Grace Legacy Builders https://gracelegacybuilders.org/ Equipping Men As Spiritual Leaders Thu, 28 Oct 2021 16:21:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 Westminster Assembly and The Directory of Family Worship https://gracelegacybuilders.org/october/ Thu, 28 Oct 2021 11:51:53 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28352 The Month of October’s featured writer will be the “Westminster Assembly”. They wrote the Directory of Family Worship” to accompany and interweave it with the Westminster Confession of Faith. The Confession is the Theology while the Directory is the Methodology. Just like Deuteronomy 6, interlaces God’s theology with God’s methodology. IE God’s Will, God’s Way, […]

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The Month of October’s featured writer will be the “Westminster Assembly”. They wrote the Directory of Family Worship” to accompany and interweave it with the Westminster Confession of Faith. The Confession is the Theology while the Directory is the Methodology. Just like Deuteronomy 6, interlaces God’s theology with God’s methodology. IE God’s Will, God’s Way, or NO Way!

People wonder why their theology or methodology isn’t working; it is because theology and methodology are intermingled, interlaced, interwoven as one. They should not be separated. The awe of Mt Sinai of Deut. 5 annexes every house as the application in of Deut. 6. God gives the law to Moses who is is God’s messenger. Moses has a simple methodology to make this theology known quickly and effectively – in devotion, discipline, yet with diversity. Moses’s messengers are the Father’s of every household. Very simple and effective.

“In 1647 on the 24th August, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approved guidelines for Family Worship…the Assembly doth further require and appoint ministers and ruling elders to make diligent search and enquiry, in the congregations committed to their charge respectively, whether there be among them any family or families which use to neglect this necessary duty; and if any such family be found, the head of the family is to be first admonished privately to amend his fault; and in the case of his continuing therein, he is to be gravely and sadly reproved by the session; after which reproof, if he be still found to neglect Family-worship, let him be, for his obstinacy in such an offence, suspended and debarred from the Lord’s Supper, as being justly esteemed unworthy to communicate therein, until he amend.

The Directory for Family Worship, 1647 (modernized)

APPROVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, FOR PIETY AND UNIFORMITY IN SECRET AND PRIVATE WORSHIP, AND MUTUAL EDIFICATION, WITH AN ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1647 FOR OBSERVING THE SAME DIRECTIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONCERNING SECRET AND PRIVATE WORSHIP, AND MUTUAL EDIFICATION; FOR CHERISHING PIETY, FOR MAINTAINING UNITY, AND AVOIDING SCHISM AND DIVISION

By God’s mercy, public worship has been established in this land in great purity. Besides this however, it is both expedient and necessary for each person to be involved in “secret worship”, and for families to worship together privately as a family. By this, along with our national reformation, the profession and power of godliness, both personal and domestic, shall be advanced.

  1. And first, for secret worship, it is most necessary, that everyone take part in private prayer and meditation. This practice brings benefits that are impossible to describe, and which are only fully appreciated by those who are most careful to put it into practice. This is the means whereby, in a special way, one communes with God, and is properly prepared for the Christian life. Therefore it is necessary that pastors encourage everybody to this practice, morning and evening, and at other times as well. But it is also the duty of the head of every family, to take good care that both they themselves, and those in their care are diligent in this practice every day.
  1. The ordinary duties which should be part of a godly family met for family worship are these:

Firstly, prayer and praise touching the life and present needs of the church at large, the nation, and of every member of the family.

Secondly the reading of the Scriptures, with a plain explanation of the text so that all [children especially] may be better able to benefit from attendance at public worship, and profit from their own private reading. As well, there should be some discussion with application to all members of the family, with appropriate rebukes & corrections explained by those in authority in the home.

  1. Just as the duty and office of interpreting the Scriptures is a ministerial office, and no-one regardless of their qualifications should usurp that without being properly called and set apart for that office, so too it is the specially called duty of the head of the family, to read the scriptures plainly to the family. After this, it is commendable that there be some discussion and application of what has been read. For example, if in the reading there is some sin rebuked, then the whole family should be warned against it and urged to be watchful. If there is a Divine judgment threatened, or described, then all should be cautioned lest through their complacency and lack of watchfulness, the same judgment, or even something worse, should come upon them.
  • Finally, if there is some duty commanded, or some comfort promised, this can be used to stir up each one to seek Christ’s strength to perform that duty, or to seek His gracious provision of that comfort. In all of this the head of the family is to give the lead, and family members should seek answers to their questions and doubts from him.
  1. The head of the family is to take care that no-one in the family withdraws from family worship. Further, since the responsibility for family worship belongs to the head of the home, the minister is to stir up those who are lazy, and train those who are weak, so that all will be equipped properly. It is also quite proper for a man to engage anyone else approved by the Presbytery to train him and his family. Then too if the head of the family is unfit to lead family worship, another member of the family approved by the minister and session may be given that task. The minister and session are accountable to the presbytery for those whom they recommend in this way. If through the providence of God the minister should be present and convene family worship, he should do so with the whole family present, unless there are special reasons [eg something that should be discussed privately] for meeting only with some.
  1. No-one who is lazy, whose Christian faith is unknown, or who is unsettled in their faith should be allowed to lead family worship even if they volunteer themselves. This is the way error subtly and deceitfully enters homes, causes division, and leads the gullible and unthinking astray.
  1. Family worship should be kept a private matter, and not the opportunity for wider invitations to others, unless they are visitors in the home, or guests for meals, etc. when they should most definitely be invited to be a part.
  1. Even though God has clearly used and blessed the gathering together of different families for worship in times of great difficulty and trouble [when the usual order of things can be often overturned] yet in times of peace and stability and gospel purity, we believe that multiple gatherings of families should not be encouraged. It tends to limit the fuller participation of each family and family member; and in time can prejudice against the need for public ministry, cause divisions between families in congregations, and even split the Church. All this can be the entry point for further error, cause the ungodly to harden their hearts further, and bring great grief to the godly.
  1. On the Lord’s Day, after every member of the family separately, and the whole family together have sought the Lord to prepare their hearts and fit them for worship and make that time a blessing to them, the head of the home is to take care that all under his care then attend public worship and be part of the local congregation. Then, after public worship is concluded, and a time of prayer, he is to go over what they have heard with them. The rest of the day ought to be set apart for catechising and discussing some aspect of the Word of God together. Alternatively, family members should give themselves to:
  • private reading,
  • contemplation and
  • prayer,

so that their own fellowship with God is increased. All of this is so that the blessing and benefits of publicly gathering together will be increased and appreciated properly, and each person given a greater appreciation of Eternal Life.

