The Soil of Honor

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on November 13, AD 2022.

We are beginning to enter the holiday season, with Thanksgiving just a couple weeks away and then Christmas a month after that. And with the joys and excitement of the holidays can also come, for some of you, various challenges with family – especially with parents or in-laws.

So this morning I want you to consider your upcoming family gatherings not as challenges to overcome, but opportunities from the hand of the Lord. They are opportunities to obey God when He commands us to “honor thy father and mother.”

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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. 

Love One Another

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on November 6, AD 2022.

One mark of God’s saving work in our lives is our love for His people, our care for one another in this church. 

We see this teaching in John 13, where Jesus says that all people will know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another (13:35). The Apostle John then picks up this focus on love again in his own letters, writing that “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1 Jn. 3:14). 

There is a tradition regarding John which says that when he was extremely old in age and living in Ephesus, the men in the church had to carry him into the gatherings. At this point he could barely speak, but each gathering he managed to say these words — “Little children, love one another.” The repetition of this simple command eventually annoyed some in the church, and so they asked him, “Teacher, why do you always say this?” And he replied with a line worthy of John: “Because it is the Lord’s commandment and if it alone is kept, it is sufficient.”

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Jesus Makes Us Strong

This communion meditation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on November 6, AD 2022.

In our church baptized children are welcome to the Lord’s Table. This practice, known as child communion or paedocommunion, is a minority view in the Reformed church. We recognize this, and yet we are humbly convinced by Scripture that this is a biblical, consistent, and appropriate practice. 

One of the various reasons behind this practice is what we see when looking at the place of children during covenant meals in the Old Testament. 

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Worth Dying For

This communion meditation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on October 30, A.D. 2022.

One central debate during the Reformation was regarding the Lord’s Supper. And this debate was more than a theological food fight. For some men, their disputations ended in their deaths. 

Two of these men were the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. You may recall the famous story of how the elderly Latimer turned to his colleague before the flames and said, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

But did you know that the three charges against these men were all about their teachings on this sacrament before us now? That if they simply recanted their views on this Table, they could have spared their own lives? 

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Another Reformation

This exhortation was given to King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on October 30, A.D. 2022.

Today is Reformation Sunday, with tomorrow being the 505th anniversary of Luther publishing his 95 Theses which sparked the Reformation. So this morning I want you to consider this: Do you have the faith to see another Reformation in our day? 

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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.

Confidence in Nothing but Christ

“Let this, then, teach us not to have confidence in any outward thing whatsoever without Christ. You are baptized; it is well: so was Simon Magus (Acts 8:13). It is ‘not the putting away of the filth of the body’ that saves the Lord’s Table; it is well, so no doubt, did Judas. He who eats and drinks worthily is made one with Christ, and Christ with him. But ‘he that eats and drinks unworthily, eat and drinks his own damnation’ (1 Cor. 11:29). You are born of holy and godly parents; it is well: so were Ishmael and Esau. ‘They which are the children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed’ (Rom. 9:8). You are of a holy profession; it is well, so was Demas. Holiness of profession does not commend to God, but a heart purified by faith which works through love. You distribute to the poor and do many good things; it is well, so did the Pharisees, and the young man in the Gospel (Mt. 19:20). ‘Though I feed the poor with all my goods, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing’ (1 Cor. 13:3). In a word, there is nothing under heaven without Christ that does profit us, so that we should rejoice or have confidence in it.” —Henry Airay, Lectures on Philippians

Parish Life & Christian Education

Community

In an ideal church, there would be vibrant life and community in the “parish.” By this we mean that fellow church members would see each other during the week as they fulfill their vocations in life. Of course, the extent of this connectedness is somewhat tied to the size of your city, the distance members travel to the church building, and so on. But even in larger cities, strategies can be used to establish true parish life, such as intentional community or “parish” groups, shared Christian education, and so on.

Much of what goes on in the parish is not led or organized by church leadership. The pastor and elders are not to be making business decisions for the mechanic in their church or telling people where to shop. The church does have an indirect influence on parish life though, through Word and sacrament, teaching and discipleship. But parish life itself is an organic outworking of the church community, a community that is indeed tied together by Lord’s Day worship. As Pastor Douglas Wilson has written, “The church is not the parish, and the parish is not the church. At the same time, the church thrives at the center of the parish, informing and discipling those who live their lives in the parish…”[1]

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