Are You a Biblical Counselor?
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Every human being provides counsel in the form of comments, advice, recommendations, and even cautionary warnings. The basis for such counsel comes from many sources. Yet as the basis for every Christian’s faith is the Bible alone, then it follows that every believer shall be a Biblical counselor. The question every one of us should ask ourselves is, “How Biblical is my counseling?”
Paul tells Timothy that the Word of God is “beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness” so that every Christian may be capable or complete, fully equipped for the good works which God has prepared for us in which to walk (Ephesians 2:10). The ministry of the Word of God has two aspects:
The public proclamation of the Word of God is critical for the spiritual health of every member of the body. The Westminster Confession of Faith expresses this importance, in that believers, “…may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture…” (chapter 1, Of Holy Scripture, paragraph 5) Indeed, Christ’s church is “…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) But this public declarative ministry of the Word of God is to be complemented and reinforced by the corrective, relational, “one another” ministry of people who know their God and connect others to Jesus Christ. It is called “private” not to restrict it from flowing out of a believer, as living water must do (John 7:38), but because the audience of such ministry is necessarily smaller: either individual or limited in nature. Therefore, we can visualize the private ministry of the Word of God as two-fold: solitary (personal, private devotional life – preaching the gospel to oneself) and “one another” (Biblical counseling – for which the upcoming Sunday school class based on the Paul Tripp book prepares counselors).
Every believer may consider his life as a three-legged stool, supported by each of the three aspects of the ministry of the Word of God (public; private – solitary; private – one another) wherein each aspect is vital to the vitality and growth of the believer.
Each one of the legs is necessary for stability. If one of the legs is out of proportion, the stool will lack stability. If one of the legs is missing, the stool will fall.
Every believer is both a consumer and a proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17) we live by faith. In order to live, you and I must consume and proclaim this gospel both privately and publicly. A new adult Sunday school class starting in June is based on the book by Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, and is subtitled: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. All believers have the calling to be “instruments of change in [God’s] redemptive hands” (Tripp) as we walk by faith and proclaim the gospel. Believers never tire of the gospel, because it is “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16)
Whether you attend this class or not, New Life in Christ provides numerous opportunities to grow in the grace and knowledge of your Lord and Savior through the public worship of our God, by participating in kingdom training offered locally through Sunday school and New Geneva Theological Seminary classes, as well as the Biblical counseling video courses available through Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
If you have interest or questions regarding any of these, please let me know.
First Sundays are Communion Sundays
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
If you received word that your relatives were planning a family reunion for a certain time and place next year, it is likely you would mark that date on your calendar with anticipation, and even begin preparing for the event. The first Sunday of each month, it is the tradition of New Life in Christ church to observe the Lord’s Supper. This is a family reunion of sorts, because we gather around our Lord’s Table for a family meal, to remember His death until He comes again.
The Westminster Larger Catechism gives us helpful guidance for our preparation and reception of this sacrament.
Question 171: How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
Answer: They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.
Indeed, these are good practices which are needful on any given day, made more important as we prepare to come to the Table. Questions arise as to when to refrain from coming to the Lord’s Table.
Question 172: May one who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s Supper?
Answer: One who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account has it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s Supper, that he may be further strengthened.
For the Christian, there is good reason to refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper: if one is knowingly and unrepentantly engaging in sin. If this is the case, make it a point to speak to a pastor, elder, or mature believer who can help you. But know that this is the Table of “Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) The Table is for sinners saved by grace. If weakness or doubt were reasons to be excluded, then none would ever come. It is a lifelong battle for the Christian to strive against sin, to hate and forsake it. We come to the Table not for any good in and of ourselves, but because we need this sacrament and union with Christ to save us.
Celebrating Our High School Graduates
Another tradition of New Life is the annual recognition of graduating High School seniors, planned this year for the Sunday evening (6 pm) service on June 13. It is an opportunity to pray for our high school graduates. We don’t want to leave anyone out, so please let us know if you have a student graduating this year.
To honor our graduates, we are requesting your help. Immediately following the evening service, there is a reception in their honor. We currently have 10 High School graduates, and anticipate approximately 60+ friends and families to enjoy this celebration with us. We are requesting food and appetizer donations, drinks, and your time to help with set-up and clean-up.
If you would like to help with the reception, please sign-up at:
REMINDER: Single Morning Service and Sunday School Classes: Youth, Children, and Adults
It was a joyful time to return to a single Sunday morning worship service last Sunday at 10 am. In addition, Sunday school classes are in full swing as of this month, and the following children’s and youth Sunday school classes are meeting (in the educational wing of the building) on June 6:
And the Youth class – Grades 9-12 – starts in two weeks on June 20!
Additionally, the following Adult classes are offered this quarter (with new classes planned for September):
Upcoming Events and Worship Plan for This Weekend