Thursday, June 27, 2013

What is Worship?

For the past several months, I have been doing research on worship. What is worship?  Is it defined by the style of music we sing?  Does it have to do with just the music portion of Sunday morning church?  Controversy abounds among churches on the topic of worship.  Contemporary vs. traditional, instruments (what kind, how many, etc.) vs. no instruments. Dim the lights or keep them bright?  Songs on the screen or in the book?   Do we need the newest packaged program? Does it need to fit my needs, my style or my tastes? What if I just don’t get anything out of it?

 Searching the Scriptures and reading books by solid Bible teachers, it is clear that God has shown us how He is to be worshiped.  Our corporate worship services need to be an extension of our everyday lives.  Glorifying Him needs to be central in all we do, not something we turn on when we walk into the church and turn off when we leave.  Not looking for the best entertainment to suit my style, not finding the preacher who tells the best jokes or stories, and not complaining that I just didn’t get anything out of the service this week.

In John MacArthur’s book, “Worship; The Ultimate Priority” he points to the fact that understanding the sufficiency of  Scripture ought to spur us on to regulate our worship according to biblical guidelines, and to desire passionately to be those who worship God in spirit and truth.

MacArthur points out three main ingredients to corporate worship:

Preach the Word. In corporate worship, the preaching of the Word of God should take first place.  Preaching    is an irreplaceable aspect of corporate worship.  “In fact,” MacArthur states, “the whole church service should revolve around the ministry of the Word.  Everything else is either preparatory to, or a response to, the message from Scripture.”

Edify the flock.  We are told in Scripture that the purpose of our spiritual gifts is for the edification of the whole church.  So ministry in the church should edify (build up the flock) not just stir up emotions. 

Honor the Lord.  Hebrews 12:28 states, “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”  The Greek word for “service” literally means “worship.”  We must worship in a way that honors God.  Everything we do in the corporate worship of the church should aim at fostering an atmosphere of reverence as we perceive our sinfulness and God’s holiness.

John MacArthur ends the chapter “How Shall We Then Worship?” with this paragraph:  “The world is filled with false and superficial religion.  We who love Christ and believe His Word is true dare not accommodate our worship to the styles and preferences of an unbelieving world.  Instead, we must make it our business to be worshipers in spirit and in truth.  We must be people who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.  And to do that, we must allow Scripture alone to regulate our worship.”


Living for Eternity,


Friday, April 12, 2013

Silent No More

This week I have been silent on the issue of the Holocaust, even though it is Holocaust Remembrance Week.  Why have I been silent?  It is not out of apathy or ignorance, but it is largely due to the fact that so many thoughts are running around in my head and I haven't had time to gather them all together.  I'm still not sure I can share them the way I would like.

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah in Hebrew which means catastrophe; and Churben or Hurban from the Hebrew word for destruction was a horrific time in human history.  My mind can't even fathom how people can do such violent things to another human being, not to mention, millions. 

Those murders that took place in Germany, were generated by the same perversion of human nature that the holy Scriptures depict, beginning in the Book of Genesis. (Jews for Jesus; The Holocaust, 2004) Emphasis mine.

We see that same perversion of human nature as our nation has murdered over 56 million unborn babies since 1973.  

It is the same perversion of the human nature that goes into our schools and kills children and teachers.  

It is the same perversion of the human nature that walks into a church and opens fire on the pastor and the congregation.

It is the same perversion of the human nature that denies we are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-28)  It is the same perversion of the human nature that says we evolved; that we are no better than the animals; that human life isn't precious at any stage--from conception to natural death.

It is the same perversion of the human nature that tells Christians we need to accept the things God Word clearly says is sin.  It is the same perversion of the human nature in which our Judeo-Christian beliefs are mocked and ridiculed and squelched.  It is the same perversion of the human nature that causes us to be fearful and remain silent as our rights are being taken away.

What is the answer?  If we look at the perversion of the human nature, we know there is only one answer.  The answer is found only in Jesus Christ.  

Dear Christian, we need to repent and return to the Lord.  We need to be in Bible teaching churches where the pastor is not afraid to preach the Word.  Are we willing to stand up for God's truth?  Let us flood the churches when the doors are open for worship and prayer.  Then let us take those truths and live them out each and every day.  Are we willing to stand in Christ alone against the perversion of the human nature?

Let us wake up!  Stand up!  Speak out!  Be silent no more!