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Showing posts with the label Worship

Seven Ways to Identify Superstition

 Posted at Reformation Scotland: It is likely that the word “superstition” conjures up the idea of some pagan ritual or elaborate ceremony in ancient religions such as Hinduism. A more trivial form of superstition which pervades society, but is not really taken seriously by Christians, is the concept of luck. For those who believe in the working of a divine providence, such practices as crossing our fingers, touching wood, or using some star sign to comfort us, however seriously used by others, are really just foolish or even childish superstitions. The Reformation brought the charge of superstition much closer to home. Not only were the practices of the Roman Catholic church removed as superstitious, but anything that didn’t come with divine authority from scripture was removed from the worship of the church. Indeed, religious ceremonies or practices of any kind were declared unlawful when devoid of a biblical mandate. This sweeping principle removed more than the obvious superstition

Receiving the Blessings of Worship

 By Pastor Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts From Parson Farms: Why We Must Let Go and Let God in the Day of His Praise Good Morning, The next two weeks will be taken up with the consideration of the Second Commandment. There is certainly more going on in this statute than the question surrounding images: printed, injection-molded, thought of, etc... however they are made. Granted that these are the positive statements about the matter we will not take up so much how we break the law here given, but the blessings we see in our obedience to it. With no further ado here are our Q/A’s for this week: Q. 107. Which is the second commandment? A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the ch

The Son & The Sabbath

 By Pastor Andrew Kerr - Posted at Gentle Reformation: Over the past two weeks, given Christ's statement in the Gospels, I've been mulling over the question of how the Sabbath of Creation connects with Christ as Son. The Sabbath was Made by The Son. We are plainly told in Genesis that, having concluded Creation work, God set Day Seven apart. At this particular junction in divine revelation, Moses is not concerned with the Persons of the Godhead: if explicit mention of the Father, Son and Spirit of Yahweh is held back to the Baptism of Christ, we know from New Testament references that, as The Pre-Incarnate Logos, God the Son was The Agent of Creation who also gave the Sabbath Ordinance. In all of the external works of God (or opera ad extra ), all Three Glorious Persons of the Godhead are active: we must clearly state that if the Father ordained the Sabbath by the Spirit, the Seventh Day of Rest, equally, is the Son's gift to mankind. Or, at risk of stating the matter in a

Giving Thanks to the God Who Knows Us

 By Pastor Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts from Parson Farms: Understanding How the Attributes of the LORD Move Us to Praise Good Morning! Well, as we roll along here at the beginning of the catechism we continue to look at the big picture stuff. We’ve gone from the why do we exist question to how do we know there is a God, to what is God. There is enough in each of those to keep us busy for the rest of our lives (and for eternity blessedly). This week’s Larger Catechism Q/A has us at the latter. What can we know about God and what do His attributes tell us about how we are to adore our Creator. There is much in the Bible which calls on the creation to meditate on the glory and majesty of the Triune Deity. It is one of those subjects that really separates the believer from the unbeliever, the lover from the pretender. If God bores you than there is a problem. That’s not to say there isn’t so much going on here that we can get overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. However, there

What Does It Mean to Be Truly Reformed? Part 6

By Pastor Brian Schwertley - Posted at Sermon Audio: Source:  What Does It Mean to Be Truly Reformed? Part 6 | SermonAudio

Rev. David Silversides: How should we worship God?

Details: 1) It does matter 2) God decides 3) God is not to be worshipped by images 4) God is not to be worshipped in any way not appointed in His Word 5) Where unauthorised worship leads Link:

Worship: Evangelical or Reformed?

By W. Robert Godfrey - Posted at : One of the challenges of being Reformed in America is to figure out the relationship between what is evangelical and what is Reformed. Protestantism in America is dominated by the mainline Protestants, the evangelicals, and the charismatics. After these dominant groups, other major players would include the confessional Lutherans. But where do the Reformed fit in, particularly in relation to the evangelicals, with whom historically we have been most closely linked? Some observers argue that the confessional Reformed are a subgroup in the broader evangelical movement. Certainly over the centuries in America, the Reformed have often allied themselves with the evangelicals, have shared much in common with the evangelicals, and have often tried to refrain from criticizing the evangelical movement. But are we Reformed really evangelical? One area in which the differences between evangelical and Reformed can be examined is the matter of wo

What is Worship?

