Rockport Sermon

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Christian Amusements

I'm often asked about how a Christian should and should not spend his or her free time. This quote from J. R. Miller, from his book "In Green Pastures" (1890) provides some helpful instruction:

must never become an end in life. It
must always be a means, a help on the way--just
as sleep is, just as rest is. An hour's amusement,
should be to you, just what a night's sleeping is. It
should make you stronger, clearer-headed, braver,
calmer-souled, more hopeful, more earnest, more
enthusiastic--inspiring you for godly living.

Anything which leaves a taint of impurity upon the
life, or starts a thought of impurity in the mind,
anything which degrades or debases the soul--is
an unfit and unworthy amusement for a Christian.
Christian amusements
must be such, as do not
harm spiritual life; they must be means of grace.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever
you do--do everything for God's glory!" 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Church Membership: Is It Necessarily Divisive?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the issue of church membership when he asked me this question:
What are our biblical grounds to divide with any true brother in Christ over doctrinal distinctives, no matter how biblical they may be?
What follows, with some minor adjustments, is my answer to him:


The question I really have to ask first is, "What do you mean by 'divide'?" I do not believe myself "divided" from someone like R C Sproul even though we are not a part of the same local church or denomination and probably never could be. I'm afraid this is simply a reality in a sin-broken world where even the elect are not yet perfected. Yes, there is a division of sorts on the administrative level of our fellowship, but not one that keeps us from recognizing one another as brothers and working together in the Kingdom.

Is there biblical justification for this division? Not really, at least not in the sense of a statement that says, "This is how things are supposed to be." It is simply an unfortunate reality -- and one that is insurmountable at the present time for a number of reasons

(1) Because none of us are untouched in our ability to 'reason' due to mankind's fall into sin, none of us sees the Bible (or anything) with perfect clarity. For that reason we cannot agree completely on some very important, though non-essential to salvation, issues. Baptism is a great example, and so is the nature of plural leadership in the church, the calvinist/arminian divide, how to organize for missions etc, etc. "How can two walk together unless they be agreed?" Such differences of opinion make it all but impossible for all true Christians to fellowship and serve in the same local body. This is a very sad admission, but one that is true and has been true for 2000 years! Remember Barnabas and Paul? We could add Peter and Paul in Galatians (at least for a time), etc. And then add to the fact that it is possible even for genuine Christians to fall into grievous error, the end result is external division on the local level.

(2) Some would say, "Well then, we should not ever make an issue of such non-essential matters." As wonderful as that sounds, it ends up with a disastrous outcome. The only way to do that is to reduce down to a "least common denominator" approach to a local church's confession and practice. "We will only stand on those issues about which all can be agreed." Because the dividing line between what is essential and non-essential is in some places a bit fuzzy to us; and because that line will be drawn in different places by different people (due to the problem discussed in #1), you ultimately end up with a Methodist church -- all-inclusive but totally compromised. You see this happening right now in the discussion between some Protestants and the Roman Catholic church (you also saw it in the old "ecumenical movement") The desire for an outward appearance of institutional unity often leads to the willingness to discard much truth that is essential. Baptism is a great example. I believe firmly that baptism is a picture of an inward and spiritual reality and that Christ commands it to be accepted as an act of obedience upon a believer's public confession of faith in Him. To disregard that in order to make room for infant baptism -- since this is admittedly not an essential issue -- would to my understanding be a betrayal of the very purpose of baptism. I don't believe those who practice infant baptism are lost, but I do believe they are wrong. And I believe their practice will, of necessity, lead to the admission and acceptance of unregenerate church members -- and that is an essential issue since it tends to lead to a betrayal of biblical truth by the next generation! Therefore, I am constrained to "divide" with a brother over a non-essential, as far as local church membership is concerned. Yet, in the case of a faithful Presbyterian brother for example, I am united with him in all else and willingly and gladly work with him and fellowship with him on a number of levels beyond that of local church structure.

This brings me to ...

