This should be our Christian war cry!
This should be our Christian war cry!
Amen. While there are styles of music I do not care for even in the Christian genre, that does not necessarily mean the songs do not qualify as being Christian. A great little article.
Originally posted on On Target:
In his book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, author James Emery White addresses to issue of music in the worship service. His perspective might surprise you.
There is no such thing as traditional music. All music was, at one time, newfangled, contemporary, cutting-edge, and probably too loud. The great hymns of Martin Luther are considered traditional and sacred to our ears, but they were anything but traditional and sacred to the people of Luther’s day. Many of the great hymns written during the Protestant Reformation, such as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” were based on barroom tunes that were popular during that period. Luther simply changed the lyrics and then put the song into the life of the church. The result? People were able to meaningfully express themselves in worship—or at least connect with it stylistically.
Charles Wesley also borrowed from the…
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In Genesis 1:26, 27, we are told that God originally created mankind in His image. Adam and Eve were pure and holy, without a sin nature. The serpent was placed in the garden by God to test them, whether they would obey the only Law they were given. Without the serpent to test them, they simply would not have ever eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Eve listened to the serpent and ate, then gave to Adam who was right there, and he ate, too. Their willful sin resulted in the development of a sin nature within them – a tendency to sin. This manifested immediately in their need to cover their nakedness, and passing the blame when God confronted them. This created a separation between them and God, and they lost the holiness aspect of the image of God, and took on the image of Sin, instead.
Since that time, all mankind has been sold under sin. We are all born with a sin nature, which manifests from a very early age.
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ came and paid the penalty for our sin, and crucified that sin nature in His body when He was hung on the cross. The price He paid opened the way for every person to be able to approach God through Him. Upon true salvation, we are born again of the Spirit, and become a new creation. Among other things, we become partakers of the Divine Nature, our spirit taking on the very nature of God. What Adam and Eve lost in the Garden, we begin to gain back.
As believers, we need to learn to recognize the Divine Nature in us, and to develop that nature. But that sin nature is not going down without a fight. Just as the serpent deceived Eve into believing she was not already like God – was lacking – so our sin nature will keep us in defeat through temptation, if we let it. It will keep us from seeing that Christ is in us, and that we can grow in spiritual maturity to continue becoming more and more like Him.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us what we call the Be-attitudes, in Matthew 5:2-12. These attributes are what we must develop to grow in spiritual maturity. They are called the BE attitudes because the goal is not to act like them, but for them to become our very nature. The rest of this Sermon are real life applications of the Beattitudes, examples of opportunities we can look for to develop our spirit and put to death our old sin nature.
Now, the Beattitudes are often counter-intuitive; they are typically the opposite of the attitudes the world values. Just consider the stuff the entertainment industry puts out. They often ridicule meekness, making it look weak. They present revenge instead of mercy or being a peacemaker. They glorify sin rather than true righteousness. And, sadly, we Christians all to often eat it up with the rest of the world.
The Lord willing, in the coming lessons we will look at the Beattitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, and learn some of the ways we can develop God’s image in us.
Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them…
Up to this point in His ministry, Jesus had not done much teaching. Rather, He was in the role of evangelist, calling on people to repent for the Kingdom was at hand. He also healed and delivered many, establishing Himself in His ministry.
Multitudes of people followed Him from all over the region (Matthew 4:25). But many of these “followers” only did so because of the miracles He performed when He was in the cities. They were chasing the signs and wonders, as Jesus accused several times throughout His ministry.
So, Jesus left the city and went up on a mountain, and the real disciples came to Him. He went somewhere inconvenient. Climbing even a gentle-sloped mountain takes some effort and time. There would not be a show to watch out in the middle of nowhere, so many would not bother going after Him up a mountain.
Others, however, wanted to see what He would say, and so followed Him. His disciples came to Him….
Christ does not call us to follow Him only when it is convenient, or when there is something exciting to watch. The path to His Kingdom being revealed to and in us takes some diligence on our part. And this is the only way to establish ourselves in the faith and to begin to grow to maturity.
Jesus went up a mountain. He left the hustle and bustle of the busy city. The disciples put aside their busy lives to follow Him up that mountain, to see what He would teach. And because they followed Him, He taught them – and the people were astonished at His teaching (Matthew 7:28-29).
Matthew 8:1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
Will you be an easy-believism follower, who only cares about the miracles, about getting your way with God? So many in the church today are like this multitude, who follow after Him when it is convenient, when it doesn’t interfere with their daily lives. It is so easy to fall into this trap, and think that He is happy we are following Him. But the true disciple goes up the mountain after Him.
Do you really want to learn from Jesus? Do you really want to hear from God Himself, to be a disciple, a student, of Christ? I guarantee that it will, at times, be inconvenient. It will also take some diligence and effort on your part to go after Christ. But He promises that it will be worth it!
Want to know why evil exists if God is so good? Here is an article that explains it from a different angle than most.
Originally posted on The Life Project:
I originally ran this post back on August 16, 2013, yet I thought that it may be of interest to you again today, particularly since so many of you weren’t readers of this blog back then. This is a critical point in understanding Scripture, a point that is well worth reconsidering every so often, so here goes. I hope you find re-examining it as useful as I have…
I used to ask seminary students this question, “What is God’s most notable attribute from the ancient Hebrew point of view?”
Nobody ever got it right the first time around!
I got answers that contained wonderful divine attributes and these always included love, mercy, kindness and the sharper ones would chime in with faithfulness. But theologically speaking, these are all subcategories of the one I was looking for.
To the Hebrew, God’s most notable attribute is restraint.
Without restraint, God (and man, for…
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