Counsel of Chalcedon
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1992 Issue 10

The point of my sermon today is to explain and apply the nature of that communion Christians enjoy with Christ in the Lord's Supper. Most certainly we gain little, and lose much, by closing our eyes to this high mystery of communion with our Lord, by eating and drinking, wherein we are made partakers of His body and blood.

In the supper, we hold special communion with Christ in each of His offices, as He is the King, the Priest and the Prophet of His Church. It is not, of course, intimated that every act of worship does not include these three offices so essential to the Mediator's work. They are also related as to be inseparable, and the mention of one necessarily involves the others. For example, the truth which the Prophet discloses is that which the Priest has wrought out and constituted such, - either directly lying in the work of redemption which He accomplished, or as being antecedently so necessary thereto as to be of necessity unfolded.

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

God reveals Himself in the pages of Scripture specifically as the covenant-keeping God. To understand His person and works properly, we must see Him in light of the covenant He has made and fulfills with His people.

During the recent upheaval within the former Soviet Union many wondered if Russia, their largest state, would take action against the much smaller dissenting states. How would world opinion have reacted if the Russian military had moved into Georgia or the Ukraine and opened fire on the dissidents? This possibility caused me to think about an event on our own soil a little over a century ago.

The War Between the States gives us this scenario. The Southern states thought they had every right to secede from the Union and establish their own country "the Confederate States of America." They put their beliefs into actions. The Union took the position that individual states could not secede from the Union. Putting their beliefs into action, they invaded the South. They viewed the conflict as a civil war. The South saw it as one nation invading another nation without any warrant for so doing.

John Eidsmoe, Columbus and Cortez: Conquerors for Christ (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1992) $9.95. 304 pp. Index. Endnotes.

Columbus and Cortez is an excellent and timely work for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage. Heavy attacks on Columbus and his legacy by the politically correct have badly distorted the real explorer. And as Eidsmoe shows, such attacks are actually thinly veiled challenges to the Western tradition and, in particular, to Christianity.

In response to the question, "And who is my neighbor?", the Lord Jesus, in Luke 10:30-37, told the story that is better known as the parable of the "Good Samaritan". In this very graphic portrayal of what it means to love one's neighbor, Jesus puts in bold contrast, the callousness and insensitivity of the priest and the Levite with the concern and compassion of the Samaritan. Given their involvement in things religious, we would expect that the priest and the Levite would have been the ones that showed compassion to the wounded man, but they didn't. It is possible that both the priest and the Levite were on their way to "church",and did not have the time for a work of compassion. No doubt they could very easily rationalize their failure to minister to the needy traveler.

If we grant that the priest and the Levite might have had a "good reason" for not giving assistance, it must also be pointed out that the Samaritan had better reasons for not giving aid. First, he was of another race, and the race relations were not good. Secondly, the help that he gave was costly to him and it is not likely that he would be compensated by the wounded man. thirdly, he took a great risk in stopping to give aid. If someone else had come along at the time, he could have been charged with the crime, or been accused of stealing from the dying man. He had good reasons for non-involvement but he showed compassion at a great risk to himself. The aid that he gave was risky and costly. I believe that there is a message in this parable that parallels the situation of many white Christians who would minister to needy blacks.

In this message we will cover the same verses as in our last. But this time we will do so more interpretively rather than purely applicationally. Our concern here is with what this passage specifically meant to its original audience rather than what principles from it may we apply to our lives. Although, of course, there will be principles drawn from it for today.

In the preceding chapter God had rebuked Judah for empty formalism in worship. Now He turns to cheer them by the prospective of conformity to His will. Over and over again He reminds this remnant of people of their future prospects based on exactly who he is: (1) He is the ever living "LORD" who speaks (Zech. 8:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17). The name 'Jehovah," translated "LORD" is from Exodus 3:14 and means "I am that I am." That is, He always is and He exists of His will. (2) Furthermore, He is the "LORD of hosts" (Zech. 8:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14). That is, He controls the millions of mighty angels, who are His servants.

From time to time many Christians and ministers find themselves in the difficult situation where they possess information that was given to them confidentially and yet they cannot use that information in any constructive way. It seems that if a person prefaces their remarks with a statement such as "This is confidential and it cannot leave this room" or, "Don't tell anyone I told you this," then no matter what follows those statements it is presumed that we are morally bound to keep them secret. How can we promise to keep secret that which we do not yet know? Such unconditional commitments must be avoided if we are to be faithful to Christ. Pastors may especially find themselves in this situation and therefore must make it clear what limitations apply to these situations.