Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Worship Catechism (6)

33. What is meant by communing with God?

Communing with God is beholding of the glory of the Triune God, directly and indirectly, in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:18-4:4) as the Holy Spirit illuminates our imagination with truth, resulting in a desire to bless and magnify that glory, and become more like it in character.

34. Why is the glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ?

The Son has always been the radiance of God’s glory and the perfect expression of God (Heb 1:3; John 1:18, 14:9), and the Father has chosen to make Him the focal point of salvation and worship (Eph 1:10-12; Phil 2:9-10; Col 1:16-20).

35. How is the Spirit the means of communion?

The Spirit is Himself the communion between Father and Son, and His indwelling enables us to behold as the Father does, become as the Son is, and beautify as He does. The Spirit’s primary way of revealing Christ in this age has been to inspire the Scriptures (2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16), indwell believers (1 Cor 6:19) and then illuminate hearts to understand God’s mind in Christ (1 Cor 2:1-14).

36. How do we behold the glory of God directly?

We behold God’s glory directly when we seek His revealed presence in the Word of God, through public and private worship: meditation, prayer and praise.

37. How do we behold the glory of God indirectly?

We behold God’s glory indirectly when we seek His reflected presence in His works of creation, redemption and providence, through perpetual worship: obedience, gratitude, service, discernment and stewardship of our various vocations.

38. What is meant by illumination?

Illumination is the Holy Spirit’s work of opening the eyes of our affections (Eph 1:18) to recognise and experience the reality and beauty of truth about God.

A Worship Catechism (5)

29. What has the Father done to enable us to abide in God’s presence?

The Father lovingly chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2), and so will never condemn us (Ro 8:34) or forsake us (Heb 13:5; Jo 10:27-29), but has adopted us into His family (Eph 1:5) and reserved our inheritance (1 Pet 1:4). This love prompts us to worship in His presence.

30. What has the Son done to enable us to abide in God’s presence?

The Son’s perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension and High Priestly work has propitiated God’s wrath (1 Jo 2:2), forgiven our sins (Col 2:13-14; Eph 1:7), justified us (Rom 5:1, 2 Cor 5:21), reconciled us with God (Rom 5:10; Col 1:21; 2 Cor 5:18), regenerated and given us eternal life (Col 2:13, Jo 1:12), sanctified us (1 Corinthians 6:11), and seated us with Christ in the heavenlies (Philippians 3:20, Ephesians 2:6) through our union with Him (Ro 6:4-10). Being thus accepted (Eph 1:6) and completed (Col 2:9-10), we have every permission to worship in His presence (Heb 10:19-22)

31. What has the Spirit done to enable us to abide in God’s presence?

The Spirit regenerates us (Titus 3:5; Jo 3:3-9), and then indwells us (1 Cor 6:19, Ro 8:9-10) thereby imparting the very life of Christ and divine nature to us (Gal 2:20; 1 Jo 3:24), being the seal and down-payment of our future glorification (2 Co 1:22; Eph 1:13-14; 4:30). Being God’s Spirit indwelling our Spirit, He reveals the things of God (1 Cor 2:10-13) using the Word of God, and illuminates Christ’s beauty to the seeking heart (Jo 15:26, 16:14), giving us both desires and enablement to love God (Phil 2:13). We thus have the power to worship in His presence.

32. What takes place as we abide?

Abiding is a three-fold cycle of communing and conviction, confession and consecration, cleansing and conformity.

A Worship Catechism (4)

23. How does God accomplish this love in us?

God sheds His love abroad in our hearts by work of grace: changing our natures to love His glory, changing our exposure to His glory in His presence, and by changing those nurturing influences in our lives that will shape our love for Him. (Deut 30:6, Jer 31:33-34, Ezekiel 11:19-20, 2 Corinthians 3:3).

24. How is God’s glory seen and loved?

God’s glory is known where His presence is revealed (Ex 33:12-34:7).

