Archives For Church

 

Use these lyrics in place of the bridge in the song Oceans. Turn that personal statement of faith into intercession for the persecuted church.

“Open wide the gates of glory for the dying
For the saints who have been faithful
in the dark days of their trial.

Show your mercy to the hungry and the frightened
Scatter all those who love violence
Show the nations you are mighty”

– Sung in place of the bridge in the song “Oceans.”

 

 

Archibald G Brown

Archibald G. Brown (July 18, 1844 – April 2, 1922) was a student of Spurgeon’s and succeeded him for a short season at The Metropolitan Tabernacle. This is from one of his sermons.

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

serving communion

“In communion, our entire covenant community is brought closer to our God and subsequently, to each other because our Christ is our commonality, and the sacrament is our common sign. As all believers possess God’s Spirit, we are personally fed, repaired, and strengthened. But that communion is not a privatized, one-dimensional experience.

All of Christ’s Church enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit, so we cannot experience true communion in isolation. The sacrament that is experienced is always done in plurality with other brothers and sisters… We are brought out of isolation into a community that rallies around an identity that is not consumed with melancholic introspection or shared backgrounds. Once defined by our sin, we are now defined by the person and work of another – Jesus. We are now defined by his righteousness, not our own. As we corporately approach the table, it is a group of righteous people who still sin, a group of righteous people who hate their sin, and a group of righteous people who long for the day when they will not sin.

What a relief to many that there are others who are disgusted with themselves. We are morally frustrated, and yet, also long for the perfection found in Christ’s work – not increased fervor or promises. The Table once again unites a fragmented people. Unified, we come. Sinners who have been made righteous attend this Table. We do not come through varying acts of goodness, but through One Person, applied to his people by One Spirit. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Table is, yet again, the cure for loneliness and isolation.”

– Tim Lien

This Is for You (The Means of Grace)

 

C.H. Spurgeon“So with the Lord’s Supper. My witness is, and I think I speak the mind of many of God’s people now present, that coming as some of us do, weekly, to the Lord’s table, we do not find the breaking of bread to have lost its significance—it is always fresh to us. I have often remarked on Lord’s-day evening, whatever the subject may have been, whether Sinai has thundered over our heads, or the plaintive notes of Calvary have pierced our hearts, it always seems equally appropriate to come to the breaking of bread. Shame on the Christian church that she should put it off to once a month, and mar the first day of the week by depriving it of its glory in the meeting together for fellowship and breaking of bread, and showing forth of the death of Christ till he come. They who once know the sweetness of each Lord’s-day celebrating his Supper, will not be content, I am sure, to put it off to less frequent seasons. Beloved, when the Holy Ghost is with us, ordinances are wells to the Christian, wells of rich comfort and of near communion.”

“Songs of Deliverance,” Sermon no. 763, July 28, 1867, preaching from Judges 5:11.

20130417-174749.jpgAA Hodge in his Evangelical Theology: Lectures on Doctrine, speaks of holy communion as the “visible mark or badge of Christian discipleship.” His words that follow are a stirring call both to a life of testimony and the essential nature of the sacrament.

It is true that a true believer, who for any reason is prevented from confessing Christ by wearing publicly his sacramental badge, may just as efficiently confess him by other significant words and deeds. And it is further true that if a communicant is indeed a true believer at heart he
will constantly confess Christ in other ways—indeed, in all conceivable ways—in all his life. Nevertheless, a loyal citizen cannot choose his own flag. The public and official signification of loyalty cannot be left to the accidental choice of individuals. Above all, in a state of active war no loyal soldier can for one moment fail to hold aloft the one battle-flag which his leader has in trusted to his care. He covers it with his body, he shields it with his life, he carries it aloft with streaming eyes and heaving breast at the head of the host. So do we with solemn joy, with reverent love and passion, carry in sacred pomp this sacramental flag of confession and of challenge high in the face of the world which crucified our Lord.

The Challenge we Face

August 11, 2012

“We must challenge the church to passionate, Spirit-empowered worship that reverberates at the deepest core of our being while holding to the Scripture’s enduring revelation that informs our minds, strips away our pretense, exposes our hearts and forms our character to be like Christ.” – Jeff Ling

By Michael Horton:

Michael HortonAccording to several studies, American evangelicals generally do not know what they believe and why they believe it. Consequently, most share with the wider culture a confidence in human goodness and a weak view of the need for God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ. According to these reports, most evangelicals believe that we are saved by being good and that there are many ways of salvation apart from explicit faith in Jesus Christ.

Here are a few of the disturbing trends that need to be checked and reformed in contemporary church life:

1. We are all too confident in our own words

We are all too confident in our own words, so that churches become echo chambers for the latest trends in pop psychology, marketing, politics, entertainment, and entrepreneurial leadership. We need to recover our confidence in the triune God and His speech, as He addresses us authoritatively in His Word.

2. We are all too confident in our own methods

We are all too confident in our own methods for success in personal, ecclesial, and social transformation. We need to be turned again to God’s judgment and grace, His action through His ordained means of grace.

3. We are all too confident in our own good works

We are all too confident in our own good works. We need to repent and be brought again to despair not only of our sins but of our pretended righteousness.

4. We are all too enamored of our own glory

We are all too enamored of our own glory, the kingdoms that we are building. We need to be brought back to that place of trust in Christ where we are deeply aware of “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28), because God is building it for His own glory, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

Only as we turn our ears away from the false promises of this passing age to God’s Word, to His saving revelation in Christ as the only gospel, and to the glory of the triune God as our only goal, can we expect to see a genuine revival of Christian discipleship, worship, and mission in the world today.


Excerpt adapted from Michael Horton’s foreword in R.C. Sproul’s latest book, Are We Together? Available now from ReformationTrust.com

Thanks to Peter Cockrell for this.