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“Respect the Office, Not the Person”, Kevin Bacon and our Doxological-Gospel Purposes

Living the Good News to the Glory of God and Interacting with Everyday People and Politicians

In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit instructs us to make the glory of God our highest priority (1 Cor 10:31) even down to our motivations for consuming food!

Elsewhere He also exhorts us to live in such a fashion as to discern wisdom from folly, and good from evil. In matters that regard our political leaders, (more…)

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Tick-tock-tick-tock…

Of course there is some value to seeing themes of redemption, grace and the like in popular media (songs, books, motion pictures and in television programs). The Spirit of God does indeed open our eyes to see our world’s messages differently. But let us never forget that He does so by means of His Word.

Let’s say a Christian reads his Bible 5 min/day, https://i2.wp.com/www.hourplace.com/store/images/catswingtail.gif (more…)

A Teaching of Christ That is Difficult–but is for Us…

Posted in challenging human thinking, discernment, Lordship by Sam Hendrickson on 25 March , 2013

Luke 14:26  26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. NASB95

Think of that: Christ calls us to be His disciples and to obey Him, even if it means we have to choose to follow Him over choosing  our own families, our own spouse, our own children, our parent(s), or sibling(s).

Really?

Yes–really. Jesus made that choice Himself; this is evident in the Gospels. His Father’s “will” is what drove Him, moment by moment.

In this sermon, John Piper attempts to connect this teaching with Psalm 78, to speak to Gospel-living in areas of marriage, singleness and how parents are to view their children. It’s worth a read or a listen–for all of us. (With the usual caveats for areas where he differs in matters of faith/practice.)

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/raising-children-who-are-confident-in-god

Many Evangelicals do not Believe that God is Very Specific About How to Worship Corporately

 

J. Ligon Duncan III:

Evangelicals have for a century or more been the most minimal of all the Protestants in what they think the Bible teaches us about the church in general and in their estimation of the relative importance of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).

  • They do not generally believe that church government is established positively in the Word;
  • they often do not see the local church as essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission or to the task of Christian discipleship;
  • they are suspicious of order as restrictive of freedom…

Consequently, since the doctrine of worship is a part of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of the church, they are not predisposed in general to expect much in the way of important, definitive teaching about the conduct of corporate worship…

…The greatest obstacle to the reform of worship in the evangelical church today is evangelicalism’s general belief that New Testament Christians have few or no particular directions about how we are to worship God corporately:

  • what elements belong in worship,
  • what elements must always be present in well-ordered worship,
  • what things do not belong in worship.

To be even more specific…we may say that

  • evangelicals emphasize the dynamic of Christian worship (the grace of the Holy Spirit)
  • and its motivation (gratitude for grace, a passion for God),
  • but de-emphasize the standard (the Bible)
  • and goal (the prime telos [the purposed end] of glorifying and enjoying God).

Evangelicals do think that worship matters, but they also often view worship as a means to some other end than that of the glorification and enjoyment of God:

  • some view worship as evangelism (thus misunderstanding its goal);
  • some think that a person’s heart, intentions, motives and sincerity are the only things important in how we worship (thus downplaying the Bible’s standards, principles, and rules for worship);
  • and some view the emotional product of the worship experience as the prime factor in [evaluating] “good” worship (thus over-stressing the subjective and often unwittingly imposing particular cultural opinions about emotional expression on all worshipers).

Evangelicals believe these things about worship, but they do not think that there are many biblical principles about how to worship or what we are to do and not to do in worship.

In part, this may be the result of an understandable misunderstanding of the precise nature of the discontinuity between  the worship of the people of God in the old covenant and the new covenant.

…Consequently, though evangelicals know that the Old Testament has instructions on what Israel was to do in worship,

  • they tend to think that there are few if any abiding principles [let alone commands] to be gained for Christian worship from the Old Testament,
  • or they think that the New Testament emphases on the heart, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and worship-in-all-of-life displace these Old Testament principles,
  • or they think that the New Testament has correspondingly little or nothing to say about the how of corporate worship,
  • and some even think the category of corporate worship disappears altogether in the new-covenant expression of the economy of God…

And not surprisingly, these assumptions help an evangelicalism enveloped in a culture of individualism, relativism, and situationalism remain, in its approach to the gathered worship of God’s people,

  • strong on the individual, weak on the corporate;
  • strong on the subjective, weak on the objective;
  • strong on the heart, weak on the principles.

Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, P & R Publishing, 2003, pp. 24 – 26

[Nota bene: These are Duncan’s words, but I did the bulleting to make the lists and long (dare I say run-on?) sentences more easy to navigate.] Presented with all the usual waivers as to how his beliefs and practices differ from mine, etc… I.e. simply because I am quoting him doesn’t mean you should become a Presbyterian or whatever…I’ll trust your discernment…

God Hates Purposefully Mixed Worship & Sacrifice-Exodus 32

Some more thoughts on modern Christianity’s tendency to intermix worldliness in with the things of Christ.

