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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Male and Female

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Genesis 2:21-22
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Daily Scripture Reading - Genesis 2

Puritan Catechism
Question #48 - What is required in the third commandment?

Answer - The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God's names (Ps. 29:2), titles, attributes (Rev. 15:3-4), ordinances (Eccl. 5:1), Word (Ps. 138:2), and works (Job 36:24; Deut. 28:58-59).

Devotional Thoughts
We have asked the question "Why were we created?" and while the answer was brief and not nearly as in depth as it could have been we have seen that we were created for fellowship, stewardship, and worship. God created us to worship and glorify Him, to fellowship with Him, and to care for His creation and act on His behalf in the world. Today we will look at an even more specific question. Why were we created male and female?

Over the course of the next few devotionals I want to give a threefold answer. God created us in His image as male and female so that we might have: Lifetime Partnership, Lineage through Parenting, and the opportunity of Living a Parable. As male and female we prove God's wisdom, creativity, and goodness - and we have a true opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today then we will start with the first part of this answer. Why were we created male and female? For lifetime partnership through marriage.

Lifetime Partnership

Marriage as Jesus defined it is a union between one man and one woman lasting a lifetime (Matt 19:3-8). It can be dissolved naturally only by the death of one of the partners. No other relationship or living arrangement can be identified Biblically as marriage. This means that no matter what the government, the school , or our communities tell us we know and believe and hold to be true the fact that GOD established the first marriage and that HE defines marriage as the covenantal union of one man and one woman for life.

As a union we must understand that marriage is not a give and take relationship. This is contrary to popular belief. Marriage books tell us to give and take, that it takes two to tangle, or tango. But marriage is never presented in the Bible as a relationship used to take something from another. Lust takes. Greed takes. Pride and selfishness take. Love gives. Marriage then is a covenantal relationship wherein we have the privilege of giving ourselves completely to and for another person.

As we will move further into this study we will see that in order to fulfill our God given roles within marriage we must understand that what God wants us to do is not contingent upon what our spouse does or does not do. As a spouse, we are to sacrificially give ourselves to and for our mate. This is true love. This is commitment. This is obedience to the Word of God.

In this relationship we have been given to one another as a companion and helper. The wife finds in her husband a true companion to walk with her through all of life, providing for her, protecting her, and leading her as the spiritual head of the home. The husband finds in his wife a helper, one who can assist him in reaching his potential for the Lord. His ministry is to lead and care for his family. Her ministry is her husband, family, and home.

Let us not get ahead of ourselves though. As we look at the Creation account given in Genesis we find that all that God created was very good. The first indication that all was not very good is found when God sees that man is alone. In Genesis 2:18 God declares, "It is not good that man should be alone." So God made a "helper" comparable to him.

Eve was not less a person, nor was she beneath Adam. She was comparable to him, a partner in the God given tasks of subduing the earth and ruling over creation with God. The point was that man could not do it alone. It was not good for man to be alone. And the solution, that which would make it all very good, was for God to create a woman - to give Adam a helper. One to stand along side him and help him in his service to God.

As God brought Eve to Adam and there they were joined in the first marriage, everyone believes that the marriage was perfect. Indeed, there was no sin, no curse, and no in-laws! :)

Seriously though, as Jesus defined and defended marriage in Matthew 19 he pointed right back to the creation and this account. From Old Testament Scripture He made the case that because God created us male and female, a man should leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is often confused and clouded over as we try to understand what God accomplishes in our marriages. What does it mean that God sees marriage as a man joining himself to a woman and the two becoming one flesh? What does "one flesh" mean?

The usual answer is that joining and becoming one flesh refers to sexual intimacy, but we see that this is not the case from Scripture. There is more to marriage than sex. And one can have sex without being married - hence all of the prohibitions in Scripture against fornication and immorality.

What we see is that God joins a husband and wife. He makes of them one flesh. The man joins himself to his wife through the act of marriage and through the physical union which consummates the relationship, but it is God who joins them as one flesh. We even have in most marriage ceremonies at the end a statement that what God has joined together no man can put asunder. This is Scriptural. God joins us and man cannot take us apart!

When God makes of us one flesh this is used to signify that He has made us complete and that our relationship is, humanly speaking, unbreakable. God intends marriage to be permanent - for life, and the only reasons we find that this is not the case in Scripture we find sin at the root and as athe cause for the destruction of a marriage covenant. This is not a contract where one party can violate the agreement and go his or her way. God joins us. He makes us one - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are "glued" together - where once there were two now we are joined. We have become part of one another.

This simple Biblical truth destroys most of the things that cause conflict in marriage - for most conflicts arise out of one of the partners doing his or her own thing, living a separate life from their mate. This is the whole myth that we are individuals and need time to ourselves. What a load of selfish bunk! God created us male and female because we need each other and in marriage He completes us.

As a side note, Paul makes it clear that there are those who God has created to be single. They do not need a mate in order to fulfill His purposes for them. This is a great gift we are told. So not everyone will be married. However, since we are talking about marriage and not singles here we must see that for those who are married it is God who has created and established this institution and if we are to succeed we must follow His design and plan for us in this union.

So much that we are taught today simply does not align with the Scripture. Some of that is the fault of our culture and society, but most of the blame lies at the door of the church where we have embraced feminism and denied masculinity and we have destroyed God's plan and roles for us in marriage. The church must stand up and speak up because for too long we have sat down and shut up! The Bible is CLEAR and speaks plainly about marriage. Succeeding at marriage is not a secret nor is it truly that difficult! Ah ha, you say, the marriage books in the Christian book store tell us that marriage demands work and it is hard and few succeed. Ah, I reply - is that the same book store that promises your best life now? And that teaches you how to get the most for yourself from the Bible and the church and your spouse and your religion? Is that the same book store that is full of books that humanize God, deify man, and minimize sin? Is that the same book store where you can learn all about losing weight for Jesus sake so you can be slim and sexy and glamorous by worldly standards??? I am sure you get the point.

