The following is my own membership material I crafted for new members classes. You may use it also if you’d like.
Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Rio Rancho
The Bible always refers to believers and their children as members of the church under the oversight of elders. Therefore, church membership is a matter of grateful Christian duty. To place oneself under the oversight of the elders in a local church finds expression by the taking of vows to the Lord. Membership vows are simply a confession to the Lord made in the presence of the people in a local congregation. Membership entitles you to the oversight of the elders, a voice to vote in the congregational meetings, and other privileges involving the life of the church. Simply put, the vows express your belief in the Bible, your sinfulness and need for salvation found in Christ alone, your pledge to walk in newness of life, and your agreement to submit in the Lord to the proper ministry of the church according to the Word of God. These lessons are provided to better acquaint you with the vows. Feel free to ask questions as we proceed through the lessons.
Vow #1 Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
1. According to Psalm 19:1&2 and Romans 1:18-20, how does God make himself known, and what do we learn about God this way? Why do we need further revelation besides what is listed above?
2. According to Psalm 119:105, John 20:30-31, and I John 2:1, what is the purpose of the Bible? (WCF 1:1)
3. Attributes of the Bible
A. Inspired – II Tim. 3:16, Acts 4:24-26
B. Infallible (inerrant) – Numbers 23:19, Luke 21:33
C. Authoritative – Matthew 7:24-26, James 1:22
D. Clear (WCF 1:7)
E. Sufficient – Hebrews 1:1, II Peter 1:3, Eph 2:19-21 (WCF 1:6)
4. Errant views of authority
A. Roman Catholic View (Bible & church tradition)
B. Pentecostal View (Bible & personal revelation)
5. The use of a Confession – (WCF 1:10)
6. Authority and Christian liberty (WCF XX:2)
7. How do we interpret the Bible?
A. Clear interprets the unclear
B. The Bible is one book – context, context, context
C. New Testament interprets the Old Testament – Eph 3:1-5, Luke 24
8. The relationship between the Spirit and Word – John 16:12-14, Acts 16:14
9. What about all the different translations?
A. Jesus and Apostles quoted from two translations
B. We possess authentic copies, not original manuscripts
Vow #2 Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
1. Man is created to glorify God Isaiah 43:7
2. Man is a sinner – WCF 7:2
WCF 7:2 – The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and perpetual obedience.
Adam represented mankind in the covenant of work
A. The test – Genesis 2:15-17
B. The reward – Genesis 2:9, Revelation 22:1-2
C. The result – Genesis 2:17, 3:17-19, Romans 5:15, 18
3. Man’s condition as a result of the fall – WCF 6:2, 3, 4, Genesis 6:5, Ephesians 2:1-3, I Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:23
4. Total depravity
A. Not that man is as sinful as can be – common grace
B. Every aspect of man is sinful and spiritually dead
5. God’s answer – The covenant of grace (Genesis 3:15 & Genesis 12, 15, 17; 2 Samuel 7:8-16) WCF 7:3-5
WCF 7:3 – Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
Man’s fall and sin emphasized/intensified through Mosaic Covenant (Law) – WCF 7:2; 19:6.
Purpose of the Law was to drive sinner to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
6. Promise of Covenant of Grace fulfilled in Jesus Christ
A. Jesus Christ – fully God WCF 8:2, John 1:1, 1:14, Acts 20:28
B. Jesus Christ – fully man WLC Q. 37, John 1:18, John 19:20, I Timothy 2:5
7. Substitutionary/Vicarious Atonement WCF 8:5
A. Active obedience of Christ WCF 11:3, Romans 5:17-19, John 17:4
B. Passive obedience of Christ WCF 8:4, Galatians 3:13, Romans 5:6-8
The God who saves us is Triune – Matthew 28:19, Hebrews 10:14
A sinner not only needs forgiveness; he needs perfect righteousness. Both come by imputation. In justification our sins are accounted to Christ; His substitutionary death and His righteousness are accounted to us.
