Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Discerning the Voices --- Following Jesus, Not Maya!


Recently I ran across this quote from Maya Angelou:
“ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
As Christians we need to be discerning.  We hear many voices in our world.  Which voices are true?  Which voices are false?  Which voices are wise?  Which voices are foolish?  Which voices present worldly wisdom?  Which voices present heavenly wisdom?

The idea of many voices in the world is not new.  Jesus spoke about it in John 10:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
(John 10:1-5 ESV)
Jesus is the Shepherd of His sheep.  The sheep respond to His voice, but will not respond to the voice of strangers or false shepherds.  I had a friend in Iowa who raised sheep and it was amazing to see how his sheep responded to his voice but not to the voice of strangers like me!

But where do we hear the voice of Jesus today?  We hear His voice in His written Word.  As we hear His Word, it becomes easy to spot the voice of strangers.  As we hear Jesus through the written Word, we start to gain discernment.  We can now make righteous judgments about the voices we hear around us.

So getting back to Maya, are her words true or false, wise or foolish, worldly or heavenly?  Here is how I used the Word of Christ that I read today to make a judgment about the quote from Maya Angelou and her voice in that quote.  Just to refresh your memory, here is the quote again: “ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ” 

Part of my devotions were from Psalm 66.  At one point I read about what God did:  "Come and see what God has done...."  At another point in the psalm we are called to hear his words:  "Come and hear...."  

The triune God, upon whom personhood is founded, speaks and acts.  Therefore, it seems odd to discount human words and actions if we are his image bearers, as Maya Angelou seems to do.  Image bearers are meant to reflect the character of the God they worship in what they say, do, and feel!

As to feelings, words and deeds are the very things that cause  feelings in Psalm 66.  In the psalm, it is because God acts that we are moved to rejoice in Him (a feeling), and worship him with awe (another feeling), and those acts are communicated to us in words.  

So my question, then, is this: How wise is this saying of Maya Angelou?  Does her quote reflect a biblical worldview or just her own?  If we really hear our Shepherd, then at least in this instance, we would have to say that Maya Angelou is communicating a different worldview than the worldview of Jesus.  We do not have enough of Maya's words to know what exactly her worldview is, but we do have enough to know that this quote doesn't line up with Jesus' words.  And so, as Jesus' sheep we follow Him, not Maya!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dwelling in Jesus

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
(Psalm 65:4 ESV)

Jesus is the true temple, the new location of God's presence.  "To dwell in your courts," is to dwell in Jesus.  To "be satisfied with the goodness of your house," is to be delighted with Christ and his blessings.  To be satisfied with "the holiness of your temple," is to be justified by Christ's holiness, delighted to be accepted in the Father's beloved Son.

If Jesus is the new location of God's presence, where is he now?  Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of the Father.  How, then, does the Father "bring near" his "blessed" people, chosen by sheer, undeserved grace?  He gives us the Holy Spirit who joins us to Christ by faith, so that even though Christ is in heaven and we are on earth, the Spirit, who lives both in our hearts and in heaven, is able to lift us to Christ above.

Thus, believers live heavenly lives here on earth.  By faith we live near to Christ, joined to him by faith.  Though we walk on earth, we dwell with Jesus in heaven.  Our baptism means that we are heavenly people, for we are baptized into Christ.  No wonder, then, that God's Word urges us to live out our heavenly life, our baptism, saying:

". . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. . . . If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 2:12; 3:1-3 ESV)

Some of us, though, are so preoccupied with earth, with this life, that we have no interest in the things above where Christ is.  Instead of seeking the "goodness of your house," that is, Jesus Christ and his blessings, we are seeking a world that is passing away.  May the Lord help us to see the pitiful trade we are making when we gain this vaporous and vain life only to lose the abundant and lasting life in heaven, in Christ, our temple, our house, our home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Essence of the World---Boenhoeffer Quote

This is an insightful quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer about the nature of the world. I have seen more and more how the cross shows us the true nature of the world. Bonhoeffer makes the same point about war:

"Just as time-lapse photography makes visible, in an ever more compressed and penetrating form, movements that would otherwise not be thus grasped by our vision, so the war makes manifest in particularly drastic and unshrouded form that which for years has become ever more dreadfully clear to us as the essence of the “world.” It is not war that first brings death, not war that first invents the pains and torments of human bodies and souls, not war that first unleashes lies, injustice, and violence. It is not war that first makes our existence so utterly precarious and renders human beings powerless, forcing them to watch their desires and plans being thwarted and destroyed by more “exalted powers.” But war makes all of this, which existed already apart from it and before it, vast and unavoidable to us who would gladly prefer to overlook it all."