I am not talking about marriage books though I might recommend a few good ones through this study. But for now we must stick to the Word of God. In it we find all that we need for life and godliness, yes and even for marriage. And to start, today we find that God created us male and female so that we might enter this union and embark upon the adventure of a lifetime - a lifetime partnership for the glory of God.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

The Mutual Duties of Husbands and Wives Towards Each Other by Richard Baxter
To Marry or Not To Marry by John MacArthur

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why Were We Created?

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Daily Scripture Reading - Genesis 1

Puritan Catechism
Question #48 - What is required in the third commandment?

Answer - The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God's names (Ps. 29:2), titles, attributes (Rev. 15:3-4), ordinances (Eccl. 5:1), Word (Ps. 138:2), and works (Job 36:24; Deut. 28:58-59).

Devotional Thoughts
God has a very specific design and purpose for the family. From the beginning He created us male and female. He has set distinct and complimentary roles for us to fulfill even as opposite as we men and women are from one another. Over the course of the next few weeks we will take the time to work through Ephesians 5:22-33 in a new series from our study Learning to Walk. These devotionals will be titled Walking Together in Married Life and we will be examining many key passages of Scripture that give us instructions for fulfilling God's designed roles within family life, whether we are children, youth, single adults, married couples, parents, or grandparents. God has a role for each of us to walk in if we are to be successful in family life.

In order to understand the roles God has designed for us within the family we need to take the time today to answer a foundational question:

Why were we created?

Why did God create us in the first place. Before we look at His creating us male and female, why did He create human beings at all? We know that He knew we would fall into sin through Adam. He knew it would cost Him the life of His Son to redeem us and reconcile us to Himself. So why did He create us knowing all this? For the purposes of this study we will narrow the answer down to three reasons that God created mankind. God created us for fellowship, stewardship, and worship.

Fellowship – Gen 1:26

Let us start by admitting that God knew all along that He was going to create us. When He did, in the beginning, start to create all that is out of nothing, He worked through a daily progression. In six literal twenty-four hour days God worked from the decree "Let there be light" all the way to, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." Then He rested on the seventh day.

After creating the heavens and the earth, light, day and night, the sea and dry land, plants, sun, moon, and stars, sea creatures, birds, insects, and land animals He then topped His creation off with the creation of Man. God, the Three in One, declared, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

He created us in His image. This means that He created us as spiritual beings that are relational, rational, and eternal. We have some of His characteristics, though we fall far short of His glory and holiness. We can reason, think, communicate, and relate. Our most basic relationships start in the family, but more on that later in the week.

For now we see that God created us for fellowship. He wanted to fellowship with us. To commune, to walk and talk with us, to lead and guide us. It is not that He needed us. God is complete and sufficient in and of Himself and does not need anything. But, for His own purposes and pleasure, according to His own will, He wanted someone to fellowship with and commune with and relate to. Although sin broke the relationship between God and men, we have a Mediator who has come to reconcile us, the God-Man Christ Jesus!

Not only are we relational and rational - that is thinking beings - but we are spiritual and eternal. While we live in these earthly bodies, one day they will be changed. The mortal and finite flesh will be put off and we will put on immortality and perfection! We relate to God and to others on a spiritual level. I heard it said one time that just as an astronaut needs a space suit to live and function in space, so to we need an earth suit to live and function on earth! Our bodies, this earth suit, has been given to us so that we might live and glorify God. But this flesh is not eternal. It will die, it will be put away, it will be redeemed and glorified, and then we will live forever.

The truth that we must never forget is that all men are eternal beings - we will all live forever, somewhere!

Stewardship – Gen 1:27

We were also created for stewardship. God created us specifically to give us dominion over the earth He had created. So what is a steward? A steward is a representative. A steward does not own what he watches over and uses for his master. The master owns all in the stewards life, and the steward is responsible to the master for how he uses all he has been given in order to benefit the master and his house.

On so many levels we are stewards in God's house. He owns it all. He is sovereign. And we are His slaves - bought and owned through the blood of Christ. All that we have belongs to Him and all that do it for His glory and the benefit of His house.

In this regard, when it comes to being stewards over creation, we are co-workers with God tending creation. Listen to Psalm 8:4-9:

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen— even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!

There we see what it is to have dominion over the earth. It is not the idea of wrecking and using creation without thought or with reckless abandon. We who believe in Christ above all people should be aware of the fact that we are His stewards over this earth. A steward uses the resources available but does so with wisdom and care, knowing that this is a sacred trust and that we will give an account to God for the kind of stewards that we are.

We also learn from the Scriptures that the best stewards are meek - and the meek shall inherit the earth! We who humble ourselves and trust Christ to save us will one day rule and reign with Him as His co-heirs of the Kingdom of God, including all of creation.

Worship/Glory – Ex 20:1-3; Matt 22:24-40

Thirdly today we see that we have been created to worship God. We are able to commune with Him, pray, sing praises, meditate on His Word, and witness to His gospel. He has made us not just to be subjects, friends, or servants. He has made us to worship Him. Man will never be as fulfilled as when he is praising and worshipping God.

The first four of the Ten Commandments tell us how to relate to God and they all give us directions for how to worship God. We worship Him alone. We worship Him as He commands and without icons. And we worship Him reverently, not taking His name in vain. And we worship Him as He has set out by example, keeping His day holy.

Further Jesus taught us that all of the Law and the prophets hang on two great commandments - love God with all that we are and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Loving God with all that we are - heart, soul, mind, and strength, is to live in a constant state of worship, rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in and for everything as we walk by faith.

God does not only want fellowship. He not only wants us to be good stewards. But He also wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. These are all tied together - for as we fellowship we learn to be stewards and as we serve Him we learn how to worship and glorify Him in every situation.

And again, we see that Jesus makes this possible - He redeemed us, reconciled us to God, makes it possible for us to commune with Him, forgives our sins, and entrusts is with the living and preaching of His gospel. Truly, without Christ we cannot fellowship, serve, or worship God.

