Posts by Nick Batzig

 

While it is the duty of all Christians to visit the sick, it is especially the responsibility of elders and deacons in Christ's church. As we seek to fulfill our Lord's call for us to care for those with mental illness or who are in physical distress, may we also see His hand of providence in bringing to our minds the valuable lessons He is seeking to teach us. There is a reciprocal benefit to pastoral visitation of the sick when we do so with an eye to God's sovereignty and the biblical truth about ourselves. When we purpose to visit those with physical infirmities in order to call on the Lord for them, to bring them the precious truths of His word and to walk beside them with compassion and empathy, the sick are comforted, we are edified and God is glorified.

 

At the very outset of his magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin famously explained that no man can come to a true knowledge of himself if he does not first "contemplate the face of God"...While theologians have made frequent appeal to this statement (both for its profound truthfulness, as well as for its place at the opening of one of the greatest writings in all of church history), it is a truth that held a place of primacy to Calvin in his preaching. 

 

There is one area of supreme importance where growth is always needed yet sadly neglected. It is the need for us to resolve to give our lives to Christ in the worship and service of the local church. In a very real sense, it is right for us to insist that the church should come first in the order of priorities of our lives.

 

As we again enter in on a time of special meditation on the wonder of God manifest in the flesh--come a baby in the manger, let us also meditate on the promised return of God glorified in the flesh--coming as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Let us learn to search the Old Testament to see the mountain tops of prophecy about Christ, but let us do so recognizing the mountain range of which it is a part. Let us celebrate all that the baby in Bethlehem means concerning the promised salvation and judgment of the world. It is all united in the One eternal and everlasting Christ--the just God and Savior. 

 

Tying the Gospel in from the text to the Table is often one of the most challenging--and yet, rewarding--tasks that a minister faces. While there are many ways that the Gospel can be brought to bear on the sacramental meditations at the institution of the Table, the surest way to do so is in prayerful reliance on the Lord to grant such fitting meditations, to know the mechanics of the Gospel, to incorporate lyrics from the great hymns of church history and to learn to think in terms of redemptive-history and the organic unity of the Scripture as it centers on the Person and saving work of Christ.