Welcome to my blog. I will be posting new stuff every week.
|Posted on January 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM||comments (6)|
Where we worship.
His name should be praised from east to west, all day long, no matter where we are. If you find yourself in a place where you cannot praise the Lord, maybe you do not belong there.
True spiri¬tuality directs people not to holy places but to the holy God, who is always available by the indwelling of his Spirit (Jn 4:20-24).
Worship that is done in spirit and in truth will entail an encounter with the Holy, who includes and transcends moral goodness (R. Otto).
It is interesting that even today if you make a trip to the Holy Land, you will hear this comment spoken by modern Jews: “If you want to party, go to Tel Aviv. If you want to do business, go to Haifa. If you want to worship, go to Jerusalem? However, Jesus clarified that this is no true:
Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:21—22)
Jesus took the time to teach her that worship is not connected to a place but to a Person. The problem she had wasn’t a lack of knowledge about where to worship, but a lack of connection with the One whom she was worshiping. The woman lacked that connection. If you don’t want to worship maybe you lack that same connection with the True and Only Living God.
“Salvation” is from the Jews, Jesus said. Note that He did not say that salvation is “for the Jews.” Salvation is not exclusively Jewish. But the source of salvation is exclusive: it came from the Jews through Jesus Christ. To worship God the Father, an individual must come through Jesus. That includes both Jews and Gentiles (see John 14:6; Rom 1:16).
Jesus continued to tell the Samaritan woman how those properly connected with God will worship Him:
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers (John 4:23)
It is probably the only place in the Bible where we read that God seeks something from us. And what is it He seeks from His followers? God seeks our worship. He loves it when we connect with Him…when we are preoccupied with Him alone. We’re not to “play at our worship.” The Father wants us to worship Him with our spirits fully engaged. We also worship Him according to the truth found in the Scriptures.
|Posted on November 19, 2013 at 9:20 PM||comments (2)|
When we worship
Start right now and keep on going! It is always time to praise the Lord. Make every breath a hymn of worship.
(Psalms 34:1 “I will bless The Lord at all times; His praises shall continually be in my mouth.”
Salvation from sin is a gift of such tremendous value that it should draw unceasing thanks from our hearts to the Giver. If we were to bless the LORD at all times, it could hardly be too much. If His praise were to be continually on our lips, we couldn’t begin to exhaust the subject. No human tongue will ever be able to thank God adequately throughout all eternity.
John 4:23 tells us that God is seeking “worshippers” It does not say that He is looking for “worship.” Instead of using the word which refers to the action, Jesus used the word referring to the person. A worshipper does not just offer an occasional sacrifice of praise through Song. A true worshipper lives a life of worship in all that he or she says and does.
Well known Pastor Charles Stanley says this: “If our purpose in life is to glorify God (keep in mind that we have seven days per week and 24 hours per day or 168 hours per week) isn’t it ridiculous for us to think that God would be happy with one hour on Sunday morning? ‘All I have time for, 0 sovereign, right¬eous, omnipotent, omniscient omnipresent forgiving, eter¬nal God is one hour per week.”
The truth is that worship, if it is indeed our main purpose in life, Should permeate all that we do and say, Well-known theologian G. Campbell Morgan once said that the worship of the sanctuary is meaningless unless it is preceded by six days of Worship as a way of life. (The statement may be too hard) Nevertheless, we cannot live our lives any way that we want to for six days, and then come in to church on Sunday morning and expect to fully worship the Lord. It simply will not work.
Ronald Allen and Gordon Borror said that “The real factor in worship is a heart desire for God; the reason it fails to occur in the pew is because it fails to occur
in the daily routine of living.”
Ultimately, our Sunday morning experience of wor¬ship should be the culmination of six days of worship lived in our lives.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23), When we begin to understand these and similar passages in the Bible, we realize that all that we do should be worship unto God.
Romans 12:1 says that we are to offer our bodies “as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship,” Giving ourselves, wholly and completely unto the Lord is worship. It is a devotion of our whole selves to Christ. We crawl on that sacrificial altar every day and offer God our bodies, our thoughts, our sexual purity, our vocations, our friendships, our work, and each member of our family. We give God our futures, our finances, our worries and concerns, and our joys. We withhold nothing in our worship!
In Psalms 119:164, the psalmist says: “ Seven times a day I praise You for your righteousness rules.”
Since seven is the number of perfection or completeness, we understand the psalmist to mean that he praised the Lord continually and wholeheartedly for His righteous ordinances.
True worship begins by realizing that God seeks those who worship Him with all of who they are. It’s not just a Sunday morning activity.
Tom Kraeuter, in his book “Worship Is What”, describes worship as:
A way of life; A doing to others; A life spent with God.
Worship is not to be done only during church, but every time and every day. The Bible says in James 4:9, “Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.” We need to be continually devoting ourselves.”
Worship is not an agenda item in the Sunday bulletin. Wor¬ship doesn’t end when the songs cadence.
We can worship even in difficulties. We can worship God in a financial crisis. It’s even possible to worship on a hospital bed. Even with everything having been lost, you can still worship God in view of His rich mercies toward you…and because of His sovereignty you can say, “Give me Jesus.”
