Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ARBCA Conference Day 2

Day two of the ARBCA General Assembly began at 8:30 a.m. with a devotion by Pastor Jim Dundas from Luke 10 on the "Good Samaritan." This was followed by a Sermon by Dr. Fred Malone on "Baptism as a Means of Grace." Baptism is the outward sign that one has been converted. It strengthens the faith of the one being baptized as well as those observing. Baptism proclaims the Gospel to unbelievers. Dr. Malone gave several functions of Baptism as a means of grace. (1) Baptism is a sign to the one baptized of his fellowship with Christ in His death and resurrection and of his being engrafted into Christ. (2) Baptism is a sign of remission of sins. (3) Baptism is a sign of the believer giving himself up to God to walk in newness of life. (4) Baptism is a sign of the believer's future resurrection.

After a brief break ARBCA held its annual business session followed by lunch at 12:30. At 4:45 we had a theological discussion on the various aspects of the means of grace. Of particular focus was the nature of preaching as a means of grace.

The evening session began at 7:00 with Dr. Richard Barcellos preaching a sermon on "The Lord's Supper as a Means of Grace." He developed his argument using several texts. In 1 Cor. 10:16 Paul speaks of our communion with Christ (koinonia) on a vertical level, i.e. Christ coming to us. Bread and wine are symbols of the benefits of Christ's death. In Ephesians 1:3 Paul speaks of "Spiritual blessings" as blessings from the Holy Spirit. "Heavenly places" refer to blessings from the heavenly state which are already present in the life of the believer. Heaven is brought down through the ordinary means of grace. In Ephesians 3:16-17 Paul prays that the church might be strengthend with power by the Holy Spirit and that Christ might dwell in their hearts. In other words, the indwelling presence of Christ is experienced by degrees. The Lord's Supper is a means through which the believer experiences fellowship with Christ--heaven experienced as the "already" and the "not yet." In addition, it provides spiritual nourishment and growth. Barcellos said through partaking of the Lord's Supper the soul is altered for the better.

No comments: