Palestinian Evangelicals…Yes

I have not been writing much lately other than sermons because I’m reading a ton, researching a ton, journaling a ton, and evaluating a lot of things…a ton. I’m on the backside of my life, and I’ve got to make sure I get it right. I’m not interested in pleasing man or people who want to have their bad doctrine or idols stroked or affirmed. I’m in a post-Christian south that can justify being counter Jesus’ teaching as long as it sells, underhanded, mismanaging God’s things, wrecking people’s lives for some agenda,  misinformed and happy to be so, unwilling to learn, marginalizing of anyone or thing that doesn’t seem to fit…..

If that means I pastor until I die, so be it. If that means I shift vocations, then so be it. It’s better for me to not write when I’m doing that because I may say things that shake people’s sensibilities too much and that just creates more headache for me. But I digress.

One thing I’m passionate about is the whole world. It’s Jesus’ mission (see Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 12:1-3 and then Jesus’ saying it again in Matthew 28:16-20). God intends for all things to be brought back under the rule of Jesus. Humans reconciled to God through Jesus alone from all nations. Systems and nature are also to be brought back under the rule of Jesus. The new heave and the new earth are a reality we will experience one day with all of the redeemed who have believed on Jesus. This included Palestinians.

Unfortunately certain eschatological systems have made an enemy out of anyone who is not Jewish or who is not pro-Jewish state to the hurt and destruction of others who seem to stand in the way.

There is one problem, Palestinian Evangelical Christians who are systematically persecuted by a non-Christian Jewish state. Talk about throwing a wrench into one’s theological system. That one right there does it.

Here’s what you should do, read your bible, believe every inerrant word of it, interpret it well with all the hard work necessary to understand the Spirit inspired author’s meaning, make application to the world as it is and as it will be, then let your systems form around those conclusions. Don’t try to make the Scriptures and your world fit into a neat little timeline produced by someone whose agenda you don’t know.

Read this article, and marinate in it. This is real, and I’ve met some of these people, and there are others in your town, Rome, GA, who could join that crew if you would love them, tell them that old, old story and watch the Spirit birth some new folks into the Kingdom.

This right here is good for you to read and digest. It’s reality.

Palestinian Evangelical

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Worship as a Priority

The Priority of Worship

A Definition of Worship

1) Worship is communion with God 2) in which believers, 3) by grace, 4) center their mind’s attention and their 5) heart’s affection on the Lord, 6) humbly 7) glorifying God 8) in response to the revelation of his glory and his word.[1]

Today: This is a little bit of a systematic theology of worship to help us place it in the proper place as a priority.

The priority of worship (POW) is rooted in the identity, nature and character of God.

  • Identity – Genesis 1-2, as Creator and Sustainer of all things he is first and supreme and therefore worthy.
  • Nature – God’s nature is that of being zealous for his worship from his people.
  • Exodus 20:2-5 (ESV) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.
  • By nature, a “god” is an object of worship, and therefore, since there are no other “gods”, the God of the bible demands worship.
  • Character – We respond to God in terms of the various attributes of his being.
  • Holy
  • Love
  • Good

 

RESULTING FROM THE NATURE OF GOD: The POW is the fundamental assumption of the Ten Commandments.

  • Exodus 20:2-5 (ESV) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.
  • The first four commandments are about our worship of God and the remaining 6 are about the practice of a life of worship.
  • Our worship dictates how we approach other image bearers.

The POW is taught in the words, names and titles for God.

  • Elohim (Hebrew) – Object of worship
  • Theos (Greek) – Object of worship

God Most High – Psalms 50:14 (ESV) Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,

Lord of Lords – Deuteronomy 10:17 (ESV) For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.

  • God is not like a petty tyrant who can be paid off.
  • God is not like a false “god” who needs to be placated.

Emmanuel – Matthew 1:22-23 (ESV) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).[2]

  • God has revealed himself to us and has come to be with us to restore us to worship him.

The POW is built into the creation of man.

  • Cain and Abel – The first murder on the earth happened over acceptable worship and unacceptable worship.
  • We can even turn the worship of God into an idol by making it about us not about God.
  • We make it about us when we choose our worship based on preference, consumption, and ease as opposed to being a living sacrifice.
  • Isaiah 43:7 (ESV) everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
  • Isaiah 43:20-21 (ESV) for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
  • Ephesians 1:11-12 (ESV) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

The POW is demonstrated in the history of Israel.

  • The Spiritual biographies of people God called to himself for them to worship him: Abel, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David…
  • The centrality to the people of the Tent, Tabernacle and Temple. In the middle.
  • The continual downfall of the people from idolatry (worship of false gods).

The POW is explicit in the life and teaching of Jesus.

  • The events in Jesus life prompted the worship of God.
  • The annunciation – Luke 1:46-55
  • The Angel’s worship at Jesus’ birth – Luke 2:13, 14
  • The Shepherd’s worship – Luke 2:20=
  • The personal habit of Jesus.
  • Annually at the feat of Passover as a child and subsequent feasts as an adult – Luke 2:4-52
  • Jesus’ zeal in cleansing the Temple – Luke 19:45-48
  • Jesus regularly attended the synagogue on the Sabbath – Luke 4:16
  • Jesus accepted the worship of others.
  • Angels – Hebrews 1:6
  • Magi – Matthew 2:11
  • Leper – Matthew 8:2
  • Ruler – Matthew 9:18
  • Disciples – Matthew 14:33

The POW is asserted in the biblical revelation of heaven.

  • Isaiah 6 – Jesus sitting on his throne receiving the praise of the hosts of heaven.
  • Revelation 4:8-11 (ESV) And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
  • The worship of God is the eternal command of the future – Revelation 14:6-7 (ESV) Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

So, what?

  1. Worship is all about God, so let’s keep it all about God.

Worship is a serious action, and it’s not to be trifled with by in making it simply an issue of personal preference regarding songs or preaching or services to be taken advantage of.

  • From a life of living sacrifice to the corporate gathering:
    • Have no personal agenda
    • Be a giver (in all things as a standard of life) not a getter…Mark 10:45 (ESV) For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    • Be generous (in all things as a standard of life) not stingy…Proverbs 11:24 (ESV) One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
  1. Worship must be a joyous obligation/responsibility that takes priority.
  • Joyous responsibility
    • Psalms 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
  • Prioroity
    • One thousand things will compete for your attention and then compete to become a priority. I would assert that there are only a small few that are worthy of our time.
  1. Worship must be reflected in our love for God and love for his people and our getting after our domain to take it captive and see it brought back under Jesus’ reign of love.
  2. When we do these thigs well we can expect the experience powerful moves of the Spirit in our corporate gatherings.

 

 

 

 

[1] Definition adapted from the course, “Church Music” by Dr. Bruce Leafblad, Southwestern

Baptist Theological Seminary.

[2] Cited from Isaiah 7:14