November 8—Read Galatians 4
Because we hear it so often, we don’t always appreciate the reality when we are called a “child of God.” The same is true with calling God “Father,” as we see here in Galatians 4:6. Rev. Van Overloop explained that this special relationship we have with God implies four things. First, we have the right to his attention, affection, and riches. We know that no matter what is going on our Father with be there for us when we need him. Second, we have his likeness. We’ve been predestinated to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ. Third, we are confident he will supply for us all our needs, for he urges us to ask them of him. Fourth, he has made us heirs and partakers of his heavenly kingdom. These things help earthly fathers know how to reflect God for their children. We shouldn’t focus on the fact that our children are reflections of us, but we must point them to their heavenly Father.
Sing or pray Psalter #278.
November 9—Read Galatians 5
Prof. Decker preached that there’s really only one fruit of the Spirit: love. The love of God is the fruit that comes from having the Spirit. If we don’t have love, then we don’t have the Holy Spirit. Love is the only virtue that we read God is. There’s no love outside of God or apart from him. What the world calls love is no more than hatred against God. The love of the world is the manifestation of the reprobate mind. Anything goes under the guise of love in the name of tolerance. In contrast, love is shown when the church disciplines those who are walking in sin because it cares about the soul of the individual. This is love for the neighbor, and we can’t love God if we do not love the brother. We must give of ourselves for one another. We must bear one another’s weaknesses for the sake of unity in the church and not hold grudges. We must be quick to forgive and put the focus on our own sin, crying out in humility, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Sing or pray Psalter #369.
November 10—Read Galatians 6
Children, have you ever heard someone say something mean about someone else? What’s the first thing you want to do when you hear that? Some of us might be quick to stand up and rebuke the speaker as we should, but many times that’s not what happens. Instead, we might run to that person and tell them what was said about them. We might even claim to be doing this out of care for them, but is that really love?
Prof. Hanko preached about how we are inclined by nature to rush and tell others when we see someone fall. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Telling someone evil things that were said about them only hurts them and tempts them to respond in like manner. Instead, we must address the person about their evil speech in meekness, considering our own sin and the fact that we all fall sometimes. There are temptations on every side, and we must always strive to help one another stay on the straight and narrow.
Sing or pray Psalter #370.
November 11—Read Acts 17
When we are confronted with new things in our life, how do we evaluate them? This question was posed by Rev. Slopsema in a sermon on this chapter. It’s tempting for us to determine if something’s right or wrong based on tradition, what the majority thinks, what sounds reasonable, or what feels good. Instead, we must remember that the scriptures are our sole rule for faith and life. This is something the Bereans lived out. They were busy in the word of God, as we must be. The title of Slopsema’s sermon was The Nobility of the Bereans. This comes from Acts 17:11, where we read that the Berean saints “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” The Bereans were born again by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit. They were nobility from a spiritual point of view. Does this describe us as well? Are we like the synagogue of Thessalonica or Berea? We must not just believe what we are told blindly, but daily search the scriptures for ourselves.
Sing or pray Psalter #40.
November 12—Read 1 Thessalonians 1
By way of introduction, Rev. DeVries brought out that Paul had been concerned about the Thessalonians. They were a very new congregation, and he was wondering if they’d be able to withstand temptation. Paul was very happy to hear Timothy’s positive report of the Thessalonian church. This book is a letter of encouragement and exhortation. It defines the calling of the church as she waits for the return of Christ. In fact, each chapter ends with a reference to Christ’s coming.
In verse 3, Paul told the Thessalonians he remembered their “work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope.” Rev. Devries explained that the believers themselves aren’t receiving the credit here, but God-given faith results in labor and hope produces patience. Faith implies that we trust the Christ in whom we are united. It means we cast aside our works and put all our trust in him. Faith will reveal itself in our lives, for faith without works is counterfeit. This was true of the Thessalonians, and Paul rejoiced in the effect the word of God and the Spirit had on them. Is the same true of us?
Sing or pray Psalter #66.
