Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 12:20-36

In this hymn based on John 12:20-36, I try to touch on the important truths taught in the passage. In John 12, Greeks come seeking Jesus. This signals that Jesus' hour had finally come. Throughout John's Gospel, we are told that Jesus' hour had not yet come, but now it is here. He came to earth to lay down his life for his people, and not just for believing Jews, but also for believing Gentiles. Jesus is the Savior of the world. Sadly, Jesus' own people, the Jews were in the process of rejecting him, although many believed. This rejection leads to Jesus' warning to trust in him and his withdrawal from the people in verse 36. Verses one and two of the hymn hits on these themes.

One of the themes of the hymn below is that we receive Christ's life through his death. We are saved by Christ, so that we might live with him above, and seek him above by faith. This is a present privilege of the believer, even if it will be fully true only when Christ returns. When Jesus says in verse 26 that "where I am, there will my servant be also," he is talking about the present. Our home is not this world that put Jesus to death in its sin and unbelief, but heaven where Jesus lives, and we by faith.

An important theme in John 12:20-36 is the theme of judgment. Disciples need to understand that Jesus' cross was God's judgment upon this unbelieving world. This world put God the Son to death, and this brings the world under his judgment, for the resurrection overturned the world's judgment of Jesus. We graciously escape this righteous judgment by coming to Jesus by faith. But Jesus commands us to hate our lives in this world (v. 25), for we cannot love a world that hated our Lord, who suffered and died to give us life. We live already by faith in our heavenly home in fellowship with the Father and the Son by the Spirit, and we look forward to our full enjoyment of our home at Christ's return.

The final couple verses emphasize the beauty and glory of our triune God. Jesus came to glorify the Father, and the Father glorified the Son, especially in his death and resurrection. God is glorious and his glory is seen in this beautiful, created world. But creation's beauty merely reflects the beauty of the triune God, who exists in love, for the Father, Son, and Spirit have loved one another from all eternity. This glorious love is seen in the cross, where God's grace and mercy for rebellious sinners is seen. The glory of God that we see in Christ, who is the exact image of God, should ravish our hearts. How gracious and glorious is the God who dies for his creatures who sinned against his majesty, taking their place and bearing their judgment. We have great reasons to trust in Jesus Christ, the glorious light of the world!

Singing the words is done by clicking on the tune name, MATERNA, but most probably know the tune to America the Beautiful. Reading the passage is also easily done by clicking on John 12:20-36.

Some Greeks Came Seeking Jesus Christ

To the tune: MATERNA O Beautiful for Spacious Skies. Based on John 12:20-36. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Some Greeks came seeking Jesus Christ,
they wanted to see Him,
though Jewish leaders sought Him not,
remaining in their sin.
The Lord would soon be gathering
a crop of men for life,
disciples who would follow Him,
the Son of God, the Christ.

v. 2
The hour had come for which He came,
the hour of sacrifice,
the death that takes our sin away,
the death that gives us life.
The Son from heaven came to earth
to save us from our sin,
to glorify the Father’s name,
so we might live with Him.

v. 3
The cross brought judgment on this world
of sin and unbelief.
For men committed deicide,
they hung Him on a tree.
But through the cross God justifies,
through faith in Jesus Christ.
For on the cross our judgment bore,
and raised us to new life.

v. 4
O hate your life in this dark world
that put to death God’s Son.
And seek by faith the Lord above,
who our salvation won.
For all who follow Jesus Christ,
will live with Him above,
the Father and the Son to know,
who live in triune love.

v. 5
The glor-ious beauty of our God
through nature do we see.
Creation’s beauty points to Him,
for those with eyes to see.
But greater glory in the Son
to us is now revealed.
In Christ our Lord who gave His life,
and in whose wounds we’re healed.

Hymn of Invocation

This hymn is a hymn of invocation for the opening of public worship.  In worship the Spirit lifts our hearts to heaven where Jesus Christ is.  He is our mediator, our sacrifice and priest, through whom our worship is accepted.  We pray for the Spirit's work in our hearts to create a heart that is humble, contrite, teachable and by faith focused upon the glory of the triune God and his works, especially his redemptive work on our behalf.

