WHAT IS WORSHIP?
James E. Rogers
We live in an entertainment culture where
everything is supposed to be fun and
effortless. Many come to church and expect
the same environment. Proper worship will
eliminate the desire to be entertained and
also will eliminate judging the preacher by
how high of an emotional pitch he can create
in the assembly.
The sign found in the foyer of some church buildings which
admonishes, Enter to worship, leave to serve, gives the
correct picture of Christianity. The Christians life is
characterized by worship and service to God. The Christian must
give diligence to make sure his worship and service bespeak the
things authorized by God. He must not allow additions, subtractions
or substitutions to take the place of authorized worship and
service. Jared Moore was correct when he wrote, Religion is a
direct personal relationship between man and God; and unless the
emotions which accompany it are based on true conceptions, it
degenerates into a contemptible sentimentalism.1
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
We would do well to contemplate what worship and service are
and consider whether our worship and service is pleasing to God.
Moore observed, Worship is based on belief in a personal
Deity who is the source of all goodness, who loves mankind, and who
rejoices in the love of his people.2 Brewer wrote that
Worship is the calm, serene, purposeful, meditative
emotions of the soul joyfully expressed in song, in prayer, and
other scriptural acts.3 In a broad sense, the worship
of God may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God,
of His nature, attributes, ways and claims whether by the outgoing
of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such
CHRISTIANS MUST OFFER PROPER WORSHIP TO GOD (John 4:20,24)
Worship is bowing oneself in respect. The first time
worship is found in our English Bibles, it comes from a
word meaning to depress, that is, prostrate
(especially reflexively in homage to royalty or
God).5 One is to bow himself down to God (Gen. 22:5).
Nebuchadnezzar wanted Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to bow down
before his image (Daniel 3:5,10,12,14,15,18,28). We learn further
that worship is from an Aramaic word which means to
do homage (by prostration).6 The Greek word
proskuneo (the most frequent word rendered worship) means
to make obeisance, do reverence to (from pros, towards,
and kuneo, to kiss).7
Worship is adoring one. The Greek word sebomai means
to revere, that is, adore (Rom. 1:25).
Worship is not an elective. It is an imperative, for without
it our conception of the eternal Being will be distorted and
Worship is an individual action. You must worship God
yourself. No one else can do it in your place. ... It is correct
that worship is also corporate. We do it with others, and it is
from the entire people of God, but each one must worship God
personally.9 This indicates that one cannot please God
and refuse to engage in the acts of worship authorized by God. The
beauty of the congregational worship service is the blending of
each Christians participation as he pours out his worship to
Ought (20) and Must (24) are from dei
which means to bind. Thayer observes that it
references A necessity of law and command, of duty,
equity.10 This shows we have a moral obligation to
offer proper worship to God.
WHAT IS PROPER WORSHIP?
The ones (tous) worshipping
(proskunountas) God must (dei) worship
(proskunein) in spirit. The word spirit
addresses our inner attitude. The Psalmist described the proper
attitude of those who would worship Jehovah when he invited the
people to come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel
before the Lord our maker (Psa. 95:611). Joshua
captured the importance of having the proper attitude before
Jehovah when he exhorted Israel to fear Jehovah and serve him
in sincerity and in truth (Joshua 24:14). Worship offered with
the proper attitude will be free of pretense, hypocrisy, pride and
false piety. It will eliminate the desire to be entertained and
also will eliminate judging the preacher by how high of an
emotional pitch he can create in the assembly.
