Tag: worship

Exodus Essentials Lesson Notes

Exodus Essentials Lesson Notes

Exodus- Story of Redemption

 

The message

Trust, obey and worship the redeeming, covenant-making God who is with us.

 

Storyline

In Exodus the Lord saved His people in a manner that foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus. First, He came to them while they were in bondage and freed them. He did so not on the basis of their good works, but by grace; withholding judgment when He saw the blood of a spotless lamb covering the doorposts of their homes (see Exodus 11–12). Then, after he saved them, God gave His people laws to govern them—on His terms, for their benefit—and called them to faithful obedience. Following that pattern, Jesus Christ died for His people while they were yet in bondage to sin (Romans 5:8) and freed all who will believe in Him through His death and resurrection. Then He made them new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) and taught them obedience (John 5:14–15). Given the similarities between the exodus and God’s plan to bring about the redemption of all who will believe in Him through Christ, it is no wonder Jesus told the Jews in Jerusalem, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46). 

Key Words in Exodus

Delivered: Hebrew natsal —3:8; 5:18; 21:13; 22:7,10,26; 23:31—this verb may mean either “to strip, to plunder” or “to snatch away, to deliver.” The word is often used to describe God’s work in delivering (3:8), or rescuing (6:6), the Israelites from slavery. Sometimes it signifies deliverance of God’s people from sin and guilt (Psalm 51:14). In 18:8–10, however, the word is a statement of God’s supremacy over the Egyptian pantheon of deities.

Consecrate: Hebrew qadash —28:3,41; 29:9,33,35; 30:30; 32:29—this verb means “to make holy,” “to declare distinct,” or “to set apart.” The word describes dedicating an object or person to God. By delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, God made the nation of Israel distinct. Through His mighty acts of deliverance, God demonstrated that the Israelites were His people, and He was their God (6:7). By having the people wash themselves at Mount Sinai, the Lord made it clear that He was claiming a special relationship with them (19:10).

Washing: Hebrew rachats —2:5; 19:10; 29:4,17; 30:18,21; 40:12,30— washing or bathing. The term was used in both religious and cultural settings. The ancient custom of washing a guest’s feet was a part of hospitality still practiced in the New Testament period (Genesis 18:4; John 13:5). Ritual washing was an important step in the purification of the priests for service in the Tabernacle (40:12). Washing with water symbolized spiritual cleansing, the preparation necessary for entering God’s presence (Psalm 26:6; 73:13). The Old Testament prophets used this imagery of repentance (Isaiah 1:16; Ezekiel 16:4). In the New Testament, Paul describes redemption in Christ as “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5).

Key Verses: Exodus 6:6; 19:5, 6—“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments’” (6:6).

“‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’” (19:5, 6).

Key Chapters: Exodus 12–14—The climax of the entire Old Testament is recorded in chapters 12–14: the salvation of Israel through blood (the Passover) and through power (the Red Sea). The Exodus is the central event of the Old Testament as the Cross is of the New Testament.

Key People in Exodus

Moses —author of the Pentateuch and deliverer of Israel from Egyptian slavery (2–40)

Miriam —prophetess and older sister of Moses (2:7; 15:20–21)

Pharaoh’s daughter —the princess who rescued baby Moses from the water and adopted him (2:5–10)

Jethro —Midian shepherd who became Moses’ father-in-law (3:1; 4:18; 18:1–12)

Aaron —brother of Moses and first high priest of Israel (4:14–40:31)

Pharaoh —unnamed Egyptian leader at the time of the Exodus (5:1–14:31)

Joshua —assistant to Moses and military leader who led Israel into the Promised Land (17:9–14; 24:13; 32:17; 33:11) 

Key Doctrines in Exodus

Covenant promises —God’s promise to Abraham to preserve his heritage forever (12:1–3,7,31–42; Genesis 17:19; Leviticus 26:45; Judges 2:20; Psalm 105:38; Acts 3:25)

The nature of God —human beings cannot understand God completely but can come to know Him personally (3:7; 8:19; 34:6–7; 2 Samuel 22:31; Job 36:26; Matthew 5:48; Luke 1:49–50)

The Ten Commandments —the basic truths of God (20:1–17; 23:12; Leviticus 19:4,12; Deuteronomy 6:14; 7:8–9; Nehemiah 13:16–19; Isaiah 44:15; Matthew 5:27; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 13:14; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 5:3,5)

God’s Character in Exodus

God is accessible —24:2; 34:4–7

God is glorious —15:1,6,11; 33:18–23; 34:5–7

God is good —34:6

God is gracious —34:6

God is holy —15:11

God is long-suffering —34:6

God is merciful —34:6,7

God is all-powerful —6:3; 8:19; 9:3,16; 15:6,11–12

God is provident —15:9–19

God is true —34:6

God is unequaled —9:14

God is wise —3:7

God is wrathful —7:20; 8:6,16,24; 9:3,9,23; 10:13,22; 12:29; 14:24,27; 32:11,35

Points to consider/Teaching Points

Exodus demonstrates that rescue from bondage is accomplished only by God. The Israelites could not save themselves from oppression, nor from plagues, nor from the pursuing Egyptians, nor from their own folly; but God could.

The plagues overcame aspects of nature that the Egyptians thought their gods controlled. Through the plagues, including the ultimate plague of death, God showed his power over Egypt’s non-existent “gods” (12:12).

Exodus emphasizes the need of a covenant relationship with God. (No rules? No relationship!) God desires to shape us in his image, requiring obedience to him as evidence of faith in him (Jas 2:14-18).