What causes problems in our corporate worship on Sundays is a failure to worship God personally during the week. We can’t do corporately what we don’t do privately. We don’t have the daily attitude of self-denial but rather self-fulfillment, Sunday naturally becomes an extension of that mind-set.
I urge you to cultivate a life of private worship, then you will see the result whenever two or three are gathered to worship Christ our Lord.
|Posted on November 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM||comments (2)|
Who should worship?
“Servants of the LORD” includes all of God’s people, for those who have trusted Him surely would want to live for Him. If you don’t want to worship Him maybe you are not His servant.
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD!
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the LORD is to be praised!
4 The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
If you look at these verses closely you will note that the first six verses (1-6) present God as the One who is infinitely high, the last three as the One who is intimately nigh.
Our God is infinitely high. As such He is worthy to be praised.
By all His servants v. (1).
By blessing His name, which means by thanking Him for all that He is v. (2a).
Continually—now and forevermore v. (2b).
Everywhere—from lands of sunrise to lands of sunset v. (3a).
For His Greatness. He is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens v. (4).
For His matchlessness. No one can be compared to Him, seated on His throne on high v. (5).
For His limitless vision. There is nothing in heaven or earth that He does not see v. (6). The text suggests that He has to humble Himself even to behold the things in heaven!
But, praise His name, the One who is infinitely high is also intimately nigh.113:7–9 The poor can know this! He lifts them from the dust.
The needy can know this! He elevates them from their low estate and seats them with princes, with the excellent of the earth.
The barren woman can know this! He grants her a home and makes her like a joyful mother of children. Barrenness was a fearsome reproach among Jewish women. To be delivered from this curse was the occasion of the most extravagant joy, according to the Prayer Book Commentary.
I was poor, but through faith in Christ I have become fantastically wealthy in spiritual things.
I was needy, but the Lord Jesus took this beggar from the dunghill and gave him wonderful Christian brothers and sisters, a fellowship that beats anything the world has to offer.
I was barren, with no fruit in my life for God. But He has delivered me from empty, wasteful existence to meaningful, productive life.
No wonder I sing with the psalmist: Praise the LORD!
He fills the throne, the throne above,
He fills it without wrong;
The object of His Father’s love,
Theme of the ransomed’s song.
Though high, yet He accepts the praise
His people offer here;
The faintest, feeblest cry they raise
Will reach the Savior’s ear.
Worship Is Demanded by God
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matt. 4:10; see also Deut. 6:13; 10:20). Worship is not optional, it is obligatory. Our Lord backed this imperative with all the force of divine authority. For any of us to seek worship would be presumption of the highest order, but when the Father seeks worshipers (John 4:23), He is requiring only what is His due. Moreover, if we expect to join the heavenly host of angelic worshipers, we should be practicing here!
1 Chronicles 16:29 . . . Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
Revelation 4:9-11 . . . Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one who lives forever and ever. And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”
Worship is personal. You must worship God yourself. No one else can do it in your place. The choir cannot worship for you, nor can the ministers. It is correct that worship is also corporate. We do it with others, and it is for the entire people of God, but each one must worship God personally, old and young, fathers and mothers, even children. If you are a Christian, worship is for you, whoever you may be.
Having called the congregation to worship in the first word of the psalm, the author of Psalm 146 immediately declares his determination to worship God himself, saying,
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live (v. 2).
The anthropologists and the biologists said that human beings have an extraordinary capability of verbal communication, which is one of the distinctive things that differentiates humans from the animal kingdom. It is said that turkeys have such precise eyesight they see a person blink from a hundred yards, so it’s rare for someone to walk up close enough to a turkey to shoot it. Therefore, a person must entice the turkey to come closer. To that end, those who are dedicated turkey hunters practice for hours to learn how to call a turkey to their hiding place. We heard that the best turkey callers have been able to identify eight or nine distinct turkey calls. But compare that to human beings. When a child begins learning to speak, he learns more than nine words or expressions a day. That gives you an idea of how many words as adults we know.
We can change the sound of our words, the intonation of our voices, and instead of speaking, we sing.
When God created His people, He created them not only with the ability to speak, but also the ability to sing. Knowing that we are to use every ability we have for God’s glory and honor, we must use our voices in the service of praise and in the expression of worship that we offer to God. God has given us songs and He wants us to sing for Him.
Luther, the old Wittenberg monk, was right when he said:
Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.
Why does the author of Psalms 146 choose to praise The Lord and not man? Because God is
worthy of our full, confiding trust. It isn’t long before most of us learn not to trust in man—not
even in princes who are supposed to be superior. The best of men are men at best. They cannot
save themselves, let alone others. When man’s heart stops beating, he dies, is buried, and his
body returns to dust. All his grandiose plans perish. So we might say of man that he is
unreliable, impotent, mortal, and fleeting.
Why is this warning? We value others more than we value God. Isn’t the main reason we fail to worship God the fact that we value human beings more than we value God? Fans of professional football are probably not even aware that their behavior could be described as worship. Or consider the way thousands of young people scream and throw themselves at the stage where their rock-star idols are performing. Human beings were created to worship. To worship is to ascribe ultimate value to an object, person, or God-and then to revere, adore, pay homage to, and obey by ordering the priorities of our lives around that which we worship. The Bible teaches that God alone is worthy of our worship. Deuteronomy 11:16 . . . Do not let your heart turn away from the Lord to worship other gods.
