The Lord’s Supper

“There is no forgiveness in the Roman Catholic church”.

“The Mass is an accursed idolatry”

Proof!

Heidelberg Catechism, LD 29-30a

  1.   Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
    A.  Not at all; but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; so the bread in the Lord’s Supper is not changed into the very body of Christ, though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ Jesus.
  2.    Why then doth Christ call the bread His body, and the cup His blood, or the new covenant in His blood; and Paul, the “communion of the body and blood of Christ”? A.  Christ speaks thus not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so His crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us that we are as really partakers of His true body and blood (by the operation of the Holy Ghost) as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of Him; and that all His sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.
  3.  What difference is there between the Lord’s Supper and the popish mass? A.  The Lord’s Supper testifies to us that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which He Himself has once accomplished on the cross;and that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, who according to His human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven at the right hand of God His Father, and will there be worshiped by us—but the mass teaches that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshiped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry.

Full message by Rev. Martyn McGeown, Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Message

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Ezekiel’s Temple (1)

” Here is a temple in this vision, and the greatest part of it is taken up in the description of it. It remains that this must be understood mystically and figuratively of the Gospel church, which is often spoken of as a city and temple (Heb.12:22, Rev. 3:12) and which began to have its accomplishment in the first times of the Gospel, immediately after the death and resurrection of Christ; ” So says John Gill. I would agree this fits with the New Jerusalem, his bride which is God’s dwelling place eternally composed of all his people (Rev. 21:2) but gathered from time immemorial till the last day. The detail in which the structure is described mirrors the care and precision God, through Christ uses in building his church (Matthew 16:18, I Cor.3:9, Eph. 2:21,22). With any building you need exact measurements, Christ is the cornerstone and the foundation is the apostles and prophets, pastor/teachers also build and the cherubims and palm trees adorning it represent heaven and earth now united in the new heavens and earth where God dwells for ever. Only God’s holy, justified, believing people gain admission.

As Ezekiel received it.

As the apostle John saw it.

Covenant Baptism

 

So you call yourself a Reformed Baptist! Well you are a Baptist but not Reformed: hear Heidelberg Catechism Q. 74.  Are infants also to be baptized?
A.  Yes; for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; and since redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church, and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant.

 

The proof for the baptism of NT believer’s children is overwhelming from Genesis to Revelation. Take the Psalms. Look at the promises of Psalms 18:50, 25:13, 37:26, 89:4,29,36, 102:28, 112:2. In all instances the seed of believers are blessed, endure forever or inherit so they must be believing!

When we come to the New Testament just a few verses from Acts and the epistles underline and bolster our doctrine, they can be classed like this: the elect children of believers (seed of the covenant) have:

1. The Promise of salvation (Acts 2:38) as in Gen.17:7.

2. Are addressed as church members (Eph. 6:4, Col.3:20) AND need to be fed (John 21:15).

3. Ought to have the covenant sign as they did in O.T. (because circumcision and baptism mean exactly the same namely are signs of true circumcision of the heart/spiritual baptism).

4. Family baptism was the norm ( Household of Stephanus, Lydia, Philippian jailer).

5. The signs of circumcision and water baptism are seals of the reality sealed by circumcision of the heart and Spirit baptism namely washing away of sin, imputed righteousness, regeneration (Rom.4:11, Eph.1:13, 4:30). Eph.4:4-6 speaks of one body (OT plus NT saints), ONE BAPTISM (not to be repeated). The real circumcision (Phil.3:3) are spiritual worshippers of all ages who are spiritually circumcised and hence should be physically baptised. Both circumcision and baptism are:

  • Initiation into God’s covenant people.
  • Washing away of sin.
  • Death to sin and justification.

Furthermore we see the generational principle promised in I Tim.1:5 and Timothy himself as a little child (Gr: BREPHOS, same as Matthew 18:6) knew the OT scriptures!

Another Reformed creed (The Belgic Confession) states: “therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, whom we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised, upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed his blood no less for the washing of the children of the faithful, than for adult persons; and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that, which Christ hath done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law, that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ’s suffering and death, shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, that baptism is for our children. And for this reason Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ. ”

If this does not convince you, you are an Anabaptist who has not studied the Scriptures properly!

Israel

Are Christians correct in thinking the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 is prophecy fulfilled?

Who are Biblical Israel?

Has the church replaced Israel?

Where is the real Jerusalem?