The presence of God is another major theme: God wants us to enjoy him, his blessings and his life. But his presence does not tolerate sin, so God often reveals himself protectively, via a symbol behind a barrier. The tabernacle and its curtain (veil) provided a barrier, such that the Israelites were required to believe in an ark (his symbol) that they never actually saw. Inside the ark were two copies of the Ten Commandments: God’s and Israel’s, the words of the covenant showing how people could connect to God and his favor.

 

Personal Application

Exodus contains three powerful principles:

God blesses those who remain in a covenant relationship with Him. He is our God and we become His holy people. Because God knows that our lives are fruitful when we follow His ways, He clearly explains what is acceptable to Him. God delivers those who are in bondage. Deliverance may not come instantaneously, but it will come to those who wait and prepare for it by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our deliverance is based on obedience to God’s expressed will and on moving when He says to move. Before the children of Israel could be delivered, they had to wait until after the Passover meal was completed. They also had to wait until the angel of death had passed over those households under protection of the lamb’s blood; after that, God gave the command to go. As we seek to live by God’s Spirit, we need to wait at times, but be ready to move as He leads.

Foreshadowing Christ

Moses is a type of Christ, for Christ delivers from bondage. Aaron serves as a type of Jesus as the High Priest (28:1) making intercession at the altar of incense (30:1). The Passover indicates that Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain for our redemption (12:1–22).

The “I am” passages in John’s Gospel find their primary source in Exodus. For example, John states that Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48); Moses speaks of the bread of God in two ways, the manna (Ex. 16:35) and the showbread (25:30). John tells us that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5); in the tabernacle, the lampstand serves as a never-failing light (Ex. 25:31–40).

 The Holy Spirit at Work

Oil in the Book of Exodus represents the Holy Spirit (27:20). For example, the anointing oil, used to prepare worshipers and priests for godly service (30:31), is a type of the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23 parallels God’s attributes described in Exodus 34:6, 7: He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, truthful, and forgiving.

The most direct references to the Holy Spirit can be found in 31:3–11 and 35:30—36:1, when individuals were empowered by the Holy Spirit to become great artisans. Through the Spirit’s enabling work, our natural abilities are enhanced and expanded to perform needed tasks with excellence and precision.

 

Teaching Structure

  1. Liberation from slavery in Egypt
  • Moses preserved and prepared to lead (1:1-4:26)
  • Israelite suffering and confrontation with Pharaoh (4:27-7:25)
  • Plagues show Egyptian gods’ impotence (chs. 8-11)
  • Passover, Israel’s exodus reminder festival (12:1-30)
  • Escape from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea (12:31-15:21)
  • God’s provision for his traveling people (15:22-17:16)
  • Israel gets a legal system (ch. 18)
  • Preparation for the covenant at Mount Sinai (ch. 19)

 

  1. God grants his people a covenant relationship
  • The Ten Commandments: basic rules for righteousness (20:1-17)
  • Prophecy and proper altar worship (20:18-26)
  • Basic provisions: holy living required (chs. 21-23)
  • Acceptance and ratification of the covenant (ch. 24)

 

  1. Design and building of the tabernacle
  • Interior, including the ark of the covenant (ch. 25)
  • Exterior and standards for priests (chs. 26-29)
  • Worship materials and times (chs. 30-31)
  • Idolatry and resulting suffering (32:1-33:6)
  • Final plans and materials (33:7-36:7)
  • Constructing and equipping the tabernacle as designed (36:8-39:43)
  • The tabernacle erected and filled with God’s glory (ch. 40)

 

 

Why Did We Switch to Weekly Communion?

Why Did We Switch to Weekly Communion?

Why have communion weekly if there is no proscription to do so in the Scripture? The answer has much to do with the reason behind our breaking the wafer before we partake: it is a participatory symbol. Let me explain…

The nearest to an instruction that Scripture gives us to the frequency of communion is in 1st Corinthians 11. We  could presume from verse 20 that it was a weekly occurrence butt the Apostle does not spell that out. That being said, in verse 26 he does get very specific, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” The closest to an apostolic command is that ye do it often, so we do.

We do not mean to imply, in any way, that it is superior to celebrate communion weekly. Neither are we allying ourselves with Rome. Rather we remember that we gather for a worship celebration and it is appropriate that we come to the Lord’s Table when we gather.  What could be more worthy of celebration than the death and resurrection of the Lord.

During our time of corporate worship, our souls are nourished on the word of God. Should they not also be nourished by the Word who is the Living Bread come down from Heaven (John 6:51). Let’s be clear, the bread and the wine DO NOT literally become the body and blood of the Lord. Rather, we are showing two things: 1. That we are participating in the Atonement purchased by the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus. 2. We show our gratitude that this Atonement was made on our behalf.

What about the “real presence” of Jesus in communion? Good question. One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and since the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, the presence of Christ is always with us. He is not more present at the communion table and less present at the picnic table. Christ is always with us, at communion and everywhere else.

The Communion Service is a memorial for us. It reminds us of our divine rescue from sin and our continued dependence on Christ. In eating the physical bread and drinking the physical cup we are making a very profound and powerful statement: “By grace, the body of Christ was broken for me and the blood of Christ washes away my sin.” These physical symbols portray a spiritual reality- we are partakers in the blessings of life in Christ.

That, Beloved, is why we take communion weekly; to remember staggering grace that saw the King of the Universe die for our sin. Remember that next time you come to the table and come as often as you feel is good to do so. For us, we will come, weekly, to remember the body and blood of our Lord and to, in that memorial, celebrate the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

Additional Photos

 

I love the Bible; if you have known me more than two minutes you know this. I also love the New American Standard Bible. On 2/20/2020, it will have been with me 24 years. So, when I heard that Zondervan Publishing has resolved one of my biggest complaints in the Bible world (There is not a suitable preaching Bible with a pew Bible counterpart), they had my attention.

