This week I have weekly thoughts instead of a weekly thought. I want to share two items for you to consider and as matters of prayer.
First a matter of prayer. As I sit in Vienna, VA waiting for my course to begin this afternoon (Tuesday at the time of writing) I have been reflecting on the upcoming General Assembly of our Church (May 31-June 6). As I have been working my way through several hundred pages of reports and papers, there are a couple of things that are rather weighty that I want to ask you to pray for.
First there are five appeals and/or complaints coming before this 84th GA. These are either complaints by individuals against a Presbytery for action taken or not taken, or an appeal against a judgement made by Presbytery in a judicial case. On the one hand, it is a great blessing that we are a part of a denomination where we have this Biblical process of settling disputes. In coming from a background where there was no process and/or no resolution to many disputes or in dealing with sin, the Biblical process is a breath of fresh air. That being said, these are long deep seated hurts and deal with sin in individuals, Churches and Presbyteries. Pray for wisdom for the commissioners at GA who will have to render a judgement in each of these five situations as to whether or not a lower Church court acted properly. Also pray for all the individuals involved, that there would be true and lasting peace in the Church.
Second, as the OPC strives to work with other denominations of like faith and practice, we have a situation upcoming in a denomination that we are in fellowship with and are a part of the same ecumenical group overseas. This denomination is considering opening up the offices of the Church to women. If that takes place, this denomination would be violating the agreement to be in fellowship with the ecumenical group. We will then have to decide what action to take in order to preserve the peace, purity and unity of the Church. These are all very weighty and difficult decisions.
Second item I want to mention this week is the sermon series that we are doing on Sunday evenings from Chapter 20 of the Westminster Confession of Faith on Christian Liberty. In the past seven weeks we have covered many freedoms that we have in Christ, and I wanted to share those with you and encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to go to our sermon audio website, listen to those messages and hear of the great freedom you have in Jesus Christ.
In closing here are a list of some of the freedoms that Scripture reminds us of that are summarized in Chapter 20 of the WCF:
Christ has purchased for believers:
1) Freedom from the guilt of sin.
2) Freedom from the condemning wrath of God.
3) Freedom from the curse of the moral law.
4) We have been delivered from this present evil world.
5) We are free from the bondage of Satan.
6) We are freed from the dominion of sin.
7) We are free from the evil of afflictions.
8) We are free from the sting of death.
9) We have victory of the grave.
10) We are free from everlasting damnation.
11) We have free access to God.
12) We are free to yield in obedience to God.
Believers under the New Testament also are:
13) Freed from the yoke of the ceremonial law.
14) We have greater boldness of access to the throne of grace.
15) We have fuller communications of the free Spirit of God.
16) We are free from the doctrines and commandments of men that are contrary to the Word of God or added to the Word of God.
And finally on the opposite end:
17) We are not free to sin.
I hope you enjoy the messages. We still have a couple more left that speak to our freedom in Christ. Have a great rest of your week and I hope to see all of you Sunday.