This study will help you get the answers:

REFORMED FREE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION

The Bible and Israel (7)

BLOG POST | August 31, 2018

 

Our last blog post on this subject was May 25, 2018. We have proven from scripture that the New Testament church is the fulfilment of—not the replacement for—Israel. One final chapter requires out attention: it is the greatest chapter in the New Testament dealing with God’s purposes with Israel in the New Testament age, Romans 11. Since Romans 9–11 constitute a unit in the epistle, we summarize the contents of those three chapters of God’s word to demonstrate yet again that the Bible promises salvation only to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Chapters 9–11 then begin a new section of the epistle in which Paul focuses on God’s sovereign purposes with the Jews and Gentiles.

In Romans 9:1–3 Paul expresses his sorrow at the perishing of so many of his countrymen who are his “kinsmen according to the flesh” (9:3). He lists their many advantages (adoption, glory, covenants, law, service, promises, etc.), chief among which is that Christ was born of them, who is God blessed, forever (9:5).

This leads to a possible objection: if God promised salvation to the Jews, has his promise failed? Is it “of none effect”? Paul answers in the negative—”Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect” (9:6). Paul explains this by means of a very important principle: not all physical descendants of Abraham are true Jews; not all who are outwardly “of Israel” are truly “Israel.” The apostle demonstrates this point by appealing first to Isaac and Ishmael, and second to Jacob and Esau. The difference, says Paul, is in God’s sovereign election. Not only did God elect the nation of Israel, but he also elected within the nation certain individuals.

Paul answers an objection in 9:14: “Is there unrighteousness with God?” After vehemently rejecting the inference with “God forbid,” Paul proves the sovereignty of God in showing mercy to some (9:15) and in hardening others (9:18), illustrating his doctrine with an appeal to Moses and to Pharaoh. A second objection arises in 9:19: “Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?” Paul cuts off the objector by reminding him of his place before God as a creature before the Creator (9:20). Paul illustrates the absolute sovereignty of God with the potter and his clay. The potter owns the clay and has power (authority) over the clay. Out of “one lump” (humanity) the potter makes some vessels (vessels of mercy) unto honor, while he makes other vessels (vessels of wrath) unto dishonor. Some vessels are prepared for glory, while others are fitted to destruction. The potter (God) does this because he “is willing to show his wrath and to make his power known” (9:22) and so that he “might make known the riches of his glory” (9:23). To accomplish this twofold purpose of magnifying his wrath and mercy, God endures the reprobate in longsuffering toward the elect (9:22–23).

This is not abstract, because Paul immediately applies it to the reader: “even us, whom he hath called” (9:24), appealing to Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 as proof that the calling of the Gentiles was prophesied in the Old Testament (9:25–26). Peter cites the same passage for the same purpose in 1 Peter 2:10. After quoting some texts from Isaiah as proof that God saves a remnant, Paul concludes that Israel has not attained to righteousness because she sought it “as it were by the works of the law” (9:32). The Gentiles, who did not seek righteousness, have obtained righteousness, “the righteousness which is of faith” (9:30). This was Israel’s fatal stumbling, as they tripped over Christ and perished, as God purposed and as the scriptures foretold (9:32–33; see also 1 Peter 2:6–8).

Paul begins chapter 9 expressing his heartfelt sorrow over Israel’s perishing (9:1–5). He begins chapter 10 in a similar fashion, by expressing his desire for Israel’s salvation (10:1). However, Paul does not excuse Israel for her sin of stumbling at Christ. She has not submitted to God’s righteousness and by seeking salvation in works has missed the goal of the law, which is Christ (10:3–4). This is all the more inexcusable because Moses made it clear that righteousness was not found in the law (10:5). To seek righteousness in the law is, says Paul, to deny the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, for “it is to bring up Christ again from the dead” or “to bring Christ down from above” (10:6–7). Righteousness then is found only in Christ, and it is through faith in Christ and confession of his name that believers are saved (10:9–10). Paul then explains the necessity of preaching.

If salvation is found only in calling upon the name of the Lord (10:13; Joel 2:32), then a series of questions must be asked. How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him of whom (or whom) they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach, except they are sent? (10:14–15). Thus, Paul sets forth the necessity of preaching for the salvation of the elect. The rest of chapter 10 deals with the unbelieving response of Israel to the preaching: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel? Have they not heard? Did not Israel know?” (10:16–19). Israel did hear and know, but Israel refused (“a disobedient and gainsaying [contradictory] people”) (10:21) and God even prophesied his turning to the Gentiles: “I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you” (10:19). This is just judgment upon Israel and it is good news for the Gentiles.

