Posted tagged ‘Worship’

“The Great Imbalance”

March 26, 2013

“Only 24,000 missionaries out of the Global Evangelical Missionary-force of 253,000 are working within the estimated  8,000 unreached groups. That means that 9 times as many foreign missionaries work within reached people groups than those doing the more difficult work of establishing breakthroughs within unreached peoples.”

Or, to put it another way, 90% of all evangelical missionaries in the world today work with the 11.9% of the world’s population that are professing Christians, the 20.5% of the world’s population who are nominal Christians, and the 27.3% of the world’s population that are non-Christians within reached groups. Only 10% of the world’s evangelical missionaries work among the 40.3% of the world’s population who are non-Christian within unreached people groups. (Perspectives, A Reader, p.543)

In Matthew 24:14, the Lord Jesus Christ said –

“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations (“people groups”) and then the end will come.”

If we say that we know Jesus as our Savior …

if we are serious about our faith in and commitment to Him as our Lord, and …

if we are going to be obedient to His will and command to carry the Gospel to all of the people groups of the world so that His Name might be known among them …

we must take a look at the numbers and percentages above, repent of our failure to obey Jesus’ command to disciple all nations (‘people groups”), deny ourselves, and commit ourselves afresh to His use for the fulfilling of the Great Commission, for His glory.

Then, and only then, will the end come.

******************************

Note: I posted this article a couple of days ago, but because of some formatting errors, I have re-written, editted, and re-posted it.

Advertisements

“I’ve Never Gotten Over That”

March 25, 2013

I had a very interesting conversation with a 92-year old man the other day.

My son and I were sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when an elderly gentleman, Mr. J. Reed, came into the room. He was accompanied by a care-giver from the assisted living apartments where he lives. The two of them sat across from my son and me.

I could tell that Mr. Reed was watching me as I read and made notes in a book that I had brought to the office with me. When I looked up from my reading, Mr. Reed asked me what I was reading. I showed him the cover of the book and said, “Perspectives”.

“Perspectives on what?”

“Perspectives On The World Christian Movement.”

“That’s a good thing. I’m a Christian”, Mr. Reed said, “but I didn’t start living seriously for Christ until I was in my thirties.”

Mr. Reed then made an amazing statement .

“Jesus died on the Cross for the forgiveness of my sins and He didn’t have to. I’ve never gotten over that.”

“I’ve never gotten over that.”

That statement took a hold of my heart. His words were spoken with tenderness. The tone of his voice was reflective in nature, as if he had been on Calvary’s mount the day when Jesus was crucified. It was as if he was remembering all that the death of Christ meant for him personally through faith – the forgiveness of his sins, relationship with the Father, abundant living, and the hope of glory.

The Spirit used Mr. J Reed’s testimony to speak to my heart, to cause me to reflect on my relationship with God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am confident of my salvation through faith in Christ and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary. I have a personal relationship with God the Father, have been invited to join Him in His work on this earth, and know that I will live forever with Him in His glory.

But, the question is: Do I live in daily amazement and wonder of God’s love in Christ as it is demonstrated on the Cross. Can I say with Mr. Reed, “I have never gotten over that.”?

During this Easter season, let us ask the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts once again about what Christ’s death on the Cross means for and to us. Let us ask Him to stir within our hearts and lives a deeper love for Him and a deeper devotion and commitment to living lives of sacrifice and service for His glory.

A New Court Erected

November 9, 2012

What is there to know, and how much can be known, about the throne of grace?

Robert Traill, Scot preacher and reformer (1642-1716), helps us explore these questions in his thirteen-sermon series, The Throne of Grace. These messages were published in the book, A Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of Faith, in 1718, two years after Traill’sthroneo;p death.

The messages in this series are based on Hebrews 4:16.

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

In the introduction to Sermon I, Traill informs us that he is going to address “four weighty questions, which should be in the hearts of all worshippers of God.” These questions are: “Where may I find God?”; “How should we come to God on this throne?”; “What ground hath a sinner for this boldness?”; and “What shall we get, and for what may we come to this throne of grace?”

Under the first “Head,” “Where is God to be found?”, Traill writes that God is found on the throne of grace.  He preaches that the mostArk of the Covenant3 sacred object in Old Testament worship, the mercy seat, is what the writer of Hebrews calls the “throne of grace.” This teaches us that

” …whatever of divine grace was revealed and tendered to, or perceived and received by the faith of the Old Testament  believers, in their right use of these sacred old institutions of God to his church, the same, with great advantage, believers under the New Testament have in Jesus Christ, the body, the antitype, and substance of them.”