They sent me, free of charge in exchange for an honest review, a combo pack of the NASB Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one and I do have a gripe or two but none so severe as to color my opinion.

The Concept:

Many churches provide Pew/Worship Bibles for members of the congregation but the pastor has to have a copy re-bound so that it will stand up to the rigors of day to day pastoral use. This left a huge gap, which Zondervan has jumped into, feet first.

The concept is simple and so obvious that it really annoys me that no other publisher has done so: Release a Pastor’s Bible AND a pew Bible simultaneously with identical page numbers, page layout, and font family. Zondervan has done just that. As I said, it is such an obvious concept that other publishers have no excuse for not doing so. Many churches, mine included, often have people in attendance who have never seen the inside of a Bible or have an extremely limited experience with it. Ergo, being able to say, from the pulpit, turn to page ______ for the morning’s text would be most helpful.

This, then, will be a simultaneous review as a good portion of the review applies to both books.

 

The Font, Layout, and Pagination

We absolutely must talk about this first. Zondervan calls this Comfort Print and it lives up to its name. I was surprised at this for the pew Bible because some Comfort Print Editions (Looking at you, Biblical Theology Study Bible) are not all that comfortable to read.

The hardcover is listed at 9-point. It actually looks to be 8.5 to me; many publishers list font size that includes leading and that is probably the case here. The Preacher’s Bible is listed at 10-point but I think that is a bit of an under-sizing. It looks to be the same size as its NKJV Cousin, the Large Print Thin-line. Both are very easy to read.

Black letter text, as all preaching Bibles ought to have, is what Zondervan has on offer here. There is a delightful little surprise, though. Subject headings, chapter numbers, and verse numbers are all in red for the Preacher’s Bible.

The layout is double column verse-by-verse. Verse-by-verse is the ideal format for preaching, whether single column or double column. You will easily find the verse you are preaching. Also, each book starts on a new page for easier reading.

Since the Preacher’s Bible and the Pew Bible share a common DNA, we are given a text only edition. There are translator’s footnotes provided which include variant readings of the text.

Paper and Binding

The paper in both is a crisp white. The pew Bible is a little brighter than in the Preacher’s Bible but much brighter than in other pew Bibles. The paper is nicely opaque with almost no show through. You can, successfully, mark in either edition, preferably with colored pencil or ball-point pen. I almost never recommend a liquid highlighter but a gel should pose no issue. Note: I encourage you to have a take a copy program if you are going to encourage congregants to write in the Bible. I DO encourage you, most wonderful colleague, to encourage your congregation to mark in their Bibles.

The Pew Bible has a “premium hardcover,” which did arrive in a dust jacket; I presume most churches will remove the dust jacket before putting the Bible in the pew.

The Preacher’s Bible that I received is the black goatskin, but it is also available in brown imitation leather. It is leather lined with a fairly pronounced grain. I am glad to see that a lower price option is available for pastors on tighter budgets or will a modest book allowance.

Both Bibles have a sewn binding. It is obvious to sew the binding in a premium leather Bible, not so much in a Pew Bible but I am glad to see Zondervan include it. It will doubtlessly get knocked around in the pew. If you are like me and like to keep some Bibles on hand for giveaway, it will get knocked around in your bag as well. In both cases, the sewn binding assures that the Bible will survive years of rough and tumble use.

My Gripes

Neither Bible is indexed. I understand that you don’t need to index a pew Bible if you plan to tell the congregation which page to turn to, but I do find it useful for the pastor to have a thumb index so it is not necessary to write down every page number.

My second gripe made me scratch my head a little. There are no congregational/responsive readings included. This feature has been a hallmark of pew Bibles from days gone by. Many churches, Abounding Grace being one of them, feature a responsive reading on Sunday mornings and it would be fairly nice to have readings already provided for everyone to read together.

My last gripe is a frequent one, I wish the Preacher’s Bible had wide margins. Almost every pastor I know of writes in their Bible. Zondervan could do like Cambridge and use a wider footprint in order to have a wide margin which still has the same pagination as the pew Bible.

None of these gripes is enough to make me dislike the Bible.

Real world use

I have gotten so many responses to some teaser photos that I shared that I was not able to wait to use the Preacher’s Bible on Sunday before writing the review. I took in into a counseling session and found that I had no issues using it. I was able to find the text rapidly and, even with some ocular challenges, had no trouble reading the page.

Final Thoughts

Given the combination, I am having a hard time envisioning not opting to use it, unless of course Zondervan’s “Big Sister” decides to do the same with the NKJV Preaching Bible.

For 24 years, NASB has been one of the two translations that are with me every day. I carry multiple translations but no matter which editions are in my rotation, NASB and NKJV are always with me. NASB is one of the two most fastidiously literal translations available and you will not regret its usage.

Note: Either product can be a stand-alone. I do not recommend that, though. The Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible are designed to be used together and that is how you will get the best results.

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

I was asked, again, today how old a person must be to come to the Lord’s Table. The Scripture does not prescribe a specific age so neither shall I. I will give this counsel though…

Romans 10:9 teaches us to confess that Jesus is Lord and to believe that He was raised from the dead for our salvation from sin. A person who can explain why he needs a savior and also confess that he has yielded his life to Christ should in no wise be refused the Elements.

Upon our salvation, we are commanded to step in to tbe Waters of Baptism to show, symbolically, that the filthiness of our sin is washed away and we arise to the New Life. Immediately (and I mean while the convert is still wet) the Elements may be offered whereby we seal the new believer in fellowship with Christ and in brotherhood with the saints of all the ages.

