Monday, July 27, 2020

5 Acts of Worship: Giving

            Giving is the fifth of the five acts of worship covered over the last four weeks. This is often a topic that is avoided or looked upon with great skepticism. The main reason is that often we do not want to hear about it because we forget the importance of it. Like all of the acts of worship, we do it because we are commanded to do so. Paul wrote,
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” 1 Cor. 16:1-2
From this passage, we see that the collection was to be taken regularly on the first day of every week.  It was to be something which each saint had planned for; that which is put aside and saved. We are to give proportionately; that is as each may prosper. Our giving should keep up with our income and moreover our hearts desire to share in that aspect.
            Our motive must always be thanksgiving and to practice obedience. The Christian must remember that we are but stewards of the blessings which God has given us. If we do not give as God commands, we neglect His Word and fail to worship as He has prescribed. Our worship includes singing, prayer, the Lord’s supper, teaching/preaching, and giving. Let us worship God in Spirit and Truth each and every Lord’s Day.
Grace and Peace,

5 Acts of Worship: Preaching

            I am so grateful for the opportunity to preach every Sunday. This is something into which I put much energy, time, and prayer. Yet preaching is not about me. It has never been about me, and it will never be about me. Paul said, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:23-24).  Preaching is the fourth of five elements that we partake on the first day of the week. Yes, we partake together.
            I am reminded of Paul’s word in Romans 10:14-17,How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
The hearing of the Word is step one when it comes to obedience to the Gospel of Jesus. God’s plan to communicate the Good News was always through preaching. The Day of Pentecost: Preaching, The Ethiopian eunuch: Preaching, Cornelius: Preaching, Saul: Preaching. You get the point. God’s method is the preaching of the Word, and we all must hear and heed the word proclaimed. Preaching is an integral part of worship for the entire church. We must rejoice in hearing the Good News and never take hearing it for granted.  
Grace and Peace,

5 Acts of Worship: Communion

Worship is a great privilege that God has given His church. Over the last two weeks, we have examined 2 of the 5 elements of our worship in singing and prayer. Today our subject is the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.1 Cor 11:23-24
It is also a proclamation. When we gather together, we proclaim the death of the Lord. This proclamation unifies us all in Christ. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” 1 Cor. 11:26
The Lord’s Supper is communion or fellowship with Christ. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”1 Cor 10:16
The Lord’s Supper is to be taken on each first day of the week. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7 (see also Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:20; 33).
The Lord’s Supper requires the Christian to practice self-examination. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” (cf. 1 Cor 11:28-29).
            The Lord’s Supper is observed by Christians. For only those who have heard, believed, repented of sin, confessed Christ, were baptized into Christ, and are living faithfully have any part in His sacrifice. For only they have received remission of sin (cf. Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16, Mark 16:16). When you partake the emblems of the Lord’s Supper today, remember His sacrifice, proclaim His death, examine yourselves, and commune with the Lord.
Grace and peace,

Monday, July 6, 2020

5 Acts of Christian Worship: Singing

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
How prepared are you to sing praises to God? We are very blessed each Lord’s Day to gather together to worship God and one of those acts of worship is singing. Sadly, some do not truly take advantage of this. Is it that we forgot our purpose? What are the hindrances that keep us from practicing this act of worship?
In the above passage, we are told in what manner we are to practice this act of worship.  Paul also wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16
Do you get the impression that singing is important? It is even described as that which teaches and admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus, our songs must be scriptural to effectively fulfill those requirements. The Hebrew writer wrote that we declare the name of the LORD to the brethren in the midst of the church (cf. Heb 2:12). Singing is something that promotes our thankfulness to God. Singing is what we do; James said if we are merry, “Let him sing psalms (Cf. Jam.5:13).”
Singing is something that is a reflection of how grateful our hearts are for the Lord. It is something that we are commanded to do together for the Lord and it must be done properly.  We must do it wholeheartedly. The church must do it also by proclaiming the truth. Jesus put it this way, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:24. So are you prepared to worship the Lord God in spirit and truth?
Grace and Peace,

5 Acts of Christian Worship: Prayer

I will therefore that men pray every where,
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Timothy 2:8

