Posts Tagged ‘worship’

“O Praise Him”

Posted: September 21, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized
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The Revelation to John

Dec 15:                        A Love Grown Cold                 (Rev 2.1-7)

 

“They that see God cannot but praise him.  He is a Being of such glory and excellency that the sight of this excellency of his will necessarily influence them that behold it to praise him.  Such a glorious sight will awaken and rouse all the powers of the soul, and will irresistibly impel them, and draw them into acts of praise.  Such a sight enlarges their souls, and fills them with admiration, and with an unspeakable exultation of spirit” –Jonathan Edwards, “Praise, One of the Chief Employments of Heaven” (Thanksgiving Sermon, Nov 7, 1734)

 

We begin today’s class with an important principle from Jonathan Edwards, namely that in beholding the excellency of God we are drawn into acts of praise that affect the deepest and most remote compartments of our soul.  That is why we do Bible study. That is why we take Bible study one step farther and do Biblical theology, and farther still to systematic theology.  These are an attempt to behold God, grounded in the revealed word that he has given us, that we might behold him and be given “an unspeakable exultation of spirit.”  I have said this many times before, and I say it again.  THE KEY to spiritual growth lies not in applying Biblical principles to your life, but in beholding God and having his majesty and the depth of his love, mercy, kindness and righteousness transform the heart and reorient our desires. 

 

And yet even this pursuit can be corrupted and turned from its original end, as we shall see in our reading today, we see a church whose love has grown cold.  What is striking about this, is that their love grew cold when they were so well equipped to behold the majesty of God.  So there is a lesson for us here.  When knowledge of God becomes more important than God himself, then our doctrine has become our idol, replacing our “first love” with cold dogma.  May God save us from this!  Let us see what Jesus has to say to the church in Ephesus, and see how we might be turned from this sad situation. (more…)

 

From Horatious Bonar’s Commentary on Revelation

1. Learn self-denying Christianity.

Not the form or name, but the living thing. ‘Christ did not please Himself.’ Let us in this respect be His true followers; bearing burdens for Him; doing work for Him; submitting to the sorest toil for Him; not grudging effort, or cost, or sacrifice, or pain; spending and being spent for Him; relinquishing the lazy, luxurious, self-pleasing, fashionable religion of the present day. A self-indulgent religion has nothing in common with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after Him, renouncing ease and denying self. Our time, our gifts, our money, our strength, are all to be laid upon the altar. We are to be ‘living sacrifices’ (Romans 12:1)

2. Learn faithfulness to His truth.

We hear it often said that what the age needs, and what the Church needs, is religion—not theology. But the whole Bible takes for granted that there can be no true religion without a true theology. The Bible is God’s testimony to Himself and to His Son—the Christ of God. There can be no acceptable religion or worship or service except that which is founded upon that testimony. The belief of that testimony is life everlasting—the belief of any other testimony is death eternal. Let us be true witnesses for the truth—let us shun and hate error—trying those that propagate it, and finding them ‘liars’, as the Ephesian church did. Let the Master’s word in reference to the errors of the early churches sound in our ears—’Which thing I hate.’

 

A church may, no doubt, have a true testimony, and yet be a very unfaithful church; she may have the FORM of sound words and the form of godliness—and yet be cold like Sardis, or lukewarm like Laodicea. Yet, on the other hand, it is not possible that, with a false testimony, or a testimony to what is untrue, she can represent her Master and Head. A false testimony must make a false church. The belief of a lie will not save a man; nor will the belief of a lie win for a church the favor of the Lord. A true creed is of unspeakable importance, even though at times it has been associated with inconsistency and death.

read it all here

liturgyLiturgy is not meant as an end in and of itself, although many people approach it that way.  Rather a good liturgy is meant to guide you on a journey well beyond yourself, hopefully to the feet of the risen Christ.  Below is a helpful post from Matt Kennedy on Anglicanism’s traditional reformed theology expressed in aesthetic worship.

I managed to mention one of the characteristics of Anglicanism that sets the Anglican expression of Christianity apart from many other protestant expressions, namely that while we embrace the essential biblical truths recovered during the Reformation…

1. Sola Scriptura–the bible is the sole infallible source of revelation, the primary authority in the church by which all doctrine and discipline must be tested and measured.

2. Sola Fide–sinners are justified through the instrument of faith alone

3. Sola Christi–Christ’s righteousness, sacrifice, and mediation is the sole basis or grounding for the justification that is communicated to sinner by faith alone.

4. Sola Gratia–the whole arch of salvation, from beginning to end, is due to and grounded in the free gracious gift of God and for no merit or deserving on our part.

5. Soli Deo Gloria–God’s purpose in Creation, Judgment and Redemption is ultimately his own glory.

…we like to think we’ve not thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

We (at least evangelical Anglicans) stand on the above truths together with orthodox Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists and other evangelical denominations and non-denominational churches. And yet, Anglicans believe it is important to maintain those worship practices of the ancient Church that can be traced back to the very first centuries after the Ascension of Jesus Christ and that do not contradict the Biblical witness.

Why, Anglicans ask, should we surrender the riches and beauty of ancient Christian worship that conforms in every way with scripture?

God is the author of beauty. Anglican worship seeks to employ all the aspects of God’s creation in worship…to reflect God’s created beauty back to him. God’s created beauty comes to us through sight, smell, taste, and touch. And all of these senses are employed in Anglican worship. Incense, music, bells, color, candles…all of these are used to glorify God at Good Shepherd just as they have been used for 2000 years in the Church throughout the world.

According to the witness of the Old Testament, the use of these elements of worship go back to the very establishment of the holy Tabernacle during the exodus. God gave Moses very specific instructions for the construction of his Tabernacle and these included carefully detailed instructions to produce a place of aesthetic beauty.

read the rest here

From the daily grind to unethical demands, Christians struggle to honor God at work. How do we find our identity amidst the challenges of vocational excellence, ethics, evangelism, and essence? If we emphasize one of these aspects to the neglect of the other, our motivation for work is easily distorted and our results can dishonor God. However, if we approach our work with these four aspects of work in proper focus, work can become worship! We can work in the workplace and not be “of it.”

Ethical Work
The way we carry out our work can honor or dishonor God. If we fudge on the books, arrive late to work, or lie about our progress, we deny God honor in the realm of creation and culture. Even if our ethical compromise produces a superior product, we cheat the Creator of his glory by denying his moral nature and biblical commands. The end does not justify the means. Christian work cannot be excellent and unethical. How we work reflects who we are.

Excellent Work
On the other hand, we can work ethically without producing excellence. You may be punctual and honest while turning out inferior reports and products. If we are to do our work in an excellent way, we must not only strive to honor the moral nature of God but also the essential nature of God, his manifold excellence and comprehensive glory.

read the rest here