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Hymn Based on Luke 23:33-43

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23:33-43 ESV)

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Behold the King of kings
To the tune: WONDROUS LOVE (http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/CCEH/106).  Based on Luke 23:33-43.  Words: William Weber, 2012.

v. 1
Behold the King of kings lifted high, lifted high,
behold the King of kings lifted high.
His throne a cross of wood,
He hangs where sinners should,
and bears the awful load of our sin, of our sin,
and bears the awful load of our sin.

v. 2
Behold the King in shame, suffering, suffering,
behold the King in shame, suffering.
The only way to save,
from death and from the grave,
was for the Son to pay for our sin, for our sin,
was for the Son to pay for our sin.

v. 3
Behold the human race gathered there, gathered there,
behold the human race gathered there.
The Son of God men kill,
who loves His Father’s will,
and did His perfect will on the cross, on the cross,
and did His perfect will on the cross.

v. 4
Behold humanity at the cross, at the cross,
behold humanity at the cross.
O see the hate and spite,
the rebels’ awful plight,
but see a man contrite seeking grace, seeking grace,
but see a man contrite seeking grace.

v. 5
Behold the Savior’s heart at the cross, at the cross,
behold the Savior’s heart at the cross.
His heart is to forgive,
that man might truly live,
forgiveness Jesus gives graciously, graciously,
forgiveness Jesus gives graciously.

v. 6
The curs-ed tree of death now brings life, now brings life.
the curs-ed tree of death now brings life.
For joined to Jesus Christ,
we enter paradise,
and walk throughout our lives with our Lord, with our Lord,
and walk throughout our lives with our Lord. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Picture of Discipleship --- devotion and hymn based on Luke 23:26-32

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
(Luke 23:26 ESV)

In this scene, Simon carries the cross while following Jesus, who is on His way to heaven. The scene gives us a beautiful picture of the genuine Christian life.  As Christians we are baptized into Christ's death and so we are to die to self, to our own wisdom, and to the world's approval, willing to suffer because of our loyalty to Christ and His Word.  We follow His voice, and all other voices, even our own, we forsake in order to follow His.  Though this world rejects the Savior, like Jesus we seek its welfare, not its destruction.  We call others to join us along the way of repentance and faith so that they might avoid the judgment that's coming on all who refuse our Lord.  The way of Jesus is a way of sharing His suffering, and yet a way of joy and peace; a way of dying, and yet a way of resurrection living; a way of fleeing the world, and yet a way of serving a needy world and the neighbors whom the Father brings along our path.



Carry the Cross of Jesus


To the tune: ST. THEODULPH (http://www.opc.org/hymn.html?hymn_id=540).  Based on Luke 23:26-32.  Words: William Weber, 2012.

v. 1
Carry the cross of Jesus,
and follow Him alone.
Baptized in Him, enlightened,
you are His very own.
With Him you’ve died and risen,
and have the light of life.
You’re free from judgment coming,
so walk in Jesus’ light.

v. 2
Carry the cross of Jesus,
and follow Christ your King.
Your heart you must not follow,
to Christ be listening.
His way brings great rejoicing,
though filled with suffering,
for this world lives in folly,
knows not the King of kings.

v. 3
Carry the cross of Jesus,
yourself you must deny;
and lose your life for His sake,
to gain eternal life.
Seek not the world’s approval,
but seek the Father’s grace.
His favor is life-giving
the count’nance of His face.

v. 4
Carry the cross of Jesus,
walk with His presence near;
and share His path of suff’ring,
rejoice in Christ with fear.
Each day receive His blessings,
and give what you’ve received,
in service to your neighbors,
His grace is what they need.

v. 5
Come to the cross of Jesus,
and flee the wrath to come.
Repent, O unbeliever,
and hide in Christ the Son.
For all apart from Jesus
must bear their judgment great,
for Christ the only Savior
can God propitiate.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Righteous, Risen, and Beloved Son --- devotion and hymn based on Luke 23:13-25

[13] Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, [14] and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. [15] Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. [16] I will therefore punish and release him.”
            [18] But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—[19] a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. [20] Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, [21] but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” [22] A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” [23] But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. [24] So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. [25] He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.
           
(Luke 23:13-25 ESV)

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Three times in this passage Pilate declares the innocence of Jesus!  Both Pilate and Herod were ruthless leaders, who were well known for their cruelty.  Pilate brutally murdered some Galileans as they were worshipping in the temple and mixed their blood together with their sacrifices.  Herod put to death John the Baptist after a lewd dance by his step-daughter, and also murdered the apostle James.  During Jesus’ trials, Pilate and Herod had no qualms about subjecting Jesus to torture.  And yet, both of these exceedingly wicked men declared Jesus innocent of all of the charges against Him.