  1. All those who can pray should do so remembering that prayer is a gift from God to be used, and those who are young in the faith can well begin by using set outlines for prayer. However they should not be content with that, or use it as an excuse for spiritual sluggishness. Rather, in their own private devotions they should frequently and earnestly ask God to enable them to pray, by moving their hearts to think of and their mouths to express, those things that are necessary for their family. A sample set form is outlined below:

Prayer should include:

  • Confession as to their unworthiness to come before God in prayer and worship, and an earnest desire that He would grant a truly prayerful spirit.
  • Confession of sin, both individual and family, and in such a way as to bring about true humiliation.
  • The earnest, Spirit-led, pouring out of the soul’s cry to God for forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.
  • Thanksgiving to God for His many mercies to His people, to themselves particularly, and especially for his love in Christ, and for the light of the gospel.
  • Prayer for such particular spiritual and temporal blessings as are needed at the time [whether morning or evening] whether in health, sickness, prosperity or adversity.
  • Intercessory prayer for the church of Christ in general, for all churches where reformed doctrine and practice are evident, and for their local church in particular; for all who suffer for the sake of Christ; for all in positions of authority and government, the royal household, those in the administration of justice, ministers, the whole body of the local congregation, as well as for their neighbors.
  • Closing with an earnest desire that God would be glorified in the coming of the kingdom of His Son, and in the doing of His will; with confidence that their prayers have been heard, and that what they have asked according to His will shall be done.

10. The exercise of family worship should be sincere, and without delay, avoiding all worldly distractions, and hindrances, and in spite of any scorn from atheists and worldly men. And to better bring this about, the leading men and all the elders of the Church, should stir up themselves and their own families to this practice. Not only that, but they should also agree to try and introduce family worship into all the families they have under their spiritual care.

11. Besides the ordinary duties in family worship as mentioned above [2], there are special duties of humiliation, repentance and thanksgiving which should be carefully attended to within families when [either in public or in private] the Lord calls them forth by His providential workings.

12. Because the word of God requires that we should consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, every member of the Church should always be diligent to stir up themselves and others in the duty of mutual edification. This is especially necessary in these days when profanity abounds, and when mockers are amazed that we will not follow them in their lusts and excesses. This common encouragement comes by:

  • Instruction,
  • Admonition, and
  • Rebuke,

As each exhorts the other to show the grace of God by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; in living godly, soberly and righteously in the world; and by comforting the faint hearted and praying with and for one another. These things will be especially necessary when others seek advice and comfort in times of calamity, or when an offender is to be reclaimed through private rebuke by one or more as set down in the Bible.

13. Not everyone is always able to give the right counsel to one who is wearied or distressed in conscience. If in such cases, after pursuing all private and public means, there is still no peace, they should then seek out their own Pastor, or some other experienced Christian. However, if the circumstances are such that discretion, modesty, or fear of scandal require a second person present as a witness, [eg because of the sex or state of the person in trouble] this should be done.

14. In the providence of God members of different families are often brought together away from home through employment, or other reasons. As they would want the Lord’s presence with them wherever they are, so also they should want to obey God and not neglect the duties of prayer and thanksgiving. They should therefore arrange for the one best equipped among them to lead them in “family” worship. They should also take care that no corrupting speech come forth from their mouths, but only that which is good and edifying, which brings grace to their hearers.

The purpose and scope of all these directions is twofold.

  • Firstly that the power and practice of godliness amongst all ministers and members of the Church whatever their calling, may be cherished and advanced, and that all irreligiousness and mocking of the Christian life will be stopped.
  • Secondly, that no meetings or practices be allowed which are likely to breed error, scandal, schism, contempt or disregard for public worship and the ministry, the neglect of one’s Christian duty, or any other evils which are the works, not of the Spirit of God, but of the flesh, and contrary to truth and peace.

 

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7 Figures: Family Structure and Economic Success – From The Acton Institute https://gracelegacybuilders.org/7-figures-family-structure-and-economic-success-from-the-acton-institute/ Thu, 30 Sep 2021 12:23:55 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28354 Family structure is one of the most significant, though oft-overlooked, factors that affect the economic fortunes of Americans. A new study from AEI titled “For Richer or Poorer” documents the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America and shows how radically it can affect income. Here are seven figures you should know from […]

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Family structure is one of the most significant, though oft-overlooked, factors that affect the economic fortunes of Americans. A new study from AEI titled “For Richer or Poorer” documents the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America and shows how radically it can affect income.

Here are seven figures you should know from the study:

1. The growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today.

2. At least 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families.

3. Young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families.

4. Men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income compared to their single peers.

5. Black men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $12,500 in their individual income compared to their single peers.

6. Men with a high-school degree or less enjoy a marriage premium of at least $17,000 compared to their single peers.

7. Men and women who are currently married and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual “family premium” in their household income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in nonintact families by at least $42,000.