We have learned then that God created us of His won will and for His own reasons. This life is not about us - it is about Him and what He wants, His will. have you thanked Him today for creating you so that you are able to fellowship with Him, serve Him, and worship Him? If not, please do so now.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and God saw all that He had created and it was good.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

God Created Us for His Glory by John Piper
The Creation of Man by John MacArthur

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Continuing on in our series Making Disciples from 2 Timothy, we have seen that we are to Go make disciples. In obeying this great commission we learned last week that part of discipling and being discipled is to Remind each other to remember the foundation and fruits of our faith and to be courageous in the use of the spiritual gifts of grace that God has given us so that we might edify the Body. This week we will learn that if we are to make disciples and be discipled then we must Share. Specifically, Paul tells Timothy to share in the sufferings that accompany the gospel and faith in Christ.

In order to share in the sufferings, we must not be ashamed of Christ, the gospel, or of other Christians who suffer for telling the truth. We also see that suffering is a privilege and gives us reasons to rejoice. Suffering, after all, is under God's sovereign control.

The question is asked though, "Why do we suffer?" And Paul answers that question by explaining salvation. Because we have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, called with a holy calling, chosen by God according to His own good pleasure, and appointed as preachers of the gospel the world will hate us and despise us. For as we live and speak forth the gospel we point them to Christ. Do not be fooled; the world hates Christ!

The gospel message is a message of how a Savior saves His people, abolishes death, and gives them eternal life. As John MacArthur has written in his commentary on 2 Timothy:

God sovereignly designed salvation, and He sovereignly initiates, sustains, and completes salvation. He has forgiven us, justified us, and delivered us from sin and Satan, from death and hell. In every sense and in every tense – past, present, and future – God is our Savior.

As we suffer then we learn the true power of assurance. With Paul we can say that we know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is able to guard and keep those things that we have committed to Him.

Here is the outline for this message, the audio will be available later today to download or listen to for free (click the message title below for the audio link):

2 Timothy 1:8-12
Making Disciples

III. Share – 2 Timothy 1:8-12
A. Do Not Be Ashamed (vs. 8a) – power, love, and a sound mind
1. Of the Gospel – do not be afraid to speak the truth
2. Of Paul (His prisoner) – do not be afraid to be associated with others who speak the truth
a. Eph 3:1
b. Phil. 1:12-14
B. Share with Me in Suffering (vs. 8b)
1. Suffering is a Privilege – 2 Cor 6:4-7
2. Suffering is a Reason to Rejoice – Acts 5:41; 2 Cor 12:7-10
3. Suffering is under God’s Sovereign Control – 1 Peter 1:3-9
C. Why Do We Suffer? (vs. 9-11)
1. Saved
a. Not According to Works – Eph 2:8-9; Rom 11:5-6
b. According to His Own Purpose – Eph 1:4; Rom 9:10-12; 1 Thess 1:4; 1 Peter 1:1-2
c. By Grace through Christ
1) Revealed as Our Savior – Matt 1:21; Luke 2:10-12; Phil. 3:20
2) Who Abolished Death – to render inoperative – 1 Cor 15:54-57
3) Who Brought Eternal Life – John 3:16; 10:10
2. Called – with a holy calling – Rom 1:5-7; 8:28-30; 1 Cor 1:9; Eph 4:1, 4
3. Appointed
a. Preacher – Rom 10:14-17
b. Apostle – Gal 1:1
c. Teacher – Matt 28:18-20
D. Assurance (vs. 12)
1. I Have No Shame – Rom 1:16
2. I Know Whom I Have Believed – John 10:14; 17:3
3. I Am Persuaded that He is Able – John 10:28-29
4. I Have Committed Myself to Him – 1 Peter 1:5

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oh, Give Thanks

Psalm 107

1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.

5 Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.

6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.

7 And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

9 For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,

12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.

15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

17 Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.

19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,

24 They see the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.

25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

26 They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.

29 He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.

30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;

34 A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

35 He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.

36 There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

38 He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,

40 He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.

42 The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


As we continue on in our series Making Disciples we will now move into our study verse by verse through 2 Timothy. This was Pau's last letter to his beloved son in the faith and we find that as Paul faced certain death for following Christ he was motivated to pass on to Timothy truths that would inspire, motivate, and encourage him. In short, Paul was writing in order to further disciple Timothy, to show him how to live the Christian life and how to succeed as a minister of Jesus Christ.

Paul starts the letter with his usual greetings and then quickly moves into reminding Timothy of a few foundational things he needed to call to mind often in order to be encouraged and strengthened in his service to Christ and the church. As we examine 2 Timothy 1:1-7 this morning we will see how Paul disciples Timothy building on their relationship, remembrances, and giving him reminders.

Our first step then in making disciples is to remind them of basic and foundational truths. The message, as outlined below, is titled Remind and will be available to download or listen to for free later today.

2 Timothy 1:1-7

A. Relationship (vs. 1-2)
1. Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus
2. My Beloved Son (1 Tim 1:2; 1 Cor 4:17; Acts 16:1-5)
3. Greeting – true concern for spiritual health and well being

B. Remembrance (vs. 3-5)
1. Remembrance brings Gratitude – vs. 3a
2. Remembrance motivates Prayer – vs. 3b
3. Remembrance brings Joy – vs. 4
4. Genuine Faith – The Foundation of Remembrance – vs. 5 (1 Tim 1:5)

C. Reminders (vs. 6-7)
1. Therefore – because of your genuine faith
2. Stir Up the Gift
a. “Keep the fire alive”
b. Continually
c. Negative Expression – do not quench the Spirit
d. Gift = charis, gift of grace (Rom 12:6-8; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
e. Specifically for the ministry of preaching here (laying on of hands)
3. Be Courageous
a. Past, completed action
b. Timid, cowardly shame and fear
c. Power – divine enablement to serve God/others (Eph 1:18-20; Zech 4:6; Eph 3:20)
d. Love – John 15:13; Eph 3:19; Rom 8:38-39
e. Sound Mind – self discipline (Rom 12:3)
f. Eph 3:14-21

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Phillip's Phunnies - Heel

A merry heart does good, like medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Gone to the Dogs:

Baptist Dogs

Presbyterian Dogs

Charismatic Dog

A Baptist family decided to buy a home and make everything in the house Baptist. They were going to make it look and feel Baptist through and through. So when they were finished they went to a petshop to look for a Baptist dog.

