The Ordinary Means of Grace

The “ordinary means of grace” are the foundation for what we do at Sylvania Church. Though the verbiage was, at one time, more common, it is less so today. So, the following describes what we mean when we say that we are devoted to the ordinary means of grace:

The Ordinary Means of Grace at Sylvania Church.

1) Scripture.

In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul explained to Timothy that:

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.

In other words, Scripture is a means of grace. Our confidence in the truthfulness of this passage dramatically affects the way the Bible is taught here at Sylvania. We are convinced that our preaching should be predominantly expositional. “What,” you may ask, “is expositional preaching?” Great question. Simply put, expository preaching is preaching that makes the point of a sermon the same as the point the biblical author was making when he originally wrote the passage. Although expository preaching is not the only acceptable form of preaching, it does provide a number of safeguards that we believe are vitally important. While expository preaching currently distinguishes Sylvania from the majority of Tyler churches, we are actively involved in the promotion of expository preaching among Tyler churches with the hope that expository preaching will one day be the most common practice of all Tyler churches.

2) Prayer.

We are also convinced that God extends grace to His people through prayer. For this reason, prayer is an integral part of our worship here at Sylvania Church, as it is among many churches in Tyler TX. Sylvania Church is, however, distinct from some Tyler churches in that it is committed to praying expositionally. What, then, does “praying expositionally” mean? Expository prayer happens when the content and aim of prayer is consistent with the meaning of Scripture. For example, we would not encourage a football player to claim the victory in Friday night’s game because he can “do all things through Christ who gives [him] strength” (Phil. 4:13). In that case, the player is claiming something that the passage doesn’t promise. In fact, understood in its proper context, the player is actually saying that he will continue to trust God no matter if he wins or loses the game. That, of course, is a fantastic truth to communicate, but I don’t think that’s what he means. ;) Rather, we believe God ordinarily extends grace to His people through prayers motivated by the glory of God and informed by the Word of God. We hold multiple weekly prayer meetings that are aimed at praying in accordance with God’s will as He has revealed it in Scripture.

3) Community.

In addition, we believe that God extends grace to His people as we fulfill toward one another the “one another” commands that are found in Scripture. To facilitate this, Sylvania Church “breaks bread” together not only in regular communion, but also in weekly meals together as a church body. In addition, we have men’s, women’s, college & career, youth, and children’s ministries, all of which aim at facilitating growth together in the Gospel. For more about the various ministries of Sylvania Church, see “Ministries” in the menu above.

4) Ordinances.

Finally, we are convinced that God extends grace to His people through the ordinances of baptism and communion, which is sometimes called the Lord’s Supper. At Sylvania Church, we worship together in the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month. For us, it is a sweet and humbling time of mourning over our own sin while celebrating the infinite worth of Jesus, who lived for us the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.

Baptism happens at Sylvania Church as often as God adds to the church those who are being saved. Though we believe there is a real, yet mysterious grace that flows to believers through baptism, we also believe that it is a public sign of what Jesus has done in the life of the one being baptized.

Questions or Comments?

We’d love to hear your questions or comments about our “ordinary means of grace” approach to ministry.