Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seven Objectives: Praise God Part 2

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians. 5: 18-21

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

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 3:15-16

I spoke in my last entry on the objective of praising God. Praising God is living a life of gratitude for who God is and what He does. The Bible teaches us to, "praise Him for His mercy; (Psalms 106) Psalm 150 tells us we are to, "praise Him for His mighty acts," (what He does,) and to, "praise Him according to His excellent greatness; (what He is.) Psalm 100 tells us to, "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." I would like now to look at praising God with music.

Martin Luther said; "Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of music, combined with the gift of song was given to man that me might proclaim the Word of God through music."

This is why we still use hymns in our services. In the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, it speaks of "Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Psalms we know as the great poetical book of the Bible. Hymns are songs that magnify and praise the character of God. Spiritual songs are testimonial in nature; expressing how God works, or is working in the life of His people. This is the biblical criteria for the music the praises God. The right music opens our spirit up to know God's presence, and to hear from His word. Music prepares us to pray; it prepares us to hear from His word, because it opens up the part of us that relates to God; our spirit. The New Testament church has two practices that go back to the Old Testament temple; the public offering and congregational singing. These two things are true acts of worship.

However, much of the music used in churches today is not biblical. Let me confess, I'm an of "rock & roller." Anybody who tells you that music is "amoral" is either naive, ignorant, dishonest or all three. I was a musician before I was anything else. As a trained musician, I knew the difference between worldly and godly music. Christians will deny this saying all music is good, and can be used for God's glory. I disagree. You cannot have "Christian rock" any more than you can have "Christian fornication." If you do not believe me about rock music, ask someone who is an expert on rock music.

"If you take the sex out of rock music, you do not have rock music."

Mic Jagger of the Rolling Stones

"Do you understand that this music you are performing is of the Devil?"

Gene Simmons of the group KISS to a "praise and worship leader"/ contestant on American Idol

"Its the music. it makes me act that way." (referring to performing sexual moves on stage)

The music gets going and I do it without thinking. Its not really me, its the music."

Michael Jackson in an interview with Oprah Winfrey

Need more proof? One of the first nationally syndicated radio personalities was Allen Freed. Freed is credited in 1955 with coining the phrase, "rock & roll." When asked how he came to that phrase, he said it was, "a euphemism for sex in the back seat of a car."

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Let me just say it. "Praise and worship" services are not biblical. They are performance based. They are rock concerts with dressed up "Jesus" lyrics. The "Jesus Movement" of the early 70's gave rise to the idea that we need to be like "hippies" to reach "hippies," so lets take their music and put Christian words to it. I lived through that mess. We didn't turn hippies into Christians, we turned Christians into hippies. Our churches are carnal, our sermons, (if there is one) are shallow and our effect on a lost world is marginal at best.

Our churches must get back to being spiritual lighthouses. Our lives as Christians need to turn back to biblical spirituality; not the emotional stirring fluff we have in most churches. If we are to truly praise God, our praise must be godly, holy, biblical and focused on Him. Praise Him with the music that praises Him.

Just a thought,

Thank you for reading

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Pastor's Thoughts on the Resurrection

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

1 Cor. 15; ,3, 4

Today is Easter Sunday. This day has been called the Prince of Sundays. It is called that because is it on this day that we commemorate the resurrection of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. How important is the resurrection? Why is it significant that Christ died for our sins, then rose again? Some theologians and scholars have down-played the importance of the resurrection. So, what is the resurrection? What is its importance?

The resurrection is the key to all we as born again Christians hold dear. The resurrection is key to our salvation. Without the resurrection we have a savior on the cross. Without the resurrection we have a King in the grave. Without the resurrection our hope lies in a crypt; our confidence rests in a coffin. Our defence is in one who is defeated, and our protection in one held captive.

How can the dead offer life to the living? How can the tomb hold the key to redemption? Truly, outside of the cross of Calvary we must toil and sacrifice to a vengeful God with little hope of mercy. And truly, outside of the resurrection we must bow to a religious system that relegates our relationship with God to little more than ancestor worship. Without blood there is no remission, and without the victory there is not spoil.

But, as the angel in Luke 24 ; 2 asked;

"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but He is risen."

He is risen. These words turn a cross into an alter. These words turn a sacrifice into a Savior. "He is risen!" These words shake the gates of Hell, open the windows of Heaven, bring peace to the cursed Earth and make the grave into a pleasant place to wait for the resurrection.

"He is risen" turns wrath to mercy.

"He is risen" turns death to life.

"He is risen" turns judgement to grace.

"He is risen" turns fear into hope.

Because of the resurrection we can look to the cross and be saved by One Who conquered Hell for us. Because of the resurrection we can face the grave holding the Hand of One Who defeated death and the grave. Because of the resurrection, Hells dread is turned to Heavens hope.

In that we now have the confidence given us by the resurrection of Christ, we rest in the confidence of our resurrection in the last day. Easter Sunday is our day! It is resurrection Sunday! Rest in it; joy in it; celebrate in the day of His resurrection. The glory of the cross and the hope of the resurrection is in Him.

"He is risen."