Volume. XXXiii, No. 24
Sunday, 09 December 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: How to be Godly (Part 5)

While we pay attention to the importance of the Word of God, we should remember to pray for the laborers of the Word for harvest (Matthew 9:38).  It is because the harvest is ready (John 4:35).  The first public means is the ministry of the Word.  The second public means is the sacraments. 


Sacraments confirm the Word


We may need a brief survey of the Westminster Confession of Faith to know of the sacraments as the first public means of grace.  Westminster Confession of Faith 27.1 reads, “Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ, and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him: as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.”  27.4 reads, “There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.”  7.6 reads, “Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament.5 There are not therefore two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.”  In brief summary, (1) there are two sacraments: the Lord’s Supper and the Baptism.  (2) Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace.  (3) Sacraments are inseparable from the Word of God.  Both sacraments must be dispensed by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained. 


When believers come forward to be baptized or to partake of the Lord’s Supper, they must come by trusting in God and walking in uprightness of heart.  By joining in the sacraments, we publicly declare our sincerity and profess our consecration to the Lord.  Having understood all of them, the next question is, “how could the sacraments be a means of grace?” 


Baptism is a means


Westminster Confession of Faith 28.1 reads, “Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.”  It teaches us that there are benefits of baptism as long as the baptized live.  It is because we are engrafted into Christ and one with Christ.  Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace that Christ lives in us.  Through this union, we have perpetual union and fellowship with Christ, from which we draw strength and grace from Him.  He is the vine and we are branches, and thus we live the Christian life.  Christ’s renewing power is signified and sealed by baptism.  In order to be baptized, we must recognize our sins and confess, and repent of them before God.  We also must confess our personal faith in Jesus Christ who was born in the flesh through a virgin, lived and died though He was innocent, rose again on the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will come again someday.  Baptism teaches and reminds us of all such important truths and requires that we confess our personal faith in public, which is also a great help that baptism brings to the believers.  In this newly found relationship, by being engrafted into Christ, we are constantly reminded and encouraged to follow Christ and live for Him.  Baptism is likewise a means of grace.


The Lord’s Supper is a means


Westminster Confession of Faith 29.1 reads, “Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein He was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of His body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in His Church, unto the end of the world for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of Himself in His death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto Him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body.”  By reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-30, we can easily find a few lessons about blessings we can draw from the Lord’s Supper: (1) there is constant remembrance of the Lord; (2) no one should partake of it unworthily; (3) everyone should examine himself before partaking of it and (4) it will be observed till Jesus comes again.  Then, how should we understand the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace?

1. We are required to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Supper before we partake of it. (a) We must test and examine ourselves if we have the knowledge and understanding of man’s sin and misery, redemptive work of Christ, and eternal life.  If we do not have such knowledge, then we are not to partake of it.  Thus, whenever we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Supper, we remember them all, which encourages us to live according to the truths of Jesus.  (b) We must hold fast to the truths concerning Christ and His salvation by faith.  Whenever we come to the Lord’s Table, we confess and demonstrate our faith in Christ.  (c) We must keep our hearts diligently by renouncing and subduing all sins, as a part of our preparation for the Lord’s Supper.  (d) We must be reconciled to all and do not come to the table by harboring any enmity or animosity against anyone.  We must be at peace with all men.  (e) We must have holy desires to partake of the Lord’s Table.  In preparing ourselves to partake of the Lord’s Supper, we will repent of our sins, examine, and sanctify ourselves.  We know that even good men sometimes fall into sloth, darkness, and corruption.  While we prepare ourselves to come to the Lord’s Supper, we find our weakened faith and decayed minds by the grace of God.  This grace comes while we are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s Supper.  We are given opportunities to humble ourselves to God and to recover ourselves from our weakened and dimmed state.  It is grace, and the Lord’s Supper is a means to experience it. 

2. We are required to receive the Lord’s Supper with utmost care. Now we come to the Lord’s Supper with prepared heart and mind.  We are happy to receive the broken bread and the cup with gladness of heart.  (a) We are reminded that the bread is the broken body of Christ, which is our spiritual meat/food indeed (John 6:55), and the cup signifies the blood He shed on the cross.  It must deeply impress upon our hearts that the Saviour’s life was given away to redeem us from our sins.  (b) We must be reminded that there is Christ in the Lord’s Supper, because we partake of the Lord’s Supper only in remembrance of Him.  (c) We are comforted that it was Christ who made our salvation possible through the Lord’s Supper.  Then, our salvation is secure and permanent.  No one will be able to take our salvation away from us.  We have the assurance of salvation whenever we come to the Lord’s Table.  It is not our merits or works that accomplished our salvation but Christ.  We are given opportunities to thank Him for His sacrifice and to commit ourselves once again unto Him.  We understand that Christ invites us to His table (with the gift of His life for us), and we consecrate ourselves to Him once again.  It is all of God’s grace we experience through the Lord’s Supper, which is a means of grace.  It could be easily understood by most of us.  When we feel any burdens of sin in our hearts, we tend not to partake of the Lord’s Supper, because we understand that we must not partake of it unworthily.  Thus, the Lord’s Supper works as a means of grace by helping and assisting us to tackle sin problems within us and to conquer our lusts.  By which, the strength of sin will be weakened, and we will be encouraged to live a godly life.  These are the benefits of the Lord’s Supper. 


We ought to remember the end of people who despised the sanctity of the Lords’ Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:30. They became ill and also died.  The sin of not properly examining themselves brought severe consequential punishment from God.  It clearly and strongly implies that there is the grace of repentance, restoration, and renewal in it.  While we are preparing ourselves and receiving the Lord’s Supper, we experience immeasurable grace of God. 



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Uncle Wong is now in respite. For details, please see any of the Session members.
  • Deepest sympathy to Sis Natalie Ki & family on the home-going of her maternal grandmother.
  • There will be no English Basic Bible Knowledge Class until 24 Feb 2019 & no Adult Sunday School until early Feb 2019.
  • There will be a Christmas Fellowship Lunch following the Christmas Worship Service. For those who do not have emails but would like to contribute or be involved, please see Elder Michael D Lee.
  • For Watchnight Service – all are encouraged to attend. Please come to share your testimony about what God has done in your life this year.
  • Flower roster for 2019 is now all filled up. Many thanks to those who have signed up.
  • Hope Bookshop is selling Christmas cards $2 ea. Buy 5 cards, get 1 free.
  • New RPGs (Junior & Adult) for Jan-Mar 2019 available in the Foyer now. Donation $1/ copy.
  • Our church theme for next year is “Train Yourself for Godliness” from 1 Timothy 4:7.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: Volunteers. Next week: AFG.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • Precept Seminar – for the speakers & participants.



  • God’s comfort in grief: Sis Natalie Ki & family.
  • Missions: India.
  • Ebenezer BPC (Melb) – unity of doctrine & fellowship; new pastor.
  • Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family – for God’s guidance.
  • God’s guidance for new married & working life in S’pore – Sis Wendy (Liang) Tiong.




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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041