Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Grace of
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)


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So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

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These words by P. T. Forsythe on the magnificence of Christ's work are to theology what Ruth's Chris is to a good steak.

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What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

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Who Is A God Like You?

February 3, 2009

In Revelation 5, a multitude worships from every race and people and nation. Somewhere in that massive crowd are redeemed ones from the island of Aniwa, in the South Pacific, singing "Worthy is the lamb who was slain." So just how did they get there?


John Paton ministered tirelessly to the people of an island in the South Pacific during the middle of the 19th Century. They were cannibals, and followed ancient rituals, worshipping local deities and gods.

During a particularly severe water shortage, Paton decided to do the unthinkable, to dig a well - by hand!! The concept of water coming up from the ground was virtually unknown to the people of Aniwa, and they scoffed as he dug in the hot sun.

Paton enlisted their aid in the beginning, trading fish hooks for each bucket of dirt they brought up, and down the hole went. But after a cave in, he was pretty much on his own. Starting over, he contrived a way to avoid further such catastrophes, and eventually, he hit water - clear, pure, fresh water - enough to sustain the entire island!

That well achieved more than solving the island's water problem. Chief Namakei asked if he could "preach" the next Sabbath, and a great crowd gathered to hear him. He began by relating how this white missionary had told them many things they couldn't understand, but the strangest of all was the "sinking down through the earth to get rain!

"We said to each other, 'the man's head is turned! He's gone mad!' Was he mad? Has he not got the rain deep down in the earth? We mocked at him, but the water was there all the same. We have laughed at other things which the Missi told us, because we could not see them. But from this day I believe that all he tells us about his Jehovah God is true. Some day our eyes will see it. For today, we have seen rain from the earth."

John Paton tells how the chief now rose to a climax, "one foot and then the other making the broken coral on the floor fly behind like a war horse pawing the ground, he cried with great eloquence:

"My people, the people of Aniwa, the world is turned upside down since the word of Jehovah came to this land! Who ever expected to see rain coming up through the earth? It has always come up from the clouds! Wonderful is the work of this Jehovah God. No god of Aniwa ever answered prayers as the Missi's God has done.

Friends of Namakei, all the powers of the world couldn't have forced us to believe that rain could be given from the depths of the earth, if we had not seen it with our eyes, felt it and tasted it as we here do. Now, by the help of Jehovah God the Missi brought that invisible rain to view, which we never before heard of or saw, and (beating his hand on his breast, he exclaimed): -

"Something in my heart tells me that the Jehovah God does exist, the Invisible One, whom we never heard of nor saw till the Missi brought Him to our knowledge....From this day, my people, I must worship the God who has opened for us the well, and who fills us with rain from below. The gods of Aniwa cannot hear, cannot help us, like the God of Missi. Henceforth I am a follower of Jehovah God.

Let every man that now thinks with me go now and fetch the idols of Aniwa, the gods which our fathers feared, and cast them down at Missi's feet. Let us burn and bury and destroy these things of wood and stone, and let us be taught by the Missi how to serve God who can hear, the Jehovah who gave us the well, and who will give us every other blessing, for Hed sent His Son Jesus to die for us and bring us to Heaven....Namakei stands up for Jehovah!"

And Paton concludes: "This address, and the Sinking of the Well, broke the back of Heathenism on Aniwa. And that very afternoon, company after company came to the spot, loaded with their gods of wood and stone, and piled them up in heaps, amid the tears and sobs of some, and the shoutings of others, in which was heard the oft-repeated word, "Jehovah! Jehovah! What could be burned, we cast into the flames; others we buried in pits twelve of fifteen feet deep; and some few, more likely that the rest to feed or awaken superstition, we sank far out into the deep sea."

They (the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus) they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.

A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.  Acts 19:17-20





The Incredible Love Of God

January 30, 2009

Have you walked through the Sistine Chapel? Then have you tried to describe it? Lots of luck. Words don't do it justice. P. T. Forsythe had a gift for words, and a love for the cross of Christ. And we are blessed as a result.