The Lord’s Table is a sacred privilege enjoyed by ALL Believers. Let none say they are too young. ANY who will confess Christ may eat of the Bread of Life and drink from the Cup of the New Covenant.

Beatitudes: A Life Hidden in Christ

Beatitudes: A Life Hidden in Christ

Background and Introductory Remarks

The Sermon on the Mount is most likely a collection of Jesus’ sermons and not a single sermon. (Word Biblical Commentary). I want to say that I disagree with the commentator; I think the Sermon on the Mount is more of a Matthean example of the most common sermon/type of sermon that Jesus preached. 

The righteousness of the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) expounded in the sermon is presented as being in continuity with the righteousness of the ot law (5:17–19), yet also as surpassing it. In the Beatitudes, we see Jesus lead off with what a life that pleases God looks like; I call it a life hidden in Christ.

5:1–7:28 (NISB) These chapters comprise the Sermon on the Mount, the first of five collections (chaps. 10; 13; 18; 24–25) of Jesus’ teaching or revelation of God’s will. These thematic discourses instruct disciples, shaping their identity and lifestyle. The Sermon begins with blessings and sayings (5:3-16). Its middle section comprises six interpretations of scripture (5:17-48), instruction on three distinctive discipleship practices (6:1-18), and teaching on social and economic practices (6:19–7:12). The sermon closes with scenes of eschatological destiny (7:13-27). More than providing information about God’s will and motivating disciples to do it, the sermon offers visions of God’s empire. It sketches life in an alternative community marked by justice, transformed social relationships, practices of piety, and shared and accessible resources.

Main Sermon:

Word Wealth: makarios (Matt. 5:3; Luke 10:23; Acts 26:2; 1 Tim. 1:11) G3107. Strong tells us that it means to be blessed/happy/large/filled-up and/or content. Thayer points out that makarios is frequently paired with God’s name. Makarios, then, is most commonly used for blessedness or the enjoyment of favor from God.

I want you to understand that makarios can mean happy, and that is often the case, but it does not always guarantee your happiness. You may be in the midst of persecution but God is shepherding you through it, in which case, you are still blessed even if you are not, in the moment, happy.

Here, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus both reinterprets the old law and offers a new law, recalling the revelation of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai (see Ex 19–24).

Since Matthew introduces the Sermon on the Mount by highlighting the connection between Jesus and Moses, the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12) should probably be read against the backdrop of Moses’ teachings. The only time the adjective “Blessed” was used by Moses was in his blessing on Israel (Deuteronomy 33:29): “How happy you are, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is the shield that protects you, the sword you boast in. Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread on their backs.” Israel’s blessing had both a historical and future focus. “Saved by the Lord” referred to Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The remainder of the blessing assured the Israelites of success in their conquest of the promised land. Against this backdrop, the blessings of the new Moses (Jesus, the one Moses prophesied as being greater than him {see Deuteronomy 18:15}) identify Jesus’ disciples as the new Israel who will enjoy a new exodus and conquest. The new Moses is a spiritual deliverer rather than a political one, and His promises must be understood in that light. In the Beatitudes, the new Moses pronounces spiritual salvation (exodus from slavery to sin) and promises spiritual victory (conquest and inheritance of a new promised land) to the new Israel. This background is confirmed by the allusion to Israel’s exodus and conquest in the promise that the meek will “inherit the earth” (5:5).

In the OT, the poor were those who cried out for God’s help, depended entirely on Him for their needs, had a humble and contrite spirit, experienced His deliverance, and enjoyed His undeserved favor (Psalm 86:1-5). In light of this background, Jesus was describing His disciples as unworthy sinners who depend on God’s grace for salvation. Although the promises in Matthew 5:4-9 are expressed in the future tense, the affirmation the kingdom of heaven is theirs is in the present tense (5:3,10). This suggests that the kingdom had already arrived through the coming of Jesus but that the fulfillment of many kingdom promises will occur only in the future. This future fulfillment awaits Christ’s second coming. The statement “the kingdom of heaven is theirs” appears at the beginning and end of the main body of the Beatitudes (5:3,10). This bracketing device suggests that the Beatitudes constitute promises only to those who belong to the kingdom. Isaiah 61:1 promised that Messiah would bring good news to the poor. This beatitude serves as a fulfillment of that prophecy (Luke 4:16-21).

In the case of the Beatitudes, blessed (Psalm 1:1) are…

  • poor in spirit
  • those who mourn
  • those who are humble (meek/gentle)
  • those who hunger and thirst for justice/righteousness
  • those who are merciful
  • those whose hearts are pure
  • those who work for peace
  • those who are persecuted
  • when people mock, persecute and lie about you because of Jesus

 

If you look, closely, you will see that they build upon one another. We will circle back in a minute to look at each one after we talk a little about their progression…The poor in spirit recognize their total dependence upon God for any hope of Heaven and because of that, they mourn over sin, not just their own but the fact that all sin separates from the goodness of God and richness of fellowship with him. They are not consumed with pride because they have recognized their dependence upon God. In longing for more fellowship with Him, they hunger and thirst (a picture of total desire) for God’s justice and righteousness to fill the earth. A life hidden in Christ leads to mercy, we do not give others what they deserve just as we are not given our just desserts. We become pure of heart in not having any guile but a sincere desire for more of God and in that desire we work toward peace with God. As a consequence, the unsaved world will persecute us; such persecution will result, among other things, in being mocked and lied about because of Christ.