We value ourselves more than we value God. We think we can handle our troubles by ourselves and surmount all emergencies by our wisdom. We do not think we need God and therefore do not take time to worship him.
The only being in the universe that you can depend on unconditionally is God. So worship God!
It is an imperative for the servants of the Almighty God to worship Him.
True worship does not obliterate the human subject but elevates that person to the status of a son or daught¬er of God. As Irenaeus put it, “The glory of God is humanity fully alive” Those who worship the true God are not cast down into depression, for they are sustained in the knowledge that their sins are forgiven and hat they have received power from God’s Holy Spirit. The worship of the living God brings dividends: peace, faith, hope, love, wisdom, humility, fortitude. Yet our worship is done not to achieve these blessings but only to glorify God and magnify the name of Jesus Christ. Such blessings are a consequence and fruit of our worship, not its motivation and focus. We do not worship in order to realize the potentialities of the self, but self-realization will invariably accompany worship that is done in spirit and truth.
The motivation for worship should be joy for what God has done for us in Christ, faith that his Spirit will see us through every trial, hope that his promises will be realized in our lives. Proper self concern is not excluded from the worship experience, but it is always subordi¬nated to the glory of God and the wonder of his love. We worship not in order to make ourselves holy but to give thanks to God for his holi¬ness revealed to us in Jesus Christ and assured to us through the out¬pouring of the Spirit at Pentecost.
|Posted on October 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM||comments (4)|
Why we worship.
A. Scripture teaches: Worship is our response to God.
1. God commands us through the Prophets and the Psalmists to worship him.
"You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you." (Ex.23.25)
This worship is:
Awe, respect, reverence
Bowing down, kneeling = postures of worship
Sacrifice, offering in thanks to the Lord
Prayer - communion with him who is our creator.
Worship should be a believer’s first and foremost response to God. Speaking to Moses about His attributes, the Lord said He is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex.34:6). How did Moses response to these wonderful truths about God? Did he immediately grab a tablet of stone and say, “let me write that down”? No. when God revealed Himself, “Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped” (34:8). Ezekiel responded in a similar way when he was confronted with a vision of God’s glory (Ezek.1:28).
Let’s look at psalms 100
We should worship Him because of who He is. He is our:
LORD (v. 1).
God (v. 3a).
Creator (v. 3b).
Owner (v. 3c).
Shepherd (v. 3d).
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
The LORD is to be worship because He is the great God (Heb., El, i.e., the Omnipotent One). He is a great King above all the idolatrous gods of the heathen. The deep places of the earth are in His hand in the sense that He owns them. The mountain peaks are His also because He formed them. He created the mighty oceans, and it was His hands that shaped the continents and the islands.
Psalm 145:3 . . . Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! His greatness is beyond discovery!
Because God is such a great God (v. 6). “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”
He is not just such a great God, but v.7 “ He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
That God is the Creator of everything is the first reason for the call to worship in verses 1–2. Second, He is our Shepherd v.7
Appreciation can be shown to many people, praise to others. Worship belongs to God only. Yet we cannot worship God until we have a proper sense of who He is. “Not until we grasp who the Lord is, are we inwardly moved to worship him,” writes John Stott. Verses 4–5 begin by teaching that he is the Creator of all things.
Second, He is our Shepherd v.7. The invitation to worship becomes more personal and intimate. We should worship and kneel before the LORD our Maker, because He is our God.
He is our God by creation and then by redemption. He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for us. Now we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep who are led, guided, and protected by His nail-pierced hand.
Worship is the recognition of who God is, and of who we are in relation to him.
The better you know God, the more you will worship Him. The more you experience His grace in daily life, the more praise you will bring to Him. Worship is the response of man when he encounters either God or God’s actions. When we encounter the reality of God, true worship is the outcome.
Do you recall the encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Ball on Mt. Carmel? In front of the people of Israel, Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of the false god Baal. “Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire-- he is God” (1 Kings 18:23-24). The people agreed.
They did everything exactly as Elijah had said. Baal’s prophets prepared their sacrifice and called out to their god. From morning until evening they called out, but nothing happened. Finally, it was Elijah’s turn. As if to really prove the point he had his helpers pour large jars of water on his sacrifice. He then stepped up and prayed that the Lord would show the people that He was indeed God. And He did. The bull, the wood, the stones, the soil and even the water were all consumed by the fire.
What happened? “When all the people saw this they fell prostrate and cried,
‘The LORD — He is God! The LORD — He is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39). No one needed to tell them what to do or how to respond. Worship is the natural response when people encounter God or His actions.
Today, if you will hear His voice …
In the remaining verses we hear the voice of Jehovah Himself warning His people against an evil heart of unbelief.
There are several things to note.
1. The verses are applied to salvation through faith in Christ. In their Old Testament context they have to do with entering the Promised Land, and under normal circumstances we would have no warrant for applying them to anything else, except perhaps as an illustration of some spiritual truth. But here we have an inspired New Testament commentary on the psalm that tells us that the meaning of the psalm is not exhausted by the entry of the people into Canaan, or by their failing to enter, but is to be seen in the far more important matter of entering the promised rest of God, which is in heaven. Derek Kidner says that Hebrews “forbids us to confine [the psalm’s] thrust to Israel. The ‘Today’ of which it speaks is this very moment; the ‘you’ is none other than ourselves, and the promised ‘rest’ is not Canaan but salvation.”
