[The Christian life] is not a life which at first is fairly broad, and which as you go on becomes narrower and narrower. No! The gate itself, the very way of entering into this life, is a narrow one. … Too often the impression is given that to be a Christian is after all very little different from being a non-Christian, that you must not think of Christianity as a narrow life, but as something most attractive and wonderful and exciting, and that you come in in crowds. It is not so according to our Lord. The gospel of Jesus Christ is too honest to invite anybody in that way. It does not try to persuade us that it is something very easy, and that it is only later on that we shall begin to discover it is hard. The gospel of Jesus Christ openly and uncompromisingly announces itself as being something which starts with a narrow entrance, a strait gate. …
We are told at the very outset of this way of life, before we start on it, that if we would walk along it there are certain things which must be left outside, behind us. There is no room for them, because we
have to start by passing through a strait and narrow gate. I like to think of it as a turnstile. It is just like a turnstile that admits one person at a time and no more. And it is so narrow that there are certain things which you simply cannot take through with you. It is exclusive from the very beginning, and it is important that we should look at this sermon in order to see some of the things which must be left behind.
The first thing we leave behind is what is called worldliness. We leave behind the crowd, the way of the world. … The Christian way of life is not popular. … You cannot take the crowd with you into the Christian life; it inevitably involves a break.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 220-1
“In my mind, the most significant problem facing evangelicalism today is that evangelicals are assuming the Gospel—and, because of this, I fear we are a generation away from discarding it altogether. The reasons for this are many: the legacy of the seeker-sensitive movement with its emphasis on pragmatism, the rise of postmodernism, theological preaching that lacks the evangelical priority, et al.
How should we respond to this? Christocentric preaching and teaching! Christocentric ministries! Christocentric ministries! We need to pray for a generation of pastors who will be: 1) courageous enough to disregard popular ministry methodologies that undermine the Gospel; and, 2) consumed enough with God’s glory to cease measuring success by the numerical size of a congregation.” Pastor Art Azurdia
For Posts Related to Pastor Art Azurdia:
Separating from Unbelievers, Part 2
2 Corinthians 6:14-16
by John MacArthur
(below is an extract from the sermon)
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, `I will dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord, `and do not touch what is unclean and I will welcome you and I will be a Father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Now as I pointed out last time, this passage identifies two opposing worlds. The terminology is clear. One of those worlds is marked by righteousness, light, Christ, believers, and the presence of God. The other is marked by lawlessness, darkness, Satan, unbelievers, and the presence of false gods. And these two worlds are utterly different and distinct, so much so that they are mutually exclusive. They cannot work together in common partnership, they cannot fellowship together, they are not in harmony with one another. One is old, the other is new. One is earthly, the other is heavenly. One is deadly, the other is life giving. One is wicked, the other holy. One is built on lies, the other is all truth. One perishes and the other lives eternally.
Paul then is making it clear that believers can’t live in both worlds. Certainly John said this in his first epistle, 1 John, when he clearly identified this disparity between the two worlds with these familiar words, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Mutually exclusive worlds. You can’t be in both at the same time.
Then in James we read in chapter 4 and verse 4, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And later in verse 8 he says, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.” People trying to live in two different worlds.
In Romans chapter 12, of course that very, very familiar passage that begins the exhortation part of Romans, “I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship, and do not be conformed to this world.” Make a clean break.
When a person becomes a believer they are transported out of one world into another. And shuttling back and forth is absolutely unacceptable. And that is precisely what the Corinthians were trying to do. Having named the name of Christ, identified with Him, come into the church, they were still hanging on to their own idolatry, their old pagan ways. They had come to Christ out of idolatry, as it says in 1 Thessalonians, they had come to serve the living and the true God from idols. But they didn’t make a clean break. They had been wooed back into the old idolatry, back into the old pagan culture because it was so pervasive, and so dominant and it was so on display and so woven into the fabric of their life, family life, social life, community life. Corinth was dominated above the city by an acropolis, a high mountain on top of which was the temple to the false deities which engaged itself in pagan ritual and worship and priest…priestess prostitution. This temple not only was the center of that religion, but from it disseminated its religious viewpoints and ideologies through the entire culture of Corinth. It was a part of everything in life…holidays, festivals, celebrations and so forth. And it was a constant pull to the Corinthians to fall back into those old patterns. And they did.
