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Friday, August 29, 2014

A CALL FOR ALTAR CALLS

The Public Invitation Attacked
By: Keith Phemister




I was talking to a man whom I pastored, and while we were talking, he made a statement that took me aback. He said that in our Baptist churches we do many things that are not biblical. “For instance,” he said, “we have invitations and nowhere in the Bible does it say for a church to have an invitation. If it isn’t biblical, then I will not move during the invitation.

Well, since we are on the subject, where in the Bible does it say we should have pews? Offertories? Organs? Pianos? How about Ushers? May I just say that because the Bible is silent on an issue does not mean it is wrong! In fact, just because the Bible does not address the issue of a public invitation does not mean that we are wrong in conducting an invitation.

I would even go further and put that notion on the defensive. How about this; if it is not in the Bible, then why don’t you show me where it violates Biblical principles?

Charles G. Finney was held as the pioneer of the “public invitation.” For the first time in his preaching career at Evans Mill, New York, in 1825, Finney conducted an invitation and asked anyone who would like to give his heart to God to come forward and take the front seat. On his first attempt, Finney was successful.

Now Finney was not a Baptist, he was a Presbyterian. I say that because of the belief I have that what he did was biblical because it stood based on biblical principles.

The reason for conducting an invitation can rest in the need for recognizing the saved so that the next step can be easily pushed. How can we really know whom to baptize as part of the “Great Commission” if there is not an identification of the saved?

A person does not need to be saved in a church building. There are numerous instances in the Bible of people being saved in places other than the church.

If you look in Acts 2, Peter is preaching the very first sermon after our Lord’s Ascension. These Jews were pricked in their heart at the preaching of God’s Word, and demanded, “What must we do?” Folks who are under conviction should be told by the preacher what to do.

An invitation is the answer to meet the need. The answer in this case was: Repent and be baptized! I have a simple question to ask all of us. How did they know whom to baptize that day unless they identified themselves?

The Bible says that about 3,000 were baptized. Before baptism, there was salvation. Identification was necessary. Therein rests a very good reason for an invitation. Whenever there is preaching, real Bible preaching a decision is demanded. I have always been taught that preaching is teaching with authority, persuading with the intent to make a decision. We have gotten away from Biblical preaching and become teachers exclusively with the intent to not “run off the crowd.”

The Biblical principle of an invitation is evident in the Old Testament as well as the New. In Exodus 32:19-29, Moses came back from the mount, only to find the people having made the golden calf. There was ungodly music and the people were found naked.

Exodus 32:26 says, “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” 

Would that not be an invitation to the people of God? Absolutely!

An Old Testament example of the invitation is found in Deuteronomy 30:15-19, 15See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil: 16In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt no hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall jnot prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and they seed may life:” 

There is ample biblical principle for an invitation. See also Joshua 24:15 and I Kings 18:17- 21.   The simple truth of the matter is that preaching demands a decision. There is a difference between preaching and teaching. In our church, I desire a balance amongst our people. I want them to get the fire and zeal that preaching gives, but I also want them to get the knowledge that teaching brings. We need to also be aware that biblical preaching will include teaching.

When I think of preaching, I think of II Timothy 4:2 that says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 

Doctrine means teaching. Biblical preaching involves reproving, rebuking, and exhorting. What does that mean? Here it is broken down for us.
  •   Reprove to charge with a fault, to excite a sense of guilt
  •   Rebuke to restrain, to calm, to check
  •   Exhort to call for, to encourage to obey

    In conclusion, we see a preacher is to identify sin, present the need to change, and finally urge one to make a decision. No wonder our Lord said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    We are to press them for a decision. One of the most critical points in presenting the Gospel is what is called, “Drawing the Net.” For the soul winner it is the invitation. It is the time after preaching where we invite the sinner to “receive the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour.”