If Jesus, then, is innocent, why must he die?  The answer is that his death is the only way that guilty sinners like us can be forgiven and saved.  Because of our sin which we all inherited from Adam, there is only one hope for us---only one way for us to be forgiven and justified---and that is to depend on what Jesus did for us in his death and resurrection.

In this passage we see the power of darkness and the irrationality of sin.  Jesus was innocent of misleading the people.  He was innocent of leading an insurrection against Rome.  Yet, the Jewish leaders and people are shouting in hatred and rage for Jesus’ crucifixion at the same time they are asking for the release of Barabbas, who truly did mislead the people and lead an insurrection against Rome!  Sin, you see, is irrational.  The power of darkness is at work in this scene, just as Jesus had said, “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

But, sadly, you and I are not free of this darkness that we see in our passage.  We share in this darkness by virtue of our birth in Adam.  The Bible teaches that we have three enemies: the devil, the world, and the flesh or sinful nature.  This last enemy, in some ways, is the most insidious because it is within us.  All of us share the sinful, fallen nature of Adam.  The serpent’s poison is within us, and we are born with a disposition that wants nothing to do with God or His Son.  We prefer a false Christ like Barabbas whose name means son of the father, to the true Christ, who really is the Son of the Father.  So when we see the people shouting for the death of God incarnate, we are getting a glimpse of our own unregenerate, fallen hearts, and it should cause us to weep.  It should cause us to weep because this fallen nature remains even in the regenerate heart until we are changed and go to be with Christ.  Until then, we must mourn our sad condition and find the comfort of forgiveness that comes from the gospel of Christ.  But take heart, for Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mat. 5:4).

If we are in Christ, forgiveness and justification are ours, and we find comfort already in this life, even as we look forward to being with Jesus in the life to come, when our sinful nature will be completely removed.  Verse four of the hymn continues to speak about how the sanctification and healing process already begin in this life.  Not only are we forgiven and justified in this life, but we also receive from Christ, through His Spirit and the means of grace, His very own risen life.  Our Lord Jesus could heal people with just a touch of his hand or with just a word from his mouth, therefore, he can also heal us as he gives us his risen life through Word, water, bread and wine.  May He increase our faith to believe this.  Amen.

The Son of God is Righteous

To the tune: ES IST EIN’ ROS’ ENTSPRUNGEN (http://www.opc.org/hymn.html?hymn_id=72).  Based on Luke 23:13-25.  Words: William Weber, 2012.

v. 1
The Son of God is righteous,
He’s blameless, free of sin.
Three times said Pontius Pilate,
“I find no guilt in Him.”
Why then must Jesus die?
His death alone saves sinners,
He must be crucified.

v. 2
We all are guilty sinners,
we all deserve to die.
We’ve turned away in Adam,
from God and from His Christ.
How then can we be saved?
Believe in the Lord Jesus,
who died and then was raised.

v. 3
Behold the rage of sinners
against the Holy One,
preferring an imposter
to God’s beloved Son.
What makes our hearts like this?
We share the fallen nature,
our passions now amiss.

v. 4
Behold Christ’s sinless nature,
true man, true God in One.
Obeyed in death His Father,
the perfect, risen Son.
What can Christ do for you?
His risen life can heal you,
His Spirit can renew.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Reformation of Music in Our Churches

O how we need a reformation in our churches today!  Many of us see our dire need for revival and renewal as we look around at our Evangelical and Reformed churches and our own lives.  But it may be that before such renewal comes, we will need to address problems in our churches. One of the problems of churches these days is confusion about the proper place of music in the liturgy or order of service.

Music is supposed to serve the dialogue of worship between the Lord and His people.  Music, in and of itself, is not an element of worship like God's Word or prayer.  Rather, music serves as a beautiful form to carry God's words to us, or our words to God, or our words to one another.  Music has a ministerial role or accompanying role as it serves the dialogue between the Lord and His people each Lord's day. Only the Word of God is to have the magisterial role in our worship services as it governs our response of prayer.[1]

Once we understand music's proper role in serving God's Word and our response to God's Word, we will begin to see that it is the pastors and elders who have the responsibility to oversee the liturgy of the church,[2] because the liturgy is about God's Word!  Too often today the pastors and elders hand over the design of the liturgy to the musicians in the church.  Our pastors and elders do not seem to realize that the entire service of worship is about God's Word and our response.  Pastors and elders, who are the teachers of God's Word and best equipped to understand God's Word and our response to His Word, mistakenly give this responsibility to musicians, who are not trained as teachers. Just because a man or woman can sing or play an instrument does not qualify him or her to lead Christ's people to hear His Word and respond appropriately to it.  

