Tag Archives: holiness

Giving Thanks Through Worship

Today’s message summary of November 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

 

Psalm 100:1-5

Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God!

Serve the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us, and we are his

his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;

his faithfulness, through all generations.

 

Psalm 100 is very simple to understand.  It is the shortest psalm in the Bible and very memorable.  It is sung during several worship services.  If you have attended a Reformed Presbyterian church, you would have heard this presented as part of a doxology.

Take notice of the title of Psalm 100.  It is written as a psalm of Thanksgiving.  It is also referred to as a psalm of giving praise.  Both references are correct.  Giving thanks is a way of showing appreciation to God for what He has done.  It is an act of worship.

Psalm 100 has two parts.  The first three verses acknowledge God for who He is, and the last two verses worship Him.

The first command in the psalm is in verse 2, where you are asked to serve Him.  In verse 3, we are two know who He is, and is verse 4, we are to give thanks to Him.  The psalm was written for public worship.  In Jesus’s time, the people would have read this psalm within the synagogue.  The people would publicly assemble to come together in a unified presence to praise God.  It was to be done with exuberance.  It is an invitation to come together with excitement!

Everyone, throughout the world, was invited to worship and praise Him.  It was not a song relegated to the Jews.  People were to shout to Him with gladness!  If you can picture everyone coming together to recognize a king or queen, you can imagine the crowd forming and celebrating loudly.  Thousands and thousands of churches are all worshiping right now in this manner.  There is certainly nothing wrong with making a joyful noise unto the Lord!

This praise was (and is) to be a praise of reverence.  While the physical buildings that existed from the days of Jesus and the Old Testament, we are now able to worship the Lord through our own bodies. Jesus declared that our own bodies are temples before Him.  God deserves all praises from mankind and for all of creation.

Luke 19:40

He (Jesus) answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

Note that Psalm 95 has a similar approach to Psalm 100:

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord,

shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation!

Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving;

let us shout triumphantly to him in song.

For the Lord is a great God,

a great King above all gods.

The depths of the earth are in his hand,

and the mountain peaks are his.

The sea is his; he made it.

His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

the sheep under his care.

Today, if you hear his voice.

 

The first command in Psalm 100 is to serve…as in serve the Lord (Psalm 100:2).

The word “serve” describes the act of working or worshiping as a slave before God.  Being a slave for God implies ownership (not in the negative sense of slavery within US history).  God is to be feared as our Master.

Colossians 3:22

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Dont work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.

When you note that we are servants of God, it means that there is a reverence for Him.  In the same way that servants have masters, God does not want His true servants to do what they want to do.  Because we are in the flesh, we are to remain obedient to the Lord because it is in our best interest.  When we serve Him, we are to do so with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

Psalm 2:10-12

So now, kings, be wise;

receive instruction, you judges of the earth.

Serve the Lord with reverential awe

and rejoice with trembling.

Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry

and you will perish in your rebellion,

for his anger may ignite at any moment.

All who take refuge in him are happy.

 

When we serve the Lord, we are being obedient to Him, and we are doing so with gladness.

The epitome of Sunday service worship is summarized in Psalm 100:2. We came and gathered in this building, and into His presence to worship Him.  The building itself is physical and could disappear tomorrow, but we could still gather as a group without the building and worship Him as members of the body of Christ.

The reverence and holiness of God is to be taken into account:

Exodus 20:18-21

All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance.  You speak to us, and we will listen, they said to Moses, but dont let God speak to us, or we will die.

Moses responded to the people, Dont be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.  And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the total darkness where God was.

 

It is to remind us to not sin against the Lord.  Whether we are gathered in a group or even praying and meditating alone before Him, we are to keep the fear of the Lord on our hearts.  Your understanding of who the Lord is will help to dictate your own behavior.  Those who have little to no fear of Him will often only live for themselves.

Be mindful that when you serve the Lord, your service is an act of worship.  Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily and willing perform this service.  Please note, however, that such service without reverence and faith is meaningless.