Three advantages had at the mercy seat, and in Christ, are noted by Traill.  They are a solemn approach made to God, atonement for sins, and a Word from God.

Traill then distinguishes the throne of grace from other “thrones” found in Scripture. The other thrones are:

  • the throne of glory, a throne of the essential, incomprehensible glory of God that no man can approach (I Timothy 6:16)
  • the throne of government where “God sits, and rules all things in his pleasure, and in infinite wisdom.” (Psalm 9:4,7)
  • the throne of God’s justice from where men will be judged according to the law and their works (Psalm 143:2), from which “nothing but condemnation can justly be pronounced on sinners.”

And, then there is the throne of grace, the central subject of this sermon series. The preacher defines this throne as

“… God in Christ dealing with men according to the grace of the gospel. It is God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their trespasses (2 Cor.5:19). It is Christ set forth by God to be a propitiation (Rom. 3:25). This is the new court or throne erected by God, and declared in the gospel, to which sinful man is invited to come.”

In I Corinthians 1:18, the Apostle Paul says that the word of this Cross is to those who are perishing, foolishness. But to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

Robert Traill then asks and answers the question, “Why is it called a throne and a throne of grace?”

He answers this in four parts.

“1. It is called a throne, because of the glory and majesty of God manifested there.”

“The Lord on this throne of grace, dispenseth all acts of grace with great majesty, and a king; but not as a King Judge, and Ruler, but as a King Benefactor, and Giver. This royalty of grace shines, i. In the greatness of the gifts, grace, and mercy; vastly above all that the creation can give.”

ii. In the manner of giving; free, sovereignly free. Grace and mercy is his own, and he doth with them as he will.”

“Approaches to God on the throne of grace, should be made with the deepest reverence and humility.”

“O that captives to Satan, and slaves to sin and the law, would long to be under the reign of this stately power, the grace of God! and that believers themselves would give themselves a more free and large subjection to it”

 “2. It is called a throne of grace, 1st, Because grace entered and reared it up.”

“Till men get a sight of God in Christ, they cannot tell what the grace of God is. Search heaven and earth, you can never get a view of God’s grace, till ye come to this throne. You may see God’s infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness, written in great characters, in the great volume  of creation and providence; but till ye come to know God in Christ on this throne, you can never see that divine dainty, and saving blessing, the free grace of God; grace, as an everlasting fountain in the heart of God, pouring down, streaming forth eternal salvation on ruined unworthy sinners.”

“3dly, It is called a throne of grace, because all the acts and sentences passed at this new court, are all acts of grace. All the blessings given from this throne, are all mere grace. Nothing is here but grace (John 1:17).”

“We are chosen by grace; we are given to Christ by grace; redeemed by him by grace; by grace we are justified through that redemption; by the same grace we are adopted; by the same grace we are saved, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; and by grace we shall be glorified.”

 “4thly, It is called a throne of grace, because the glory of grace is the last and highest end of the building of this throne, and of all the acts of grace dispensed at it, and from it.”

“We read in the word of none of the counsels of God before the creation of all things, but of his purpose of saving a company of poor sinful men by Jesus Christ; and of no other design in this purpose, but to magnify his grace in saving of them this way. So much of the significance of this word, a throne of grace.”

******************************

Thus far in the first half of Robert Traill’s first sermon on the Throne of Grace, he has shown us that the throne of grace in the New Testament is the mercy seat of the Old Testament. Traill defines the throne of grace and then explains, in rich and reverent tones, why it is the throne of God’s grace.  It is to this throne that we must go for mercy and grace to help in time of our every need.

In the second half of this first sermon, Traill will address the question, “What is it to come unto this throne of grace?” This will be the subject of my second post on Sermon1 on the Throne of Grace.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

October 30, 2012

I enjoy and value the hymns of old. So many of them communicate profound doctrine. “‘Man of Sorrows,’ What a Name” is such a hymn.

This beautiful hymn has lyrics that not only teach doctrine, but elicit reverent worship.

****************************************

“‘Man of sorrows,’ what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;
‘It is finished’ was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

****************************************

“‘Man of Sorrows’, What a Name” was written by Philp Blass (1838 – 1876) in 1875.