In chapter 11 Paul addresses an objection: if the nation of Israel has been rejected with the result that God also saves the Gentiles in one church, has God cast away his people? Chapter 11 is pivotal to understanding God’s purposes with the Jews in the New Testament age. Both premillennial dispensationalism and postmillennialism appeal to this chapter in defense of their doctrine of a future, national conversion of Israel. Although the chapter does not teach that, it does teach that God has promised to save ethnic Israelites in every age of New Testament history until the return of Christ. That promise is quite remarkable because it pertains to no other nation: God does not save Irishmen, Germans, Filipinos, or Americans in every age. While many of the proud nations of the Old Testament (the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, etc.) have ceased to exist and (very likely) New Testament nations will cease to exist, God has preserved a remnant of ethnic Jews in the world. This does not mean that God will save all or even all ethnic Israelites, but he will save a remnant in every age, a remnant “according to the election of grace” (11:5) until the fullness of Israel is brought in, so that “all Israel shall be saved” (11:25).

However, he will save ethnic Jews in exactly the same way in which he saves ethnic Gentiles—by faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul answers the initial objection (“Hath God cast away his people?”) with a firm “God forbid” (11:1), illustrating the faithfulness of God’s promises to his foreknown people in his own (Paul’s) case (“I also am an Israelite”) and in the case of the remnant preserved in Elijah’s day (11:4; I Kings 19), and concluding that “at this present time also there is a remnant [of ethnic Israelites] according to the election of grace” (11:5). Gracious election and righteous reprobation operate in Israel as well as in other nations. Thus even within Israel, “the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (or hardened) (11:7). Paul proves that God hardens some (even the majority of) Israelites from Psalm 69, which Psalm even teaches the fearful truth that God hardens the reprobate by means of their earthly prosperity (“Let their table be made a snare,” etc.).

This leads to another objection concerning God’s hardening of the reprobate: “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” (11:11). Paul’s answer is “God forbid,” for God’s purpose in reprobation is much greater than merely the damnation of the wicked. In inscrutable wisdom and awesome power, God ordains the hardening of the [reprobate] Jews for the salvation of the [elect] Gentiles.

…to be continued

This post was written by Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland stationed in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. 

Other articles:

The Bible and Israel (1)

The Bible and Israel (2)

The Bible and Israel (3)

The Bible and Israel (4)

The Bible and Israel (5)

The Bible and Israel (6)

 

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Peter, the Papacy, and the Keys of the Kingdom

New LRF Blog Post

Rev. Martyn McGeown


Peter, the Papacy, and the Keys of the Kingdom

Posted: 18 Aug 2018 04:40 AM PDT

On the occasion of the visit of pope Francis to Ireland, it is time to re-examine papal claims. The pope claims that he alone is the true successor of Peter, prince of the apostles, and the head of the church, gifted with supreme authority to define, with the gift of infallibility, matters of faith and morals.

Did Jesus not say to Peter: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18)? He did, but He did not mean, “You are Peter and upon YOU I will build my church.” He meant, “You are Peter (a little stone) and upon this rock (your confession that I am the Christ) I will build my church.” Peter is too weak a foundation on which to build the church. Peter himself writes later about Jesus Christ that he is “chief cornerstone” and that “he that believeth on him (Jesus) shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6).

Moreover, there is no evidence in the New Testament that Peter is the prince of the apostles. Although he is usually named first in the list, he is not accorded special titles or privileges: in Galatians 2:9 he is named with James and John as one of those who “seemed to be pillars” in Jerusalem; in 1 Peter 5:1 he calls himself “also an elder” and warns against being “lords over God’s heritage” (v. 3); he did not even preside at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15; and he is not even mentioned in Paul’s epistle to the Romans despite the papal claim that he was the bishop of Rome! Moreover, Paul  boldly “withstood [Peter] to his face” for the sake of the integrity of the gospel in Galatians 2:11.

