Why do we include the word, “Reformed” in our name? It may not be what you think…
Col 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
We are not reformed because we believe we do everything right. Just the opposite. We are reformed because we know we don’t do everything right. We need God’s help to walk in his ways and look to his word alone as our guide. 2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
A. Our righteousness only comes from Christ. 2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Is 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
B. We have no power to obey the Lord on our own. The power (dunamis) to obey comes only from God. Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
C. The Lord empowers us by grace to walk in his ways. Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
D. The Lord desires that we walk in his ways (in his law, in the Spirit, in love, in obedience, on the narrow road – these all mean the same thing and look the same in behavior). 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
E. We are blessed by the Lord when he causes us to walk in his ways (in his law, in the Spirit, in love, in obedience, on the narrow road – these all mean the same thing and look the same in behavior). Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1. Blessing – Psalm 119:1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
2. Love – 1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
3. Joy – John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
4. Peace – Prov 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Ps 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. Is 48:18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
5. Safety – Psalm 119:117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! Ps 119:4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. 8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
II. “Reformed” Defined: There are many definitions of the word, “reformed.” What we mean by it is this – we believe we are under the authority of Scripture and know that we need God’s grace to walk in his ways. Practically speaking, being reformed means that everything we teach and do in ministry is subject to the scrutiny of God’s word.
A. Our doctrines (beliefs, teachings) are under the authority of Scripture. Everything we believe and teach is subject to the examination and test of God’s word. Every doctrine, sermon or teaching in the church is subject to the examination from Scripture.
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Tim 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?
2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
1. This flows out of the lordship of God himself. God is the Lord over all.
Ps 103:19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalms 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
Psalms 8:6-8 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
Psalms 47:2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou
2. Christ, the God-man has been made Lord over his church.
Ephesians 1:21-22 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Rom 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
A. The church belongs to Christ, and he purchased it with his own blood.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Psalms 74:2 Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.
1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
B. Our ministries are under the authority of Scripture. (2 Tim 3:16-17) Everything we do as a church, every assembly, every ministry is subject to examination from God’s word. Every ministry or activity in the church is subject to examination from God’s word.
1. The word is written to instruct us as to how we ought to behave in the church. (In the context of elders and deacons in the church) 1 Tim 3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
Psalm 119:104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
2. The word of God is not only the content but also the boundary of what the church should be doing. It alone is sufficient to guide us in everything we do in the church.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Prov 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
C. Why “Reformed?” – To say that we believe that we are under the authority of Scripture does not mean that we are doing everything perfectly according to Scripture. In fact, we know that we are not! That’s the whole point of being reformed. Our hope is that God will continue to reform our beliefs and practices so that they conform to God’s word.
Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1. For us to be reformed means…
A. Our doctrines are to be continually examined by the word of God, for correction.
B. Our ministries are to be continually examined by the word of God for rebuke.
2. This is what separates a church from saying it believes Christ is Lord from applying the belief that Christ is the Lord. No church is perfect, and every church needs reformation in this sense. But will a church examine what it does and have a willingness (God-given) to repent (change) what it is doing to conform more closely to Scripture? Is there anything that we do which cannot be examined from God’s word? We hope not.
A. Our hope is that God will continue to reform us according to his word. Psalm 139:24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
B. We recognize that what may seem right to us, is not necessarily right to the Lord. Only the word and power of God can keep us from turning away from him.
Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Prov 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
C. At the heart of being reformed is the knowledge that God alone leads us in right paths, and those paths can only be found in his word.
Psalms 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
Psalms 25:8-9 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
Psalms 119:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Psalms 119:32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
Psalms 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Psalms 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
A. So, we are Great Commission Reformed Church – the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) is the substance and sum of what God has called the church to do. And we are Reformed, because we believe that God’s word is authoritative over everything we do. May God cause us to believe and walk in his ways! Amen.
B. When God, by his grace, word, Spirit, and power alone, cause us to walk in his ways, the result is blessing, love, joy, peace and safety.
Prov 3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Please call or write us if you have any questions about our church. And we ask that you would pray for us, that God would lead us to repentance according to his ways, found in his word. Thank you!