(3) The true church is united on the universal level, even where there is a necessary division on the local level. True biblical unity exists between all regenerate believers as they draw near to Christ. So even though I am not organizationally unified with every other believer on the planet, nevertheless a genuine union exists and can be seen in our fellowship when we meet, when we work together for the cause of Christ outside the local church structure, when we pray together, etc. And so, while we pray for a complete and unhindered unity at every level, we know that in a broken world this will never quite be the case organizationally. Therefore we act with unity and charity toward one another at ever level possible, and accept the unfortunate divisions that are necessary for the sake of conviction and truth in the mean time. You see, unless we are willing to compromise every principle outside of a very few basic statements of faith (and who would decide what those are?), this is the unfortunately necessity.

I hope this begins to help.

Well, to all who read this, keep thinking about this issue, and measuring it and your response to other believers against Scripture. May God give us a real and Christ-honoring unity!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Head Coverings

Valarie H asks:
I would appreciate your thoughts on 1 Corinthians 11:1-15. I am trying to figure out if my head should be covered in worship but I am having a hard time discerning this. Is this just a cultural thing that does not apply to us somehow? Is a woman's hair her covering? Does it need to be a certain length to be a covering? I want to stay away from legalism and I also want to be obedient to God's Word.
First of all, Valarie, I appreciate the earnestness of your last comment and your clear desire to be obedient to God's word. In whatever God has spoken, His children are certainly bound to joyfully obey His wisdom.

In this case, part of understanding that wisdom is to make sure we keep the context in mind. 1 Corinthians was a letter written by the apostle Paul to answer a series of specific questions put to him by the church in Corinth. You can see this in the way he answers one issue at a time, especially beginning in 1 Cor 7:1 when he says, "Now concerning the things about which you wrote." Apparently a number of issues had been raised and Paul is responding to them.

One such issue had to do with the conduct of some of the Corinthian women in worship. Corinth, on the whole, was known for its sexual immorality and particularly for temple prostitution. This had resulted in a culture that elevated the position of the priestess as "religious leader" and brought about a class of 'liberated' women who had cast off traditional modesty in order to flaunt their independence and sexuality (much as we see women doing in the pagan culture at work today).

It is no surprise, then, that Christians who came out of the troubled waters of such a society were confused about gender roles and what was and was not permissible. After all, Christianity itself had the effect of liberating women from the dreadful patriarchy of Roman and Jewish culture that relegated them to a secondary citizens and even debated whether or not women had souls. Could it be that the "liberty" brought by Christ was the same kind of unrestrained "libertinism" practice by Corinthian prostitutes?

Paul's answer is a swift and sure "NO!" In Christ both males and females are of equal value, but that does not mean that their roles in society, and especially in the church, are identical. Nor is it the kind of "liberty" that casts of restraint and flaunts its freedom selfishly. This is what is at the center of these comments in 1 Cor 11:5-6
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
You asked if these comments were culturally depend. They must be, for otherwise how would we make sense of them? Culturally in Corinth (and in most places at that time), a "head-covering" in the form of a scarf or "hood" communicated a very clear message -- "This woman is the wife or daughter of someone. Her modesty is to be respected. She is not available sexually." Prostitutes, on the other hand, went about bare-headed to indicate that they belonged to no man and were thus sexually available to any man who could pay the right price. Taking their cue from these women, others had begun to go about "bare-headed" as a declaration of their liberty and independence. Some, especially temple priestesses, may even have gone so far as to begin shaving their heads to indicate their transcendence of all sexuality.

What does this have to do with the church and 1 Cor 11? Evidently some of the women in the Corinthian church had begun to adopt this new 'liberated' style as a way to declare their freedom. The problem is, that it gave the impression to all who saw them that they were the kind of "loose women" who had cast off all moral restraint. This had the effect of making Christianity appear to be "on the same page" with the pagan temples that where were known for their sexual immorality. Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, rejects this and commands the women to keep the "head coverings" which were universally interpreted by all who saw them as evidence of sexual modesty and submission to their husbands.

What is the application today? It think it would be that we must reflect in our society those same values of biblical modesty and submission, in whatever ways would be appropriate within this culture. No one in today's American culture looks at a head covering as a symbol of modesty. They would see it as nothing more than an odd fashion statement. But what you wear still communicates to others what you value. (And by "you", I mean the reader in general, not Valarie particularly!) But think about it, dear reader. Is your goal in your dress, to call attention to your body? To make people think you look sexy? To cause the opposite sex to desire you physically? If so, you are violating this and a dozen other biblical principles of modesty. Instead, one should focus on modest, godly dress, as opposed to the flamboyant, "Look at me!" styles that are the norm in a non-Christian culture.