Grace Is The Theme

October 27, 2012

In Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith (1718), we find a tremendous collection of sermons preached by Robert Traill (1642-1716), a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer. Among the many sermons included in this volume are thirteen preached on Hebrews 4:16. These sermons from Hebrews are simply entitled Thirteen Sermons on the Throne of Grace.

Traill wrote the preface to Stedfast Adherence. In it are words that reveal the spiritual character and heart of this great preacher. They are as stirring and motivating as any found in the sermons themselves.

“I know of no true religion but Christianity; no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ; of his divine person, (the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15); of his divine office, (the Mediator betwixt God and men, I Timothy 2:5); of his divine righteousness, (he is the Lord our Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6; which name is also called upon his church, chapter 33:16); and of his divine Spirit, (which all that are his receive, Romans 8:9). I know no true ministers of Christ, but such as make it their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ, in his saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men; no true Christian, but one united to Christ by faith, and abiding in him by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauties of gospel-holiness.”

When speaking of the theme of the messages from Hebrews 4:16, Traill states that it  …

“… is concerning the throne of God’s saving grace, reared up in Christ, and revealed  unto men in the gospel; with the application all should make to that throne, the great blessings to be reaped by that application, and men’s great need of those blessings.”

As Traill concludes the preface to Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith, he prays this prayer for the readers of his messages,

“May the Lord of the harvest, who ministered this seed to the sower, make it bread to the eater, and accompany it with his blessing on some that are called to inherit a blessing, and I have my end and desire; the reader shall have the benefit; and the Lord the glory; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

******************************

I would invite you join me as I post through Robert Traill’s Thirteen Sermons on The Throne of God. I believe the Lord will use them to feed and enrich our souls and draw us closer to Him in fellowship and worship.

You can find the Throne of Grace messages here.

Approaching The Throne of Grace

October 26, 2012

Robert Traill was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer who lived from 1642 to 1716. Because of the religious and Robert Traill2  political persecution he was subject to from the Church of England because of his religious and church beliefs, Traill fled to Holland in 1667 and then to London in 1670. He returned to Scotland for a short period of time, was arrested, and spent several months in Bass Prison. After his release he returned to London where he pastored a Scottish congregation until his death in 1716.

I became familiar with Traill in 2009 when I read, studied, and posted on his six- sermon series on Galatians 2:21. That series, preached around 1692 and later published as The True Gospel Preached: Six Sermons on Galatians 2:21, “set forth the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace in Jesus Christ to unworthy sinners who are so foolishly inclined to set about the seeking of their reconciliation with God by the Law and their own righteousness.” (True Covenanter)

The Lord blessed me tremendously as I read and studied the messages delivered by one who lived so long ago. What struck me about those sermons is how God-exalting, Christ-centered, and grace-saturated Traill’s messages are.

You can read my posts on Traill’s Galatians 2:21 sermons here. In the posts you will find links to the sermons so that you can read them, too.

Traill preached a number of sermon series based on only one or two verses of Scripture. He preached a sixteen-sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, a three-sermon series on Matthew 7:13, 14 on entering at the straight gate, and a thirteen-sermon series on one verse from the Book of Hebrews.

The Hebrews series is entitled The Throne of Grace and is based on Hebrews 4:16. In this passage of Scripture, we receive an exhortation.

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

The Hebrew’s sermons were included in a book of Traill’s sermons that was published in 1718. The book is entitled A Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith.

It is my intention to read, study, and post through the thirteen sermons on Hebrews 4:16 that Robert Traill preached three hundred years ago. Just as his messages from Galatians 2:21 touched my heart, I expect the Lord to use Traill’s messages to help me better understand the throne of God’s grace and the privilege that is mine to draw near to God on His throne because of Who Jesus is and what He has done in my life.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this passage of Scripture and these messages to stir within me a greater commitment to loving, serving, and worshipping the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Am I Desperate?

August 9, 2012

We had a wonderful time of worship and prayer this evening at WoodsEdge Community Church in The Woodlands. WoodsEdge has hosted the Discipleship Multiplication Training event that I have been attending this week.

The Lord has used the teaching, new friendships, and conversations this week to teach me about evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.

He has also used this week to convict me about the lack of prayer in my life.

Am I desperate for God in my life, in my family, in my ministry? 

LORD, I’m desperate for You.