Additionally, the false teachers had come in and they had brought a quasi Christian syncretism and eclectic religion which took Christianity, a little bit of Jewish legalism, and some pagan religion and melted it all together and offered it as the truth. And that compromise had found its way into the Corinthian church and found an audience and some of them were listening and believing and accepting it.
You see, the false teachers wanted to make Christianity more popular, less demanding, less distinct, less narrow, less offensive, less different, less exclusive so they’d get more people in on it, so they could get more money, which is always what false teachers want. And so here is the Corinthian church new and fresh and being assaulted by pagan religion around it. You couldn’t separate the social life from the religion, you couldn’t separate the historical life of that village in terms of its patterns from the religion. That village that became a city bore all of the signs of the religion that moved in its growth. It was a full-blown pagan system down to the very core. And it was hard to sort it out. To be involved at all in the life of the culture was to be involved in the paganism, unless you made a very clean break. The Corinthians didn’t do it. And as I said, then add to that the confusion of the false teachers and you can understand why Paul says to them, “Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
It’s very much like modern Christianity today, by the way, that seeks to blend Christianity with popular culture, wants to make Christianity more popular, less different, more palatable, less offensive, less narrow, less exclusive. And the result of it is that true Christianity in the purity of God’s Word gets corrupted by compromise and the church can become useless and shameful and blasphemous in mocking the truth. For believers there can be no compromise. We cannot engage ourselves with unbelievers in any spiritual enterprise. That’s the issue. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers,” that is he command that sets this text in motion. And it is an unmistakable call to believers to separate from unbelievers. No one could miss that that’s what it’s saying. The question is, what does it mean?
And as I said last time, it is essential to understand what it means but first of all what it does not mean. Paul is not saying, cut off all contact with non-Christians. He’s not saying that because we have to reach them with the gospel. That is not the issue. He’s not saying don’t evangelize the unconverted, don’t confront people in false religions. He’s not saying that. We must do that.
Secondly, he is not calling for complete isolation on the part of the church. We are not to become isolationists. We are not to be monastics. We are not to go hide somewhere and pull apart from the world. Quite the contrary. We are to find unbelievers and love them and be their friend and set a model of spiritual example for them.
Furthermore, he is not saying you are to divorce your unsaved partner, or to sever all unsaved contacts…all contacts, I should say, with unsaved people in your family. He is also not saying that you can’t work or play or do business or be engaged in common earthly enterprise with unbelievers. He’s not saying that, of course you can. What he is saying is you cannot link up with unbelievers in religious causes…or religious enterprises. You cannot go to their worship and become a part of it, you can’t make them a part of the Kingdom of God. You can’t engage them in anything that involves ministry, teaching, or worship. Where there is ministry, teaching and worship there has to be absolute separation.
So he’s referring in actuality to harnessing up believers and unbelievers in any common religious, spiritual enterprise. The two cannot be yoked together anymore than an ox and an ass can pull a straight furrow when under the same yoke, as Deuteronomy 22:10 forbids. But that is precisely what the Corinthians were doing. They were going to the feasts that were involved with the idols and they were trying to still befriend the people in the world and in their families and in their society by attending and being involved in idol festivals and such compromise is intolerable.
At the same time they had invited into the church forms of pagan religion and that was equally intolerable. There can be no harmony, no fellowship, no partnership, no participation between believers and unbelievers in any religious enterprise. That is the issue. Pagan religion, false teaching ruins those who listen to it. It leads to ungodliness. It spreads like gangrene and it upsets the faith of people. Paul directed all of that to Timothy and warned him to warn the church.