Any way, I hope this begins to answer your question. No, head coverings are not a universal command for all Christian women everywhere. The Bible's concern is that all of us practice biblical modesty and godly submission to rightly appointed authority. (1 Tim 2:9-10)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Could Jesus Sin?

Bill E asks,
The subject was brought up in Sunday School class that Jesus could have sinned . . . Was that really possible, and is there any scriptural evidence to support this.
Dear Bill,

When it comes to a question like this, it's helpful to begin by making sure we define exactly what is being asked before we attempt an answer. If the question being asked is, "Was there any way Jesus could have actually sinned and failed the test put to him when he was tempted by the devil?" I think the answer would have to be a solid "No." As God, Jesus' righteousness is incorruptible -- "He cannot be tempted by evil" James 1:13 says, meaning that as far as his divine nature is concerned He is incapable of sinning. We see the same thing in Hebrews 7:26 where it says that "it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens". Jesus is incorruptibly righteous! There was just no way he would ever choose to sin. It runs contrary to everything in Him that makes Him Who He is!

But does that mean that the temptations of Jesus were a mere show? Are we saying that Jesus could not have sinned even if he wanted to? Here is where I think we run into trouble. We're thinking of Jesus' "inability to sin" as if it were a defect or flaw that prevented him from doing something he might otherwise have done. But the righteousness of Jesus does not spring from an incapacity. It's not that he was incapable of making the choices that would lead to sin. Not at all!

Let me show you what I mean by asking the question in a little different way: Did Jesus have the capacity to sin if he wanted to? Could he have chosen to give in to Satan, had that been his desire? Now the answer would have to be an unqualified 'Yes.' As a human being, Jesus certainly had the capacity to choose to do whatever he wanted to do. And had he wanted to sin, he most certainly could have done so. The thing is, because he was/is perfectly righteous, he simply did not want to! He could not want to!

You see it is not an issue of incapacity, or inability. We're not saying Jesus could not sin in the same way that you cannot fly around the room -- because you lack the equipment to do so. We're saying Jesus could not sin because in his perfect righteousness, he simply would never choose to do so. It was and is a moral 'inability' to sin, not a physical incapacity. Or perhaps we should say a 'moral perfection' on his part, that enabled him never to choose sin because he always chooses that which is righteous. Thus He can be tempted in every way we are, and yet remain without sin (Heb 4:14).

Maybe this illustration will help. If you hand me a loaded gun, I certainly have the ability to point that gun and pull the trigger. Nothing prevents me from doing so. I can do so any time I choose. And yet, take that same gun and point it at my child's head and tell me to pull the trigger, and I will tell you that I cannot do so. You can threaten me, beat me, beg me, shame me, tempt me with all the money in the world, and I will not do it! The very act is morally inconceivable to me -- I cannot and will not do it for any reason.

Now, if you can understand my "moral inability" to pull the trigger of a gun that would kill my child, then you can begin to understand Jesus' "moral inability" to do anything that would violate His Father's will. As imperfect as I am, I am morally unable to do this particular evil. But Jesus in his perfection is unable to do any kind of evil! I think that's what we see taking place in the temptations of Christ. He certainly has the capacity to do what Satan is tempting him to do. He could sin if he wanted to. But his moral character is such, that it is unthinkable for Him. He will not do it for any price!

By the way, the same thing can be said of our moral inability to choose God as long as we are in our sin. Man in his sin is "incapable" of turning from sin and embracing Christ by faith, not because something prevents him from doing so, but because it is morally reprehensible to a self-centered person to forsake self and embrace Christ wholeheartedly. That's why we must have the miracle of regeneration to give us a new heart before we will turn and embrace Christ by faith! (Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3:3f) But that's another subject, I suppose.

But oh what joy to know such a perfectly righteous Christ Who in His righteousness stood up for us and chose to bear our sin upon Himself and take it to the cross on our behalf. And to know that one day we too will share in this very same righteousness, when in heaven we reign with Him and are fully restored to His image. We too, in heavenly glory, will be made new in Him in such a way that sin becomes impossible for us in that place, for all the same reasons it is now impossible for Him -- having seen Him face to face, and become like Him, we will find it inconceivable to ever betray him again!

