Devotional Thought for Today – 05/10/2021

Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 5:8

I recently saw a post from a good friend that went something like this; ‘Holy Spirt you are so dear to me, I can not live a day without you…’ The point of the post was to say the Holy Spirit was the focus of his faith but is that Biblically correct?

First, before I get accused of something I am not saying, although NOWHERE in the Bible is worshipping the Holy Spirit explicitly written it is most definitely implicitly proclaimed. The London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 22 (among many great historical documents) makes this clear):

Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone;4 not to angels, saints, or any other creatures;5 and since the fall, not without a mediator,6 nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.7

4 Matt. 4:9–10John 6:23Matt. 28:19
5 Rom. 1:25Col. 2:18Rev. 19:10
6 John 14:6
7 1 Tim. 2:5

The Triune God is worthy of worship, but only as the Bible allows, it is through by Grace alone, through Faith alone in Christ alone that one comes to be redeemed by the Father. It was Christ that paid the penalty for all our sin at Calvary, it is in Christ’s name we pray, it was Christ who promised us a guide in the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christ is the head of the church (not the Holy Spirit) and we the saints His bride. We can not elevate the Holy Spirit above the Only Begotten Son nor should we neglect or relegate the third person of the Trinity to some second fiddle position.

1Marcus Johnson’s words form a fitting conclusion to this post:

We are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit. . . . To say that our union with Christ occurs by the power of the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is himself the bond that united us to the living Christ. . . . The heart of the Spirit’s ministry is to join us to the incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended, and living Lord Jesus Christ. J. I. Packer writes that “the distinctive, constant, basic ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant is . . . to mediate Christ’s presence to believers.” Therefore, describing union with Christ as a “spiritual” union can mean only that it is a union with Christ that takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit—it is a Spiritual union.71


1The Most Important Work of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship: Extraordinary Experience or Disciplined Formation? PDF by Scott Aniol

What is the true meaning of the second commandment?

Should we worship the Holy Spirit?

LBCF 1689 God and the Trinity

LBCF 1689 Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

God-centered Worship

Of the Object of Worship PDF by John Gill – Note this is a 465 page book, excellent read

Daily Devotional – Adoration and Praise

5. The Triumphant Lamb We Worship (Revelation 5:1-14)
“Adoration of the Lamb,” by Jan van Eyck (1432), oil on wood, Ghent altarpiece, Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent.

Revelation 5


Adoration and Praise

Before we delve into Chapter 5 we need to address the issue of why God is worthy of Adoration and Praise, as well as what the differences between the tow are.

The bible is full of references to God’s worthiness to be Worshiped and Praised, Psalm 145:3, being just one example. When we consider as a whole the Love, Mercy, Sacrifice (Calvary) and Promises of God no other god is more worthy or even in the same conversation. God’s divine attributes and accomplishments, His ongoing providence for His elect warrant an esteemed response (Adoration and Praise) with solemn purpose. 

The Life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration -J. I. Packer

A child of God should be a visible beatitude for joy and happiness, and a living doxology for gratitude and adoration. – C.H. Spurgeon 

People only have true understanding when they look at everything from God’s perspective. Authentic wisdom begins when we understand that God is to be the object of our devotion, our adoration, and our reverence. – R.C. Sproul

Adoration is; The act of paying honors to a divine being; the worship paid to God; the act of addressing as a God While Praise is, The expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; a glorifying or extolling.

The differences are subtle, Adoration infers a intense reverence while Praise is an expression of approval.  Some of you are questioning Praise teams and such at this moment. Adoration and Worship are closely linked while the two are different from Praise.

 Confused yet 🤷‍♂️. Praise is the joyful recounting of all God has done for us. It is closely intertwined with thanksgiving as we offer back to God appreciation for His mighty works on our behalf. Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. The following article may help in understanding: “What is the difference between praise and worship?”


CONTEXT

Okay, all that to get to Rev Chapter 5 and our actual text for today v.11-13. If we needed further evidence that God was worthy of Adoration and Praise the bible tells clearly the day is coming when all creation will do just that.

v.11 – And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

v.12 – Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

v.13 – And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

The fours beast and 24 elders v.8 fall down before the lamb of God (Christ) and begin singing a new song of adoration and praises to Christ Jesus proclaiming His worthiness to execute righteous judgement v.9.

