Till He Comes...We Will Proclaim
Last night we were studying the Lord's Supper in our college class at Northwood and it struck me...what a PRIVILIDGE it is to proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Just the fact that we get to part of the memorial Jesus instituted for His disciples (Matthew 26) is stunning, but also the fact that just as the Israelites took the Passover meal that included the spotless lamb, that today we partake of the Lord's Supper and commune with Jesus our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). What a sacrifice!! Also, just as the early Christians took the supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) we too follow the Apostles teaching and revelation by the Holy Spirit by partaking on the first day of the week. But further, what about the rest of the week? How do we do as Christians do proclaiming the Lord's death till he comes.
Webster's gives 3 definitions for proclaim:
1. To declare publicly; announce: How are we at publicly speaking to other about Jesus? Are we afraid to tell others about Christ..His love, truth, mercy and justice.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. he also says in John 14:15“If you love Me, keep My commandments. Lord help us to announce you and to not be afraid.
2. To give outward indication of; show: Not being a magnet for attention to us, but being a mirror of Christ both in our actions and words. Jesus says in John 13:13-17You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Lord help us show you to others!!!
3. To praise or glorify openly or publicly; extol : In Matthew 9:8 the multitudes marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. Do we glorify God daily for His marvelous power? Do we inwardly glorify God when good things happen to us and glorify God through the bad as well (Job 1: 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”) Do we outwardly give God the glory concerning our blessings, about God's awesome creation, about the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15) and in all things (1 Cor 10:31) Lord help us to extol you!!
What a wonderful thought to know that when He comes...we will be proclaiming :) Lord help us to proclaim you!!!
1 Cor 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Nehemiah was in the process of rebuilding the walls of the temple (Nehemiah 6); in fact, he had it all done except for the doors being put on the gates. The enemies of Israel were not happy; they were actually plotting ways to delay or possibly attack Nehemiah and stop the work. They tried "friendly" meetings (6:1-4) and slander against Nehemiah (6:5-9). But I think the third way they tried to stop the work being done was the most interesting.
A secret informer was sent to Nehemiah in chapter 6: 10-14; "Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.” The informer tried to persuade Nehemiah to go into the temple and hide because there were those trying to take his life. Can you imagine how tempting this would have been for Nehemiah? However, Nehemiah knew that only priests were allowed in the temple, and this would have violated God's word. In 2 Chronicles 26, King Uzziah - who was not a priest - went into the temple, and God instantly struck him with leprosy.
I believe there are 2 very good lessons in this story to be learned when we consider God's word today.
1. We can never compromise God's word because of fear.
Shemaiah tried to create fear in Nehemiah and tried to get him to disobey God based on this fear. Religion that compromises avoids persecution, which is exactly what Jesus said we would endure if we are faithful (Matthew 5:10). Being a true follower of God means we must decide who we belong to in our heart and be ready to give an answer of the hope within us with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).
We cannot compromise. “He seeks to persuade Nehemiah into an easy-going, compromising religion that will shirk persecution, that will carry no cross, and that is governed by fear of the opinions of other people (Redpath).” Do we compromise or carry our cross? Jesus was also offered a way out of the cross from the devil - just worship him, and all the kingdoms of the world would be delivered to Him. Jesus would have none of it. Never compromise!!!
2. Religious talk can be deceptive.
If Nehemiah believed Shemaiah’s religious talk, he would sin and give others something to find fault with and discredit him with. It was wrong to go in the temple… period. I hear things today like "that's your interpretation", or "that's the wrong hermeneutic", but the truth is, if God said it, then it came from Him; thus we must follow it (1 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Tim 3:16-17). We can call it whatever we want, but only God's word has the power of salvation (Rom 1:16).
I also hear things like "God's grace will cover that" in reference to a sin. God's word teaches us that grace will not continue if we continue to sin (Romans 6:1). The fact is sin is transgression, and by the blood of Jesus will be forgiven if as Christians we repent and make confession (1 Jn 1:9-10). We must be careful that we do not follow false religion or religious talk, (Matthew 7) and that we follow the teachers of God's word. According to Jesus’ own words, our love for Him is defined by our willingness to obey His teaching (John 14:15-23). And His teaching did not end with His death on the cross. After His death, the Spirit would return (John 14:15-23) and continue to reveal and teach God’s Truth through the apostles (John 16:12-14, 17:6-17).
Let us always see the importance of teaching only what Jesus Himself taught, whether in Person, or in the Spirit through His hand-picked apostles, in all things (2nd Peter 1:3-12, Jude 3).