Oh how I long for that day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All About Me?

“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself "
Romans 14:7

Our age has been called the “me generation” for a very good reason – since the moment we broke out of the womb, we have insisted on putting ourselves first! Now, I know that most of us would like to think that’s only true of other people – we, at least, don’t act that way! But amazingly I’ve found that more and more people today not only admit they are self-centered, they honestly believe it’s a good thing!

Two surveys, one in the US and the other in Britain, recently showed that more than half of college-aged young people believe the slogan that says “It’s all about me.” When asked which is more important, to give of yourself for the good of society or to look out for yourself first, more than half pledged themselves to the “me first” philosophy.

The results of this approach to life are, of course, predictable. In such an atmosphere marriages will continue to fail – its hard to stay married when you believe that the purpose of such an arrangement is to “meet your needs.” (What happens when the other person fails to do so? Call a lawyer!) Friendships will continually falter because self-centered people can’t ever get along! (How many “Hollywood deals” have fallen apart because of the inability of massive egos to occupy the same space?) And churches will continue to divide. (When everyone believes its “about me” no one can win.)

But this really is nothing new, is it? Selfishness has always been the natural response of the sinful heart! But Christ came to take away our sin and to give us new lives and new attitudes that result in new relationships – not only with Him, but with each other, as well! May God give us grace to begin to live in a way that builds up, rather than tears up the body of Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What A God!

As I was watching the sun rise this morning, I was reminded of the faithfulness of God. Every morning He does it again. He is perfect. By the sunrise, I was reminded that our God is indescribably Glorious in Holiness. There is none like Him. In fact, he is altogether Other. Perfectly Other. He is incomprehensibly fearful in praises. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised. He is worthy of the endless praise of all of creation from this time forth and forevermore, yet it all could not render to Him the praise He is due. God also faithfully does inconceivable wonders. Who, but God, would ever think to do things the way He does them. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways. The glorious sunrise I witnessed this morning continues to testify to His faithfulness. Yes, the sun came up again this morning. And it will come up tomorrow morning, until God decides to end it all. After all, He is the only one keeping it all going, and perfectly so. Even in our lives, there are no mistakes, but God, in His perfect timing, constant faithfulness, and wondrous ways, runs our world and our lives. It seems as though I saw written in the sky this morning, just what I have witnessed in my life, " I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread. Glory be to God

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Family at Rockport

What a day we had at the picnic. First of all, Aaron, thanks so much for your help during this time. It's a burden, and you just took it. Scott, Kurt and Will, thanks guys for your support. I couldn't do it without you.
Now, man, I didn't know I was going to miss Johnny and Joyce so much. I am pretty sad about it all, but I know they are in God's hands. I sure hope to have the sweet pleasure of their fellowship once again.
I love our church family so much. As I fellowshipped at the picnic today, I thought about the great family God has given us because of Christ.
I love you guys. You are the greatest. I am so happy to be a part of Rockport. and I can't wait to get back to doing what I do. Eldering and all.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In whatever you do...glorify God!

I was reading Joshua Harris' blog and found this great quote from a brother exhorting all of us, as Christians to assume the responsibility of glorifying God in whatever activity we are involved in. Let it be an act of worship and praise back to our Lord. This morning at our Men's breakfast, I kinda jokingly mentioned to the others, anyone would like to wash the dishes joyfully, as an act of worship before the Lord, please feel free to do so. We are, as believers, commanded to understand that there are no inconsequential choices, we should live every moment utterly to the glory of God. Whether we are a Pastor, singer, trash man (waste-management specialist), social worker, teacher, lawyer, doctor, etc., everything should be viewed as a God-ordained opportunity to live utterly and totally to the glory of our maker who gave us gifts, not so that we might boast in them, but that others might boast in Jesus Christ because these gifts were meant to glorify Him and to build one another up!