Hebrews says, “If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day” (4:8). This means that the psalm, which came later than the conquest, would not have been written; but it was written because the rest about which it speaks is more than the rest the people had after occupying Canaan and defeating its inhabitants. The writer of Hebrews continues, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (4:9–10).
2. The warning is for those who have heard the gospel and who seem to have responded to it. Others should be warned too, of course. But the uniqueness of Hebrews is that it is written to those who have heard the gospel, have even seemed to respond to it by attending Christian worship services, but who have never actually surrendered to Jesus Christ and are in danger of falling away from Christ entirely. The author of Hebrews traces this to unbelief, just as the psalm traces the rebellion in the desert to “testing” and “quarreling.” Hebrews says, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb. 3:12–13).
This is a good equivalent of Jesus’ parable about the five wise and five foolish young women who were waiting for the bridegroom. All seemed to be Christians. But in the end five were shut out. The master said, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” (Matt. 25:12).
3. It is important to believe in Jesus Christ now, while it is still “today.” The psalm says, “Today, if you hear his voice…” (v. 7), and Hebrews repeats “today” five times (once each in 3:7, 13, and 15, and twice in 4:7). The point is that “today” is the day of gospel invitation, and it is a day that will not last forever. Now is the time to turn from sin. Now is the time to believe and follow Jesus Christ. Have you? Have you trusted Jesus Christ for your salvation? Don’t put it off. Others have delayed and perished.
Worship is a fitting response to God’s holiness, power, and grace.
Psalms 96 like the preceding psalms begins with ‘A Call to Worship God.’
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples (vv. 1–3).
There are six imperatives in these verses, three calls to “sing to the Lord” (twice in verse 1 and a third time in verse 2) and one call each to “praise his name,” “proclaim his salvation day after day,” and “declare his glory among the nations.” We are being told to do this. The psalm itself is doing this, of course, so it is a model of how we can praise God properly.
There are a couple of things to notice especially.
1. A new song. The call to sing a new song is a call to sing about some new thing God has himself done. In 1 Chronicles, where the words of the psalm occur for the first time, the new thing was God’s coming to Jerusalem by the symbolism of the moving of the ark. From this time forward he was to be especially honored there, which is what the psalm does. It was also expected that he would now rule over his people as well as the Gentile nations from Mount Zion.
When we read about “a new song” today we also think of the new song of Revelation 5. There we are told of four living creatures and twenty-four elders who fall down before God’s Lamb and sing “a new song,” saying,
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth (Rev. 5:9–10).
The new thing here is Christ’s atonement, and the “new song” is a joyful acknowledgment of it. It is possible that John, the author of Revelation, was even thinking of Psalm 96, for his emphasis is on the universal reign of Christ, which is what Psalm 96 anticipates.
2. Praise plus proclamation. The second thing to notice about this stanza is the way the declaration of God’s glory among the nations follows upon praising him. The psalm teaches that worship should never be merely a private thing, something between ourselves and God only, but should also be that which leads to a missionary witness. We should never be satisfied to worship God alone. G. Campbell Morgan wrote of these verses, “If the song of the Lord begins in the heart, it always grows into the chorus in which others are included in its music.”
|Posted on October 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM||comments (1)|
Definitions- When we think of worship in the context of church, we usually think of praying and singing. Although worship often does occur when we do these things, its meaning lies much deeper. The Hebrew verb most commonly translated ‘to worship’ (hištaḥawâ) literally means ‘bend oneself over at the waist’. Worship has at its root the action of bowing down. Interestingly, the root Greek word for worship, proskuneo, from earliest times, expressed the oriental custom of bowing down or casting oneself on the ground, kissing the feet, the hem of a garment or the ground, as a total bodily gesture of respect before a great one, which carries the idea of giving honor (Gen. 18:2; Exod. 18:7; 2 Sam. 14:4). When referring to the worship of our God, it is attributing supreme worth to Him who alone is worthy of our praise and honor.
Worship is not passive. It is predominantly an action. It involves action in our part. it is not generally something we can do simply from our hearts. It requires more.
Worship is not something simply for observation. It is something in which we must be involved.
Worship must originate from the heart, but it cannot be just heart. Worship that is heart alone is passive. However, worship that is action alone is not true worship. God wants heart and action.
Worship is, as said John Wesley, when we are lost in wonder, love, and praise in the midst of our gatherings.
Dr. Ronald Allen says that “worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth”. Worship is not passive; but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is declaration”.
Worship can be defined as recognizing and proclaiming the worth, value, majesty, honor and glory of God and giving homage, respect, reverence and praise to God. It is said that “Worship is one’s heart expression of love, adoration, honor, and praise to the Living God with an acceptable attitude and a acknowledgment of His supremacy and Lordship.”
In Heb.13:15, the Bible calls worship a “sacrifice of praise,” words that stem from gratitude. Praise is a sacrifice to God; it’s something we give Him. . . it’s not done for ourselves.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
It is offered to God through the Lord Jesus. All our praise and prayer passes through Him before it reaches God the Father; our great High Priest removes all impurities and imperfections and adds His own virtue to it.
