The purpose of this catechism is to ground church members in the essentials of. Biblical faith. Many members of necessity-of-reforming-the-church.pdf
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 1 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org A Study Guide to the NEW CITY CATECHISM Qs 1 -20 by Dr. James Bankhead Qs 21 -52 by Rev. Justin Lewis Special thanks to newcitycatechism.com (The Gospel Coalition , Redeemer Presbyterian Church (NYC ), and Crossway Publishing ) and www.knoxseminary.edu/new -city -catechism -project/ Permission: Any organization is free to use this information and replicate sections of this document as needed provided proper citation where appropriate. If you see any edits to be made, please email Justin.Lewis@wpcspartanburg.or g. !!
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 2 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org Table of Contents PART 1 God, creation and fall, law. Suggested Leader Guide for Question 1 !”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””!#!Q.1 What is our only hope in life and death? !”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””!$!Q.2 What is God? !”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””!%&!Excursus on Question 2 . 13 Q.3 How many persons are there in God? !””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””!'(!Q.4 How and why did God create us? . 26 Q.5 What else did God create? .. 28 Q.6 How can we glorify God? . 31 Q.7 What does the law of God require? . 35 Q.8 What is the law of God stated in the Ten Commandments? 39 Q.9 What does God require in the first, second and third Commandment s? 42 Q.10 What does God require in the fourth and fifth Commandments? 46 Q.11 What does God require in the sixth, seventh and eighth Commandments? .. 48 Q.12 What does G od require in the ninth and tenth Commandments? 51 Q.13 Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly? . 55 Q.14 Did God create us unable to keep his law? .. 59 Q.15 Since no one can keep the law, what is its purpose? 64 Q.16 What is sin? . 67 Q.17 What is idolatry? . 70 Q.18 Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished? .. 75 Q.19 Is there any way to escape punishment and be brought back into GodÕs favor? . 80 Q.20 Who is the redeemer? . 85 PART 2 Christ, redemption, grace Q.21 What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God? . 89 Q.22 Why must the Redeemer be tr uly human? 91 Q.23 Why must the Redeemer be truly God? .. 92 Q.24 Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die? .. 94 Q.25 Does ChristÕs death mean all our sins can be forg iven? . 96 Q.26 What else does ChristÕs death redeem? . 98 Q.27 Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ? .. 100 Q.28 What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith? . 103 Q.29 How can we be saved? 106
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 3 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org Q.30 What is faith in Jesus Christ? 108 Q.31 What do we believe by true faith? 110 Q.32 What do justification and sanctification mean? . 112 Q.33 Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else? 114 Q.34 Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey GodÕs Word? .. 116 Q.35 Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from? 118 PART 3 Spirit, restoration, grow ing in grace. Q.36 What do we believe about the Holy Spirit 120 Q.37 How does the Holy Spirit help us? . 122 Q.38 What is prayer? 124 Q.39 With what attitude should we pray? 126 Q.40 What should we pray ? .. 128 Q.41 What is the LordÕs Prayer? . 130 Q.42 How is the Word of God to be read and heard? 132 Q.43 What are the sacraments or ordinances? 134 Q.44 What is baptism? . 136 Q.45 Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself? 138 Q.46 What is the LordÕs Supper? 140 Q.47 Does the LordÕs Supper add anything to ChristÕs atoning work? .. 142 Q.48 What is the church? 144 Q.49 Where is Christ now? 146 Q.50 What does ChristÕs resurrection mean for us? .. 148 Q.51 Of what advantage to us is ChristÕs ascension? .. 150 Q.52 What hope does everlasting life hold for us? . 152 !
