At the teacher’s invitation, I observed one of the children’s Sunday School classes before the worship service. The kids were about eight to ten years old, still young enough to offer answers to the teacher’s questions with unabashed enthusiasm, even if those answers weren’t always correct or even on topic. In the past I’ve taught junior high-aged kids whose reticence was so extreme I wondered if instead of being in a Presbyterian church I’d mistakenly stumbled into a bizarre monastery full of adolescents who’d all taken a vow of silence. But with these kids, a question was immediately followed by six little hands shooting up all at once; each child had a ready answer!
Stephen, the teacher, did a fine job instructing the kids about temptation and sin from the Lord’s Prayer. He had the children read from several different passages – his lesson had real substance. I thought as I watched the kids being taught the Scriptures that they probably have no idea just how blessed they are for this exposure to God’s Word at their young age. So many children have no such advantage, and they suffer for it as they grow older.
Since I had to be in Oregon last week for a presbytery meeting, I asked Ben Duncan, a PCA minister and Army chaplain, to fill the pulpit for me at the morning service. He preached an outstanding sermon from Hebrews 1:1-4: “Simply Supreme.” Ben showed how these few verses testify to all three of Christ’s offices as our Savior – Prophet, Priest, and King (I had not seen that before. It reinforced the teaching we’ve been covering Sunday evenings from the Westminster Shorter Catechism concerning the three-fold office of Christ). He spoke to our hearts as he preached, and I was edified as I heard Ben explain how Hebrews addresses our guilt with its repeated declaration that the sacrifice of Christ purifies our conscience. I’m sure others were equally encouraged by this message from God’s Word.
At the evening service I spoke on the humiliation of Christ from Catechism Q & A 27. That the Son of God so lowered himself for us, not only in his incarnation but also in his suffering and death, reveals the measureless depth of God’s love for sinners. The humiliation of Christ also gives us a pattern to follow. Philippians 2:5-8, where Paul speaks of Christ making himself nothing and taking the form of a servant, begins with this imperative: “Have this mind among yourselves.” When we consider how loathe we are to humble ourselves before others, how desperately we need the grace of God to be a true servant like Christ!