It’s not some new phenomenon as we will see below.

When this artist to the right is “excited” that his album was used for a World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE) 25 year Anniversary service (and no, it was not chosen because it spoke a contrary message of God to those present, but because the music fit right in), you have to wonder if you want the people you love to be warned about the messages of such people. Maybe some will think you out of step “with the current Christian times”, or just a nosy, cranky curmudgeon. (Who among us would deny such are true of me? Heh heh.)

But as I preached last week, if you are doing Good News living and others have a problem with that, their beef is not with you, but they’ve just found their complaint escalated to the highest levels–Christ and the Father. So, I won’t be hurt if you disagree, but, at that point my feelings and my opinion means nada, nil, nuthin’–zilch. Someone else’s opinion does.

This kind of thinking comes from (John 15:19 – 16:3)

Anyway

God’s rightful glory is given to someone else when we intentionally mingle godly things in with pagan things. And God does not stand for having His glory diverted, stolen or reduced.

I contend that “Christian” bands like these and others, often show their desires to find ways to have and hold “the world” while trying to have and hold Christ.

That’s God-glory-robbing kind of stuff–and that is a dangerous place to be, and these can be spiritually dangerous people from which to get your teachings about God.

Consider how things went in the 15th Century BC:

Exodus 32

  • People often lose confidence in the people God has ordained as their spiritual leader (Verse 1)Exodus 32:1  Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.
  • In doing so, they then reveal what their real desires are–what they truly want to worship (instead of the One True God)(Verse 1)“come make us a god”
  • Other spiritual leaders may well be as spiritually weak as those they lead and cave into their sinful desires (Verse 2) Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
  • Such leaders can end up mixing in “God-talk” and “idol-talk” as a way of gaining the approval of the sinful people, and as a way of making themselves feel better for introducing sin into the things of God–“this is your god” and “tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” (Verse 4) He [Aaron] took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
  • When such leaders intermingle pagan, sinful things in with the holy things of God, the people (whose hearts desire sin, self and their own lusts) will go along with it and even do “the godly stuff.”–they “offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings” (Verse 5)Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
  • And when the “God” stuff is over, the sinful idolatry and self-centered fulfillment merely continues (Verse 6)So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play
  • God’s holy righteous anger burns against this kind of spiritual God-talk and idol-worship (Verses 7 – 35)–Go ahead go to the passage and take a look–God’s punishment on Israel was ugly, brutal and indicative of His love for His own glory.

Seriously, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to be listening to people who are willing to look at God this way?
  • Should I be learning my information about God from people who look at God this way?
  • Should I be using the messages of such people to help me individually worship God?

It ought to sober us to think of what God did in the Golden Calf Worship-of-Jehovah-Disaster.

Who is really your God/god?

Dating, Living Together, etc: Christian Singles and Purity

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, challenging human thinking, discernment, Holiness, Lordship, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 10 February , 2012

For the Christian single, there truly is no alternative to abstaining from sexual contact that belongs in a marriage. By and large, this means that most behavior beyond holding someone’s hand is forbidden. The reason: God does not only consider what we do with our bodies, but He also judges what we do with our minds. Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 5:27-30  27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; (more…)

Borrowing a Great Post…

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, Fighting fundamentalist foolishness, Holiness, Lordship by Sam Hendrickson on 16 June , 2011

This lyric was posted elsewhere–penned by William Cowper (known by many for the Hymn There is a Fountain Filled With Blood).

Dear Lord! accept a sinful heart,
Which of itself complains,
And mourns, with much and frequent smart,
The evil it contains.

There fiery seeds of anger lurk,
Which often hurt my frame;
And wait but for the tempter’s work,
To fan them to a flame.

Legality holds out a bribe
To purchase life from thee;
And discontent would fain prescribe
How thou shalt deal with me.

While unbelief withstands thy grace,
And puts the mercy by;
Presumption, with a brow of brass,
Says, “Give me, or I die.”

How eager are my thoughts to roam
In quest of what they love!
But, ah! when duty calls them home,
How heavily they move!

Oh, cleanse me in a Saviour’s blood,
Transform me by thy pow’r,
And make me thy belov’d abode,
And let me rove no more.

[En passant,  the original poster’s weblog ]

 

Christians and Gambling–First Initial Post–First Sin

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, challenging human thinking, discernment, Lordship, Postmodern, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 15 February , 2011

(This is a work in progress–unmarked changes will occur as the document matures). Rev A is in place (11:30am 15Feb2011)

Mankind’s plunge into sin began when we[1] entertained the Opponent’s[2] sly question: “Indeed, has God said…?” (Gen 3:1) He then told Eve a bald lie: “You surely will not die.” He first questioned her—casting doubt on whether God’s command should really be understood as God’s command. Second, he told her a bold lie—contradicting God’s authority, and setting Eve up to make herself the authority. Then, he dangled a temptation designed to stir up disquiet in her—thoughts that God was withholding something valuable from her. That God was preventing her from attaining self-fulfillment, and even proper self-actualization. In other words, Satan wanted Eve to believe that God did not want the both of them (“you” etc. is plural) to become all they could truly become—Godlike, having full knowledge and wisdom.

