A Light View of Sin

Each week day I drive through a small town on my to and from work. For the past month or more, this sign has been in the yard of a church building. Even with good content, having a message board can be more of a burden than a benefit – it takes work and diligence to keep truth in a short message updated often enough so people notice. But when the message is wretched, one wonders why it is there at all.

Sin like a credit card

While it’s true that sin can seem enjoyable – what value would temptation be to Satan if the end product was rightly portrayed? – it is a biblical fact that we are to hate sin, not enjoy it. Paul addressed this in teaching how abundant God’s grace to towards His children, far greater than our sin, and then asking the rhetorical question:  Romans 6:1-2 (HCSB)  What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?  Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Does the apostle’s instruction seem more biblical than that of the church board in the picture? Again, the apostle –  2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB)  He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Knowing this, that Christ Jesus took our sin upon Himself, for them on the cross and was the object of God’s wrath that was due us, how can we abide a professing man of God who tells us to be cavalier towards sin?

Enjoy it now, pay for it later? It was PAID IN FULL on the cross! We add to the debt we owe Him every time we sin. It’s too often when we diligently seek to pursue Christ, how much more wretched would our track record be if we thought we were supposed to enjoy sin? Let the lyrics of this old hymn pierce your heart and mine. May we NO LONGER be at peace with our sin – or those who tell us to enjoy it! Let us not grow weary in well doing, but press on toward the prize that will not tarnish and be done with lesser things!

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

One man’s journey away from contemporary Christian music.

imageHere is the opening excerpt from a recent article by Dan Cogan:

I have been what many would call a “worship leader” for close to two decades. When I first became involved in “worship ministry” in an Assemblies of God youth group we sang such songs as The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower, As the Deer, Lord I Lift Your Name on High, and others of the era of the 1980s and 90s. Ours was considered a stylistically progressive church since we used almost exclusively contemporary songs.

This meant that if I were to visit a “traditional” church, not only would I be unfamiliar with the hymns, I would also likely cringe when they sang them and in my heart ridicule them (the people rather than the songs) as being old-fashioned.

It was during these formative years in my experience as a worship leader that I began to introduce even more contemporary songs to our youth group. It was then that I discovered artists like Delirious, Darrel Evans, Matt Redman, and Vineyard Music with their songs Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, Trading My Sorrows, Heart of Worship, and Hungry.

As a young musician who desired to honor Christ, I found these songs to be particularly compelling. I felt different when we sang them. The way Nirvana gave voice to the angst of Generation X, bands like Delirious were giving voice to a generation of young Christians who didn’t feel they could relate to the songs of their parents and grandparents.

Over the years when I would occasionally hear a hymn, the language was always strikingly foreign, with Ebenezers and bulwarks, diadems and fetters. Which only served to confirm my bias that hymns were simply out-of-date. They had served their purpose. They had run their course.

Continue reading the entire article here at DanCogan.com.

Christians Don’t Lie … Or Do They?

Christians don’t tell lies; they just go to church and sing them.
~A. W. Tozer

This quote came to mind a couple weeks ago as the congregation sang, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” As I looked around, I wondered how many were thinking about the words that were coming out of their mouths: “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word.” My own thoughts were full of how sweet that truly is and yet how much I need to grow in the area of trust.

For many who have grown up in church, it is easy to sing songs because we have memorized them and yet the words elude us. How many times have you sung “Here I raise my Ebenezer” and had no idea what an “Ebenezer” is. (A name for a goblet perhaps?) I know there are exceptions to the rule, but I see way too many people singing lifelessly, and I expect that it is because the words are lifeless to them.

Our songs should be sung from the heart. Our worship must be honest. If you cannot sing honestly, don’t be afraid to stop and ponder the words or pray that God will help you to grow in an area.

There may be times you should sing in faith, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,” but if you have not surrendered and are not willing to surrender all to Jesus, don’t sing, “I Surrender All.” God inhabits the praise of His people but, if that “praise” is done simply for show or merely out of rote, He will not bless it.

I do not want to discourage you from singing but I do want to inspire you to sing with your whole heart. Know what you are singing and let Him know that you mean it. You are not singing those words because you have to; you are singing because you want to, and you intend to live them. It’s possible that this simple act could be what it takes for revival to begin in our churches.

Whatever My God Ordains is Right!

Whatever My God Ordains Is Right

from Hiding Place by Matthew Smith

Listen to this song here: http://matthewsmith.bandcamp.com/track/whatever-my-god-ordains-is-right

lyricssovereign

What e’re my God ordains is right,
holy His will abideth
I will be still what e’re He does
and follow where He guideth
He is my God,
though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall
Wherefore to Him I leave it allWhat e’re my God ordains is right,

He never will deceive me

He leads me by the proper path,

I know He will not leave me
I take content,

what He hath sent,

His hand can turn my griefs away
And patiently I wait His day

What e’re my God ordains is right,

though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart,

I take it all unshrinking
My God is true,

each morn’ a new,

sweet comfort yet,

shall fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart

What e’re my God ordains is right,

here shall my stand be taken
Though sorrow,

need, or death be mine,

Yet I am not forsaken
My Father’s care is ’round me there,

He holds me that I shall not fall
And so to Him I leave it all

Help my unbelief
May my faith abound
Let me seek you and know that you may be found

When this life is done
In the clearer light
I may see you with full and with endless sight

credits

from Hiding Place, released 11 March 2014
©2013 Detuned Radio Music. Written by Matthew S. Smith, based in part on texts by Samuel Rodigast and Henry Alford

Jesus is our Hiding Place

Matthew Smith is a young musician who takes lyrics from old folk songs and hymns, modifies them if need be, and a0375493876_2puts them to his music. Here is a wonderful hymn from a Baptist hymnal printed in 1776.

Listen to this song, free, here. Then buy lots of his work.

Hiding Place

Against the God who rules the sky
I fought with hand uplifted high
Despised the mention of His grace
Much too proud to seek a hiding place

Wrapped in shadows of the night
Fond of darkness more than light
Blind, I ran the sinful race
I felt no need for a hiding place

But then the eternal council ran
“Almighty love, arrest this man!”
I felt the arrows of distress
And found I had no shield, no hiding place

Holy justice stood in view
To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew
But justice cried with frowning face
“This mountain is no hiding place”

But then a heavenly voice I heard
And mercy for my soul appeared
She led me on with gentle pace
To Jesus as my hiding place

Should seven storms of vengeance roll
And shake this earth from pole to pole
No thunderbolt shall daunt my face
While Jesus is my hiding place
While Jesus is my hiding place

On Him almighty vengeance fell
Which would have sunk this world to Hell
He bore it for a sinful race
To make Himself our hiding place

Alas! and Did My Saviour Bleed?

A little something different this morning. The gospel in the hymn of Isaac Watts, but with a little different arrangement. May you be encouraged with these beautiful words.

And another beautiful old hymn to remind us that while He did die for us and shed that precious blood, He is also coming again. Truly what a day that will be!