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 4 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org Suggested Leader Guide for Question 1 The Study Guide for Group participants is intended to help the user reflect upon and interact personally with Scripture, with their own inner being and experience and with the issue in the specific Catechism Question. The hope is that in this way the Catechism answer will become more real in their hearts and in the collective heart of your group. Question 1 asks what our hope is. The dictionary defines ÒhopeÓ as Òa feeling that what is wanted is likely to happen; desire accompanied by expectation.Ó Thus, ÒhopeÓ has to do with Òconviction,Ó Òconfidence,Ó Òexpectations,Ó desiresÓ and Òwants.Ó Interestingly, the word ÒhopeÓ does not appear in Scripture in the Old Testament (OT) until Ruth 1:12. The OT begins to say a great deal about ÒhopeÓ: ÒBe of good courage, a nd He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord,Ó Psalm 31:24. ÒBlessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, whose hope [KJV; Òconfidence,Ó NIV] is in him,Ó Jeremiah 17:7. Peter says in his Acts 2 message on the day of Pentecost, ÒTherefo re, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also live in hope,Ó 2:26, as he proclaims JesusÕ resurrection to those gathered. Romans 4:18 says, ÒAgainst all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it ha d been said, ÔSo shall your offspring be.Ó (Abraham set his hope that God would fulfill his promise that he would have s son as his heir and it would not be the son of his servant.) ÒFor everything that was written in the past was written to teach is, so t hat through endurance and the encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope,Ó Romans 15:4. The truth is that we have the ability to attach our hopes to people, to things and to God in Jesus. This is why it is important to reflect upon and evaluate the object of our hope. It is important to do this because, without realizing it, we can attach our hopes to people, to things, to experiences and to ideas about God that let us down and disappoint us The following are avenues you may choose to follow in facil itating your groupÕs discussions and reflections on Question 1: Avenue 1: Because some will have done their homework and some may not, select some of the questions on page 2 from ÒYour former hope, identity and desire,Ó such as ÒWhere were you born?Ó Where was the center of warmth in your home?Ó and ÒHow did your relationship with Jesus begin?Ó If there is time left, you may want to ask the group questions on page 2. Avenue 2: On page 2, start with ÒYour New self hope, identity and desiresÓ and go through t he process and group questions on page 3. Avenue 3: Ask the question on page 3 & 4. Avenue 4: Choose questions from all three Avenues to discuss in your group. Be sure to pray for the members of your group during the week and to pray in your group both at the start and when you close. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to change the direction your group takes and to go with the flow. Bless you as you seek to follow His guidance.
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 5 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org New City Catechism Question 1 What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ . THE NEW CITY CATECHISM Besides these Study Guides, there are several additional resources for digging into the New City Catechism. Timothy Keller, one of the organizing contributors for the development of this catechism, has short videos at www.newcitycatechism.com . Dr. Michael Allen offers more extended input on each question at www.knoxseminary.edu/new -city -catechism -project/ . Please use these excellent resources in preparing to interact with others in your small group. The purpose of this catechism is to ground church members i n the essentials of Biblical faith. Many members of churches have too little knowledge much less understanding of the truths of Scripture. The New City Catechism seeks to provide you with a positive way to grasp the basic issues of our faith. The New City Catechism uses the ancient educational method of Òcatechesis.Ó This word comes from Greek Òto teach verballyÓ or orally. This method organizes the essential elements of the BibleÕs truth into fifty -two questions and answers drawn from Scriptural revelatio n. Colossians 3:16 charges church members: Ò Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom ÉÓ. In your group, you will be starting with the first twenty questions. These questions will help you think throug h your hope in this life and in death. You will dig into your identity as GodÕs redeemed child, into GodÕs identity and character, into the nature of his person, into what God has done, into how we glorify God, into some specifics of GodÕs communication to his children and what he reveals about us through it, into GodÕs response to sin and into GodÕs way of taking upon himself our punishment for our sin. These are the essential issues to which the twenty questions give solid answers. NCC: QUESTION 1 Ð WHAT IS OUR ONLY HOPE IN LIFE AND DEATH? Question 1 asks you about your Òonly hopeÓ and quotes from one of the apostle PaulÕs letters. In another letter, Paul writes to church members in the city of Ephesus. They were primarily Gentiles. Most Ephesian believers had not grown up in synagogues nor had they learned the hope and ways of God in Scripture. There was a clear distinction between the lives and hopes they had before coming to faith in Jesus and the new hope and the new lives they now had as follo wers of Jesus. Paul writes: ÒYou were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ó
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 6 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org Apparently, to grow in following Jesus, church members needed to understand how their former way of life and former hope did not help them mature in faith and obedience. Instead, its desires corrupted their faith a nd obedience. Those of us who did not grow up in a church are well aware of our Ò former way of life Ó and the hopes and desires that governed us. There is a very clear distinction of our hopes and desires before and after coming to faith in Jesus. However, many of us who grew in a church do not realize that we too have a Ò former way of life Ó with false hopes and corrupting desires. This distinction is not as clear for us. Since we have always been in and around a church, our hope and identity as a Christian is mixed in with our Ò former way of life Ó and its hopes and desires. We need to understand what about our church life is a part of our Òformer way of lifeÓ and its hopes and desires and which is part of Òthe new selfÓ with its hopes and desires. The ques tions that follow are intended to help you make this distinction. Your ÒformerÓ hope, identity and desires! Instructions: Write out your answers to the following questions! 1.!Where were you born? 2.!What were your parentsÕ names? 3.!What is your full name? 4.!For whom were you named? 5.!How many siblings were in your family? 6.!What was the address of your childhood home? 7.!As a child, what was your main hope and ÒdesireÓ? 8.!If someone asked you as a child Òto whom you belonged,Ó what would your answer have been? 9.!Where was the center of emotional warmth in your home? 10.!Did you grow up attending a church? 11.!As a child, if someone asked you if you belonged to a church, what church would you have answered? If you did not belong to a church, was there a church with which you were fa miliar? 12.!Growing up, was there a group to which you belonged or hoped and desired to belong? 13.!What was the identity of this group? 14.!What hope and desire did belonging to this group fulfill? 15.!How would you describe your identity, your hope and desires as you grew up? 16.!How did your relationship with Jesus Christ begin? 17.!Describe your familiarity and confidence in your knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures? Your Ò New self Ó hope, identity and desires! Instructions for teaching one another: 1.!Ask Question 1 out loud!