O Spirit, Lift Our Hearts

To the tune: ST. THOMAS. A song for the opening of worship---an invocation. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
O Spirit, lift our hearts
to Jesus Christ our Lord,
the Lamb who died and life imparts,
and all of heav’n adores.

v. 2
Our Father, good and wise,
our praise through Christ we bring.
A broken heart You won’t despise
that trusts in Christ the King.

v. 3
Our Father, help us praise,
to bless and worship You,
to know You and to know Your ways,
our hearts and minds renew.

v. 4
Away from worldly thoughts
to fellowship above,
to humble hearts that can be taught,
O meet us in Your love.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 12:9-19

This hymn is based on John's account of the triumphal entry. The crowd that day spoke better than they knew when they cried, "Hosanna!" Hosanna is an ascription of praise, which means O Save Now! or simply, Save! or Help!. The whole human race because of its sin needs to be saved, and only Jesus Christ, the Lord incarnate, has the power to save us. Since human beings had sinned against God, we needed a mediator who was truly human. But since the weight of sin and God's righteous wrath against it was too great for the human nature of Jesus to bear, our mediator also needed to be true God. In Jesus Christ, the God-man, we have the mediator we need, who could truly pay the debt of our sins at the cross, and open the way to heaven, so that we might live in fellowship with the Father through the Son and by the Spirit once more.

The hymn acknowledges our great need because of our sin, confessing our guilt in transgressing God's holy laws. It also tries to point us to the fellowship, rest, and cleansed conscience we can enjoy because Jesus died and rose on our behalf. We are not saved by anything we do, but by what our Mediator has done. Only Jesus Christ can, and has, open heaven and give us rest with our blessed and glorious God. Thank God we have a merciful high priest who has opened the way to the heavenly temple above so that we might have fellowship with the Father through his perfect sacrifice.

Hosanna, Lord, Your Name We Bless

To the tune: GELOBT SEI GOTT (click on Ye Sons and Daughters of the King, 208). Based on John 12:9-19. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1

Hosanna! cried the crowd that day,
they wanted one to come and save,
for David’s Son a road they made.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 2
We thank You, Lord, Your name we bless,
for You have saved from great distress,
Your holy laws we have transgressed.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 3
We thank You, Lord, You give us rest,
from a bad conscience sore oppressed,
our sin and shame would we confess.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 4
We thank You, Lord, our sin You bore,
Your blood to cleanse for us was poured,
estranged from God, You have restored.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 5
We thank You, Lord, for You have saved,
You died our death and then was raised,
the way to heaven You have paved.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 6
We thank You, Lord, our mighty King,
You gave Your life an offering,
for Your salvation we would sing.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

v. 7
We thank You, Lord, our strong refuge,
the broken heart You won’t refuse,
You died and rose for our rescue.
Al-le-lu-ia! 3x

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 12:1-8

Six Days Before the Passover

To the tune: ST. ANNE O God, Our Help in Ages Past. Based on John 11:55-12:8. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Six days before the Passover,
our Lord to Beth’ny came.
A dinner for the Lord was giv’n
to honor Jesus’ name.

v. 2
While Martha served her Lord and Christ,
and Laz’rus near reclined,
to Jesus Mary gave a gift,
her love was not confined.

v. 3
A costly ointment, Mary poured,
in love upon her Lord.
A pleasing fragrance filled the house,
where Jesus was adored.

v. 4
The gospel is the scent of life
to all who love the Lord.
They seek to honor Him who died,
in Christ we are restored.

v. 5
The gospel is the scent of death
to those in unbelief.
The grace and glory of our Lord
their blinded eyes won’t see.

v. 6
O honor Christ who died for us,
eternal life to give.
He saves from sin and death and hell,
in Him we truly live.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lyrics for John 11:45-54

In this short hymn based on John 11:45-54, praise is given to Jesus for his death through which he gathers his people to himself in heaven. His substitutionary death is the basis of Christian unity --- a unity which is a fact because faith in Christ and his cross joins us to Christ and to one another. The biblical passage points to the reconciling death of Jesus through the unwitting prophecy of Caiaphas, who spoke much better than he knew. The passage also emphasizes the unity of the church built on the basis of the substitutionary death of Jesus, through the interjection of the narrator (John) in verses 51 and 52.

