about God with an understanding of central biblical doctrines. The apostles built their lives and missions on these great truths. So should we.

Second, world missions are God’s work. What this means is not that He does it instead of us but that He does it through us. But He really does it. Missions are fundamentally supernatural. They are really God’s doing, God’s work in and through us. Thus, missions are not mainly a human enterprise but a divine one. It is God’s work based on God’s Word. We speak and we do. But in and through us God speaks and God does, or all is in vain. We rely on Him. Our job is to obey and be faithful and trust Him. Just as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” Continue reading

Christ’s Wrath Averting Sacrifice

Text: Ephesians 5:1-2

God never allows for innovative or creative ways to approach Him. The Bible is filled with incidents where He actually killed people who sought to come to Him on their terms rather than His. Yet God’s kindness is seen in His sending His Son to forever remove His just, divine wrath from those who trust in Christ. Here’s how…

50 lbs

A man stands on the talking scale - 'One at a time please!'

A man stands on the talking scale – ‘One at a time please!’

50 LBS. I’m on day 82 of a personal weight loss challenge (supervised by a doctor) and can report that as of this morning I have lost 50 lbs. The sad part is that I needed to lose that much. The good news is I have done so. 50 lbs is a lot. I have gone down 2 ring sizes and can now fit into clothes that have been stored in boxes for years. Hopefully some of them are still in style. :) This is about half way to my goal of a healthy weight, but this is a significant milestone. I will probably celebrate with a “normal” meal later on today.

Christian | Muslim Dialogue

Christians and Muslims, Agreements and Differences
A dialogue between Dr. James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Dean of AlMaghrib Institute.

Part 1:

Dr. James White and Dr. Yasir Qadhi Dialogue from Grace Bible Church on Vimeo.

Part 2:

Remembering Dr. Iain D. Campbell

Iain D nwbAnnouncement:

It is with much sadness that I share the news of the passing of Rev Dr Iain D Campbell early this morning. He was 53.

Dr Campbell was born in 1963 and grew up in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. He studied at Glasgow University before proceeding to the Free Church College where he trained for the pastoral ministry. He was ordained as minister at Snizort Free Church, Skye in 1988 and spent seven years there before moving to Back Free Church in 1995. A further transfer took him to Point Free Church in 2009. He was Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly in 2012.

Iain was the author of numerous books, including The Doctrine of Sin, The Gospel According to Ruth, Opening up Exodus and On the First Day of the Week. He was also a regular contributor at Reformation 21, as well as the Banner of Truth and Tabletalk Magazine. He was Adjunct Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, helping to deliver their London based MTh program.

I extend my deepest and prayerful sympathies to his family.

Here was his final sermon, preached on January 18, 2017 on John 6:37-40.

Quotes on the Church

quotes“Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.” – John Calvin

“I well remember how I joined the church after my conversion. I forced myself into it by telling the pastor, who was lax and slow, after I had called four or five times and could not see him, that I had done my duty, and if he did not see me and interview me for church membership, I would call a church meeting myself and tell them I believed in Christ and ask them if they would have me.” – Charles Spurgeon

“The church, as defined by the Word of God, is a group of Christians who dedicate themselves to meeting together for the regular preaching of the Word of God; who submit themselves to biblical eldership; who regularly celebrate the ordinances of the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); and who practice and submit themselves to church discipline as laid out in Scripture.” – Wayne Mack

“Scripture speaks very clearly to the fact that identification with God’s people in a formal, public way was considered essential. A careful study of the New Testament reveals not even a hint of any believer who was truly saved, but not part of a local church.” – Wayne Mack

“To unite with the Church is to take one’s place among the followers of the Master. It is a public act. It is a confession of Christ before men. It is not a profession of superior saintliness. On the other hand, it is a distinct avowal of personal sinfulness and unworthiness. Those who seek admission into the church come as sinners, needing and accepting the mercy of God and depending upon the atonement of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. They come confessing Christ. They have heard his call, “Follow me,” and have responded. Uniting with the Church is taking a place among the friends of Christ; it is coming out from the world to be on Christ’s side. There are but two parties among men. ‘He who is not with me is against me,’ said Jesus. The Church consists of those who are with Christ. This suggests one of the reasons why those who love Christ should take their place in the Church. By so doing they declare to all the world where they stand—and cast all the influence of their life and example on Christ’s side.” – J.R. Miller

“The man who attempts Christianity without the church shoots himself in the foot, shoots his children in the leg, and shoots his grandchildren in the heart.” Kevin DeYoung

What Is Sound Doctrine?