    We must not bow to the liberal’s way of doing things. The neo-evangelical crowd, emergent church philosophy or even the seeker sensitive agenda must never cloud our minds. Just stay with the old paths. We must stay the course and have an invitation.
The liberals blast confrontational soul winning in the same way that invitations are blasted. All because we are pressing the appeal to make a decision! 2 Corinthians 6:2 “...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

The same people who claim that the invitation is unbiblical are much of the same crowd who are consumed with pride. Pride will keep one from going to the altar to do business with God.

In no way, shape or form do I believe one must go down an aisle to be saved. It is belief in Christ death, burial, and resurrection that saves, not walking an aisle. Sadly, there may be some who think that walking an aisle is what saves them. Confession does not save. Confession is for man.

When we confess Christ, we show man our belief and God is glorified. Romans 10:10 states, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (God sees it) and with the mouth confession is made (man sees it) unto salvation.”

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that confession is necessary for salvation. When Paul addressed the Jew in Romans 10, he said to them that confessing Christ was essential to note salvation from man’s point of view.

To the Jew, confessing that Christ was Lord and not a man would mean a loss of friends, respect, position and even life (witness Stephen and the Apostles). Even Paul himself, in Acts 9:1, persecuted those Jews who had confessed Christ.

Yes, according to biblical principles a public invitation is desired and needed. We will continue to give an invitation as long as we continue to preach. God give us strength and wisdom to continue to carry on what we have been taught and never waver.

Monday, August 25, 2014

BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD OR CULTURE

Do Not Conform



In 50's I recollect the PTA of our pubic school debating the allowing of what they called “Slack Friday.”  It was a discussion over allowing the girls to wear slacks, not jeans, on Friday.  It was a discussion that was not a religious or spiritual discourse.  It was a public debate and not a church debate.  

It was sent on to the school administration that eventually agreed and it became policy.  I remember how the male students had to keep their hair cut and to button up their shirts.  The female students had to cover their bosom and wear lengthened skirts.  

The world in every generation provides a pattern for that generation of what is fashionable.  When the Bible talks about not conforming to THIS world it is referring to the current culture.  Fads come and fads go, but modest dress is still modest dress.  Promiscuity is still promiscuity.  Adultery is still adultery. Stealing is still thievery. To allow the current culture to invade our local churches is disobeying the Bible's command to not be conformed to "THIS" world.

1. Looking Back I Can See God's Hand On Those Who Fought The Culture Of Their Day.   Looking back at the 60's, 70's, and 80's I find myself thanking God for men like Jack Hyles, Evangelist Lester Roloff, John Rice, Lee Roberson, Tom Malone, G. B. Vick and others who stood against the culture of their day.  They fought the liberalism of their day.  

The culture of their day was not the issue to them.  Their issue was what does the Bible say how God's people should live regardless of the current culture.   People are far too much like sheep and move on body heat or a crowd mentality.  It never entered their minds to conform to their present day world.

Those great men were a breath of fresh air to those struggling with the onslaught of the styles of Paris, the movies of Hollywood, the formalistic ritualistic church services, the bad doctrine of the SBC, and the pop music of the day.  Those men fought the culture and attracted great crowds.  

God's hand was obviously on these men.  Thousands came to Christ through their ministries.   Their churches were aflame with evangelism.  They were in Rome, but did not do as the Romans did!  They understood God's people are IN the world, but should not be OF the world.

2. Public Schools Today Are Tightening Dress Standards While Some Churches Are Loosening Theirs.  This is interesting to me.  Dress codes are in.  Low riding pants are out.  Immodest dress is out.  Many public schools in our day have stricter rules and standards than some churches and Christian schools of our day.  They have found that dress standards and discipline have much to do with learning.  

Our public school academics are sad.  The test scores reveal a drop in our ranking among the world powers. All one has to do is to look at the pictures of public sporting events in 50's and 60's and you can easily see the difference. Is there a connection between dress and behavior?  Is there a connection between dress and academics?  Apparently some public schools think so!

