Have you ever wondered why singing is such a prominent feature in corporate worship?
- Singing serves as a way to bless and thank our God for who He is and for all that He has done to love and rescue us.
- Singing our Lord’s praise is a primary way that we enthrone Him in our hearts (Psalm 22:3).
- Singing serves as a means of proclaiming the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In singing, we commend to others the Jesus that we know and cherish ourselves (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
- Singing enables us to savor God’s Word and makes it more memorable and vivid. The Apostle Paul admonishes us: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” (Colossians 3:16).
- Singing changes us. It makes us kinder, gentler, and more reasonable. It also affords peace and joy to our hearts.
- Singing galvanizes us to trust God in the midst of trouble (e.g. Paul and Silas sing hymns while persecuted and imprisoned for their faith – Acts 16:25).
- Singing serves as a weapon when we are in the midst of spiritual conflict. Martin Luther claims that “the devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God.”
William Cowper, the beloved 18th century English poet and hymnodist, was right:
“Sometimes the light surprises the Christian while he sings. It is the Son who rises with healing in His wings.”
Oh that we might experience anew His healing and transformative work in our hearts as we draw near to worship our Lord!
‘We must pay the greatest attention to what we have heard,
so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).’
Drifting is the besetting sin of our day.
And as the metaphor suggests, it is not so much intentional as from unconcern. Christians neglect their anchor — Christ — and begin to quietly drift away.
— Kent Hughes
If you examined a hundred people
who had lost their faith in Christianity,
I wonder how many of them would have been reasoned out of it
by honest argument?
Do not most people simply drift away?
— C. S. Lewis
When our anchor begins to lift from our soul’s grasp
of the greatness and supremacy of Jesus Christ,
we become susceptible to subtle tows.
— Alexander Maclaren
Advice to a little girl: If you continue to love Jesus,
nothing much can go wrong with you and I hope you always do so.
— C. S. Lewis
I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene …
No man can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.
His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
— Albert Einstein
“Gaze on that helpless object of endless adoration!
Those infant hands
shall burst our bands
and work out our salvation;
Strangle the crooked serpent;
destroy his works forever,
And open set the heavenly gate
to every true believer.”
– Charles Wesley
William Wordsworth, in the early 1800s,
grasped well the significance of the whole book of Revelation.
To a man who suffered bouts of loneliness and heartache
due to the death of both of his parents
by the time he was 13 years old
and his separation from his brothers and sisters, this book was
“a manual of comfort to the Church in her pilgrimage
through this world to the Heavenly Canaan of her rest.
It cheers with the comforting assurance,
that Christ is mightier than His enemies;
that they who die for Him, live;
that they who suffer for Him, reign;
that the course of the Church upon earth
is like the course of Christ Himself;
that she is here a Witness of the Truth;
that her office is to teach the world;
that she will be fed by the Divine Hand,
like the ancient Church, with manna in the wilderness;
that she will be borne on eagles’ wings in her missionary career;
and yet, that she must expect to suffer injuries
from enemies and from friends;
that she, too, must look to have her Gethsemane and her Calvary,
but that she will also have her Olivet;
that through the pains of agony and suffering,
and through the darkness of the grave,
she will rise to the glories of a triumphant ascension,
and to the everlasting joys of the New Jerusalem;
that she who has been for a time
‘the Woman wandering in the Wilderness,’
will be, forever and ever, the Bride glorified in heaven.”
William Cowper says in one of his letters
that he once was friends with a man of fine taste
who confessed to him that
although he could not subscribe to the truth of Christianity,
he could never read this passage in Luke’s Gospel (the Emmaus Walk – Luke 24)
without being deeply affected by it,
and feeling that
if the stamp of divinity was impressed upon anything in the Scriptures,
it was upon that passage.
Below is a portion of Cowper’s poem entitled “Conversation.”
Read it slowly savoring each one and envisioning that memorable walk to Emmaus!
It happen’d on a solemn eventide,
Soon after He that was our surety died,
Two bosom friends, each pensively inclined,
The scene of all those sorrows left behind,
Sought their own village, busied as they went
In musings worthy of the great event:
They spake of him they loved, of him whose life,
Though blameless, had incurr’d perpetual strife,
Whose deeds had left, in spite of hostile arts,
A deep memorial graven on their hearts.
The recollection, like a vein of ore,
The farther traced enrich’d them still the more;
They thought him, and they justly thought him, one
Sent to do more than he appear’d to have done,
To exalt a people, and to place them high
Above all else, and wonder’d he should die.
Ere yet they brought their journey to an end,
A stranger join’d them, courteous as a friend,
And ask’d them with a kind engaging air
What their affliction was, and begg’d a share.
Inform’d, he gathered up the broken thread,
And truth and wisdom gracing all he said,
Explain’d, illustrated, and search’d so well
The tender theme on which they chose to dwell,
That reaching home, the night, they said is near,
We must not now be parted, sojourn here.
The new acquaintance soon became a guest,
And made so welcome at their simple feast,
He bless’d the bread, but vanish’d at the word,
And left them both exclaiming, ’Twas the Lord!
Did not our hearts feel all he deign’d to say,
Did they not burn within us by the way?
Are you depressed by reason of your sin?
Let not this discourage you, for his name is purposefully Jesus,
because he, and he alone, “shall save his people from their sins”
Listen to the old Puritan, Robert Hawker (1753-1827 AD):
“My soul,what do you know practically and personally
of this most blessed name of your Savior?
It is one thing to have heard of him as Jesus,
and another to know him to be Jesus…
Have you simply heard of Jesus or have you received him as Jesus
to the salvation of your soul?
Is not the very name of Jesus most precious to you?”
When you take the name of Jesus upon your lips,
you remind yourself that almighty God is eternally committed to your salvation. When you take the name of Emmanuel on your lips,
you are reminding yourself that God is perpetually with you.
Here are some mp3s and seminar notes of talks given to our church community back in 2014 during our Christian Life Conference. If you listen to one, I would strongly encourage you to listen to the last one – Sandy Willson speaking on “Homosexuality and the Christian.” The others are helpful as well depending on where you are personally.
Here are links to the talk with notes regarding what the Bible has to say about our sexuality.
Recovering from Sexual Sins: The Jesus Way – Mitchell Moore
Christian Sexuality – Sandy Willson
Single Sexuality – Barton Kimbro
Married Sexuality – Dick Cain
Link to Word document
Christian Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage – Todd Erickson
Rearing Christian in a Sexualized Society – Dick Cain
Homosexuality and the Christian – Sandy Willson