Here is the quote:

"The Reformation notion of 'the priesthood of all believers' by no means denigrated the pastoral office, as is often assumed... Rather, it taught that the pastoral office is a vocation, a calling from God with its own responsibilities, authority, and blessings. But it also taught that laypeople as well have vocations, callings of their own that entail holy responsibilities, authorities, and blessings of their own. All believers, like the priests of the Old Testament, can come into the presence of God through the blood of the Lamb. All believers can handle holy things (such as the Bible, earlier denied to the laity). All can proclaim the Gospel to those who need its saving message. 'The priesthood of all believers' means that all Christians enjoy the same access to Christ and are spiritually equal before Him. 'The priesthood of all believers' did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling... Every kind of work, including what had heretofore been looked down upon - the work of peasants and craftsmen - is an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one's neighbor." - Gene Edward Veith, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, page 18-19

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blessed is the man who meditates on God's Word.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. - Psalm 1:1-2

I’m drawn to the words, “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” For the Christian, meditation on God’s word is not a duty to be fulfilled, but a delight to be indulged! When you feed on the Word daily, you find your resistance to sin strengthened and your heart for God satisfied. For just as the man who's recently enjoyed an amazing steak dinner isn’t tempted to stop off on the way home for a quick McDonald's cheeseburger, so a Christian who’s belly is full of the good things of God is not easily tempted to “sit down” to the feast of the wicked.

It is only the hungry who are ready to eat anything set before them. But if you fill your mind with God’s Word so that it satisfies the longings of your heart, you soon find an ever-growing power to say “No!” to sin. “No!” to sin because you’ve been saying “Yes!” to better things in Christ! That's the power of a superior delight!

One of the things people often miss, is that our hearts were made to be satisfied by something. "Satisfy me in the morning, with your steadfast love" Moses writes in Psalm 90:14. Notice that. He does not say. "Make me a man who doesn't need satisfaction." He says, "Satisfy me in you, so that I won't seek satisfaction elsewhere -- in lesser things. The key to not finding satisfaction in that which is sinful, is to pursue something better! find a deeper more lasting satisfaction in that which God has provided in Christ!

Thus David writes in Psalm 19:7-11,
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.

Let us make God’s Word our daily delight. Let it strengthen us in our fight against sin as we read and meditate on it daily, and as we join together with other believers each week in faithful , Christ-exalting churches.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What God?

My cousin told my Aunt the other day that I had said that God knows absolutely everything before it comes to pass. Her response was that she just doesn't believe that. As if what she believed had anything to do with what was true about God. It is true that we often imagine a god that is simply not the God of the Bible, and it would behoove us to study the God of the Bible, who is indeed the Sovereign Lord and Ruler of the Entire Universe.
So much of what we believe is tainted. Tainted with religion, false teaching, our own imaginations, our own presumptions, and even our own desires. We desire and imagine that God is like the god that we have created in our minds, because that kind of god is more palatable to our senses.
That is why so much of what men preach today is not simply the raw truth of the scriptures. It must be sugar-coated it order for it to be believed. It must be politically correct and watered down enough for the digestion of the many babes that continue to engorge our ranks. This would not be the case if indeed God would shake our world to the point where the God that we have imagined in our minds is not sufficient for the things we will face.
So perhaps our prayer ought to be, "Lord, shake our world for Christs' sake." "Shake our own personal worlds to the point where we either have to believe or deny the God of the Bible." But then, the world which we desire to live in is not compatible with such an earth-shaking God. He is not a tame Lion.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Getting My Heart Ready for Sunday

Saturday evening is an important time of preparation for me. No, I'm not talking about working on the sermon -- that's usually finished by Friday afternoon so that I can "step away" for a little bit and come back to it fresh on Sunday morning. Saturday evenings for me are a time for spiritual preparation. I've found out the hard way that, if I squander Saturday night on something meaningless -- like staying up late, watching TV, going to a movie, etc -- as most of the world does, then my heart is not ready for the truly exciting event of meeting God with His people on Sunday morning. Over the years I've learned to so value that -- that time of coming consciously into His presence to worship and respond to His Word -- that I do not desire to let anything dull that joy for me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking some kind of legalism here. I wouldn't dare make a law that every Christian must do as I do in some matter not clearly spelled out in Scripture. But I would advocate careful thought on this matter. The joy of meeting with God, fresh and alert on Sunday is so desirable to me, that I would not dare trade it by wearing myself out pursuing some lesser, less satisfying thing! I guess it's a matter of priority. Time and energy, like money, can only be spent once. I can squander it on something that matters very little tonight, or I can make a priority of getting to bed early while the world parties (which always amazed me -- why party when you really have nothing to celebrate) I can rest and be ready for the real celebration in the presence of the One who is the delight of my soul, who rescued my life from it's well-deserved hell, and fills me with every good thing in His Son!