Verse 11, begins the response of the unfathomable number of angels to the song by the beasts and elders. They cry out in unison v.12 Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (AMP).  Soon they are join by all creation, And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,

It is matter of joy to all the world, to see that God deals with men in grace and mercy through the Redeemer. He governs the world, not merely as a Creator, but as our Saviour. The harps were instruments of praise; the vials were full of odours, or incense, which signify the prayers of the saints: prayer and praise should always go together. Christ has redeemed his people from the bondage of sin, guilt, and Satan. He has not only purchased liberty for them, but the highest honour and preferment; he made them kings and priests; kings, to rule over their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one; and he makes them priests; giving them access to himself, and liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. What words can more fully declare that Christ is, and ought to be worshipped, equally with the Father, by all creatures, to all eternity! Happy those who shall adore and praise in heaven, and who shall for ever bless the Lamb, who delivered and set them apart for himself by his blood. How worthy art thou, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of our highest praises! All creatures should proclaim thy greatness, and adore thy majesty. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 


APPLICATION

There are many ways in which we can daily show Adoration and Praise to God> Here are just a few: 

Our Actions: Do all to the Glory of Christ,  Colossians 3:23

Get Involved: Help the least of these in your community, Matthew 25:31-46

Share the Gospel:  The uncompromised Gospel, not your testimony the Gospel, Matthew 28:18-20

Study: to show yourself approved and worthy of being a servant of the Lord, 2 Timothy 2:14-19

Pray: Be in the mindset to rejoice and pray in every circumstance, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  especially when it comes to the Adoration of God: 

Introduction to Adoration

Of the First Part of Prayer, which is Address to God, Adoration of Him, with Suitable Acknowledgements, Professions, and Preparatory Requests

My spirit being composed into a very reverent and serious frame, my thoughts gathered in, and all that is within me charged in the name of the great God carefully to attend the solemn and awful service that lies before me and to keep close to it, I must, with a fixed attention and application of mind and an active lively faith, set the Lord before me, see his eye upon me, and set myself in his special presence, presenting myself to him as a living sacrifice, which I desire may be holy and acceptable to God and a spiritual service; Romans 12:1(ESV) and then bind this festal sacrifice with cords up to the horns of the altar, Psalm 118:27(ESV) in such thoughts as these:

Let me now lift up my heart, with my eyes and hands, to God in heaven. Lamentations 3:41(ESV)

Let me rouse myself to take hold of God, Isaiah 64:7(ESV) to seek his face, Psalm 27:8(ESV) and to ascribe to him the glory due his name. Psalm 29:2(ESV)

Unto you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. Psalm 25:1(ESV)

Let me now with confidence enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for me through the curtain, that is, through his flesh. Hebrews 10:19-20(ESV)

Let me now attend to the Lord with undivided devotion, 1 Corinthians 7:35(ESV) and let not my heart be far from him when I draw near to him with my mouth and honor him with my lips. Isaiah 29:13(ESV)

Let me now worship God, who is spirit, in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. John 4:23-24(ESV)

Devotional Thought for Today – 12/05/2020

Psalm 50


The God of contemporary Christianity!

(A.W. Tozer)

“These things you have done, and I kept silent. You thought that I was altogether like you! But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face!” Psalm 50:21

The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome–if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless–while they at least had some imagined power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is–in itself a monstrous sin–and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it–and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry, is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow–they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God–and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him–we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts. And an idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?”–and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed–her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is–and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him–and of her!

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/09/2020

Thanksgiving: Psalm 30 – July 5, 2020 – Solana Beach Presbyterian Church

PSALM 33

PRAISE or WORSHIP 

The obvious context, PRAISE, of this Psalm is found in the opening verses 1-3 where the writer implores the people (righteous ones)  to Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with the harp… Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully [on the strings] with a loud and joyful sound.

