31 December 2012

The Order of Salvation (Ordo Salutis)

Adult Sunday school class on the Ordo Salutis by Elder Mark Van Drunen.

24 December 2012

Candlelight Christmas Eve Service

We invite you
to join us for our
Christmas Eve
at 7pm
24 December 2012

Everyone is

    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    “Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

11 December 2012


Our expectations of this life are far too great and those of the life to come are way too small.  These unrealistic expectations, when disappointed, lead to much of the depression and discouragement experienced by professing Christians.  As the wise man observes, Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prv 13:12).  Either delayed gratification or unmet expectation will “sicken” the soul with disappointment.  Many modern Christians are sick because they know not what to expect from life in a fallen world and cannot begin to anticipate the glorious life of heaven.  Having expectations “out of whack” they live an imbalanced, unstable and disheartened Christian life.

Let us start with this life.  What should we expect?  At the very least, according to Genesis 3, we should anticipate painful childbirths, fractured relationships, wearisome toil, exasperating problems and inevitable death.  This explains, in part, why Paul calls it the present evil age (Gal 1:4).  Sin has infiltrated, contaminated and devastated every aspect of human life such that our Lord Himself made reference to this adulterous and sinful generation (Mk 8:38).  It is an evil generation! (Lk 11:29).  Death has spread to all men (Ro 5:12) and cemeteries litter the earth’s surface as reminders of sin’s ruinous consequences.  The golden years of retirement are actually evil days and days of darkness (Eccl 12:1; 11:8).  No wonder Solomon threw up his hands at one point and exclaimed, All is vanity! (Eccl 1:2).  In addition, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1Jn 5:19).  Satan has usurped authority in this age and as the god of this world he has blinded the minds of the unbelievers (2Cor 4:4).  So the mass of unbelieving humanity, unable and unwilling to grasp spiritual truth (1Cor 2:14), now hates the light (Jn 3:20), hates the Lord (Ro 1:30) and hates the followers of Christ (Jn 15:19).  We should not be surprised, therefore, at the fiery trial when it comes upon us as though something strange were happening (1Pt 4:12).  We should expect it!  John says the world is passing away along with its desires (1Jn 2:17).  It is a fallen world, a futile age, a fading universe.  Here we must eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Is 30:20).  God in His mercy continues to bestow good things on just and unjust alike (Mt 5:45).  But all our days are full of sorrow, and our work is a vexation.  Even in the night our hearts do not rest (Eccl 2:23).  Should we not then frame our expectations of this life according to the biblical perspective and thereby avoid the heart-sick condition of dashed expectations?

Let us now consider the life to come.  What should we expect?  Paul alludes to what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him, and he tells us that God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit (1Cor 2:9-10).  That is, in Scripture we discover revelations of future blessedness, wonderful glimpses of heavenly glory.  Of course language itself fails to describe that remarkable state adequately, but the Bible provides plenty of revelatory gist for the mill of sanctified imagination!  With those ancient saints we desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one (Heb 11:16).  The heavenly Jerusalem of pure gold, clear as glass, has the glory of God so that its radiance is like a most rare jewel (Rev 21:11, 18).  The Lamb Himself illuminates this glorious city in which there never will be any darkness or corruption or sin (Rev 21:25-27).  In the midst of this city runs the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, and on either side is found the tree of life bearing twelve kinds of fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:1-2).  From this place will be removed all griefs and sorrows because God Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain (Rev 21:4).  Paul considers present hardships light momentary afflictions when he compares them to this eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:17).  This we may expect as Christians!  We need not lost heart!  If we frame our expectations biblically, we may avoid the heart-sick condition and live a faithful, hopeful, productive Christian life awaiting the adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies (Ro 8:23).  With Paul we may consider the sufferings of this present time unworthy of comparison with that glory to be revealed to us (Ro 8:18).

The standing ministry of any church must try to help Christians frame their expectations along biblical lines.  Our preaching and teaching must highlight the reality of sin and misery on the one hand, and the truth of heavenly blessedness on the other.  The Lord Jesus Christ has dealt with the one and secured the other.  While unmet expectations sicken the heart, a desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Prv 13:12) and sweet to the soul (Prv 13:19).  May we press on by faith in the promise of God, and look forward to the day when our expectations are not only met but greatly exceeded.