21 Jul GS 1992 art 1
GS 1992 ARTICLE 1 – Opening
On behalf of the convening church at Lincoln, ON, Rev. G.A. Snip calls the meeting to order. He requests the singing of Psalm 146: 1 and 3, reads Deuteronomy 4: 1-8, and leads in prayer.
He welcomes the delegates with the following words:
Esteemed brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ,
On behalf of the convening church at Lincoln, I bid you a hearty welcome. The Lord has given you a safe trip to Lincoln. May He also provide you with strength so that you can do your work here. A special committee has been active in making all of the necessary preparations, and now that the moment of Synod’s opening has come, the church here at Lincoln will do its best to make your stay as pleasant as possible. It is our hope that you will be able to look back on these weeks as good ones. We realize that your presence here involves sacrifices. Several of you, as members of Synod will not even see your families for some weeks, but we know that our heavenly God will care for your families.
Brethren, you have come here to occupy yourselves with ecclesiastical matters. Decisions have to be made and for that purpose you need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yesterday evening a prayer service was held in which God was asked for a blessing over the work to be done. You have to do your work in dependence on the Lord. In our personal lives we are in submission to the Word of God. The Synod also must do its work in subjection to the authoritative Word of God. The Word of God has to be the starting point in all your considerations, discussions and decisions.
We read a part from the book of Deuteronomy. Israel was about to enter the promised land. Moses would not enter the land of Canaan, for he did not sanctify God in the eyes of the people of Israel as we can read in Numbers 20. Before his death, Moses delivered a long address in which he incited the Israelites to give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which he had taught them. We encountered in Deuteronomy the significant words: “You shall not add to the Word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” It was important for the Israelites that they would take to heart the Word of God. The children of God of all times have to keep the Word of God. A woman once said to Jesus Christ: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked.” But He replied: “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.”
The Church has to love and to defend the truth. The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy about the Church of the Living God, which is the pillar and
bulwark of the truth. The Church is not allowed to deviate from the truth. In the first chapter of the last book of the Bible we come across the words: “Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.” We have to take into account that the moment of the return of our Lord and Saviour is approaching. In the course of history many have departed from the Word of God. Therefore, we have to let ourselves be warned by these words from the last book of the Bible: “I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
It is clear that the Word of God calls us to a continuous faithfulness. May this faithfulness be evident in your activities during the coming weeks. We confess in Article 8 of the Belgic Confession: “Since it is forbidden to add to or take away anything from the Word of God, it is evident that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects.” Hold on to the Word of God, the Confessions of the Church and the Church Order. May the Word of God be as a lamp unto your feet, a lantern shining on the path before you. With these words I declare the General Synod of Lincoln 1992 as opened.
He requests the brothers to sing Psalm 119: 40.