Thoughts on Worship as you Listen to Theology

Well, we’re in a section of Galatians so rich in Gospel theology that it certainly begs the question, How do I listen to theology and have my heart be lifted high in worship and exaltation?  Glad you asked.  Let me suggest a few ways:

1- Worship and the affections are always to be anchored and inspired by Biblical truth, so first off, hearing the glories of justification by faith offer the very bedrock of truth from where your heart should sing and your emotions rise.  This teaching (while it can be technical) is the flaming hot center of the Gospel and its sparks should ignite our praise.

2- If God’s redemptive history is like a beautiful painting, with each new piece of theology explored and exposed we get a sharper section of the glorious painting filled in and brought to life so that we can worship with greater clarity the work and wonder of God as our beautiful rescuer.

3- When we come to understand the chronology of God’s work in history, it can’t but give us an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the place in time that we get to live — after the cross, the promise to Abraham fulfilled in Christ, the law fulfilled, the curse broken, the promised Spirit available, grace flowing!  Worship God for being born at such a time in His grand schedule.

4- The law brings a curse and the righteous condemnation of God on sinners, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus.  When we reflect on the work of Christ over the law, we have great opportunity to worship God for being redeemed from the curse of the law, from removing us from the place of condemnation and clothing us in the clothes of righteousness.  For making Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

5- Thank God that He gives teaching, not just motivational pep-talks to go be “good” but real substance by which we can fill our hearts and minds with eternal truths revealed from heaven for our edification.  Glory in a God who communicates Himself and His plan to His creatures for their good.

May God give us minds to think clearly about these great theological truths and hearts that are stirred with genuine affections for Him and His work in history.

Learning and Loving,

Pastor Mark

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A Burden For Our Men … and Boys

Burdened today for the men of our church to be men of purity!  It’s nothing new for me to tell you that our culture is saturated with sexually explicit material.  If not overtly sexual, it seems to always lurk around the edges, luring the heart of a man in deeper.  God made men a special and unique way, not to be criticized for, but to be celebrated in the right ways – Man is visual and thus the sexual temptation he faces are always right in front of him … on the computer, at the coffee shop, in the office, at the checkout counter, yeah the list could keep on going.  The other problem is that men are proud, and as such in this area, seek secrecy and isolation.  These two ingredients can be the recipe for disaster in a marriage, home, and church.  I can’t imagine there is a person out there who hasn’t in some way been effected by the sexual sin of someone they know.  My burden is not for greater accountability, though that is always good … my burden is not for throwing your TV’s out the window, though that may not hurt … my burden is not for canceling the internet service, though that may be needed … my burden is for the Gospel to be enough!  For the men of Leroy Chapel to so earnestly desire the satisfaction of righteousness found in Christ that everything else is tasteless and bland.  For men to so delight in the wonder and beauty of God that the lesser pleasures (sure they are pleasures) fall miserably short.  I am not burden for greater regulations, more rules, or harsher exhortation … but a “panting after the water brook” that captures the hearts of our fathers who in turn disciple their sons who in turn live so counter-cultural that the pornography business goes under!  My favorite quote on the subject comes from John Piper’s book Future Grace where he writes,

“When faith has the upper hand in my heart I am satisfied with Christ and his promises.  When my thirst for joy and meaning and passion are satisfied by the presence and promises of Christ, the power of sin is broken.  We do not yield to the offer of sandwich meat when we can smell the steak sizzling on the grill.  The fight of faith against lust is the fight to stay satisfied with God.  As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust.  I see it for what it is.  And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.  I wield the sword of the Spirit against the sin of lust by believing the promise of God more than I believe in the promise of lust.” (pg. 335-336)

My brothers, put the sandwich down, savor the steak … and delight yourself in the glory God created you for – Himself!  Fight fire with faith … not rules.  Do you need to repent and get a Gospel refocus?  Call me, let’s talk and seek Jesus together.

Satisfied in Christ,

Pastor Mark

Thanks Owen For The Reminder

The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is not to believe that He loves you.

 

John Owen

 

Often Owen can be wordy and tough to read (though always worth it), but here he is simple and clear.  Enjoy it!  And make sure you put Sin and Temptation on your reading list if it isn’t yet.  

 

You’re Loved,

Pastor Mark