Think of the Economic Impact Family Worship also adds. Family Worship is the most strategic way to keep families together. See Statistic

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Matthew Henry and the Impact of Family Worship https://gracelegacybuilders.org/matthew-henry-and-the-impact-of-family-worship/ Sun, 19 Sep 2021 11:11:06 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28331 Matthew Henry, born in 1662, commented that his parents ‘taught us the good knowledge of the Lord, of the Lord Jesus, and led us into an acquaintance with Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’. At the age of twenty, he numbered some of the blessings he had received from God. One of them was: ‘That I […]

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Matthew Henry, born in 1662, commented that his parents ‘taught us the good knowledge of the Lord, of the Lord Jesus, and led us into an acquaintance with Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’. At the age of twenty, he numbered some of the blessings he had received from God. One of them was: ‘That I had a religious education, the principles of religion instill’d into me with my very milk, and from a child have been taught the good knowledge of God’.

Sunday was kept as the Lord’s Day, and it was a special, joyful day for the family.

  1. Philip Henry, Matthew’s father a dejected Puritan Pastor, often greeted his family with the words used in the early church: ‘The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed.’
  2. Family worship, both morning and evening, was longer than on other days of the week.
  3. In addition, the children and servants were catechized, (as he wanted to ensure that they were not just memorizing by rote).
  4. At the end he prayed for the entire household, and for the ministry of their church.

Weekdays were crafted by the regular Puritan habit of worship in the family circle.

  1. After prayer asking for help in understanding the Scripture a biblical passage was read, often accompanied by some appropriate comments by the father.
  2. A Psalm was sung as well, singing quickly with the use of a good variety of tunes.
  3. The children were briefly questioned as to what they remembered of the reading and exposition, before the family knelt in prayer.
  4. Philip Henry prayed, confessing family sins but also giving thanks for family mercies.

Evening worship followed much the same pattern, sometimes with a longer explanation of the passage and perhaps catechising of the children.

In writing the life of his father, Matthew Henry documented something of the religious practice of the family home. While the father had the main responsibility of leading the family worship, Philip Henry recommended that the wife should sometimes pray with the husband, so that she would be familiar with leading worship in his absence, or carry it on if he died. He wanted others to follow similar practices in their homes, and encouraged them to make their home a little church.

Spurgeon would add years later: I agree with Matthew Henry

  1. Pray – Good
  2. Devotions – Better
  3. Family Worship – Best

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Author of the Month of January – Family Worship 101 – Rev. WILLIAM BOEKESTEIN https://gracelegacybuilders.org/author-of-the-month-of-january-family-worship-101-rev-william-boekestein/ Wed, 25 Aug 2021 12:52:37 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28391 Family Worship 101 “Why did you steal my gods?” With these words, Laban ended a passionate speech against his son-in-law, Jacob (Gen. 31:30). In fact, Laban’s daughter Rachel had stolen the gods, doubtless to keep alive the memory of her family after moving away with her husband, Jacob. Rachel literally took her family religion with […]

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Family Worship 101

“Why did you steal my gods?” With these words, Laban ended a passionate speech against his son-in-law, Jacob (Gen. 31:30). In fact, Laban’s daughter Rachel had stolen the gods, doubtless to keep alive the memory of her family after moving away with her husband, Jacob. Rachel literally took her family religion with her.

Every family has a god. Every day, young adults leave home with the gods of self-fulfillment, money, leisure, work, or even ministry. Some leave with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To a large extent, the difference is determined by how our families worship in the home.

Understanding Family Worship

Family worship is the regular use of Scripture, song, and prayer by a family unit, guided by the head of the household.

Family Worship Is Worship
Family worship is not merely a religious discipline; it is a meeting with the triune God in a spirit of adoration by means of three key ingredients.

  1. First, families worship through Scripture.

When we read the Bible, God preaches about Himself and the indescribable gift of His dear Son to a needy world. This message is not just for information, but for exaltation.

  1. Second, families worship through singing.

It is inescapable: God’s people sing! The one hundred and fifty psalms reference singing around one hundred and fifty times. The New Testament call to admonish one another through song applies well in the context of the home (Col. 3:16).

  1. Third, families worship through prayer.

Since prayer is the chief way in which we show thankfulness to God (H.C. Q/A 116), our prayers must be worshipful, not merely formal. Family prayers should reflect the pastoral ethos and pathos of our High Priest (John 17).

Family Worship Is Regular

As illustrated by the practice of the early church, weekly congregational worship is insufficient for families that have been touched by God’s grace (Acts 2:47; 5:42). Scripture exhorts us to worship God daily, giving glory to Him in all things (Ps. 92:2; 1 Cor. 10:31).

Family Worship Is Covenantal

Before God established worship in the tabernacle, his people worshiped in family tents. “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous…” (Ps. 118:15). Job’s piety shines in his prayers for his children (Job. 1:5). The faith of young Timothy blossomed in the fertile soil of family worship (2 Tim. 1:5). Christians must spend time alone with God in their prayer closets (Matt. 6:6). But they should also worship together with their families through the use of Scripture, song, and prayer.

Defending Family Worship

Scripture Requires Family Worship
Specifically, God requires heads of households, like good shepherds, to lead their families into green pastures (Josh. 24:15). God expected Abraham to “command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19, emphasis mine). Consider also the example of Cornelius, “a devout man…who feared God with all his household” (Acts. 10:1). It is no surprise that when Peter came to Caesarea to preach the gospel, Cornelius rallied his household to attendance. “We are all present before God,” he said, “to hear all the things commanded you by God” (v. 33, emphasis mine).

Family Worship Yields Spiritual Growth

Family worship is an indispensable instrument for instilling both old and young with a consciousness of the Lord, His Word, and our call to worship. In research for a recent book, George Barna demonstrates that parents who pass along to their children the baton of spiritual maturity and vitality have one thing in common:

they “take God’s words on life and family at face value and apply those words faithfully and consistently.”

Missionary John Paton relates the indelible impact family worship left on his life:

  • “When, on his knees and all of us kneeling around him in Family Worship, [father] poured out his whole soul with tears…for every…need, we all felt as if in the presence of the living Savior, and learned to know and love Him as our Divine Friend.”

