18 Dec

Why Did Jesus Take on Flesh?

Jesus in Manger

At the center of this and every Christian season is the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  This mysterious bundle of joy is none other than the eternal Son of God who took on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  That’s the very thing we celebrate here at Christmas—the enfleshing of the Son of God, the incarnation.  He was sent on a mission from the Father to save sinners, and one of the absolutely necessary things Jesus had to do to complete His mission was take on a flesh and blood body just like we have.  But, why was that so crucial?  Why did Jesus take on flesh?  The Bible gives us at least ten reasons.

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08 Nov

5 Evangelism Principles on the Way to the Seller of Purple

We Southern Baptists are a Great Commission people.  It’s in our denominational blood!  As we come into the state convention season of SBC life, we will undoubtedly be challenged again and again to share the gospel, sHaRe tHe gOsPeL, SHARE THE GOSPEL!  Indeed, I welcome that clarion call from Scripture because it captures the heart of God and needs to be sounded again and again, but the Bible doesn’t simply tell us to share the gospel.  It also gives us principles for how to share the gospel.

One of the richest places to gain some vital principles for sharing the gospel comes from Acts 16.  There were find the history of Paul preaching the gospel in Asia Minor and Europe on his second missionary journey, which led him to a seller of purple named Lydia.  Five principles of evangelism jump out to me there in vv. 1-15 as Paul is heading for a divine appointment with this lady.

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01 Oct

Train Your Children in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord: An Encouragement to Catechize

The greatest responsibility of Christian parents is to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6.4). This responsibility is also to be one of Christian parents’ greatest joys. Certainly, we have found this to be true. Recently our hearts were blessed as our 5-year-old son led us in the Lord’s Prayer before bedtime; and then we were blessed even more because our 3-year-old daughter insisted we do it again but with her in the lead. They both did a great job. What a joy that was!

Child with Bible

Training our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord doesn’t just happen through an hour of Sunday School a week, which never equates to an hour of teaching anyway. It’s truly a 24-7 thing. We are to be instructing all the time, which is beautifully captured in the Lord’s command to us in Deuteronomy 6.4-9:

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25 Sep

Wednesday Is for Worship: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

On this Wednesday morning, have you said “hello” to Jesus yet?  If not, stop what you are doing and do so right now.  Recognize His presence and His lordship.  And now, get ready to worship Him!

Today’s song that will help you do so is originally entitled “Je Te Sa­lue Mon Cer­tain Re­demp­teur,” which translated from French is “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art.”  The song was written in French because it was penned from the heart of the French theologian Jehan Cauvin, who is better known by his anglicized name John Calvin.  Calvin was a 16th-century Protestant reformer, who mainly ministered in Geneva, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of the greatest theological minds of Christian history.

Penned in 1545 and eventually sung to the tune “Toulon” (composed by Louis Bourgeois for the Genevan Psalter in 1551), the song was later translated into English by Elizabeth L. Smith in 1869.  The words are unquestionably beautiful, deep, and biblical.

I love how the first verse basically says “hello” to Jesus:  “I greet Thee.”  Notice that Jesus is called “who my sure Redeemer art.”  That speaks of a settled security that we have in Jesus Christ.  Our redemption is certain in Him.  It then goes to focus on Jesus as the Savior on whom not only were our sins and stripes laid but on whom we can also lay our cares.

The second verse describes Jesus as the Almighty King, inviting Him to lead us.  The third verse praises Jesus for being our sustainer.  The fourth verse recounts the gentleness that Jesus has toward His people because of His grace.  The fifth verse declares that our only hope is in Jesus and asks Him to help us endure in that hope until the end.

So, this morning, may you say “hello” to Jesus and then pour forth His praise as you sing along with worship leader Bob Kauflin!

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.

19 Sep

Yes, Indeed, God Loves “Gays”

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  That was the question a teenager asked on a recent Wednesday during our youth ministry time.  To be honest, the question was sort of out of the blue since the discussion was on the return of Jesus, but clearly it was on the heart of at least one, if not many, of the teens there that night.  I appreciate this teenager’s boldness to ask!

This question is one this generation has had to wrestle with that previous generations did not.  In fact, the speed with which the topic of homosexuality has come to dominate the social and political conversation is staggering, aided along by what pastor Voddie Baucham calls, “a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy,” (“Gay Is Not the New Black,” http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black, July 19 2012).  The entire movement has become like a snowflake that turns into an avalanche, demolishing any opposition in the public arena, and it’s still growing larger.