To all our prayers and praises
Christ adds His sweet perfume;
And love the censer raises
These odors to consume.
—Mary B. Peters
The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of those lips that acknowledge His name. The only worship that God receives is that which flows from redeemed lips.
The Urgency of Worship: Today!
There are differences between urgency and importance. In life there are things that are urgent and things that are important. Wisdom cautions us against allowing the urgent to crowd out the important. They are not the same. The author, Charles E. Hummel, describes the problem:
When we stop long enough to think about it, we realize that our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basi¬cally a problem of priorities. We sense uneasily our failure to do what was really important. The winds of other people’s demands, and our own inner compulsions, have driven us onto a reef of frustration.
When the thirty-fourth president of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, began his administration, he instructed his aides and his executive assistant that there should be only two stacks of papers placed on his desk in the Oval Office (White House/Black house at least for now). The first would be a stack of those things that were urgent, and only the extremely urgent. The other was to be a stack of the important, and only the extremely important. He said years later that it was interesting to him how rarely the two were one and the same.
The conflict between the urgent and the important is inescapable. We need to be careful not to get the two confused! We tend to think that by staying busy and working hard we’re dealing with the important things. But that is not necessarily the case. Those things most urgent rarely represent the things most important. In the church, sometimes, we put emphasis on work, activity, involvement, doing, producing, impressing, and accomplishing, etc. however, we miss the essential ingredient, the jewel that makes a church unique in this postmodern society which is worship. Author Gordon Dahl says it best:
Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.2
The dilemma comes from the way we look at life. On one hand, when we look at life with a horizontal perspective, the urgent takes center stage. The horizontal highlights all things human: human achievement, human importance, human logic, human results.
On the other hand, when we look at things with a vertical view, we highlight the things of God—God’s Word, God’s will, God’s plan, God’s people, God’s way, God’s reason for living, God’s glory, and God’s honor. And the goal of all these? God’s worship.
The underlying of a church committed to the important things—rather than the urgent—is the cultivation of a body of worshipers whose sole focus is on the Lord our God.
Worship must be the irreplaceable priority in our lives.
Worship is significant because it turns our full attention to the only One worthy of it. Worship underscores our celebration of every¬thing that brings honor to our God. In giving Him honor—when we have truly worshiped—there is something so deeply satisfying and gratifying that words cannot describe it. Its importance eclipses all things urgent.
Because God seeks our worship, it stands to reason that the church is to represent both a place of worship. . . and a place that cultivates worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business contacts. Church isn’t about being entertained. It isn’t even about being a place that makes you feel good. It is, first and foremost, about worship.
Someone has well said that “the church service is the most important momentous and majes¬tic thing which can possibly take place on earth, because its primary content is not the work of man but the work of the Holy Spirit and con¬sequently the work of faith.”5
The need for worship is as natural as the need for protection and love. People worship a variety of things in an attempt to fill this need. It is evident from the very first of the Ten Commandments that men worship other gods (Exod. 20:3). Israel, the highly favored nation to whom God revealed His majesty and His might, was forbidden to substitute other objects of worship (cf. Matt. 4:10). However, despite the solemn warning that any Israelite who worshiped the sun, moon, or host of heaven was to be stoned to death (Deut. 17:2–5), sun worship prevailed among God’s chosen people again and again.
The nations surrounding Israel worshiped many gods. The sun, the most prominent and powerful agent in nature, was worshiped throughout the nations of the ancient world. The Arabians appeared to have paid direct homage to it without the intervention of any statue or symbol (Job 31:26–28). In Egypt the sun was worshiped under the title of Ra. Baal of the Phoenicians, Molech of the Ammonites, Hadad of the Syrians, and Bel of the Babylonians were also deities of the sun.
But only when the focus of worship is God can this desire be fulfilled. We must worship God (El Elyon) and Him only.
|Posted on August 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (1)|
Subject: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?
In contrast to the pagan idols gods who have “mouths, but cannot speak” Ps.115:5; “whose devotees cry to them, but they cannot answer” (Is.46:7), the God of the Bible communicates with His people through words also. The very nature of God involves self-expression through speech.” By His special Revelation, thanks to His grace, He gave us the Bible, which is “His Word.” However, objections have raised on whether the Bible is the inspired Word of God of not. If it is the Word of God, what about Satan’s quotations in Gen.3? What about 1 Cor.7: 12 where apostle Paul said: “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord…” Even some Christians are in confusion with regard to the doctrine of the Inspiration of The Bible. A look at some evidences will help us to see in what way the Bible is inspired.
