Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Worship

So Many Idols

There are so many idols that can capture our hearts.  1 John 5:21 warns us against idolatry.  We are not to be idolaters as some of the Israelites were (1 Corinthians 10:7) and we are to flee idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).  Exodus 20:3-4 warns against the sin of idolatry.  Idolatry is a sin of the flesh and shows our utter corruption (Galatians 5:20).

I look around and I see idolatry all over the place.  Granted I don’t see people outwardly bowing down to pools, to idols made of wood or stone but I do see people bowing down to the false idols of self, of sex, of pride, of lust, of riches (or Mammon as in Matthew 6:24).  I see bowing down to the gods of entertainment, food, music, and drink.

But I see even more idols in the idolatry of worshiping sports teams, the idolatry of parents who adore their children above God.  I see even people idolizing theology and lifting up knowledge above their passion for Christ.  They can sit for hours and discuss deep theological themes but they don’t bow their knees to pray, to worship, to evangelize.  They just talk about theology but never truly worship the God whom they claim they are seeking.

The idol of money is a powerful idol.  I see people chasing after money.  Chasing after things of this world.  I see people chasing after more stuff, more houses, more cars, more boats, more motorcycles, more toys.  Their old adage is “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  Do we not see that we take nothing with us (Ecclesiastes 2:11)?  We enter the world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing.  Only what is done for Christ will last (Matthew 6:19-21).

John the Apostle tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 that only those who do the will of the Father will abide forever.  We are not to love this world or the things in the world for if we do so, the love of the Father is not in us.  We cannot both love this world and love God at the same time.  The chasing after idolatry is foolish and leads only to death for these gods are false gods and cannot save us.

In the end, God will destroy all idols and all idolaters (Revelation 21:8).  We have broken His command in Exodus 20:3-4 and have served other gods.  It was this sin of idolatry that led to the children of Israel being cast out of the promise land and into the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 16:15-22).  God sent the prophets to warn the people of Israel to turn from their idolatry but they did not.  God gave them over to their lusts and they were led into captivity.  God gave the land a sabbath from their wicked ways.  Will He spare us?  Does not Romans 1 promise that God will give people over to their idolatry and their sins?  We become what we worship.

Oh that we might repent and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into His truth.  Let Him search our hearts to keep us from the wicked sin of idolatry (Psalm 19:13).  I pray that the Holy Spirit will place His hand upon all the idols of our hearts.  The idols of football teams, of our children, of technology such as Facebook or even blogging.  May the Spirit lead us to love Christ more and fear Him alone.  May He lead us toward godliness and being totally devoted to Christ the King.

Oh Lord purge me of idolatry!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/08/2014 at 2:18 PM

Listening to What We Sing

I was not shocked recently when a once popular Christian band came out in favor of same-sex marriage.  I had first heard of this band when secular radio stations begin playing their music so I too bought their tape (remember those?) and begin to listen to them.  I was a young man then and even then I was stuck by how shallow their lyrics were.  Their musical talent was good but their lyrics were very shallow and lacked any theology at all.  I finally had the chance to see them live at a local college bar where I thought they would have a prime opportunity to share the gospel with these lost college students pouring into this bar to hear these guys sing.  They band never shared the gospel and even held up his drink (which could have been just a coke) and dedicated his songs to his drink.  The students in the bar all held up their drinks (which most were not cokes) and yelled like crazy.  Not once did the band preach Christ that night.  Not once.  And I was not shocked.  Their shallow lyrics had already informed me that they probably were a very shallow “Christian” band.

I am convinced that most people fail to listen to what they sing.  They think that a song sounds good but they don’t realize that the lyrics could even be anti-Christ (2 John 7).  Even in many so-called “worship” services, the music is not God-centered nor even biblical.  It may sound good but the words themselves are not even close to sound doctrine.

I fear that we are too often focused on sounds rather than words.  For the disciple of Jesus, we must take the Word of God and examine all things (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).  The Bible is how we can know truth from error (Hebrews 5:14).  The Bible feeds our hungry souls (Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2).  Yet we often fail to take the Bible and examine what we are listening to.  Philippians 4:8 is often used for what we watch but we should also use the Word of God for what we hear.  What are we singing?  What are they saying?

1 Timothy 4:16 tells us to watch our lives and doctrine closely.  Titus 2:1 tells us that we are to teach that which accords to sound doctrine.  Does this not apply also to music?  Does this not also apply to what we sing?  Of course it does!  All of my life as a disciple of Jesus is to revolve around what the Bible teaches.  The test for a song must not be “does it sound good” or “is it popular” but is it biblical?  Does the songs that I am singing and listening to exalt Christ?  Do they promote holiness?  Are they focused on Christ and exalting His work among us?  Does this song that we are singing exalt sound doctrine?

