Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Corporate Worship

The worship of God is the work which has been commanded by God or established with the sure testimony of God. God pronounces that He is honored by it. It is a work which must be performed with the immediate or principal purpose of obeying God and honoring Him. Indeed, it must be performed in the light of faith in Christ.

Philip Melanchthon, Loci Communes, 1543

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prayer as an Offering

In the HSCB [Hosea 14:2] reads: “Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: 'Forgive all our sin and accept what is good, so that we may repay You with praise from our lips.'” The last phrase literally reads, “and we will pay you with the bulls of our lips.” As the imagery is clearly that of sacrifice, this passage has generally been interpreted as expressing a desire for a new beginning. The words being assessed as a sacrifice are acceptable only when they can be presented as representative for past actions and future commitment. In this way, the prophet made clear that at the heart of all his expressions concerning the nature of true worship and relationship with God is a call for confession and repentance. This is the crux of the attitude to be brought to all worship. Apart from confession and repentance we cannot enter into worship, and apart from accompanying commitment of personal worship and service, worship has not been achieved. Herein resides the bridge into what one takes from worship.

Timothy M. Pierce, Enthroned on Our Praise, p. 189-190

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This past Sunday I preached at Hus Memorial Presbyterian on living a life worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27-28). Of the three ingredients I related—unity, humility, and obedience—I lingered on the last to drive home its importance.

Obedience in the context of is the expected, normal Christian life lived in full surrender to God as a practical and acceptable worship. Believers do not earn their salvation daily, but work out their salvation in ways that demonstration the fruit of the Spirit's work (Ephesians 2:10). But this is only part of the picture. To even get to this point requires obedience. In , the writer points out that the believer has life in Christ, but the disobedient shall not see life. The opposite of belief is disobedience rather than unbelief. Obedience is an integral and expected part of belief. The Pharisees wanted to know what work of God they could do, and Jesus answered, "This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent" (John 6:29).

Assuming we are obedient in believing the gospel, how are we to be obedient? The first way is to do those things that God has commanded us to do. In Luke 17:5, the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. The answer is startling. After telling them how a little faith can work, he teaches them through story that the proper thing to do is obey their master (i.e. God). It is that simple. We just have to know what to do, ergo read his word.

Is there a practical application to this? You bet. We just had a national election. The executive and legislative branches of government will have a decidedly more liberal agenda than the past administration. I do not like the idea at all, but Scripture tells me to pray for and obey them (Romans 13; 1 Timothy 2; Hebrews 13). The question is: can I do that with a whole heart as I should?