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Sunday Schedule

10 AM Worship
Scripture: 1 Kings 18; Matthew 24:36-25:30
Sermon: "Ready and Diligent"
Songs: PH 374, PH 96, PH 336, PH 386

6 PM Worship
Scripture: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Hebrews 11
Sermon: "True Faith"
Songs: PH 232, PH 42C, PH 459

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Westminster Confession 25:1-2

The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.(1)

(1)Eph. 1:10,22,23; Eph. 5:23,27,32; Col. 1:18

The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;(1) and of their children:(2) and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,(3) the house and family of God,(4) out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.(5)

(1)1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 12:12,13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Rom. 15:9-12 (2)1 Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39; Ezek. 16:20,21; Rom. 11:16; Gen. 3:15; Gen. 17:7 (3)Matt 13:47; Isa. 9:7 (4)Eph. 2:19; Eph. 3:15 (5)Acts 2:47

The distinction between the "visible church" and the "invisible church" is an important one. What we must note, from the start, is that these are not two different churches. The simplest way to explain it is that the visible church is how we see the church and the invisible church is how God sees the church. Calvin's comment is helpful: "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."

This is a limited explanation, of course, but gets to the heart of who is in the church. The invisible church consists of all the elect, those who are saved. The visible church consists of all those throughout the world who profess the true religion, and their children.

This distinction is seeking to do justice to the different ways the Scriptures speak of the church. On the one hand, the church consists of those who are elect (Ephesians 1:22-23, John 10:14-16, 1 Peter 1:3-5). On the other hand, the Scriptures address all those in a particular area as belonging to that church (1 Corinthians 1:2) without making reference to salvific status.

This is a distinction that stretches all the way back to the Old Testament. The nation of Israel, we can say, was a visible church. They were the chosen ones (Deuteronomy 7) who were called to serve the Lord and be holy (Leviticus 19:2). Many of them, though, were condemned by God for, as Paul tells us, not all Israel is truly Israel (Romans 9:6-8).

Why does our Confession say that there is no ordinary possibility of salvation outside of the visible church? First, it allows that there may be circumstances where someone comes to faith in Christ and is never part of a visible congregation of believers. However, God ordinarily works through the ministry of the church. The church proclaims the Gospel, sends missionaries, plants churches, equips saints, and so on. Moreover, when a person comes to faith in Christ they are not left on their own. They are to be knit into a local congregation. Refusing to attend a faithful church - unless providentially hindered - indicates disobedience. Jesus gives the ministry of the Word and Sacraments to the church, and to cut ourselves off from these means of grace is to set ourselves up for struggle in the faith.

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Dear Congregation and Friends,

I hope you are all doing well!

It's that time of the year for our annual Thank Offering. This year's theme is "Rescue the Perishing." If you would like to learn more about the work of the OPC's Foriegn Missions, follow this link.

Game Night!

The church is invited to the Henes home on Friday, November 15th beginning at 6:30 PM, for cake and games! Bring games to share. Dessert will be provided. You can bring a snack to share, but this is not required. For any students who would like a ride, I'll begin picking up at 6:20 at the Olds Dormitory.

Ongoing classes/events:
Our men's study will meet on Saturday, December 7th at 9 AM. We're studying William Gouge's Building a Godly Home.
Our next fellowship dinner will be Sunday, December 8th at 5 PM.
Sunday school classes at 9 AM! The adult class is being taught by Pastor Henes on John Calvin's "Golden Booklet of the Christian Life." Children continue with their "Show Me Jesus" curriculum.
Our Monday night Bible study meets each week at 7 PM at the Pastor's home. This semester we are studying First Peter. The first Monday of each month is a spaghetti dinner at 6 PM.
Dinner & Theology meets each Wednesday at 6 PM. We are discussing the Westminster Shorter Catechism together. Each month one of our midweek meetings will be our Paideia Group.
The women's Bible study meets each Thursday at 7:30 PM at the Stockdale home. See Corrie Church or Katie Stockdale for information.

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