In these hymns based on the Gospel of John I try to bring out the catechetical truths every Christian needs to know. The two main catechetical truths in this hymn are the substitutionary death of Jesus and the unity or oneness of the church, which is built upon Christ's reconciling death. Despite appearances there is only one church, and that church has been gathered to Jesus in heaven through faith in the message of the cross.

In these hymns I also try to tie the hymn to the biblical text in terms of history, because the gospel is about history, i.e., the history/news of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Verse 3 in the hymn recognizes the historical fact that the Jewish leadership sought the death of Jesus, but also the fact that in committing this wicked deed the leadership only did God's sovereign will.

Glory Be to Jesus

To the tune: WEM IN LEIDENSTAGEN click on Glory Be to Jesus, 158. Based on John 11:45-54. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Glory be to Jesus,
dying for His own.
Gath’ring all His children
to his heav’nly throne.

v. 2
Gathered from all nations
to the Father’s Son.
Saved through His redeeming,
gathered into one.

v. 3
Wicked men were plotting:
Heir and Son to kill.
But in all their evil,
Sov’reign plans fulfilled.

v. 4
Drawing all the nations
by His saving death.
Crying, “It is finished,”
with His final breaths.

v. 5
For Your cross we praise You,
Jesus Christ our King.
For our union with You,
we Your children sing.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Sola Panel | Plastic language, plastic marriage

The Sola Panel Plastic language, plastic marriage

Hymn Lyrics for John 11

The phrase "come and see" is found quite often in John's Gospel. Usually it is an evangelistic invitation to come to Jesus Christ and learn of him in whom is life. But in John 11 Jesus is invited to "come and see" the tomb of Lazarus---to see what sin and death has done to the human race. Jesus' response is a combination of anger and sadness. Most English translations have a difficult time capturing the anger Jesus demonstrates in this passage as he confronts the last enemy, which is death. Soon after raising Lazarus, he will head to the cross as the mighty warrior to confront and defeat this awful enemy of death. John 11 shows us something of the Lord as our mighty warrior, preparing for final battle (Exodus 15:3-8).

Faith is the instrument that sees the glory of Christ in all of this. Jesus tells Martha that if she believes she will see God's glory. The delay of Jesus in coming to the sisters was for the furthering of their faith. This is a good lesson for us when we face trials or loss in our own lives. The Lord has a purpose that involves his glory and our soul's good.

Praise to Christ the Resurrection

To the tune: NEANDER. Based on John 11. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Praise to Christ the resurrection.
praise to Him in whom is life.
Praise to Christ who won salvation,
conquered death through holy strife.
Through His death He gives us life,
through His rising justifies.

v. 2
Mary, Martha, sent for Jesus,
“Lord, the one You love is sick.”
Jesus loved their fam’ly dearly,
so delayed to make His trip.
Glory of the Son be praised,
Lazarus would soon be raised.

v. 3
Jesus asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus deeply moved in spirit,
wept at mankind’s misery.
Mighty to the tomb he came,
vict’ry given Laz’rus raised.

v. 4
Jesus came as mighty warrior
to defeat our enemies.
Sin and death through Him were conquered,
won for us the victory.
On the cross He took our place,
raised to life to give us grace.

v. 5
Faith perceives the Father’s glory,
and the glory of the Son.
Faith in God’s redemption story
joins to Christ the risen One.
Jesus is God’s Son and Christ,
come and drink the Fount of Life.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

in all honesty: what I'm listening to: last night's sermon

in all honesty: what I'm listening to: last night's sermon

Good post --- worth reading.  What she writes reminds me of the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:
What is your only comfort in life and in death?  That I am not my own, but belong --- body and soul --- to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Freedom from ourselves is part of what the gospel saves us from! 

Here is part of her quote from the sermon she quotes:

We who follow Jesus owe him our very lives
he bought us out of the death we deserved at the cost of his life
so that we are owned by him, body and soul.

Freedom is being your own boss, we want to think,
running life your own way -
but wait a minute, that's what sin is -
and when we seek to be independent from God, we become a slave to sin.


Hymn Lyrics for John 10:22-39

This hymn is based on John 10:22-39. Verses 1 and 4 envelop the hymn in praise, giving praise to our triune God for the salvation he accomplished. Verses 2-4 deal more specifically with the content of John 10:22-39. They deal with the lawsuit or trial motif that is seen again and again in John's Gospel.