So why bother? At the risk of sounding cliché, we bother because we will spend eternity in Heaven with the One in whom our souls delight. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Shall we circle back and look at those beatitudes?

poor in spirit This first beatitude recalls Isaiah 66:2, “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. (NKJV)”

The poor in spirit recognize that they have no spiritual “assets.” They know they are spiritually bankrupt. We might say that the ancient Greek had a word for the “working poor” and a word for the “truly poor.” Jesus used the word for the truly poor here. It indicates someone who must beg for whatever they have or get. (Guzik)

We learn from Calvin: “Many are pressed down by distresses, and yet continue to swell inwardly with pride and cruelty. But Christ pronounces those to be happy who, chastened and subdued by afflictions, submit themselves wholly to God, and, with inward humility, betake themselves to him for protection. Others explain the poor in spirit to be those who claim nothing for themselves, and are even so completely emptied of confidence in the flesh, that they acknowledge their poverty. But as the words of Luke and those of Matthew must have the same meaning, there can be no doubt that the appellation poor is here given to those who are pressed and afflicted by adversity. The only difference is, that Matthew, by adding an epithet, confines the happiness to those only who, under the discipline of the cross, have learned to be humble.”

We further learn, from Chuck Smith: “First of all, he’s not talking about physical poverty, poor in spirit. This is in opposition to being proud, and this is always the inevitable consequence of a man coming into a personal, real confrontation with God. If you have come into a true confirmation of God in your own life, the result immediately always is that of poverty of spirit. You see a person who is proud and haughty, he is a man who has not had a true encounter with God.

In Isaiah chapter six, upon the death of the popular king Uzziah, when the throne of Israel has been emptied of this great popular monarch, Isaiah writes, “And in the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up, and his train did fill the temple…Then said I, woe is me! For I am undone; and I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips:” (Isaiah 6:1, Isaiah 6:5). That’s always the result of a man seeing God in truth. “Woe is me! I am undone”.

Daniel, when he saw the Lord said, “My beauty was turned into corruption” (Daniel 10:8). When Peter had his confrontation he said, “Depart from me; for Lo, I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). The man who truly sees God sees himself in truth.”

Of all the traits a Christian should have, it is poverty of spirit that is the most difficult for us. Why? Because we wish to aggrandize self, to be more than what we are, and to think that we bring something to the table for our salvation. Friend, Jonathan Edwards said it best, you contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary. All the self esteem and self worth you could ever need is found at the cross where God, Himself, took away your filthiness and gave you Christ’s righteousness so you can have a relationship with Him

Exactly what is being poor in spirit? I heard an excellent sermon from John Piper on this concept and in my notes I have:

  • It is a sense of powerlessness in ourselves.
  • It is a sense of spiritual bankruptcy and helplessness before God.
  • It is a sense of moral uncleanness before God.
  • It is a sense of personal unworthiness before God.
  • It is a sense that if there is to be any life or joy or usefulness, it will have to be all of God and all of grace.

In short, poverty of spirit says, “God I know I do not deserve anything from your hand but I come to you ready to accept anything you choose to give and I come ready to do anything I can to please you.”

In the hymn Rock of Ages, we find the perfect embodiment of being poor in spirit. The hymn says, “In my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” That, beloved, is what it means to be poor in spirit; it is not simply humility but it is the acknowledgement that everything we have, every single good thing that we possess, is a generous gift from the hand of God the Father, who delights in giving good gifts to His children.

those who mourn This is not a simple weeping or a general sadness.  “The Greek word for to mourn, used here, is the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language. It is the word which is used for mourning for the dead, for the passionate lament for one who was loved.” (Barclay). The connotation is a deep guttural wail. The poor in spirit have realized what sin does to our relationship with God and so there is weeping, not just over our own sin but a wailing over the fact that the wicked, who, will not turn, must in the end be consumed buy their wickedness and given over to judgment.

those who are humble (meek/gentle) Before we consider this trait we need to realize that blessed are the meek is the best translation. “Blessed are the meek: It is impossible to translate this ancient Greek word praus (meek) with just one English word. It has the idea of the proper balance between anger and indifference, of a powerful personality properly controlled, and of humility. In the vocabulary of the ancient Greek language, the meek person was not passive or easily pushed around. The main idea behind the word “meek” was strength under control, like a strong stallion that was trained to do the job instead of running wild.” (Guzik)

F.F Bruce points out that the meek are the men who suffer wrong without bitterness or desire for revenge. This is also a very hard personality trait to have since to be meek means to show willingness to submit and work under proper authority. Meekness means I give up my rights and privileges.

Let’s consider this thought from the great commentator, Adam Clarke “Our word meek comes from the old Anglo-Saxon meca, or meccea, a companion or equal, because he who is of a meek or gentle spirit, is ever ready to associate with the meanest of those who fear God, feeling himself superior to none; and well knowing that he has nothing of spiritual or temporal good but what he has received from the mere bounty of God, having never deserved any favour from his hand.”

those who hunger and thirst for justice/righteousness As we hide our lives in Christ, we become consumed by a hunger for His justice and righteousness to work through us. Do not kid yourself into thinking that this is a simple hungering. No this is a hunger that cannot be satisfied until Christ comes.

  • This passion isreal, just like hunger and thirst are real.
  • This passion isnatural, just like hunger and thirst are natural in a healthy person.
  • This passion isintense, just like hunger and thirst can be.
  • This passion can bepainful, just like real hunger and thirst can cause pain.
  • This passion is adriving force, just like hunger and thirst can drive a man.
  • This passion is asign of health, just like hunger and thirst show health.

How does this hunger and thirst for righteousness express itself?

  • A longing to have a righteous nature.
  • A craving to be sanctified, to be made more holy.
  • A fervent desire to continue in God’s righteousness.
  • An insatiable desire to see righteousness promoted in the world.

 

those who are merciful Here we are talking about someone who has already received mercy. The merciful one will show it to those who are weaker and poorer.

