The 78th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is meeting at Sandy Cove conference center, North East, Maryland, June 8-15, 2011. This running daily report is written by Everett Henes and edited by Linda Foh and Stephen Pribble. Questions or comments may be addressed to George Cottenden, stated clerk.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Normally at General Assembly there are local OPC congregations to worship with on Sunday morning and then we have a joint serving in the evening that will include several churches in that presbytery. However, due to our isolation here at Sandy Cove Ministries, we had both services here. The morning service was conducted by Columbia Presbyterian Church. This church is located in Columbia, Maryland, which is approximately 70 miles away on the other side of the city of Baltimore. They provided us with a string quartet, a pianist and three ministers. The Rev. Timothy Flora, Worship & Families Pastor at Columbia, opened the worship service and led in much of the singing. The Rev. Peter Lee (assistant professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C. and minister in the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic) led in much of the service’s prayer and the Rev. Allen Harris, recently retired senior pastor at Columbia, preached the sermon. Pastor Harris’ text was Exodus 6:6-8 and the title was “The Gospel in Three Words.”
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’”
These verses speak of God’s covenantal name, Yahweh. Pastor Harris pointed out that it is a name that is explained by the three verses. In verse 6 we learn that God redeems his people. Verse 7 tells us that we have been redeemed for an intimate relationship with him and verse 8 tells us that he has promised to bless his people with riches “beyond your wildest imagination.” Each of these three points finds their fulfillment in Christ. For the Israelites it was through the shadow of the blood on the lintel and doorposts, fulfilled in the blood of Christ being shed upon the cross to redeem a people for his Heavenly Father. Like Israel, we have been saved for a relationship with our God. As Pastor Harris pointed out, God does not love us because he saved us but, instead, he saved us because he loves us (Eph 1:4-8). Lastly, the Promised Land was really a picture of the heavenly kingdom that is fulfilled in Christ’s second coming (Heb. 11:9-10, 16; Rev. 21:1-4).
Having focused upon these three R’s of the Gospel, the congregation celebrated the Lord’s Supper. In this Supper we are reminded of our redemption and relationship as well as pointed forward to that kingdom that is to come where we will eat with our Savior for all eternity. All praise be to God!