Why praise and not worship, is there a difference. Many in modern evangelical circles think not, I disagree.  Take a moment to look at the two definition links in the last sentence.  I hope you can se the difference, Praise is an expression of approval or admiration in this case of the Lord.  Worship on the other hand while it can include praise,  is an expression of adoration and reverence.  Expressing our gratitude “Thank you Jesus” when we narrowly escape a predicament is Praise not Worship.  

Most churches begin with some form of “Worship” in fact many morning services are called “Worship Services” in the bulletins. Just as many churches have varying forms of worship services. Worship doesn’t mean “to lift your hands” or “bow your kneels” you can not show me that in the book.  For me that is the issue, God. The bible says that praise comes from the mouth Hosea 14:2 and worship from the heart Luke 6:45. 

So I am convinced that we should follow the biblical principles for life at all times. If you are a True born again Christian that should not seem an unreasonable thought to you.  How does that apply here, glad you asked, there are two types of “worship” generally accepted in modern evangelical churches.  They are the Normative Principle of Worship and the Regulative Principle of Worship.  The easiest way I have ever had it explained was the NPW says if its not in the bible its okay while the RPW says only stuff in the bible is okay.  

For those inquiring minds, I hold to the RPW, for a variety of reasons my main one being the fact that just because the bible does not explicitly command us not to does not mean we should,  All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]  1 Corinthians 10:23.  I am always afraid or at least overly cautious of what corrupt things man can bring into God’s house. 


What is the difference between praise and worship?

What is it to praise God?

What is Christian Worship?

Regulative vs. normative principle of worship—which viewpoint is correct?

The Regulative Principle of Worship by 

 

Trouble Times and Right Worship

Pin by Patricia on Truth (With images) | Spirit quotes, Jehovah ...

Job 20:5 (AMP and RVR 1960)


CONTEXT:

I wish to depart a little from my normal daily devotional and write about something that seems to be suddenly (due to the recent riots) making a strong return to social media, the need for folks to worship God.

First let me say, that I fully agree with this but it should not take a national crisis like COVID-19 or anarchist rioting and looting in the streets for folks to suddenly get religious and call for it on social media.  

Second, we should all remember as it is written in the book of Job these self righteous degenerates will only be basking in their own glory for a limited time. As I noted in yesterday’s study, Thou Art God, the day will come when we all stand before the Lord without excuse. Where will be there glory then?

Finally, and most importantly for today’s devotion, to all those calling for folks to get back to worshiping God I would ask the question; what kind of worship or how are you worshiping God? Some of you may be asking what does it matter? We go to church we worship this way or that and we have a great experience. 

Before we proceed we need to define worship.  Worship is usually defined as “the act of showing reverence and adoration for a deity by honoring that deity with religious rites.” But worship can go even deeper than that. Worship can be more accurately defined as “the art of losing oneself in the adoration of another.” By this definition, many acts of worship have nothing to do with God or even a presumed deity. People worship rock stars, athletes, and other celebrities. They lose themselves in the adoration of wealth, fame, and power. So there are many worship styles and practices that are idolatrous and therefore unbiblical.”¹

Now let me ask you this; do you believe God is sovereign (Isaiah 45:7)? Do you believe he is worthy to be worshiped (Psalm 42:1)? 

If you answered YES to those two questions then you should instinctively answer YES to these:

There will be false worshipers (John 4:23)

Christ COMMANDS us to worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24)

Worship means according to God’s revealed WORD (Christ’s Doctrine; 2 John 1:9) not man’s made up program (Also see Deuteronomy 4:12, Deuteronomy 12:32 and Revelation 22:18–19 )

If you acknowledge the above you and/or your church should be practicing (at least in some form) The Regulative Principle of Worship.  If you truly believe God is in control, worthy of all honor, glory and praise then the only conclusion is:

It is about

WORSHIPING GOD HIS WAY

not ours!


¹ Extract from GotQuestions.org


 

OTHER RESOURCES:

The Regulative Principle of Worship by Greg Price

What is the Regulative Principle of Worship?

The Regulative Principle of Worship, Banner of Truth

The Regulative Principle of Worship by Derek Thomas

RICHARD BAXTER ON CHURCHES MEETING WHEN FORBIDDEN

Okay so y’all know I love reading these old dead guys called the Puritans. Why because they (for the most part) got it, the very essence of what the bible was saying without the modern trappings of political correctness, self interpretation any other issue hanging on them. 