Mark Stibbe has written a wonderful book on the literary features of John's Gospel. Anyone who wants to learn the depths of John's Gospel, should purchase and read his book, which can be bought here. In the hymn I try to include the six common elements found in many lawsuit passages in John's Gospel, which are listed below in the quote from Stibbe's book:

"The form of this passage (10:22-39) is again predominantly forensic discourse. Trial features are suggested by the use of interrogation, by the use of martureo (to testify) in v. 25, by the legal evidence of the miracles and by the introduction of the blasphemy charge in 10:33 and 36---a charge which will feature in the passion narrative (19:7). The presence of legal overtones links this discourse particlarly with 5:19-47, 7:14-44 and 8:12-59---the three trial scenes prior to 10:22-39.

Urban Von Wahlde has also suggested that there are formal and theological similarities between 10:22-39, 6:31-59 and 8:13-59. All three discourses have the same form and content:
    1. The Jews demand proof of Jesus' identity: 6:30; 8:25; 10:24.
    2. Jesus tells them that they have already seen/heard but do not believe: 6:36; 8:47; 10:25.
    3. Jesus gives the reason for their unbelief: 6:37; 8:47; 10:26.
    4. Jesus speaks of those who do believe: 6:37; 8:47a; 10:27.
    5. Jesus says that he does not lose any of those who are his: 6:39; 8:51; 10:28b.
    6. Jesus say that those who do believe will have eternal life: 6:40; 8:35; 10:28a.
    The important observation to make here is the fact that 10:22-39 has all six of these recurring elements in close succession. . . ."

Praise the Father, Son and Spirit

To the tune: O DU LIEBE MEINER LIEBE (http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/PsH/443 or http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/aTLH_Hymns5.htm and scroll down to Jesus, Refuge of the Weary, 145). Based on John 10:22-39. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Praise the Father, Son and Spirit,
bless-ed, holy Three in One.
God the Father planned salvation,
sent in love His only Son.
Jesus came and condescended,
took our nature, died our death.
Rose victorious, then ascended,
gives the Spirit by His breath.

v. 2
Jews demanded in the temple,
“Tell us if you are the Christ!”
Evidence much more than ample
showed that Jesus was the Christ.
Miracles performed by Jesus,
proof of His identity.
Scripture also pointed to Him,
He was who He claimed to be.

v. 3
Why do men resist the Savior,
Jesus Christ the Father’s Son?
Only sheep will hear their Shepherd,
all the Father gives will come.
They will come to Christ the Shepherd,
for they listen to His voice.
Trusting in the gospel offered,
in their Shepherd they rejoice.

v. 4
Praise the Son and praise the Father,
praise the holy Trinity.
Praise the God who saves poor sinners
from a doomed eternity.
Jesus is One with the Father,
praise Him for His deity.
Praise Him for the death He suffered,
dying for humanity.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Margaret Wilson and Harold Camping: A Young Martyr and an Old False Teacher

"Margaret Wilson was a young lady living in Scotland during the period known as the 'Killing Times'. From 1680 untill 1688, King Charles II and, after him King James VII sent soldiers through the south of Scotland to round up members of 'unauthorized' churches (informally called the Covenanters).

Margaret was 18 years old when she was arrested. She was tied to a stake in the waters of the Solway Firth at low tide and left to drown as the tide came in. The hope of her captors was that she would recant as the waters rose. But instead of recanting, she began to sing Psalm 25, starting with verse 7:

Let not the errors of my youth
nor sins, remember'd be:
In Mercy, for thy goodness' sake,
O Lord, remember me...
Margaret prepared herself to meet God by singing a Psalm of repentance."  --from Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms by Michael Lefebvre

A lot of people are making fun of the fact that a false teacher named, Harold Camping, has predicted Jesus' return today. It won't happen today, because Jesus plainly told us that no one knows the hour of his return, and Harold Camping is not the exception to that rule. But all of us will have to face Christ as our Judge either when we die or he returns. We can learn much from the martyr, Margaret Wilson, about how to be ready to face him on that day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 10:1-21 and a discussion of Praise Songs in Public Worship

A few months ago, I had an email discussion with a friend, who was critical of the hymns I've written because of their use of the third person in praising God. The contemporary trend is to address God in the second person, but the older trend is to use the third person, and this is what the hymns I've written tend to do. Were the older hymn writers wise in using the third person or is the contemporary trend to the second person better in our praise songs because it is more personal?