Children notice when worship is only a once-a-week activity. God often works powerfully in young lives whose souls are warmed by the incubator of daily family worship.

Improving Family Worship

Many families are convinced by the need for family worship, but struggle in implementation. In such cases, what can be done?

Study Family Worship as a Family

Some time ago, our family spent a month carefully reading and discussing Joel Beeke’s booklet, “Family Worship.” Partly due to the dynamic of learning together, this study made a lasting impression on us.

Stick to a Plan

Haphazard Scripture reading rarely edifies over the long haul. Families should include variety in their plans and adjust them over time. But following a regular Scripture reading plan helps us read the Bible the way it was meant to be read: as a cohesive history of God’s redemptive work.

Select a Time that Works

Unless worship is codified in a family’s schedule it will likely be supplanted by life’s busyness. Some families will flourish with morning worship; others will better meet in the evening. Families that can find no time in their week for worship need to adjust their schedule.

Sing!

For some Christians–particularly those who were not raised in the church or in singing homes–the thought of introducing song into family worship seems utterly unrealistic. But, as with all things, to establish a fresh tradition of family singing, begin with what you know. Start with familiar songs and progress to less-familiar songs with the help of tools (e.g. www.hymnary.org).

Strive for Regularity, Not Perfection


Most of us have become frustrated when our family worship ideals eclipsed reality. Family worship is like a great friendship. It has its bumps, but it is forged through regular meaningful interaction. William Gouge observed that “a nail that at one blow barely enters, with many blows is knocked all the way in.” So it is with repetition in family worship. Through the gospel, Jesus enters our lives and our families. Where He has entered, He is to be worshiped. Where He is worshiped, we trust He will stay and live and work and bless.

Originally Posted 3/3/14 on Ligonier Ministries Blog.

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Matthew Henry and His Father Philip as Authors of the Month of July https://gracelegacybuilders.org/matthew-henry-and-his-father-philip-as-authors-of-the-month-of-july/ Sat, 03 Jul 2021 11:49:14 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28349 A Church in the House will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you…to build upon….A family altar will be the best entail (cause) to rise up and call you blessed. It may be hoped they will be praising God for you, and praising […]

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A Church in the House will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you…to build upon….A family altar will be the best entail (cause) to rise up and call you blessed. It may be hoped they will be praising God for you, and praising God like you, here on earth, when you are praising Him in Heaven.[*]
[*] Matthew Henry, Family Religion: Principles for raising a godly family, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, 2008)p.51

Matthew Henry & the impact of Family Worship
Matthew Henry, born in 1662, commented that his parents ‘taught us the good knowledge of the Lord, of the Lord Jesus, and led us into an acquaintance with Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’. At the age of twenty, he numbered some of the blessings he had received from God. One of them was: ‘That I had a religious education, the principles of religion instill’d into me with my very milk, and from a child have been taught the good knowledge of God’.
Sunday was kept as the Lord’s Day, and it was a special, joyful day for the family.

  1. Philip Henry, Matthew’s father a dejected Puritan Pastor, often greeted his family with the words used in the early church: ‘The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed.’
  1. Family worship, both morning and evening, was longer than on other days of the week.
  1. In addition, the children and servants were catechized, (as he wanted to ensure that they were not just memorizing by rote).
  1. At the end he prayed for the entire household, and for the ministry of their church.
    Weekdays were crafted by the regular Puritan habit of worship in the family circle.
  • After prayer asking for help in understanding the Scripture a biblical passage was read, often accompanied by some appropriate comments by the father.
  • A Psalm was sung as well, singing quickly with the use of a good variety of tunes.
  • The children were briefly questioned as to what they remembered of the reading and exposition, before the family knelt in prayer.
  • Philip Henry prayed, confessing family sins but also giving thanks for family mercies.

Evening worship followed much the same pattern, sometimes with a longer explanation of the passage and perhaps catechising of the children.
In writing the life of his father, Matthew Henry documented something of the religious practice of the family home. While the father had the main responsibility of leading the family worship, Philip Henry recommended that the wife should sometimes pray with the husband, so that she would be familiar with leading worship in his absence, or carry it on if he died. He wanted others to follow similar practices in their homes, and encouraged them to make their home a little church.

Spurgeon would add years later: I agree with Matthew Henry
1. Pray – Good
2. Devotions – Better
3. Family Worship – Best

Here are some excerpts from my Paper on Matthew Henry….

Masters of families, who preside in the other affairs of the house, must go before their households in the things of God. They must be as:

  • Prophets,
  • Priests and
  • Kings

in their own families; and as such they must keep up family doctrine, family worship and family discipline; then is there a church in the house, and this is the family religion that I am persuading you to.[1]

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Preached in 1704 “A Church in The House, A Sermon Concerning Family Religion,” (1 Corinthians 16:19 -The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.)

The above quote by Dr. Matthew Henry contains the cure to today’s cultural crisis, a disease that is infecting our churches, homes, and the billions of eternal souls that depend upon what we do with this prescription. The crisis is fatherlessness enflamed by sexual role identification misperception and divergence from the biblical vision of masculinity and femininity. Men are becoming increasingly sterile as spiritual leaders in our modern society.

  1. Fatherlessness is drowning our culture.[2]
  1. Missing male leadership in the Church is dwindling its vitality and valor(Google: Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow).
  1. Homes where the father has abdicated his role as spiritual leader leave essentially no virtue or spiritual legacy.
  1. Men are hurting. They have no vision of manhood in their heart, no vigor in exercising masculine leadership in their homes, and no valor in their churches. If men voice a vision of Trinitarian-based manhood, or initiate gospel-shaped masculinity in the home, or even suggest a Bible-based male leadership model in the church, they are decried. It is as if our culture is hostile to Biblical masculinity.

