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Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Worship of the Son of God

"If fire is lacking in the pulpit, then it is up to us to kindle it in the pew" BB Warfield

Any pastor worth his salt is constantly thinking (and sometimes, unfortunately, obsessing), about the attendance of church members at the services of the church. Seems that the enthusiasm of some church members waxes and wanes, sometimes from extreme highs to extreme lows. There are always members who are spotty in their attendance, often for seemingly trivial or even indistinguishable reasons. Then there are those who struggle with their emotional state and who go from highs, when they feel energetic and ready for everything, to lows when they lack the desire to do just about anything.

The reasons to be faithful in attending the worship services of the church are numerous. First among them, of course, is that we are commanded to worship. The well-known passage in Hebrews 10, warns the believers to not forsake the assembling of themselves together. Even as early as the time the letter was written, likely sometime in the late 60's, there were those who were already neglecting the meeting of the church. And that is considering that they didn't have the availability of online church resources that we have today. So, church absenteeism has been a problem pretty much from the beginning of the New Testament age.

But one issue that I have seldom, if ever, seen emphasized is the example that Christ left for us when it comes to worshiping with the body. "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read" (Luke 4:16). The Son of God did not neglect the meeting of the body of the time. We see throughout the New Testament, the many instances when He was either worshiping in the synagogue, as in our example, or in the temple teaching and interacting with the teachers of the day. Even in his early years, He is found in the temple asking questions of the teachers of Israel.

Since the Son of God found it necessary to worship with the body, why do we think that it is okay for us to absent ourselves from the meetings of the church? Are we greater than He? Or is our knowledge somehow so much greater than His that we think that we can be exempted from learning and, if qualified to do so, teaching? We often hear folks speak of how we should have the same view of the Scriptures that Jesus had. And that is rightly stated. If that is the case, then we should also have the same view of corporate worship that He had. 

Finally, those who are often missing from the meetings, seem to fail to understand the importance of their attendance for the other members. Our society is so "me-centered," that even in the church people think that they are there solely to "get something out of it." You see that attitude reflected in how often people are church hopping. They come to a congregation that, by all accounts is solid and teaches the word of God, and they leave because they didn't find what they were looking for. Whether programs, fellowships, etc., if the one thing that will make a difference isn't there, they will bolt for some other congregation that will give them what they want. Instead, they should offer their best to the body. If we look for what we can give rather than what we can get, we will be amazed by how different church services look to us!

 

 



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

RBG and the Immorality of the Left

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG as she is more commonly known these days, passed into eternity a few days ago. And, since her demise, much has been said and written about her from both sides of the political divide. Those on the left have lionized her as one of the most influential (for good) individuals of her generation. Those on the right, well that's a more mixed bag. Some have "honored her legacy" while others have indicated the problems with her positions. In general, those on the right have been more polite than those on the left would be against a similar political opponent: as is usually the case!

From the Christian perspective, I repeat the comment I made shortly after her death on Facebook: the lady was no doubt influential, but that influence was greatly for evil rather than for good. She was a godless individual whose guiding light was not righteousness and the will of God, but tolerance and support for evils such as abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and many others. One could say, without hesitation, that RBG was among the most wicked rulers this nation has known. 

At the same time, however, we understand that salvation is of God. God saves whomever, whenever, however He desires. We cannot rule out that God may have regenerated this lady's heart at the very last second of her earthly life. That being said, it is essential for us to also uphold the biblical understanding of salvation. Salvation is neither automatic nor without its costs. Although God saves, He has revealed how He saves and how we can avail ourselves of that salvation. Neither RBG nor anyone else can expect to be given an opportunity to repent after their death. And neither will they be saved without repentance. If it is true that the thief on the cross was saved in the last hour of his life, he was not saved without repenting of his wickedness.

Could RBG have repented quietly in the last hour of her life? Of course. But the likelihood that a person who gave herself to such a mountain of evil during her lifetime is all of a sudden going to backtrack and reject it all is very small. Even so, our desire and hope as believers is that somehow, someway she did become repentant and was saved. We should wish no one hell. That is why we evangelize, because we hope that as few as possible will go to that awful place. In the book of Revelation, John eats a little book that tastes sweet in the mouth, but is bitter in his stomach. The episode is in the context of God's impending judgement. 

Yes, the thought that God will judge the wicked is sweet, at first. But when we consider the awfulness of that judgement and the end of those who will inherit it, it truly makes our stomachs ache. The lesson that this lady's life provides is that wickedness will end in destruction. The legacy left by the wicked, as the Psalm says, will stain the land and perish from the earth. What reward will RBG or anyone else have from a life of unrighteousness and sin? Nothing but pain, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Learn the lesson and repent if you are on the same highway to destruction!

 



Friday, September 11, 2020

"My Sheep Hear My Voice"

 

Saw this video today and it is well worth watching. It's only about 20 minutes and it was produced by Justin Peters. In addition to the fact that the information in it is very good, the last couple of minutes are really wonderful! Give it a watch and see what you think.