Gay Pride HeartWithout a doubt, many of our young people are confused on the subject.  They are hearing in pop culture and maybe even in their schools that homosexuality is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle and should not only be tolerated, but even celebrated and explored.  However, they then hear from faith communities (and not just Christian ones) that homosexuality is sinful.  The mixed messages cause a great deal of confusion in many people’s minds, especially in our young people, leading some to ask, “Why doesn’t God love gays?” with the implied addendum “when so many others do.”  It’s a question we will increasingly have to answer regardless of one’s stance on homosexuality.

The question itself—”Why doesn’t God love gays?”—presupposes that God does not love people who would label themselves “gay.”  Therefore, the initial response must be, “What makes you think that God doesn’t love people who label themselves ‘gay’?”  The truth of the matter is that God does indeed love those who label themselves “gay,” but He loves them in a way that is culturally strange to us at this point.

If we would press the person asking “Why doesn’t God love gays?” to tell us what makes them think He doesn’t, most likely the response would “because He doesn’t think their homosexuality is okay.  If God loved gays, He’d affirm their homosexuality because that makes them happy.”  Indeed, that is the popular definition of love in contemporary culture.  Love is seen as affirming people in whatever makes them happy.  Many have just enough Christian influence to know that the Bible tells us we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, and so they reason, “I would want others to love me by affirming me in what makes me happy.  So, I am going to love others by being in favor of whatever makes them happy.”  That’s fair logic, but is that love?

Is it loving to affirm others in whatever makes them happy?  Let’s see.  Little Rachel wants nothing more than to play in the middle of the interstate.  In fact, she tried it one time for just a few seconds and is convinced that her happiness depends on playing regularly smack dab on the dotted line between the driving lane and the passing lane.  Would it be loving to affirm little Rachel in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Bobby loves to shoot heroin.  Nothing in the world compares to the high he gets when that needle enters the vein and pushes liquid happiness into his body.  He’s certain that heroin is the key to his happiness and wants more all the time.  Would it be loving to affirm Bobby in his desire?  No?  But he really believes it’ll make him happy.

Sandra loves 12-year-old boys.  That would probably be fine if she was around 12-years-old herself, but she is 42.  Nevertheless, she is convinced that if she doesn’t find a romantic relationship with a 12-year-old boy, she will not be happy.  Would it be loving to affirm Sandra in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Further examples are abundant, but the ones provided suffice to clearly demonstrate that we have to be careful in affirming whatever makes a person happy because in this fallen world, that which a person believes will make them happy is often hurtful to themselves and others.  Someone may quickly rebut that homosexuality harms nobody, but that is counterfactual.  Medically, homosexuality is harmful, especially to men who practice homosexuality.  Socially, homosexuality is harmful in that it cannot provide what the opposite sex brings to a romantic relationship, including but certainly not limited to the potential of procreation and then the presence of a mother and a father in that child’s life.  However, most harmful is the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings.

The Bible is clear that practicing homosexuality brings great spiritual harm.  In fact, Romans 1:18-27 declares that the increasing presence of homosexuality in a society signals that God is bringing about judgment on that society due to idolatry.  God, as a function of His wrath against sin, simply withdraws His restraining grace from those who rebelliously pursue sin, giving them over to degrading passions such as homosexuality and all sorts of other destructive devices.

However, the spiritual harm in this life pales in comparison to the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings in the age to come for those who practice it in this present age.  The Bible is emphatic that practicing homosexuality will bar a person from heaven.  God tells us so in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  It’s important to note here that homosexuality is not the only sin listed.  It’s right there with adultery and drunkenness and many others.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  Nevertheless, God is communicating to us that those who continue in sin, including homosexuality, will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In other words, they will be barred from Heaven and will experience Hell forevermore.  There is no worse consequence imaginable.

So, let’s play this truth out in a scenario.  Don is a man in his early 20s who has experienced same-sex attraction for years now and has finally given into the temptation.  He has been for several months seeking out homosexual partners, and it has been absolutely exhilarating to him.  He hopes to one day settle down with the man of his dreams but is just having too much fun right now.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is convinced that his happiness hinges on living a homosexual lifestyle.  Given the harm practicing homosexuality has been demonstrated to bring, is it loving to affirm Don in his desires?  Absolutely not!  In fact, the opposite is true.  To affirm Don in his homosexuality would be as loving as affirming little Rachel in her playing on the interstate or Bobby in his heroin addiction or Sandra in her pedophilia, which is to say that it wouldn’t be loving at all.  All of these not only harm the individuals with the desires, but others as well, and to affirm them would be unquestionably unloving.