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 8 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org The Roman 14 verses reveal how the author sees himself and the believers in Jesus to whom he is writing. Context determines meaning. This author gre w up in the context of a master -slave economic and social system. In this system, the slave belonged to the master. Additionally, the slave was dependent upon the master for his or her livelihood and well -being. When the slaveÕs desire was to do the master Õs will, the master took care of the slave and provide for his or her daily needs. In ancient slave societies, the slave could be Òredeemed.Ó ÒRedemptionÓ occurred when someone paid the acceptable price for the slave. When that price was paid, the slave was either the servant of the one who paid the price or that person could set the sl ave free. ÒRedemptionÓ was the greatest hope and desire for every slave in this authorÕs culture. The master -slave relationship operated in both Testaments. For instance, when you open the Book of Exodus, the Israelites are slaves in Egypt. They Òbelonge d toÓ the Pharaoh. The Scriptural truth in the Old Testament is that God is actively at work behind the scenes to set his children free from their enslavement. God ÒredeemsÓ or Òbuys them backÓ from their Egyptian masters. He sets them free to live as his servants. Their new identity is, Òwe belong to the Lord God!Ó Their desire was to do GodÕs will. We no longer live in a master -slave economy and social system. However, we do live in an economy and social system based on an employer -employee or boss -worke r relationship. For many their identity is based on their employment. People tend to identify and say about themselves, ÒI am a doctor;Ó ÒI am a lawyerÓ; ÒI am a coachÓ; ÒI am a preacherÓ; ÒI am a teacherÓ, etc. Another way to say this is, I belong to doc toring; I belong to lawyering; I belong to coaching; I belong to preaching; or I belong to teaching. In many ways, the employee/worker is dependent upon the job and the employer/boss for his or her livelihood and well being. Also, when the employee desir es to do the employerÕs will, the employer takes care of and provides what he or she needs. One scholar refers to this economic relationship as Òsociological slavery.Ó It fosters a dependency throughout our society. On one level, the employee Òbelongs toÓ the employer. Rarely does someone say in our culture, much less in our churches, ÒI belong, body and soul, both in life and in death, to God and our savior Jesus Christ.Ó The person who sees this as their identity desires to do their MasterÕs will. This n ew identity in the New Testament is the background for all God does behind the scenes in and through Jesus. He is working to Òpay the accepted priceÓ to ÒredeemÓ his children from a form of ÔslaveryÓ so that those for whom he pays the accepted price can n ow Òbelong to himÓ and desire to do his will. The author of the verses in Romans had not lived as a slave in the literal sense. That was not his ÒformerÓ identity. His identity or Ò former way of life Ó was as a free man and a faithful Jew. His primary hop e and desire was to grow stronger as a faithful Jew and to please the Jewish leaders. In Philippians 3:4b -6, he reveals: ÒIf someone else thinks they have reason to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of I srael, of the tribe of Benjamin,
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 9 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee, as for zeal, persecuting the church, as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.Ó Before he was ÒpurchasedÓ and ÒredeemedÓ by the Risen Jesus, this was how the au thor thought of his identity, his hope and his desires. Because God paid the accepted price for the authorÕs freedom from the law and from sin, he knew that he Òbelonged, body and soul, both in life and in death, to God and to our savior Jesus Christ.Ó His new desire was to please the Lord by doing his will. 1.!What appeals to you about viewing yourself as Òbelonging, body and soul, both in this life and in death, to God and to Jesus our saviorÓ? 2.!What about viewing yourself as Òbelonging, body and soul, bot h in this life and in death, to God and to Jesus our saviorÓ does not fully fit how you view yourself and what you desire? 3.!Why do you think so few people in churches view themselves as belonging, body and soul, both in this life and in death, to God and to our savior Jesus Christ and desire to do GodÕs will revealed in Jesus? 4.!What needs to happen to cause more church members to see themselves as belonging to God and to Jesus our savior and to desire to do his will? 5.!What would this new identity, hope an d desire do to improve the lives and witness of church members in our economic and social system? 6.!What is the most important thing for you about this identity, hope and desire that described by Roman 14? 7.!How can we make this identity, hope and desire more realistic for us in this group?