Posted at Reformation Scotland : It is strange that we may engage in something so often and yet not stop to ask what it is. We could ask many different individuals to define worship and we would get a variety of responses. Some people think of praise as “a time of worship”. Others might add prayer together with that. Another response might stress that it is an attitude of heart more than specific activities. Then there are those who want to say that all of life is worship. What really matters, however, is not the range of personal opinion but how God defines it in His Word. The English word worship derives from “worth-ship” i.e. ascribing worth. In Scripture, the words for worship often indicate specific acts such as kneeling, falling down, doing reverence, paying homage (literally kissing towards). Sometimes they indicate fear, other times service and humbling ourselves. It is both attitude and action. There are also activities that are distinct from daily life e.g. a distinct

Of Rites, Ceremonies and Things Indifferent

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XXVII Of Rites, Ceremonies and Things Indifferent CEREMONIES AND RITES. Unto the ancient people were given at one time certain ceremonies, as a kind of instruction for those who were kept under the law, as under a schoolmaster or tutor. But when Christ, the Deliverer, came and the law was abolished, we who believe are no more under the law ( Rom. 6:14 ), and the ceremonies have disappeared; hence the apostles did not want to retain or to restore them in Christ's Church to such a degree that they openly testified that they did not wish to impose any burden upon the Church. Therefore, we would seem to be bringing in and restoring Judaism if we were to increase ceremonies and rites in Christ's Church according to the custom in the ancient Church. Hence, we by no means approve of the opinion of those who think that the Church of Christ must be held in check by many different rites, as if by some kind of training. For if the apostles did no

Of the Prayers of the Church, of Singing, and of Canonical Hours

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XXIII Of the Prayers of the Church, of Singing, and of Canonical Hours COMMON LANGUAGE. It is true that a man is permitted to pray privately in any language that he understands, but public prayers in meetings for worship are to be made in the common language known to all. PRAYER. Let all the prayers of the faithful be poured forth to God alone, through the mediation of Christ only, out of faith and love. The priesthood of Christ the Lord and true religion forbid the invocation of saints in heaven or to use them as intercessors. Prayer is to be made for magistracy, for kings, and all that are placed in authority, for ministers of the Church, and for all needs of churches. In calamities, especially of the Church, unceasing prayer is to be made both privately and publicly. FREE PRAYER. Moreover, prayer is to be made voluntarily, without constraint or for any reward. Nor is it proper for prayer to be superstitiously restricted to one place, as

Of Religious and Ecclesiastical Meetings

The Second Helvetic Confession CHAPTER XXII Of Religious and Ecclesiastical Meetings WHAT OUGHT TO BE DONE IN MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP. Although it is permitted all men to read the Holy Scriptures privately at home, and by instruction to edify one another in the true religion, yet in order that the Word of God may be properly preached to the people, and prayers and supplication publicly made, also that the sacraments may be rightly administered, and that collections may be made for the poor and to pay the cost of all the Church's expenses, and in order to maintain social intercourse, it is most necessary that religious or Church gatherings be held. For it is certain that in the apostolic and primitive Church, there were such assemblies frequented by all the godly. MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP NOT TO BE NEGLECTED. As many as spun such meetings and stay away from them, despise true religion, and are to be urged by the pastors and godly magistrates to abstain from stubbornly absenting themse

Of The Adoration, Worship and Invocation of God Through The Only Mediator Jesus Christ

The Second Helvetic Confession Chapter V Of The Adoration, Worship and Invocation of God Through The Only Mediator Jesus Christ GOD ALONE IS TO BE ADORED AND WORSHIPPED. We teach that the true God alone is to be adored and worshipped. This honor we impart to none other, according to the commandment of the Lord, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Math. 4:10). Indeed, all the prophets severely inveighed against the people of Israel whenever they adored and worshipped strange gods, and not the only true God. But we teach that God is to be adored and worshipped as he himself has taught us to worship, namely, "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23 f.), not with any superstition, but with sincerity, according to his Word; lest at anytime he should say to us: "Who has required these things from your hands?" (Isa. 1:12; Jer. 6:20). For Paul also says: "God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything,"

Applause in the Worship Service

By Doug Barnes - Posted at Banner of Truth : QUESTION. Is it appropriate to applaud during the church service? Some believe that the worshippers are not given the opportunity to offer thanks for something they feel needs applause. But is it always directed to God, or is it directed to the person or persons who spoke or sang? Applause is often understood as an acclamation of a performance – of some human achievement. We need to be reminded that we gather to worship, not to be entertained. I believe we can ‘cognitively’ give thanks within the elements of worship themselves. We live in a world of entertainment and the younger generation seem to want more than just to listen. Read more...