Here in a posts from a guy Andrew  J. Spencer I never hear of before, we find that same thing Richard Baxter wrote this nearly 400 years before the current pandemic  applies today. 

RICHARD BAXTER ON CHURCHES MEETING WHEN FORBIDDEN

The following is an excerpt from The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, the fifth volume, in his Christian Ecclesiastics, where he details answers to nearly 200 questions dealing with Christians and matters of conscience.

Richard Baxter

Richard Baxter

Baxter, an English Puritan, was obviously writing in a different day under a different set of laws, but I think that his response to these two questions is pertinent and helpful at this present time. I disagree with a few of the particulars (e.g., that it might be ok for the government to restrict meetings smaller than ten), but the general intent is, I think, well-considered and generally helpful as we process living under temporary restrictions driven by COVID-19.

Of particular value, I think, is the explanation Baxter offers regarding ceasing to hold services under orders of the magistrate due to “a time of pestilence.” He writes, “If the magistrate for a greater good, (as the common safety,) forbid church assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him.”

As I understand it presently, that is the condition we are under. I do not like the requirement, but I think that, as long as there is a universal ban against large assemblies, we will do well to honor the orders to forebear meeting. This is not a change in position from my earlier post, which called for grace and prudence as congregations decide whether to meet or not, but a reflection of the changed circumstances. The earlier post was written when bans were not in effect and congregations were making decisions based on prudential data.

BAXTER ON MEETING WHEN FORBIDDEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

Question 109: May we omit church assemblies on the Lord’s day if the magistrate forbid them?

Answer 1. It is one thing to forbid them for a time upon some special cause as infection by pestilence fire war &c and another to forbid them statedly or profanely.

2. It is one thing to omit them for a time, and another to do it ordinarily.

3. It is one thing to omit them in formal obedience to the law; and another thing to omit them in prudence, or for necessity, because we cannot keep them.

4. The assembly and the circumstances of the assembly must be distinguished:

(1.) If the magistrate for a greater good, (as the common safety,) forbid church assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him. 1. Because positive duties give place to those great natural duties which are their end: so Christ justified himself and his disciples violation of the external rest of the sabbath. “For the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath.” 2. Because affirmatives bind not ‘ad semper,’ and out-of-season duties become sins. 3. Because one Lord’s day or assembly is not to be preferred before many, which by the omission of that one are like to be obtained.

(2.) If princes profanely forbid holy assemblies and public worship, either statedly, or as a renunciation of Christ and our religion; it is not lawful formally to obey them.

(3.) But it is lawful prudently to do that secretly for the present necessity, which we cannot do publicly, and to do that with smaller numbers, which we cannot do with greater assemblies, yea, and to omit some assemblies for a time, that we may thereby have opportunity for more: which is not formal but only material obedience.

(4.) But if it be only some circumstances of assembling that are forbidden us, that is the next case to be resolved.

Question 110: Must we obey the magistrate if he only forbid us worshipping God in such a place or country or in such numbers or the like?

Answer: We must distinguish between such a determination of circumstances, modes, or accidents, as plainly destroy the worship or the end, and such as do not.

For instance,  1. He that saith, You shall never assemble but once a year, or never but at midnight; or never above six or seven minutes at once, &c. doth but determine the circumstance of time: but he doth it so as to destroy the worship, which cannot so be done, in consistency with its ends. But he that shall say, You shall not meet till nine o’clock nor stay in the night, &c. doth no such thing.

So 2. He that saith, You shall not assemble but at forty miles distance one from another; or you shall meet only in a room that will hold but the twentieth part of the church; or you shall never preach in any city or populous place, but in a wilderness far from the inhabitants, &c. doth but determine the circumstance of place. But he so doth it as tends to destroy or frustrate the work which God commandeth us. But so doth not he that only boundeth churches by parish bounds, or forbiddeth inconvenient places.