Boice observed that We live in an entertainment culture
where everything is supposed to be fun and effortless, so
Christians who come to church on Sunday expect the same
environment.12 Frank J. Dunn wrote, Practices that
appeal to the physical senses rather than our spiritual
understanding are of no value in Christian worship and are
displeasing to God. Some examples are tongue-speaking, musical
concerts, choirs, singing with instruments, hand clapping, foot
stomping, songs that are not spiritual, devotionals in the dark,
hand holding, soul talks, personal witnessing, story telling,
responsive readings, preachers who entertain, song leaders who put
on a show, weekend retreats and other additions to the divine
pattern. Dunn is emphasizing that if our worship has to be
stimulated with physical things, something is missing on the
Worship according to the Biblical pattern should encourage
and excite us to greater service to God. Brewer correctly observed,
The primary purpose of worship is not how it makes one
feel; not what one gets out of it, but what one gives
into it... One should and will receive grace from
God in true worship. This is one of those strange paradoxes
where we get by giving. If we do not put our souls
into the worship, remembering that worship is an
act, not a passive state, we will get nothing
out of the worship. ... Worship is a soul act. Spiritual
energy must be expended.13
The ones (tous) worshipping
(proskunountas) God must (dei) worship
(proskunein) in truth. The word truth
(aletheia) shows that we have an objective standard by which
we may determine what is to be offered to God in worship. Arndt and
Gingrich point out that aletheia is used of the content
of Christianity as the absolute truth....14 This will
provide us with a Thus saith the Lord for all we do and
teach in worship.
Proper worship is directed toward the proper object.
CHRISTIANS MUST OFFER THE PROPER SERVICE TO GOD
We must worship God. The first use of the word
worship in our English Bibles points our worship toward
God (Gen. 22:5). John was instructed to worship God (Rev.
19:10; 22:9). We must worship the Father in spirit and
truth (John 4:23). When the ark of the Covenant was
brought to Jerusalem, David proclaimed that the people should
Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an
offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of
holiness (1 Chron. 16:29). We must Exalt...the
LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; [for] he [is]
holy (Psa. 99:5).
We must worship God and have no other gods. The
first four of the ten commandments directed the Israelites to
worship God and to have no other gods (Exod. 20:1-11).
Jehovahs covenant with Israel involved their habitation of the
land of Canaan. Instructions were given concerning the destruction
of the idolatrous worship system of the Canaanites. Following the
details concerning idolatry in Canaan, Jehovah stated, For
thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is]
Jealous, [is] a jealous God (Exod. 34:10-14). In a
statement concerning Jehovahs power and dominion, the Psalmist
admonishes, Confounded be all they that serve graven
images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [ye]
gods (Psa. 97:7). Zephaniah told of the time when Jehovah
will famish all the gods of the earth; and [men] shall
worship him, every one from his place, [even] all the isles of the
heathen (Zeph. 2:11). Isaiah pointed to the time when
people shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at
Jerusalem (Isa. 27:13). Paul admonished the Corinthians to
flee from idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14-22) and John
wrote, Little children, keep yourselves from
idols. (1 John 5:21).
Brewer observed, If God is a personal Being who is
related to us as a Father and who loves us and blesses us, we
should seek to know him and to express our gratitude and love to
him...the oftener we can commune with him, the better it will
please us. Hence, there will never be the complaint from a true,
intelligent worshiper that every Sunday is too often. ...
Therefore, when men do not feel inclined to worship God and to want
him in their lives, the cause is call it what you will
atheism. They do not believe in God as a loving Father. They
do not believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them
that seek after him. If they did, of course, they would
diligently seek after him.15
Proper worship involves the proper actions. These
actions must be authorized by God (Col. 3:17). There are five
authorized acts to be used in worship to God. While some do not
like the terminology acts, it is the case that each item
of worship calls for action on the part of the worshiper.
Singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is
authorized in worship to God (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19).
Instrumental music is not authorized nor is the imitating of the
sounds of an instrument. Corporate worship involves congregational
singing. Choirs, quartets, praise teams and solos are not
authorized. No amount of wishing to please and appease people who
are not interested in pleasing God will ever authorize those things
which God has not authorized. The actions of Jeroboam the son
of Nebat (1 Kings 12:25-33) and Jehovahs response (1
Kings 13) to those actions should remind all of us of the
importance of worshipping according to Jehovahs authority.
Praying to God by the authority of Jesus is
authorized (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 2:8-15). Praying to or through
Mary or the use of candles, and the like, is not authorized. All
who pray to God should be aware of the awesome privilege of being
invited to the very throne of God through our covenant relationship
with him. We should never take this privilege for granted nor
misuse it by being flippant in our approach to him. The principle
of approach is still to be governed by the knowledge and respect of
his hallowed name (Matt. 6:9). Those who lead public prayers should
take special care to pray in a way that all who follow may make the
prayer personal and be able to say the Amen.
