Friday, March 24, 2006

an overview of The Lord's supper

An overview of The Lord's Supper - Charles Hodge

In the Lord's Supper we are said to receive Christ and the benefits of His redemption to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. As our natural food imparts life and strength to our bodies, so this sacrament is one of the divinely appointed means to strengthen the principle of life in the soul of the believer and to confirm his faith in the promises of the gospel. By partaking of the bread and wine, the symbols of Christ's body and blood given for us, we are united to Him as our head, our life. He then works in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. He works in us according to the laws of our nature in the production of everything that is good, so that it is from Him that all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works proceed. It is not, therefore, we that live, but Christ that liveth in us.

What our Lord said to the apostles He says in the most impressive manner in this ordinance to every believing communicant: "This is my body, broken for you... this is my blood shed for you." These words when received by faith fill the heart with joy, confidence, gratitude, love, and devotion, so that the believer rises from the Lord's table refreshed by the infusion of a new life.

The efficacy of this sacrament, according to the Reformed doctrine, is not to be referred to any virtue in the ordinance itself, whether in its elements or actions; much less to any virtue in the administrator; nor to the mere power of the truths which it signifies; nor to the inherent divine power in the word or promise by which it is attended; nor to the real presence of the material body and blood of Christ (i.e., of the body born of the Virgin), whether by the way of transubstatination, consubstantiaition. or impanation; but only to the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that receive the sacrament of His body and blood.

To summarize the Reformed position: The Lord's Supper is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ as a memorial of His death wherein, under the symbols of bread and wine, His body as broken and His blood as shed for the remission of sins are signified and, by the power of the Holy Ghost. sealed and applied to believers. Thereby their union with Christ and their mutual fellowship are set forth and confirmed, their faith strengthened, and their souls nourished unto eternal life.

In this sacrament Christ is present not bodily, but spiritually - not in the sense of local nearness, but of efficacious operation. His people receive Him not with the mouth, but by faith; they do not receive His flesh and blood as material particles, but His body as broken and His blood as shed. The union thus signified and effected is not a corporeal union, not a mixture of substances, but a spiritual and mystical union due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The efficacy of this sacrament as a means of grace is not in the signs, nor in the service, nor in the minister, nor in the word, but in the attending influence of the Holy Ghost.

Monday, March 20, 2006

songs, hymns and spiritual songs


Even when we turned our backs on You,
In wickedness and lies suppressed the truth.
Even then You showed Your love for us,
Giving up Your life upon a cross.

Jesus, thank You for the cross,
For the blood that sets us free.
The crimson stain of all our sin,
Washed away in Your mercy.

Enemies of God with no excuse,
Knowing what was right we turned from You.
Given up to sin, condemned to die,
Even when You chose to give us life.

Jesus, thank You for the cross,
For the blood that sets us free.
The crimson stain of all our sin,
Washed away in Your mercy.

Every one of us deserves to die,
But You save all who hope in Your great love.


I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me.
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that Judgment tree.

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death.
My only Savior before the Holy Judge.
The Lamb who is my righteousness,
The Lamb who is my righteousness.

I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns.
I have no longings for another
I'm satisfied in Him alone.

I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place.
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me;
My feet are firm, held by His grace.
My feet are firm, held by His grace.

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on eagle's wings.
He crowns my life with loving kindness
His triumph song I'll ever sing.

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me it will be paradise,
His face forever to behold,
His face forever to behold.

Monday, March 13, 2006


"Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion - without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person's humanity and imitate God's love for him. And when one knows that God's love is greater than all sin, one is free to see onself in the light of God's justice and so rediscover one's own sinfulness."
-Miroslav Volf

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.
-William Blake

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness.
- John Bunyan

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

with a little help from my friends

"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." - Prov 11:14 esv

Here's a great piece of advice about making decisions in life:

Faith Versus Presumption

So she said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Genesis 16:2

Presumption is based on our own reasoning. Abraham and Sarah fell into presumption when they got too old to have children. God had promised a son to Abraham and Sarah-a son who would fulfill His promise to birth a nation. But Abraham and Sarah were past the normal age for childbearing. So, they concluded that God needed help to work out His plan.

Many businesspeople make the same mistake every day. We make assumptions about what we believe God is doing and wants us to do. However, before we really have full assurance that God has spoken to us on the matter and revealed His perfect action plan, we move forward with our steps to get it done. How do we protect ourselves from presumption? The Proverbs tell us that there is safety in a multitude of counselors (see Prov. 11:14 KJV). Submitting our decisions to others for confirmation protects each of us from the deceit of our own heart. This process will protect us from presumption and encourage us to move in faith. The next time you believe God is directing you toward a specific action, consult with your spouse first, then some close, spiritual friends who will take the time to prayerfully consider your request. If you don't have consensus, wait until you do before you move forward. God will move through this process to His desired will for the matter.
- Os Hillman

Monday, March 06, 2006

the earnest of our inheritance

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. - Ephesians 1:13,14

This passage realy excited me today. To think! Hearing and believing this good news, I appropriated the third person of the Trinity as a "guaranee" to my eternal inheritance. Let that sink in...

On a wider scale, people all over the globe are hearing and believing this same good news, thereby possessing this same wonderful guarantee as I. What a treasure and encouragement just a couple verses can be to one who is gripped by grace.

Here's part of what John Calvin says on this: "The metaphor is taken from bargains, in which, when a pledge has been given and accepted, the whole is confirmed, and no room is left for a change of mind. Thus, when we have received the Spirit of God, his promises are confirmed to us, and no dread is felt that they will be revoked. In themselves, indeed, the promises of God are not weak; but, until we are supported by the testimony of the Spirit, we never rest upon them with unshaken confidence. The Spirit, then, is the earnest of our inheritance of eternal life, until the redemption, that is, until the day of complete redemption is arrived. So long as we are in this world, our warfare is sustained by hope, and therefore this earnest is necessary; but when the possession itself shall have been obtained, the necessity and use of the earnest will then cease."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

faith's fountain

"Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God's grace in us. No man comes to Me," says Jesus, "except the Father who sent Me draws him. . .Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved "through faith," but salvation is 'by grace.'" - CHARLES SPURGEON