I would argue that there is wisdom in the older way of praising God in the third person. Here are my arguments:

  1. Worship is communal, so it makes sense that we use the third person when we refer to ourselves, which should not be often since praise is supposed to be about his person and work, not ours. This is why hymns of praise and acclamation in the Psalter often turn into hymns of proclamation!
  2. Reverence toward God is enhanced by the predominant use of the third person when we speak of God. There is a "reverent indirection" in the hymnbook that God has given us, which is the Psalms. As Hughes Old points out, "few of the hymns of praise in the Psalter address God in the second-person singular." Here is the fuller quote from Old: "The praises of the Psalter are indeed formulas of praise directed to God, but many of these formulas are marked by what might be called a reverent indirection. It belonged to oriental court etiquette that one addressed the king indirectly. This would explain the fact that few of the hymns of praise found in the Psalter address God in the second-person singular. Other psalm genres address God in the second-person singular --- the votive thanksgiving psalms and the lamentations, for example --- but it is different with the hymns of praise. It was somewhat the same way as it is today in Germany, where it is considered a mark of respect to address someone in the third-person plural, that is indirectly." Since the Psalter is the inspired book of praise to God, we might do well to take this observation seriously.
  3. I worry that we make liars out of people with some of the stuff we sing at church these days. When we sing, "Praise the Father and the Son, love for us beyond amazing," no one in the congregation is lying for at least two or three are truly praising God! But when we sing, "I praise my Father and my Lord," we make a liar out of lots of people, who are not yet converted. I thought these words from James McDonald in this short youtube video, describe a proper attitude of care church leaders need to take, so that we don't sing things that are not true of us quite yet. Give it a listen, it is only 3 minutes:

Feel free to disagree and explain to me my error. I am trying to learn, and obviously there is much I don't know.

In the hymn below from John 10:1-21, I try to touch on a number of themes in this rich passage:
  • Jesus as the only way to true life.
  • Jesus' people's ability to hear his voice while rejecting false voices.
  • The intimacy Christ's people have with him and the Father.
  • The food and drink Jesus gives us in the wilderness of this world as we jouney to our heavenly home, as well as the provision of the Spirit.
  • Christ's substitutionary sacrifice, which points to the love of God for us.
  • The danger of false teachers and blessing of good pastors who point us to Christ.

Jesus Is the Gate to Life

To the tune: LIEBSTER JESU (click on From Eternity, O God, 411). Based on John 10:1-21. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus is the gate to life,
all must enter only through Him.
Speaks the words that give men life,
all His sheep will surely hear Him.
Follow not the voice of strangers,
listen to the one true Shepherd.

v. 2
Jesus knows the sheep by name,
saving them and giving pasture.
Life to give is why He came,
knowledge of the Son and Father.
Knowing Jesus is our treasure,
fellowship that’s truest pleasure.

v. 3
Jesus feeds with finest fare,
bread of life, the food of heaven.
Gives His life for us to share,
flesh and blood by faith partaken.
Streams of water in the desert,
Christ the fountain of the Spirit.

v. 4
Faithful shepherds point to Christ,
Son, belov-ed of the Father.
For our sake He gave His life,
earned forgiveness, grace and favor.
Teachers false from Christ they turn us,
they refuse the words of Jesus.

v. 5
Praise the Father and the Son,
love for us beyond amazing.
In our darkness called to come,
to our Lord whose death was pleasing.
Died for us Love’s substitution,
takes away sin’s retribution.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 9

These words are based on John 9, where Jesus, the light of the world, illuminates a man in two ways: physically and spiritually. As the chapter unfolds we see the blind man healed physically, but also spiritually. The same power that Jesus exercised to heal the man's blindness is working in him to heal his spiritual blindness, so that the former blind man comes to see that Jesus is more than a man, more than a prophet, but the Lord incarnate who created us for his worship. The hymn progresses as the chapter does, ending with the worship of God's Son.