3. So he that saith, You shall never meet under a hundred thousand together, or never above five or six, doth but determine the accident of number. But he so doth it as to destroy the work and end. For the first will be impossible and in the second way they must keep church-assemblies without ministers, when there is not so many as for every such little number to have one. But so doth not he that only saith, You shall not meet above ten thousand, nor under ten.

4. So he that saith, You shall not hear a Trinitarian, but an Arian; or you shall hear only one that cannot preach the essentials of religion, or that cries down godliness itself; or you shall hear none but such as were ordained at Jerusalem or Rome, or none but such as subscribe the council of Trent, &c. doth but determine what person we shall hear. But he so doth it as to destroy the work and end. But so doth not he that only saith, You shall hear only this able minister, rather than that.

I need not stand on the application. In the latter case we owe formal obedience. In the former we must suffer, and not obey.

For if it be meet so to obey, it is meet in obedience to give over God’s worship. Christ said, “When they persecute you in one city, flee to another:” but he never said, “If they forbid you preaching in any city, or populous place, obey them. He that said, “Preach the Gospel to every creature, and to all nations, and all the world,” and that “would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” doth not allow us to forsake the souls of all that dwell in cities and populous places, and preach only to some few cottagers elsewhere: no more than he will allow us to love, pity, and relieve the bodies only of those few, and take none for our neighbours that dwell in cities, but with priest and Levite to pass them by.

What is a Reformed Baptist?

Over the years Reformed anything has been, among most “main stream” evangelical circles, nearly a four letter word. Mostly due to ignorance and misinformation folks think Reformed or Covenant Baptists are smug in their salvation and do not believe in evangelism of the Great Commission, but nothing could be further from the truth. This excellent article deals with the history and distinctions of Reformed Baptists, tomorrow I will post some of my favorite resources on Reformed Evangelism. – Mike

 

What is a Reformed Baptist?

What is a Reformed Baptist?

What is it that makes a “Reformed Baptist” distinct from other kinds of Baptists and Reformed folks? Reformed Baptists grew out of the English Reformation, emerging from Independent paedobaptist churches in the 1640’s for some very specific theological reasons, and they held to a particular kind of theology. Here are some of the theological identity markers of Reformed Baptist churches.

1. The Regulative Principle of Worship. This distinctive is put first because it is one of the main reasons Calvinistic Baptists separated from the Independent paedobaptists. The Particular (or Reformed) Baptists come from Puritanism, which sought to reform the English church according to God’s Word, especially its worship. When that became impossible due to Laud’s authoritative opposition, the Puritans separated (or were removed) from the English church. Within the Independent wing of Puritan separation, some of them saw a need to apply the regulative principle of worship to infant baptism as well, considering this to be the consistent outworking of the common Puritan mindset. The earliest Baptists believed that the elements of public worship are limited to what Scripture commands. John 4:23 says, “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (see also Matt 15:9). The revealed “truth” of Scripture limits the worship of God to what is prescribed in Scripture. The Second London Baptist Confession 22.1 says:

The acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

Because the Bible does not command infant baptism, early Baptists believed that infant baptism is forbidden in public worship, and the baptism of believers alone is to be practiced in worship. This regulative principle of worship limits the elements of public worship to the Word preached and read, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, prayer, the singing of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and whatever else the Scripture commands.

Many Baptists today have completely abandoned the regulative principle of worship in favor of entertainment-oriented worship, consumerism, individual preferences, emotionalism, and pragmatism. Such Baptists have abandoned the very principle that led to their initial emergence from paedobaptism. One wonders whether a church can depart from a doctrine necessary to the emergence of Baptists in their English context and still rightly identify as a “Baptist” church.

2. Covenant Theology. While Reformed paedobaptist churches sometimes insist that they alone are the heirs of true covenant theology, historic Reformed Baptists claimed to abandon the practice of infant baptism precisely because of the Bible’s covenant theology.

Reformed Baptists agree with Reformed paedobaptists that God made a covenant of works with Adam, which he broke and so brought condemnation on the whole human race (Rom 5:18). They also say that God mercifully made a covenant of grace with His elect people in Christ (Rom 5:18), which is progressively revealed in the Old Testament and formally established in the new covenant at the death of Christ (Heb 9:15-16). The only way anyone was saved under the old covenant was by virtue of this covenant of grace in Christ, such that there is only one gospel, or one saving promise, running through the Scriptures.

