Making confession of faith is a joyful act of obedience to our covenant God. The angels in heaven joyfully sing hallelujahs to Almighty God. But part of the Church of Jesus Christ is here on earth now, and this congregation of saints experiences this same joy and partakes of it with those making confession. This is one of those many benefits that we have and partake of in our Savior Jesus. Again, there are many rich blessings that we have in our Savior.
There is a special, outstanding God-given blessing that the Protestant Reformed Churches in America have and experience; that is, a rich heritage. It is a rich heritage because it is a gift given by parents that were prepared by the grace of God to give the gift through a way of life that God had chosen them unto. So, the inheritors, too, are the chosen ones to pass this heritage on down to their children. This rich heritage that is yours right here and now, and not in some other time or some other place, is your present possession. It has always been your present possession and it is one of your most valued possessions. Therefore, it also is your possession to most jealously guard.
Do you know what this rich heritage is that is your present possession? How it relates to you personally? How importantly it relates to your decisions for your life? How your present possession relates to our decision to leave our loved ones and friends, a secure employment, pulling up sixty years of roots and come here to Grand Rapids, Michigan to live among you and make confession of faith, joining your congregations?
You may consider it to be—let’s say—the Five Points of Calvin. Well now, that is most certainly true, but not my point. Or, perhaps those beautifully rich confessions of the church fathers at Heidelberg, Dort, and the Belgic. True, they are rich blessings, inherited and passed down generation after generation, but let us look around more carefully.
Oftentimes we fail to see in particular because of our perspective. For instance, can you see your forehead? Of course not, unless you take a different perspective such as looking into a mirror.
At one time the Jewish men wore a band about their head and at their forehead was attached a little leather box which contained parchments on which were inscribed scriptural quotations. Wearing this “frontlet” was symbolical of obedience to God’s commands. This little box tapped away against their foreheads reminding them of their covenant God. Today the children of God no longer wear “frontlets,” for our covenant God has written His Law in our hearts. But, our covenant God still provides a sounding, a thumping, a pounding of God’s messages against ourselves. It no longer can be a gentle tapping, for Satan goes about roaring like a lion seeking whom he may devour.
I wonder, now do you see my point?
Try to imagine going to your church and hearing a Sunday message preached by a preacher who only preaches a half truth or preaches around unpopular, though true, doctrines of grace such as those mentioned above. Preaching in a way that would encourage those enemies of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Heidelberg, Canons of Dort, and Belgic Confession, to come into your church, sit beside you and get great joy from the messages spoken. The history of the Protestant Reformed Churches reveals that this has been attempted in the past.
Have you ever experienced this? Did you not feel extremely disgusted and let down? Being a child of God in particular, you recoil at the very thought.
I think that now you see my point. Yes, it is the pure preaching of the whole Word of God and its doctrines. That hearty, vigorous, strong, healthy pounding upon our covenant foreheads and hearts.
Our rich heritage and present possession is that our Heavenly Father in His mercy has by His grace blessed our churches by raising up many able, zealous, stalwart men of faith, that jealously watch over and guard the doctrines of the church, unto the pure preaching of the whole Word of God. Nothing less is acceptable.
Ponder this in your heart. Is it not true that your whole life revolves around this pure preaching of God’s Word to you, and its doctrines? Revealing those blessings, the benefits that are ours in Jesus Christ, from your Heavenly Father, that are yours in particular? What a sure and loving comfort this ministry provides for us! They are the thumping, pounding words of life—our very life! We dare not leave it! Fear the thought!
We could not stand being apart from it; that is why we came here. Now it is our present possession, too. Together let us love it and guard it with great care. “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:5).
God gave the husband authority in the marriage bond, and God put the wife under that authority. Yes, God did!