    Matthew Henry is calling men to be the masters of families in their homes as prophet, priests, and kings as a Biblical touchstone of how manhood is lived out in these offices of masculinity. Men were created and are called to be spiritual leaders. These offices determine a man’s roles and goals in his heart, home, church, and culture. If we will simply follow Dr. Henry’s Godly instruction, hearts could be converted, homes revived, churches reformed, and culture transformed.

We need to affirm that this designation as male and female defines us from creation, fall, redemption, salvation, and sanctification with implications following us into our glorification. Masculinity and femininity were not defined by the curse although they are being infected by the fall. Notice how Mr. Henry articulates that masculine and feminine roles are our strengths to be accentuated in cooperation as well as our weaknesses to be composed in a harmonious symphony. They are to be experienced and expressed by us for our joy, the benefit of others, and ultimately, God’s glory. As one of Matthew Henry’s most common and often recited quotes attests and illustrates:

“The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

Matthew Henry is simply calling men to be spiritual leaders. Masters of families, who preside in the other affairs of the house, must go before their households in the things of God. They must be prophets, as men who are called to keep up family doctrine. They are priests, men who must make sure that Family Worship has a tone of love and the seriousness of eternity for the souls of the household. Men are kings who are responsible to maintain family discipline and delight in honoring God; then there is a church in the house, and this is the family religion that I am persuading you to.3

A Call to Father-led Family Worship

Matthew Henry first presented a gospel that was counter-intuitive, and then he challenged Christians to become counter-cultural. The purpose of this article is the same – to challenge men to be counter-cultural by focusing on Trinitarian-based, gospel-shaped, and grace-paced masculinity in leading family worship in the roles of prophet, priest and king. Father-led family worship is both the cure and the call to masculinity defined by the offices of prophet, priest and king. It is God’s prescription for each home prescribed by the Rev., Dr. Matthew Henry.

“I know not any thing that will contribute more to the furtherance of this good work than the bringing of family religion (Family Worship) more into practice and reputation. Here the reformation must begin. Other methods may check the disease we complain of, but this, if it might universally obtain, would cure it.”4

I close with the burning question placed in my conscience by Matthew Henry:

Consider especially what they [your children] are designed for in another world; they are made for eternity. Every child thou hast hath a precious and immortal soul, that must be for ever either in heaven or hell, according as it is prepared in this present state, – and perhaps it must remove to that world of spirits very shortly.” How have you prepared your family for eternity? [5]

 

  1. Henry, Matthew. Building A God Centered Family A Father’s Manual. Wake Forest: Merchant Adventures LLC, 2010. N. p. 34
  2. In 1960, only one out of ten households was maintained with no husband present; by 1996, it became two out of every five (Steve Farrar, Point Man). p. 23 (Release of a report from the US Census Bureau showing that 62 percent of new moms in their early 20s are unmarried. The report also found that 36 percent of all moms were unwed in 2011, up from 31 percent in 2005. In families with incomes of less than $10,000, that number goes up to 69 percent.)
  3. Henry, Building A God Centered Family A Father’s Manual. 34.
  4. Matthew Henry, Family Religion: Principles For Raising a Godly Family. Reprint, Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2008. 28.
  5. Beeke, Jones, 874

 

More Quotes from Matthew Henry on Father-led Family Worship…

All agree that masters of families who profess religion, and the fear of God themselves, should, according to the talents they are entrusted with, maintain and keep up religion and the fear of God in their families, ‘as those who must give account’, and that families as such should contribute to the support of Christianity in a nation whose honour and happiness is to be a Christian nation. As nature makes families little kingdoms, and perhaps economics were the first and most ancient politics, so grace makes families little churches; and those were the primitive churches of the Old Testament, before ‘men began to call upon the name of the Lord’ in solemn assemblies, and ‘the sons of God came together to present themselves’ before him.[1]

[1] Mathew Henry, Family Region, 29

Masters of Families

Let those masters of families who have hitherto lived in the neglect of family religion be persuaded now to set it up, and henceforward to make conscience of it. I know it is hard to persuade people to begin even a good work that they have not been used to; yet, if God by his grace apply this word, who can tell but some may be wrought upon to comply with the design of it? We have no ill design in urging you to this part of your duty: we aim not at the advantage of a party, but purely all the prosperity of your families. We are sure we have reason on our side, and if you will but suffer that to rule you, we shall gain our point; and you will all go home firmly resolved, as Joshua was, that whatever others do themselves, and whatever they say of you, You and your houses will serve the Lord. God put it into, and keep it in, the imagination of the thought of your heart, and establish your way therein before him![1]

[1] Matthew Henry Church in the House, A Sermon Concerning Family Religion, III. THE APPLICATION first paragraph

 

Those masters of families who make conscience of doing this (this refers to father-led Family Worship) daily, morning and evening, reckoning it part of that which the duty of every day requires, — I am sure they have comfort and satisfaction in so doing, and find it contributes much to their own improvement in Christian knowledge, and the edification of those that dwell under their shadow; and the more, if those that are ministers expound themselves, and other masters of families read some plain and profitable exposition of what is read, or of some part of it.’[1]

 

[1]A Church in the House, A Sermon Concerning Family Religion by Matthew Henry. Posted on January 1, 2009 by Anthony Caetanohttp://truthlife.net/2009/01/01/a-church-in-the-house-a-sermon-concerning-family-religion-by-matthew-henry/

Matthew Henry wrote, ‘Consider especially what they [your children] are designed for in another world; they are made for eternity. Every child thou hast hath a precious and immortal soul, that must be for ever either in heaven or hell, according as it is prepared in this present state, – and perhaps it must remove to that world of spirits very shortly.’ How have you prepared your family for eternity?[1] [1] Beeke, Jones, 874

A Church in the House will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you…to build upon….A family altar will be the best entail (cause) to rise up and call you blessed. It may be hoped they will be praising God for you, and praising God like you, here on earth, when you are praising Him in Heaven.[1]
[1] Matthew Henry, Family Religion: Principles for raising a godly family, (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, 2008)p.51

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Why India? https://gracelegacybuilders.org/why-india/ Fri, 18 Jun 2021 12:47:32 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28386 Why India? Why GLB? Why Now? 1. Population of Souls 2. Language & Stewardship 3. Providence & A Positive Approach 4. Front Line of Muslims, Hindu, Liberalism 5. Equipping the Nationals 6. They are Hungry 7. Reformed, Evangelical, & Complementary

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Why India? Why GLB? Why Now?