Before the middle of the 19th century, the church was unanimous in its view of inspiration: God gave the actual words of Scripture to its human authors so as to perpetuate unerringly his special self-disclosure. The human author served as God’s instrument, and His tongue was, in words of the psalmist (45:1) which were frequently applied in this sense, ‘the pen of a ready writer’. It goes without saying that the fathers envisaged the whole of the Bible as inspired. It was not a collection of disparate segments, some of divine origin and others of merely human fabrication. At the end of the first century, Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthian believers with reference to Paul first letter: “To be sure, under the Spirit guidance, he wrote to you about himself and Cephas and Apollos.” Introducing portions of Psalms, Clement said, “For this is how Christ addresses us through the Holy Spirit.” Early in the second century, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, referred to the Scriptures as “the oracles of the Lord.” Second- century apologist Justin Martyr called the Bible “The very language of God.” He said: “The Prophets are inspired by no other than the Divine Word.” Irenaeus (around 140-202), who has been called “the greatest of all the Christian writers and scholars of the second century,” strongly affirmed the inspiration and authority of the Bible, which he called “The Lord’s Scriptures.” In the fourth century, Gregory of Nyssa said it was “The voice of the Holy Spirit.” This attitude was fairly widespread, and although some of the fathers elaborated it more than others, their general view was that Scripture was not only exempt from error but contained nothing that was superfluous. ‘There is not one jot or tittle’, declared Origen, ‘written in the Bible which does not accomplish its special work for those capable of using it.’ In similar vein Jerome stated that ‘in the divine Scriptures every word, syllable, accent and point is packed with meaning’; those who slighted the commonplace contents of Philemon were simply failing, through ignorance, to appreciate the power and wisdom they concealed. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Protestant reformers echoed those assertions. However, in the second half of the nineteenth century the pervasiveness of evolutionary ideas and the rise of “higher criticism” in biblical studies led certain theologians to question the historic concept of verbal inspiration. From that point many false theories of inspiration were developed:
Natural Inspiration. This view teaches that there is nothing supernatural about biblical inspiration; the writers of Scripture were simply men of unusual ability who wrote the books of the Bible in the same way that an individual would write any book. The writers were men of unusual religious insight, writing on religious subjects in the same way men like Shakepeare or Schiller wrote literature.
(Objection: It would make the Scripture solely a human product, subject to error).
Universal or mystical inspiration which holds that the Bible writers were inspired in the same way, although to a fuller degree, as Holy Spirit-filled people today are inspired to prepare a message or to preach a sermon.
(This theory would make the Scriptures subject to human limitation and error).
Inspired concept inspiration. This view suggests that only the concepts or ideas of the writers are inspired but not the words. In this view God gave an idea or concept to the writer who then penned the idea in his own words. According to this view there can be errors in Scripture because the choice of words is left to the writer and is not superintended by God. In response, however, it is noted that Jesus (Matthew 5:18) and Paul (1 Thess.2:13) both affirmed verbal inspiration. Pache rightly concludes, “ideas can be conceived of and transmitted only by means of words. If the thought communicated to man is divine and of the nature of a revelation, the form in which it is expressed is of prime significance, it is impossible to dissociate the one from the other.”
Variable inspiration which says that some parts of the Bible are more inspired than other inspired parts and that there are parts of the Bible that are not inspired at all.
(Divine inspiration does not admit degrees; it is absolute—either a text is inspired or it is not).
The dictation theory which holds that every word of Scripture was dictated by God and that the Bible writers recorded these words as a stenographer would do.
(The authors were not mere automatons. In the Greek manuscript there is a big difference in style between the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke. John wrote in a simple style with a limited vocabulary whereas Luke wrote with an expanded vocabulary and a more sophisticated style. If the dictation theory were true, the style of the books of the Bible should be uniform.)
Spiritual Illumination. The illumination view suggests that some Christians may have spiritual insight that although similar to other Christians is greater in degree. In this view any devout Christian, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, can be the author of inspired Scripture. Adherents to this view suggest it is not the writings that are inspired, rather it is the writers who are inspired. Schleiermacher taught this view on the continent Coleridge propounded it in England.’
Partial or Dynamic Inspiration. The partial inspiration theory teaches that the parts of the Bible related to matters of faith and practice are inspired whereas matters related to history, science, chronology, or other non-faith matters may be in error.
Neo-orthodox opinion. The neo-orthodox view emphasizes that the Bible is not to be exactly equated with the Word of God because God does not speak in mere propositions. God does not reveal mere facts about Himself; He reveals Himself. The Bible is not the substance of the Word of God, but rather the witness to the Word of God. it becomes the Word of God as the reader encounters Christ in his own subjective experience. Moreover, the Bible is enshrouded in myth necessitating a demythologizing of the Bible to discover what actually took place. The historicity of the events is unimportant. For example, whether or not Christ actually rose from the dead in time and space is unimportant to the neo-orthodox adherent. The important thing is the experiential encounter that is possible even though the Bible is tainted with factual errors. In this view the authority is the subjective experience of the individual rather than the Scriptures themselves.
(The Bible is the objective and authoritative Word of God whether or not a person responds to it. (John 8:47; 12:48).
In my view none of these theories is right. It is important to note that inspiration is the way in which God gave His Word to us through human authors, but we need to admit that how He did it is a matter not fully understood. We accept the inspiration of the Bible just as a fact, because the Bible is the Word of God, and God cannot err.
Inspiration may be defined as the Holy Spirit’s superintending over the writers so that while writing according to their own styles and personalities, the result was God’s Word written—authoritative, trustworthy, and free from error in the error in the original autographs.
Some definitions by prominent evangelical theologians are as follows.
Benjamin B. Warfield: “Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of which their writings are given divine trustworthiness.”
