Church Blog

From Today’s Bible Reading. Wednesday, Nov. 18

Acts 27:35 (ESV): And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.

These words are not the ones spoken by Jesus at the institution or the last supper, as much as they sound like it. They are supposed to sound like it.

This is how Acts describes the table that the Apostle Paul set for a ship full of sailers and prisoners in the middle of a storm just before the ship was about to wreck and they all had to swim to shore or die. Do you need to read that again?

Here is a very significant principe in the world God has made and, especially, in the church that God has called to assemble.

First, God created a world in which His creatures gather for worship every seven days. The 1689 Confession reads this way:

It is the law of nature that in general a portion of time specified by God should be set apart for the worship of God. So by his Word, in a positive moral and perpetual commandment that obligate everyone in every age, He is especially appointed one day and seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy to Him. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ the appointed day was the last day of the week. After the resurrection of Christ it was changed to the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s Day. This day is to be kept to the end of the age of the Christian Sabbath, since the observation of the last day of the week has been abolished.

And so, we gather to be fed with the Word and the Table, every week, as often as we come together. Then this heart, this thanksgiving, lives at our tables every time we sit to eat our daily bread from the hand of the Lord. The stability, the formation that happens there in this repeated practice will ground your faith and your family when everything else is going crazy. At the risk of being too cheesy, even in the midst of a storm.

So, come to the Table of the Lord. Get to that Table. Fight, scratch and kick to get to the Table where Christ nourishes your faith with the ordinance of bread and wine. And, set your table, giving thanks, no matter what else is happening, even storm and the threat of death. Set your table. Do it again. Do that for 100 years.

From Today’s Bible Reading. Tuesday, Nov. 17

Acts 22:25 (ESV): “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”

In this passage, the Apostle Paul calls on the legal authorities to do what is right in the sight of God and in the sight of the law.

Why can Paul make this appeal? According to protestant political theology, we understand that God has appointed rulers to exercise just law on behalf of the people. That means that they are accountable to God, the law, and the people.

Let me remind you of the spheres of authority that God has designated. We know these according to whom God has given clear and designated the commands.

First, God has given the home as the ministry of education, health and welfare. God has given the rod as a tool for discipline in this task.

Second, the church is the ministry of Word and ordinance (or sacrament). God has given the keys as a tool to include or exclude from the fellowship of the Word and table.

Third, the state is the ministry of justice. God has given the sword as a means of exercising just punishment.

Some want to add a fourth, that is really first, the responsibility of self-government to which conscience is the tool that aids us. Without proper self-government, none of the others will be effective.

Each sphere is accountable, as we have said, to God, the law (to do what they are commanded and not usurp another’s jurisdiction) and to the people they are given to serve.

Paul can confidently call on this right because it is true and given by God, even when Caesar fails to recognize it.

This is a good time to remember our theology. As Samuel Rutherford has said, “Truth to Christ cannot be treason to Caesar.” Tell the truth today. Live in truth today.

From today’s Bible reading. Monday, Nov. 16

From today’s reading:

Acts 20:27 (ESV): I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

This is the apostle Paul testifying to his own faithfulness to the church in Ephesus as he looked back at his ministry among them.

We have here a simple description of the ministry of the local church: teach the whole counsel of God, from beginning to end; from Genesis to Revelation; from garden to garden city; from one tree of life to the other; from creation to new creation; from the new earth to the new heavens and new earth.

The task of the church is to teach it and the task of the congregation is to learn it. That will take work, it may take years, but it is the Word of God that builds the church and the church that builds a culture.

How’s your reading going?