1. Population of Souls

2. Language & Stewardship

3. Providence & A Positive Approach

4. Front Line of Muslims, Hindu, Liberalism

5. Equipping the Nationals

6. They are Hungry

7. Reformed, Evangelical, & Complementary

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THE PRACTICE AND ART OF FATHERHOOD IS BEING LOST DAY BY DAY… BARNA REPORT https://gracelegacybuilders.org/the-practice-and-art-of-fatherhood-is-being-lost-day-by-day-barna-report/ Sun, 28 Mar 2021 12:54:18 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28394 PSALM 78:5 GOD COMMANDED OUR FATHERS TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN ABOUT HIM SO THE NEXT GENERATIONS MAY KNOW GOD AND HIS MIGHTY ACTS. The Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. I’m highlighting a few insights on fathers as spiritual […]

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PSALM 78:5

GOD COMMANDED OUR FATHERS TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN ABOUT HIM

SO THE NEXT GENERATIONS MAY KNOW GOD AND HIS MIGHTY ACTS.

The Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

I’m highlighting a few insights on fathers as spiritual leaders, or the lack thereof, as the current research points to. But there is a cure to the cancer – it’s the Bible’s remedy of father’s being equipped as spiritual leaders by their Churches to be what is so desperately needed today, more than ever!

First the bad news. The crisis, the spiritual and sociological cancer….

THE PRACTICE AND ART OF FATHERHOOD IS BEING LOST DAY BY DAY.

When we asked who people are most comfortable having spiritual conversations with, fathers came out low on most people’s lists. And when we asked fathers who they are comfortable having spiritual conversations with, we found they are not nearly as likely as mothers to say their kids. What do you think is happening here?

This is a crisis by all accounts.

The practice and art of fatherhood is being lost day by day. There are a lot of factors, but I think one of the main reasons is that dads feel incompetent in this area, and most guys—and some women too, of course, but it’s a sharper pain point for many men—can’t stand the feeling of incompetence.

Most dads I know are great about talking in depth when it comes to work, sports or opinions on current events, because those are areas where we are expected to be experts. But when it comes to our children’s hearts, and pursuing them on an emotional level, we think of that as the mom’s job, the pastor’s job, the teacher’s job—when, in reality, one of the primary callings of a dad isn’t to work, to provide, but to capture his child’s heart.That can only happen when we lead with vulnerability. Transparency and intimacy beget more transparency and intimacy.

Time is a huge factor. According to research I’ve seen recently, the number of hours a father spends at home keeps shrinking. Dads have fewer and fewer touch-points throughout the day to build relationship and intimacy with our kids. Are Men serving the economy instead of their family?

“We Strengthen Faith by Sharing It with Others.”

  • Sociologically, we have learned that when we are exposed to the salvation narrative we begin to take that narrative on as our own. Over time, (THE GOSPEL)
    • shapes our identity,
    • values and
    • ultimately behaviors,
    • giving us a new way to see ourselves and the world around us.
  • This change in identity and perspective is further strengthened and solidified as we give voice to that narrative. In the end, the more we share our faith, the more we understand who we are and the more confident and eager we become as Christians.

Last insight from another Baran report says…

DESPITE THE FACT THAT CHURCH LEADERS OVERWHELMINGLY AGREE THAT PARENTS ARE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR A CHILD’S SPIRITUAL FORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT, THE DATA DEMONSTRATE THAT CHURCHES PLACE LITTLE EMPHASIS ON TRAINING AND EQUIPPING SAID PARENTS.

In fact, only about one in five clergy (20% Protestant, 17% Catholic, though this number is higher for larger churches) says they prioritize training for parents, and even fewer provide parenting guides or other resources (15% Catholic, 10% Protestant). This lack of training persists even though many parents appear to be actively seeking guidance from church leaders.

THE CURE:

Invite Grace Legacy Builders to your church for:

  • Sunday Sermons
  • Men’s Groups
  • Sunday School Workshops
  • Church Leadership Strategy Session
  • Pastor and wife one on one
  • Family Worship Community Weekend
  • Saturday Men’s Breakfast & Seminar at our Ministry Center

We’ll learn to equip men as spiritual leaders together!

PSALM 78:5

GOD COMMANDED OUR FATHERS TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN ABOUT HIM

SO THE NEXT GENERATIONS MAY KNOW GOD AND HIS MIGHTY ACTS.

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2016 Annual Report https://gracelegacybuilders.org/2016-annual-report/ Sun, 18 Dec 2016 13:46:01 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28384 Let’s begin with one great big THANK YOU! This has been Grace Legacy Builders’ (GLB) most productive year so far and already it looks like next year we will even double our kingdom impact in comparison. We are duplicating and multiplying in: India and Sri-Lanka thanks to all the work of Rev. Wilson Mathai Nigeria, […]

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Let’s begin with one great big THANK YOU!

This has been Grace Legacy Builders’ (GLB) most productive year so far and already it looks like next year we will even double our kingdom impact in comparison. We are duplicating and multiplying in:

  • India and Sri-Lanka thanks to all the work of Rev. Wilson Mathai
  • Nigeria, Africa thanks to Rev. Joseph Nwibo
  • Malawi, Africa thanks to Rev. Bizwick-Henry Mtema who starts this year to lay some groundwork

The dream of divine desire that began as a skeleton outline just a few short years ago has taken on flesh and is maturing. Our gospel-based, Christ-centered, and grace-shaped vision and mission comes from a Biblical definition and application that defines masculinity as a call to:

Glorify God and edify others by equipping christian men to follow Jesus Christ as:

  • Prophet
  • Priest
  • King

Especially in daily father-led family worship because children come with eternal souls.