The importance of confessing our sin, and our natural blindness because of sin, is also emphasized in the hymn, for in the chapter, those who claim to see and refuse to acknowledge their sin (the Pharisees), remain in their sin and spiritual darkness. Instead of glorifying God, they miss the glory that Jesus reveals in the miraculous sign he gives them, and they continue in their unbelief and darkness, displeasing to God. Ultimately God is glorified by faith in his Son, and those with a true faith have that faith only because of God's mighty creative work in our barren and sin-blinded hearts.

As always, click on the link of the tune name in order to sing the song. Join the blind man in worshipping Jesus. --Bill

To a World in Sin’s Dark Night

To the tune: ST. GEORGE (Elvey). Based on John 9. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
To a world in sin’s dark night,
came the uncreated Light.
Sinful men by sin made blind,
Jesus came to seek and find.
Guilty men---of God afraid,
live in darkness sin has made.
Jesus came the world’s true Light,
to restore the sinner’s sight.

v. 2
Born in darkness without sight,
knowing not the one true Light.
Blind to Christ’s identity,
Light of Light true God is He.
But our nature He did share,
perfect Man so bright and fair.
Fully God and fully man,
carried out the Father’s plan.

v. 3
Came unto a man born blind,
Jesus’ power in Him shined.
Washed and then the man could see,
sign of Jesus’ deity.
Jesus’ glory brightly shined,
manifested through the sign,
but more glory was displayed,
when the blind man came to faith.

v. 4
Will you glorify the Lord,
trusting in His holy Word?
Humbly sin will you confess?
His commands we have transgressed.
Darkened nature without sight,
will you come unto the Light?
Mighty pow’r in you displayed,
when you come to Christ by faith.

v. 5
Worship Jesus Christ your Lord,
He who all of heav’n adores.
You were blind but now you see,
praise the holy Mystery.
God enfleshed our Jesus Christ,
on the third day He did rise.
Spirit lifts to Christ above,
cling to Him in heartfelt love.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Defiance of Jesus Continues Among Those Who Bear His Name

The Presbyterian Church USA recently voted to allow practicing homosexuals to the ministry in defiance of the clear teaching of God's Word.  We live in a time much like the time before the monarchy in Israel: " In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."  But there is a resurrected King and he rules his people by his Word.  When people make these decisions in defiance of Jesus Christ and his Word they show that they do not truly belong to him.

I thought Albert Mohler's comments were on the mark:

The Presbyterian Church (USA) now joins the Episcopal Church (US), the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in ordaining openly homosexual candidates to the ministry.

Both sides in this controversy understand the meaning of the decision. While this action deals specifically with ordination standards, it is really about the larger issue of homosexuality. Most observers expect that the decision to allow same-sex marriages will follow closely.

But even beyond the specific issue of homosexuality, the church faced two of the most fundamental questions of Christian theology — the authority of the Bible and the Lordship of Christ. In making this change, the church clearly affirms that one may submit to the Lordship of Christ without submitting to the clear teachings of Scripture.

That is a fundamental error that leaves this denomination now in the implausible position of claiming to affirm the Lordship of Christ while subverting the authority of Scripture. The removal of the constitutional language about marriage and chastity, coupled with the removal of the language about repentance from what Scripture identifies as sin, effectively means that candidates and presbyteries may defy Scripture while claiming to follow Christ.

Clearly, this action could not have happened without this denomination having abandoned any required belief in the full authority, inspiration, and truthfulness of the Bible long ago. This most recent decision sets the stage for the total capitulation of this church to the normalization of homosexuality — an act of open defiance against the Scriptures.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Hymn Lyrics for John 8:31-59

This hymn tries to echo a few themes from John 8:31-59:
  1. Jesus Christ as God's witness in this trial scene. The language in John 8 is forensic language, the language of courts and law. In this trial, Jesus is the true and faithful witness of God that tells the truth he heard from God.
  2. Jewish rejection of Jesus because of pride and an unwillingness to acknowledge their sin and unrighteousness before God. Although they were looking for the Christ, when he came they missed him because of their unwillingness to acknowledge their sin and guilt before a holy God. Paul speaks of how the Jewish people as a whole rejected Christ because they tried to establish their own righteousness rather than receiving the righteousness that comes to those who believe in God's Son (Romans 10).
  3. Jesus' deity, Sonship, and his fulfillment of Old Testament types and prophecies.

