Members United as One Body in Christ

Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 01/27/2008 in Novato, CA.

The last several weeks we have been talking about Christ’s vision for his church. We’ve talked a lot about the ministry of the church. We’ve said that this ministry needs to be an ordinary means of grace ministry. And one thing that has been a bit assumed as we’ve talked about the church is that the church is made up of members. A biblical vision of the church sees that the church is made up of believers who are united together in Christ.  Paul in this passage gives us a picture of biblical church membership, using the illustration of the human body.

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Coming Boldly to the Throne of Grace

Passage: Hebrews 4:14-16
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 01/20/2008 in Novato, CA.

Our sermon for today is our third and final sermon in our series on the means of grace. Prayer in some sense might seem a bit different as a means of grace than the others. In the Word and Sacraments, the emphasis clearly is on God’s initiation. In the Word, God speaks first to us. In the Sacraments, a minister, who is a representative of God, administers the sacrament to us. But in prayer, we come to God. In prayer, according to the WSC, we come to him, “offering up our desires to God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies” (WSC 98). And yet, though there is a sense in which prayer may seem like something we initiate, our passage for today reminds us that even prayer is an ordinance of God. Even our prayer is something that he ultimately initiates, because he has commanded us to pray. Our prayers are even effective because of the work Christ has done in redeeming us and reconciling us to God. And so in the words here of Hebrews 4:16, we are called by God to “come boldly to the throne of grace.” And so, even in prayer, we find that this is God’s gracious provision for us.

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Participation in the Body and Blood of Christ

Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:1-22
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 01/13/2008 in Novato, CA.

This morning’s sermon is continuing our 3 week series where we have been looking at the means of grace.  Last week we looked at the Word of God as we read in 1 Corinthians 1 about the power of preaching Christ crucified.  This week we are looking at the sacraments, and next week we’ll look at prayer.

And yet when we turn to this passage in 1 Corinthians 10, you should notice right away that this is not a doctrinal discussion on the Lord’s Supper.  Actually the passage is about idolatry.  But as Paul deals with this problem of idolatry among the Corinthians he points back to the Lord’s Supper, showing how the Supper calls them away from idolatry and to Christ.  And as Paul mentions the Supper, we learn about some of its importance for the life and ministry of the church.  And so to that end, as we examine what this passage is saying with regards to the Corinthians and idolatry, we’ll ultimately see what it tells us about the Lord’s Supper and its importance for the church.

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