The second command in Psalm 100 (verse 3) is to know the Lord.

Knowing the Lord is also referred to throughout the book of Ezekiel and in many parts of the Old Testament.  To know the Lord is to take the time to learn about who He is.  It helps you to learn about how to not sin against Him, and He encourages you to be obedient to Him.

Psalm 100:3-4

Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us, and we are his

his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

 

Getting to know who He is puts the focus on Him.  When we take our focus off of Him, that it when things start to slip.  If your focus is on the glory of God–and of Christ, then your desire should be to learn more about Him each and every day.

Romans 9:20-21

But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, Why did you make me like this? Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?

The God of the universe is indeed the Potter, and He has created everything.  His love and His holiness cannot be contained because that is the essence of who He is.

The third command is to give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 100:4).  Note that giving thanks to the Lord is not just relegated to the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is far more than that.  Giving thanks to the Lord is an act of worship, and that is to be done throughout the entire year.  It is an act of worship that others in your life should readily see—and wonder.

Giving thanks is not just about having something like food or possessions.  We give thanks to the Lord because of His goodness.  If a person who has nothing can still give thanks to God for who He is, then they understand the character and nature of a holy and righteous God.  One’s circumstances may change, but the nature of God never changes.

Psalm 100:5

For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.

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Father of Fathers

Today’s message summary of June 18, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

As a 31-year old, I can’t tell you very much about my biological father.  I have only met him three different times.  I don’t know much about him or his family.  On my mother’s side, I can only speak about her and my grandmother, and that is how much I know about my family history.

With that said, the genealogy in the bible has a purpose to identify lineages.

In Genesis, there are genealogies listed that start with Adam and his lineage, and those that follow lead to the promise made to David about the coming Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-17

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

This passage is a good one to examine for Father’s Day as it shows how fathers were preparing other fathers over time.

The point of this message is that your heavenly Father loves you more than your earthly father.  He will never fail you—in spite of your own disobedience to Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as an example to all of us.

There is not information within these passages to explain the behaviors of some of these fathers. We don’t know if they were living in righteousness or holiness.

The Scriptures do identify that each of these persons does lead to Jesus Christ.  Some of these individuals we do know of, such as Abraham, Boaz and David.

2 Chronicles 20:7

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

Abraham, in the Christian faith, is recognized as the Father of Faith…but was he a good father?

If you look at his life closely, you would see that he lied often and even committed adultery (with Hagar).  He was far from perfect.  Abraham, at the behest of Sarah, abandoned Hagar and Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-13

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.

If it was not for God’s instruction to send his son off, he would have kept him there.  Out of faith and obedience to God, he listened.

Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

We are reminded that faith and obedience were most important in the relationship between God and Abraham in spite of Abraham’s sinful behavior.

Of the women who were involved within these genealogies, many of them were outsiders.  In Matthew 11:3, Tamar is referenced.  She disguised herself as a prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law.  Judah, the father-in-law, was hardly an innocent victim.  It was contrary to the law of God.  We also see Rahab’s name in the genealogy.  She was a prostitute, yet she was praised as a woman of faith who turned out to be David’s grandmother.  Another person, Ruth, is listed.  She was a person of honor, but she was also a Gentile, a Moabite, an outsider.  Moabites are descendants of Lot.

Genesis 19:30-38

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

You see how God moved past the sins of his people and brings different people into the lineage of Christ.

Matthew also wanted us to remember about David and Bathsheba through their adulterous union that led to Solomon.  Uriah, who was a godly man and a friend of David, was one of his most trusted men.  There is great irony in how David, because of his adultery, would have Uriah murdered and try to cover up the relationship.  Remember, God said that David was “a man after His own heart.”  Bathsheba is not mentioned within the genealogy in Matthew, and it was more a point of shame with David.  Nathan’s words of prophecy held true with the turmoil that followed David throughout the rest of his life.  While David failed miserably as a father, he still loved his children.  He still loved his son Absalom, even though Absalom was trying to kill him.

2 Samuel 18:31-33

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you. The king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And the Cushite answered, May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!

