Category Archives: Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The Church of the Risen Savior

What is the significance of the resurrection for Jesus, himself? What does it matter to the church and to those who believe in him? When is your resurrection? This week’s reflection deals with those questions.

“The resurrection of Jesus is just as thoroughly messianic and adamic as are his sufferings and death. His resurrection is as equally representative and vicarious as his death. Believers no longer live to themselves but to the Christ, ‘who for their sake died and was raised’ II Cor. 5:15.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., The Centrality of the Resurrection, p. 66).

“The death of Christ is not an end in itself. It is subordinate to a great purpose that can be achieved only through resurrection. . . . To be a Saviour, Christ had to pass through resurrection. It was an integral part of the experience and task assigned to him in the economy of redemption. The resurrection power exercised by the Father in the raising of Jesus, and the resurrection power with which, in virtue of that fact, Jesus is endowed are necessary facts in the plan of salvation. But if so, there needed to be death. For without death resurrection has neither existence nor meaning.” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 88).

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

The Church: A Confessing People

“As Paul wrote from prison to his protégé, Timothy, his mind was focused on how the church was to manage once he and the other apostles had passed from the scene. His answer had two components: a structure in which the governance of the church was put in the hands of ordinary but faithful men, and a form of sound words. Both were necessary. Without structure, the church would have no leadership; without a form of sound words, she would drift from her theological moorings, losing touch with her past and with other congregations in the present. A form of sound words, a confession, was crucial for maintaining both continuity with the apostles and unity among Christians in the present. And that is what our confessional documents do today: they bind us to faithful brothers and sisters in the past and with the same in the present.” (Carl Trueman, “Why Christians Need Confessions,” New Horizons, February 2013).

“God has grounded his church in revelation. He does not content himself with sending his Spirit into the world to turn men to him. He sends his Word into the world as well. Because, it is from knowledge of the truth, and only from the knowledge of the truth, that under the quickening influence of the Spirit true religion can be born.” (“Is the Shorter Catechism Worthwhile?”, Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield–I, p. 382)

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

Your Life Is Hid with God in Christ

“Christ is not only the object of faith and his glorious appearing the pole star of hope but he is also united to believers now in the bonds of mystic union. And they are united to him. Because Christ is united to believ­ers, he is in them in the life they now live upon earth — he is formed in them the hope of glory. And be­cause believers are now united to Christ, they are in him in the glory of his exalted state — their life is hid with Christ in God. Christ is with them where they are; they are with him where he is. A great mystery, beyond doubt. But this is what is true of Christ and his church.” (John Murray, “Structural Strands in New Testament Eschatology.” Unpub­lished manuscript, Westminster Theological Seminary Library, Phila­delphia).

From a handout for the adult Sunday School class at Trinity Presbyterian Church

The Church: God’s Royal House

A godly king, a man after God’s own heart, wants to build a house for God? No wonder Nathan welcomed this (2 Samuel 7). But God had a better plan. He builds his own royal house, as Peter confesses in Matthew 16:13–20.

“Our Lord says emphatically ‘I will build,’ and thereby appropri­ates for himself the the objective task of calling this church into existence by his Messianic acts. Though Pe­ter confessing be the foundation, the church is not of Peter’s or of any human making, the Lord him­self will build it. And not only this, he will supremely rule in it, for out of the fullness of his authority he immediately proceeds to invest Peter with the power of the keys: ‘I will give unto thee.’” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom and the Church, pp. 78-79).

“Peter, a despised Galilean fisherman, stands before the Messiah with the chosen elders of the New Covenant. The great Shepherd gathers the remnant of his people and establishes Israel anew to confess his name. Jesus undertakes God’s own work to rebuild his people.” (Edmund P. Clowney, The Church, p. 40).

“The Church, in short, is a present manifestation of the Kingdom of God and in her the Kingdom’s transforming power operates and from her its life and blessedness flows to form an oasis in the desert of this world’s sin and mis­ery, darkness and death, to which the thirsty traveler may come and drink deeply at the well-springs of salvation.” (Raymond O. Zorn, Church and Kingdom, p. 81).

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

The Church: A Body Served by Elders

Why does a church need elders? How important are they to the life of the church? Acts 20:28–32 helps us see how God expects them to function, and how you and I benefit from their work.

“Jeremiah 23:4 predicts a plurality of faithful shepherds, replacing Israel’s unfaithful kings and priests. The fulfillment of this promise is the body of elders or overseers now given to the church, charged by Paul here and by Peter in 1 Peter 5:2 to shepherd the flock of God—to feed, protect, and discipline God’s people for their growth in grace. Through such shepherds, Jesus, the chief Shepherd, now cares for his sheep.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Let’s Study Acts, p. 255).

“And now he [Paul] was leaving them; they could no longer count upon his personal presence for such pastoral guidance and wise admonition. But, though Paul might go, God was ever with them, and so was God’s word which they had received—the word that proclaimed His grace in redeeming them and His grace in sanctifying them. To God, then, and to this word of His, Paul solemnly committed them.” (F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, NICNT, p. 417).

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

The Praying Prophet

Be careful, as you listen to the thunderings of Amos, that you don’t jump to conclusions about his character. He is not just an angry prophet—he pleads for mercy for Israel. The activity of Amos calls you to fear the justice of God and to throw yourself on his mercy.

Amos is the preacher of justice and retribution par excellence. . . . Jehovah, according to Amos, executed righteousness, not from any lower motive, such as safeguarding the structure of society, or converting the sinner, but from the supreme motive of giving free sway to the infinite force of his ethical indignation. (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 273).

The Wednesday evening Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church tonight focuses on Amos 7.

The Day of the LORD

For Amos the day of the Lord involves a contrast between light and darkness. The language echoes the beginning of creation, when the earth is formless and void. In the darkness God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. One would expect the day of the Lord, then to be a day of brilliant light. But, ironically, and contrary to popular expectation, it will be a day of darkness. It is a day of gloom and judgment because of sin, unconfessed and unrepented of.

The good news is that the concept of the day of the Lord becomes the day of the Lord Jesus Christ as he undergoes judgment in our place and brings us into his glorious light.

“We must be on guard against the small snakes in the dark corners of our hearts. The snake of our unconfessed and uncombatted sin may kill us yet!…The great killer and trampler of snakes must kill the treacherous snake of my sin through the breath of His mouth, through His Spirit.” (Herman Veldkamp, The Farmer from Tekoa, p. 176).

The Wednesday evening Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Amos 5.