They asked the owner, "Do you have a Baptist dog?"

Surprised, the petshop owner thought about it for a while and then nodded, saying, "Yes... yes, I think we have a dog that will fit that description."

So the owner brought out the dog to the family, and the father said, "Let's see if this is a real Baptist dog." So the father said to the dog, "Go get a Bible."

And the dog ran over to a table, grabbed a Bible in its mouth, ran back to the man and plopped the book at his feet.

Impressed, the father continued, "Let's see if this dog knows its books of the Bible... Turn to Psalm 23".

The dog then opened the Bible with its snout and pawed through the pages to Psalm 23.

Very pleased, the father bought the dog and brought it home. The next day, the family had visitors. They showed their friends the Baptist dog and the things it could do.

Finally, the friends asked, "Well, can it do any other tricks that normal dogs do?"

The Baptist father wondered and said, "Hmm, I don't know. I've never tried." He then ordered the dog, "Heel."

Suddenly the dog leaped onto the father's lap and placed its paw on the man's head and started to howl.

"Wait a minute!" exclaimed the man, "This dog isn't Baptist! It's Pentecostal!"


An Early View of CH Spurgeon

From Jonathan Hunt -

A facinating newspaper article written about Charles Spurgeon when he was but 22 years old: London Illustrated Times - Oct 11, 1856.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jonathan Hunt Joins TIME in the Word

I am happy to announce today that Jonathan Hunt has accepted an invitation from Providence Reformed Baptist Church and myself to join with TIME in the Word Ministries as a contributor.

TIME in the Word Ministries is part of the teaching ministry of PRBC offering articles, Bible study materials, sermons online in MP3 format, and daily devotionals for private and family worship. I am looking forward to the contribution that Jonathan will make. In the near future we will be adding his sermons to our Sermon Audio page and we encourage all our readers and listeners to take the time to hear and do what he teaches and preaches as he has proved himself to be a man with a true pastor's heart, an evangelist's zeal, and a teacher who can rightly handle the Word of God.

Jonathan is not just a fellow minister, he has become a dear friend of mine and I am glad that we can minister together in the service of our Lord Jesus. Neither of us feel up to the task at hand, but we rejoice in the opportunity that we have to preach the Word in season and out. And speaking personally, I am thankful to have the opportunity to introduce you all to Jonathan's ministry. His devotion to Christ, his love for the church, and his dedication to doing things "by the Book" truly make him a valuable addition to our ministry.

Keeping Psalm 115:1 and Galatians 6:14 in mind, let me add that I do not boast in Jonathan's ability or skill. I boast in the cross of Christ and the work I see HIM doing through Jonathan. It is my desire that Jonathan and I both point people to Christ, not to ourselves. May they see Christ working in and through us for His glory alone!

In introducing Jonathan to you, I encourage you to visit his blog often at GlosBaptist. In addition here is a short bio he has provided so that you can get to know him better:

I was born in 1977, and grew up in London with three younger sisters, where my parents were members of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeons). In 1992 I was born again and baptised. In 1996 I joined the church and over time became involved in various ministries, particularly among children. In 2001 I was unexpectedly called upon to preach in the open air whilst on holiday (I had gone to hand out leaflets) and was profoundly influenced by the experience.

In 2002 I began to witness to a lady I had met on internet discussion boards. She was converted through reading the scriptures and hearing the preaching of my Pastor, Dr Peter Masters, on cassettes that I sent. We met so that she could attend a local church in Cheltenham, and we fell in love. We were married in October 2002, and we have lived here since. I have one step-son, John, who is nine years old.

We have been involved together in restarting children's evangelistic outreach at a Baptist Church in Cheltenham, during which time I had started to preach in church meetings. Since 2002 I have studied part-time at the London Reformed Baptist Seminary.

At the time of writing, we are just joining Cheltenham Evangelical Free Church, where we hope to be able to restart evangelism for both children and adults, and where I will take a share of the preaching responsibility week by week as the Lord leads.

Keep Jonathan, his wife Clare and son John in your prayers. And be sure to let us know how he is a blessing to you and to the Body of Christ!

Yours and His,
Phillip M. Way
Providence Reformed Baptist Church

Sunday, November 12, 2006


In studying and praying and observing the church especially here in the West, I have become convinced of two things. First, we do not know what fellowship is, and secondly, we do not know how to make disciples. These are very basic things in the Christian life, things that are essential for the growth and health of the church. However, they are neglected, rejected, scorned, and ignored.

For all our focus on doctrine and on getting what we believe right, we have forgotten that doctrine works its way out in how we live. If we claim to believe sound doctrine but do not live godly, self-denying, holy lives then one of two things is true - either we have believed false doctrine, or we do not believe what we claim to believe! The absence of fellowship and disciple making is only a symptom of problems that lead to churches that are weak, simple minded, and full of sin. In fact, we have churches that are thoroughly post modern and worldy when we should have instead churches that have their minds set on things above and are holy.

I have written (and am still in the process of writing) articles on these topics and have even referenced these things in sermons I have preached. It is interesting to me that the single greatest decline in attendance and membership at our church happened at the end of last year as I preached a series of 24 messages on worship and fellowship. The deeper we peered into the Word of God the more and more we became uncomfortable with our lack of obedience. Our failure in the area of fellowship lead us through a follow up series at the first of the year taken from Haggai in a series titled The Curse of Me-Centered Religion. We then saw people in the church do one of two things - they repented and got right with God and started to fellowship Biblically or they left.