The issue then is religious cooperation, religious compromise with false teachers and with heresy and error. We can have nothing to do with the people involved in that when they are so involved. And we can allow them to have nothing to do with enterprises that involve the advancement of the Kingdom of God. And yet through the years the church has continued to do this. Sometimes it’s called cooperative evangelism where an evangelist will come into a city and bring together Christians and non-Christians, those who believe the Word of God and those liberals who would openly deny the Word of God in a common evangelistic enterprise. That is in direct violation of what this text is teaching.
It happens all the time in common efforts at evangelism. It happens in educational institutions where those institutions that would claim to be Christians would have on their faculty those who believe the Word of God, those who were born again, and those who are not. And they are illegitimate linked together in a common spiritual enterprise to the detriment of the church, to the debilitation of the believers and the false assurance of the unbelievers. True Christians have to separate from unbelievers in matters related to ministry, teaching and worship. And when I say teaching I’m talking about teaching that relates to God and His truth.
So Paul fixes that principle. And that, by the way, was a brief review of the first message. But in response to that initial principle he gives us five reasons, or five motives for following this mandate. And I want to approach those motives from a negative perspective…if I might. To be bound together with unbelievers in any spiritual effort is…number one…irrational, irrational. The point that Paul is making here is one of congruity. It is one of simple reason. And to make this point of the irrationality of such a common enterprise, he asks for rhetorical questions, each of which demands a negative answer.
Here they come, verse 14, “For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or Satan? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” And the answer to those is negative. Righteousness and lawlessness have no partnership. Light and darkness have no fellowship. Christ and Satan have no harmony. And a believer and an unbeliever have nothing in the spiritual realm in common. That is axiomatic. An axiom is a self-evident truth that doesn’t need proof. And that is obvious. It is obvious that you can’t make opposites the same. And those are all opposites.
Copyright 2007, Grace to You.
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
‘What is Worldliness?
Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centred way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be a ‘fool for Christ’s sake’.
Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. It adopts idols and is at war with God. Because ‘the flesh’ still dwells in the Christian he is far from immune from being influenced by this dynamic.
It is of believers that it is said, ‘the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to another’ (Galatians 5:17). It is professing Christians who are asked, ‘Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?’ (James 4:4) and are commanded, ‘Do not love the world’, and ‘keep yourselves from idols’ (1 John 2:15, 5:21).
Apostasy generally arises in the church just because this danger ceases to be observed. The consequence is that spiritual warfare gives way to spiritual pacifism, and, in the same spirit, the church devises ways to present the gospel which will neutralise any offence.
The antithesis between regenerate and unregenerate is passed over and it is supposed that the interests and ambitions of the unconverted can somehow be harnessed to win their approval for Christ. Then when this approach achieves ‘results’ – as it will – no more justification is thought to be needed. The rule of Scripture has given place to pragmatism.‘
The above video is a summary of the highlights of an Asian regional church conference organized in 2008 by a mega-church, based in Singapore, with churches network across many countries in Asia. The conference’s well known speakers came from US, Europe and Asia.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18 -19
‘You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.‘ James 4:4
‘Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.’ 1John 2:15-17
Below is an article (by Pastor John Macarthur) from Grace to You (Gty.com) which aptly summed up my thoughts on the sad state of on how evangelicals are playing “church” today and how they are marketing and positioning their image to sell to and draw the “consumers” within the world. The perverted and twisted philosophy can be summed up like this: to win the world to the church, the church becomes like the world.
The world is in “Church” today because the “Church” today did not leave it behind.
Why do evangelicals try so desperately to court the world’s favor? Churches plan their worship services to cater to the “unchurched.” Christian performers ape every worldly fad in music and entertainment. Preachers are terrified that the offense of the gospel might turn someone against them, so they deliberately omit the parts of the message the world might not approve of.
Evangelicalism seems to have been hijacked by legions of carnal spin-doctors, who are trying their best to convince the world that the church can be just as inclusive, pluralistic, and broad-minded as the most politically-correct worldling.
