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Gone to Prepare a Place

Gone to Prepare a Place

 

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also." John 14:2, 3

Saying good-bye is always hard. 

That's especially true for those who love each other. 

It's part of dying, it's separation. 

The bleakness of such a moment is felt when you leave loved ones behind and move away. A congregation and minister encounter that pain when it's time for farewell. Parents stand helplessly silent as their son boards the plane for battle. The tension is most acute at the bedside of our dying loved ones. 

It's hard to say goodbye. We desire the presence of the person whom we love. We're afraid that we may never see them on earth again. 

Our text could be called a lover's farewell. 

Jesus was saying goodbye to his bride. That little band of eleven represented his church. Since he knew the pains of farewell, Jesus also knew that only one promise would console her, "I go…I will come again." To make certain that she understood, he sent angels at the triumphant moment of his ascension to re-affirm his promise, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." 

The Bridegroom was saying goodbye to his bride. 

He was about to leave her to get everything ready for the wedding. 

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The Church in the New Year: Called to Work

The Church in the New Year: Called to Work

Note: Though this editorial was written twenty-five years ago, it is still an applicable word for the church in the year of our Lord, 2019. The year 1994 has been changed to read 2019 in this article.

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What 2019 will mean for the true church in North America is not our concern. We may not speculate. This belongs to the secret things of the counsel of God that are exclusively for him. It is comfort to the Reformed church, as it is to the believer personally, that the new year will be the unfolding of the eternal plan of the sovereign God in the exalted Lord Jesus Christ. 

Our concern is the revealed will of God for the church. His will is that the church work. The reason for the continuation of history in this new year is the church. God has a church that must be gathered and saved. Since the Son of God gathers, defends, and preserves this church "by his Spirit and word" (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 54) and since he does this through the instrumentality of the true church, the true church has a calling to work. 

It is the true church that has a sacred, solemn mandate from the Lord. 

The true church is the instituted congregation that is sound in doctrine, pure in the administration of the sacraments, and faithful in the exercise of discipline (Belgic Confession, Art. 29). 

There is also a false church, characterized by rejection of the authority of Holy Scripture and corruption of the gospel of grace. She too has a work. Her work is to hate and oppose the true church. She has her mandate from the devil. 

The departing church has one calling from the Lord, and one only: Repent! It belongs to the work of the true church that she bring this calling from the Lord to the church that is in the process of falling away from the truth. 

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To be Church: Upholder of the Truth

It is the honor and privilege of the church to be the upholder of the truth in the world. The church preserves and promotes the truth. The truth depends upon the church as a great building rests upon its supporting pillars and stands solidly on its foundation. Take away the church, and the truth disappears from the world. Upholder of the truth is what the church is. This belongs to her essence as she has been created by the Spirit of...

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