Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Heidelberg 79-82 More details on Lord's Supper

16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)

Thoughts: Here the catechism shows a different appreciation of the Lord's Supper than the traditional catholic view. Just as the water in baptism isn't turned into blood signifying Christ's death to wash away sin, so the Lord's Supper is a real signifying event, but it is not the physical body and blood.  Christ says, "This is my body."  But "Is" can be representative and symbolic as well as indictin died.  So, if I point to a map and say, "This Is the United States."  It really isn't the country- but it symbolizes it.  All are welcome to the table.  In fact, the table is a reminder that none of us are worthy and all of us stand in need of forgiveness.  But those who refuse to repent or who are proudful hypocirisy.  

Q & A 78
Q. Do the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ?
A. No. Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ’s blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply a divine sign and assurance1 of these things, so too the holy bread of the Lord’s Supper does not become the actual body of Christ,even though it is called the body of Christin keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.4
Q & A 79
Q. Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood,and Paul use the words, a sharing in Christ’s body and blood?
A. Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that just as bread and wine nourish the temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life.But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance,and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and made satisfaction for our sins.3

Lord’s Day 30

Q & A 80*
Q. How does the Lord’s Supper differ from the Roman Catholic Mass?
A. The Lord’s Supper declares to us that all our sins are completely forgiven through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself accomplished on the cross once for all.It a also declares to us that the Holy Spirit grafts us into Christ,who with his true body is now in heaven at the right hand of the Fatherwhere he wants us to worship him.[But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have their sins forgiven through the suffering of Christ unless Christ is still offered for them daily by the priests. It also teaches that Christ is bodily present under the form of bread and wine where Christ is therefore to be worshiped.
Thus the Mass is basically nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ and a condemnable idolatry.]**
Q & A 81
Q. Who should come to the Lord’s table?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their remaining weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more  to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgment on themselves.1
Q & A 82
Q. Should those be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they profess and how they live that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
A. No, that would dishonor God’s covenant and bring down God’s wrath upon the entire congregation.1Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and his apostles, the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom,
until they reform their lives.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Heidelberg 75-77 Lord's Supper

19Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Lk. 22)

Thoughts: The Lord's supper is an ordinance and a sign, but it also is a comfort to us- assuring us of the Lord's presence.  There has been much debate about exactly how Christ is present.  But can we not agree that Christ comes when we celebrate Him- in some form- however mysterious and undefined?  To take the supper is to renew our commitment to Christ who gave Himself for us- body and blood. It affirms our faith that we believe He not only lived and died but that His sacrifice is not an academic exercise or merely an example, but a sacrifice of love that effects me to the core.  My forgiveness comes at His expense.  That is my comfort in life and death.  I am set free from my failures and mistakes by the one who could condemn me for them.  The Good News of the Gospel is not just that God cares- but that God came and cares and did something to allow us to come to Him fully.   

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your body and blood given for me.  May I take your supper with utmost seriousness, but also with astounding joy.  Keep me from taking this gift of yours for granted.  

Q & A 75
Q. How  does the holy supper remind and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his benefits?
A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup in remembrance of him. With this command come these promises:First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup shared with me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood.
Q & A 76
Q. What does it mean  to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?
A. It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and  hereby to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body.And so, although he is in heaven3 and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.5
Q & A 77
Q. Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?
A. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper: “The Lord Jesus, on the night when he was  betrayed, took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is [broken]* for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”This promise is repeated by Paul in these words: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”2

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Heidelberg 69-74- Baptism

15And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. Mark 16

Thoughts: baptism symbolizes washing away of sin by the Holy Spirit applying Christ's blood to us.
It is a reminder that we are His people. On our call to believe repent and be baptized.
    It is a command to us- "repent and be baptized" (Acts 2:38) or above "believe and be baptized."
      But it is not just an ordinance to be obeyed.  There is something that really happens when we are baptized that should encourage us.  It is called the "water of rebirth" and the "cleansing of sins."  The obedience to the command is tied to the reality of the spiritual baptism.
      Baptism is not something we should ignore, but something we should seek.  Baptism is not done simply as an individual.  There is a person who baptizes and a group that affirms to encourage the person in their faith.  There are 7 instances of whole houses that were baptized in the New Testament.  The Philippian Jailer, when he came to Christ, invited his whole family to come to the water and they did.  Baptism is a family, group, church, fellowship event.  The promise is not just for the adults but "for you children and all those whom the Lord will call."  

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember the importance of baptism and remember my own baptism. 

Q & A 69
Q. How does holy baptism remind and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross
benefits you personally? 
A. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing and with it promised that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, 
that is, all my sins.2
Q & A 70
Q. What does it mean
to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit? 
A. To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins because of Christ’s bloodpoured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross.1
To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means 
that the Holy Spirit has renewed
and sanctified us to be members of Christ, 
so that more and more
we become dead to sin
and live holy and blameless lives.2
Q & A 71 
Q. Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit As surely as we are washed
with the water of baptism? 
A. In the institution of baptism, where he says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”1
“The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism “the water of rebirth”3 and the washing away of sins.4

Lord’s Day 27 

Q & A 72
Q. Does this outward washing with water
itself wash away sins? 
A. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit
cleanse us from all sins.1
Q & A 73
Q. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the water of rebirth and
the washing away of sins? 
A. God has good reason for these words. To begin with, God wants to teach us that 
the blood and Spirit of Christ take away our sins
just as water removes dirt from the body.1
But more important,  God wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that we are as truly washed of our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water physically.2
Q & A 74
Q. Should infants also be baptized? 
A. Yes. Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant and people,1and they, no less than adults, are promised deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, they too should be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers.3T This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.5

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Heidelberg 65-68 Sacraments

19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19) 
25In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:25-26)

Thoughts: There were two sacred acts that Jesus commanded everyone to do- be baptized and to celebrate the Lord's Supper.  Some traditions add confirmation, ordination, marriage, penance, anointing of the sick, but these were not commanded for everyone to take part in.  The catechism confirms that faith is given by the Holy Spirit but the two sacraments (baptism and communion) confirm our faith- for they are where the invisible intersects the visible (visible signs of God's invisible grace).  Today we take these sacraments for granted.  The sacraments cannot be done by ourselves or virtually.  They are meant for the fellowship of worship- and are incentives to gather the people of God together.  

Prayer:  Thank you for living testimonies of your love and truth.  In a world that focuses on ourselves and our little time, thank you that you live.  

Q & A 65
Q. It is through faith alone that we share in Christ and all his benefits: where then does that faith come from?
A. The Holy Spirit produces it in our heartsby the preaching of the holy gospel,and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.3
Q & A 66
Q. What are sacraments?
A. Sacraments are visible, holy signs and seals. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and seal that promise.And this is God’s gospel promise: to grant us forgiveness of sins and eternal life by grace because of Christ’s one sacrifice accomplished on the cross.
Q & A 67
Q. Are both the word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?
A. Yes! In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us and by the holy sacraments confirms that our entire salvation rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us on the cross.1
Q & A 68
Q. How many sacraments did Christ institute in the New Testament?
A. Two: holy baptism and the holy supper.1