“Woe is to me if I preach not the gospel." - Justin Roberson
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Woe is to me if I preach not the gospel." Brethren, it’s time to teach lost souls. There is an urgency to teach the lost. Jesus says in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." We must work in the Lord's harvest because if we don't then those we could have taught will be lost and we don't want that to happen. Bible studies are desperately needed. Whether you are willing to conduct them, or just set them up, there are lost souls that must be reached. Here are six ideas and methods that God teaches us to practice.
1. Pray to God to help you to say the right thing, in the right way. Pray for open doors, for wisdom & strength to take advantage of the opportunities. Pray for open hearts and for the prospect to have ease of understanding. James 5:16
2. Until a study is set up it can’t be conducted. To set up a study we must ASK. We should not be afraid that we are going to make a mistake in asking a person to study the Bible with us. The only person who never made a mistake is the one who did nothing for fear of making a mistake, but he made the biggest mistake of all by doing nothing. If we have sincerity and love for lost souls then what we say will not be so important. We must realize that everyone has a precious soul. Remember to always strive to gain a study appointment with a definite time and date rather than just answering questions on the spur of the moment. WE CAN DO IT!!!
3. Different people should approached differently. Jude 22-23 says, "And on some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
4. Avoid a prideful, know it all, excited, argumentative, or angry attitude. If we don’t then a wall of opposition springs up. (A) If you say "I’ll prove it to you", in his mind he thinks "I’d like to see you do it." (B) If you say "Let me show you", he thinks "Maybe so but I won’t accept it from you if you do." It is better to say "could we see what the Bible says?" Don’t quote scriptures to him. Ask him to read the scripture. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to do this with meekness and fear.
5. In talking to another we should remember that his convictions are just as sacred to him as ours are to us. What he believes may seem foolish to us, and it may be easy for us to see his error, but it is hard for him. It is difficult for him or her to give it up.
6. Be genuinely sincere when we are talking to someone about his soul. Their soul is the most important thing in the world, and if he or she thinks we think so then he will see how important it is. Love of the lost will lead us to an untiring effort for the salvation of others. If we really love the souls of people, we cannot bear the thought that they will be lost forever. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. People will be more willing to listen to us if they really believe we care. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart 1 Peter 1:22…..God bless you!!
"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29)
So what are we to do when we find ourselves looking at men or women wrongly? Grasp an eyeball and yank it out of its socket? Is that what Jesus intended? I don't think so. Jesus, like all of us, sometimes uses hyperbole -- overstatement -- to make a point. When Jesus speaks of a camel going through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24), for example, it was hyperbole, an indication of impossibility. When he says a man should hate his father and mother, wife and children (Luke 14:26), he is employing hyperbole. When we say, "I'll swear on a stack of Bibles," or "I wouldn't do that in a million years," we are using hyperbole to make a point. Therefore, he is saying, unless you and I want to stand as guilty before God as one who commits physical adultery, we must repent and change rather than excuse ourselves. Here are 2 ways we can continue to live pure lives in an impure world.
1. Shut our senses, with strong control, no matter how precious it is
Jesus is here teaching spiritual surgery: Drastic operations - - the speedy and decisive amputation of any pleasure or tendency which would destroy spiritual and eternal life. (1 Cor 9:24-27.)
Step 1- Stop feeding your lust. Get rid of anything in your home that triggers this lust.
Step 2- Until you get victory over this it may involve cutting off the cable capability that pipes pornography into your home. 2 Timothy 2:22
Step 3- Purchase a service that filters out pornography from your computers -- not just for your children's sake, but for your sake as well.
2. Look with Love
God wants us to be able to look on members of the opposite sex with love rather than lust. If the law tells us what not to do; what does it direct us to practice? "Teacher," Jesus' enemies asked him to trick him, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-40)
Jesus calls us to look with love. Men in a church are to: "Treat ... younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." (1 Timothy 5:2).
The reason brothers don't usually lust for their sisters -- beyond a strong cultural incest taboo -- is because they care for them as people. Their relationship goes beyond the physical exterior to the real person who has longings and disappointments, a girl with potential and hope and pain. We love our sisters as people. That is what it is all about. Job said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." (Job 31:1)
How then can I look at her? As a sister, a future wife and mother and as somebodys little girl…after all she always will be. Also as a sweet and fragile human being, as a person who God loves. If I can train my eyes to see as God sees with the love with which God loves, it is hard to look with lust.
God bless you- JCR
1. If the Bible speaks it we can sing it.
If we have the right scripturally to sing a song, sing it. Can we sometimes get so caught up in what a song doesn’t say that we miss what it does say? I would ask this question; at what point do we let the fear of teaching a false doctrine hinder us from teaching one another the truth (the correct doctrine) through song?
