A great part of the Christian life begins in the mind. With the mind we worship and love God. Let the Greeks lift an altar to the unknown God, but we, children of the Living God, surely cannot honor God as we ought, unless we know Him as He is. With the mind we keep the first commandment, living the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. With the mind we image Jesus, "Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:3, NKJV). With the mind we wage war against the flesh, reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6). With the mind we long for heaven, setting our minds above, where Christ is (Col 3:1ff). With the mind we mature in Christ, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. With the mind we share our faith, always ready to give a reason for the hope within (1Peter 3:15). Thinking Christianly, therefore, is a full time occupation. We are to take every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
All this begs the question: are you growing in your intellectual grasp of the Christian faith? What are you doing to foster such growth? This fall at Christ Covenant, your elders are providing a glorious opportunity to expand your minds, and to enlighten the eyes of your heart with the treasure trove of Christian truth. Be sure not to miss it.
In the adult class, Marshall Clement will be joining our elders Jim Van Eerden, Eric Bolton to teach a class on the abiding relevance of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that led the church out of the dark ages of Medieval Catholicism, leading her to recover true worship through the rediscovery of the gospel. Without doubt, the Reformation is one of the great landmark events in the history of mankind. Every adult Christian should feel comfortable discussing it over coffee with friends, delighting in its major figures, forth telling its great ideas and themes, and knowing with doubt why the Reformation still matters today. We have designed this class with these goals in mind. Make every effort to be there. The Feast is ready. Come hungry, you will not be disappointed!
On the youth side of things, Drew and I plan to spend the year helping our young people understand and own the faith of their fathers. Over the three semesters we will strive to unpack the great doctrinal foundations of our faith, help our youth think through the great ethical questions of life, and seek to train them in a daily and weekly strategy for growing up in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Westminster Shorter Catechism will form the back bone of this instruction. With 107 questions, the catechism leads the Christian to a theology of glory, ideas that can be felt deep down in the soul, convictions, we pray, that will shape our children forever.
For many, sadly, the catechism is a dusty old tome (read: tomb). Nothing could be further from the truth, however. It is, what our fathers called, a compendium of saving knowledge, a road map to thinking christianly. Each question begs the next. Like the inevitable falling of a line of dominos, the first question leads to the last. We pray that our young people will grip these truths in their minds. More, we pray that these truths will grip our young people for the rest of their lives. As one of my professors at RTS said, "It is one thing to say your catechism. It is quite another to know it." "You say your catechism when your teacher asks, "Question. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?" and you merrily trot off the answer." "That's saying your catechism. Knowing your catechism is different. Knowing your catechism happens when you stand at the grave of father or mother, and there, standing on the edge of ultimate reality, you say by faith the same words, "The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection." That, boys, is when you know your catechism." Such knowledge takes a lifetime of conversations, and Drew and I count it an honor and a privilege to lean into to the lives of our children these Sunday mornings.
So in the words of our text, this morning, "Prepare your minds for action. Keep sober in Spirit, Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the Revelation of Jesus Christ. May Grace and Peace be yours in the fullest measure."