Read: Psalm 133
We are once again summoned into the classroom in order to learn more about the church of which we are members. The lesson for today is this: In that church in which we live, there is a communion or fellowship of members. This blessing is particularly great and one for which we cannot be thankful enough.
It is a miracle that surprises us, if we stop to think about it, for the very essence of sin is that the sinner is totally absorbed in himself; so much so that his own well-being, wealth, comfort, honor and ease are the only things that concern him. He is even willing to step on the heads of his fellow men to climb the ladder of his own ambition. He will sacrifice unborn children and children of the family, wife and friends, fellow employees and neighbors, if some advantage can be gained by doing this. The sinner is totally self-centered and takes the attitude: “Me first and the devil take the hindmost.”
Suddenly, we are told, we come upon a group of people, each one of which never gives one thought to himself or herself, never for a moment worries about “what’s in it for me,” never is concerned for his own comfort and pleasure; but is completely wrapped up and concerned about others. At whatever price has to be paid, everyone else is important, while I am not.
We may very well ask our teacher: “How is such a great wonder possible?’
He is quick with his answer: “All and every one who believes, being members of Christ, are, in common, partakers of Him and of all His riches and gifts.”
Remember, the Heidelberg Catechism is talking about the work of the Holy Spirit.
By the Holy Spirit in our hearts we are united to Christ. The tie that connects us to Christ is faith, for we are grafted into his body by the graft of faith.
Through faith every one grafted into Christ receives the blessings that He merited on the cross for His beloved church.
Those blessings destroy the selfishness and sin in every member and make him holy and righteous, as Christ Himself is.
In a sense, everyone receives the same gifts and blessings. Jude mentioned in his epistle about “the common salvation;” (vs 3) that is, the salvation all God’s people have in common. All have the forgiveness of their sins, the righteousness of Christ, the hope of glory, the resurrection of the body, etc.
But there is a sense in which each saint has his own unique gifts. Jesus teaches that in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30 – “to every man according to his several ability” receives talents). Psa 68 speaks of Christ at his ascension giving gifts to men (vs18, 19).
God gives to each member of the church gifts that are uniquely his own, for they are given that each may serve his or her own purpose in the body of the church.
This gift of God’s grace makes the communion of saints possible.
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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