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The Liturgy of Emmaus Explained

Episode 23

Joe Anady and Mike Thezier provide an overview of the liturgy (order of worship) of Emmaus Christian Fellowship and seek to explain the biblical and theological rationale behind it. Listen in to find out why we do what we do in our corporate worship on the Lord’s Day.

Posted in Podcasts, Confessing the Faith, Church Practices, Posted by Mike. Comments Off on The Liturgy of Emmaus Explained

Membership Required?

Episode 22

Joe Anady and Mike Thezier discuss the membership process at Emmaus Christian Fellowship and why membership in a local church is so important and biblical.

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Foundational Teachings on Church Associations from the 2016 ARBCA GA

I was blessed to attend the General Assembly (GA) of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA) this year. It was hosted by Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois from May 26-28. The host church went above and beyond in showing hospitality. It was truly an excellent experience. Mike and I recorded a podcast in which I provide an overview of the GA. If you have not listened to it yet, please do.

Here I wish to set before you some of the preaching and teaching that we were blessed to receive at the GA. There were a number of devotionals, lectures, and sermons delivered. All of them were very good. They can be found at I have selected these particular lectures and sermons because they speak directly to the issue of church associations. What is the biblical warrant for local churches belonging to an association of churches? How should associations be formed? How ought they to be maintained? What is the purpose of forming associations? These questions are addressed in one way or another in the teachings I have selected.

Brothers and sisters, I would encourage you to listen to these if you can find the time. The leadership of Emmaus has grown convinced over the years of the importance of belonging to an association of churches that share the same view of the Bible and the same view of the mission of the church. We have been officially received into the Southern California Association of Reformed Baptist Churches (SCARBC) and we will be prayerfully considering ARBCA in the months (maybe years) to come.

Foundational Teachings on Church Associations from the 2016 ARBCA GA:

A Defense of Confessionalism  – Arden Hodgins –  4/27/2016

A Tale of Two Associations Revisited – James M. Renihan – 4/27/2016

Devotional from John 17:20-26 – John Miller – 4/28/2016

Associational Churchmanship: LBC 26:12-15 – James M. Renihan – 4/28/2016

Posted in Good Thoughts from Others, Theology, Church Life, Church Practices, The Church, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Foundational Teachings on Church Associations from the 2016 ARBCA GA

The Christian Sabbath: The Law is Good

My objective in this short series on the Christian Sabbath is to persuade you to believe that the fourth commandment – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, ESV) – applies to the Christian today just as the other nine commandments do.

It is true that we are not justified by the keeping of the law – no one ever was (Galatians 2:16). And it is true that we are not under the law in the way that Old Covenant Israel was, or those not in Christ are (Galatians 5:18). But it is a mistake to assume that the moral law, as well as the moral principles contained within the civil and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, do not apply to those in Christ (Matthew 5:27; 1 Timothy 5:18).

We wouldn’t dare claim this concerning the other nine commandments. Most Christians would acknowledge, for example, that, the seventh command – “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, ESV) – still applies. It applies in that it reveals God’s moral standard for us. We can not be saved by the keeping of it  – we are not legalists. And we cannot keep it apart from the work of the Spirit in us – we are not moralists. But it is as true and applicable for us today as it was in the day it was given. My question is this: Why would we approach the fourth commandment any differently?

Some might object, saying, but the law is written on the hearts of Christians, not on stone! This is indeed true (Jeremiah 31:31-33). But why would we think that the moral law written on the heart of the Christian would differ in substance from the moral law written on stone and given to Moses? It is the same moral law for God’s people under the Old and New Covenant!

It is true, the civil and ceremonial laws do not apply to Chritsians in the same way as they did to those under the Old Covenant. And why is that? It is because they have been fulfilled in Christ (Acts 10:13). But the moral principles remain unchanged and intact (Matthew 5:17). If you are interested in this I would recommend that you read Chapter 19 of our Confession.

I made a case (very briefly) in my last post for the permanence of the fourth commandment. I argued like this: One, the fourth commandment is at the heart of the ten commandments, which is a summery of God’s moral law. Two, the Sabbath principle appears, not first in the ten commandments, but at creation. Both of these facts point to the Sabbath principle as something that transcends the Old Covenant made with Israel. It contains a moral principle applicable to all people at all times and in all places.

Here I emphasize this point: many Christians are opposed to the continued validity of the Sabbath command because they approach the issue with a predisposed aversion to the law of God. They object to the idea that we are to observe the Sabbath today saying, that is legalism! We are not under the law! Our response would be, no, you are guilty of antinomianism! You have gone to far in your rejection of the moral law!  

We are not legalists. We do not believe that a person can be saved through the keeping of the law. No one ever has been, and never will be (actually, if I had the time I would develop this point: all are saved through the keeping of the law in this sense –  Christ has kept it for us, and we are saved through faith in him!). Furthermore, we are deeply opposed to adding anything to the law of God as the Pharisees in Jesus’ day were guilty of doing (this is why I am opposed to forbidding the drinking of alcohol, for example. While drinking may be unwise (especially for some), it should not be forbidden for the simple fact that the scriptures to not forbid it (John 2)). We are not legalists.