The quest for the world’s approval is nothing less than spiritual harlotry. In fact, that is precisely the imagery the apostle James used to describe it. He wrote: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
There is and always has been a fundamental, irreconcilable incompatibility between the church and the world. Christian thought is out of harmony with all the world’s philosophies. Genuine faith in Christ entails a denial of every worldly value. Biblical truth contradicts all the world’s religions. Christianity itself is therefore antithetical to virtually everything this world admires.
Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
Notice that our Lord considered it a given that the world would despise the church. Far from teaching His disciples to try to win the world’s favor by reinventing the gospel to suit worldly preferences, Jesus expressly warned that the quest for worldly accolades is a characteristic of false prophets: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
He further explained: “The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7). In other words, the world’s contempt for Christianity stems from moral, not intellectual, motives: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). That is why no matter how dramatically worldly opinion might vary, Christian truth will never be popular with the world.
Yet in virtually every era of church history there have been people in the church who are convinced that the best way to win the world is by catering to worldly tastes. Such an approach has always been to the detriment of the gospel message. The only times the church has made any significant impact on the world are when the people of God have stood firm, refused to compromise, and boldly proclaimed the truth despite the world’s hostility. When Christians have shrunk away from the task of confronting popular worldly delusions with unpopular biblical truths, the church has invariably lost influence and impotently blended into the world. Both Scripture and history attest to that fact.
And the Christian message simply cannot be twisted to conform to the vicissitudes of worldly opinion. Biblical truth is fixed and constant, not subject to change or adaptation. Worldly opinion, on the other hand, is in constant flux. The various fads and philosophies that dominate the world change radically and regularly from generation to generation. The only thing that remains constant is the world’s hatred of Christ and His gospel.
Adapted from John MacArthur’s book, Why One Way?
“The Church Versus the World” James 4:4, Luke 6:26, John 7:7, John 15:18-19 by John MacArthur
During RESOLVED 07, Pastor Steve Lawson of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church spoke from Luke 14:25-33 dealing with topic: “The Cost of Discipleship (It Will Cost You Everything).“
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”Luke 14:25-33
In the Book of Haggai, the LORD of hosts spoke out through the Prophet Haggai against His people, who has lost their first love, to “consider your ways”. For the start of a new year 2010, this is a good reminder from Pastor Steve Lawson for all professed believers of Jesus Christ to carefully examine ourselves and consider Jesus Christ, Who is the greatest treasure and the inheritance of all true disciples who are washed in His blood.
Churches today have adapted Christian faith for marketing to satisfy the felt needs of consumers shopping for a quick fix to meet their earthly needs and unfulfilled emptiness in their lives.
‘In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God.’ THE CAMBRIDGE DECLARATION of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, April 20, 1996
“As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision.’ THE CAMBRIDGE DECLARATION of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, April 20, 1996
This video documented the interviews of both clergy and lay persons showing the sad state of where the Church is today: “Christianity” without Jesus Christ and devoid of the saving Gospel.
This next video is an except of a sermon by Dr Michael Horton speaking on the state of Church, he is one of the original signatories to the THE CAMBRIDGE DECLARATION and author of the book “Christless Christianity“.
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. …..I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1John 2:24,26-28
“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, …. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:22-24
Worship matters and it must be anchored entirely on God’s truth. The entire truth about God, which He has revealed about himself within His word, is the key for any worshiper in truly knowing God and worshiping God acceptably in spirit and in truth. It is a matter of infinite importance. Without getting or accepting the complete truth about God as revealed by the scriptures only mean a professed worshiper is not truly worshiping the God of the bible but a “god” of his or her own imagination. It is a matter of eternal consequence when people get worship wrong, as a result they do not worship God acceptably however well meaning they may be. Worship matters, it really does.
‘Worship is not an addendum to life, it is at life’s core. You see, the people who worship God acceptably enter into eternal life, but the people who do not worship God acceptably enter into eternal death. Worship, then, becomes the core. Time and eternity are determined by the nature of a person’s worship.’ True Worship by John MacArthur, Jr.