In 1963 Mrs. Gray and I graduated, with 61 others, from Galesburg-Augusta High School of a small Southwestern Michigan town named Galesburg.  Our school was a consolidated school system of Augusta and Galesburg, MI. This was a typical public school with typical public school activities.  Actually our schools in those days were a strong reflection of a Judea-Christian influence that had existed for decades.   The impact of the Bible was felt in our classroom as well as our morals. 
  
3. The Latest Moral Decline Started In The Late 60's.   Mrs. Gray and I married June 25, 1965, and began our family.   God blessed us with four wonderful children.  I became concerned as the late 60's ushered in with the "God is dead" theology.  Prayer would soon be kicked out of our public schools.  New versions of the Bible were just beginning to come on the scene. Churches and church choirs began to reflect the world.  Our young men began to let their hair grow as the Beatle effect took foothold.  The young ladies began to shorten their skirts.  It was a cultural invasion.  It seemed everyone I knew was conforming to the culture.

4. Great Churches Were Still Built During Those Days.   It would be seven years after our 1965 marriage when I heard Dr. Jack Hyles and Dr. John R. Rice at a SWORD OF THE LORD CONFERENCE for the very first time.  At that conference I went through every emotion possible.  My mind was opened to a world of Christianity that I knew nothing about called fundamentalism.  The building was full. There was a spirit there I had never seen before.  

I met Brother Hyles and Brother Rice for the first time.  The sermons were uplifting and challenging.  I made a decision the first night to go into full time service.   I knew God wanted me to be in the ministry.  It was not a call to preach, but a call to leadership.

We decided to visit some of these great churches listed in the SWORD paper.  We as a family visited every one of these great churches.  I was amazed at the spirit filled services.  The song services were exciting and altars were full.  Dozens of people baptized in each one of those churches.  I had never seen anything like it.  The largest number I had ever seen until now in church was 100.  I saw as many people on their platforms of these great churches as we had in our little church.  

All of those men were different.  Their physical attributes were different, but the main thing that intrigued me was the souls saved and baptized.   They were all different, but they all preached powerful sermons.  People walked the aisles trusting Christ.  Many were baptized and the Lord was obviously working.   It thrilled me.

5. Those Men Of God Had To Fight To Build Their Churches.   Dr. Rice, at one point in time,  lost thousands of SWORD subscriptions because of his various stands.  Dr. Hyles helped to rebuild the SWORD subscriptions.  His church was on the rise when Dr. Rice was on the decline. All of these men fought battles through out the years.  Most of those struggles were two fold.  One was with the culture of their day and the second was the denominationalism of their day.  

Brother Rice was fearless and had tunnel vision when it came to the cause of Christ.  When he took a stand he could not understand why people got upset.  All of these men had their own unique battles.  Most of them came from the Southern Baptist Convention and fought for their independence.

I was introduced to the Holy Spirit and His work through Jack Hyles and John Rice.  I was introduced to personal soul winning, holiness, Sunday school and the baptizing of converts immediately.  Our church had no  catechism phase for church membership.   We did have graded Sunday schools as our discipleship program and it worked.  Personal separation from the world made sense to me.  

My spirit certainly bore witness with the Holy Spirit working through these men. My mind was transformed.  At the same time it brought its own battles into my ministry.  My mentors were not men who were conforming to the world around them, but transforming the world around them.  The result battles.

6. Fads Come And Go.   The size of ties come and go.  I wish I had kept some of those narrow ties I use to have.   I think I will hold on to my wide ties for it will not be long until they are back in style.  Funny how things come and go and come back again.  

My experience has been to not jump on current styles and look like a trend follower.  When bell bottoms were in vogue Brother Hyles taught us to stay where we were.  Guess what happened they went out of style.  When you chase fads you become the follower and fads the leader.