Fellowship is a duty to God and each other. We have settled for the idea that fellowship is any social activity we participate in with other Christians. This is so far from the truth that it is not even funny. The Bible is specific and clear as God gives us a list of things that we are required to do under the heading of fellowship. More on that later.

This week I am introducing a new series of approximately 10 messages taken from the Book of 2 Timothy titled Making Disciples. In these messages I want to take the time to examine what the Bible has to say about the making of disciples. This, just like fellowship, is a command. It is essential for the church and necessary for believers. The hard truth though is that most in our churches do not know how to make disciples. We have believed that witnessing or handing out tracts so that people will be saved is what it means to make disciples. But preaching the gospel is only the first step in making a disciple.

I could take the time to study every passage that deals with the topic, but instead believe that it will be a better use of our time to continue to preach expositionally. As a result, in studying the Book of 2 Timothy, we will find that making disciples is a life long, intensive activity. In this, the last epistle that Paul wrote, sent to his son in the faith Timothy, we find Paul discipling Timothy. Paul knows he is about to die, and the last things on his mind revolve around continuing to disciple Timothy so that he might continue to grow in grace and mature in his faith.

To introduce this series I will start in Matthew 28:18-20 in a message titled simply "Go". This message will help lay a foundation for us to understand what we have been commanded to do and then the remaining messages from 2 Timothy will show us how to do it. What is it that we have been commanded to do and need to know how to do? The Making of Disciples.

Our brief outline in this first message will be:

Sermon Series: Making Disciples

I. Go - Matthew 28:18-20
A. The Creator (vs. 18)
B. The Commission (vs. 19)
C. The Curriculum (vs. 20a)
D. The Comforter (vs. 20b)

The message will be available to listen to our download for free later today at the link provided: Go - Matthew 28:18-20

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

If Your Foot Offends You....

Dear Readers:
I do apologize for my absence this week and the lack of daily devotionals. They will resume next week. Do be praying for me - the silence on the blog is due in part to an injury at my other job early in the week wherein a large cart filled with metal pipe weighing several hundred pounds rolled over my left foot! Due to swelling, the doctor has been unable to determine if it is broken. I will know more when I return for more x-rays on Friday.

In the mean time I do hope to have a few things to post for your enjoyment and edification. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

To Whom Then Will You Liken God?

If we are to imitate God then we must know who He is. The trouble starts when we create an image of God in our minds that does not faithfully reflect who He is. Often this happens with an overemphasis of one of His characteristics, but even more often it is the fact that we make God in our image. We have "Humanized God, Deified Man, and Minimized Sin."

In humanizing God, we who have been created in His image turn things around and instead attempt to make God in our image. We do not fear God, we do not reverence His name or His Word, and we truly mock His holiness. If we can for even a moment think about God and not be moved to worship then we have a wrong view of God!

How can we imitate God when so much of our time is spent trying to build up self and fulfill our own desires? How can we imitate God if we fail to be holy? How can we imitate God if we refuse to deny self?

Let us look then at who God tells us He is in Isaiah 40 as Isaiah prophecies about the Babylonian Captivity of Judah and the time to come once judgment is finished. This is a brief outline so I encourage you to listen to the message once it is available online later today.

To Whom Then Will You Liken God?
Isaiah 40:1-31

Isaiah presents us with a picture of God as our Comfort, our Shepherd, and our Creator.

A. God our Comfort - vs. 1-8
1. Judgment is Finished and Judah's Sins Have Been Paid
2. But What Comfort is Judgment? (the promise of the Messiah)
3. The Voice in the Wilderness – Mt 3:3; Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4; John 1:23
4. God’s Word Stands Forever
B. God our Shepherd – vs. 9-11
1. A Strong Hand
2. Ruling and Rewarding
3. Feeding His Flock
C. God our Creator – vs. 12-31
1. Who has Directed Him? (12-14)
2. The Nations are a Drop in a Bucket (15-17)
3. Making God in Our Image (18-20)
4. Behold Your God (21-31)

Bonus - Be sure and read this blog post:
God's Mercy and the Insight of King David - Part 1 - by Dustin Butts.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Phillip's Phunnies - Special Edition: Dr. Mac's Rap

A merry heart does good, like medicine... - Proverbs 17:22


Here is a Special Edition of Phillip's Phunnies published to share with you one of the funniest things I have heard on the internet. It is a musical performance by John MacArthur wherein he raps a "heavenly rap."

Listen here and enjoy:
Jumping! Dr. Miggity Mac and His Heavenly Rap

(HT: Challies.com)

Phillip's Phunnies - Bulletin Bloopers

A merry heart does good, like medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Bloopers: I don't think they meant what they said or said what they meant.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in memory of his wife.

The church dinner was like Heaven. Many we expected to see were absent.

Members of the senior class are not to pass out until the pastor finishes preaching.

Tonight Pastor Hodges will begin a 6-part series on the Book of Genesis. Were Adam and Eve really naked in the Garden? Come see for yourself.

Last Monday night, the prayer group met at the home of Madge Tessler, who is no longer able to attend Church. What a blessing!

The service theme is: ‘Why Doesn’t God Do Something?’ with Pastor Meidinger.

The Senior Saints Choir has been disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

In honor of Mrs. Jones financial donation to the Choir & Music department… in lieu of her late husband, Mr. Bernard Jones, Mrs. Jones was allowed to pick 3 hims for the evening service.

The choir will be sinning at tonight’s service

Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Smith will assist with the mailing of the newsletter and stapling of the Annual Report to church members.

During the Pastor’s absence this weekend, the church secretary will give a massage to the congregation.

The message tonight by Pastor will be in Matthew 3 where Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by Jordan in the John.

The newly formed Men’s Choir will sing for the first time at tonight’s service and a real threat is anticipated.

Beginning with next Sunday’s service, the ushers will eat all the latecomers.