Quotes from Bob Kauflin’s book “Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God“:
Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That’s why it’s so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it. (Pg 19)
Because I want to make it clear from the start that worship isn’t primarily about music, techniques, liturgies, songs, or methodologies. It’s about our hearts. It’s about what and who we love more than anything. Here’s my sobering discovery. I learned that I could lead others in worshiping God and be worshiping something else in my own heart. But by the grace of God, I was beginning to understand what worship is all about. (Pg 25)
That’s why as worship leaders our primary concern can’t be song preparation, creative arrangements, or the latest cool gear. Our primary concern has to be the state of our hearts. The great hymn-writer Isaac Watts once wrote: The Great God values not the service of men, if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; he has no regard to outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be employed therein. It is therefore a matter of infinite importance, to have the whole heart engaged steadfastly for God. (Pg 26)
Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God’s kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.
Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
Quotes from Bob Kauflin’s book “Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God“:
“singing and preaching aren’t incompatible or opposed to each other in any way. Both are meant to exalt the glory of Christ in our hearts, minds, and wills. Then whole meeting is worship; the whole meeting should be filled with God’s Word. And the whole meeting should be characterized by the Spirit’s presence.” (Pg 89)
“Songs are de facto theology. They teach us who God is, what he’s like, and how to relate to him. ”We are what we sing,” one man said. That’s why we want to sing God’s Word.’ (Pg 92)
“Singing God’s Word can include more than reciting specific verses in song. If the Word of Christ is going to “dwell in [us] richly” (Colossians 3:16), we need songs that explain, clarify, and expound on what God’s word says. We need songs that have substantive, theologically rich, biblically faithful lyrics. A consistent diet of shallow, subjective worship songs tends to produce shallow, subjective Christians. (Pg 92)
…….Too often we can be tempted to choose songs because of the music rather than the theological content. We need to realize that when words are combined with music we can be deceived. Music can make shallow lyrics sound deep. A great rhythm section can make drivel sound profound and make you want to sing it again.” (Pg 93)
Bitterness, Comfort, Compassion, grace, hope, Job, Persecution, Prosperity, Prosperity Gospel, rejoice, Sanctification, sovereignty, Sufferings, Trials, Tribulations, trust, Values, Warren Wiersbe, Worldly
“Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to `count it all joy.’ If we live only for the present and forget the future, then trials will make us bitter, not better”
(Be Mature, [Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1978], p.23 by Warren Wiersbe).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4, 12
As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:10-11
‘..”An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” I saw as clearly as I had ever seen before the implications of that phrase, “worship . . . in spirit and truth.” The phrase suggests, first of all, that true worship involves the intellect as much as the emotions. It underscores the truth that worship is to be focused on God, not on the worshiper. The context also shows that Jesus was saying true worship is more a matter of substance than of form. And He was teaching that worship embraces what we do in life, not just what we do in the formal place of worship.’
“..about worship, we were continually drawn to the only reliable and sufficient worship manual—Scripture. If God desires worship in spirit and truth, then surely all true worshipers must fashion their worship in accord with the truth He has revealed. If worship is something offered to God—and not just a show put on for the benefit of the congregation—then every aspect of it must be pleasing to God and in harmony with His Word. So the effect of our renewed emphasis on worship was that it heightened our commitment to the centrality of Scripture.’
‘Scripture tells us that the purpose of spiritual gifts is for the edification of the whole church (Eph. 4:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:12). Therefore all ministry in the context of the church should somehow be edifying—building up the flock, not just stirring emotions.
Above all, ministry should be aimed at stimulating genuine worship. To do that it must be edifying. This is implied by the expression “worship . . . in spirit and truth.” As we noted earlier, worship should engage the intellect as well as the emotions. By all means worship should be passionate, heartfelt, and moving. But the point is not to stir the emotions while turning off the mind. True worship merges heart and mind in a response of pure adoration, based on the truth revealed in the Word.