Habakkuk 2:2 “Write the vision; make it plain, run with it.”

The legs that run our vision continue to be “The Family Worship Institute” which is now expanding around the world. Let me illustrate this as I explain the pictures on the front and back of this year-end newsletter:

Picture 1 The Covenant
This picture captures one of the most powerful moments of my life and ministry. These two seminarians stopped me in the middle of my time at their seminary in Sri-Lanka. They asked to make a covenant with me and join us in vision and mission.

Picture 2 GLB-Africa & India
Rev. Wilson Mathai of India and next to him is Rev. Joseph Nwibo (JP) Minister in the Nigeria Reformed Church, Abakaliki, Nigeria. I will in Nigeria from January 3-18, 2017 preaching and teaching to their denominational leaders on:

How to Cultivate a Culture of Daily Father-Led Family Worship in Your Church:
A. Educate the Leaders
B. Edify the Laity
C. Equip the Men

Picture 3 A New Space
You will see one of the 10 young men, who for four long days knocked out, dug out, and carried out a bunch of concrete and dirt from our church basement. We appear to have solved our water problem – we hope. THANKS “Reformed Missions Services” led by Rob Brinks who guided the TASC group (Teens Actively Serving Christ).

Even with volunteer labor, creating this space is a very costly project. Yet, this also has become an important space for visiting Pastors like Rev. Wilson Mathai. Pastor Wilson stayed with us this fall and studied with me here at “The Family Worship Institute” of Grace Legacy Builders. He also took classes at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).

Rev. Joseph Nwibo will also be blessed by it in 2017. As gifts and volunteers come forward we hope to continue to make improvements to this vital space.

Picture 4 Seminary Night
Picture four shows our “Piazza Night” and seminar for Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) students. Pastor Henry Mtema from Malawi is explaining his experience of Family Worship with the group. My focus was on the call of ministers to:

Get masters of families to do their duty, and they will not only spare you a great deal of labor, but will much further the
success of your labors…You are not likely
to see any general reformation, till you
procure family reformation.
Richard Baxter

Picture 5 Study Guide To:
A Theology of The Family: Five Centuries of Biblical Wisdom for Family Life. I am working with the authors/editors of this book on a study guide to be used by GLB and other ministries throughout the world. I am extremely honored.
Please pray specifically for this project!

Last on Front & First on Back
The last picture on the front segues to the first picture on the back where Michelle and I are shown with the Marvel children. These represent our annual Father’s Day event with outstanding keynote speaker Rev. Judson Marvel. The picture on the front is of Anthony Torren who shared his story of grace through his “Fatherlessness”.

The Kuiper Family Pics
Pictures two and three on the back are of Michelle and I with our daughters. The first is Maryn’s graduation from Hope College. The other is at the Young Life Camp in Saranac Lake, New York. Rachel works there full time, Maryn was a summer Intern again this year before she started her new career at Hope. Courtney graced them as a monthly volunteer. Our oldest daughter, Kaycee, was in China teaching there at the time of the picture. During the school year Kaycee leads a Young Life group at Byron Center High School.

We are extremely grateful for the ways in which the Gospel of Jesus Christ works in and through our daughters via Young Life. We thank God He’s converted their hearts and they now share and serve His Kingdom.

Ministering in Carmel, IA

I was privileged to preach and teach at Mike Pitsenberger’s church in Iowa. We are hoping to return to do a seminar in that region for men and families.

India & Sri-Lanka Pictures

The last two pictures represent the many places that I was able to go to throughout India and Sri-Lanka this winter. I preached to over 1,000 people there. Also in each of the seven weekday workshop locations we had, on average, 75 pastors and other key leaders being trained and equipped. Wilson was contacted and he arranged a special meeting with the former president of Campus Crusade for Christ India. He is interested in furthering Grace Legacy Builder’s ministry through his key contacts! Wilson is so enthusiastic and crucial to all I do there. Please read his report, which is the insert.

Men’s Study

Men’s Bible study (Ephesians verse by verse) on Tuesday nights is excellent with 10 men off and on. But, we certainly have room for more. Please join us. I had other opportunities to minister this past year such as a retreat for a local Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Pray for more such opportunities. I also addressed the greater GR OPC Pastors’ group.

The Challenge Is Our Calling

Here is the kind of request I receive:
“I am an elder at our church and when we go on family visits we ask about family worship, or just plain devotions in the home. We just get these blank stares. Can you come and help us? Would you please come and equip the men of our church?

2017 – Challenges Accepted!

Top 5 Projects in 2017

1. Africa (Nigeria and Malawi) I will be equipping Joseph and Henry in 2017 to equip men as well.

2. Grace Legacy Builders India: Wilson & I have to lay some more groundwork to get to the next level of “Training Trainers to Equip Men as Spiritual Leaders” in India.

3. A Theology of the Family Study Guide

4. Website Family Worship Guides: The Top 100 Bible passages for understanding The Trinity, The Gospel of Grace, Gender, & Family Worship.

5. Working with a national Para-church organization that asked me to develop a curriculum to train and equip men to become mentors to “Fatherless” students and leaders.

Top Five Prayers Requests for 2017

1. The above preaching & teaching opportunities!

2. Holy Trinity Church as they are regrouping.

3. New college age young men to live here on the ministry complex in our apartments.

4. I will exercise prudence, diligence & grace especially as I lead & organize our new board.

5. Finances for our India and Africa ministries.

Financial Needs

We have almost stabilized financially except:
1. Oversea Mission Opportunities
$5,000 -$10,000 each country

2. Facility Maintenance & Repairs

3. Increased Insurance & Taxes

Thanks for Your Support & Prayers,
Rev. Bruce R. Kuiper, GLB President

Genesis 18:19
“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that
the LORD may bring to Abraham what God has promised him.”