Sadly, most modern worship songs seem to promote humans or love or just a therapeutic view of God rather than sound biblical teaching.  We tend to sing 7-11 songs (the same seven words eleven times).  We sing a song because Hillsongs sings it but we never question the theology behind the song.  This has led to pragmatism when it comes to singing praises to God.  It is now not unpopular to have a guy (or gal) standing on a stage full or smoke and rock music and they all are decked out in blue jeans.  They “worship” leader comes out on stage and proceeds to lead the mindless people in a set of songs that never focus on the gospel, never exalt Christ in His truth, never point the singers to the glory of the King, and lack in sound doctrine.  Does the “worship” leader get rebuked?  No!  They get to make an album and we buy it up!  The “worship” leaders I have met often are very shallow theologically and have no true depth in their lives for Christ.  They just know how to sing (a few of them) and know how to play an instrument (either guitar or electric piano).

My point here is not to start a music war.  We all have different tastes and styles.  In reality, a guy with blue jeans on can be more biblically focused than the guy in a suit.  The way one looks is not really my point here.  My point is that we are so biblically illiterate I fear (from poor theology in the churches to shallow, topical preaching) that we never question what we sing.  This should not be.  We must test everything by the Word of God (Acts 17:11) and we must throw out that which does not exalt Christ in His truth.  Ephesians 5:18-21 should be our guide for this.  Ephesians 5:18-21 reads:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Notice that Paul the Apostle tells us that our songs should be to the Lord (v.19) and should give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.20).  This is true worship.  This is how we truly exalt Christ in His glory (John 4:23-24).

So listen to what you sing and pay attention to words.  They matter.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/01/2014 at 8:30 PM

Arminianism Didn’t Save Me!

I was saved in 1992.  If you had told me in 1992 that I was an Arminian, I would have asked what in the world was that.  If you had told me in 1992 that I was a follower of Arminius, I would have asked who in the world was he.  If you had asked me in 1992 about Calvinism or Arminianism or about even John Wesley, I would have looked at you curiously and asked what they were.  I had no clue about Arminianism when I was born again.  I had no clue about John Calvin or Martin Luther when the Lord was pleased to save me.  All I knew was that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose again, and that He was my Savior and Lord.  That was all I knew.  I didn’t know much theology and surely didn’t care about learning about Arminius in 1992.

In fact, I learned that I was an Arminian by reading a theology book that my youth pastor gave me in 1993.  As I read that book, I begin to read about the debate over doctrines such as eternal security, election, predestination, etc. and I came away believing in Arminianism though I still had no clue really what that was other than I didn’t believe in “once saved, always saved.”  My Arminianism took root while in college after debating with more students over eternal security.  I am no doubt an Arminian now but that took years to develop.

My point here is that Arminianism didn’t save me.  As my mama would say, “I ain’t saved by no man.”  Jesus alone is my salvation!  I was reading (and shouting a bit) this morning as I turned in my Bible from passage to passage regarding the precious blood of Jesus and His finished work.  I read Luke 19:10 and I know that is me, a sinner in need of a Savior.  I read 1 Timothy 1:15 and that is me, the foremost of sinners who needs His grace.  I read 1 Peter 1:18-19 and shouted at the wondrous thought that Jesus shed His blood for my forgiveness.  I read 1 John 1:9 and 1 John 2:1-2 and worshiped the Lord Jesus for obtaining the right (John 1:12-13) to be forgiven by His grace.  I read Titus 3:5-7 and rejoiced to know that I am saved not by my works but by His grace alone.  I read John 19:30 and blessed God for the truth that our salvation is finished in Christ.  I read Ephesians 1:7-10 and again shouted with joy at this truth, that Jesus’ blood brings me forgiveness.

And not one of those verses names Arminius or Calvin or Ravenhill or Washer as my salvation.  Jesus alone is my salvation.  Jesus alone prays for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25).  The Father accepted the sacrifice of the Son and the Spirit drew me to salvation and He sealed me until the day of reception (Ephesians 1:13-14).  It wasn’t Arminianism that saved me.  It was Christ alone who saved me (Romans 1:16-17).  It wasn’t Arminianism that washed away my sins, it was the blood of the Lord Jesus (Romans 5:8-9).