  • The merciful one will always look for those who weep and mourn.
  • The merciful one will be forgiving to others, and always looking to restore broken relationships.
  • The merciful one will be merciful to the character of other people, and choose to think the best of them whenever possible.
  • The merciful one will not expect too much from others.
  • The merciful one will be compassionate to those who are outwardly sinful.
  • The merciful one will have a care for the souls of all men.

 

Having been shown mercy, a heart filled with the Holy Spirit will desire to give mercy to others. This is the outworking of the Spirit in our lives both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13)

Next we have the final two characteristics of a life hidden in Christ and the world’s reception of us.

those whose hearts are pure Church Father Origen understood this to be a reference to having a pure mind, as this fits best with the Greek understanding of the intellect. (Origen, De Principiis, 1:1:9, in Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 4:245.)

This concept of a pure heart denotes one who loves God with all his heart (Deut. 6:5), with an undivided loyalty, and whose inward nature corresponds with his outward profession (cf. Isa. 29:13). ‘Such is the generation of those who seek him’ (Ps. 24:6), and they receive the promise that they shall see God. This can only fully be realized in heaven, when ‘we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2); then ‘we shall be like him’, and the longings of v. 6 will be finally satisfied. But in a lesser sense the vision of God is already the experience of his true lovers on earth, who persevere in his service ‘as seeing him who is invisible’ (Heb. 11:27).
–Tyndale New Testament Commentaries – Matthew.

 

those who work for peace (blessed are the peacemakers) In his exquisite commentary on Matthew, David Guzik tells us “This does not describe those who live in peace, but those who actually bring about peace, overcoming evil with good. One way we accomplish this is through spreading the gospel, because God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). In evangelism we make peace between man and the God whom they have rejected and offended.”

Truly, then, a peacemaker is one who works toward making peace not just between two rivals but ultimately, the true peacemaker seeks to make peace between God and the sinner. This is accomplished through helping the sinner to understand his sin and to understand what an offense sin is when considered by the Holy God. From there we take the sinner, now aware of his wickedness and what is due him, to the cross; it is from the cross that the sinner approaches God’s Throne of Grace and receives reconciliation between himself and his God. Once reconciled and no longer God’s enemies, the repentant now is adopted as a son since he is no more an outsider.

Now, having laid out what life in the Kingdom of Heaven looks like, Jesus takes us to the reception that we can expect from the world and those who are outside the Kingdom…

 

Blessed are those who are persecuted when people mock, persecute and lie about you because of Jesus The world hates Christ and you can be sure that they will hate us too. If you watch any television, these days, you will see that we are portrayed as aberrant, sometimes as simple minded fools, sometimes outright lies are made up about us and our values.

 

Early Christians heard many enemies say all kinds of evil against them falsely for Jesus’ sake. The 1st generations of Christians were accused of:

  • Cannibalism, because of gross and deliberate misrepresentation of the practice of the Lord’s Supper.
  • Immorality, because of gross deliberate misrepresentation of weekly “Love Feast” and their private meetings.
  • Revolutionary fanaticism, because they believed that Jesus would return and bring an apocalyptic end to history.
  • Splitting families, because when one marriage partner or parent became a Christian there was often change and division in the family.
  • Treason, because they would not honor the Roman gods and participate in emperor worship.

Even today, there are those who believe they are doing a righteous work by killing Christians. For example, ISIS believed in beheading Christians, they were earning a place in Heaven and rewards from God. How many Christians have we seen dragged into court because they refused to engage in business practices that violated their conscience but the world demanded thes practices any way.

I could go on about persecution ad nauseum but I would leave you with this thought on the matter: John 16:33b, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So what do I do about this? Beloved, having now understood what life in the Kingdom of Heaven looks like, it should be our sincere desire to see the traits laid out in the beatitudes cultivated in our lives. These character traits are a gift from God and also an answer to prayer. As we earnestly desire to be more like Christ, we will see these traits manifest more and more in our lives.

Do not be discouraged when trials come. Instead, have the mindset that James, the Lord’s brother encouraged– Count it as a blessing when trials and persecutions come because it means that our faith is being perfected. We will not always get to know what God is doing but when we look back over the most challenging times in our lives, we can see that God is working everything together to conform us to the image of His Son. The ultimate result of such confirmation will be the day when we are resurrected and glorified with bodies suitable for Heaven and prepared to enjoy the majesty of our Savior into the ages of ages.

 

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship Psalm 118:15-16

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship Psalm 118:15-16

As we turn our hearts towards worship, guest writer Mike Senders takes us to Psalm 118, where shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous…

Ps 118:15-16 (NASB)

“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”

In our passage today, the Psalmist exalts the LORD for his prowess in battle. He takes rest and refuge in the knowledge that it is the LORD who goes out to battle before the armies, and no accomplishment lies in himself. Our Psalmist is no doubt looking to the Song of Moses (Ex 15) as his inspiration; for like the battle the LORD fought against the mighty Pharaoh of Egypt, so again it is the Lord who conquers over the enemies of King David.

When the LORD is acknowledged as he who fights for us, the blessings of the triumph go out to those who are also under our care. Abraham sought a spiritual land rather than an earthly one (Heb 11:8-10); for it was not he who fought as a warlord- conquering- but rather, by faith he sought out for a foreign land and his children reaped the benefit. So as for us, when we look to the Lord to fight our battles for us, and acknowledge him as our champion, those who in our “tents” will also joyfully shout for the salvation of the Lord.