25. How is God’s presence manifest?

God’s presence is manifest in three increasing degrees: first, His reflected presence, manifest omnipresently in the created order (Ps 139:7-12); second, His revealed presence, manifest by His Incarnate Son and His indwelling Spirit’s illumination (John 14:23) ; third, His realised presence, manifest in Heaven (Rev 21:3).

26. What is the glory of the new covenant?

After the ascension of Christ, the revealed presence of God may now be known through the indwelling of the Spirit (John 14:16-23), for we are in Christ, and Christ is in us ( John 6:56, cf. 17:23, 17:26, Gal 2:20 Eph 1:3, Col 1:27).

27. What are we to do in His presence to behold His glory, become like His glory, and beautify His glory?

Christ commands us to abide: to dwell in a state of communion in which we behold Him, reflect Him, and magnify Him ( John 15:4-5, Eph 3:16-19).

28. What has God done to enable us to abide in His presence?

Each of the Persons of the Godhead have worked differently and yet in unison to enable believers to commune with God in His presence and so love Him ultimately (1 Pet 1:2).

A Worship Catechism (3)

15. How does the Father magnify God’s beauty?

The Father magnifies the glory of God as Beholder, by delighting in it and declaring its uniqueness to all (Is 42:1, Mt 3:17, 17:5).

16. How does the Son magnify God’s beauty?

The Son magnifies the glory of God as Beauty, by expressing it and displaying its radiant beauty (Jo 1:14, 18, 14:9, Col 1:15, Heb 1:3).

17. How does the Spirit magnify God’s beauty?

The Spirit magnifies the glory of God as Beautifier, by diffusing its beauty and revealing it as He desires (Jo 15:26, 16:14).

18. How does God’s love for God affect ours?

God’s own love for Himself is imputed to us at justification, and imparted to us by the work of sanctification (Jo 17:26, 14:23, Rom 5:5, 1 Jo 4:19).

19. How do we love God as the Father does?

We love as the Father does when we behold the beauty of God and confess the utter uniqueness of God, loving Him as an end and not as a means. (Deut 6:4-5, 1 Jo 5:21).

20. How do we love God as the Son does?

We love as the Son does when arising from this beholding, we wish to become like His glory by being changed into His image, imaging Christlikeness in all we think and do (Jo 14:15, 21, 2 Cor 3:18).

21. How do we love God as the Spirit does?

We love as the Spirit does when arising from this Christlikeness, we desire to spread the praise and glory of God to all creation (1 Cor 10:31, Phil 1:20-21).

22. What then is loving God?

Loving God is beholding His glory, becoming like His glory, and blessing His glory as our ultimate end and supreme desire.

A Worship Catechism (2)

8. Can we love anything or anyone besides God?

Ultimate love for God demands that we love all that God loves, for His sake (Matthew 10:37).

9. How can we love people or things for God’s sake?

First, we can love what reflect and reveals the Creator (James 3:9, Ps 19:1, Jas 1:17). Second, we can love all that God commands us to as an act of loving obedience (Jo 14:15, 13:34, 1 Pet 2:17). Third, we can love what God loves and hate what He hates (Mt 5:43-45, 25:31-46, Prov 6:16-19, Phil 4:8).

10. What kind of love should we give to God?

Our love for God should correspond to His supremacy and His holy nature. He should be ultimate in our loves, and we should love Him with ordinate affection.

11. What is ordinate affection?

Ordinate affection is the holy desire for God, in intention and expressions, that corresponds with God’s nature.

12. What is the danger of loving God wrongly?

Our hearts may deceive us into loving a god in our own image, or rejoicing in our own feelings. God is unworthy of inordinate affection, and of undiscerning expressions of worship.

13. How can we love God ultimately, supremely, and appropriately?

God must graciously reveal Himself to us (Mt 11:25-27, 1 Jo 4:19), and then teach our hearts to respond appropriately to Him (Ps 34:11, Phil 1:9-11, Heb 5:14).

14. How does God reveal Himself?

Within the Triune Godhead, the three Persons work differently and yet in harmony to magnify the Beauty of God and bring the sinner to taste and see this glory (Eph 1:3-14).