The May meeting of the church finance committee will be hell as usual.

Today’s Sermon: How Much Can A Man Drink, with hymns from a full choir.

Notice to all men attending the Father’s Day Banquet: A sports jacket may be worn to the dinner – but no trousers.

We are glad to report that Mrs. Stevens who was accidentally hit in the head by her husband is said to be greatly improved.

During the Senior Saints trip to New York last week to visit Wall Street, Mrs. Agnes Wilson was hit by a car as she crossed the street. She was hit in the business section and is now recovering in the hospital.

Sunday School Banquet: Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

Church Picnic: The church will host an evening of good food, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5 p.m. Prayer and medication to follow.

The associate minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.

BONUS: Comics

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Fear of God - Part 2

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:20-21
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Daily Scripture Reading - Proverbs 14

Puritan Catechism
Question #47 - Which is the third commandment?

Answer - The third commandment is, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

Devotional Thoughts
If we are to imitate God then we must have a proper view of Him. We must know who He is and what He is like. We must be familiar with His characteristics and what He has done. The Word of God is full of this kind of information, revealing to us who God is and all that He has done. In the last few days we have been working through Ephesians 5:18-21 where we are learning about walking in wisdom and being Spirit filled. If we do have a right view of God that is because of wisdom - remember, wisdom is having a right perspective. And honestly, unless we have a right view of God then nothing else we understand or strive to know can really be of any benefit to us.

If we are walking in wisdom then our proper view of God will be rooted in the fear of the Lord. Not just reverence and awe, but holy fear. Knowing God requires that we fear Him because if we do not fear Him then we have not met Him and do not know Him. Knowing God and doing His will should be our priority in this life, and since knowing Him and doing His will is indeed rooted in fearing Him, then what exactly is the fear of God? What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Today we will see that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of knowledge, to hate evil, and a fountain of life and prolongs days.

The Beginning of Wisdom - Psalm 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

The fear of God, we are told in the Scriptures, is the beginning of wisdom. This means that if we do not fear God then we cannot be wise, for all true wisdom has its beginning, its birth, in a proper view of God. How can our perspective on anything be right if we do not have a right view of God? In fact, to have a wrong view of God is to be an idolater and to serve and worship idols in fact or in fiction is to be foolish.

To see God as He is and to worship Him in the beauty of holiness is a natural spiritual response to knowing and believing the truth about God. He is awesome in power and might. He is sovereign, majestic, King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Almighty. He is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere present. He inhabits eternity and yet humbles Himself to look into the affairs of heaven and even beyond that condescended to the point that He became a Man and died for men as a criminal on a cross!

He can destroy the body and soul in hell. He created all that is by the power of His Word. He holds the whole of creation together. And without Him we can do nothing but with Him all things are possible. Seeing Him for who He is in the glory of perfection and absolute holiness is the beginning of having a right perspective, of wisdom. The truth is, if we are wrong about God then nothing else we think, say, or do really matters much, does it?

The Beginning of Knowledge – Prov. 1:7; 2:5

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Not only does the fear of the Lord lead us into a right perspective, but we see here that the fear of the Lord is also the beginning of knowledge. If we really want to know the truth then we must fear God. The Bible speaks of those who are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. The reason for their failure is that they do not have a right view of God. They are said to be above all else lovers of themselves (2 Tim 3:1-9). They live for self. They do all that that do for themselves, even doing these things in the name of God. But the truth is that they do not know God and they do not fear God, for when we fear God we see that true knowledge flows from that relationship of faith.

The highest knowledge is not a knowledge that puffs up or that is merely intellectual. It is the knowledge of Christ. When we fear the Lord we gain the knowledge of Christ. This is our aim, to know Him and make Him known (John 17:3). And yet, if we are focused on self we will only continue in our depravity, no matter how nicely we try to dress it up.

Hating Evil – Prov. 8:13

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.

Next we see that the Bible tells us that to fear God is to hate evil. If we love evil, if we chase after that which will harm us, if we live from wickedness to wickedness then we do not fear God. Fearing God is seeing that if we have a choice between our walk with Him and with sin, we chose Him. We do so not only because of the consequences of sin but we do so because we love Him and desire to obey Him. Do we hunger and thirst for being right with God to the point that we truly do loathe sin and hate evil?

Often we fail to fear the Lord and this is evidenced by our willingness to make jokes about sin or to take sin lightly. We think there is no consequence or that we do not harm others when we sin. But as Pastor Lance Johnson reminded us yesterday, when we sin it affects the Body of Christ. When we fall into sin and unholiness and we refuse to get back up and move forward we display an utter lack of the fear of God.

The fear of God leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or perversion. Interestingly, when we become proud and arrogant often we do think, say, and do perverse things. we take our eyes off of Christ and begin to live for self. How many scandals, how many failures, how many influential "Christian leaders" have to fall for us to see that doctrine affects living and as soon as we begin to believe the good things others say about us the more sure our defeat? Pride goes before destruction and we live in a day where wisdom is scarce, and the fear of God absent from our pulpits and our homes. Seriously - we do not need famous Christian speakers and influential preachers and ministers who rub elbows with the rich and famous. We need shepherds who forsake all that this world has to offer in order to simply lead and feed and protect God's flock. Shepherds who hate evil and stand against it in their lives, their families, and the church of Jesus Christ.

The Fountain of Life and Prolonged Days – Prov. 14:27; 10:27

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.

The fear of the LORD prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.

The fear of the Lord leads to life, to prolonged days, and ultimately to eternal life! Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding promote life. So many today even in the church spend so much time chasing youthfulness that we miss the truth that it is the fear of God that is a fountain of life.

The church is fully embracing the ungodly views of the world that we must look and feel young and healthy in order to be happy and content. Paul stated that in whatever state he was he was to be content. Contentment is not based on the flesh! And dressing the flesh up and covering it with paint does not stop death or the affects of aging. We have become so vain that we focus entirely upon the outward appearance actively trying to deceive others into thinking we are younger than we really are. We color our hair, have cosmetic mutilation, I mean surgery, we have implants for all sorts of body parts and even hair, and we are simply discontent and sinfully selfish as we try to look and feel our best all the while missing the point that true life and contentment and joy comes from the fear of God.

