The New City Catechism – Question 1

Q: What is our only hope in life and death?

A: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.


Main Idea

Adam and Eve were created knowing that their only hope in life and death was found in God, their Creator. But they eventually turned away from God by disobeying God’s command (Genesis 3:1-7). And since Adam and Eve’s sin mankind continually find their hope for life and death in anything other than God. From materialism, intellectual assent, or inward self-reliance, hope has been misplaced. Mankind hopes in anything but the God who created them. Sin has a powerful way of deceiving the heart and mind. However, God in his mercy and grace provides a more powerful way for a person to place hope in life and death properly. It says in 2 Corinthians 5: 21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus Christ took on our sin when he died on the cross. Jesus defeated the power of sin when he rose from the grave. And through saving faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ hope in life and death can be properly understood. Romans 14:7-8 sums up what it means for Christians to find their all-satisfying hope in Jesus.


For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.


In short, all people ultimately belong to the Sovereign God of the universe. But only by faith in Jesus Christ can a person understand that they belong to God and, therefore have true lasting hope in this life, and in eternity.


How Do I Apply Question 1?

To know where you place your only hope has remarkable consequences. If your only hope in life and death is in the triune God than what you do, what you say, how you spend time and money will orientate around God. You will not live to please yourself, but you will live to please God. If you know that you belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God than how you view eternity changes. You will experience this temporal life with eternity in view. Christians need to flee the temptation to live unto themselves, unlike Adam and Eve. Instead strive, by the grace of God, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, live wholly unto God.


Soli Deo Gloria.

Catechism Intro: The Truth of God for Our Mind and Heart

What is a Catechism?

Among many evangelical circles, the word catechism might be foreign. Perhaps even archaic. But catechisms are wonderful. The practice of catechesis is a means to internalize biblical truth. A good catechism is theologically rich, expresses the attributes of God, provide color to the reading of Scripture, and helps a person understand God’s creation, mankind’s sin, and God’s plan of redemption. In greek catechism means “to teach orally or to instruct by word of mouth.” In Galatians 6:6 Paul writes, “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” The Greek word for “the one who is taught” is katechoumenos, which means the one who is criticized.1 Therefore, the aim of using The New City Catechism is to be taught the truth of God from the Scriptures. The question and answer format of catechisms reflect the oral teaching and learning. But with a much higher literacy rate in the 21st century than from the 1st century, catechism can be learned from what we read, hear, and say.


Why use a Catechism?

The use of a catechism isn’t as foreign as one may think. Catechisms have been in use for centuries. Various catechisms aided the growth and movement of the Reformation. The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 and Westminster Shorter and Longer catechism of 1648 stand out. Timothy Keller lists out three reasons why catechisms are significant and why churches need to rediscover catechism.


Catechisms were written with at least three purposes. The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel—not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth. The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted. The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counterculture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life. 2


Catechisms are lovely gospel truths which shape the mind and heart. Catechisms, by its nature, involves more than one person. While a person can sit down and memorize the question and answer it is ideal that catechisms are learned in groups. From a reader-response on a Sunday morning sermon to a Father disciplining his child, catechism invites community.


How will Catechism be used at Redemption Hill Church?

It is because of the reasons listed above, and many others, that Redemption Hill Church embraces catechism. In particular, we will be using the New City Catechism. You can expect to see catechism as apart of our call to worship on Sunday mornings; in Redemption Hill Kids; and parents have the opportunity to disciple their children at home. The goal is to connect and integrate what parents and children hear at church to foster discipleship and family devotions at home.


This blog will serve as a resource to think deeply about the truth of God and to present possible points of application and to connect theological truth with Scripture.


New City Catechism Resources

There are cheap and free resources for The New City Catechism. I encourage parents to download the app and to purchase The New City Catechism for Kids. The app is wonderful. It provides memorable songs that young children will enjoy.


Preach, Pray, and People

I recently watched a short video by The Gospel Coalition where Kevin DeYoung was featured. DeYoung shared his thoughts on what his time in seminary did not teach him about ministry. In this short clip, he also stated three areas he felt called to focus on when he entered the ministry. In typical alliteration, DeYoung focuses on preaching, prayer, and people. Since most good ideas are borrowed from other people, I’ve decided to borrow DeYoung’s ministerial focus and apply it to myself. Now, in my own words, I want to explain what it means for me to preach, pray, and be with people as a pastor at Redemption Hill Church.



One of my favorite quotes on preaching comes from John Calvin. “Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.” I’ll table the conversation about the sacraments (Calvin is referencing communion and baptism) and focus on why preaching is central to a local church.


If the Bible is the revelation from God, then it needs to be opened up and shared with the church. The pastor preaches from God’s revealed Word and the congregation hears the preached Word. When God’s Word is preached dead hearts can come alive and weary hearts are strengthened. It is the delightful duty of the pastor to open up the Bible to show the church the glories of the gospel of God. When the pastor rightly points to Christ from the Bible, the people fall more in love with their Savior.


The Bible shows us more of Christ, and it also trains and teaches the church how to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). Second Timothy 3:16 tells us the value of having God’s Word preached and heard. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Therefore, all of the Bible, old and new testaments are for the good of the church.



The apostle Paul demonstrates for us the importance of a pastor to be praying for the church. In his introductions to the Colossian and Thessalonian churches, he says, “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you (Colossians 1:3).” And, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:2).” Paul’s emphasis on pray is repeated throughout his letters. Prayer is a discipline, and it is also a reflection of his love and affection for the local church. How should a pastor pray for members of the local church? Let’s allow Ephesians to be the guide. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).


A pastor, an undershepherd to the Chief Shepherd, can pray that the sheep of His local fold will know more of God today than they did yesterday.



Pastors need to be about preaching, prayer and have a passion for people. Having a passion for people can go in several directions, but I’ll keep my focus on people in the local church. A pastor must be about caring for people that are in his local church. Caring includes rejoicing at the birth of a child and grieving when there is death in the family. It’s about marrying two love-birds and then walking with them through a hard season of marriage five years after the wedding date. A pastor should strive to know the people in his church. But to know his people he must be with his people.


The metaphor of pastor/shepherd and church member/sheep is helpful. The smell of the sheep is on the shepherd, and the smell of the shepherd is on the sheep. Richard Baxter, a 17th-century puritan pastor, modeled the importance of knowing the smell of his sheep. Twice a week he visited people in his church. During his visits, Baxter offered counsel and instruction from the scriptures. Baxter would make his way through the entire church directory and then start the cycle over when he finished with letter Z. While pastoring in the 21st century is different from the 17th century, Baxter’s focus on knowing and caring for the members of his local church is exemplary.


There are other facets of pastoral ministry. DeYoung even mentions the need for a pastor to be patient in ministry (And this point is well taken). But if a pastor can hone in on using his time on the preaching of God’s Word, praying for members, and caring for people in his church, it will be time well served.


Soli deo Gloria