Jesus Christ the Truth Incarnate

To the tune: STUTTGART. Based on John 8:31-59. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus Christ the truth incarnate,
to the world He testified
that He was sent by the Father,
Son eternal and the Christ.

v. 2
Jews were waiting for Messiah,
hoping for the Christ to come.
But Christ came to save the humble,
who were by their sin undone.

v. 3
Don’t be proud before the Savior,
humble hearts are His delight.
Do not hide transgressions from Him,
come to Him for grace and life.

v. 4
Jesus true and faithful witness
to the truth He heard above.
All belonging to the Father
will receive His Son in love.

v. 5
Abram saw the Lord in glory,
saw by faith the Holy One.
Saw the day of Christ with gladness,
Lamb provided, God’s dear Son.

v. 6
Jesus Christ the Lord incarnate,
praise Him as the great I AM.
Praise Him as your God and Savior,
on the throne the Lord and Lamb.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hymn Lyrics: John 8:12-59

This particular hymn is based on John 8:12-59, which is summarized in John's prologue (John 1:1-18), by verses 9-14 especially. John 8:12-59 is a trial scene that alludes to many of the trial scenes in Isaiah. The issue in the trial scenes in Isaiah is this: Who is the true God, Yahweh or the gods of the nations. Isaiah 43:8-13 is a good example. But the issue in this trial scene in John's Gospel is Jesus' paternity. This hymn works around the central acclamation of praise that Jesus Christ is God's beloved Son, who is worthy of our praise.

One feature of the trial scenes in both Isaiah and John is that Jahweh and Jesus are initially accused and prosecuted, but as the scene proceeds there is a reversal, and the prosecuted becomes the prosecutor and the one judged becomes the judge. In John 8 the court scene's accusations fly back and forth, but as the passage progresses one senses that ultimately it is Jesus who judges his accusers. The hymn lyrics below recognize the reversal that has taken place in salvation history as Jesus who was judged and put to death as a criminal is now resurrected and exalted to the Father's right hand as King and Judge of all people. Therefore, it is urgent that we acclaim him as our own by receiving Him by true faith. This is the true way to praise and glorify Him. --Bill

All Praise to Christ Beloved

To the tune: VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN (http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/CCEH/39). Based on John 8:12-59 and John 1:9-14. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
All praise to Christ beloved,
the Father’s joy, delight.
True image of the Father,
displays His glory bright.
Before the world’s creation,
He with the Father dwelt.
The agent of creation,
to whom all heaven knelt.

v. 2
In grace and truth and mercy,
the Son came to His own.
But they would not receive Him,
their King did they disown.
Though He revealed God’s mercy
and grace to sinful men.
They would not come unto Him,
their sinful ways amend.

v. 3
They did not know the Father,
nor did they know the Son.
Accusing, prosecuting,
God’s chosen, Holy One.
But those who will receive Him,
believe in Jesus’ name,
become the Father’s children,
will not be put to shame.

v. 4
All praise to Christ our Savior,
the resurrected Son.
Exalted by the Father,
salvation’s work is done.
He is the King in glory,
the Judge of ev’ryone,
so bow the knee before Him,
the one and only Son.

v. 5
All praise the Son beloved,
who dwells in glor-ious light.
Who with the Father equal,
now hidden from our sight.
But faith perceives His glory
that shines in written Word.
The law and gospel showing,
the gracious, glor-ious Lord.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for John 8:12-30

In John 8:12, Jesus says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Light is an image with many different connotations, but in this hymn I play off the image of light to speak of light as:

  1. the outward manifestation of God's glory;
  2. the expression of God's holiness, which exposes our sin;
  3. that which gives life.
This hymn points to our need of grace to worship. The Spirit must lift us to heaven to Christ our mediator, so that we worship the Father through the Son, who dwells in heavenly majesty and glory, in heaven, not on earth.

Jesus, Radiance of the Father

To the tune: TRUST IN JESUS ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. Based on John 8:12-30, esp. 8:12. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus, rad-iance of the Father,
robed in glory, robed in light.
All Your works reveal Your glory,
to a world in darkest night.