Teaching/Preaching the truth is authorized (Acts
2:42; 20:7). Being able to learn more of Gods will is a
privilege which is not equaled by anything earthly. When the word
of God is taught, our hearts should be open to instruction and
appreciative of revelation which made this wonderful word possible
(2 Tim. 3:16,17). The spirit of reverence exemplified by the people
of God when Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the
people (Neh. 8:5) should characterize us today when
Gods word is studied. We still need to be reading in the
book, in the law of God, distinctly and giving the sense,
so that people may understand the reading (Neh.
Giving on the first day of every week is authorized
(1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7). This giving is according as a
man hath (2 Cor. 8:12) and as he purposeth in his
heart (2 Cor. 9:7). It is to be based on ones prosperity
(1 Cor. 16:2) realizing that, as God causes us to abound in
everything (2 Cor. 8:7), we should abound in this grace
also. Ones prosperity each week may cause his amount to
fluctuate from week to week. One should always remember he is not
giving back to God because God never relinquished
ownership. One should give realizing he is but a steward of what
God has given him and that it is required in stewards, that
a man be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). Our giving is a
using of that which God has loaned us in one of the ways God has
authorized us to use it.
Observance of the Lords supper on the first day of
every week is authorized (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-34).
The authorized elements of the Lords Supper are unleavened
bread and fruit of the vine (Matt. 26:26-29). There is
no authority from God to observe the Lords supper at any other
time than the first day of the week. The Lords supper is to
proclaim the Lords death till he come (1 Cor.
11:26). The emphasis is on the Lords death, not our
pleasure or emotion. As I grow in my Bible knowledge, I grow in my
appreciation of the Lords supper and what that really means!
Proper worship takes the proper precautions. This
will avoid vain worship by not allowing human tradition to
make Gods will void (Matt. 15:1-9). This will avoid false
worship by recognizing God will not accept substitutes (Zeph.
1:2-6). This will avoid ignorant worship by learning and
obeying the truth revealed in the Bible (Acts 17:16-31). This will
avoid will worship which causes men to seek a holy
wow instead of a well done. When men want
their way in worship instead of submitting to Gods
way, they are guilty of will worship (cf. Col. 2:23).
Service is different from worship, but worship
grows out of service. The Bible encourages people to serve God.
Joshua encouraged the Israelites to fear the Lord, and
serve him in sincerity and in truth (Josh. 24:14). He
recognized that in order for one to serve Jehovah properly, a
choice would have to be made (Josh. 24:15). Solomon was encouraged
by David to know the God of thy father, and serve him with
a perfect heart and with a willing mind... (1 Chron.
28:9). Jesus told Satan that man is to worship the Lord thy
God, and him only shalt thou serve (Matt. 4:10). Jesus
knew this would require a choice because no man can serve
two masters (Matt. 6:24). Jesus promised that those who
served him would be honored by His father (John 12:26).
THERE IS TO BE A CORRELATION BETWEEN WORSHIP AND SERVICE
Paul described his work in Asia as serving the Lord
with all lowliness of mind, and with many tears, and
temptations (Acts 20:19). Paul also told Felix that he
served the God of our fathers (Acts 24:14). The
one who has rendered proper service to God on the earth will have
the opportunity to serve God day and night in his
temple (Rev. 7:15).
Proper service to God will cause one to be a good soldier
in the Lords army. Paul charged Timothy to war a
good warfare (1 Tim. 1:18). Involved in this warfare would
be the necessity to endure hardness (suffer hardship)
as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3). Good
soldiers must use the proper armor which is described in Ephesians
6:10-20. Proper use of this armor will enable one to stand
against the wiles of the devil and to withstand in
the evil day (Eph. 6:11,13). The good soldier may conclude
his life of service to God with the knowledge that he has
fought a good fight (2 Tim. 4:7).
Proper service to God will cause one to be a good seeker
of the lost. Andrew knew the importance of bringing people to
hear Jesus. He findeth first his own brother Simon, and
saith unto him, we have found the Messias, which is, being
interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus (John
1:41,42). Philip findeth Nathanael (John 1:45).