If a person’s definition of love is affirming whatever makes someone happy, then a redefinition is needed because that’s not love.  Love doesn’t just affirm whatever makes a person happy.  It seeks the well-being of its objects.  That’s why God indeed does love “gays” and at the same time doesn’t affirm them in their homosexuality.  Instead of unlovingly affirming them in an eternally harmful lifestyle, God lovingly calls them out through the gospel of Jesus Christ just like He does all sinners.  And yeah, we were born that way (sinners, that is)!  God lovingly says to all sinners, including the homosexual sinner, turn from your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be forgiven, made righteous, increasingly freed from sin itself, and inherit everlasting life in Heaven.  Now that’s love!

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  My dear friend, He does love “gays.”  In fact, God loves them so much that He calls them out of homosexuality and into Christ!

29 May

Calvinist Coexistence, Bob Hadley Says “No!”

Bob HadleyMost folks outside of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, FL, where Bob Hadley pastors, probably don’t know who Bob Hadley is. That’s not a put down because most folks outside of West Main Baptist Church in Alexandria, TN, where I pastor, don’t know who Ben Simpson is. Bob Hadley and I are like the great majority of pastors in the world: we pour our lives out before the Lord to our congregations, serving faithfully in relative obscurity.

Nevertheless, the internet in general and the blog world in particular have given avenues for men like Hadley and myself to voice our opinions to wider audiences. Bob is a frequent commenter on several of the prominent Southern Baptist blogs and even writes for three of his own—SBC and Calvinism, Transformed Theology, and SBC Issues. It is Bob’s recent article at SBC Issues that warrants response.

On May 22, 2013, Bob posted an article entitled, “Calvinism in the SBC: A Point of No Return.” In it, Bob laments “the divide that calvinism [sic] is causing in the SBC.” Certainly, division is always lamentable because it undoubtedly grieves the heart of God! However, I’m not sure that Calvinism is causing the division, but let’s just give Bob the benefit of the doubt here, and go with his theory.

He boils the division down to one simple dichotomy: “Either God is the One who solely determines who is or is not saved or His decision on my eternity is based on my decision with respect to Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. Either God decides who spends eternity in heaven or His decision is based on my decision.” That certainly is one area of contention in the soteriological debate within the SBC. Although he could have been more precise in his either/or proposition, Bob has indeed hit the nail on the head, at least with a glancing blow. To be more exact concerning the doctrine of election, we should say that the first cause of a sinner receiving grace unto salvation is either the person’s choice of God or God’s choice of the person. Those indeed are the positions being debated, and nobody who has followed Bob in the blogosphere in the least bit is ignorant of the fact that Bob emphatically believes the first cause of a sinner receiving grace unto salvation is the person’s choice of God.

Bob then continues on in his article and correctly asserts about the diametric nature of the positions, “At best, one of these two positions is true and the other false. It is entirely possible that BOTH could be wrong but one thing is absolutely true: both of these positions cannot be correct.” I agree with that statement 100%.

Unfortunately, Bob’s article then takes a turn for the worse. He states, “I believe the SBC is going to have to determine which side it wants to stand on, where the issue of calvinism [sic] in the SBC is concerned.” Excuse me? The SBC has been home to Calvinists and nonCalvinists alike since 1845 when it was established. They’ve coexisted for nearly 170 years in the SBC precisely because the SBC has determined its stand: the doctrine of election is not a dividing issue. Why must the SBC now change its position by choosing a side in the debate?

Bob continues, “The issue has escalated, like it or not, to a winner take all position and it is time for that decision to be made.” First of all, has the issue really become that escalated? Hardly, Hadley! Second, Bob seems to think that Calvinists and nonCalvinists are in a competition with each other. “Winner take all”? That statement in itself shows the worldly and mistaken mindset of Bob concerning this denomination. The SBC churches and leaders are not in a competition, but rather a cooperation. We are to work together, Calvinist and nonCalvinist with linked arms, to expand the kingdom of God on the face of the earth through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both groups within the SBC agree that God has called us to work to see sinners saved through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both groups agree that nobody is saved unless they hear the gospel and believe on Jesus. Both groups agree that we must take the gospel to every corner of the planet with haste. Both groups agree that every person who wants to be saved will be saved. Both groups agree that the proof of a person’s election is their faith in Jesus Christ. My goodness, there’s a lot we agree upon concerning the task of evangelism! In this task, we’re not in competition. We are in cooperation!

Bob had already run off the road with those last statements but sadly didn’t have the sagacity to hit the brakes before running right off the metaphorical cliff. In fact, he put the pedal to the metal by going on to say, “We cannot co-exist [sic] as a denomination at this point.” What an absurd statement! Despite the fact that we have coexisted as a denomination up to this point, Bob is convinced that we cannot any longer. By making that statement, Bob has just placed himself in the extreme minority of the SBC. While the majority of Southern Baptists are nonCalvinists, the vast majority of that majority is also willing to cooperate with Southern Baptist Calvinists, like has always been the case, for the sake of the SBC mission, which I believe is the mission of Christ.