November 13—Read 1 Thessalonians 2
In verses 10–12, Paul is answering many accusations that have come against his preaching. Rev. den Hartog summarizes three ways Paul defended his ministry. First, he spoke of the fact that he was bold and ready to suffer persecution. Second, he emphasized that God himself had entrusted to him the gospel of God. Third, he maintained that his purpose was not the glory of men but of God. Paul described his ministry as holy, just, and unblameable. It was holy because he was fighting sin, just because he was spiritually righteous, and unblameable because he wasn’t giving the world a cause to blaspheme. In addition to these two groups of three, Paul also gave three things his ministry did. First, he exhorted or brought admonition when necessary in love. Second, it brought the comforting gospel to God’s people in their trials. Third, it charged the people to live a holy life. Paul clearly demonstrated that all accusations against him were false and his heart was pure. Could we do the same if such accusations were thrown at us?
Sing or pray Psalter #299.
November 14—Read 1 Thessalonians 3
Paul was worried about the Thessalonians. They were being persecuted, and he wanted to know how their faith was holding up in the face of this affliction. Rev. DeBoer explained that faith is the bond that unites us to Jesus Christ and causes us to believe in him. Faith is a gift of God, which he grants to some and not others by his good pleasure. Sometimes our faith can be weak during grievous trials, but faith is what our good works flow out of. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians’ faith might remain strong, and they might not be “moved” during their afflictions. Tempters are like dogs wagging their tails, who flatter and lead us astray. We are especially susceptible to this when we’re going through difficult trials. Great temptations come when we think about being persecuted. For example, we can convince ourselves to hide that we are a Christian because otherwise we will lose our business. Instead, we must stand fast in the Lord and, in love, help others to do the same.
Sing or pray Psalter #391.
November 15—Read 1 Thessalonians 4
Rev. DeBoer preached that the Thessalonians here had a problem. They understood the truth that Christ was returning soon to mean that it was happening right away. Some went so far as to quit their jobs and wait. This caused them to start wasting time and getting into each other’s business. In response, Paul commands them in verse 11 to “study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands.”
We need to hear this command today as well. We have jobs, but it’s still harder today than ever before not to be busybodies. It used to be that people had to work nearly every waking moment to survive, but now we have large amounts of free time on our hands. Besides, technology makes it that much easier to fill that free time with frivolous and even spiteful talk. Social media gives us access to everyone else’s business with the click of a button. We must recognize and fight this temptation, instead using our energy to be a witness to those around us and to help those in need.
Sing or pray Psalter #343.
November 16—Read 1 Thessalonians 5
Rev. Mahtani preached that one of the struggles of a pastor is that he wants his congregation to be comforted when they consider the end times, but he doesn’t want them to fall asleep spiritually. Paul assures us that when sudden destruction comes, we need not be afraid, because we are children of light. Instead of a day of destruction, for us it will be a day of salvation. To others it will bring pain like that of a woman giving birth. However, unlike a mother delivering a newborn, the wicked world will have no way to get rid of their pain. This is the judgment that will come on those who are spiritually asleep and drunk. Inactivity, blindness, and being unprepared are all characteristics of sleep that are bad spiritually. Similarly, overindulgence, impairment, and loss of self-control are all characteristic of drunkenness. We must flee this wickedness and behave as Christ has saved us to behave. We must watch and be sober, the opposites of the world’s sleep and drunkenness.
Sing or pray Psalter #345.
November 17—Read 2 Thessalonians 1
Rev. Barnhill gave the background to Thessalonica and the church there in a sermon on this chapter. Thessalonica was a major seaport that traded a lot with Corinth and Ephesus, thus making it a good place for the gospel to spread from. Paul and Silas labored there for about four weeks during the second missionary journey, and Paul would later send Timothy there to check on them. Timothy returned with a very encouraging report of the work, which occasioned Paul’s first letter to them. The second letter was written a few months later, when the Thessalonian’s lifestyle was being negatively affected by their belief that Jesus was returning at any time. In addition, there was a lot of fake communication coming to the church, so Paul wanted to set that straight in his letter as well. The theme of the book is the second coming of Christ, and the sub–theme is the antithesis. The Thessalonian church lived in a big city, and with big cities comes big sin, especially fornication and idolatry. How true that is today in a world of over seven billion people.
Sing or pray Psalter #136.