The woman from Sychar ...went her way into the city, and
saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that
ever I did (John 4:28-29). The result of this action was
that many of the Samaritans...believed on him for the
saying of the woman (v.39). Jesus commanded that his
servants go into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature (Mark 16:15). The New Testament bears
record to the work of first century Christians (Acts and Epistles).
We must also take this commission seriously. When one is a good
seeker of the lost, he imitates the example of Jesus who
came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke
Proper service to God will cause one to be a good server
of others. Paul concluded many of his epistles with lists of
those who served God, Paul and others (Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 16; Col. 4).
Phoebe is commended as a servant of the church that is at Cenchrea
and is described as one who had been a helper of many as well as
Paul (Rom. 16:1,2). Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and others who
are not named ministered unto Jesus of their substance (Luke
Jesus gave a simple illustration of how all can be servants
of God when we serve others (Matt. 25:34-40).
In the record of the first example of the correlation between
worship and service, one is able to see the principles involved in
such relationship. The Lord had respect unto Abel and to
his offering (Gen. 4:4). Notice that before Jehovah
respected Abels offering, He respected Abel. Abels
offering provided evidence that he was righteous (Heb.
11:4). His worship reflected his daily walk. Abel was not something
different in worship than he was in daily life. Abel filled his
life with righteous works (1 John 3:12). Jesus provided testimony
to the righteous lifestyle of Abel (Matt. 23:35). What a
recommendation! Abel shows that what one is in his daily service to
God will be reflected in his worship.
It is not by accident that one who ascends into
Jehovahs hill and stands in Jehovahs holy place is one
who has clean hands and a pure heart (Psa. 24:3,4).
Isaiah recorded Jehovahs rejection of Israels worship
based on a rejection of Israels lifestyle (Isa. 1:10-17). This
is the same principle behind the rejection of Cain and his offering
(Gen. 4:5; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11).
Jesus stressed the importance of ones lifestyle when it
comes to worship. He instructed one who was not in the proper
relationship with his brother to leave there thy gift
before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy
brother, and then come and offer thy gift (Matt. 5:23).
The lifestyle of early Christians is seen to correlate with their
worship (Acts 2:42-47; 20:7-12; 1 Cor. 11:17-34). Emphasis is
placed on proper service in view of proper worship in Revelation
7:9-17, 22:3. God intended for His people to take their lives and
Worship and service serve as two good words to summarize the
Christian life. May each Christian give the needed attention to
these areas of his life.
If an accountable person has not obeyed the Gospel Plan of
Salvation (Rom. 10:17; John 8:24; Acts 2:38; 8:37; 22:16), he
should do so now. Those who are Christians should live faithfully
1Jarred S. Moore, Why I Go to Mass Every Sunday,
The Living Church, October 17, 1931, as quoted by G. C.
Brewer, Contending For The Faith, (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate
Company, 1941), p.337
2Moore in Brewer, p.337
4W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament
Words, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, Co., 1966), Volume 4,
5Word definitions are from Biblesofts New Exhaustive
Strongs Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew
Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible
Translators, Inc., unless otherwise noted.
6Francis Brown, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English
Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2003),
7Vine, Volume 4, p.235
8George Arthur Buttrick, Ed., The Interpreters Bible,
(Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1953), Volume 11, p.332
9James Montgomery Boice, Psalms, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker
Books, 1998), Volume 3, p.1259
10Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New
Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), p.126
11All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version
unless otherwise noted.
14William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-
English Lexicon Of The New Testament, (Chicago, IL: The University
Of Chicago Press, 1974), p.35
Table of Contents
WHERE IS GOD IN OUR TROUBLES?
Garland M. Robinson
The day began very early. Two hundred miles would be driven to
a lonely hospital room where a dying man would, in just a few
hours, breathe his last. A smile and a tear came across the faces
of both father and son as their eyes met. As the tragic event of
death was nearing, I sat and held my fathers hand for hours as
I saw the life slipping from his tired and worn out frame. I would
be holding that same hand the next day as he breathed his last sigh
and as the warmth gently left his body. How many of you have
endured such pain, such trouble, such loss? Is there anyone who
GOD IS IN HEAVEN
Where is God in our troubles?