Baptist covenant theologians, however, believe they are more consistent than their paedobaptist brothers with respect to covenant theology’s own hermeneutic of New Testament priority. According to the New Testament, the Old Testament promise to “you and your seed” was ultimately made to Christ, the true seed (Gal 3:16). Abraham’s physical children were a type of Christ, but Christ Himself is the reality. The physical descendants were included in the old covenant, not because they are all children of the promise, but because God was preserving the line of promise, until Christ, the true seed, came. Now that Christ has come, there is no longer any reason to preserve a physical line. Rather, only those who believe in Jesus are sons of Abraham, true Israelites, members of the new covenant, and the church of the Lord Jesus (Gal 3:7). In both the Old and New Testaments, the “new covenant” is revealed to be a covenant of believers only, who are forgiven of their sins, and have God’s law written on their hearts (Heb 8:10-12).

Baptists today who adhere to dispensationalism believe that the physical offspring of Abraham are the rightful recipients of the promises of God to Abraham’s seed. But they have departed from their historic Baptist roots and from the hermeneutical vision of the organic unity of the Bible cast by their forefathers. Baptist theologian James Leo Garrett correctly notes that dispensationalism is an “incursion” into Baptist theology, which only emerged in the last one hundred fifty years or so. See James Leo Garrett, Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (Macon, GA: Mercer, 2009), 560-570.

3. Calvinism. Because Reformed Baptists held to the covenant theology (federalism) of the 17th century, they were all Calvinists. The theological covenants of the old federal theology undergirded the early Baptist expressions of their Calvinistic soteriology. When Adam broke the covenant of works, God cursed all human beings with totally depraved natures (Isa 24:5-6), making them unable and unwilling to come to Christ for salvation.

But God didn’t leave the human race to die in sin; rather, in eternity past, God unconditionally chose a definite number of people for salvation and formed a covenant of redemption with Christ about their salvation (Isa 53; 54:10; Lk 22:29). At the appointed time, Christ came into the world and obeyed the covenant of redemption, fulfilling the terms of the covenant of works that Adam broke. In the covenant of redemption, Jesus kept God’s law perfectly, died on the cross, atoned for the sins of His chosen people, and rose from the dead, having effectually secured salvation for them (Heb 9:12).

God made the covenant of grace with His elect people (Gen 3:15; Heb 9:15-16) in which He applies all the blessings of life merited by Christ in the covenant of redemption. The Holy Spirit mercifully unites God’s chosen people to Christ in the covenant of grace, giving them blessings of life purchased by Christ’s life and death. God irresistibly draws them to Himself in their effectual calling (Jn 6:37), gives them a living heart (Ezek 36:26), a living faith and repentance (Eph 2:8-9; Acts 11:18), a living verdict of justification (Rom 3:28), and a living and abiding holiness (1 Cor 1:30), causing them to persevere to the end (1 Cor 1:8). All of these life-blessings are the merits of Jesus Christ, purchased in the covenant of redemption, applied in the covenant of grace.

The doctrine of the covenants is the theological soil in which Calvinism grew among early Baptists. Calvinistic Baptists today need to recover the rich federal theology of their forefathers so that the doctrines of grace they’ve rediscovered will be preserved for future generations.

4. The Law of God. Reformed Baptists believe the 10 commandments are the summary of God’s moral law (Exod 20; Matt 5; Rom 2:14-22). They believe that unless we rightly understand the law, we cannot understand the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ kept the law for our justification by living in perfect obedience to earn the law’s blessing of life and by dying a substitutionary death to pay the law’s penalty. But the gospel isn’t only a promise of justification. It’s also the good news that Christ promises graciously to give the Holy Spirit to His people to kill their lawlessness and to make them more and more lawful. Titus 2:14 says that Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, who are zealous for good works.”