Amazing Grace- This song could make someone cringe because although grace is amazing, it is not what saves us alone. This however could be implied. From verse two you could also strongly imply that the grace that saves you appears when you believe, excluding baptism. The fact is, the song is scriptural [For it is by grace you have been saved (Eph 2:8a)] so we sing it. We don’t take into account what could or could not be implied….it is because we simply speak where the Bible speaks. Isn’t that enough?
2. Poetic license is a valuable tool used to help our singing not give everyone a reason to pick every song apart
Poetic license is defined as “license used by a writer or artist to heighten the effect of their work. In our interpretation of songs, we must remember the use of poetic license used by the author in the formulation of the song. The Bible contains poetic language frequently.
In Psalm 114:3 for example, the sea is spoken of as if it had life (personification). Benjamin described as a ravenous wolf (Gen. 49:27) is an example of a metaphor (comparing a word to something it is not, to suggest a resemblance). Another example would be Judges 4 and 5. It is clear that the account of Judges 4:17-22 compared to the poetic account of 5:24-27 reveals no discrepancies but the poetic description of Sisera’s death by Jael lacks some elements because it is meant to be short in order to create a more forceful imagery. There are many examples of poetic language used in our songs today and I thought of two:
- Heaven Holds All To Me- Will millions sing?
v3 Why should I long for the world with its sorrows, When in that home o'er the sea
Millions are singing the wonderful story? Heaven holds all to me
- None Of Self And All Of Thee- Can we completely be none of self and all of thee?
v4 "Higher than the highest heavens, Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered: ‘None of self, and all of Thee.’"
Ultimately we could pick apart almost every song we sing. From above the bright blue, to trust and obey. Instead, we should realize that some songs are written with the intention of heightening the effect, something that the Bible does as well. Even though we have established that the song being scriptural is the most important aspect, can we not lend that the author was trying to heighten the emotion and effect?
3. Don’t jump to a conclusion that a song is unscriptural because it does not have every scripture in it.
If the Bible means both what it says in passage 1 and passage 2 and passage 3 then
one song can say we are saved by grace, one song can say we are saved by baptism and one song can say we are saved by faith…they are all scriptural.
Why does it have to be a either/or situation? There are many places in the Bible where 2 teachings must be reconciled Example. Ephesians 2, Romans 4 and James 2.
Notice Romans 8:3-4: 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NIV
In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verses 4-13. Does this mean Jesus sinned…no. But he appeared in the “likeness of sinfulness flesh” One might argue and say this proves that Jesus sinned but it is clear by looking at 1 Pet 1:18-19 that He did not sin. We must reconcile scriptures together because all scripture is given by inspiration of God… (2 Tim 3:16-17)
4. We should not be bias against “new” songs.
It seems that some new songs are put under intense scrutiny and criticism simply because they are new. I believe new songs can teach false doctrines they should not be sung. But, I also believe some new songs have lyrics that might be called “Calvinistic” by some according to their interpretation, but are scriptural. Do we realize this has been true for many years? Two good examples of songs we sing that arguably have denominational/Calvinistic slants are Blessed Assurance and Rock of Ages. How often do we call them into question? Yet the first new song that is led is held to the fire. We should not have this bias toward new songs:
- Blessed Assurance= entire sanctification.
Verse 3- "Perfect submission” once saved always saved
Also written by Calvinist
- Rock of Ages= Unconditional Election
(This verse may not be in HFW but it shows the Calvinistic slant)
verse 2 Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone
I am not against either of these songs because in blessed assurance “Perfect Submission” can be loosely interpreted to mean strong dedication and that verse in Rock of Ages is not in most books we use. But, I personally believe if we are going to review and examine songs we need to be completely open minded and give all songs a fair shake regardless of date of writing and the person who wrote it.
“To know the true reality of yourself, you must be aware not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious prejudices, bias and habits.” UNKNOWN
How many times have we let the newness of a song inhibit our worship and hold us back from truly fulfilling the command to “teach and admonish one another in psalms hymns and spiritual songs”? (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16) We choose a song with 17th century language that half the congregation does not understand and certainly cannot be edified by, or taught by it in favor of a song we know. How many times do we let the newness of a song cause us to cower away from an opportunity for this culture and generation to better understand and grow from our singing? I hope and pray that we only sing songs that are scriptural. I also hope we are willing to venture beyond songs we consider old/known for the sakes of admonishing, teaching, and praise of our great and almighty God. (Psalm 100) God bless you JCR