Bob DeWaay and Eric Douma at Gospel of Grace Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN have just begun a teaching series on the means of grace. For those unfamiliar with this term, all of the means of grace are commanded of us in Scripture, and when we place ourselves under these means, God will work through them to sanctify us and conform us more and more to the image of Christ. The means of grace are not to be confused with the unbiblical idea of doing works in order to gain salvation, and are historically understood to be:
1) Bible Study (daily)The first lesson in this teaching series is on the Lord's Supper as a means of grace (and can be listened to here). I am particularly interested in this lesson because I have often heard the Lord's Supper taught as an occasion in which we need to reflect deeply on our sins before approaching the table. But isn't this something we are commanded to be doing anyway on an ongoing basis, and most particularly through our Bible study and prayer times? When I was a new believer, I would cry every time I took the Lord's Supper, because I would be so overcome by the joy of thinking about what Christ did for me, how one day He will return for me, how He has forgiven my sins, and that one day I will no longer even have any sin to contend with. But if believers are in a church in which they are constantly being exhorted to examine their sin before taking the Lord's Supper, does it not stand to reason that this joy could evaporate? Don't our sins slay us and break us down? Well, I think the means of grace teaching about the Lord's Supper reclaims that rightful joy that we can have here and now when we dwell on, and marvel over, what the Lord's Supper means for wretched sinners, and why we are to continue this practice until either we die or the Lord comes again to take us home.
2) Prayer (daily)
3) Fellowship with Other Believers (regular and ongoing)
4) The Lord's Supper (regular and ongoing)
5) Baptism (one time)
Many Christians have been taught that the Lord's Supper is more about solemn, mournful examination of themselves than it is joy over recognizing and celebrating what Christ has done for them. If you find this teaching challenging, I would simply ask that you listen to this teaching, and weigh it prayerfully against Scripture.
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Gospel of Grace Fellowship
Means of Grace - Critical Issues Commentary (CIC) Radio Series
Means of Grace, God's Provision for Our Salvation and Sanctification - Critical Issues Commentary (CIC) Article