Thanks To You-The Results:
Here is the result GLB needs to keep repeating with your help…

“Grace Legacy Builders – Thanks so much! You hit the marks biblically and practically. The resources and handouts you provide are great tools for our men to lead family worship. You certainly provided us with tools to equip men as spiritual leaders.”

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When Clergy Capitulate https://gracelegacybuilders.org/when-clergy-capitulate/ Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:39:09 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28374 When George Whitefield came to America in the mid 1700’s – He encouraged the people to ask: Is your preacher really saved? Whitefield reversed the European hierarchy of top down authority of: God King/Rulers/Preachers People. This gave America it’s never ending Pentecost understanding of the line of authority “of the people, by the people, for […]

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When George Whitefield came to America in the mid 1700’s – He encouraged the people to ask:

Is your preacher really saved?

Whitefield reversed the European hierarchy of top down authority of:

  1. God
  2. King/Rulers/Preachers
  3. People.

This gave America it’s never ending Pentecost understanding of the line of authority “of the people, by the people, for the people” government, church & society. This idea was peculated by Wycliffe, animated by Luther, penned with the blood of Tyndale (Also written on the inside front cover of his Bible), and explained by Lincoln at Gettysburg as our national identity! This line of authority rest in:

  1. God & His Word
  2. The People
  3. Government/Rulers/Clergy

The people are not always right, but neither are kings, clergy or others who have been entrusted with power. There is still a line of authority and we must understand when, where, with, or against whom to exercise responsibility to submit or stand against it or them!

Chaos is not God’s will, but neither is silence nor capitulation when others misuse their trust of authority. Shall I list the great prophets of the Bible or those who have also turned our world upside-down throughout History? Ok, I will give a few. See one of my favorites Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18, or read how Athanasius followed the apostles prim-directive (Acts 5:29) of obedience:

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.

Below is an article from a Catholic women who I greatly admire. She is a cultural warrior for Biblical morality and faith filled families. But – men especially – while your reading ask yourself if she is not a figuratively Jael? Jael had to do a man’s work because the men where so afraid, ill equipped & lacked courage?

But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

____________________________________________

Laity Should Act When Clergy Won’t:

Let’s face it: The 2015 Synod on the Family is a mess. I was one who gave Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt. I now have my doubts about him. And I have no doubt at all that some of the men surrounding him are either heretics or lunatics or both.

The real question for us as lay people is this: what exactly can we do about it? We do not have full information about what is going on over there. Giving advice to cardinals and bishops is not likely to work. Screaming at them even less so.

As faithful lay people, we believe all that the Church has taught about marriage, family, and human sexuality. We do not want to see the Church water down that teaching, or surrender to the Sexual Revolution. It would be tragic indeed, if she did so now, right at the moment when the wisdom and beauty of her ancient teaching is becoming daily more evident from experience.

So what are we, as faithful lay people, to do about this? What has the best chance of cutting through the noise and having an impact?

by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

 

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Eight Commands for Husbands https://gracelegacybuilders.org/eight-commands-for-husbands/ Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:37:14 +0000 http://gracelegacybuilders.org/?p=28372 Ephesians 5:25 [Husbands, love your wives] To be head of the wife (Eph. 5:23). To love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25). To love their wives as their own bodies (Eph. 5:28,33). To nourish (Greek: ektrepho (GSN-<G1625>), bring up, care for, protect, Eph. 5:29; 6:4; Rev. 12:6) To cherish (Greek: thalpo (GSN-<G2282>), […]

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Ephesians 5:25 [Husbands, love your wives]
  1. To be head of the wife (Eph. 5:23).
  2. To love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25).
  3. To love their wives as their own bodies (Eph. 5:28,33).
  4. To nourish (Greek: ektrepho (GSN-<G1625>), bring up, care for, protect, Eph. 5:29; 6:4; Rev. 12:6)
  5. To cherish (Greek: thalpo (GSN-<G2282>), to foster, warm in one’s bosom, Eph. 5:29; 1Th. 2:7)
  6. To be joined as one flesh (Eph. 5:30-31)
  7. To leave their parents for their wives (Eph. 5:31)
  8. To cleave to their wives (Eph. 5:31; Mt. 19:5)

Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

Christ is the Head, Savior, Sanctifier, Purifier, Glorifier, Builder, Nourisher, Cherisher, Unifier, Protector, and the Receiver of the Church (Eph. 5:23-33).

Sixteen Facts: Christ and the Church

1. Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23).

2. Christ is Savior of it (Eph. 5:23).

3. The church must be subject to Christ in all things (Eph. 5:24).

4. Christ gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25).

5. Christ sanctifies the church with the washing of the Word (Eph. 5:26).

6. Christ cleanses the church with the washing by the Word (Eph. 5:26).

7. Christ will receive the church to Himself (Eph. 5:27; Jn. 14:1-3; 1Th. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:23,51-58; Col. 3:4).

8. Christ is making the church glorious (Eph. 5:27; 1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 3:18).

9. Christ is making it spotless (Eph. 5:27).

10. Christ is making it perfect (Eph. 5:27).

11. Christ is making it holy (Eph. 5:27).

12. Christ is making it faultless (Eph. 5:27).

13. Christ nourishes it (cares for, brings up, protects it; Eph. 5:29).

14. Christ cherishes the church (fosters, warms in His bosom; Eph. 5:29).

15. The church is part of Christ (Eph. 5:30-32; 1Cor. 12:12-13,27).

16. The church is one with Christ (Eph. 5:30-32; 1Cor. 6:17; Rom. 12:4-5).

 
Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

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