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Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

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Psalm 130 is one of the songs the people of Israel would sing as they went up to Jerusalem to worship God in the three required festivals. Verses 3 and 4 say, If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You,
that You may be feared.”

When I read these two verses, I see…

God is absolutely holy. The Lord does indeed mark iniquities – He keeps an account of our sins. He is the only One who can both judge and remain standing. Why? He has no iniquities to mark. His holiness is absolute and perfect.

I am sinful. I know my sin and my sinfulness, saying with the apostle Paul that I am the chief of sinners. In the face of His absolute holiness, I know I cannot remain standing – only He can. No one will be able to survive the penetrating gaze of God’s perfect knowledge and judgment.

God forgives. By His sheer mercy and grace, God sovereignly chooses to forgive. He’s under no obligation to do so, but as the psalmist says, “there is forgiveness with You.” The foundation of God’s forgiveness, and what makes it possible, is the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. He stood in our place and was judged for our sins and iniquities on the cross. Through faith in Christ alone, I know that my sins are forgiven.

God is to be feared. I know that the Lord’s forgiveness of my sins – which I do not deserve – should drive me to deeper reverence, greater awe, and a more holy dread of God. This is the holy One who lives in unapproachable light and who is more pure than I will ever comprehend, yet on the basis of Christ’s work on my behalf, forgives all of my iniquity! This is the One who is to be loved and feared!

That’s a beautiful song to sing.

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In our worship service yesterday, we sang Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty’s song “In Christ Alone.” It’s a song I think is destined to become a classic – the church will be singing it four hundred years from now, in other words. It’s theologically sound and weighty, as well as musically  excellent.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand. 

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live. 

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ. 

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand. 

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, songs@integritymusic.com) 

It’s my anthem because it reflects my thinking as a Christian. It’s who I am based on what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me and in me. To Him be all the glory!

It’s our anthem as the church of Jesus Christ for the very same reason. It’s who we are based on what He’s done for us and in us. In Him alone we live and stand. To Him be the glory!

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It’s always exciting to find artifacts and documents relating to the First and Second Century Christian church. We get a better understanding of what it was like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the first three or four generations.

But there is something I hope we never find – a very specific liturgy. By that I mean a detailed order of worship (in other words, a record of what they did as they were gathered together to worship, including how long everything took).

Yes, it would be interesting to find such a document. It might even be informative. But, most likely, I think it would be dangerous. We would be strongly tempted to copy it and make it the iron-clad pattern for all of our worship services from that point forward. We might even assume we had found a Divinely-inspired order of worship.

But there is no Divinely-inspired order of worship available to us. The Bible (God’s inspired and authoritative Word) doesn’t provide one. Yes, there are elements of every worship service that are mentioned in Scripture – singing, prayer, giving, and the preaching of the Word, but there isn’t too much beyond that. If a liturgy was found, we wouldn’t have any way of knowing whether or not it was even their normal order. It could have been a special service. We simply don’t know, which is the point.

The absence of an established order of worship gives us flexibility. Worship services may vary from time to time and place to place, but the essential elements as well as the obligation to gather with other believers (Heb. 10:24-25) to worship God remains constant.  In this case, diversity can be a good thing.

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 95. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Our worship should be joyful, thankful, centered on God, which results in a softened heart that believes and obeys God.

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Psalm 33-1 Sing To The Lord-brown

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Isaac Pauley preach on Psalm 33 as part of a series on what we value as a church. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: We desire that all aspects of our corporate worship services to be God-focused, not self-focused.

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I learned a new song for worship yesterday: “All Glory Be To Christ.” It’s sang to the tune of “Auld Lange Sine.”

The song has all the makings of one appropriate for worship: good doctrine, a focus on the Triune God, and singable by the congregation.

Here are the lyrics:

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders build

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His reign and rule we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ‘ere His people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

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John Calvin wrote:

Men will never worship God with a sincere heart, or be roused to fear and obey Him with sufficient zeal, until they properly understand how much they are indebted to His mercy.

Remember that as we gather together with our brothers and sisters in Christ to worship the Triune God.

 

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