The Second London Baptist Confession, 19.5 says:

The moral law does for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof,(10) and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it;(11) neither does Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.(12)

10. Rom 13:8-10; Jas 2:8,10-12
11. Jas 2:10,11
12. Matt 5:17-19; Rom 3:31

Therefore, while justified believers are free from the law as a covenant of works to earn justification and eternal life (Rom 7:1-6), God gives them His law as a standard of conduct or rule of life in their sanctification (Rom 8:4, 7). God’s moral law, summarized in the 10 commandments (Rom 2:14-24; 13:8-10; Jas 2:8-11), including the Sabbath commandment (Mk 2:27; Heb 4:9-10), is an instrument of sanctification in the life of the believer. Believers rest in Christ for their total salvation. Christ takes their burdens of guilt and shame, and His people take upon themselves the yoke of His law, and they learn obedience from a humble and gentle Teacher. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

Baptists who hold to new covenant theology, or progressive covenantalism, do not have the same view of the law as the dominant stream of their Baptist forebears.

5. Confessional. Most of the early Baptists, both in England and in America, held to the Second London Baptist Confession of 1677/1689. While certainly not all Calvinistic Baptists subscribed to this confession, it was the main influence among Baptists in England and America after its publication. This confession, based on the Westminster Confession (Presbyterian) and the Savoy Declaration (Independent), was originally edited and published in 1677, but formally adopted by Baptist churches in 1689 after English persecution lifted.

Historic Reformed Baptists were thoroughgoing confessionalists. They were not bare “biblicists.” Biblicists deny words and doctrines not explicitly stated in Scripture, and they deny that the church’s historic teaching about the Bible has any secondary authority in biblical interpretation. The early Baptists, however, did not believe that individual church members or individual pastors should interpret the Bible divorced from the historic teaching of the church (Heb 13:7). They believed that the Bible alone is sufficient for doctrine and practice, but they also believed the Bible must be explained and read in light of the church’s interpretive tradition (1 Tim 3:15), which uses words other than the Bible (Acts 2:31 is one refutation of biblicism, since it explains Psalm 16 in words not used in that Psalm). Reformed Baptists believed that their theology was anchored in the church’s rich theological heritage and that it was a natural development of the doctrine of the church in light of the central insights of the Reformation (sola Scriptura: no baptizing infants; sola fide: only converts are God’s people).

Under the guise of upholding Sola Scriptura, many Christians today seek to read the Bible independently and come to their own private conclusions about what it means without consulting the church’s authorized teachers or the orthodox confessions of faith. But that’s not what Sola Scriptura historically meant. Scripture teaches that the church is the “pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The church as a whole is charged with interpreting the Bible, and God has authorized teachers in the church throughout history. Therefore, while every individual Christian is responsible to understand Scripture for himself, no Christian should study the Bible without any consideration of what the great teachers of the past have taught about the Bible.

The majority of historic Reformed Baptists held to the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689 because they believed it is a compendium of theology that best summarizes the teaching of Scripture in small compass.

God is Spirit

by 

We’re living through a pandemic and much of the Christian world cannot physically gather on Sundays. Are we hindered? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that we cannot physically go to a church building to worship together. No in the sense that, since God is spirit and everywhere at all times, we can worship him in our living rooms, even though it pales in comparison to actually being with our church family.

God is spirit. What does this mean? Where is this at in the Bible? In this post, you can learn about what it means that God is spirit.

Continued at the Source: God is Spirit

Presidents and Precedents

Did our Founding Fathers Worship a Big God or Big Government?

The Three Q & A audio sessions highlight an interview between
Stand in the Gap Today radio hosts, Isaac Crockett and Dr. Gary Dull; and Tim Barton, President of Wallbuilders.

  • What is the purpose of President’s Day?
  • What do we know about President Lincoln’s faith and how did it influence his time in office?
  • What are college students learning about our nation’s history?
To LISTEN to the entire PROGRAM, click HERE.
To READ the entire TRANSCRIPT, click HERE.