The following is steak, or prime rib. It is to be chewed thoughtfully and digested slowly. P.T. Forsythe seems incapable of writing the equivalent of hamburger, where most of the work has already been done for the eater.

God, in his holiness, figured out a way to reconcile fallen man, while still being faithful to his justice. And his magnificent plan to show grace is currently the praise of heaven and will be throughout eternity. Meanwhile here on earth, songwriters have attempted to capture the wonder in stanzas, and preachers labor to magnify this God who stopped at nothing to reconcile us back.

The miracle of the world is not that God should love his children or even his prodigals. Do not even the Publicans likewise? But it is that he should love, forgive and redeem His enemies; that his heart should atone for them to His own holy nature; that He should consecrate a suffering greater even than they devised, all the suffering they might have to endure; and by their central sin and its judgment destroy sin at its center.....
   
Forgiving is not just forgetting.  It is not canceling the past.  It is not mere amnesty and restoration. There is something broken in which a soul's sin shatters a world. Such is a soul's grandeur, and so great is the fall thereof; so seamless is the robe of righteousness, so ubiquitous and indefectible the moral order which makes man man. 

Account must be had, somewhere and by somebody, of that holiness of God which is the dignity of fatherhood and soul of manhood.  There are debts that cannot simply be written off and left unrecovered.  There is a spiritual order whose judgments are the one guarantee for mankind and its future. 
   
That law of holiness can by no means whatever be either warned off or brought off in its claim. God cannot simply wave it as to the past, nor is it enough if he simply declare it for all time.  In His own eternal nature it has an undying claim to which he must give effect in due judgment somewhere, if He is to redeem a world. 

The enforcement of God's holiness by judgment is as essential to a universal and eternal Fatherhood as is the outflow of His love. It was not cursed suffering only that fell on the Savior, it was holy judgment. The Holy Father dealt there with the world's sin on (not in) a worldsoul. 

God in Christ judged sin as a Holy Father seeking penalty only for holiness' sake. He gathered it in one there, and brought it to issue, focused, thus, with His unity of holy law. The misery of death which the sinner bears blindly, sullenly, resentfully, was there understood with the understanding of Holy God; the guilt was seen as God sees it; the judgment was accepted as God's judgment, born, owned and glorified before the world as holy, fatherly, just, and good. 

That final witness of holiness to holiness amid sin's last wreck, penalty, and agony - that is expiation as the Father made it in the Son, not changing His feeling, but by crisis, by judgment, eternally changing His relations with the world.

P. T. Forsythe THE HOLY FATHER


AMAZING LOVE
HOW CAN IT BE
THAT THOU MY GOD SHOULDST DIE FOR ME?





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Who can proclaim he mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:2 The answer? No one. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

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Psalm 107 ends with the command to "consider the love of the Lord." Our memory is a powerful tool God has given us - with it we recall his faithfulness, which serves to give us the confidence that our faithful God will continue to be just that - faithful.

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Part of the effects of the Fall is that we get bored. And when the truly valuable loses its luster, we start exploring options. If the subject is grace and we get bored - then the loss is truly great. The appropriate response to grace is wonder.

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Is this just sort of a weird way of bragging? Or, like Isaiah, as we see God in His holiness, do we become more keenly aware of our sinful nature?

CONFESSION - Book of Common Prayer
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If God is holy (and He is) then transgression is very much a constant reality, with confession the appropriate response. And our heavenly Father loves to show mercy.

Father, Son, Spirit - In That Order
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Why is knowledge of God the Father important? Because when we understand that there is a holy God, then the cross takes on its true meaning. Out of that will flow true gratitude to a God who found a way to reconcile Adam's lost race.

Out Of The Heart......
July 8, 2008
Jesus was very clear in his conversation regarding the Pharisees - they were obsessed with keeping the outside of the cup clean, while Jesus focused on the inside of the cup, that is - keeping the heart pure before God.





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