Oh friends, don’t worship a theological system.  Worship the Son of God!  Make Jesus your passion.  Don’t exalt a man above the Lord Jesus.  Exalt the Lord Jesus and make His name great!  Jesus came to ransom us from our sins (Mark 10:45) and His blood can wash away all our sins.  Hebrews 9:14 is one of the greatest passages of Scripture.  It reads,

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

The blood of Christ cleanses us completely.  Through the blood of Christ we are able to serve the living God.  Praise God the Father for this wonderful gift!

Let us look to Jesus alone for our salvation (Hebrews 12:1-2) and not to men.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/15/2013 at 11:25 AM

All of Creation Is To Praise God

I was reading from Psalm 148 today and one can easily read this portion of Scripture and see that all of creation is to praise God.  Everything that God has created is to praise Him.  This is why He created.  Everything is to the glory of God (Romans 11:33-36).

Psalm 148 reads in the New King James Version:

1   Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2   Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3   Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4   Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5   Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6   He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
7   Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
8   Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9   Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
10   Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
11   Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12   Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
13   Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
14   And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.

Praise the Lord!

I pray we join in with all of God’s creation and praise His holy name!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/09/2013 at 10:57 AM

Posted in Worship

Tagged with , ,

Faith and Practice

I was amazed recently when I posted on Facebook how true disciples of Jesus could vote for any candidate for political office who holds to abortion on demand or same-sex marriage as being valid and actually had people who claim to follow Christ attack me for this.  This is not an issue of politics.  It is a biblical worldview issue.  Far too many people who claim to be Christians seem to be able to separate their faith in Christ from their moral choices including how they vote or what they read or how they talk.  They claim to be followers of Jesus but with their lives, they do what they like.  This runs contrary to the Bible.  I find nothing in Scripture to suggest that we can claim Christ only when we are in fellowship with other disciples at church (Hebrews 10:24-25) or that we can claim Jesus but do whatever else we like including support those who would uphold murdering unborn babies or supporting legalized homosexual unions.  The attitude seems to be that when it comes to our faith, it should not affect our entire lives especially when it comes to politics.

I want to say before I write further that I don’t believe politics are the answer for our nation.  I believe the answer is the gospel of Christ.  The great need for our world is not reformation or morality but regeneration (John 3:3-7).  The preaching of Christ alone will transform our world as people turn from sin to Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:1-10).  The proper attitude of the disciple of Jesus is not a focus on the kingdoms of this world but upon Jesus, our King (Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 6:15).  The kingdom of Christ does not derive its power from this world but from the Lord God (John 18:36).  The power to transform our world lies not in the flesh but in the power of God (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  I have no doubts that true change will not come through governments of this world but in the gospel.  My hope is found therein.

That said, let me state that I do look at ALL things through the lenses of Scripture.  A disciple of Jesus is not a disciple only when its convenient.  If that is the case, you are not a disciple.  Jesus makes it clear in passages such as Matthew 7:24-27 that His disciples are those who put His teachings into practice.  In John 8:31-32 Jesus tells us that His disciples are those who abide in His teachings and His teachings set us free.  In Luke 11:28 Jesus tells us that His true disciples are those who hear the Word of God and do it!  I find nothing in the teachings of Jesus that says that we can follow Him but do what we like, think how we like, or not be His total slave (Luke 17:10).  We are to abandon all for Him (Luke 14:25-35).  Jesus is to be our everything for without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  The entirety of Jesus is to fill our lives (John 6:53-54).  Everything about the disciple points to Jesus Christ.  We are not our own, we are His who bought us with His own blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

So how can people who claim to be disciples of Jesus turn around and vote for ungodliness, watch ungodliness on television, watch and support ungodly movies, fill their minds with worldly thinking and with the junk of this world?  How is it that people could openly support people who hold to things that run contrary to God’s Word such as abortion or homosexuality or any number of other issues?  How is it that disciples of Jesus claim to follow Jesus but they look and act more like this world than like Christ (James 4:4)?  Have they forgotten Jesus’ words in John 15:18-25 that teaches us that if we follow Christ, the world will hate us?  Why do churches want to attract the world using the things of this world instead of obeying Ephesians 4:11-16 and equipping the saints through faithful teaching from God’s Word to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)?  Have we forgotten 1 John 2:15-17?  Have we forgotten that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21) and that heaven should be our focus (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)?