Three times the right hand of the Lord is here exalted. The words “does valiantly” can also be translated, “conquers.” The idea here is exactly as Moses put it, “The LORD is a man of war.”(Ex 15:3) Acknowledging the Lord’s right hand is to acknowledge his sword-hand, his battle-prowess, his place as a warrior-king. He does not fight behind us, driving his slaves with a whip, but goes out before; it is only by his might that the battle is won. It should be noted here that not once does David claim victory for himself, not once does he praise his own might, but instead he heaps all the glory upon God who fights his battles in his stead. Once again, this is in comparison to Moses and Pharaoh. In Egyptian art (and in many other eastern cultures), it was common to depict the king in the image as larger than the rest of the army, and also to attribute the entirety of the victory to the king. In one image, one can see Pharaoh charging an enemy, though his entire army fled, driving the discouraged enemy into the sea. Moses mocks this, for the LORD owns the sea, and rather than simply driving Pharaoh into it, he raised it up against Pharaoh, and brought it down upon him. (Ex 15:1-5) After this, we see Moses, like David, praise the Lord’s right hand, “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.” (Ex 15:6) We can trust that the LORD fights for us, the he goes out before us, and that he is a foe against which no enemy can stand. In this, all the righteous can take heart.

We pray,

LORD, our King, we thank you for your protection you give us as your children. It is you, and you alone, who fights our battles for us. We are so weak, and like sheep, are so prone to wandering, and fleeing in terror from those who would harm us. We pray to you, our sovereign God, that you would continue to protect us, and that we may take delight in your victory. We thank you for all that you have done for us, and it is in Jesus’ precious Name that we pray, Amen.

 

For more of Mike’s enjoyable teaching:

Twitter: @pressingonpcast
Foundations 7: Believers Baptism and Holy Communion

Foundations 7: Believers Baptism and Holy Communion

Believer’s Baptism

Official Statement on Baptism

Following the model displayed in the New Testament, Exploring the Truth takes the position that baptism is limited exclusively to the repentant believer who, having placed his faith and obedience, in Christ, and now wishes to publicly profess faith before the Household of the Faithful and to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord through full, bodily immersion in water (except when medically not possible). We do not teach that baptism saves; rather we teach that this is the first step of obedience to the commands of our Lord and His Apostles.

 As a consequence of this, it is the position of Exploring the Truth that Paedobaptism is not valid as fulfillment of the Apostolic Mandate to “repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38)”

Defending Our Position

An excerpt from Baptist Distinctives…

Ask most non-Baptists (and even some Baptists!) what is the Baptist distinctive and they likely will say, “Baptism of adults by immersion.” Of course, there is no one Baptist distinctive. Why then do many people regard baptism as practiced by Baptists to be our distinctive? A possible reason is that Baptists are one of the very few denominations that practice believer’s baptism by immersion and do so as a symbol of having been saved, not as a requirement for salvation. 

In previous centuries, rulers of both state and church launched persecutions against Baptists for this practice. In the face of such harsh resistance, as well as the inconvenience of immersion, why have Baptists stubbornly held to the belief in and practice of believer’s immersion? The answer is found in basic Baptist convictions. 

Baptism Is Only for Believers

The New Testament records that baptism always followed conversion, never preceded it, and were not necessary for salvation (Acts 2:1-41; 8:36-39; 16:30-33). Since Baptists look to the Bible as our sole authority for faith and practice, we believe that baptism is only for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

Furthermore, Baptists point out that in the New Testament a commitment to believe in and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior was always voluntary. Therefore, baptism as a sign of such commitment ought always to be voluntary. 

Because of these convictions based on the Bible, Baptists do not baptize infants. This refusal has resulted in persecution. For example, Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard University, was forced not only from his office but banished from Cambridge for refusing to have his infant children baptized in the state-supported church.

Baptism Is Only by Immersion

Although some early Baptists baptized by pouring or sprinkling water over a person, Baptists concluded that immersion of a person’s entire body in water was the only biblical way to baptize. Therefore, in spite of persecution, inconvenience and ridicule, they began to practice baptism only by immersion. Today, that is the Baptist way throughout most of the world.

The belief in immersion as the proper mode of baptism is based on the Bible for several reasons:

  • The English word “baptize” comes from a word in the Greek language—the language in which the New Testament originally was written—that means “to dip, submerge, or immerse.”
  • John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River by immersion as Jesus began his public ministry (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11).
  • Christ’s disciples in New Testament times baptized by immersion (Acts 8:36-39).
  • Immersion is a means not only of declaring that Christ died, was buried and was resurrected to provide salvation but also of testifying about our own hope of resurrection (Romans 6:5).
  • The New Testament teaches that immersion is a way to symbolize that a believer has died to an old way and is alive to walk a new way in Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:11-12).

Baptism Is Symbolic

Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that baptism is important but not necessary for salvation. For example, the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43), Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-18) and the people gathered in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:24-48) all experienced salvation without the necessity of baptism. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter urged those who had repented and believed in Christ to be baptized, not that baptism was necessary for salvation but as a testimony that they had been saved (Acts 2:1-41).

Thus, baptism is symbolic and not sacramental. Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that baptism symbolizes that a person has been saved and is not a means of salvation. Baptism is not a means of channeling saving grace but rather is a way of testifying that saving grace has been experienced. It does not wash away sin but symbolizes the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ. 

While baptism is not essential for salvation, it is a very important requirement for obedience to the Lord. Christ commanded his disciples to baptize (Matthew 28:19) and therefore baptism is a form of obedience to Jesus as Lord. Baptism is one way that a person declares, “Jesus is Lord.”

What is Believer’s Baptism?

What is believer’s baptism? Does it have a purpose, since salvation is “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8,9)?