When we raise music to a magisterial role above God's Word so that it does not serve the Word, there are consequences.  Sadly, today, our liturgies (and every church has a liturgy or order of service) reflect the lack of training most musicians have in God's Word.  Most musicians cannot preach God's Word, and we recognize that truth by letting the preachers preach.  But somehow we fail to see that the whole liturgy is, in a sense, preaching, because it is God speaking and His people responding in appropriate ways.

But, today, music is drowning out the dialogue of worship in our liturgies.[3]  We see this in two obvious ways.  First, we no longer sing songs one at a time in response to the Word.[4]  Instead we string together a number of choruses and hymns that have no relation to what God has spoken earlier in the service.  Second, we no longer have Old Testament, Psalms, Epistle, and Gospel readings.  God's voice heard in the public reading of Scripture has never had less of a place in Christian liturgies than it does at present.[5]

How often our words betray our mistaken understanding of music's place in our services of worship! We install a "minister of music" (notice it is not a minister of God's Word)[6]  and we pray that the Lord will help this "minister of music" lead us in our "worship," as though worship is all about music!  But worship is not about music at all.  Worship is about our right response to the Word of God that we hear as both law and gospel.  Romans 12: 1 defines worship as our response to God's Word: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy [which Paul has delineated in the first 11 chapters of Romans], to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."  

What we need in our churches today are not ministers of music, but ministers of God's Word, who will once again take their rightful place in leading the people in worship, i.e., rightly responding to God's Word of judgment and mercy.  Then music will take its rightful place, and the Word of God will once again have a place of preeminence in our churches.  Then, and probably only then, can we really hope for renewal in our churches as we take some initial steps in the church's reformation of music and worship.

--------------------------------
[1] I am using "prayer" here in an inclusive sense to refer to all our response to God's Word in light of our experience.  That response could be lament, confession, praise, thanks, petition, etc.

[2] I am not saying that well trained lay people cannot lead the various elements of the liturgy!  I believe that a strong Scriptural case can be made for trained lay people preaching and even administering the Lord's Supper.  But I am arguing for the design and supervision of the liturgy by pastors and elders so that our liturgies truly assist us to hear and respond to God's Word, which is our reasonable worship (Rom. 12:1).  As an aside, until we let trained lay people administer the Supper, we will never be able to have the weekly Supper as the early church did, and thus, we will continue to weaken Christ's people by withholding His food and drink.

[3] It is a serious sin to drown out the voice of God with our own voices, even if those voices are singing.  I see no reason why we should not apply James 1:17 to our worship services that have increasingly replaced the reading of God's Word with more and more singing: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak."

[4] I am not saying that churches that sing one song at a time are necessarily in better shape if the songs they choose have no relation to God's Word!  Much careful thought must go into our liturgies.

[5] By jettisoning the church's traditional reading of the Old Testament, Psalms, Epistles, and Gospels, a tradition we can trace back to the synagogue, can we honestly say we are not neglecting the public reading of God's Word?  Do we really believe that the written Word is a means of grace? 1 Timothy 4:13: "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."

[6] We should abolish the title "minister of music."  Music is not a means of grace, beautiful as it is.  God's Word alone, written, preached, and visible in sacrament is a means of grace.  Music can certainly enhance and beautify the Word, but nevertheless, it is not how we minister to one another.  Let's stop raising music a sacrament.  We can appreciate it without it usurping and dishonoring God's Word.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Revealing Cross --- devotion and hymn based on Luke 23:1-12

[23:1] Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. [2] And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” [3] And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” [4] Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” [5] But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
            [6] When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. [7] And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. [8] When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. [9] So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. [10] The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. [11] And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. [12] And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
           
(Luke 23:1-12 ESV)

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One of the charges the Jewish leaders brought to Pilate was that Jesus was “misleading our nation” (v. 2).  Verse one of the hymn below picks up on this idea of leading.  Jesus is the One who leads His people to heaven.  Just as the end result of the exodus was fellowship and worship in the Lord’s presence, so the result of Jesus’ exodus, His death and resurrection, is fellowship and worship in heaven around our risen Lord.  Our life and our worship is heavenly even now!

The passion of Jesus in his sufferings and cross reveal the true nature of a world that has rejected the true God.  The world is that anti-Christ culture that wants nothing to do with God or His Son.  God was even booed at a recent political convention because His name was reincluded in a party platform.  But hatred of God is not a new thing, and we see it on fullest display as God incarnate is murdered by sinful man.

