Dear Church Family,
They say our last words are our most important ones. St. Peter’s last words to the church are found in 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” That charge is my preaching theme for the year.
But how do we do that? We have an answer: The Means of Grace. Think of them as God’s Toolbox given to the church for the exact purpose of growing us up in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. “The outward and ordinary means, whereby Christ communicates to his Church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer, all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.” Westminster Larger Catechism
Word-The Scriptures preached, read, heard, studied, and digested
Sacraments- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, “The Holy Spirit produces it (faith) in our hearts by the preaching of the holy gospel, and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.” Heidelberg Catechism
Prayer- Philippians 4:6-7- “Do not worry about anything, but in every-thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You will keep hearing about 2 Peter 3:18 and about the means of grace throughout the year from the pulpit. Because I believe they are the God-ordained means to grow us all up in the faith we profess and hold. They are not complicated to identify or to recommend. We are to make “diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.” Westminster Shorter Catechism
It follows a pattern-God initiates and we participate: Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”