Worship Elements: Baptized in Christ (Romans 6)

The apostle Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit as people who have moved from death to life in Christ.  He also exhorts us to walk in light of our baptism moving us from death to life in Christ.  Is Paul teaching that as one receives baptism that one necessarily receives the Holy Spirit?  Why would Paul use such strong language regarding baptism? 

John's Fire Sermon (Matt. 3:1-12)

John calls the current leaders of Israel a brood of vipers.  This is not very flattering.  In fact, such speech would most likely put you at odds with the current leadership.  Why would John use such language?  What can we learn from such a harsh sermon? 

Circumcision and Baptism (Col. 2:11,12)

One can see the force of the argument that circumcision is a fleshly covenant which is tied to the flesh while Baptism is a sign that communicates spiritual renewal and spiritual washing.  It is conceivable to think that maybe Paul is making a historic progression meaning that we move from circumcision, fleshly covenant, to baptism, a true spiritual realization, after Christ’s coming. So, why would people baptize infants if the Lord has changed the significance of the covenantal sign?

Herod the Horrible (Matthew 2:13-22)

Herod, the king of the jews, is someone who should see that Christ’s entrance into history validates the jewish kingship.    However, Herod does not react in joy, but he acts in a horrific way to the news of Christ.  Herod demonstrates the horror of human depravity. How can the Lord triumph over this tyrannical man?  Is this man able to usurp the Lord’s power? 

Worship Elements: Sacraments Uncircumcision (Leviticus 26:41)

So often people think of the sacrament of circumcision as a physical sign while baptism is a sign of Spiritual renewal.  So, these signs might point to Christ, but they have radically different intentions.  When we survey scripture we find that this is not necessarily a true distinction with circumcision being physical while baptism is spiritual.  In fact, Moses teaches that one being uncircumcised is stating that one is not walking in power of the Lord.  So, can we really say that circumcision is not a spiritual sign? 

The King of kings (Matthew 2:1-12)

Strange star gazers from the east come to worship Christ.  These are men that we would expect to be hostile to the mission of Christ, and do everything possible to destroy Christ.  We would expect that Herod who is the king of the jews embrace the Messiah for the Messiah is God with us.  How can strangers expected to be opposed to the Messiah’s mission show the power of the Messiah’s mission? 

Worship Elements: Sacraments General (Romans 4:11)

The Apostle Paul speaks Abraham first having faith and then receiving he sign. This would seem that the sacraments are a sign of our faith rather than a sign of the covenant.  This has profound implications because this would mean that first we would profess our faith and then receive the sacrament.  So, why would we as reformed people baptize infants if this contradicts the Apostle Paul? Why would infants potentially receive the sign if they have not first professed faith like Abraham did? 

Our Jesus Emmanuel (Matthew 1:18-25)

Joseph is to be the father of Jesus.  He is to find his significance in Christ’s advent.  How does Joseph finding his significance in a baby demonstrate the beauty of this kingdom?  How does Joseph finding his significance in Christ demonstrate our call to humility? 

The Genesis of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)

This is a strange title because we believe that Jesus Christ was not created, but is from all eternity.  So, are we unorthodox in this statement about the Genesis of Jesus?  Is Matthew unorthodox when he talks about this genealogy being the beginning of Christ?  Or does Matthew intend something different?

Worship Elements: Preaching: Word or Gospel? (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

We have been considering at the language of the Belgic Confession that identifies the preaching of the Gospel as a mark of the true church.  If the reformers claim that a mark of the church the the preaching of the gospel then why does Paul exhort Timothy to preach the word?  Does our confession need to be rewritten?  Does Paul understand the preaching of the word to be the preaching of the Gospel?