Edward J. Young: “Inspiration is a superintendence of God the Holy Spirit over the writers of the Scriptures, as a result of which these Scriptures possess Divine authority and trustworthiness and, possessing such Divine authority and trustworthiness, are free from error.”
Charles C. Ryrie: “Inspiration is…God’s superintendence of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs.”
There are several important elements that belong in a proper definition of inspiration: (1) the divine element—God the Holy Spirit superintended the writers, ensuring the accuracy of the writing; (2) the human element—human authors wrote according to their individual styles and personalities; (3) the result of the divine-human authorship is the recording of God’s truth without error; (4) inspiration relates to the original manuscripts.
‘Article VI’ from the nineteen articles of the Chicago Statement on biblical inerrancy, reads as follow: ‘We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration. We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.’
What does the Bible say about Itself?
The presupposition that God’s will is made known in the form of valid truths is central to the authority of the Bible. For evangelical orthodoxy, if God’s revelation to chosen prophets and apostles is to be considered meaningful and true, it must be given not merely in isolated concepts capable of diverse meanings, but in sentences or propositions. A proposition—that is, a subject, predicate, and connecting verb --constitutes the minimal logical unit of intelligible communication. The Old Testament prophetic formula “thus saith the Lord” characteristically introduced propositionally disclosed truth. Jesus Christ employed the distinctive formula “But I say unto you” to introduce logically formed sentences that He represented as the veritable Word or doctrine of God.
The Bible is authoritative because it is divinely authorized; in its own terms, “all scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3: 16). According to this passage, the whole Old Testament (or any element of it) is divinely inspired. Extension of the same claim to the New Testament is not expressly stated, though it is more than merely implied. The New Testament contains indications that its content was to be viewed, and was in fact viewed, as no less authoritative than the Old Testament. Paul’s writings are catalogued with “other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15—16). Under the heading of Scripture, I Timothy 5:18 cites Luke 10:7 alongside Deuteronomy 25:4 (cf. 1 Corin-thians 9:9). The book of Revelation, moreover, claims divine origin (1:1-3) and employs the term prophecy in the Old Testament meaning (22:9-10, 18). The apostles did not distinguish their spoken and written teaching, but expressly declared their inspired proclamation to be the Word of God (1 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
How Did Christ View the Scriptures?
For Jesus the authority of the Scriptures rested on His conviction that God was their ultimate Author, even though human authors were involved. Responding to a question related to mar¬riage and divorce, Jesus quoted words that were written by the author of Genesis. But these words were ultimately God’s words, for Jesus stated, “He who created them. . . said” (Matt.19:4-5).
Several times Jesus referred to Scripture as the product of prophecy, which the Old Testa¬ment stated was God’s speech through human instruments. For example, in Mark 7:6 Jesus introduced His quotation of Isaiah 29:13 by saying, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy?’ The “abom¬ination of desolation,” Jesus said, was “spoken of through Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15). That is, Daniel was the means through whom God spoke this prophecy. Often Jesus simply introduced quotations from Scripture with such words as “Moses said” (Mark 7:10). Other times Jesus noted that some Old Testament statements were spoken directly by God, thus affirming their absolute divine authority.
Jesus also taught that the writings that were yet to form the New Testament would be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Speaking to His disciples who would be the apostles of the early church, He promised that the Holy Spirit would “bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). Then He said, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.. . and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (16: 12-14). While these promises of the Spirit’s teaching can be applied in a derivative sense to the illuminating work of the Spirit in believers’ lives, their real import, as D. A. Carson explains, is “not to explain how readers at the end of the first century may be taught by the Spirit, but to explain to readers at the end of the first century how the first witnesses, the first disciples, came to an accurate and full understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ?”
According to Jesus, the writings of Scripture are more than generally reliable. They are the veritable Words of God, unable to be broken. He not only taught that they were verbally inspired, He taught that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matt.5:18; cf. Luke 16:17; John 10:35; 13:18; 17:12).
Theologians like Karl Barth have argued that the doctrine of divine inspiration is nothing more than “biblical Docetism.” Just as in the ancient heresies the true nature of the Son of God was compromised by those who deified the humanity of Jesus, so the doctrine of divine inspiration deifies the writers of the Bible. After all, they say, the Bible was written by humans; to suggest that the writings are infallible, then, implies that the authors themselves were divine. The Bible errs, according to Barth, simply because of its human involvement: errare humanum est (“to err is human”). But the Scriptures teach that its authors did not write wholly by their own instigation; rather, they were supervised by the Holy Spirit, who enabled and preserved them from their human tendency to err: “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).
Barth, and others, agree that the Bible is the Word of God (Verbum Dei), but they say that it is subject to error. Their formula may justly be summarized as follows:
‘The Bible is the Word of God, which errs.’
There is an insurmountable problem right there. If the Bible is God’s Word, it cannot err, because God cannot err. If the Bible errs, then it cannot be the Word of God. God and error… God and falsehood.. . can never be reconciled with each other.
I think one of the problems for some with the doctrine of a verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, lies in the fact that the words: verbal, plenary and inspiration are misunderstood.