Despite David’s sin, he loved his children.  He was willing to trade his life for them.

Solomon, featured in the genealogy, had many, many, many, many wives.  God had declared, of course, that man should have only one wife.

Here is a prophetic verse in Deuteronomy that actually refers to Solomon and his choices:

Deuteronomy 17:14-17

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Solomon’s heart turned from God because of the women he allowed in his life.

Solomon’s wisdom was evident and apparent to everyone, but he was flawed in his fleshliness.

Of the genealogy leading to Jesus Christ, the greatest thing that emerges is God’s grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.  The fathers listed here were both good and evil; however, God’s grace was present throughout the lives of each of these people.

It was all part of God’s sovereign plan.

Note that Mary, listed in this genealogy, was a descendant of David.  Jesus was still the heir to the throne of David, and Joseph was His earthly father, who was willing to be obedient to God and take on the responsibility to raise Him.

Single mothers:  Are you helping the child in filling the void in his life by ministering to him and help him recognize Christ as the Lord of his life?

Fathers:  You will fail your children and even disappoint them, but it is an opportunity to display the gospel before them.  For all have sinned and fall short of His glory.  Your humble approach will show them that you are a father that unconditionally loves the children and lives according to the commands of God.

Proverbs 6:20-23

My son, keep your father’s commandment,

    and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Bind them on your heart always;

    tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you;


Prayer: What Difference Does it Make? (Part 5 of a Series)

Today’s message summary of February 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

1 John 5:14-15

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

We have previously discussed a number of different postures of prayer, and each of these have helped us to identify how we approach God in prayer.  Today we will look at an analysis of written prayers in the Bible.

There is a prayer in the Bible that we often recite. It is found in Matthew, Chapter 6:

Matthew 6:5-15

Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him. Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver is from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.] For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you a well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

 

This passage was part of the Sermon on the Mount.  It was an extensive message that covers four chapters in Matthew (5-8), and this section in Scripture is often referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  That reference is not really correct in that the Lord Himself would not have prayed such a prayer.  A closer reference to this passage for our purposes would be “How to Pray,” as it a means for how we should be praying to Him.

We know that Jesus Christ prayed often, and He prayed throughout His ministry…even as He was on the cross.  He provides the example for each of us as to the importance of frequent prayer, and He went away and prayed in secret.

When it comes to prayer, you should ask yourself how long you pray, especially when you occupy your time to other things.  How long we pray may be an indicator as to how deep your relationship is with God.

Jesus warns not to behave like the Pharisees, who were hypocritical in their practice of faith.  We must also guard ourselves in this practice, as well.  Our church practice is to go beyond religiosity.  We are to fellowship with one another and live out or faith everywhere we go.

Jesus said that you should pray publicly if your intent is just to be noticed, then that is hypocrisy. There is nothing wrong with praying publicly, for it is perfectly good to pray over your meal in a restaurant or to speak to a person as the Spirit leads you, but the answer to this open prayer should be a humble approach of prayer in a private setting.  We are to move away from people and pray in secrecy.

The result of your prayers in secret is the reward that you receive from God in your humility and sincerity.

Do you pray for someone’s healing, or a job for yourself, or even wisdom?  Whatever the prayers are, they are to be specific and not so general as to lose their meaning.  Repeating words over and over does not magnify the significance of your prayer.  Jesus tells the people at the sermon to not be like the worshipers of Baal or the Gentiles who were looking to things other than God.  Jesus wants us to pray in specificity.  Know who you are praying to!

It is imperative that we continue our study of theology, because the more that we learn about theology, the more that it impacts our words and actions about God.  This has an important effect on how we approach prayer.

God indeed knows our needs before we ask of Him.  He is involved with every single detail of your life.  He is the Alpha and the Omega.  Since He already knows what we need, will he give it to us? It is important to distinguish needs from wants.

Psalm 38:9

Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from you.

 

Psalm 139:7

Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?