8. The source of salvation
A. God’s electing grace – WLC Q. 30, Ephesians 2:4-9, Ephesians 1:3-9, Romans 9:10-21
B. Differences between Reformed and Arminian thinking – What happened at the cross? Did Christ die to make salvation possible, or did Christ actually save? If Jesus actually took the place of sinners at the cross, and He died for everyone, then all men are saved. If God has already punished Christ for the sins of every man, then every man is forgiven.
A look at particular atonement through the Gospel of John
John 10:14-16, 26-28
John 17: 9
At the same time the Bible is clear on human responsibility. The gospel is not, “if you are elect you will be saved,” but, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
9. The instrument of salvation (justification) WLC Q. 70 Faith alone – Romans 3:21-26, Galatians 2:16, Romans 4:1-8
WLC Q. 73 – How does faith justify a sinner in the sight of God? Answer: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, or any act thereof were imputed to him for his justification; but only as an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and His righteousness
Repentance the first fruit of faith WCF 15:2, 3, Luke 13:5, Luke 24:47
The afterlife and return of Christ – WCF XXXII & XXXIII
Vow # 3 Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord and do you promise, in reliance on the grace of God, to serve him with all that is in you, to forsake the world, to mortify your old nature, and to lead a godly life?
A. God’s purpose for salvation (sanctification; conformity to the image of Christ) WLC Q. 75, WLC Q. 1
1. Eph 1:4
2. Rom 8:29
3. Gal 5:22&23
1. Already Sanctified (Positionally) in Union with Christ (Romans. 6; 8:1-4; Ephesians 1-2; Colossians. 3:1-3; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
2. Not Yet (Practically, Christian growth) (II Pet. 1:5-8, James 1:3-5)
C. Means of Sanctification (WLC Q. 154)
1. The Word of God
a. Preaching WLC Q. 155 – Romans 10:14-7, Romans 16:25, Revelation 1:3
b. Reading, memorizing, catechizing – Acts 17:11, Colossians 3:16
2. The sacraments
a. Baptism WLC Q. 165, 166
1.) Romans 6:1-4
2.) Matthew 19-20
3.) Baptizing Covenant Children
a.) Genesis 17:7-12
b.) Galatians 3:8
c.) Colossians 2:11-12
d.) Acts 2:37-39, 16:14-15
b. The Lord’s Supper WLC Q. 168
1.) I Corinthians 11:23-26
2.) I Corinthians 10:16
3. Prayer (John 14:12-14, James 1:5-6, 5:16, Hebrews 4:16)
4. Fellowship (Galatians 6:1-3, Hebrews 10:19-26)
Errors concerning the means of grace and sanctification
- Roman Catholic
Vow # 4 Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to heed its discipline?
I. Definition of the church
A. Invisible WCF 25:1 (Book of Church Order Page 4)
1. Romans 8:29
2. John 17:12, 2
B. Visible WCF 25:2
1. Romans 9:6, 11:17-21
2. John 15:1-6
3. I Corinthians 1:2
II. Offices of the church WCF 30:1-2 (Book of Church Order Page 21)
A. Pastor – II Timothy 4:1-2, Acts 20
B. Elder – Exodus 18:13-26, Romans 12:8
C. Deacon – I Timothy 3:8-13, I Timothy 5:9, 16
III. What is meant by church authority? WCF 20:2
A. Matthew 16:17-19
B. Matthew 18:15-20 (church discipline)
C. Matthew 15:1-3
IV The government of the church – Three basic types
C. Presbyterian (Acts 15:6, 22, 30; I Timothy 4:14; Acts 20:17-30)
V. The duties and privileges of church membership WCF 26:1-2
A. Attendance, love, service, prayer – I Peter 4:7-11, Hebrews 12:23-25, Romans 12:9-1
B. Acceptance for those who differ WCF 20:2, Romans 14:1-4, 13, Romans 15:1-7
C. Admonishment – Galatians 6:1
D. Submission to Scriptural authority (Hebrews 13:17, I Timothy 5:19)
E. Giving (I Corinthians 9:14, II Corinthians 9:7)