We are thankful for an amazing Lord’s Day yesterday! And with these blessings, we want to reflect Christ’s truth in our lives for the week ahead. Did you catch these articles for sanctifying your Sunday? If not, save these to read next Sunday, or review them as you prayerfully ask the Lord the renew your mind by His truth.
A Covenantal Benediction
Every worship service that we serve Holy Communion, Pastor Brian gives a slightly different benediction. Instead of the Aaronic blessing from Numbers, or the Trinitarian benediction of II Corinthians 13:14, after The Lord’s Supper our minister gives the blessing from Hebrews 13. Read on to find out why this benediction is so special!
“One of the hardest things to endure is not being able to gather as the church on the Lord’s Day the way we did before the pandemic… I don’t think any of us will take for granted the blessing of public worship and the communion of the saints for a long time to come.
These reflections lead me to the topic of this article: the beautiful covenantal benediction of Hebrews 13:20-21. Not only are we featuring that passage as our benediction in this issue of M&L, but we are focusing on covenant theology in one of our main articles. In God’s providence, it’s the perfect benediction for people affected by a pandemic.
Read “A Covenantal Benediction” at RTS Ministry & Leadership→
Why Christians Should Practice the Sabbath
For many Christians, what to do on Sunday can be legalistic – sit still! Don’t have fun! – or it can be license: after church (if we even go), we eat, play, work, and do what we like. But God’s Word encourages something better!
“I’d like to argue that the Scriptures do in fact teach the abiding obligation of Sabbath observance. But far from being legalistic or harsh, the Lord’s Day ought to be a source of joy and restoration for Christians. It offers a powerful, countercultural witness to a world ensnared by the frenetic pace of digital life.
Before examining arguments in support of our continued obligation to keep the Sabbath, we need to back up and address some basic methodological differences that influence how we read the Bible. The first has to do with whether we read the theology and ethics of the Old and New Testaments with a primary hermeneutic of continuity or discontinuity.”
Read “Why Christians…Sabbath” at TGC→
Reformed And Always Reforming
The slogan that was used by godly men & women of old was ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei: the Church reformed, and always being reformed by the Word of God. Unfortunately, the “always reforming” part can let many foxes into the hen house.
“Those who misuse the slogan end up saying something like this: The Reformation had to change things that were wrong in the church, and we have to continue changing things that are wrong with the church. We have to make Christianity more understandable and relevant today. We have to strip away formalism and legalism so that we can get on with the great work of evangelism. We must be always reforming.
At first glance, this use of the slogan may seem good. All of us want Christianity to be vital, understandable, and evangelistic. But too often, those who are always reforming are in fact moving away from the Reformation and its great concerns about the Bible and justification, about worship, preaching, and the sacraments… Always reforming comes to mean increasingly conforming to the demands and standards of the world.
Such an approach to the slogan is not at all what it originally meant—or what it should mean for us today. The exact origins of the slogan are obscure, but its meaning is not. It was designed to make two critical points about who we are as Reformed Christians.”
Continue reading “Reformed And Always Reforming” at Ligonier→
5 Features That Made the Early Church Unique
Sometimes we look at the Church in our world and wonder if we can ever make a difference. But in the first three centuries of the Christian church, there was terrible persecution, they were outcasts, and rejected by the world. Why on earth would anyone join such a church?!
Maybe an even more shocking question is, “Why did this rejected group of believers transform the world?” There are at least five reasons: 1.) Christians had a new identity in Jesus that was completely different from what the Roman empire said. Christians today can be completely different than what our culture says today. 2.) Early Christians crossed racial and ethnic lines in ways that were shocking. They welcomed the rich and the poor in ways that seemed impossible. 3.) They practiced forgiveness and reconciliation, instead of vengeance and retaliation. They treated their enemies with love. No one could understand them! 4.) Christians were committed to the sanctity of life, even the lives that weren’t valued by the world. They rescued infants left to die and gave value and meaning to all life. 5.) Christians offered a counterculture to the sexual pleasure found in Roman culture, and gave sexual intimacy a new meaning in Scriptural truth.
“It was because the early church didn’t fit in with its surrounding culture, but rather challenged it in love, that Christianity eventually had such an effect on it. Could essentially the same social project have a similar effect if it were carried out today?”
Continue reading “5 Features…Unique” at TGC→