Water baptism is obviously a picture of something, which has already taken place in the heart of the believer the moment he/she was justified (1 Pet. 3:21). Water baptism is the ordinance by which the repentant believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You are “crucified” (standing upright in water), you are “buried” (immersed into the water), and you are “resurrected into life” (raised out of the water). Water baptism then, is a picture of spiritual baptism as defined in Romans 6:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. It is the outward testimony of the believer’s inward faith. A sinner is saved the moment he places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and yields to His Lordship in obedience. Baptism is the first visible testimony to that believer being set apart from his sin and set apart to Christ and His glory.

There is a scriptural basis for Believer’s Baptism. It pictures or proclaims four important things:

  • Believer’s Baptism provides the picture of the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
  • Believer’s Baptism it the picture the death of our old life to sin, and our resurrection to walk in newness of life. “As Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
  • Believer’s Baptism proclaims our faith in the Trinity of the Godhead. “Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19
  • Believer’s Baptism pictures our “putting on” of Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26,27

So then, Believer’s Baptism is a picture of what transpired when you placed your faith and trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save you from your sins (Romans 6:3-5). It does not atone for sin, as it cannot; only the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin (I John 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

Who may be baptized?

Now, let’s look at who may be baptized. The Bible makes it clear that scriptural baptism is Believer’s Baptism.

  • In Acts 2:41 we observe that they received the word, AND THEN they were baptized.
  • In Acts 8:12,36,37 we find that they believed, AND THEN they were baptized.
  • In Acts 10:43,44,47, it is plain to see that those who believed received the Holy Ghost, and THEN they were baptized. (Lost people do not receive the Holy Ghost).

When the Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved….” (Acts 16:30-34). Paul did not tell him to be baptized to be saved. His baptism came AFTER his believing, which, again, portrays the scriptural standard.

Who then may/should be baptized? According to the established Bible pattern, only those who have repented and yielded to the Lordship of Christ. Water baptism is NOT salvation, but obedience to a command by God concerning discipleship.

When and where should baptism be done?

When is the believer to be baptized? The Bible teaches that water baptism follows shortly after spiritual baptism (the new birth). Notice the example of Paul (Acts 9:18), Cornelius (Acts 10:43-48), and the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:33).

You were placed into the body of Christ by spiritual baptism at the moment you were saved (Galatians 3:26-27). Now you follow the miracle of spiritual baptism with physical immersion into water, according to Acts 8:38; 10:47; 16:33. As to where a believer is to be baptized, the obvious answer is in the presence of other believers, the local church. The Lord Jesus Christ gave the local church the ordinance of water baptism (Matthew 28:18-20). An ordinance is a ceremony appointed by Christ to be administered in the local church as a visible type of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

How is baptism practiced

HOW is a believer to be baptized? Immersion in water is the only scriptural method of baptism.

  • In Matthew 3:13-16 and in Mark 1:9-10 we find that John the Baptist needed “much water” for baptism.
  • In Acts 8:38-39 we are taught baptism by immersion.
  • In Romans 6:3-6 we see that baptism must fulfill three pictures: death, burial and resurrection. It is also referred to as being “planted”, and being raised. It is not difficult to see that the only mode of baptism, which fulfills all these pictures, is the immersion of the believer in water. Furthermore, scriptural expressions such as “much water” (John 3:23), and “down both into the water” (Acts 8:38) are very conclusive evidence that water baptism is by immersion.

Why be baptized?

Obedience; Spiritual baptism is the Christian’s identification with Christ (Colossians 2:12). This is why we should submit to water baptism.

Romans 6:3-5 teaches us that it is literally a picture of your death, burial and resurrection with Christ. It is your first act of obedience to God after salvation. WHY be baptized? Consider the following:

  • Believer’s Baptism pleases the Lord. When Jesus was baptized, God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When n we follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ we certainly please the Father.
  • Scriptural baptism is a testimony to the world. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Our baptism is a public testimony o f our faith in the Lord Jesus: Christ, and the way in which we identify ourselves with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

We understand and believe that baptism is not a “sacrament” that imparts saving grace, but an ordinance. We are not saved by baptism, but by faith in Jesus Christ and His blood…”cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Baptism is the outward symbol of what has already transpired in the heart of the one who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for full salvation.

2nd Ordinance: the Lord’s Table (Holy Communion)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements –bread and the fruit of the vine– is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26, and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26, and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

Let us focus on the teaching of the London Baptist Confession for a few moments:

  1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-261 Corinthians 10:161721)

There is no set mandate upon the Church as to how often we come to the Lord’s Table that is found in Scripture and neither do we enjoin the church to a particular timetable. It is to the Elders to decide if weekly, monthly, etc. All believers are entitled to partake upon their conversion and, having professed faith, are encouraged to receive Holy Communion from the Elders in full view and fellowship with the Household of the Faithful during corporate worship.

  1. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. ( Hebrews 9:2526281 Corinthians 11:24Matthew 26:2627)
  2. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )
  3. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ. ( Matthew 26:26-28Matthew 15:9Exodus 20:45)

 

  1. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. ( 1 Corinthians 11:271 Corinthians 11:26-28)
  2. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. ( Acts 3:21Luke 24:6391 Corinthians 11:2425)
  3. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:161 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  4. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. ( 2 Corinthians 6:14151 Corinthians 11:29Matthew 7:6)

How should Holy Communion be administered and by whom?

Before we go any further, it is needful to remind that Holy Communion is a closed ceremony, meaning it should only be offered during the Corporate Worship and to a believer that has submitted to Believers Baptism. Many of my Southern Baptist Brethren will disagree with this. However, the command to be baptized is scriptural and disobedience to this command necessarily disqualifies from the observance of Communion.

It is appointed to ministers to bless the elements and to distribute among the faithful. Both offices, the Elders and the Deacons should be present in the service. Otherwise there is no set formula apart from scripture. The bread is to be blessed, broken, and eaten. Following this, the cup is to be blessed and drank.