Archive for May, 2009

Sacraments–A Comparison of Rome and Geneva

May 11, 2009

There’s real and significant difference between the Roman Catholic teachings on the sacraments and Reformed ones. Here, in a nutshell, are some major differences:

Rome

Sacraments are the instrumental causation of the blessings of union with Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is ‘enclosed’ within the administration of the sacraments. In other words, the sacraments bring about union with Christ because the Holy Spirit is contained in the water of baptism and the bread and wine of Communion.

Geneva

The Holy Spirit brings the individual directly into fellowship with Christ. The sacraments are signs or seals of that fellowship with Christ. The sacraments are subordinated to the joint action of the Word and Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the one who brings a believer into union with Christ. The Holy Spirit, alongside the Word, effect the union. The sacraments are signs that the union has taken place.

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Quotable Quotes about Worship

May 11, 2009

Where God is truly known, he is necessarily adored—A. W. Pink

He whose soul does not worship shall never live in holiness—C. H. Spurgeon

To worship God in spirit is to worship from the inside out—Donald S. Whitney

Man is a worshipper and only in the spirit of worship does he find release for all the power of his amazing intellect—A. W. Tozer

Without the heart it is no worship. It is a stage play. It is an acting a part without being that person, really. It is playing the hypocrite—Stephen Charnock

True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists—A. W. Tozer

True worship is a blend of godly fear and trembling together with joy that we are accepted in the Beloved—Erroll Hulse

Worship begins with holy ecstasy; it ends in holy obedience—or it isn’t worship—John MacArthur

To adore God is to be lifted outside of ourselves. To bow in wonder before this transcendent majesty whose glory fills the heavens and whose mighty power spans the wide compass of history and reaches with unerring accuracy into every crevice of time and space, this is to mount up from groveling obsession with our own needs to an awe-inspiring glimpse of the glory of the eternal God—Herbert Carson

The dearest idol I have known,

Whate’er that idol be,

Help me to tear it from thy throne,

And worship only thee—William Cowper

Genuine Worship–Acts 16.25-35

May 11, 2009

The Temple in Jerusalem
Referring to the Temple in Jerusalem, Tim Keller says, ‘The Temple was to be the center of a ‘world-winning worship’ (Worship by the Book, p. 218).

Psalm 105.1-2
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!

The psalm instructs the people of God to tell the nations about the wonderful works of God and to sing praises to him. These simple instructions, if followed, makes worship well-rounded.

The Well-Rounded Worship Service
Well-rounded worship includes two plains: (1) the horizontal plain and (2) the vertical plain.

Worship on the horizontal plain, speaks to people. Worship on the horizontal plain edifies the people who are there—that is, they are taught the truths of God and his marvelous plan of salvation and sanctification. Psalm 105.2 instructs Israel to ‘tell of all (God’s) wondrous works’ to the peoples of the world. Telling involves teaching. Israel was to teach the nations about God.

Worship on the vertical plain speaks to God. Worship on the vertical plain gives all the glory to God, praising his name and adoring him as God. Psalm 105.2 also instructs Israel to ‘Sing to (God), sing praises to him.’ Singing is an important way that believers glorify God.

On the horizontal plain, the people are edified by the words of the hymns, by the prayers of the people, by the liturgy of the sacraments, and by the preached message and the proclamation of God’s holy word. On the vertical plain, God is glorified in the hymns we sing, the prayers we offer, the sacraments we celebrate, and the sermon preached and his word proclaimed.

Both elements must be evident for a worship service to be well-rounded. If the people are not nourished through the proper teaching of the truth, then believers go away hungry and emaciated and, even more tragically, non-believers go away starving with no hope of eternal life. If God is not glorified through the praise and love of his people, then holy worship has not occurred.

Teaching the people who are present and glorifying the living God go hand-in-hand in the worship service.

Jesus Christ Replaces the Temple
The old, physical temple in Jerusalem (the building, the system of sacrifices, the laws that governed how the ceremonies were to be conducted) has been replaced by something better, Jesus Christ. Now the worship of God is not limited to one place (the Temple in Jerusalem) and one time (the Sabbath); since Christ has risen and is in heaven, worship is everywhere and always.

John 2.19-21
‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’…But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

A Testimony to the Power of God-glorifying Worship

A young man from a privileged family was living a life of reckless abandon—his nights were filled with drinking, partying, and carousing—when he woke one morning and remembered that it was Sunday. Dim memories of going to church as a child nudged him to go to church. But since he wasn’t familiar with any churches in his neighbourhood, he entered the first one he came across.

Entering the sanctuary, he was struck by the worship of the congregation. He intuitively sensed that the guest of honour that hour was God himself. The transcendence of the moment pierced his heart.

Tullian Tchividjian was impacted by the place of honour which God had in the worship service.

The Holy Spirit–Quotes

May 1, 2009

We have a Celebrity in our midst—A. W. Tozer

The work of the Holy Spirit is as needful as that of Christ—William MacLaren

If it were possible to put the Holy Spirit into a textbook of pharmacology I would put him under stimulants, for that is where he belongs—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

It is the Spirit’s ministry to bring the sinner to the Saviour and to make the sinner like the Saviour—John Blanchard

The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for his people—A. W. Tozer

We preach and pray, and you hear; but there is no motion Christ-ward until the Spirit of God blows upon them—John Flavel

The Holy Spirit may be had for the asking—R. B. Kuiper

The first work of the Spirit is to make a man look upon sin as an enemy and to deal with sin as an enemy, to hate it as an enemy, to loathe it as an enemy, and to arm against it as an enemy—Thomas Brooks

The Spirit who convicts us is also the Spirit who consoles—C. H. Spurgeon

We may depend upon it as a certainty that where there is no holy living there is no Holy Spirit—J. C. Ryle

The Holy Spirit is the great beautifier of the soul—John Owen

Fire is quenched by pouring on water or by withdrawing fuel; so the Spirit is quenched by living in sin, which is like pouring water on fire; or by not improving our gifts and graces, which is like withdrawing fuel from the hearth—Thomas Manton

God’s mind is revealed in Scripture, but we can see nothing without the spectacles of the Holy Spirit—Thomas Manton

Proper understanding of the Scriptures comes through the Holy Spirit—Martin Luther

God does not bestow his Spirit on his people in order to set aside the use of his word, but rather to render it fruitful—John Calvin

Before Christ sent the church into the world, he sent the Spirit into the church. The same order must be observed today—John R. W. Stott

Scripture places no limitation upon the Spirit’s work of glorifying Christ and extending his kingdom—Iain H. Murray

Billy Graham School of Evangelism

May 1, 2009

Here is an amazing opportunity. This July, the Billy Graham School of Evangelism is coming to Ottawa. They will be teaching pastors and laypeople about evangelism. This is not a school of techniques and skills. I went a few years ago. The focus is on Christ and his power to transform the heart of people who couldn’t care less about God. This focus is what makes the school so extraordinary. In an era when Christ has been booted from his throne by so many Christians, the School of Evangelism declares him King and Lord of all.

If you are interested in going with Terri and I to this event, please let me know ASAP.