November 18—Read 2 Thessalonians 2
2 Thessalonians 2:15 reads, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” As I read Rev. McGeown’s article in the August Standard Bearer, I thought about how applicable it was to this verse. McGeown explains that the Democrats are pushing to amend the Civil Rights Act adopted in 1964 to include protection from discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. There are a number of troubling provisions in this bill. For one, it claims that race/color and sexual orientation/gender identity are on par with one another. This means that anyone who speaks out against LGBTQs can be categorized as racist. Secondly, the Equality Act is purposefully broad and vague in describing where discrimination is outlawed, including any “public gathering” or “service provider.” Along with that, there are little to no provisions for religious exemptions. After all, people shouldn’t be able to hide behind religion as an excuse to be racist, should they? We must see the push for this bill as another one of Satan’s direct attacks on the church. As we live in an ever-darkening world, may we continue to stand fast and hold to the truths we have been taught.
Sing or pray Psalter #224.
November 19—Read 2 Thessalonians 3
Rev. Barnhill explained that Paul would dictate his letters, but then write the last part, showing authenticity. The first two chapters of the book end in benedictions as well, but this one looks backward at what God taught throughout the letter.
In the last verse, Paul talks about the grace that comes from Christ like a fountain. This grace is favor. There’s nothing more important than knowing what kind of an attitude God has towards us. This favor is undeserved and unmerited. What’s more, it’s also a power by which he showers blessings upon us and makes us beautiful in his sight. It gives us peace knowing that God has reconciled us to himself. This peace is a state of quietness and security, and it’s a part of the benediction at the end of our worship service. We come to church weary with the knowledge of our sins, but there we are comforted by the promise of grace and peace. There has been unrest in our denomination, but we still have peace when we submit to the decisions that have been made. We seek the peace of Zion and don’t try to take sides.
Sing or pray Psalter #350.
November 20—Read Acts 18
In verses 9 and 10, God assures Paul that he’s been called to preach. The results of Paul’s preaching had been that very few believed, and this caused him to lie awake at night. Rev. Smit reminded us that it’s natural for us to get discouraged when things don’t work out our way. Elijah began to despair after he saw there was no change in Israel following Mt. Carmel, and he concluded it would be better for him to just go to heaven. How about us? What response to we receive to our witnessing? Do we get discouraged?
We must remember it’s the Lord who determines the harvest and where his word will be preached. He will care for us in even the darkest of times. God doesn’t promise us that we won’t be put to death for speaking the truth, but we are promised that the gates of hell will not prevail. Our problems don’t just disappear, but looking at Christ we can deal with them in the right perspective. Our natures always want to believe the grass is greener on the other side, but we are simply commanded to labor where the Lord has placed us.
Sing or pray Psalter #355.
November 21—Read Acts 19
Have you ever read the book Fahrenheit 451? It’s a novel set in the future when books are outlawed, and “firemen” burn any that are found. This story came to mind as I listened to Rev. Bleyenberg’s sermon on Acts 19:18–20 entitled Burning the Books. In this case, however, the book burning was a good thing. The people had grown up believing in witchcraft, and that is what these papyrus scrolls taught. The people were stirred up to burn them after they saw the sons of Sceva failed to do what Paul did. Keep in mind that there was no printing press back then, so these books were very valuable and not easily replaced. The value today would be somewhere around a million dollars, but they didn’t even want to sell them and let them fall in someone else’s hands.
Are we burning the world’s books like we should? These “books” can be anything that hinders us in our Christian life. They include the world’s music, its movies, and the addictions that are such as huge problem today. Burning these things doesn’t necessarily mean that we physically burn them, but that we rid them from our lives.
Sing or pray Psalter #384.
November 22—Read 1 Corinthians 1
Most of the following devotionals will be based on sermons by Rev. Rodney Kleyn, who has a wonderful series on this book available on Sermon Audio, spanning the last few years and including scores of sermons.
Corinth was a busy port city that was extremely wicked. Rev. Kleyn said it could be compared to Amsterdam and Las Vegas today. Therefore, the church there had almost every problem you can imagine, including rebelling against authority, scandal of open sin, taking each other to court, receiving and eating of meat offered to idols, fighting over spiritual gifts, impurity, marriage issues, women being disorderly in worship, problems with the sacraments, and denial by some of the resurrection. The Corinthian church had many weaknesses in her marks, but she still had them. Even though the churches Paul ministered to had problems, he always looked at them as the body of Christ, God’s church, the called ones, and those who are sanctified. As John Calvin said, we must not expect the church to be free of problems, because that only leads to us looking to self. Just as we don’t define our children by their sins, so we mustn’t define other churches by their spiritual weaknesses.
Sing or pray Psalter #138.