Where is God when a husband and wife pull from each other in
what is often called irreconcilable differences?
Where is God when there is pain and suffering?
Where is God when little children are caught in the cross-
fire of reckless, senseless and wicked deeds?
Where is God when millions of innocent babies are ripped
from their mothers wombs every year in that horrifying despair
called a womans right to choose?
Where is God when brethren set themselves on a course of
destruction to their own souls and faithful brethren cant stop
Where is God when brethren divide in spite of all the
prayers and pleas of peacemakers?
Where is God when congregations fall apart and split?
Where is God when faithful preachers proclaim the whole
counsel of God and evil men and seducers wax worse and worse?
God is where hes always been. He hasnt moved. He
knows, He cares. He is longsuffering to usward, not willing that
any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter
The story is told of the old farmer and his wife driving
down a country road when his wife speaks up and says. You
know, when we were young, we used to sit together as we traveled.
Now, you sit on your side and I sit on mine. Why is that? The
old farmer lovingly looks over at her and says, I havent
moved. Im still behind the wheel where Ive always
Its easy to grow apart isnt it? It can happen
without us ever realizing it.
Where is God in our troubles?
God has not moved. He is where he has always been. He watches.
He knows. He cares. We are the ones who have moved away.
GOD IS IN THE WORLD
In Solomons prayer at the dedication of the temple, he
ask Gods blessing upon them and ask that God hear from his
dwelling place in heaven (1 Kings 8:30,39,43,49; 2 Chron. 6:21,30,
33,39; 2 Chron. 30:27). The Psalmist declared: The LORD is
in his holy temple, the LORDS throne is in heaven...
(Psa. 11:4; Isa. 66:1; Acts 7:49)? Habakkuk 2:20 declares,
the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep
silence before him. From heaven, He looks upon men to see
if there are any that understand and seek him (Psa. 53:2).
Jesus tells us that God the Father is in heaven. It is the
place of his throne (Matt. 5:34; 23:22). Jesus said, When
ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven... (Luke
God cares, Oh, how he cares!
The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and
his kingdom ruleth over all (Psa. 103:19).
GOD IS IN THE CHURCH
God has his finger on the pulse of the world. God rules over
all the kingdoms of men. This very pointed and grave lesson was
taught to king Nebuchadnezzar because of his pride and arrogance.
God would send him to the very depths of despair and teach him a
lesson. He would learn that God rules over all. In the book of
Daniel, three verses show us that the most High ruleth in
the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will
(Dan. 4:17,25,32). Oh, how this lesson needs to be learned in the
God cares about what goes on. He is there and knows about
our troubles. However, He will not help unless we turn to him in
obedience according to his will.
Gods eternal plan was fulfilled in the church of Christ.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the
mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in
God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10To the intent that
now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be
known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11According to the
eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord
GOD IS IN OUR HEARTS
Since God has taken such great care through the ages in
watching over his word to perform it (cf. Jer. 1:12), shall he not
care about it now? Has God lost his interest in us? Does he not
care what happens to his saints? Of course God cares!
Paul writes by inspiration, Who shall separate us
from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it
is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are
accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we
are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord (Rom. 8:35-39).
...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his
love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). And we have
known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and
he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him
(1 John 4:16). Jesus said, If a man love me, he will keep
my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him (John 14:23).
GOD KNOWS, GOD CARES
Though God lives within us, we often feel alone in times of
trouble. But, we must always keep in mind that if God be
for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Even then, our
heart is many times heavy with burdens. But in such times, we must
also remember that ...if our heart condemn us, God is
greater than our heart, and knoweth all things (1 John
3:20). If we continue faithful, God will provide.
Where was God when Job was suffering such horrendous
afflictions? The loss of all that he had did not turn Jobs
heart away from God. He lost his worldly possessions and his
children (Job 1:13-22). Even when he lost his good health (2:7-8),
Job still would not turn away from the Lord. His wife even
suggested that he curse God and die. But Job would not (Job 2:9-
10). He maintained his integrity.