 

God provides what we need in accordance to His will.  He answers the prayers of a humble heart and provides blessing as we learn more about Jesus Christ.

Our prayers to Him are to acknowledge that He is ever-present and that He is holy.  Your prayers are to reflect that you recognize His holiness.  Seeking God and uplifting His name is a contrast to uplifting ourselves or even the name of Satan.

His kingdom is a present reality, and He notes that you have dual citizenship on earth and in heaven (Ephesians 2:19).  Our prayers should reflect the reverence of Christ as our coming King.

God’s sovereignty means that He is in control of everything in this world.  God’s providence is that he will accomplish everything according to His will.

Everything that Jesus accomplished was done according to God’s will and His obedience to God.

We should be confident, in our prayers, that His will be done for all to see.

Your prayers reflect that God is the One who provides for you, and not so much that you rely upon yourself (Proverbs 30:8).

Prayers of forgiveness are to be common in that we are to ask Christ for forgiveness of sin, and that this same approach is to be given to others who sin against us.  This is the essence of Christlike behavior (Romans 13:7-8).

When we ask God to not lead us into temptation, He responds.  He will keep us from those things that are more than what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God wants to see each one of us be filled with the Spirit in prayer, and to live according to His instruction as to how we are to pray.  We are to pray to seek a greater understanding of Him and that we will live according to His will.  Amen.


Be Filled (Part 2: Sanctification)

Today’s message summary of May 29, 2016 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

The day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) is a day that should be celebrated! It was the day that the Holy Spirit poured out over all of the people and made His presence known. Not long afterward, Peter came forth and proclaimed that this was to happen, and that it was time for people to acknowledge the presence of the Lord and that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

What does it mean to be filled by the Holy Spirit, and what is it to be sanctified by the Spirit?

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work that it is begun in regeneration and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                                                         –New Hampshire Baptist Convention

Sanctification is a progressive difficulty of holiness, it is a difficulty that requires submission to the Holy Spirit, so that he can purge the sin out of our lives by which he shall conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

                                                                                                                         –Travis C. Jackson

If the Spirit is not sanctifying you, then something else is.

The human nature is sinful. All of us are encapsulated by our physical form–our bodies. Sin is the result of our bodies dictating how we live. It leads to death.

Romans 8:13 ESV

For if you live according to the flesh you will die.

For those who are not in the body of Christ, the death is not just physical, but also spiritual. Living in the flesh leads to this spiritual death outside of Christ. The flesh desires to live in sin–with our eyes, with the tongue, and in boasting of worldliness.

James 1:14-15

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The more that you allow sin in your lives, the more that it will but dents in your souls. Sin is nothing to play around with.

Solomon, one of the greatest and wisest of all time, was still a fool. Don’t take this the wrong way, but in a lot of ways we are a lot like Judas because of our sin and fleshly behavior.

You must acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior in order to avoid this spiritual death. You must be born again.

The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.

If there is an ongoing internal struggle between the Spirit and the flesh, then it requires a call for the presence of the Spirit to help you grow in sanctification.

We always value, in the flesh, what we feel is more important than God.

Romans 7:17-20

So now it is not longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

This message is about sanctification. We are reliant upon the Holy Spirit to grow in Christ. We are unable to do anything according to our own power and strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.

No one can ever boast of defeating sin on his own accord.

John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

The Spirit must be at the forefront of your thought life and process of thinking.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

You have to judge for yourselves by which accord you are living.

Are you living for the flesh, or for the Spirit?

Ephesians 6:17-18a

…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

The Spirit must lead in every waking moment of your life. It will allow for your ongoing sanctification in Jesus Christ with his constant presence.

The Spirit desires for each of us to be sanctified by the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

When you think of holiness, think of God’s perfect attributes. Since He commands us to “be holy,” our response is to behave in such a way where our actions are indeed matching His character. If you desire to be Spirit-led, then be holy.

