And That is Good News Indeed

Announced by his Word and sealed in his table fellowship “in the  midst of us,” this Good News, “Peace be with you!” wells up within us as a message to be proclaimed to others. “Gathered together in one place,” – we are on this side of Pentecost – are also scattered after the benediction out into the world as his witnesses to all that has been done.  “The Lord is risen!” “He is risen indeed!”  We are his people and he is our place, and that is Good News indeed.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 242-243

We Have Gathered Like Eagles ‘Round the Carcass

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate…The onlyman who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ…We…have gathered like eagles round the carcass of cheap grace, and there we have drunk the poison which has killed the life of following Christ

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 90

Do This Until We See

Partaking in Communion involves a recognition that for Christians, the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice include communion with both God and one another.  And in faith, Christians are to part take of communion until one day they see Jesus and sit to eat with him as friends in his kingdom.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 126

The Real Issue is the Meaning of Communion

The real issue is the meaning of the sacrament [Communion] itself.

  1. reminds us in a dramatic manner of the death of Jesus Christ in our place for our sins.
  2. it calls all Christians to put their sin to death in light of the fact that Jesus died for our sins and compels us to  examine ourselves and repent of sin before partaking.
  3. it shows the unity of God’s people around the person and work of Jesus
  4. it anticipates our participation in the marriage supper of the Lamb when his kingdom comes in its fullness

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 121-122

These Are Supposed to be Meaningful

By virtue of reminding us of our connection to Jesus and his people, baptism and Communion are supposed to be incredibly meaningful.  In Christianity, baptism and Communion have been sacred rituals practiced for thousands of years in every culture by people who, by faith, trust in Jesus alone for their salvation.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 112

The Church is What Happens When…

According to Calvin and the Reformers, with whom we agree, the church is what happens because God the Holy Spirit works in power through the gospel of Jesus Christ and is not a static institution resting its hopes on apostolic succession.  This gospel message is to be heard by rightly teaching the Scriptures and rightly guarded with baptism, the Lord’s supper, regenerated church membership, and ensuing church discipline as needed.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 47

A Definition of ‘Church’

The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord.  In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and Communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 38

A Dramatic Expression of God’s Merciful Love

Through table fellowship Jesus ritually acted out His insight into Abba’s indiscriminate love – a love that cause His sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and His rain to fall on the honest and dishonest men alike (Matthew 5:45).  The inclusion of sinners in the community of salvation, symbolized in table fellowship, is the most dramatic expression of the ragamuffin gospel and the merciful love of the redeeming God.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 60