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 10 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org New City Catechism Question 2 What is God? God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will . Introduction: Remember question 1: Òour hope in life and death.Ó It seeks to make very personal whose we are so we understand our truest identity. Before we go any further into the essential truths in the Bible, question 2 seeks to make sure that we know who it is to whom we belong and what they have done. The Bible makes crystal clear that, like ancient slaves, God himself has paid the accepted price for our lives. More pointedly, he has boug ht you back for Himself. Your truest sense of belonging to the true God is the basis for your truest identity. Also like the ancient Israelites, we live in a land that acknowledges many gods. Now in Question 2, you are asked about the correct identity of the God who has redeemed you and to whom you belong. In other words, you are asked, in the face of many gods, ÒWho is the true God?Ó ÒWhat has the true God done?Ó And, ÒWhat are the true GodÕs basic attributes?Ó Instructions for probing your heart: write y our answers to the following questions: 1.!When did God become more than a word for you? 2.!Before this occurred, what did the word ÒGodÓ mean to you? 3.!When God became real to you, who did you understand God to be? 4.!When it happened, what did you understand that God had done? 5.!What things contributed to God becoming more than a word to you? 6.!What about God and Jesus are you now most confident? 7.!What now disquiets you about God and our redeemer, Jesus Christ? Instructions for teaching one another: 1.!Ask question 2 out loud. 2.!Give the CatechismÕs answer to question 2. 3.!Read out loud together Psalm 86:8 -10,15. Question 2: ÒWho is God?Ó Answer 2: ÒGod is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his purpose and perf ection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.Ó Psalm 86:8 -10,15 ÒAmong the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worshi p before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are GodÉ. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
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Westminster Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC) 11 of 153 www.wpcspartanburg.org abounding in love and faithfulness.Ó Instructions: answer as best yo u can the following questions! 1.!What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of God? 2.!How do you know that God is the Creator? 3.!In what sections of Scripture does God sustain everyone and everything? 4.!What helps you trust that God sustains everyone and everything? 5.!Are there personal experiences that cause you to doubt God as the sustainer of everyone and everything? If so, what are they? 6.!What about God as Creator implies that God is ÒeternalÓ? 7.!What about God does the word ÒinfiniteÓ describe ? 8.!What in Scripture leads you to believe that God is Òunchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice and truthÓ? 9.!Why is it essential that one of the CreatorÕs attributes is ÒgoodnessÓ? 10.!Do you normally use the word ÒgloryÓ in everyday conversations? Why or why not? 11.!When in reference to God, what does the attribute ÒgloryÓ mean to you? 12.!What is your understanding of ÒwisdomÓ and how it develops? 13.!What is your current understanding of ÒtruthÓ? 14.!What is the popular idea of ÒtruthÓ in our culture? 15.!Why do you think it is important that the true God is the God of truth? Background: A key aspect of who the true God is unfolds from the opening pages of the Bible. The New City Catechism is built on the fact that the true God speaks and th ings are created. For instance, in Genesis 1, God speaks and the universe as we know it comes into being. It comes into being in clearly defined stages enclosed in periods of time. Then, in Genesis 1:26, God communicates what he intends to do. He says, ÒLe t us make mankind in our image, in our likenessÉ In saying ÒLet us,Ó God reveals that he is not alone. Someone is present with him. Someone is listening to what He says as he announces his intention to create mankind. Question 3 will seek to spell out who was with God Òin the beginning.Ó It is essential to know and understand that the one true God communicates. His communication can be received and understood. And when God communicates things happen. As the truth about God unfolds in the Bible, besides comm unicating before creation, after he creates everything and everyone, God communicates clearly to and with specific people. He communicates in such a way that the person to whom he communicates is described receiving and understanding his communication. The Bible also records where God communicates. What God communicates to the person is remembered and acted upon. God communicates in Scripture who he is, what he has done and what he intends for people to do. Therefore, the God of the Bible is first and forem ost the communicating God. In Genesis 1, he communicates that he is the creator of everything and everyone. In Genesis 3, he communicates what happens when what he says is not trusted and obeyed, i.e., the consequences for the first man and woman choosing to believe a lie
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