We are so vain and so quick to indulge self that the truth about the fear of God sounds strange to us. Of course we believe we are serving God, but if we do not fear Him and depend upon Him for life and every blessing He gives us then we find that we have wasted our lives here and now and missed laying up treasures in heaven forever. What profit is it to gain the whole world, the world's approval, and the world's admiration if in the process we lose ourselves and our souls?

Too often we think so highly of ourselves that instead of fearing God we fear discomfort or hardship. Every threat and every moment of suffering gives us an opportunity to prove that we fear God more than we fear men and that we love God more than we love ourselves.

Do you fear the Lord? If not, you are foolish, ignorant, undiscerning, and you have no hope of life here or in the life to come.

Do you fear the Lord? If so, you have by His grace found the beginning of wisdom, the source of true knowledge, the motivation for hating evil, and the secret to a long life of contentment.

Do you fear the Lord?

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Five Fears by Charles Spurgeon
A Holy Fear of God by John Cotton

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Fear of God - Part 1

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:20-21
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Daily Scripture Reading - Psalm 36

Puritan Catechism
Question #47 - Which is the third commandment?

Answer - The third commandment is, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

Devotional Thoughts
As we do seek to understand the will of God through reading and obeying the Word of God we learn that we are to be filled with the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, and are under His control, following His lead, we will worship Him as He desires to be worshipped. But this is only the beginning. We also see that a Spirit filled life is a life of thanksgiving and submission. We have studied both of these characteristics of the Spirit filled life in some detail over the last few weeks and so today I want to focus our time on the very last phrase in our text.

If we are learning to Be Imitators of God by walking in love (Eph 5:1-7), walking in light (Eph 5:8-14), and walking in wisdom (Eph 5:15-21) then we are learning how to be led by the Spirit. We are learning to be filled with the Spirit. This then works its way out in the way we think, talk, and live. If we are Spirit filled then we are completely submissive to the Spirit of God. In humility we walk in obedience to the Word.

This means that we are learning more and more to understand the will of God. As we are filled with the Spirit we will worship, give thanks, and submit to God ordained authority in all areas of life. A believer, especially walking in the Spirit, will be gentle, thankful, and humble. A brash, harsh, critical, and proud person who claims to be a Christian really must take the time to think about the fruit that their life is producing because Jesus Himself told us that we would know a tree by its fruit!

So if we are Spirit filled, what is another evidence for us to examine? It is this last phrase - we worship, give thanks, and submit in the fear of God. This is a very much misunderstood phrase. Too often it is brushed aside as pastors and teachers and theologians tell us that we are not to fear God as if we are to be afraid of Him. No. God is loving and gentle and speaks in a still small voice. We must be reverent they tell us and we must have a holy awe when we think about God, but surely the Bible does not intend to instruct us to be afraid of God.

Wait just a minute. That explanation makes no sense whatsoever. There is ample evidence in the Scriptures to show us how we should think of God and respond to Him. The record must be set straight. Does the Bible teach us that God is to be feared?

For starters, what is the first thing that anyone says in the Bible any time an angel or even the Lord Himself appears to or speaks to a person? The glory of God is such that even if it is a created being, such as an angel, we learn that anyone and anything created by God and living before Him in perfection demands awe and fear. What do the angels say? What does Christ say? Over and over we read, "Do not be afraid." This is an angel's introduction! All throughout Scripture whenever an angel appears to men the first words out of his mouth are "Fear not."

If the Bible did not mean FEAR when it talks about the fear of God then why are all these angels and others telling us all the time that we do not need to be afraid? Why do Roman guards standing at Jesus' tomb fall over and faint, becoming as if they had died when angels appear? Why would John while being given the Revelation of Jesus Christ fall down and even worship an angel until told to stand and stop it? Why, after Moses had seen the glory of God pass by, did he have to wear a veil over his face? He had seen the glory of God and his face shone - it glowed reflecting God's glory and it scared people so badly that he put a veil over his face.

So should we fear God? The answer is yes. He is a God to be feared. Fear here is not terror, but it is fear. It is knowing who and what He is and who and what we are and when we compare the two we should be afraid. He is perfect in holiness, we are sinful. He is glorious, we are fallen. He is God - we are but men. When we truly understand who God is we are fools or worse if we do not fear Him.

Fearing God motivates us to worship Him in His greatness. It also motivates us to refrain from sin. Before God we are like grasshoppers. As the Psalmist asks, "What is man that you are mindful of him?" This kind of fear leads to worship, and praise, and obedience. Fearing God means that we understand the great differences between us and Him. Only a fool thinks he can mock God.

What have you been told about the fear of God? Have teachers made it sound as though the fear of God is not really fear, but that we can approach God boldly no matter what we have done or how we have lived? Now think about what the Bible tells us about God. Think about who God is. Do you fear Him?

Tomorrow we will study a few specific texts that tell us what the fear of God looks like as we live our lives. Until then, may we see God for who He is and fear Him as we should.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Fearing God by AW Pink
A Treatise on the Fear of God by John Bunyan

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

BONUS: Don't miss the latest blog post by Pastor Lance Johnson titled We Have Fallen and Can't Get Up - it is a MUST READ!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spirit Filled Worship

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:19
...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord...

Daily Scripture Reading - Psalm 147

Puritan Catechism
Question #47 - Which is the third commandment?

Answer - The third commandment is, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

Devotional Thoughts
We know that we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. This is not something that is optional for the believer, for without the empowering of the Spirit we really are quite helpless when it comes to living the Christian life. God's will, as it is explained to us in Ephesians 5 is that we are not to be drunk with wine but are instead to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must yield ourselves in submission to Him and be controlled and lead by Him as we walk in obedience to the Word of God.

