• The Sword and the Keys

    Romans 13:3–7

    Based on the distinct vocations of the church and the state, the principle of the separation of church and state, rightly administered, is biblical. Unfortunately, the separation of church and state in our day is often distorted into the separation ...Read More

  • God’s Word to His Covenant People

    Romans 9:1-3

    God’s Word is delivered to all of the members of the visible covenant community. But the members of the invisible covenant community show themselves to be His elect people by taking the warnings about staying in faith seriously, repenting, and ...Read More

  • Teachers

    James 3:1

    God holds accountable all of the teachers in His church, whether they lead the two-year-old Sunday school class or teach a graduate-level seminary course. Thus, all Christian teachers must study diligently and work hard to present their subjects clearly and ...Read More

  • Deacons

    Matthew 25:31–46

    Jesus tells us very clearly that those who want to be great in the kingdom of God must serve others (Matt. 23:11). None of us should ever think that we are too good or hold too high of a position ...Read More

  • Bishops/Elders

    1 Peter 2:12

    We are to take the words and example of our elders seriously because they prepare us for the judgment seat of Christ. They preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, and discipline us so that we might be converted, brought back ...Read More

  • Apostles

    Ephesians 2:19–20

    The prophets and apostles have given us a sure foundation—the inerrant and infallible Scriptures. We do not expect God to give us new revelation today but only to lead the church into a deeper understanding of the truth He has ...Read More

  • Embracing the Penitent

    Luke 15:11–31

    Although not everyone who has been subjected to church discipline repents, there are many times when a disciplined sinner is humbled by the church’s treatment and, forsaking sin, returns to the fold. When this happens, church leaders and laypeople must ...Read More

  • The Authority of the Church

    1 Corinthians 5

    Today’s passage is a proof text for question and answer 85 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which deals with how church discipline opens and shuts the door to the kingdom of heaven. Excommunication shuts the door by declaring that the excommunicated ...Read More

  • The Key of Church Discipline

    Psalm 7:11–13

    Dr. R.C. Sproul has often said that we must first understand the bad news if we are going to know the good news of the gospel. There is bad news for all the natural-born sons and daughters of Adam: ...Read More

  • The Church and Forgiveness

    John 20:19–23

    John Calvin comments that Christ “does not convey to [the Apostles and their successors] what is peculiar to himself. It belongs to him to forgive sins… . [Instead, He] enjoins them, in his name, to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, ...Read More

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