The Inescapable Truth About God

I do not know if this will be a series so I will chime in with my 2 cents now :). “True Worship of God” must be in Spirit and Truth (John 4:20-26) all other ‘worship’ is false and useless. Another fallacy is the object of our worship. It certainly is not us, (I have said it over and over It is always about God and never about us) we are not there to be anything (filled, pumped, or any other adjective) that is strictly a by product of “True Worship”. An God is not the “Object” of our worship either, although is you do a google search you would think so. He is the SUBJECT of our worship. Folks there is a big  difference between object of and subject of and it is not just a matter of semantics, although in our modern language that difference seems to have been lost. 

The Inescapable Truth About God

by John MacArthur / Monday, February 24, 2020

Acceptable worship demands that God be known—worship cannot occur where the true God is not believed in, adored, and obeyed. The object of our worship must be right if our worship is to be acceptable. We must consider the God we worship.

Paul’s experience with the religious philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17 brought him into a classic confrontation with a case of unacceptable worship. The Greeks had an altar “to an unknown god.” Paul used that idol as a starting point to preach to them about worshiping the true God. In essence he told them, “You are worshiping in ignorance. Let me tell you about this unknown God. He can be known. It does no good at all to guess about who He is or how to worship Him.”

God has so clearly revealed Himself to us in His Word and through His Son that man is without excuse if he persists in unbelief. Faith, then—and more specifically, faith in God as He has revealed Himself to us—is the fundamental requirement for true worship. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

That verse states two facts about God—that He exists, and that it is possible to know something of His nature. It suggests that the true worshiper must have those two issues settled in his mind.

Though he was incurably skeptical of all religion, historian Will Durant struggled with the futility of every worldview that leaves God out. He wrote, “The greatest question of our time is not Communism versus individualism. It is not Europe versus America. It is not even the east versus the west. It is whether man can bear to live without God.” [1] Even as an avowed atheist, he understood that the major issue in all of life is the reality of God.

Did Man Create God?

Skeptics say that Christians have simply invented God. Religion, they claim, has devised supernatural explanations for what men do not understand, and there really is no supernatural reality—God is a human creation.

Sigmund Freud, for example, said that man made God. That, of course, is the reversal of what the Bible says: that God created man. Freud said in his book The Future of an Illusion, that because man desperately needs security, because he has deep–seated fears, and because he lives in a threatening world in which he has very little control over his circumstances, he invented God to meet his psychological needs. Man feels the need for an invisible means of support, but there is no God except in man’s imagination, says Freud.

That idea was spawned out of a corrupt mind. It is totally indefensible, and yet myriads of people have believed it. It demonstrates a simplistic, ignorant view of the world’s religions. When the human mind manufactures a god, it is rarely a saving, delivering god. The gods invented by humans don’t become psychologically supportive; they are oppressive gods who continually have to be appeased. When a woman in India throws her baby into the Ganges River to drown, in hopes of appeasing some god, she does not see that god as someone to deliver her from her problems. Her god is a fearful ogre. Indeed, false gods are man’s invention, but they are not like the true God, and in no way do they negate the reality of the true God.

Man has not made God—in fact, if man had his way, he would prefer that the God of the Bible did not exist. The unregenerate mind is God’s would–be murderer. It is “hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:7). Therefore, every fallen sinner does his best to eliminate the true God. He invents false gods. He postulates theology that says God is dead. He devises philosophies and lifestyles that assert that the very idea of a God is ludicrous.

The majority of people deny God’s existence one way or the other. Many who are not philosophical atheists are practical atheists. Although they do not reject the concept of God, they live as if He didn’t exist. Titus 1:16 describes such people: “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

That has been the norm since Adam and Eve. Immediately after they sinned, they hid themselves from God. They tried to act as if God didn’t exist, and mankind has followed that same pattern throughout history. Romans 1 tells us that men know in their hearts God exists. Verse 19 says, “That which is known about God is evident within them.” Verse 20 says, “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen.” Verse 21 says, “They knew God.” And verse 28 says, “They did not see fit to acknowledge God.”

Freud is wrong. Man has not invented God. Man suppresses his knowledge of God through unrighteous behavior (Romans 1:18) in a vain attempt to silence the truth he already knows. Man would wish God out of existence, if he had his way. They ignore the many compelling proofs God has given us of Himself through His creation and within our reasoning powers. And we’ll consider those next time.

(Adapted from Worship)