November 23—Read 1 Corinthians 2
1 Corinthians 2:6–7 read, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” Rev. Kleyn pointed out three things about wisdom in connection with this passage. First, all wisdom has its origin in the eternal mind of God, as we read in Proverbs 8, so that’s part of the reason why man can’t find it. Second, the cross and salvation were not a second plan of God’s that needed to be implemented because the Fall messed up God’s initial plan. Quite the contrary, God created the world with Christ in view. As we read in verse 17 of yesterday’s chapter, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Third, the fact that God’s wisdom is eternal points to his decrees of election and reprobation before time. God is the all-wise and omnipotent one who saves whomsoever he will.
Sing or pray Psalter #4.
November 24—Read 1 Corinthians 3
It’s a tragedy when an adult acts like a baby. The church in Corinth was immature, and Paul needed to rebuke them. Many of the members had become fleshly minded, and this was causing a lot of strife. Because of this, Paul fed them with milk and not meat. He spoke to them about doctrine in very simple language and didn’t delve too deeply into it, because the Corinthians weren’t ready for it. Children can explain why Jesus had to die even before they can read, but we expect them to be able to say more about it as they get older. This should have been happening with the Corinthians by this point, but it was not.
We all need to grow up and be ready for spiritual meat. We should never be satisfied with our spiritual maturity. Especially when we grow up in the church, being a spiritual baby can become a great danger for us. We easily become like the Pharisees and convince ourselves that we’re just fine because we are the children of Abraham. In contrast, we must be like the Bereans, who searched the scriptures daily and hungered after spiritual meat.
Sing or pray Psalter #25.
November 25—Read 1 Corinthians 4
Paul instructs the Corinthians not to judge their ministers in this chapter. Rev. Kleyn explains what this means, seeing as how passing judgment is not wrong of itself. The point here is that we shouldn’t think too highly or critically of the minister himself, because the focus shouldn’t be on the man. This is especially important for parents to remember because whole families can easily be turned away from the church because of father and mother’s view of those in the special offices. Our pastors are ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. A minister is a galley slave, in that he answers to Jesus Christ and isn’t that important as a person. He’s been given charge of something that’s valuable to God, and he must take good care of it. He must remember his calling to declare the whole counsel of God and nothing but that.
So what is the criteria for evaluating a minister? He must be evaluated based on how faithful he is to his calling, the word of God, and the people of God. Faithfulness is what God has called us all to do, as ministers and as other members in the church.
Sing or pray Psalter #52.
November 26—Read 1 Corinthians 5
Someone in the church at Corinth had married his stepmother. Paul says this was worse than anything going on in the city itself. Interestingly, though, Paul’s focus is not on the incest or sexual immorality, but on the fact that unrepentant sin was being tolerated. Why tolerated? Maybe everyone was just too afraid to meddle in his business, or maybe he had a lot of family in the church, or he was wealthy, or he had important talents that were used in the church. Whatever the case may be, it’s likely that the attitude of the congregation was that they needed to love him, and his actions weren’t really affecting their lives, so it wasn’t their business.
Paul calls this tolerance pride. It’s saying we know better than God about what’s right and wrong, so we don’t need to discipline someone for disobeying his law. Although done in the name of love, this is hatred. Wouldn’t it show love to warn someone about going out of a frozen lake where the ice is very thin? In the same way, we must warn and admonish one another, showing care for their soul.
Sing or pray Psalter #51.
November 27—Read 1 Corinthians 6
The Corinthians used Christian liberty to pursue their earthly lusts. They said God had given them sexual desires, so they should be able to satisfy them. This is the same false idea of liberty that’s toted around today. It’s defined as a person’s right to throw off all authority and be a law to themselves. On the contrary, true liberty is the freedom to serve God. Paul is actually a great advocate of Christian freedom, seeing as how he came out of Phariseeism, but he made it clear that it didn’t give license to sin.
Christian liberty might say that something is lawful even when it isn’t helpful. We need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is expedient, as taught in verse 12. Is it expedient for me spiritually? Is it profitable for others spiritually? Is it expedient in regards to the glory of God? Rev. Kleyn gave the example of physical exercise. It’s good to take care of our bodies, but it can be a problem if done for the wrong reasons or if it keep us from other aspects of our work. When evaluating an activity, we should ask if it’s expedient, not if it’s wrong.
Sing or pray Psalter #89.