Greek words: “Filled”

Pimplemi

to fill

example, if an individual is drunk with wine the consumption of the wine controls the person’s emotion (Ephesians 5:18)

Empi(m)plemi

to take one’s fill of, glut one’s desire for, satisfy, satiate (John 6:13)

Pleroo

to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full with emotion

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

To be filled with the Spirit requires your living and broadcasting these attributes. These are God’s own attributes.

Be sanctified in the Holy Spirit.

Be prayerful to do these things and defeat the flesh. Seek the things of the Spirit with His godly attributes and live for Jesus Christ.

Be filled.


Worship in Spirit and Truth

Today’s message summary of February 15, 2015 from Bro. Travis Jackson:

When I was a teenager I remember a church that my family was attending. Many of the members attend this church today. It was a service with hyper-Pentecostalism with cogent doctrinal beliefs. You can imagine how their style of worship would have an effect on me. As a teenager, after being in a church from 11 am to 2 pm, I was ready to go home. Their style of worship was frightening to me, and honestly because it was unspiritual according to James 3:15, but this was the way that they worshiped.

James 3:15

Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

 

In the mid-18th Century there was a Christian sect known as the Shakers. Part of their belief was that they could shake the impurities out of their bodies. That was their form of worship. Their style was similar to how I was raised with the dancing, jumping and gyrating that took place.

My wife, Crystal, and I are very particular about how we worship and how we view worship. While my wife enjoys getting involved with the music, I am much more intellectually involved in worship. In either case, worship is what sets the stage for how God is to speak to those who attend the church.

A church worships God within its cultural context or setting as long as the worship is biblical and based upon biblical truths. It can either be one or the other.

John 4:23

But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.

 

It is important to remain dedicated to worshiping God within the church service.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

 

In Romans, Paul is declaring what is proper in worship and what is not. The theme of Romans is justification and the saving righteousness of Jesus Christ. Christians were not only to believe in Jesus Christ, but to live according to His Word, as well. There needed to be a distinction between how Christians lived and how the non-Christians (the pagan worshipers) lived. Paul was capturing the culture of the day in how Romans were worshiping, yet he made the distinction that holy worship of God is distinct from their worship of the gods.

Idolatry is not only worshiping false gods, but it is also worshiping God in a false or insincere way.

Matthew 15:8

These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

 

In order for us to worship God in a holy and acceptable manner, we need to understand the nature of holiness. If we are not holy, we cannot present ourselves as a living sacrifice before Him. He will not accept it.

To be holy is to be placed aside and be pure.

Ephesians 5:27

He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

 

Paul uses this same example of holiness in Romans 12:1-2 in the Ephesians passage to show that Jesus wants to present us, the church, which is the universal body of believers to God as holy and blameless. This means that, for each of us, we are holy and blameless in Jesus Christ. Note, however, that if you choose to live a life of sin, you cannot be offered as holy before God. You have to decide to be holy as He is holy.

Paul defines how you are to present yourself as a living sacrifice as a matter of holy worship.

Romans 8:13

…for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 

Will your worship of God be hampered by those things that can get into its way? Worldly possessions? Money? Time? All of these things can get into the way of your complete worship of God.

Paul implores each of us to put ourselves on the altar in order to be a living, sanctified testimony for Jesus Christ.

As part of worship, God provided instruction to the Israelites different offerings as a method of preparation and prayer; the burnt offering, the grain offering and the peace offering, the sin offering (purification) and the guilt offering (atonement of committed sin).

Christ is the atonement for our sin. We worship God with prayers and praises today. We do not need to make any offerings as noted above under the New Covenant because we are in Christ and in fellowship with Him.

While we are under the New Covenant, Paul emphatically informed anyone who was in sin to not go to the Lord’s table because of the worship that it represents.

God said to His own Son, “This is my beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” (Matthew 3:17) His words reflect the nature as to how we are to worship Jesus Christ. He allowed His Son to be our perfect example as to how we are to worship and praise Him.

Worship involves the renewal of your mind. Renewal of your mind is to be mindful of what we watch, or what we take in. God has given you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the ability to discern what is good and pleasing to Him, and that includes what you should allow or not allow in your life.