It is interesting to see how Pilate and Herod are able to unite around their rejection of Jesus.  We see the same thing happening today in the movement to unite all of the world’s religions.  It is conspicuous at such gatherings how every religion is welcomed except orthodox, apostolic Christianity.  The people who own “coexist” bumper stickers never like the real Jesus, who claimed to be the only way to the Father.

Verse three of the hymn is picking up the theme of Jesus’ silence before his accusers (v. 9).  This silence was prophesied by Isaiah:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 ESV)
                      
 Jesus was fully committed to His Father’s will to give His life as a sacrifice to save sinners.  He was truly the Lamb of God.


Verse four of the hymn calls us to leave the world and to see the world for what it is.  This call is much in line with the apostolic Word.  The beloved disciple, John, writes:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 ESV)

And similarly, James, the Lord’s very own brother and leading apostle in Jerusalem, wrote:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV)


And the last book of the Bible, Revelation, calls us to leave Babylon, a symbolic name for the world and its false value system:

                        Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
                        “Come out of her [Babylon], my people,
                        lest you take part in her sins,
                        lest you share in her plagues;
                        for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
                        and God has remembered her iniquities. 
                        (Revelation 18:4-5 ESV)

Finally, the final verse of the hymn would have us not be arrogant in our attitude toward the world, for the same Adamic nature remains even in born from above, baptized believers.  This is why we must die daily to the old man and be raised to live by faith in Christ.  Our true condition in Christ is that we have died and risen with Christ, but we must live out that reality by repentance and faith on a daily basis.

Light that Leads the Lost to Heaven

To the tune: O MEIN JESU, ICH MUSS STERBEN (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/aTLH_Hymns9.htm click on Stricken, smitten, and afflicted 153).  Based on Luke 23:1-12.  Words: William Weber, 2012.

v. 1
Light that leads the lost to heaven,
Path that brings poor sinners home.
Jesus is the Way that’s given,
Son that makes the Father known.
Darkness tries to overcome Him
and destroy salvation’s Way.
Speaking lies and hate like venom,
this world’s colors on display.

v. 2
Christ the Lord is put on trial,
sinners judge their Judge and King.
They deny His name and title,
and refuse their praise to bring.
Men declare a guilty verdict
on the Son who lived in love.
But the Father will reverse it,
raise Him to His throne above.

v. 3
Like a lamb that’s led to slaughter,
Jesus suffered silently.
Priests and scribes were His accusers,
His life taken violently.
He endured it all for sinners,
bearing sin’s appalling price.
He was numbered with transgressors,
gave His life a sacrifice.

v. 4
Leave the world and flee to Jesus,
for it hates our Lord and King.
Let the cross of Jesus grieve us:
it reveals depravity.
But the grace of God is greater,
know His all surpassing love.
Come return to your Creator,
In His Son you’re born above.

v. 5
Died and risen with our Savior,
we are baptized into Christ.
Daily die to Adam’s nature,
and by faith we daily rise.
If we sin we look to Jesus,
for He cleanses by His blood.
For in mercy He receives us,
sends His Spirit from above.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Seas have lifted up - Psalm 93.wmv




Taking Jesus Seriously

I thought this was true and important. It is from Philip Ryken's comments on the mockery of Jesus at his trial before Herod and Pilate:

"Jesus should be adored, not abused. He should be treated with reverence, not contempt. Yet just as 
the temple guards had mocked him earlier as prophet, so now the Roman soldiers mocked him as king.

"Many people still mock Jesus today. If they talk about him at all, it is only to use his name as a swear word, or make fun of his followers, or to make jokes about the stories in the Gospels, speaking blasphemy. But these are not the only ways to make a mockery of Jesus. Herod's real sin was that he did not take Jesus seriously, and we are tempted not to take him seriously either. If Jesus really is the King, then anything less than willing obedience and open worship is unworthy of his honor. But sometimes we go an entire day, or a week, or even longer without contemplating his kingly majesty, or going to his throne in prayer, or listening to the royal decrees that are written in his Word.

"Kings are not to be ignored; they are to be honored and obeyed. If Jesus truly is our King, then we will show his gentleness in our homes, his patience in our trials, his diligence in our work, his faithfulness in our friendships, and his forgiveness for the people it is hard for us to love. Ar you living for the King, or are you mocking him by living as if it hardly matters whether his is the King or not? The claim of kingship is not just a claim that Jesus makes about himself, but a claim that he makes on us."

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