Reformed Catechism Week 43 Resources

Week 43 Question:

What are the sacraments or ordinances?

Week 43 Answer:

The sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by his death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.

Week 43 Verse:

Romans 6:4 and Luke 22:19-20

Commentary

So say I of baptism and of the Lord's Supper: ‘In their proper and appointed use they cannot be too highly valued: but, if abused to purposes for which they were not given, and looked to as containing in themselves, and conveying of themselves, salvation to man, they are desecrated.'… Let us Learn, then, from hence, how to use God's ordinances—We should be thankful for them: we should honour them: we should look to God in them, and expect from God through them the communications of his grace and peace. They are to be reverenced, but not idolized; to be used as means, but not rested in as an end. No one is to imagine himself the better, merely because he has attended on any ordinances.
The Lord's Supper…as instituted by Christ…upon this subject I would ground the following advice: 1. Get just views of this ordinance—…none who desire to serve and honour God should abstain from it. Yet no one should think that the performance of this duty has any such charm in it, as to recommend him to God…it is Christ alone that can save us…by whom we are strengthened for all holy obedience…. 2. Seek to realize the great truths declared in it—Here you behold Christ giving himself for you. In the bread broken, and the wine poured forth, you behold his agonies even unto death, even those agonies which have expiated your guilt, and obtained the remission of your sins. Let the sight fill you with holy joy and gratitude; and let it encourage your access to God.… 3. Look forward to the feast prepared for you in heaven—Soon, very soon, shall you be called to "the supper of the Lamb in heaven," and there see the Redeemer and his redeemed all feasting together in endless bliss…. Anticipate, then, this blessed day…and let it be your one endeavour now to get "the wedding garment," that shall qualify you to be acceptable guests at that table.

Charles Simeon (1759–1836). Rector of Trinity Church, Cambridge for 49 years, Simeon was offered the leadership of the church as he was preparing to graduate from the University. At first, the congregants showed their displeasure at his preaching by frequent interruptions and by locking the small doors of their pews so that no one could sit down. Simeon is best known for his 21 volume Horae Homilecticae—a collection of expanded sermon outlines from all 66 books of the Bible (from which this quote is taken).

From “The Bible Standard of Religion” and “The Lord’s Supper” in Horae Homilecticae: or Discourses (Principally in the Form of Skeletons) and Forming a Commentary upon Every Book of the Old and New Testament(London: Holdsworth & Ball, 1832), Volume III, 542–543 and Volume XI, 557–559.

Video Commentary

NCC Q43: What are the sacraments or ordinances? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

 

Prayer

O Jesus, poor and abject, unknown and despised, have mercy upon me, and let me not be ashamed to follow thee. O Jesus, hated, calumniated, and persecuted; have mercy upon me, and let me not be afraid to come after thee. O Jesus, betrayed and sold at a vile price, have mercy upon me; and make me content to be as my Master…. O Jesus, clothed with a habit of reproach and shame, have mercy upon me, and let me not seek my own glory. O Jesus, insulted, mocked, and spit upon, have mercy upon me, and let me run with patience the race set before me. O Jesus, dragged to the pillar, scourged, and bathed in blood, have mercy upon me, and let me not faint in the fiery trial. O Jesus, crowned with thorns and hailed in derision; O Jesus, burdened with our sins, and the curses of the people; O Jesus, affronted, outraged, buffeted, overwhelmed with injuries, griefs, and humiliations; O Jesus, hanging on the accursed tree, bowing the head, giving up the ghost, have mercy upon me, and conform my whole soul to thy holy, humble, and suffering spirit. O thou, who for the love of me hast undergone such an infinity of sufferings and humiliations, let me be wholly "emptied of myself," that I may rejoice to take up my cross daily and follow thee.

John Wesley (1703–1791). An English preacher and theologian, Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles, with founding the English Methodist movement. He travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day, and is said to have preached more than 40,000 sermons. He also was a noted hymn-writer.

From “Forms of Prayer: Friday Morning” in The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, Volume 6 (New York: J. Emory & B. Waugh, 1831), 395–396.