Heidelbergian Children's Catechism (age 8- 10 years)
Lord's Day 31
At a certain moment the Lord Jesus asked his disciples, “Tell me, who am I?” It was Peter who answered:”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God:’ I think that all the disciples nodded agreement. It would be hard to find a better answer. A whole castle can be built on solid rock. In the same way, the Lord Jesus built his church on the solid confession of Peter. The church does not consist of stones, but of people.AII of them know for sure that what Peter said is true. Even today, we say with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You know that you use keys to open doors. You also use keys to lock doors. For a castle you would need a key, made of bronze or iron. You cannot enter without the key. Peter, toe, received keys from the Lord Jesus. He did not receive keys made of bronze or iron, but keys of words. The Lord gave these keys to Peter and all the disciples. These keys were also meant for all those who would later preach the word of God faithfully. What kind of keys are keys of words? When a minister preaches the gospel, he can say, “Your sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ,” If you think or say, “Yes, that is what I believe,” then the door to God’s kingdom is opened. You belong to the Lord. But the door to God is locked if you do not believe, or if you only pretend to believe. You would not belong to the kingdom of heaven, even if you still went to church. And if you go on pretending, God goes on being angry at you. God is angry at anyone who runs away from Him or does not come to Him. Thankfully, we belong to the church not only for ourselves but also for each other. If you notice that your friends are doing something bad, you should not follow them. You should tell them that they shouldn’t do that. Adults must do the same. If there is a person that no longer comes to church, they should talk to them. They should talk in a friendly and loving way, for the church is one big family. Sometimes we ourselves do things the Lord does not want. If someone warns us, we should listen. That is how it goes in the church. It is terrible if warning no longer helps. The minister and elders come to our home, and they say, “Because you grieve the Lord you may not come to the Lord’s Supper. For you do not mean it anyway.” If you would go to the Lord’s Supper, that would be even worse. If someone continues to move away from God, then he or she should no longer be part of the church. This is what God wants, for they do not belong to the church in heaven either. Do you know why these people are warned? To bring them back! They have to feel that being outside the church is not good. You can always return to God and to the church, for the Lord is a merciful God.