Unfortunately, with that last statement, Bob has put himself outside of the SBC circle because the very essence of the Southern Baptist Convention is to cooperate with every person who affirms the Baptist Faith and Message and is willing to engage in the Cooperative Program. No, there is not complete agreement on every nuance of doctrine, but that was never the point. The point was to make a tent just big enough to where all sorts of Bible-believing, evangelical Baptists could join together to do great things for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Bob’s spirit of uncooperation flies right in the face of everything SBC!

When Bob says, “We cannot co-exist [sic] as a denomination at this point,” he has a decision to make. The Calvinists aren’t leaving the SBC. The nonCalvinists who are willing to cooperate with the Calvinists aren’t leaving the SBC either. If Bob and his minority cohort cannot coexist in this denomination with Calvinists, then perhaps the SBC is not for them anymore. I’d rather see him change his mind and coexist in cooperation with Calvinists, but if his conscience will not let him, then he should leave the SBC, along with his cohort, and either lead his church to become independent or work to construct a smaller denominational tent where there is more doctrinal unity. If he’s convinced that coexistence isn’t possible in the SBC and if he’s a man of integrity who’s not just running off his mouth with sensationalized rhetoric, then that’s just what he’ll do.

17 Apr

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Christ Is Risen”

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

It’s the third Wednesday after Easter, which means we are still in the church season of Eastertide (the fifty-day season of Christian celebration from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday).  My friend Trevin Wax recently wrote about this very important church tradition that I honestly had never really thought about.  He wrote:

By Thanksgiving, radio stations will be playing Christmas music non-stop. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, our culture is immersed in the “Christmas season.”

Easter has a season, too. It doesn’t precede Easter but follows it. Traditionally, it’s the time between Easter and Pentecost (50 days).

Though every Sunday is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, this time of year provides ample opportunity to give laser-like attention to the resurrection that empowers our Christian life.

Why do we spend a month to listening to Christmas music, but only a Sunday singing Easter music?

You might be wondering, What is Easter music? Is there such a thing? Sure! And the good news is, unlike Christmas, you don’t have to wade through all the “secular” tunes about the season. (Unless you just happen to be a fan of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”)

In this Eastertide season, today’s song is “Christ Is Risen” by Matt Maher.  Written in 2009 by Maher and Mia Fieldes and published through Thankyou Music, this song celebrates the victory found in Christ rising from the dead.  Verse 1 reminds us that the cross removes the shame of sin for all who will believe on Jesus.  Verse 2 rejoices in the fact that the grave had no power to hold Jesus down.  The Almighty raised Him!  The chorus sings the wonderful irony of Jesus defeating death with death.  The bridge echoes 1 Corinthians 15.  A simple but great song that draws us to worship the Risen Savior!

A great treat is found in the middle of the performance of this song as David Bowden performs a poem he wrote called “Death:  His Sting and Defeat.”  Yeah, you’ll be standing and cheering before this is over!!

What a Wednesday to worship!

VERSE 1
Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You bled, for us

CHORUS
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

VERSE 2
Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let your church proclaim

BRIDGE
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, He’s alive! He’s alive!

____________________

You can download the text to Bowden’s poem here.

28 Mar

Our High Priest Was Rejected by the High Priest

On this day, we remember that sometime between sundown on Thursday and and sunrise on Friday, Jesus was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities.  The sad irony is that the eternal High Priest who is Jesus Christ was rejected by the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas.

57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. 58 But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.'” 62 The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” (Matthew 26:57-68, NASB)

He was the leader of the leaders of Israel’s religion, the priest of the chief priests.  He was the High Priest, the representative head of the people of Israel before God.  In fact, it was him and him alone who was permitted by God to enter the holy of holies, which he did only once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Each year on that day, wearing his gorgeous priestly vestments, he would enter the temple before all the people, representing all the people, and then go into the holy of holies alone.  There he would make expiation for the people of Israel by sprinkling the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat and offering up incense.

This man most likely knew the Old Testament like the back of his hand.  Added to that, he knew the traditions of the rabbis, the scribes, and the Sadducees, which was the sect he was from.  But even with all that said, he was blind.  Caiaphas was blind—miserably, terribly, inexplicably, inextricably blind.

Jesus before Caiaphas

Before him in Jesus Christ stood the one he’d been waiting for.  Surely, it was a regular prayer from the mouth of the High Priest, “Lord God, send Your Messiah quickly please.”  God had finally answered his prayer, yet he spit in the face of God and slapped God in the face as he spit in the face of Jesus and slapped the precious face of Jesus.

After Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested in the garden, his captors brought Jesus before Caiaphas, the chief priests, and the whole Jewish court called the Sanhedrin.  They tempted many there to lie against Jesus so that they could do what their hearts so wanted to do, which was to put Jesus to death.  Many liars and perjurers came forward, but the allegations were insufficient.  Finally, two stepped forward, saying that Jesus had said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.”  Indeed that was a lie for Jesus had said, “If you destroy this temple (referring to His own body), in three days I’ll raise it up,” (John 2:19).  Nevertheless, Caiaphas accepted the accusation and turned to Jesus, “What do You say to this?”

Jesus kept silent.

Caiaphas continued, “I charge you under oath by the living God to tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

Jesus responded, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”

At this point, Caiaphas should have leapt for joy, screaming, “He’s here!  The Messiah’s here!  The Son of God has finally come to us!!”  But he was blind.  Instead, he tore his clothes as a sign of rejection and grief, screaming, “He has blasphemed!  What’s the verdict?”

The Sanhedrin responded, “He deserves death,” and then they all spat in His face, beat Him with their fists, slapped Him across the face, and mocked Him.

Oh the blindness of Caiaphas!

He would not see.  Even more though, he could not see.  Why couldn’t He see that Jesus was the Son of God?  The answer is that Caiaphas couldn’t see because God had not healed his blindness and opened his eyes.  In order to see that Jesus is the Messiah-Christ, the Son of God, God must graciously give you sight, as Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:15-17, Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”  1 Corinthians 12:3 tells us the same truth, Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Dear one, as you scoff at Caiaphas, and rightly so, for his hard-heartedness and his blindness, I pray that you would marvel at the grace of God in your life.  If God had not graciously touched your heart and mind, you would still be saying with Caiaphas, “Jesus has blasphemed.  He deserves death.  Jesus is accursed!”

Glory to the grace of God!

27 Mar

Wednesday Is for Worship: “I Will Rise”

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

Today is Holy Wednesday, the Wednesday before Resurrection Sunday.  On this day, Jesus was in and around Jerusalem teaching, but undoubtedly He had Friday and Sunday in the back of His mind.  On Friday, He would be killed by man as they nailed Him to a crucifix and momentarily forsaken by God as the sins of the world were imputed to Him.  The cross by no means took Him by surprise, but neither did Sunday.  He went to the cross in the full knowledge that He would rise from the dead three days later!

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the greatest Bible truths and means so many things, but in terms of relation to us, one of the things it means is that all who will repent and believe on Jesus will themselves be resurrected unto life someday.  It’s with that great hope this Easter week that I offer today’s Wednesday Is for Worship song, “I Will Rise.”

Written in 2008 by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Louie Giglio, and Matt Maher and published through Thankyou Music, “I Will Rise” was released on Tomlin’s eighth studio album Hello Love.  The album went to #1 on the Christian chart, and the song went to #2.

The song draws on the soul-anchoring truth that Jesus has overcome the grave.  Though our sins are many and totally deserving of death, Christ lived the life that we cannot live and died the death we deserve, and all who believe on His work will one day walk out of the grave too.  We will rise!  His resurrection is the first fruits deposit of our future resurrection.

So, as you prepare your heart to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, may you be look forward to and long for your resurrection!

VERSE 1
There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”

PRECHORUS
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

CHORUS
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

VERSE 2
There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

BRIDGE
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb

13 Mar

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Your Great Name”

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

What an awesome day it is to praise the Lord!  May we do it until our dying breath!!

Today’s worship song is one of the most moving songs I’ve heard in a while.  Not only is it beautifully orchestrated, it also is full of biblical truth.  I’m talking about “Your Great Name.”

Written in 2008 by Krissy Nordhoff & Michael Neale and published through Intergrity’s Praise! Music, the song captures the amazing power found in the name of Jesus.  The lost are saved, the condemned are forgiven, fear is erased, and the devil flees.  What’s more, the weak are made strong, the hungry are fed, the orphan finds rest, the sick are healed, and the dead are raised.  Yeah, that’s POWER!!  All of this and more is found in Jesus Christ.

In 2010, Natalie Grant released this song on her album “Love Revolution” and does the song great justice.  Sing along with her version below.

May you worship God today in the great name of Jesus!

Verse 1
Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of your great name
All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of your great name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of your great name

Chorus
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name

Verse 2
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of your great name

Bridge
Redeemer, My Healer, Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are My King

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For an acoustic version of the song with Natalie Grant, click here.