Category Archives: Sacraments

An Advent Eucharist

This sacrament which we are about to partake of together is a visible reminder of our Lord’s first Advent.

The true physicality of the incarnation is matched here by the physicality of this Supper. The eternal Son, begotten of the Father, truly became man.

You could behold Him with your eyes. You could reach out and touch Him with your hands. Just as you see and touch this bread and wine here today.

And this is sacrament is also a reminder of Christ’s second Advent. As the Apostle Paul says in the words of institution proclaimed each week, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

So here at this Table we look back at our Lord’s first Advent and His work on our behalf.

We look forward to His second Advent, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior. 

And we behold now our Lord, for He comes to us here in this moment in simple bread and wine.

So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.

Bound to God

This baptismal meditation was given at King’s Cross Church on November 6, AD 2022.

In this sacrament of baptism God covenantally binds Himself to us and we to Him. 

Here this morning God is claiming these children as His, marking them with the waters of baptism that are a sign and seal of the inner cleansing work of His Spirit. God is promising Himself to them, to be what He is already to their parents and siblings, a good and faithful Father. 

Likewise, upon baptism these children are now bound to God, to live in accordance with His Word, to walk in step with His Spirit, to maintain allegiance to Him and His kingdom all the days of their lives.

And the magnificent thing about these covenant obligations is that it is all of grace. For it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. And He promises never to depart. Amen. 

A Covenantal World

In God’s good design for this world, there is a covenantal relationship between parents and their children, in which the decisions of parents automatically affect the children.

Children, while individuals, are not merely individuals, but members of a family, a people, a nation, and so on. This is how we should see our world of relationships, for it is how God sees the world. 

As the Princeton theologian A.A. Hodge once wrote, “God has in all respects made the standing of a child depend upon that of the parent. The sin of the parent carries away the infant from God; likewise, so the faith of the parent brings the infant near to God.”

This is simply how it is. Even parents today who militate against this, who wickedly desire for their young children to somehow independently “choose their own identities,” are still teaching and applying their own ideologies to their children. It is inescapable. 

And so here this morning, we are baptizing our little brother James, acknowledging that we live in a covenantal world, and that by God’s grace he has been born into a Christian family. He is a Kramer, and by this baptism, he is received into the church as a Christian.

And so we pray that the faith of his parents, his family, and this church, will bring him nearer and nearer to God, all the days of his life. Amen.

One Lord, One Table

This meditation was given at Christ Church Downtown on Nov 7 AD 2021.

In my exhortation earlier I encouraged you all to remember that the church is indeed one.

Despite our many differences, we are united by a common faith in Christ, and we are all part of one Body which has Christ as its head.

And yet while our oneness is a fundamental attribute of the church that can never be denied, it is still something that we must continually strive for and maintain at the same time. To do this we must avoid unnecessary divisions and conflicts which strike at and strain our fellowship and unity.

And it is here at this table where we find a means of grace toward that end.

It is here in this sacrament called communion where we all partake together as one.

For this table is the Lord’s and this table is one. It stretches across the earth and across time, and at it sits the Lord and His Bride.

As we partake of this bread and wine week after week, the Father delights in continuing to answer Christ’s prayer—that all who believe in Him would be made one in His perfect love.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Child Communion

Much more controversial than the doctrine of paedobaptism today is the doctrine of paedocommunion, or child communion. While welcoming children to partake of the Lord’s Supper is a practice found in the ancient Church, today very few Presbyterian or Reformed churches allow it. However, there are good biblical reasons for allowing covenant children to join the rest of God’s people at His table. But because this practice was not re-established by the Reformers, is rejected in many Reformed denominations today, and would be out of line for someone who subscribes without exception to the Westminster Standards; we ought to be humble in our support of this practice and not schismatic. We must recognize that advocation for paedocommunion would be part of a commitment to semper reformanda, always reforming our life and doctrine. As Reformed Christians we do indeed believe that the work of the Reformation and the subsequent confessional doctrines are part of God’s work in maturing and refining His church. However, we do not believe that the Reformers had the opportunities or the need to address every doctrinal issue, nor were they infallible. Scripture alone must be our highest authority. So now let’s turn to four arguments for welcoming covenant children to partake of the Lord’s Supper.[1]

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Lord’s Supper

Having considered the sacrament of baptism, now let’s turn to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. As we have already noted, there are two parts of a sacrament: the outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace thereby signified (WLC 163). In the Lord’s Supper, the outward visible signs are bread and wine—consecrated, broken, poured, distributed, and received.[1] The inward spiritual grace signified is Christ crucified for us and all of His benefits for us—including union with Him, the indwelling of the Spirit, adoption by the Father, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and future glorification.[2]

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Baptism

Introduction

The first sacrament to consider is baptism, for through baptism men, women, and children enter into the church. Baptism is not only what admits an individual into the church, but is also “a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life” (WCF 28.1). In baptism, individuals are washed with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as was commanded and instituted by Christ in the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19).

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