And although up to that point, God was everything to them and they had fully relied upon Him for truth (as they were designed to do)—although their lives were essentially limitless and boundless—they chose to cross His one limit, His only boundary. Think of it! Before them lay a planet (a planet!) of great beauty, discovery, adventure and blessing.[3] Planet-wide there were likely trillions of trees, trillions of bushes, quadrillions of different fruits to eat—essentially innumerable alternatives to sin![4] And, what if He had “limited” them to the Garden only for the time being? Does that leave them wandering around constantly staring at the Tree?

If we understand some of the biblical boundaries for the Garden of Eden, it was possibly as big as the states of California and Nevada combined. It is impossible to be too specific about the size, but its topography is described usingfour rivers—with the idea that the Garden could be described as “vast.”[5] By stating “of all the trees of the Garden you may eat, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat” (Gen 2:16 – 17) God pointed out that they had plenty to choose from, and more than enough places to explore and live.

And yet, because Eve judged the tree to be good for food (in complete rebellion against God) she ate. Even though God had given her all that she desired, because she felt a great desire for the fruit (the word “delight” is the same word used to describe sinful lust elsewhere in the OT) she took the fruit and ate. Even though God was supposed to be her Source of wisdom and truth, she looked at eating the fruit as being “desirable” to give her wisdom (apparently supposing God was somehow depriving her of this wisdom—in light of Satan’s tempting words). Again the word for “desirable” can have meanings which point to satisfying selfish desires—like sexual lusts, etc.

So, even though at one time, she had put up a personal rule of holiness for herself (“do not touch the tree”—God had never said “do not touch it”, only do not eat it), she trusted a talking serpent and gave herself over to her sinful, self-centered desires. And Adam ate it with her—possibly (likely?) witnessing the whole conversation (“she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” Gen 3:6). There is no further record of her (or Adam) arguing with Satan. Instead, in an eerie foreshadowing of our inborn sinfulness in Romans 1:32, she sinned, and dragged someone else into the sin with her.

The Bible’s description of the first sin hearkens with me when I look at gambling. The strong desires attached to it, the response of professing Christians when someone confronts them on the issue–these both seem present at the tree.

These are my initial thoughts–more to come.

 

 


[1] We bear the guilt and propensity to commit Adam’s sin (Romans 5)

[2] “Satan” means “adversary” or “opponent”

[3] The current area of land on the globe is approximately 57.5 million square miles. It is possible, given the description of the Flood waters, (bursting from the depths of the earth, and falling from the sky) that there was even more connected land in the pre-Flood world.

[4] By the way, lest we think otherwise, as Christians, we are in a similar situation.

[5] Doing some research to see if when Moses recorded such statements as in Genesis 2:8 – 14 if the geographic markers are meant to record the geography and topography of the Garden before the Flood, or is Moses saying the Garden was located in the areas where the four rivers mentioned currently flowed (at the time when Moses recorded Genesis)?

 

Worst-Case (?) Thoughts on Withdrawing From Regular Christian Worship

Admittedly this post is philippic in nature. As such, it is anecdotal–personally, or in my observations of others.

Professing Christians, upon forsaking regular, periodic worship of God, naturally begin to focus that time & devotion toward idols of our own making. What before was a sporadic guilty sinful pleasure (often followed by heartfelt confession to God) now is routine and relished–callously so. This is part of the point of Hebrews 10:25 and the paragraph surrounding it.

Yeah it used to be a sin for me, but not no more...Is it a sin for you? Oh, too bad for you!"

Yes, we had sinned before abandoning gathered worship, but now it seems we race in breathtaking descent into increasing sin. Like Romans 1:32 which was written to describe the depth of unbeliever’s sin, we begin to flail about, lamely excusing our self-worship–even tempting other believers to join in our sin.

Made to feel guilty by others (but not repentant), when we do seek “to go to church” we choose modern, contemporary places, where our ears will be itched(2Tim4:3), and the worldliness of the seeker-sensitive approach will not dent our calloused spiritual eyes, or heal the seared flesh of our consciences. And we call it “Christian liberty.”

Sunday’s comin’… Jus’ sayin’ is all…

So Young “Christian”…You’re OK With Sex Outside of Marriage? Really? Ummm…Is God?

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, America's spiritual crisis, discernment, Lordship, Phil Johnson by Sam Hendrickson on 31 January , 2011

Over the years I have been dismayed how young people calling themselves “Christian” look at sexual relations. I personally know or have known several young 20-somethings who would be offended if I questioned their salvation or their willingness to be led by the Spirit, based on their continuance in stubbornly refusing to give up sex before or outside of marriage.  Note: you’re not “struggling” with sin, if you’re not struggling against it!

Great article from Phil Johnson!