One of the things that made Jobs suffering so
frustrating was that he did not understand why all these things
were happening to him. He was completely at a loss. He was in
misery and grief. His friends turned against him. His wife did not
help. He was all alone. He questioned God and cried out in despair.
He just did not understand. But, he still trusted God! He
understood that though he did not see the big picture of
it all, he knew that God did. God rules. God knows. God cares. He
didnt understand, but he trusted that God would handle it. He
could not give up on God.
Perhaps Job thought he would understand in the by and
by but even if he did not, he still trusted God. He is
supreme. He is loving. He is perfect. Job lived by the principle,
though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job
How would we fare under similar conditions? The point is
certain that most people would crash long before they ever reached
the brink of Jobs suffering. That was so in Jobs day just
as it is so today.
People often ask in the midst of tragedy, why is this
happening to me? Both good things and bad things happen to all
people alike. God maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).
None are exempt.
Immense suffering came to Job in spite of the fact that he
was a good man. He feared God and hated evil. He was pure in
thought and conduct. Yet such calamity came upon him that none
could say theyve had it worse. Those who were once his friends
became miserable comforters (Job 16:2). Job cried
out in despair asking, why was I ever born? Even when I was born,
why didnt I die at birth? Since I did not die at birth, why
cant I die even now?
Job was full of questions for which he cried out for
answers. God eventually responded with a barrage of questions that
left Job speechless. Where were you, Job, when the foundations of
the earth were laid (Job 38:4)? What do you know about the springs
of the sea (38:16)? What about the gates of death (38:17) or the
breadth of the earth (38:18)? Where is the dwelling place of light
and dark (38:19)? God knows these things. God made these things.
God controls these things (cf. Heb. 1:3) and millions more.
God knows about our suffering, our hardships, our troubles.
He cares about us. He does not respond as we might have him to, but
he is there just the same. We dont see the larger scheme of
things. Were not able to see the whole picture. Our job always
remains the same, to bear up under the most trying of
circumstances. Through our suffering, whether mental, emotional or
physical, God will provide.
God provided a lamb for Abraham to sacrifice (Gen. 22:8).
God provided ravens to bring food to Elijah on the banks of
the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:3-6) and when the brook dried up, he
was sustained by a widow at Zarephath with a handful of meal and a
little oil that never ran out (1 Kings 17:9-16).
God provided a place for Joseph in Egypt when his brothers
sold him to a band of Ishmeelites (Gen. 37:28). Can you imagine his
despair in a strange land so far from home? Yet it worked out to
sparing of the lives of all in his fathers house when the
seven years of famine came.
God took care of Daniel when he was thrown into the den of
lions (Daniel 6:16-22).
God took are of Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and
Azariah (Abed-nego) when they were thrown into the burning fiery
furnace (Dan. 1:7; 3:8-30).
The Lord cared for Stephen when he was being stoned to
death. He saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God observing
this despicable deed (Acts 7:55-56). This is the only time you read
of Jesus standing in heaven. Every time its mentioned,
hes always sitting (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34; Eph. 1:20; Col.
3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).
God cared for the apostle Paul throughout his many travels.
He did not always protect him from being harmed (he suffered many
things, Acts 9:16; 2 Cor. 11:23-27), but he was with him through it
all. Nearing the end of his life, Paul would write, 6For I
am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I
have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me
at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love
his appearing (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Though so many of these events were miraculous does not
lessen the fact that God knows and cares for his people. Though the
days of miracles are over, God still knows and he still cares. God
is there. God will provide. Our undergirding hope must be,
Gods will be done! Thats what Jesus prayed (Luke 22:42).
So, dont despair. Things may not turn out as we would
like, but dont blame God or think he has abandoned us. Praise
God. Give him thanks for his tender care, mercy and forgiveness. Be
like Paul who said, I would ye should understand, brethren,
that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather
unto the furtherance of the gospel (Phil. 1:12).
If [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed;
but let him glorify God on this behalf (1 Peter 4:16).