Music may sometimes move us by the sheer beauty of its sound, but such sentiment is not worship. Music by itself, apart from the truth contained in the lyrics, it is not even a legitimate springboard for real worship. Similarly, a poignant story may be touching or stirring, but unless the message it conveys is set in the context of biblical truth, any emotions it may stir are of no use in prompting genuine worship. Aroused passions are not necessarily evidence that true worship is taking place.
Genuine worship is a response to divine truth. It is passionate because it arises out of our love for God. But to be true worship it must also arise out of a correct understanding of His law, His righteousness, His mercy, and His Being. Real worship acknowledges God as He has revealed Himself in His Word. We know from Scripture, for example, that He is the only perfectly holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipresent source from which flows all goodness, mercy, truth, wisdom, power, and salvation. Worship means ascribing glory to Him because of those truths. It means adoring Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised. It must therefore be a response to the truth that He has revealed about Himself. Such worship cannot rise out of a vacuum. It is prompted and vitalized by the objective truth of the Word.
Neither rote ceremonies nor mere entertainment are able to provoke such worship—no matter how moving such things may be. Those things can’t edify. At best they can arouse the emotions. But that isn’t true worship.’
‘Hebrews 12:28 says, “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” That verse speaks of the attitude in which we should worship. The Greek word for “service” is latreuo, which literally means “worship.” The point is that worship ought to be done reverently, in a way that honors God. In fact, the Authorized version translates it this way: “let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (emphasis added)—and the next verse adds, “For our God is a consuming fire” (v. 29)……….”Reverence and awe” refers to a solemn sense of honor as we perceive the majesty of God. It demands both a sense of God’s holiness and a sense of our own sinfulness. Everything in the corporate worship of the church should aim at fostering such an atmosphere. ‘How Shall We Then Worship? by John MacArthur All Rights Reserved
Embedded is another sermon by John MacArthur where he speaks on the similar truths on true worship: ‘The kind of worship God desires“.
For a related post: What Kind of Worship God Desires From His People ?
‘Worship is not an addendum to life, it is at life’s core. You see, the people who worship God acceptably enter into eternal life, but the people who do not worship God acceptably enter into eternal death. Worship, then, becomes the core. Time and eternity are determined by the nature of a person’s worship.
Now, there are only two kinds of worship that can be offered-acceptable or unacceptable worship. The majority of the world offers unacceptable worship, and God will not accept it. The Bible is explicit on this. There are people today who say that ultimately everybody is going to be saved, but that is not true. The Bible does not say that. But it does say that there are only two kinds of worship – acceptable or unacceptable worship.‘ True Worship by John MacArthur, Jr.
In this embedded sermon, Pastor John Macarthur explained what is unacceptable worship:
1. The worship of false gods of any kind
2. The worship of the true God in a wrong form
3. The worship of the true God in a self-styled way
4. The worship of the true God in a wrong attitude or heart
True worship that is acceptable to God must not be conformed to this world. It is a form of worship from a worshiper that is reflective of the heart of a believer that has been transformed by God’s power and from a mind that has been renewed.
‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Rom 12:1-12
There is a right way to worship God, it is the only kind of acceptable worship that God desires.
‘Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.’ Psalms 24:3-4
There is a place for corporate worship in the lives of believers. Believers to be found gathering to worship by honoring and praising God through Jesus Christ.
‘Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.’ Hebrews 13:15-16
It is a sad thing when a man is godly, and yet does not say, “I have enough.” The apostle does not say that contentment in itself is great gain, but he says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Tim 6:6; so that it is not the contentment without the godliness that is the gain; and, on the other hand, any form of godliness that does not bring contentment with it, should be gravely questioned. A godly man, who does not yield ready assent to all God’s will, ought to pray to be made a godlier man. …………..