Plenary inspiration does not require that every statement in the Bible is necessarily true. The mistaken view of Job’s friend (Job 42:7-9), the falsehoods told by Peter (Mark 14:66-72), and the letters of heathen kings (Ezra 4:7-24), although quote in Scriptures, were not Spirit-inspired. Whether they are actually true or false must be discovered by reference to the context. However, the recording of such words by the writers of Scripture was, subject to the Spirit’s inspiration; God wanted them to be part of His revelation.
Verbal inspiration—the word verbal conveys that the Holy Spirit so influenced the writers of Scripture that their words are to be taken in the fullest sense as the Spirit’s words (Rom.1:2).
The word “inspire” and its derivatives seem to have come into Middle English from the French, and have been employed from the first (early in the fourteenth century) in a considerable number of significations, physical and metaphorical, secular and religious. The derivatives have been multiplied and their applications extended during the procession of the years, until they have acquired a very wide and varied used. Underlying all their used, however, is the constant implication of an influence from without, producing in its object movement and effects beyond its native, or at least its ordinary powers. The noun “inspiration,” although already in use in he fourteenth century, seems not to occur in any but a theological sense until late in the sixteenth century. The specifically theological sense of all these terms is governed, by their usage in Latin Theology; and this rests ultimately on their employment in the Latin Bible. In the Vulgate the verb inspiro (Gen.2:7; 2 Tim.3:16) and the noun inspiratio (2 Sam.22:16; Job 32:8) both occur more than one time in diverse applications. In the development of a theological nomenclature, however, they have acquired a technical sense with reference to the biblical writers or the Biblical books. The biblical books are inspired as the divinely determined products of inspired men; the biblical writers are inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes divinely authoritative. Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of which their writings are given divine trustworthiness.
(In 2 Tim.3:16, the Greek word in this verse—theopneustos—does not mean “inspired of God.” Or even mean “given by inspiration of God.” The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of inspiring or of inspiration: it speaks only of a “spiring” or “spiration.” What it says of Scripture is, not that it is “breathed into by God” or the product of the Divine “inbreathing” into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, “God- breathed,” the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. No term could have been chosen, however, which would have more emphatically asserted the Divine production of Scripture than that which the apostle Paul has employed here. The “breath of God” is in Scripture just the symbol of His Almighty power, the bearer of His creative word. God’s breath is the irresistible outflow of His Power. When the apostle declares ‘all Scripture” is “God-breathed,” he asserts with as much energy as he could employ that Scripture is the product of a specifically Divine operation.
In the Old Testament, Hebrew words for “breath” are frequently translated “spirit” in English versions (e.g. Gen1:2; 6:3: Judges 3:10; 6:34). God’s breath is an expression for His Spirit going forth in creative power. That creative power is the source of those special human activities and skills required by God for the fulfillment of His purposes (Ex.35:30-35).
Also significantly throughout the Old Testament is an association of “Spirit” and “Word,” the distinction between the two being comparable to that between God’s “breath” and “voice.” The voice is the articulate expression of a thought, whereas the breath is the force through which words are made actual.
Does the Bible have error?
The original text of the Bible does not teach any error. The logic of the Bible’s errorlessness is straightforward: (1) God cannot err (Titus 1:2; Heb.6:18) (2) The Bible is God’s Word (John 10:34-35); (3) therefore the Bible cannot contain error. Since the Scriptures are breathed out by God (2 Tim.3:16-17) and God cannot breathe falsehood, it follows that the Bible cannot contain any falsehood. Few are mistakenly misunderstood some statements of the Bible. The speeches of Job’s comforters contain error. Inspiration guaran¬tees the accurate recording of these speeches, not the truthfulness of the contents of the speech. There is a difference between what is recited and what is asserted, between the fact that something was said and the truthfulness of what was said. Whatsoever Scripture “asserts as true and free from error is to be received as such.”. To the statement of the apostle Paul “But to the rest I say, not the Lord” 1 Cor. 7:12). What it means is that The Lord has given commands concerning divorce (Matt. 5: 31f.; 19:3—9); now Paul speaks with the authority given him. He is not drawing a line between the authoritative commands of Christ and his own. Rather, he himself is claiming inspiration and the authority to set forth doctrine and practice (cf. 1 Cor. 7:12, 25). He has “the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 7:40). It is Biblically erroneous, heretic, to think that there is degrees in inspiration. The Words pronounced by Jesus are no more inspired than what the apostles, prophets, sacred writers have said or written. The whole Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Tim.3:15-16).
1. Stanley, Charles, Christian Living, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Naville, 1996.
2. Sproul, R.C, Defending your Faith, Crossway Bibles Publishers, Illinios, 2003.
3. Sproul, R.C, Knowing Scripture, Parker J.I Publishers, USA, 1977.
4. Sproul, R.C, Scripture Alone, Mathison Keith Publishers, 2005.
5. Barackman, H. Floyd, Practical Christian Theology, Kregel Publishers, Michigan, MI 2001.
6. Ryrie, Charles, Basic Theology, Moody Press Publishers, Chicago, 1999.
7. Horton David, the Portable Seminary, Bethany House Publishers, USA 2006.
8. Warfield, Breckinridge Benjamin, Revelation And Inspiration, Baker Brooks Publishers, Michigan, 2003.
9. Enns, Paul, P. The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press Chicago, 1989.