But neither are we antinomians. We believe that the law of God is useful for the Christian. We agree with Paul that “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12, ESV).

Traditionally the church has confessed that the moral law has three uses for the Christian. R.C. Sproul summarizes this nicely:

“The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, ‘The law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the law, may learn to implore the help of grace.’ The law highlights our weakness so that we might seek the strength found in Christ. Here the law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.

A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin says this purpose is ‘by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.’ The law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized.

The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, the law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it. Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the law, to serve as an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory.” (R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)

If you are having trouble with the Sabbath command you may need to back up and reconsider your view of the law in general. Perhaps you have misunderstood what it means to not be under the law in Christ. Whatever that means (that is another discussion for another time) it does not mean that the moral law no longer applies to the Christian.

The Sabbath command is at the heart of the summery of the moral law, the Ten Commandments. If it is still wrong to worship other gods, make graven images, take the name of the LORD in vain, dishonor parents, murder, commit adultery, steel, lie, and covet, then it is also wrong to fail to rest and worship one day in seven.

Questions remain. Who changed the day? What are we to do and not do on the Christian Sabbath? These, and other question will have to wait for another time. For now, may I simply encourage you to see the law of God as holy and righteous and good.


Posted in Theology, Christian Sabbath, Church Practices, Confession of Faith, The Christian Life, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on The Christian Sabbath: The Law is Good

The Christian Sabbath: Our Confession

The fourth of the Ten Commandments is this: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8–11, ESV)

How are we as Christians to understand this command? Even a brief glance at it reveals that it was originally given to a people living in a time different than our own. They were to rest on the seventh day. We, if we rest at all, rest on the first. They were to provide rest for their male servants, female servants, livestock, and to the sojourners who dwelt in their midst – all of this sounds very foreign to us, doesn’t it?

It is indeed tempting to brush the Sabbath command to the side reasoning to ourselves, “that was for a different time and for a different people, it does not apply to us anymore.” But is this true? Are we really to say that one of the Ten Commandments no longer applies? I think not.

Consider that the principle that binds each of the Ten Commandments together is the fact that they contain moral principles of universal significance. Idol worship is wrong – murder is wrong – adultery is wrong – not just for a select people living in a particular time, but for all people in all times. These things are forbidden because they are violations of God’s moral law which emanate from his being. The Ten Commandments are the Ten Commandments because they contain moral principles which apply to all people at all times.

Notice also the reason given for the fourth command. The text reads, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” The significance is this: The Sabbath command was given, not first to Israel, but to Adam and Eve who represent the entire human race. The Sabbath is a picture of something. It reminds of of the fact that God created the heavens and the earth, of the promise of eternal rest found in him, and that he alone is worthy of our worship.

It is our conviction that the Sabbath principle remains in effect for us today. It ought to be obeyed by all people in all times. In other words, to fail to rest and to worship the one true God according to the pattern established by him at creation is to sin.

Now in the moment you read these words you probably have a dozen or more questions flood your mind: Which day? Can it be any day? If it must be a particular day, then why do we rest and worship on Sunday, and not Saturday? What can I do on that day? What must I not do? Isn’t this legalism? Wasn’t Jesus against Sabbath keeping? Didn’t Paul say that the Sabbath was done away with? What is the reason for all of this anyways? I intend to address questions like these in future posts. For now I would simply like to remind you of what we confess.

Would you please take a moment to read chapter 22 of the London Baptist Confession (below)? Notice that the sabbath principle is addressed within the context of a larger section dealing with worship, for that is the real question: how are we to worship God? The answer given is that we are to worship him, not according to our preferences, but in the way that he has prescribed in his word.

My prayer for you, church, is that you would grow convinced that this is indeed the teaching of scripture. God has given us six days to work, but he has invited us to rest and worship him one out of seven. The Sabbath is a gift. It ought to be a most joyous thing as we orient the rhythm of our lives around the worship of the God who made us, who saved us, and who will one day bring us into the fullness of his rest when he makes all things new.

The Baptist Confession of Faith
Chapter 22 – Worship and the Sabbath Day

  1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. ( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )
  2. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone. ( Matthew 4:9, 10; John 6:23; Matthew 28:19; Romans 1:25; Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5 )
  3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue. ( Psalms 95:1-7; Psalms 65:2; John 14:13, 14; Romans 8:26; 1 John 5:14; 1 Corinthians 14:16, 17 )
  4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death. ( 1 Timothy 2:1, 2; 2 Samuel 7:29; 2 Samuel 12:21-23; 1 John 5:16 )
  5. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner. ( 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2; Luke 8:18; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19; Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26; Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Exodus 15:1-19, Psalms 107 )
  6. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto. ( John 4:21; Malachi 1:11; 1 Timothy 2:8; Acts 10:2; Matthew 6:11; Psalms 55:17; Matthew 6:6; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42 )
  7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished. ( Exodus 20:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10 )
  8. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. ( Isaiah 58:13; Nehemiah 13:15-22; Matthew 12:1-13 )
Posted in Theology, Christian Sabbath, Church Practices, Confession of Faith, The Christian Life, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on The Christian Sabbath: Our Confession

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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