When God’s will and our will are contrary to one another, we may be sure that there is something amiss with us. We are never right till God’s will becomes our will, and we can honestly say, “The will of the Lord be done.” Therefore it is a sad thing when a Christian man cannot say, “I have enough;” but it is a very sweet thing when he can truthfully say it. Then does he really enjoy life,-when he thanks God for what he is, and for what he is not,-when he thanks God for health, and also for sickness,-when he thanks God for gains, and also for losses,-when he sings a song in the night, as the nightingale does, as well as a song in the day, as the lark does. He proves then that he does not follow God for what he gets out of Him, as stray dogs will follow a man in the street who feeds them; but that he follows God out of sincere love to Him, because God is his Master, and he belongs to Him. It is true blessedness, a little heaven begun below, when the Christian, looking all round, can say of all temporal things, “I have enough.“
“I Have Enough” by C.H. Spurgeon SERMON TEXT: Gen 33:9,11 “Esau said, I have enough … Jacob said, I have enough.” – Gen 33:9,11.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
Lean on the all sufficient Creator, we can always trust Him.
In poverty or in riches, God promises to supply our every need.
In sickness or in health, remember God is always good.
Lets thirst and hunger after the Giver, not his earthly gifts.
Lets our rejoicing be in the Giver, not His worldly gifts.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
How will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
In worshiping God, remember He is our greatest reward.
Mark was a former rapper of PKO. Mark, also known as Magic Mark was part of the underground rap scene awhile back. The Lord has saved His soul, and this is His testimony. Mark shared his salvation and transformation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark shared about Jesus Christ, and the change that is only found in Him.
WHY does God, as the heavenly Father, wants to chasten His children?
“for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.“ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons.” Heb 12:5-9
The answer from the scriptures is simply that God wants to profit His children through pruning, trials and chastening so that our faith is tested and refined. Christ said that if we follow Him, we must deny ourselves and take up OUR cross and follow Him. In all our ways, looking unto Jesus Christ, acknowledging that He is Lord. We abide in Christ, trust and lean completely on Him. We must always remember that our Heavenly Father is the Holy, Holy, Holy God. In our walk with God, we must cast aside every weight (the love of and cares for this world) and strive against the propensity to sin which could easily side-tracked us. Practically, it is to constantly immerse in His Word and submit to the Holy Spirit indwelling. In our walk with Him, lest we be weary and faint in our minds , God allows and sends chastening and does pruning so that we may bear more fruits of the Spirit (John 15:2).
God as Heavenly Father loves and scourges every son (and daughter) whom He receives. God wants His children to grow up into “trees of righteousness” (Isa 61:3) and not remained as babes. As God’s children, we must trust Him that “for whom the Lord loves He chastens”. We have to obey, submit, receive and endure God’s chastening as that is how God deals with His children.
God loves His children, here are the scriptural teachings on the purpose of His chastening and He has said it so clearly:
“Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2
For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Heb 12:3-4
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.“ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons. Heb 12:5-9
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For truly they chastened us for a few days according to their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Heb 12:9-10
Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it. Because of this, straighten up the hands which hang down and the enfeebled knees. And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Heb 12:11-13
On riches, wealth and prosperity, man thinks they are greatly to be desired and sought after and praised, ………….
but God says the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) and “riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away” (Proverbs 23:5).
As for poverty, man thinks it is to be avoided at all costs, but God says it can be better than riches
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. Pro 15:16-17
Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Pro 19:1
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? Jas 2:5
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).
Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure that it takes to crush the idols.
Chuck the pews and all the decorations too
Until the congregations few then have revival.
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
until you’re broken for your sins you can’t be social.
Then seek the Lord and wait for what he has in store
and know that great is your reward and just be hopeful
Cause you can sing all you want to.
Yes you can sing all you want to
you can sing all you want to
And don’t get me wrong, worship is more than a song.
Take a break from all the plans that you made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper.
Beg Him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister.
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.
Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.
Cause you can sing all you want to.
Yes you can sing all you want to
you can sing all you want to
And don’t get me wrong, worship is more than a song.
Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage and make some space for the one who deserves it.
Cause I can sing all I want to.
Yes I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong, worship is more than a song.
And you can sing all you want to.
Yes you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
But don’t get me wrong, worship is more than a song.