November 28—Read 1 Corinthians 7
Would you ever advise someone to live the single life? If so, what could be the reason for doing that? This is what Paul is doing in this chapter. He’s saying it wouldn’t be a sin to marry, but he’s giving pastoral advice not to because of the “present distress” (verse 26), which was probably persecution. One reason for this advice is that marriage brings extra trials into our life. Also, the time is short; we don’t have long to serve God in this life. In addition, some are simply happier if they aren’t married. Marriage isn’t forever, because nothing in this world is. Marriage is a very important and beautiful thing, but we mustn’t live for it, because life is bigger than that. Marriage is but a picture of a greater marriage that we will all enjoy forever in heaven. Whether it be marriage or something else, we must not become engrossed in the things of this life. We mustn’t be governed by the hurts that take place to us in life, as modern psychology would teach us. Instead, we must always have our eyes set on Christ, serving him in spirit and in truth.
Sing or pray Psalter #251.
November 29—Read 1 Corinthians 8
Members in the church disagreed about what to do with meat offered to idols. Some wanted nothing to do with it, others said it could be taken home to eat with your family, and others believed they were free to eat it in the pagan temples with the ungodly people. The problem here was that some in the congregation had knowledge without love. They weren’t concerned about leading their brothers into sin. Love must be the motive of Christian liberty. Christian living is a matter of wisdom, taking in all the facts and considering what to do for the glory of God.
Rev. Kleyn provided an example from his own childhood. He grew up in a church where there wasn’t any reading of the law, reciting of the creeds, or accompaniment with the singing. The EPC of Australia believes these things destroy the purity of worship. It would be foolish for a member of that denomination to come to the PRC and immediately judge us because we do these things, and vice versa. In all situations like this, we need to consider there is more to understand than we know, and we must not be quick to judge.
Sing or pray Psalter #254.
November 30—Read 1 Corinthians 9
The main event of the Corinthian games was a footrace. Competitors qualified for the race by strict training, not just by being the fastest. The crown the winner received was made of parsley and pine needles, so we see why Paul called it corruptible. The glory attained was found in winning the race, not in the crown. In addition, there were many other rewards besides the crown to be gained from victory. The Corinthians believed they wouldn’t need walls around their city if the hero dwelt among them because the gods would be favorable to him. The individual was also given many perks, including tax exemption.
Rev. Kleyn explained that there are many similarities between these ancient races and the spiritual race of the Christian, but there are also a few points of contrast. In earthly races only one receives the prize at the end, but all of God’s people are rewarded at the end of their race. We all run to attain, and the emphasis is on the effort, not the speed. The Corinthian runners received a corruptible crown, but our crown is incorruptible. Finally, whereas they ran for personal glory, we do it for God’s glory.
Sing or pray Psalter #45.
December 1—Read 1 Corinthians 10
Paul tells the Corinthians here to flee idolatry, which is anything that takes God’s rightful place in our hearts. Back in chapter 6, he had commanded them to flee fornication. The two were connected in Corinth. This city was especially known to be promiscuous. The worship of the goddess Aphrodite involved committing adultery with the prostitutes at her temple. We must flee all forms of sexual impurity like Joseph fled Potiphar’s wife.
Another way in which idolatry entered the church was by eating the food offered to idols in the pagan temples. Some of the Corinthians had begun to presume on their liberty, thinking they could get away with anything because they were Christians. They thought they were above sin, and it wouldn’t affect them. We need to have a healthy respect for the power of sin. If we play with fire, we run the danger of being pulled into sin’s orbit. Satan is working hard every day to turn our affections from God to him in the worship of nothing. In response, may we fight the battle of faith and not provoke our God to jealousy.
Sing or pray Psalter #70.
December 2—Read 1 Corinthians 11
The Lord’s Supper had become an ironic event for the Corinthian church. It should have been a time of unity for them, but it actually demonstrated the division amongst them between the rich and poor. It should have been a celebration of their deliverance from the wrath of God, but instead it brought greater judgment upon them. It should have been profitable as a means of grace for them, but instead they came together for the worse. Paul instructed the Corinthians that they could have their feasts at home if they wanted, but when they came together, they needed to make sure the poor were being cared for.
The Corinthians were running into this problem because they weren’t engaging in self-examination as they should have been. In doing so, they mocked Jesus Christ when they came to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Like us, the Corinthians needed to learn to examine themselves daily. Living this way results in an increase in faith and holiness for the child of God. We come to the sacrament more fully seeing our need for and dependence upon our savior Jesus Christ.