What is Beautiful Worship?

Posted at Reformation Scotland : Beautiful worship creates different mental images for different people. Some will see the finest vestments, artwork and candles and a profusion of colour and goldleaf. They will hear the finest music and perhaps smell wafting incense. Others are thinking of elegant “contemporary” style. It too involves the “right” clothes, music and imagery. Still others are attracted to something in between that borrows from both. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The standard of beauty is subjective not objective. Yet what standard of beauty does God have when it comes to worship? It is easy to take our preferred standard of beauty and then consecrate that for the purposes of worship. Yet this leaves us with the holiness of beauty rather than the beauty of holiness. What is it to “worship Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2)? David Dickson comments that the public worship of God was beautiful in the temple “not for timber or stones so much, as becau

How to Walk into Church

Going to the Lord's House Posted at Reformation Scotland : Going into Church easily can be a matter of routine, but it shouldn’t be. We do a lot of everyday things without thinking, but going to Church isn’t an everyday thing. We might well drive the car on autopilot because we’re so familiar with the route, but our minds should be on the vital encounter ahead of us. The Bible tells us that we need to exercise great care in meeting with God in public worship. Alexander Nisbet draws on Ecclesiastes 5:1 to make this point. It speaks about carefulness in going to public worship which at that time was in the temple. He says that we need to keep our hearts free from sinful disorder in our hearts which mars communion with God in His ordinances. We also need to receive the declaration of God’s mind sincerely and with affection. We should be “ready to hear” or literally “draw near to hear” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). We hear not only the voice of ministers but the Lord Himself speaking

A Plan For Reforming Worship

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Let’s say that a pastor decided that he wanted to reform the worship services of his congregation toward the earlier Reformed pattern of singing God’s Word without musical instruments. How would he go about it? Though we’re working with a concrete example, this is really a larger question: how does a session/consistory lead a congregation toward Reformation? Where does the leadership begin? How long does might it take? How can a session/consistory lead a congregation to Reformation without fracturing the congregation in the process? Prayer Reformation is a spiritual business. It’s not just politics, i.e., the struggle for control, the struggle to get one’s own way. Sometimes when people write about making changes in church they forget prayer and go directly to strategizing. That is ironic because nothing is more spiritual than the act of worship. We need to begin by calling on our Triune God in the name of the Spirit, for the Hol

From Grace Gems: 'He has a window into your heart!'

( George Everard , " Little Foxes, and How to Catch Them! " 1878) " You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me!" Matthew 15:7-8 Many professing Christians go to church from Sunday to Sunday, but in God's sight their worship is altogether in vain, as they offer their listless, heartless prayers. The lips speak--but the heart is dumb. The knee is bent--but the soul is unhumbled. Their thoughts are to the ends of the earth. Whether it is the prayers or the hymns--it matters not; for business and a multitude of worldly matters engage the mind, and there is no room for true worship. Those who go regularly from habit to the House of God, are often living altogether unmindful of the truths they hear, or of the petitions they offer. Such is mere lip service, and profits nothing--but is rather abomination in the sight of God. How many sit before God as His people--and yet n

The Scriptural Regulative Principle of Worship

By G.I. Williamson - Posted at The Westminster Presbyterian : How are we to worship God? That is the question. And the answer is already implied in our firm adherence to the Bible as the inspired word of God -- the only infallible rule of faith and practice . The remainder of my presentation will therefore be an attempt to demonstrate two things from the Scriptures: [1] The first is the fact that there is a regulative principle taught in the Bible , and [2] the second is what that principle means -- and how it ought to be applied -- today, in our churches. In a paper on this subject a few years ago Professor Norman Shepherd referred to the already existent literature on the subject of the regulative principle. He correctly stated that this literature "abounds with references" to certain "Biblical examples." "There is therefore" he said, "no need to discuss these examples in detail . . . ."(1) Well, I could agree with that statement in the co

Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

Westminster Confession of Faith  (1646) Chapter XXI I. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. [1] But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture. [2] II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone ; [3] not to angels, saints, or any other creature: [4] and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone. [5] III. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship , [6] is