The question that arises though is a question about what a Spirit filled life looks like. If you believe what you see on television or what you hear from false teachers in the Word-Faith movement then you would think that the Spirit filled life is a life of ecstatic worship and comfortable ease where one is naturally healthy, wealthy, and wise. But what does the Bible tell us about the Spirit filled life?

The very first thing it tells us about Spirit filled living is that when we are filled with the Spirit we will worship God. We must note however, that this does not say that we will worship God as we want - it says that we will worship Him with a right focus in obedience to the Word.

When we are filled with the Spirit we will sing praises to God. The songs we sing are noted to be "Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." These three types of songs are found in the Scriptures and many other great hymns full of sound doctrine have been written by the church to give expression to our hearts as we praise God. Psalms are just what we find in the Book of Psalms. Poetry given to us as God's Word to be sung back to Him. Hymns are songs of praise about God and Christ and our salvation. And spiritual songs, or sacred songs are akin to Scripture songs and songs sung about our testimony - about the things that God has done for us.

We sing to God, but we also sing to each other. The term used is that we speak to each other, using these songs of worship to God to also instruct one another in the truths of the Word of God. We teach each other about God and about sound doctrine through the songs that we sing. There are two reasons given here then why the content and the style of our worship matters. First, we are singing to God! We must approach Him with a right attitude, with humility and reverence. And we are singing to each other, and since what we sing is used to teach, we must be sure to teach truth!

But what does Spirit filled worship look like? To get that answer we must see what the Word tells us about the worship of God. Jesus is clear in John 4:24 that worship that is acceptable to God is worship in spirit and truth. So what is worship in spirit and truth?

First it is worship that glorifies God (1 Cor. 10:31). In fact, everything we do is to glorify God, so worship is an extension of the way we live. We do not go to church to worship and then go home, not worshipping again until we return to the church. No. We are the church. And we worship as individuals through our devotions, as families through our times of daily family worship, and as congregations, as we are the church and we gather weekly to worship God.

If we were to study the elements of worship in detail we see that Biblical worship includes Preaching (Apostles Doctrine, includes teaching/reading the Word), Fellowship, Prayer (and fasting on occasions), the Ordinances (Lord’s Supper and Baptism), Praise (singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs), and Thanksgiving (including Giving of Tithes and Offerings). And as important as the elements of worship are as they are explained to us in the Scripture, even more important is the attitude of the worshipper. God tells His people in Amos 5:21ff that the people may have the right form in worship, but their hearts invalidate their offerings, because while with their lips they praise God with their hearts they hate Him!

Worship in spirit and truth is not focused on us or what we can get out of the experience. It is about what we have been told to give! It is about giving God glory, honor, and praise.

Further, if we break it down, we can see how much more is expected of us when we are told to worship in spirit and truth. Let us take a brief look at a few verses to help us.

Worship in Spirit

1. Philippians 3:3, 7-11
Worship in spirit is offered with no confidence in the flesh. The true believer views his flesh as sinful without any merit or capacity to please God without the intervention of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Revelation 4:10-11
Worship in spirit is focused wholly upon God with no thought of self.

3. Psalm 95:6-7
Worship in spirit must be reverent, not loud and obnoxious, with disharmony or showmanship!

4. Psalm 96:9; 5:7
Worship in spirit must be characterized by fear and trembling! We are worshipping a thrice holy God and cannot ever enter His presence with little thought or frivolity.

5. Psalm 29:1-2; Psalm 99
Worship in spirit must be holy. To be holy is to be set aside or separated from the world. We should not worship God like the world worships its false gods. Worship should be distinct from the world and not mixed with worldly values and practices.

6. 2 Chronicles 20:18-20
Worship in spirit must overflow with humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less! Again - the focus is GOD.

7. Psalm 51:15-17
Worship in spirit is worship with brokenness. We must come expressing a total dependence upon God for everything we need.

Worship in Truth

Jesus also said we must worship in truth. This means that our worship must first meet the above-mentioned requirements of worship in spirit, and then added to that, it must also be consistent with Scripture and centered on Christ. Here are a few more verses to read as we look at five ways we worship in truth:

1. Revelation 14:7
Worship in truth gives God honor, reverence, glory, and expresses His worthiness.

2. Psalm 45:11
Worship in truth is based in the truth that we worship Him because He is our Lord. We don't make Him Lord. He is Lord. Forever. The question here is whether or not we obey Him as Lord since He is Lord?

3. Psalm 66:4
Worship in truth offers praise to His name. We worship Him, not His provision or creation, not His works or ways. We worship HIM, as He is characterized by His many names revealed in Scripture.

4. Psalm 138
Worship in truth is worship in lowliness. We must have a proper opinion of ourselves, a low opinion of self. We are sinners and but for His grace we would not be able to approach Him at all. Our worship of Him is all based on His doings - His salvation, forgiveness, and grace.

5. Psalm 148, 149, 150
Worship in truth is worship in ways of which God approves!

Spirit filled worship draws attention to Christ - not to self. It points to Him. It exalts Him. It is worship from a humble, grateful heart. It is worship that is reverent. Reverence is seemingly missing in many "worship services" today where the attitude is one of entertainment instead of awe. As soon as we make worship about us we are offending God! So Spirit filled worship above all else is worship that is based upon and saturated with the Word of God.

Who is the focus of your worship? Did you pick your church because of how it made you feel or because the Word of God was preached and lived and sung without compromise? When you sing, is it about you or about God? If we worship based on personal opinions and attitudes of selfishness then ultimately we are worshipping ourselves and not God. So let us not pretend that we are worshipping Him if church is all about us. It must be all about Him.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

A Luther Sermon by Charles Spurgeon
The Results, Preparation, and Barriers of Worship by John MacArthur

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

Sermon Guide - Phillip M. Way

Click Here for a Sermon Index of Messages Preached by Pastor Phillip M. Way

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