For me, all that I do and say and think revolves around the Lord Jesus.  He is my everything.  I love Him more than life itself.  I love His salvation and His mercy and His grace.  I love His kingdom and His power.  I love His reign.  I love who He is.  When I go to bed, my heart is focused on Christ.  Throughout my day I think about Christ (Psalm 1:1-3; Isaiah 26:3.  When I work, I meditate upon Jesus and all that He has done for me.  He is my all in all (Philippians 3:7-9).  He is my life (Colossians 3:4).  I know that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus my Lord (Romans 6:23).  I love Jesus dearly.  I long to see Him face to face and fall down and worship Him for a thousand years (1 John 3:1-3).

In Revelation 14:4 we read of the 144,000 and those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  I am not going to work through the different views of what that verse means but I do notice that these faithful disciples are to be what we are called to be as well. Notice that they follow Jesus completely.  They follow Him wherever He goes.  He is their faithful Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4; cf. John 10:14).  Jesus said that His disciples are those who hear His Word consistently (John 10:27-29).  You’ll also notice that these disciples in Revelation 14:5 are people of holiness just as we are called to be (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:11-12; 1 John 3:6-9).  The word “saints” implies being set apart from sin and unto God (Romans 6).  We are saints in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  The only way to be holy is not by avoiding things that we should not do but by focusing on Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Jesus alone is able to keep us from sin (1 Corinthians 10:13) and it’s when we turn from following Him that we stumble into sin (James 1:12-15).

The focus of the disciple of Jesus is always on pleasing our Lord (Philippians 1:20-21).  My joy is found in Jesus.  My delight is found in Jesus.  My confidence is found in Jesus.  My very life is found in Jesus.  I want all of me to revolve around His Lordship over my life.  I want nothing of my own.  I want all of me to be under His reign (1 Peter 3:15).  What I watch on TV.  What I do with my mind.  Even how I vote all falls under His Lordship.  How I love my wife.  How I raise my boys.  How I do my job.  All of this flows from my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for my sins.  My entire world revolves around Jesus.

And frankly, that is the gospel (James 1:23-27; 2:14-26).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/09/2012 at 10:00 AM

The Gospel is Sufficient

I am amazed at how the gospel is carrying me through this trial of losing my mother to cancer.  I am finding strength from the Lord and finding that the gospel is giving me comfort, hope, and victory over all the lies of the enemy and the flesh.  There is no denying that my heart is breaking for my mama.  I will miss her deeply but I will rejoice that she is in the presence of the Lord and that she is no longer suffering from the effects of sin.  Victory will be her’s in Christ Jesus (John 11:25-26).

This all comes from the gospel.  The gospel carries us through trials.  The gospel gives us the power to help us overcome (1 John 5:1-4).  The gospel produces in us that calm assurance that God is sovereignly in control and that He is more than faithful to us by giving us His Son and by giving us His grace and mercy in our redemption.  The gospel reveals to me that we live in a sinful, fallen world that is doomed by sin (Romans 8:20-22).  The fall of man into sin brought death and destruction (Romans 5:12).  The fall is the reason that my mama has cancer.  She is fallen and so are you and I.  In reality, the gospel shows me that we deserve the wrath of God but we receive His mercy through the cross (Romans 5:8-9).  Apart from Christ, we deserve the just dues for our sin which is eternal death (Romans 6:23).  My mama is experiencing the Fall as she suffers in her last days.  She is a child of Adam and the wages of sin is death but praise God that He has saved her from spiritual death through the giving of His Son and by saving her by His grace (John 1:12-13; 5:24-25).

So the gospel reveals to me 1) the reason for my mama’s suffering (sin and the fall), 2) the faithfulness of God in the giving of His Son for our eternal salvation (John 3:16), and 3) that our salvation is not based on our goodness but upon the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is our salvation!  He is the captain of our souls!

My mother, I believe, has placed her total faith in Jesus to save her and to take her to glory when she dies.  Jesus is our reward and our delight (Hebrews 11:6).  He is our rock of refuge (Proverbs 18:10) and He is our strength and our song and He has become our salvation (Psalm 118:14).  Jesus is the reason that heaven is glorious!  Forever and ever and ever we get the pleasure of worshiping He who died for our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:24-25; Revelation 5:9-10). We will worship Jesus for all time and eternity but still never cease to tell of His wonder and His glory.

What a wonderful Savior is our King!  Jesus Christ is the gospel.  He fully reveals God to us since He is God (John 1:1; Colossians 1:15-20) and Jesus is worthy to be praised for saving us because He is our salvation through His own blood (Ephesians 1:7).  There is none as worthy as Jesus is worthy and no Savior but Him alone (John 14:6).  Let us rejoice in Him knowing that He is our salvation and He is the gospel.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/06/2012 at 11:10 PM

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