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Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Disinherited Children

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Joan Crawford, the famous movie star of several decades back, left some of her children out of her will. She was not the first to do so, nor is she likely to be the last. It is the right of parents to disinherit a child or children if they choose to do so. Let it be observed, however, that such disinherited children do not cease to be the children or offspring of the withholding parents; they simply are left out of the will, cut off from receiving any of the estate.

Can—and will—God ever disinherit His children? One of the major tenets of Calvinism is “Perseverance of the saints,” which avers that if one chances to be among the elect of God he can never do anything sinful or evil enough to fall from God’s grace and lose his eternal inheritance. However, those who will read the New Testament with glasses that are clear, rather than with those colored by Calvinistic dogma, will discover a plethora of passages that teach otherwise, for example.:

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Laid Back, Hip—And Irreverent

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The general abandonment of decorum in society over a couple of generations has obviously had its impact on the Lord’s people—especially observable in our worship assemblies. I preached in a Gospel meeting several years ago before which the local preacher told me that the brethren were “laid back” in the way they dressed for worship. He was trying to prepare me for the fact that those who would be leading in worship would likely be “casually” dressed. Some of them didn’t even make that “grade.”

In another Gospel meeting in which I preached, the congregation used varied song leaders, some of whom wore neither coat nor tie. One poor fellow wore jeans, an ugly open-collared shirt, and sneakers and sported a distracting, obviously unkempt beard. Had he worn hunting boots he could have been mistaken for “Jeremiah Jones,” just down from his mountain cabin (never mind that he could hardly carry a tune). If such attire represented the best these men could do, they would have received no criticism from me. This hardly seemed to be the case, however. Rather, such behavior had thoughtless, careless, sloppy, I don’t care, and/or lazy (to say nothing of irreverent) written all over it.

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Little Word—Big Meaning

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Jesus once said, “We must work the works of him that sent me…” (John 9:4). Must refers to that which is necessary, indispensable, required, or obligatory. What are some things we must do (emph. DM in all quotes)?

• We MUST Believe in God: “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Heb. 11: 6). Belief is the necessary beginning point in anyone’s relationship with God. Those who genuinely believe in God also believe in His Word and in Jesus Christ, His Son. The context of this passage (all of the chapter) indicates that the belief God requires is more than a mere intellectual admission of His existence. Rather, it is one that cannot be defined apart from obedience to His will (cf. Jam. 2:14–26).

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Avoiding New Fads

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Introduction

The worldly, fashion-mad nature of humankind has changed little through the centuries. Luke provides an interesting description of the philosophers whom Paul encountered at Mars Hill in ancient Athens: “Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear something new” (Acts 17:21).[1] The word new  in this passage comes from the root word kainos, which means “that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, but new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old.”[2] This definition tells us that those Athenians were always looking for something different, new-fangled, novel, modern—some new gadget or fresh gimmick. In short, they were fad-mad!

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Church Renovation

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“Church Undergoes Renovation,” the newspaper headline read. The words were positioned above a photo of a church building surrounded by scaffolding, with workmen on its roof. The article described the modernization of a church building, which the article referred to in common—albeit mistaken—parlance as a “church.” A church, however, is a group of people drawn together by distinct doctrines and practices that meets in a building.

From reading the New Testament and even a smattering of post-Biblical church history, it is clear that “the church” most people know today is not the church as Jesus built it (Mat. 16:16–19). His church underwent—and continues to undergo—major “renovations.” The simple beauty of the original church has been lost in endless complex, corrupt, and unauthorized changes.

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