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THE PIVOTAL PERSON OF HISTORY
Roderick L. Ross
Jesus of Nazareth was the pivotal person of history. Time, in
the Western world, is calculated from His existence. He influenced
history more than any other individual who has ever lived. Buddha,
Confucius, Muhammad, and others influenced portions of the world;
but, Jesus influenced the entire world. The story of His life has
inspired books, plays, movies, poems, songs, symphonies, operas,
and most importantly, the lives of countless millions. Although His
teachings have been corrupted and twisted to do harm, the
advancement of civilization, the progress of charity, the promotion
of freedom and liberty, the uplifting of the standard of living,
the propagation of peace, these all are the true heritage of His
life for the world.
However, for the believer, the disciple, the Christian,
there is a greater heritage: one of mercy, one of grace, one of
hope, one of faith, one of forgiveness. For to the believer, Jesus
was more than a great historical figure; He was the only-begotten
Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He
was the One who fulfilled Moses and the Prophets. It is He that
became the sacrifice for sin. His death was more than that of a
martyr for a cause; it was the gift of God that brought the reality
of the forgiveness of sins for those who would truly believe.
Unlike other world religions, the reality and authenticity
of Jesus, the historical facts of His life, are the foundation of
what is believed. If His life were different, He could not and
would not be Who He claimed. Therefore, nothing is more important
than examining His life. It tells the story. It is the Gospel, the
good news of salvation come to this world.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence
of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are
written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God; and that believing ye might have life through his
name (John 20:30-31). And now, brethren, I commend
you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build
you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are
sanctified (Acts 20:32).
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Baltimore OH 43105
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JUST PREACH ABOUT LOVE
In response to hearing the Truth upheld and false doctrine and
false teachers being renounced, some get upset. They will many
times say, Why dont you just preach about love?
Some have the notion, and it is false, that you cannot
declare and defend the Truth and at the same time have and
demonstrate love for others. The thinking of some is that love will
never condemn anyone nor anything, let alone sin, and if one does
so, he is unloving. Yet, they condemn themselves according to their
own reasoning by saying such things.
Some are confused about what Bible love really is
and how it is to be demonstrated. Preaching Bible love in
no way precludes declaring of Truth, demonstrating the Truth and
defending the Truth. If we are to preach love, and we
must, what is involved?
To preach love is to preach the Love Of
God. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life (John 3:16). But God
commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). In this was
manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his
only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through
him (1 John 4:9).
To preach love is to preach Love For
God. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the
first and great commandment (Matt. 22:36-38). We
love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is
not enough just to declare with our lips our love for God. Our love
must also be demonstrated by and in our lives.
Therefore, we will: 1) Spend time in prayer (Col. 4:2); 2) Search
and study Gods Word (John 5:39; 2 Tim. 2:15); 3) Seek
spiritual things first (Matt. 6:33); 4) Serve the Lord in obeying
His Word (John 14:15) and 5) State and Show our love for others (1
To preach love is to preach Love For
Gods Word. O how love I thy law! It is my
meditation all the day (Psa. 119:97). If we have a love
for Gods Word, then that will be demonstrated in what we
proclaim and practice. A love for Gods Word means we will: 1)
Preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2); 2) Speak the
truth in love (Eph. 4:15); 3) Not preach a perverted
Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9); 4) Rightly divide the word of
truth (2 Tim. 2:15) and 5) Not wrest the
Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).
To preach love is to preach Love For
Those Who Are Godly And Those Who Are Godless. We are to love
all mankind including our enemies (Matt. 22:39; 5:43-44).
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a
liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can
he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we
from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also (1
John 4:20-21). We are to love one another with a pure heart
fervently (1 Peter 1:23).
Love for others means we will do what we can to help
physically and spiritually (Gal. 6:1-2, 10; 1 John 3:17; James
5:19-20; Jude 23). Proclaiming the Truth to others, praying for
others, persuading people to give up their sins and to promptly
obey the Gospel is demonstrating the proper kind of love for
others. We cannot say that we are preaching love and that
we genuinely love others when we withhold the saving Gospel from
them and refuse to reprove, rebuke and exhort (2
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