From the very beginning of the church, prayer is something that was ever present (Acts 1:23-26; 2:42; 4:23-32). This is one of the five elements of worship in which we participate every first day of the week. 
Paul wrote to Timothy on how to conduct himself in the church (cf. 1 Tim 3:15).  This included instruction on prayer within the assembly. From the Word, we find that men are to lead in prayer within our assemblies. This is not to devalue women but simply that God has given us the pattern that men preside over the assembly (cf. 2 Tim 2:9-15). The required men are those who can lift up holy hands without wrath and dissension. This is not a posture. The type of man God desires to lead the congregation in prayer is one living a holy and righteous life. A man whose attendance, habits, divisiveness, and wrath are questionable should not be one who is in this position. Prayer is a truly important part of our worship on the first day of the week.  We all join in prayer when we clear our minds, focus our attention on the prayer, and, in agreement, confidently say amen (so be it).
Prayer is not isolated to the first day of the week. Take the time today to contemplate the following questions. How important is prayer in my daily walk? Am I praying without ceasing? (cf. 1 Thess. 5:17) Am I devoted to prayer? (cf. Col 4:2) Do I mean what I pray and do I pray what I mean? If the answer is no to any of these, I urge you to correct that now. God desires this relationship with you; go ahead and talk to Him.
Grace and Peace, 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Word's Matter Psalm 119

 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 
Psalm 119:9-11

        Consider the above scriptures. A young man cleanses his way by taking heed thereto according to the word.  It is not the letter of the law that absolves sin but faithful obedience to the commands of God throughout each dispensation that makes a man’s way cleansed. 
The Patriarchs believed God at His Word and trusted that God would fulfill the blessing upon their faithfulness (cf. Heb 11:8-21). Moses and those living under the Mosaic dispensation believed the promises of the Law certainly were able to be attained if they did not add nor take away from it (cf. Deuteronomy 4:2). Lastly, under the present Christian dispensation, we know that today the Word sanctifies us in truth (cf. John 17:17). We can read that the truth is what sets one free (cf. John 8:32). The Psalmist declared he hid that truth in his heart to refrain from sinning against the Lord.
        It is no mistake why we so often turn to book, chapter, and verse for our authority in religion. To not do so would be to sin against the Lord. It would serve the purpose of serving ourselves and not the one we claim as Lord and God. Make no mistake, the quantity of words is important but what is more important is what we will do with the Word, which is the standard by which all men will be judged (cf. John 12:48). I invite you to open your Bibles today and follow along but not to isolate that to Sunday or Wednesday. Feast on the Word daily, and may your paths be cleansed daily. 
Grace and Peace, 

Monday, June 15, 2020

3 C's of The LORD

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? Psalm 22:1
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah Psalm 24:10

            Three Chapters in the Psalms. Three pictures of the Lord. Three aspects that describe the mission and purpose of Jesus. The first gives us the image of the cross. These were the words that the Lord cried out in anguish on the cross, Eli, eli, lam sabachthani, that is to say, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me (cf. Matt. 27:46). Even in the time of great pain and distress, our Lord remained focused on the task at hand. He kept, even then, with the example of His entire life by quoting the Word. What a blessed reminder of what the Lord was willing to suffer for each of us. He loves us enough to bear the cross. 
            Psalm 23, the most famous of all three among men, gives us the picture of the ministry of the Lord, the ministry of a shepherd. He loves His flock. He leads His flock. He defends His flock. The flock finds comfort in the crook of the shepherd. The image that is found in Psalm 23 of the crook or staff is a source of comfort to the sheep of the Lord. What a blessed reminder of how valuable we are to the Lord. How He loves and cares for us. He loves us enough to lead us with the crook. 
            Psalm 24 tells us of a King of Glory. The LORD God reigns. This is certain. The Scripture tells us that all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Jesus (cf. Matt. 28:18). The Hebrew writer reminds us that he is sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High (cf. Heb 1:3). This king of glory is the one who is the Lord, strong and mighty, a mighty warrior in battle (cf. Ps. 24:8). He is the only one fit to bear the name “King of glory” and give us the other image of the Lord. This gives us the image of the crown. He wore the crown of thorns and then the crown of glory, and He did so that you might receive the crown of life if you will only remain faithful (cf. Rev. 2:10). What a blessed reminder that our Lord reigns. That He loves us enough to lead us in our lives if we will only serve the King of Glory. 
            Three chapters, three C’s: a cross, a crook, and a crown. What a blessed reminder of who Jesus was, is, and forevermore shall be. 

Grace and Peace, 

5 Acts of Worship: Giving

            Giving is the fifth of the five acts of worship covered over the last four weeks. This is often a topic that is avoided or loo...