Sing or pray Psalter #56.
December 3—Read 1 Corinthians 12
It is difficult to understand what Paul is saying in the first three verses of this chapter, but Rev. Kleyn explains it in simple terms. In verse one, Paul addresses the new issue of spiritual gifts. The Corinthian church had a carnal perspective on gifts. The things that were highly esteemed among men were what was highly esteemed in the church. True spirituality—faith, hope, and love—were lacking. In verse two, Paul talks about the Corinthians in their unregenerate state. They had been in bondage to the devil in false religion. They had used things like chants and adultery to reach ecstasy or closeness with their false deity. These dramatic expressions had carried over into the church, with those who claimed to be able to do things like speak in tongues and perform miracles. In the third verse, Paul reminds the Corinthians that their spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. Their concern should be their own spirituality, not what specific gifts they have. Did they confess that Christ is the Lord in all they did? Do we?
Sing or pray Psalter #61.
December 4—Read 1 Corinthians 13
We recently joined a small group, Sunday night Bible study that meets once a month. The topic last time was love, and, as you can imagine, this chapter was discussed quite a bit. This chapter tells us a lot about what charity is or isn’t. Could we replace our names with the word charity in these verses? Are you kind? Do you envy? Do you seek your own things? And so on. As you look through all these, can you point out ones you struggle with even more than others?
In verse 5, we read that love, “seeketh not her own.” This is completely at odds with the world’s idea of love. To them, love is about being served. We love someone because of what we can get out of them. We are told by the world’s psychologists that we deserve to have whatever makes us happy. This false love is anti-biblical. It’s nothing more than self-love, which only leads to self-pity, pride, and selfishness. In actuality, true love manifests itself in service, just as Jesus Christ our savior demonstrated his perfect love for us by serving.
Sing or pray Psalter #277.
December 5—Read 1 Corinthians 14
The Corinthians had been making their worship into a big show. In reaction to this, Paul says, “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues (1 Cor. 14:39).” They had been showing off their ability to speak in tongues and had lost the proper focus of the preaching.
Rev. Kleyn explains to us that there are four principles of worship. First, it must be edifying for all. Second, it must be intelligible and in a language that all can understand. Third, it must be governed by and correctly explain the Word of God. Fourth, preaching and teaching should be at its center.
We can fall into this trap of focusing on the outward form of worship as well. There are many true churches around the world whose services look different from ours, so we mustn’t think our way of worship is the only way. The minister must put his focus on making scripture understandable, not on delivering a beautifully crafted, flowering presentation. We must remember that, although the minister is the one speaking, we are all included in the worship. It’s not a spectator sport.
Sing or pray Psalter #269.
December 6—Read 1 Corinthians 15
“What doth the resurrection of Christ profit us?” This is the question posed in Lord’s Day 17 of the Heidelberg Catechism. In answer, the Catechism says, “First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; secondly, we are also by his power raised to a new life; and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.”
Rev. Haak preached a sermon on this Lord’s Day, 1 Corinthians 15, and Acts 17, where Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars’ Hill about the unknown God. The Greeks were willing to listen to Paul until he started preaching about the resurrection (Acts 17:32). The wicked world hates the truth of the resurrection, which Rev. Haak explained is the most important fact in the world today. If Jesus’ body had still been in the grave on the morning of that third day, then the devil would have won. The resurrection showed that Jesus truly had defeated death. Through that sacrifice he’s justified us, sanctified us, and will soon glorify us on the last day.
Sing or pray Psalter #394.
December 7—Read 1 Corinthians 16
Rev. Kleyn explained four principles for giving that Paul sets before us at the beginning of this chapter. First, we need to give with regularity. Giving needs to be part of our regular Christian worship, not just something that’s done because of emotional begging and time-consuming fundraisers. Second, everyone must participate in giving. Giving is not just for the rich in the church. Third, one’s giving must be proportionate to the number of earthly things God has given him. In verse 2, Paul commands each person to give, “as God hath prospered him.” Often people say that we tithe and give a 10th part of what we have, but tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament. It’s important to also remember that the 10% the Israelites gave didn’t include all the sacrifices they brought throughout the year. We must all give liberally, as we are able. Fourth, the primary place for giving is the local church. By this we don’t mean that giving needs to be done in the church building itself, but within the body of Christ.
Sing or pray Psalter #396.