Praise to God—Our Christian Duty

Praise to God—Our Christian Duty
May 20, 2019

Heb 13:15 says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

One of the chief duties that every Christian is to fulfill is the worship of the living God. Believers from the very beginning of creation until now have been those who offered sacrifices of praise to God. There have been many different ways that this praise has been offered through the centuries, from the early days before the Law to the times of Israel when the people gathered in the Temple. The Church also continued to worship after the resurrection of Christ and found that they could at any place and time.

One aspect of biblical worship which seems to be consistent throughout human history is using our voices to praise God’s name. As another commenter affirms, “The OT sacrificial system has been set aside, but our grateful worship should still overflow to God” (ZSB).

Now, we are talking about Christian worship. Notice that the sacrifice of praise to God the Father is to be continually offered “in Him,” that is, through Jesus Christ. So, we no longer offer physical sacrifices, but we do continue to offer spiritual sacrifices which are pleasing to God. Jesus has laid down His life on our behalf, making peace between us and God through the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. And on the basis of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice, we now offer the spiritual sacrifice of praise to God’s name.

The primary ways in which we praise God today are through sacrificing our time and energy to be in the assembly to praise His name through song and other affirmations in the company of the saints, and we also sacrifice whatever it takes to confess God’s glory in the public square, whether pride, reputation, or any of the like. This is a continual activity for the Christian. Therefore, let us not give up praising God on Sundays and every day in between.

Key Values for Ministry

Key Values for Ministry

#1 Biblical (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The foundational statement that should be made is that my vision for ministry is biblical.  I believe that the 66 books of the Christian Scriptures are the uniquely inspired word of God.  They are all believers need for things concerning life, faith, and salvation.  With such a high view of Scripture, I am led to study, teach, and preach the Bible with great dedication.  Each time I approach the pulpit, I do so with one goal in mind: to help God’s people better understand His holy word.  Our preaching/teaching, worship, and various ministries should be solidly based upon the Scriptures.

#2 Christ-Centered (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Second, ministry should be Christ-centered.  If we truly believe what the Scriptures teach, that Christ has died for sin once for all, then why would we bother with anything else?  He should be treasured above all else because He has done what we could not.  He has saved us from our sins, from this present wicked age, and from the wrath to come.  We should want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am thoroughly convinced that the entire Old Testament points forward to Jesus Christ.  He is the fulfillment of all of what God said in time past.  The Old Testament was bringing us to Him in due time.  The New Testament, then, expounds upon the person and work of Jesus Christ while explaining how that directly and indirectly effects us.  Therefore, Christ is at the center of all the holy writings, and He should be at the very heart of all that we do in our ministries.

#3 Grace-Oriented (Romans 6:14)

The previous point leads to the next: ministry should be grace-oriented.  God has extended love, mercy, and grace to us.  We should do the same for one another and for those outside the household of faith.  If our holy Father is willing to forgive us of our sin against Him, then we must be willing to forgive one another.  A ministry/pastorate/congregation that is grace-oriented is quick to listen and slow to speak.  It is quick to forgive and slow to wrath.  It forgets those things which are behind and reaches forward to those things which are ahead.  To be grace-oriented is to create an atmosphere in the public worship times.  It is to create an atmosphere of grace in our meetings, events, ministries, and all the like.  When outsiders come into our gatherings, they should quickly realize that they have come into a place where they can rest.

#4 Team Ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16)

The vision I have for ministry is simple.  I believe that the pastor is charged with preparing his congregation for the work of the ministry and for building them up in the Lord.  This is, after all, the biblical pattern.  Thus, ministry is a group endeavor.  We are to serve one another and those who are in need.  We are to worship together, bear one another’s burdens, have the same mind, and together pursue holiness in Christ.  I believe in an every-member-ministry (as cliche as that sounds).  We must work together in our mission to make disciples of all the nations.  Every part must do its share.

#5 Open-Mindedness (Revelation 5:8-10)

The last thing I will say is that I believe ministry should be open-minded.  We should exhibit this value in many areas of the ministry, but especially in the area of racial and ethnic harmony.  We cannot be a respecter of persons when it comes to the task of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers or within the household of faith.  We are not to hold the faith of our Lord with partiality.  God loves the world.  Christ died for all.  We are to make disciples of all the nations.  Right now, God is saving people all over this planet.  We must see all people for who they are, image bearers of our great God.  I will fellowship with and minister to anyone that I come in contact with that is willing to have a conversation with me!

Worship and the Christian Life

Worship and the Christian Life
January 9, 2019

Worship is a central aspect of the life of believers. This has been true since the time of the ancient Hebrews, through the early decades of the New Testament church, and even into our own day. The people of God have been instructed and exhorted to praise the Lord with their mouths as well as their actions.

In the Old Testament, for example, Psalm 95:6-7 famously urges believers, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” The New Testament encourages the same sorts of activities. Consider the call of Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

From Old Testament to New Testament, believers are actually commanded to worship and serve the Lord. This is a “Thus saith the Lord.” Christ affirmed this in Luke 4:8 by echoing and endorsing the fundamental teaching, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”

What, then, are the basic elements of worship? The Lord’s people have always engaged in singing, prayer, teaching, learning, and fellowship. The church has always practiced baptism, when new disciples were converted, and the Lord’s Supper, even on a weekly basis. All of these things truly exalt the Lord as well as edify the people of God.

So as not to exclude the fact that we can and must worship the Lord at all times, let me conclude with the well-known quote of Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” The apostle is obviously framing this exhortation in terms of continual, daily worship, and most modern translators have rendered that last word as “worship.” The reasonable expectation of Christians is that they worship the Lord God every day as a living sacrifice. We offer our lives to Him as we submit to His will for our lives, obey His commands, and fulfill His purposes in the world. Let us be a worshipping people, inside and outside the gathering!