This article by Scott Swain was originally published in Tabletalk magazine (original source here).

When I was young, I only thought of my future: Whom would I marry? What vocation would I pursue? Where would I live? Now that I am the father of four children, I think only of their futures.

As he approached the final days of his ministry, the Apostle Paul set his thoughts on the future well-being of Timothy, his “beloved child” in the faith (2 Tim. 1:2). He wrote to him about the things that matter most for life and ministry. Not only did Paul commend to his young protégé the glorious gospel of God (vv. 8–10) and the divinely inspired Scriptures (3:16–17), but he also instructed Timothy regarding the importance of sound doctrine: “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (1:13–14). According to Paul, doctrine is among the things that matter most for the well-being of the Christian and the church. Sound, or “healthy,” doctrine provides a pattern that, when followed, promotes healthy faith and love. Sound doctrine is a valuable heritage that is to be treasured in this generation and faithfully transmitted to the next (2:2).

What is doctrine? In its basic sense, doctrine is any sort of teaching. The Bible, for example, talks about the teachings of men (Mark 7:7–8), the teachings of demons (1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:24), and the teachings of God (John 6:45; 1 Thess. 4:9; 1 John 2:27). Here, we are concerned with divine teaching, the teaching of God. According to one definition, doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God. This definition provides a helpful anatomy of sound doctrine, identifying doctrine’s source, object, and ultimate end. We will consider these elements of sound doctrine.

The Source of Sound Doctrine

The triune God is the ultimate “doctor,” or teacher, when it comes to Christian doctrine. The God who knows and loves Himself in the perfect fellowship of the Trinity has graciously willed to make Himself known to us and loved by us (Matt. 11:25–27; 1 Cor. 2:10–12). This doctrine, taught by the Father through the son in the Holy Spirit, informs our faith and guides our love.

Though the triune God is the ultimate source of doctrine, He has chosen to minister doctrine to us through His prophets and Apostles in Holy Scripture. until the day when God speaks to us face-to-face in His eternal kingdom, Holy Scripture is the source and norm of sound doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16; see Mark 7:7–8). Doctrine is drawn from Holy Scripture as from a fountain. Doctrine is measured by Holy Scripture as by a rule. Furthermore, doctrine leads us back to Scripture by equipping us to become better readers. Indeed, those “untaught” in sound doctrine are most prone to twisting the Scriptures “to their own destruction” (2 peter 3:16).

The Object of Sound Doctrine

Christian doctrine has a twofold object. The primary object of doctrine is God; the secondary object is all things in relation to God. Doctrine teaches us to see God as the one from whom and through whom and to whom all things exist, and doctrine directs our lives to this God’s glory (Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:6).

When we examine the twofold object of doctrine as it is presented to us in Holy Scripture, a definite pattern emerges (Rom. 6:17; 2 Tim. 1:13). The pattern of sound doctrine is (1) Trinitarian (1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:4–6; Titus 3:4–7), (2) creation affirming (1 Tim. 2:13–15; 4:1–4), (3) gospel centered (1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:11–14), and (4) church oriented (1 Tim. 3:14–15). The Bible’s distinctive doctrinal pattern has left its mark on some of the most widely accepted summaries of Christian teaching, such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Heidelberg Catechism, and has informed the shape of historic Christian worship.

The End of Sound Doctrine

Doctrine promotes a number of ends. Sound doctrine delivers us from the snare of false teaching (2 Tim. 2:24–26; Titus 1:9-11), which otherwise threatens to arrest spiritual development (Eph. 4:14) and to foster ecclesiastical discord (Rom. 16:17). Doctrine serves God’s saving work both inside (1 Tim. 4:16) and outside the church (Matt. 5:13-16; Titus 2:9–10; 1 Peter 3:1–6). Above all, doctrine promotes God’s glory. Doctrine shines forth as one of the glorious rays of the gospel of God (1 Tim. 1:10–11) and, by directing our faith and love toward God in Christ, it enables us to walk in His presence and give Him the glory He deserves (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18).

God loves us; and in His goodness He has given us the good gift of doctrine (Ps. 119:68) that we might learn of Him and of His gospel, and that we might please Him in our walk. Doctrine is the teaching of our heavenly Father, revealed in Jesus Christ, and transmitted to us by the Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture, and it is to be received, confessed, and followed in the church, to the glory of God’s name.