Excerpt from "First Things" Vol. LXVI No. 20, May 15, 2016
What Does a Gospel Church Look Like?
Our summer Wednesday evening Centerpoint series is titled “’Dear First Presbyterian Church” – What Does a Gospel Church Look Like? This series springs from Dr. Thomas’ current Sunday morning preaching series from the book of Revelation where we find Jesus in the opening chapters addressing seven distinct churches. The Lord has encouragement and challenge for each specific church. A look at these opening chapters inevitably leads to the question, “What would Jesus say to my church?” or, in our case, “What would he say to First Presbyterian Church?”
For seven of the summer lessons, Dr. Thomas will take a closer look at the passages from Revelation 2 and 3 where Jesus addresses the seven churches. As he said, his look at these sections on Sunday morning is like flying over at 30,000 feet. He will take a closer look at each church on those Wednesday evenings during the summer.
In conjunction with a look at the seven churches of Revelation, there will be consideration of other aspects of the Church, from other portions of the Scriptures, led by other ministers. An additional feature of the summer Wednesday evenings will take place in the month of June. Two of our missionaries will be speaking – Scott Andes on June 8 (the ministers will be at the annual Synod meeting) and Dariusz Bry?ko on June 15. Then there will be the special treat of a Camp Joy night on June 22. The South Carolina Camp Joy campers will be loading up on a bus and making their way to our Family Life Center to share their talent night with us. This will be an unusually special evening. For a look at the complete schedule for the summer, go to the church website – www.firstprescolumbia.org.
So where does a consideration of the Church fit into the scheme of things? Haven’t we done this before? It never hurts to be reminded again of the importance of the Church from God’s perspective. You might say that she is two kinds of special ladies. First of all, she is the bride of Christ – the very object of God’s love and affections. She is the one who will be presented to the Lord on the final Day – the ultimate fruit of his sacrifice on the cross. As the angel said to the Apostle John, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
It is John Calvin who has helped us see how the church is a second type of important lady for us. He writes in The Institutes of Christian Religion–
I shall start, then, with the church, into whose bosom God is pleased to gather his sons, not only that they may be nourished by her help and ministry as long as they are infants and children, but also that they may be guided by her motherly care until they mature and at last reach the goal of faith…for those to whom he is Father the church may also be Mother.
The church is the setting where God nourishes us like a mother nourishes her children. This summer, come join us on Wednesday evenings to partake of this nourishment.
Rev. Neal Mathias
This page last updated May 16, 2016.