The Church: God’s Blessing to the Nations

In many ways the church is a counter-cultural institution. We gather on Sunday morning when many are sleeping in or watching sports on TV. We sing. We pray. We listen to a Book being read and preached. We eat a small piece of bread and drink a small cup of wine. Is this just a strange habit we have picked up, or is there more behind it? Is this something we just do as individuals, doing our own thing, or is God doing something to us and through us in the world? The session has asked me to preach a series of sermons looking what the Bible says about the church. Our focus this morning is Genesis 12:1–3, an important passage, even though the word “church” is not used in it.

“The downside of sin is not only its consequences, but sin itself is an act of deprivation. For me to sin is to deprive myself of the enjoyment of God.” (from a lecture by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.).

“The keynote is not what Abraham has to do for God, but what God will do for Abraham. Then, in response to this, the subjective frame of mind that changes the inner and outer life is cultivated. . . . The all-important thing is that God has acted in the past, is acting in the present, and promises to act in the future.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, pp. 93–94).

“Abram’s calling to leave his land and people did not contain the the slightest suggestion that grace as the ‘wholly other’ would continue to stand over against human life, as though life on earth was not to be sanctified. On the contrary, Abram was promised that he would become the father of a nation, that he would have a name on the earth, and that in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Grace entered life and sanctified it.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 1, p. 75)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

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