“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” Ps 111:1

On the 21st of February we celebrated the official opening service of our new church building that we’ve purchased. We are amazed that around 140 people came to the service. Many inhabitants of the local village came and also the mayor and several politicians, who officially just came for a greeting word, but even they stayed for the entire service. That is rather uncommon in Germany.

We mentioned many greetings from befriended churches before the service and were encouraged by the sincere love and prayers of brothers and churches so distant but through the bond of the Spirit so close and real. In the sermon on Ps 111, I preached about the greatness of God. That’s why I stated that the building shall become a house of praise to the Lord, since he alone is worthy of all praise. Also, that the building shall become a house of knowledge of the lord, for he is knowable through his self-revelation. He does great works, from creation on throughout history and he revealed himself in a special way in the infallible Scripture and entirely and graciously in his covenant of redemption through Jesus Christ. Finally, that the building shall be a house of wisdom before the Lord, where people learn to fear God in a right way in order to live out true faith in everyday life and practice love in good understanding.

Altogether God has blessed us with a delightful opening service and the opportunity to preach the gospel to many people who may have never heard it before.

In the evening service I preached four sermons on 1 Sam 9 and 10, considering God’s sovereign rule even in light of the rebellious desire of the people, then looking at the diverse hints the Bible gives right from the beginning of the wavering character of Saul. In Chapter 10, I preached on the God-given signs of a true calling and Saul’s positive signs of humility and wisdom at the beginning, by being able to keep quiet, to step back and to bear with hurtful words. We experience in the church some people who come regularly but there is still some real repentance and conversion missing. They have some positive and moral beginning like Saul, but there is missing a change of heart. May the Lord be merciful to them and convict them of sin, righteousness and judgement in due time.

In the adult Sunday School I taught on the book of Psalms, which was quite a challenge to cope the entire book. I focused on the way the Psalms are revealing the Savior, how they express human pious desire and the struggle with it, how the psalms reflect the covenant of God with his people, how the sovereign rule of God is emphasized and how the whole Book leads to the praise of God, even and especially by the assurance of his judgement of the wicked.

Further I taught on the mutual love and unity among the local and universal church in the body of Christ. The many greetings and prayers of so many churches from all over the world to our opening service gave a wonderful example and demonstration of this precious truth. Yet we do good to remember and live out the united love in the local congregation by serving, honoring and encouraging one another, as also to pray and serve the churches of common faith. May the Lord guide us in love and wisdom for the honor of Christ.

For the church plant in Frankfurt we are teaching the committed brothers in Frankfurt the foundation doctrines of a biblical ordered church. This month I taught them the true marks and historical roots of a Reformed Baptist Church, emphasizing the truth of the old metaphor: “We are like dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. When we see more and farther than our predecessors, it’s not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.” In dealing with the matter, I became quite convinced of how important it is for us Christians to get a better grasp on church history, in order to get a form knowledge of where we stand and what we see. Not knowing the past is probably the quickest way to fall into the same traps that Christians dealt with centuries before.