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Lesson #92—Instituted by Christ

Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 6:00
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Lesson # 92Instituted by Christ


Shorter Catechism Q & A #92

Q. What is a sacrament?

A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ; wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.

Memorize Q&A—Exposition

A sacrament is here called an ordinance or edict instituted established by Christ, and its weight or value should be understood in these words of God concerning his covenant: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7).

A sacrament is established to confirm the unique covenant fellowship between God and us by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ, who presented himself to the Father on our behalf, which he confirmed at what is called the Lord’s Supper—“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).

What does it mean?

Discuss the meaning of:

  • “The new covenant” and “applied to believers”—Gen. 17:7–10, 1 Cor. 11:23–26
  • “Sensible signs”—Ex. 24:7–8, 1 Cor.10: 1–4
  • “Sealed”—Acts 7:8, 1 Cor. 12:13

What is our practice?

By preparation in the Word of God, and in desiring to obey that Word, we not only meet Christ in the sacraments, but walk more worthily of our Savior and Lord in our daily activities.

Quotes for thought and discussion:

“Is there in a sacrament an outward and visible sign? Yes: Behold the blood of the covenant, Exod. 24:8. Is there an inward and spiritual grace? Yes: for that Rock was Christ, 1 Cor. 10:4. Are outward signs of use to inform our understandings? Yes: for in them Christ is evidently set forth crucified among us, Gal. 3:1. Are they of use to refresh our memories? Yes: these stones shall be for a memorial, Josh. 4:7. And to stir up our affections? Yes: They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn, Zech. 12:10. Are they of use to transmit the things of God from generation to generation? Yes: For your children shall ask you, What mean you by this service? Exod. 12:26.” (Matthew Henry)

“I have observed that the Scriptures speak of the Church in two ways. Sometimes when they speak of the Church they mean the Church as it really is before God—the Church into which none are admitted but those who by the gift of adoption are sons of God, and by the sanctification of the Spirit true members of Christ. In this case it not only comprehends the saints who dwell on the earth, but all the elect who have existed from the beginning of the world. Often, too, by the name of Church is designated the whole body of mankind scattered throughout the world, who profess to worship one God and Christ, who by baptism are initiated into the faith; by partaking of the Lord’s Supper profess unity in true doctrine and charity, agree in holding the word of the Lord, and observe the ministry which Christ has appointed for the preaching of it.” (John Calvin, Institutes)

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