The twentieth in a series of sermons
This series of sermon follow the articles of the Belgic Confession to present an bird’s eye view of the main doctrines of the Bible.
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
BELGIC CONFESSION: Article 28: The Obligations of Church Members
We believe that…
since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it,
no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition.
But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline,
by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body.
And to preserve this unity more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to God’s Word, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the church, in order to join this assembly wherever God has established it, even if civil authorities and royal decrees forbid and death and physical punishment result.
And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God’s ordinance
1st READING: 1 Corinthians 12:1–13 (NIV84)
1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.
2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink
Ephesians 4:1–16 (NIV84)
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
5one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
8This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”
9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.