I love to come, clear-eyed and alert to His throne-room, eager to see once again the depths of His love displayed in the cross, and the marvels of His daily-renewed mercy dispensed through His Spirit Whom He sent to be with us forever. I love to have my ears ready to hear Him speak through His word, and my heart set to receive His grace given through the means of fellowship ,worship, Word and sacrament (ie, Lord Supper and Baptism), etc. So, with that as my great priority, I think I'll get ready for bed now. There's a great day coming in the morning, and I don't want to miss a thing!

Looking forward to gathering with His people and experiencing, once again, new revelations of His mercy as we look in faith to Jesus in His finished work of salvation.


Fighting for Joy

Before I even get started, I would like to say to everyone reading this that Bob and Scott are BRUTAL when it comes to the fact that I haven't posted anything yet. So, here we go with my first post and let me is great that we have something like this. I pray that this might be a place for people to come and ask questions, seek answers, and that together we might "recount" the wondrous deeds of our Savior and exult in His Name!

I am not sure, but there is a struggle within me because of the different matters going on from day to day. There are days when I am completely exhausted, there are days when it feels as if I am under attack, and days that quite frankly I wish that I could back in bed and try it all over again.

This morning I was reading Psalm 9 and found what David said here and found it interesting....perhaps you will too. In verse 1, we find:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

First, I would like to explain a couple of things that really stuck with me this morning. David says, "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart." Oh my dear friends, when we consider the work of grace in the life of the believer, we should give thanks with everything that is within us. We should not give praise with our lips only, but with our hearts, our lives, and our total being. It is possible to appear to be in outward obedience, but have a heart that is far from God. God is not honored by our simple obedience out of a sense of obligation or duty...but he wants us to delight ourselves in Him.

I see this theme throughout the Psalm as David is thankful to the Lord for the blessings that he has seen. For this, he is forever grateful. Can I please just leave you with a few things that I see in the first part of this Psalm that might help all of us as we are fighting for that joyful heart in the midst of a fallen world filled with struggles and temptations?

  1. Give Thanks to God (1a)
  2. Give Thanks to God with everything "Your Whole Heart"
  3. Recount His Wonderful Deeds (1b)
  4. Be glad and exult in Christ (2a)
  5. Sing glad songs that rejoice over the victory of Christ over sin in your life, in the lives of your brothers and sisters.
If I could offer a brief summary of this. When we see the work of Christ in and around us, it should move us to an attitude of WORSHIP. Not just singing, but a rejoicing by "recounting" and a glad heart that is fixated on the One who gave Himself up for the ungodly, making them His treasure.

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Saying Amen

This is a brief note I once sent to the Elders.
It would seem that a reading of the entire scriptures would leave one with this assumption. That when God’s people gather to hear God’s Word, they should respond with “Amen”, in particular when a great truth is uttered. This has always been something common and natural in biblical times from what I read throughout the Bible. A thorough reading of the scriptures would leave one with the knowledge that “Amen” is biblical language. We should let the scriptures shape our worship, not the world or religion.
Many times we are exhorted, “and let all the people say ‘Amen”. Amen means that we agree with what is being said. We are affirming that truth. How else will others know that we agree with what is being said unless we affirm it.
Saying Amen is scriptural. Over and over in the word, an Amen is given when the truth is spoken. It used to be common for men to say Amen. If we see language in scripture it is not there without reason, and it would be more right than wrong to use scriptural language. Hallelujah is also scriptural. In fact, we will be hearing it throughout eternity. It will be the occupation of the four and twenty elders to say Alleluia and Amen. Why not the four elders at Rockport and the entire congregation?
It is even appropriate to say "yea". 2 Cor 1:20

say Amen—“Prayer is not a vicarious duty done by others for us; as in Rome’s liturgies and masses. We must join with the leader of the prayers and praises of the congregation, and say aloud our responsive "Amen" in assent, as was the usage of the Jewish (#De 27:15-26 Ne 8:6) and Christian primitive churches” [JUSTIN MARTYR, Apology, 2. 97].

Consider it,