July 10, 2005, PM
Text: Lord's Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism
Scripture Reading: Psalm 116; 1 Peter 1:13-25
Your only comfort in life and death is that you belong to Jesus Christ
Q. 1 an important one. Each word is important.
a. "Comfort": What is it? Good replacing bad.
b. "Your": NB singular (cf. "I" of answer). Asks each of you, old/young, male/female.
c. "Only": The comfort is exclusive; there is only one. Life does not have several avenues. There is not one for when life is easy and another for when life is hard.
d. "In life and in death": We might say: Yes, we need a comfort at death or when ill." But what about for life? When life is going well?
e. The believer answers: I am not my own! You? Who is on the throne of your heart? It is good to be set free from yourself.
f. The believer says: I belong to Jesus Christ. NB, not i.d. with "I belong to the church." These should coincide, but there are hypocrites in the church. But if you belong to Christ, you'll be living member of the church.
If you say: I belong to Jesus Christ, you won't look for illusive "silver linings" or place all your hope in a "good prognosis", etc. Only Christ!
g. Body and soul.
h. Life and death.
Already identified. 2nd – 4th par. summarize what he did/does. We will not over-explain. The rest of the HC is taken up by explaining this.
The Comforter does five things:
a. Paid for your sins on the cross: 1 Peter 1:19.
b. Set you free from the power of devil (cf. LD 52).
c. Preserves you: Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18. All things work for your good: Rom. 8:28 (cf. Michelangelo / sculpture / angel example).
d. Assures you of eternal life. Christ's Holy Spirit gives us faith: Heb. 11:1; Heb. 11pp; Heb. 13:14.
e. Makes us heartily willing and ready to live for him. This is not our work but Christ's. A fruit of his work. We make mistakes, but the believer has heart for Christ and is willing and ready for him.
Reference to life and death again (3rd time).
How do you live in the joy of the comfort?
How do you die in it?
Need to know three things (ans. 2).
This knowledge is not intellectual, erudition, academics. It is wisdom to know how to live in the world.
We need to know how to examine ourselves (cf. three parts of self-examination – Lord's Supper form read this morning icw celebration of the Lord's Supper).
The believer is taught these in the HC (cf. structure of HC).
Concl.: May you know this joy:
- Of belonging to Jesus Christ;
- Sins forgiven;
- Set free from power of devil;
- Knowing the Father cares for you;
- Knowing the Holy Spirit is working in you;
- The joy of eternal life.
May you know the joy of being:
The Lord's servant, bound, yet free
Of knowing that your shackles have been broken
Of having been redeemed by grace
Of rendering to God constant praise to God.