Send Your Word and Spirit, Jesus,
lift us to Your holy place.
Heav’nly worship too high for us,
lift us by Your grace through faith.

v. 2
When we see the Father’s glory
and our Lord in glory bright.
Holy light our sin exposes,
sinful eyes can’t bear the sight.

v. 3
So we plead to God for mercy,
crying out in need of grace.
For our works won’t save or lift us,
only Christ can sin erase.

v. 4
Jesus, light of life we need you,
help us follow You in grace.
By Your gospel, Spirit raise us
to Your holy, heav’nly place.

v. 5
Rev’rent worship we would offer
to the Father through the Son.
In the gospel, grace and glory
fuel to praise the Holy One.

Send Your Word and Spirit, Jesus,
lift us to Your holy place.
Heav’nly worship too high for us,
lift us by Your grace through faith.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Psalm 91: Sons of Korah

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Happy 450th Birthday to the Belgic Confession! « YINKAHDINAY

Happy 450th Birthday to the Belgic Confession!

I've found the Belgic Confession to be a worthwhile confession to read periodically.  It is simple, yet profound, and it was written by a martyr.  Bredenhof's article points out the uniqueness of the Belgic Confession because of the martyrdom of its author, Guido de Bres, but I think he slights the persecution that almost all of the reformers endured "for the cause of the Son of God." --Bill

Hymn Lyrics for John 7:37-8:12

Just a quick note about these lyrics based on John 8 and the woman caught in adultery. I believe Jesus writes on the ground in a clear allusion to this verse from Jeremiah 17:13:
O LORD, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.
The Jewish leaders are forsaking Jesus who is the Lord, the fountain of living water (John 7:37-39). They are much more guilty than the woman they bring to Jesus. For in forsaking Jesus, they are forsaking the Lord and Husband of Israel. The first verse of the hymn below is basically a paraphrase of Jeremiah 17:13. In this verse, writing a person's name in the dust of the earth means the opposite of being written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27). With this understanding, the rest of the lyrics should make sense to those with ears to hear and eyes to see! --Bill

O Lord, You’re the Hope of Those Bearing Your Name

To the tune: ST. DENIO Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/UMH/103). Based on Jeremiah 17:13 and John 7:37-8:11. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
O Lord, You’re the hope of those bearing Your name,
but all who forsake You will be put to shame.
Their names will be written in dust of the earth,
forsaking the fountain who quenches our thirst.

v. 2
For Jesus is calling, Come to Me and drink,
I give living water to those who believe.
For Christ gives the Spirit from heaven above,
the gift of the Bridegroom to us in His love.

v. 3
Our Lord in the temple was sitting to teach,
when Pharisees came to entrap with deceit.
O look at this woman, in sin was she caught,
O should we not stone her as Moses has taught?

v. 4
How wicked this scheming to test Christ the Lord,
but Jesus in wisdom remembered the Word.
The Lord with His finger in dust did He write,
the One now forsaken, the Fountain of life.

v. 5
Our Lord rose from writing, to all of them spoke,
the one without sin ought to cast the first stone.
Then slowly but surely the people did leave,
the woman’s accusers gave her a reprieve.

v. 6
Would Jesus condemn now the woman who sinned?
For He is the Light, there’s no darkness in Him.
But He came in mercy to save not condemn,
delighting to pardon believers in Him.

v. 7
We praise You, O Father, for sending Your Son.
We would not forsake Him, but to Him we come.
We drink of the Spirit He graciously gives,
O lift us to heaven, in Christ we now live.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Sin of Greed

 I found this in my reading and thought it was interesting. The following list contains the collective nouns for different kinds of animals, except for the last. Many of these collective nouns are descriptive of the nature of each animal. The list makes an interesting point about human nature.

A Murder of Crows

a murder of crows
a parliament of owls

a weight of albatrosses
an army of ants

a bellowing of bullfinches
a business of ferrets

a charm of finches
a flamboyance of flamingoes

a skulk of foxes
a gaggle of geese

a tower of giraffes
a bloat of hippopotamuses

a mischief of mice
a buffonery of orangutans

an ostentation of peacocks
a squabble of seaugulls

an amubush of tigers
a wake of vultures

a sneak of weasels
a deceit of lapwings

a pride of lions
a greed of humans

--Brian Rosner from "Still Deadly: Ancient Cures for the 7 Sins"

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