Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The Government of Ontario has allowed churches to reopen with a maximum of 30% capacity, and with a number of restrictions. The Toronto church session has decided not to reopen just yet, and will announce the opening date soon. The church wants to be safe rather than sorry. Today the services will be on sermonaudio, the adult Bible class at 9.00am, and the morning and evening services at 10.00am and 5.30pm. The Sunday evening prayer time is at 4.30pm on Zoom, as is the Wednesday evening prayer meeting at 7.30pm. Next Sunday the services will be as today, but the adult bible class is now closed until September. Those on the mailing list will be informed of any change.
MINISTERS’ PRAYER TIMES
Since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, the North American Free Presbyterian ministers have been meeting weekly for prayer, using Zoom. Four groups of ministers, students, and missionaries meet during the week. The prayer times have been blessed, with the added benefit of drawing the men closer together. Having now used this internet medium where pastors and missionaries, thousands of miles apart, can meet and pray, it is the intent to continue into the future. There will be a lull for July and August but it is the intention to restart in September.
THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH
The keeping of the Sabbath comes as a Christian obligation by divine example, and by divine command. God rested after creation, and in the fourth commandment He instructed us to keep the Sabbath. Its importance can be seen in its priority. It was first mentioned in Genesis, and in the wilderness, before the law was given on Sinai. Notice also its perpetuity, lasting from Genesis through life on earth to heaven (Hebrews 4:9). As to its position, it is the keystone in the arch of the law, spanning man’s duty to God, and to his fellow man. Its primacyamong the holy convocations of Leviticus 23 is evident, as it is the only moral command, the rest being ceremonial.
Christians observe the first-day Sabbath. It is the day of rejoicing and gladness, commemorating the resurrection of Christ (Psalm 118:22-24). By contrast the seventh-day Sabbath was a day of intense sorrow and sadness as Jesus languished in the tomb.
The Christian Sabbath, or Lord’s Day, was observed by the disciples. They met together for the preaching of the Word, sat together in remembrance at the Lord’s table, and collected offerings for the support of God’s work. It was also the day when the apostle John had a vision of the risen and exalted Christ.
Observance of the Lord’s Day is an intelligent practice. We must have rest from toil, perhaps the more with the pressures of early twenty-first century life. We must stop and worship God. There should be solemn preparation for the Lord’s Day. By way of preparation we should take time to meditate upon the Lord, and his goodness. We should pray the Lord to impart some special blessing from His Word as we meet to worship. The Sabbath will not then be a drudgery, but a delight to the soul.
“People who cannot abide the Lord’s Day, cannot abide the Lord” [Thomas Watson].
EVERY CHURCH MEMBER SHOULD….
BE PUNCTUAL. Make it a matter of conscience to be in your seat before the service commences, to secure a few moments for silent prayer. Don’t keep the Lord waiting.
BE REGULAR. Being present in the morning, but absent at night, cannot be good for the soul. Be careful you do not miss the special message God has sent for you in each service.
BE DEVOTIONAL. You are not to be in church as a passive hearer, but an active worshipper. Expect a blessing, and thirst for it. Don’t wait till you come to have your devotional spirit stirred, bring it with you from your closet.
BE SOCIAL. Let your heart embrace in its sympathy and affectionate interest all who worship with you. Let your expression and demeanor show it. Be courteous to strangers.
BE LIBERAL. Bear your own fair share of the church’s financial burdens and give to the Lord the first-fruits of your increase. Give a helping hand to every worthwhile benevolent enterprise to help the needy.
BE PRAYERFUL. Remember that all blessing comes from above, and must be sought by fervent prayer. United prayer is particularly acceptable to God, therefore, attend the church’s prayer meetings where humanly possible. Don’t be spasmodic, but dedicated.
BE EARNEST. Keep watch for the souls of others. Some need salvation, others help in sickness, or sympathy in death. Reach out to them. They will be helped and you will be blessed in your own soul.