We have discussed what it is to partake in holy worship, being a living sacrifice, and allowing yourself to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. These are all of the important elements of worshiping Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth.

Worship is also any activity that takes place outside of church, as well. How you live in everything that you do are acts of worship, for you are a steward of what God has provided you.

If you are reading and studying God’s Word, He will provide answers to questions that you have about worship and being obedient to Him. It begins with the knowledge of His Word and being sensitive to His will for you.


Your Choice: The Flesh or The Spirit, Part 2

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan is busy trying to cause each of us to lose sight of Jesus Christ. He will do anything he can to cause each of us to falter. While he knows he can’t take away our salvation, he knows he can put us on the sidelines.

Even more specifically, Satan has used the power of sexuality to bring down nations and kingdoms. God’s Word in Leviticus is very specific about the kinds of sexual sins that destroy a person.

You have to make a choice to live either in The Spirit or in the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Debauchery or licentiousness is to be preoccupied with sexuality or sexual pleasure. It is a system of ethics that claims pleasure constitutes the greater good. Lasciviousness or lewdness means to be unlearned or unprincipled in this same area (to be unprincipled is to not have any standards).

Advertising today has much to do with sexual messages and sexual connotations. These practices mirror today’s society. Believers are to guard themselves from these behavioral practices.

To be lewd is to show oneself with the intent to excite someone sexually. Lasciviousness is behavior that promotes lustful desires.

Mark 6:22
When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

Esther 5:1-3, 6
1 On the third day, Esther dressed up in her royal clothing and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace facing it. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal courtroom, facing its entrance. 2 As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his approval. The king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Esther, and she approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 “What is it, Queen Esther?” the king asked her. “Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be given to you.”

6 While drinking the wine, the king asked Esther, “Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

Esther 1:10-12
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who personally served him, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious and his anger burned within him.

Was Vashti out of line? Not at all. She was upholding her standard that she did not want to be paraded before other men. She valued herself as someone more than just being showed off before others.

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

1 Peter 3:3
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.

Matthew 5:28
But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We should examine our dress and our behaviors when we go before others. There needs to be care and concern from showing others too much. It is more about following a higher standard and reflecting a higher esteem and respect for oneself.

False worship: idolatry and witchcraft (Galatians 5:20)

Idolatry begins within the heart…you want to worship someone or something other than God, and it is always about yourself. It is rebellion to God and being obedient to Him.

Exodus 20:4
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

Idolatry is the worship of idols. It is anything that takes the place of God’s will in your life.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Anything that keeps you from being used by God is idolatry. It is the impurity of sin that keeps you from pleasing Him…sexual immorality, lust, evil desires and greed are all idols.

Idolatry is the participation in demonic activities.

Acts 19:24-27
24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods! 27 So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world adore.”

Psalm 115:2-8
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

The purpose of an idol is to be worshiped, but the idol is not heard from or is any action taken by it. With that, why is an idol preferred by some over the living God? It is the flesh that desires the things of the world but it is more about worshiping something that doesn’t give rules or regulations or standards of living. God rules (and He reigns) because God continues to show Himself in love and concern for His people; nevertheless, following Him is still a choice.


Youth Sunday: How To Be a Good Christian in Today’s Society

Today’s message from our youth team: How to be a good Christian in today’s society:

There are many things that people will do to distract you from focusing on God. God is your immediate help when you pray to Him. He will help you with whatever problems you have.

Ephesians 4:17-5:11 (HCSB)
Living the New Life

17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

5 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4 Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. 5 For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.

Light versus Darkness

6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Proverbs 4:5
Get wisdom, get understanding;
don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 29:27
An unjust man is detestable to the righteous,
and one whose way is upright
is detestable to the wicked.

The Lord will honor you when you stay righteous, even when others may be against you. Never be ashamed of God or the gospel of Christ, for there is power in its Word. In times of difficulty, God is Your rescuer.

Listen to God’s Word and the wisdom that comes from it. Don’t give in to peer pressure. Stay active in God’s Word and remain holy.