But what about the keys of the kingdom—did Jesus not give them to Peter in Matthew 16:19? He did, and he repeats it in Matthew 18:18, where he gives the keys of the kingdom to the other disciples, and to the whole church. But those keys do not give Peter—or the pope, or any bishop or priest—the power to forgive sins, or to admit people to or exclude people from heaven. Jesus retains those keys in Revelation 1:18 and 3:7. The keys of the kingdom are declarative, that is, when the gospel is preached (by Peter or by another faithful preacher), God declares that believers in Christ are forgiven and saved (the kingdom is opened to believers) and God declares that unbelievers are not forgiven, but condemned (the kingdom is closed against unbelievers).

Besides this, the idea that Pope Francis is the successor of Peter is indefensible, biblically, theologically, and historically.

Read through the book of the Acts of the Apostles and you will see Peter and the other apostles using the keys—by preaching the Word of God. Nowhere does Peter determine for himself who is saved and who is lost. Nowhere does Peter himself forgive sins. The keys of the kingdom are used, therefore, not where popes sit, but where the Bible is open, explained, and applied by a man sent by Jesus Christ through the church institute. Sadly, the keys of the kingdom are rusty in many churches: there is little to no preaching, but a few minutes of cute stories and moral platitudes. Are you hearing the gospel in the church where you attend? We invite you to hear the gospel in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Psalm 133

I’ve often wondered why Christian love and unity was compared with Aaron’s anointing or the dew of Hermon. Here are my insights plus that of the great commentator John Gill.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Psalm 133.

Christian love from our anointing is a public demonstration (John 13:34,35) and personal reassurance of one’s calling (I John 2:27). In Christ we are all anointed as prophets, priests and kings so as to minister to each other. Christian fellowship, like the oil, is precious and refreshing like the dew to invigorate.

“David means the superior aperture of the garment, that which we call the neck or collar band; This anointing oil was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members (I John 2:27); to every one of which is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; and who from his fullness receive, and grace for grace: and particularly brotherly love is compared to this ointment; because of the preciousness of it, which is true of every grace; and because of the extensiveness of it, reaching to head and members, to Christ and all his saints, the meanest and lowest of them; and because of its fragrancy and sweet odour to all that are sensible of it; and because of its delightful, cheering, and refreshing nature; like ointment and perfume it rejoices the heart; yea, the worst things said, or reproofs given, in brotherly love, are like oil, pleasant and useful, ( Proverbs 27:9 ) ( Psalms 141:5) ; and is as necessary for the saints, who are all priests unto God, to offer up their spiritual sacrifices; particularly that of prayer, which should be “without wrath”, as well as without doubting; and to do all other duties of religion, which should spring from charity or love; as the anointing oil was to Aaron and his sons, in order to their officiating in the priest’s office.” John Gill

What is the Regulative Principle?

“The fact that men seek to worship God according to their own tastes, reveals the lust and excessive pride which has always been part of human nature. Such worship flies in the face of Holy Scripture.” – John Calvin, Sermon on Galatians 3:15-18

The Regulative Principle of worship states that only what God commands is done in worship, no more, no less.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s day 35

Q. 96. What doth God require in the second commandment?
A. That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way
than He has commanded in His Word.

Reading of Scripture, preaching of the truth, singing of psalms, congregational prayer, offering, doxology (baptism/Lord’s Supper)

Full article

How does your church measure up?

Here We Stand.

Book Review “Here We Stand”, Commemoration of 500th anniversary of the Reformation, edited by Ron Cammenga, RFPA 2018, 197 pages, softback.

 

Just another book on the Reformation or so I thought! My initial wrong attitude was swiftly replaced by appreciation as I got into the book. What I particularly liked about it was that it majors on the main effects of this great work of God’s Spirit half a millennium ago. In fact the chapters outline the vitally important changes that occurred in this period of the history of the church. First there was the struggle for assurance and justification by faith, then the return to Scripture alone as the sole authority, then there was the priesthood of all believers, the recovery of right worship and the regulative principle, the refutation and exposure of the errors of the radicals and finally the vital importance of the Reformed confessions in the establishment of Reformed churches all over Europe but especially in the Netherlands.

There were other very important truths developed e.g. scripture interprets scripture, the Spirit and word are never separated, the doctrine of the covenant, the importance of membership in a true church. If I have one criticism it is that at least one of the  contributors mentions little of the politics of the time and the armed struggle that was undertaken  by many in the churches that had a significant bearing on the Reformation and the establishment of the Netherlands as a nation but then again perhaps that would have been majoring on a minor! The Reformation was primarily a spiritual battle and victory not a political one! I highly recommend this book as a succinct account of this marvellous period in church history.

Dr Julian Kennedy, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.