If you jump too quick it does not set a good example for those following.  As a leader nothing builds trust like stability does.   Security always follows those who are slow to change.  There is nothing wrong with being well dressed.  Brother Hyles was voted the best dressed man in Hammond, IN, one time.  However, he was not a trend follower.  He was a trend setter in many ways in every thing he did.  The appetite of being hip will come back to bite you spiritually.

7. The Great Men Of The Past Were Transformed Not Conformed. The Scripture says “be ye NOT conformed” rather “BE transformed.” The secret is the mind and in the renewing of the mind by being transformed and not conformed to this world. The book of Romans is divided up in to two sections, chapters 1-11 and chapters 12-16. 

The pivotal verses are found in Romans 12:1-2. In the first eleven chapters of Romans we have doctrine. In chapters 12-16 we have practical living or application of the doctrine to a real world.  Romans 12:2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 

Paul is saying the redeemed ought to live this way because of the wonderful doctrines in the first eleven chapters. An example would be the doctrine of “justification.” Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God” or because you are justified by faith that you “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.”   

God is saying because you are justified be not CONFORMED to this world, but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind. Paul goes on to tell us in the rest of the book of Romans what it means and what kind of a life we are supposed to live because of transformation as God’s children.

Now, we are required in some ways to interact with a godless Christ-less world. May I point your attention to whom this passage was given? The passage of, “be ye not conformed to his world but be transformed” is a passage written to the Christians in Rome. 

The Romans were corrupt, pagan, skeptical, and a perverted people. The entire environment was not only un-Christian but also anti-Christian. The Bible says this book was written to the saints in Caesar’s household.

No Christians in Rome had a Christian school to attend. They had no Christian grade school, junior high school, high school, or college to attend. Yet, God said to these people in the middle of godless anti-Christian Rome it is possible for you not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

8. It Is Just As Possible Today To Be Transformed And Not Conformed.   Paul is saying it is possible to live in the midst of a Roman moral quagmire without lowering your flag of purity. That means that it is possible today also to do the same. It is possible today to live in a society controlled by TV, Hollywood, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and the Internet and still live for God via the renewing of the mind. 

It is possible to live in this sex crazed, Hollywood infested world, HBO world, Cinemax world, Showtime world, and hip-hop music, and be not conformed to this world. If it is possible for the saints at Rome then it is possible for the saints of today!

Great soul winning churches can be built again if we are transformed.   As long as we are being conformed to this world we will be mediocre at best.  The great churches of the past were led by courageous men of God who stood.  It is not easy to go against the grain, but it is necessary.  There is no reason to look back at what was greatness without it causing us to be transformed through the same Bible.  Otherwise it is just an historical fact to be admired.

It was possible to walk in its septic streets without soiling the white garments of saint-hood. Paul tells them not to be creatures of circumstances or happenstance, but to take a stance for God. Stand up at work for Jesus while others curse him. Stand up for Jesus at school while others mock him. 

Paul is saying to these saints in Rome do not do when in Rome as Romans do, but when in Rome do as Jesus would do. He is saying to them be not the slave, but the master of your environment. He preaches not the doctrines of conforming, but the doctrine of transformation.

It bothers God when his daughters are quick to take up the hairstyles of modern day Romans. It bothers God when his sons start looking like the world they live in.  It bothers God when any of his children are quick to pick up the modern appearances and so desperately want to be accepted by the modern day Romans. 

It probably occurs because God’s people spend more time reading “Glamour Magazine” than the Bible. Young Christian ladies spend more time in “Sixteen Magazine” than in their own Bibles. It bothers God when his sons are so quick to get a tattoo or pierce their ears simply because of the modern day Romans.

God is telling his children they are not to copy THIS pagan world. There is a difference between dressing appropriately and going gaga over the latest styles.  To embrace them simply because we want the Romans to love us is not wise. We are not to pattern ourselves after this modern world. 

If the world lies on a beach in their underwear then God’s people ought to do the opposite. If the women of this world wear their shorts and man’s apparel then the Christian ladies ought to do the opposite. We are in the world but not of the world!  We cannot win the world by imitating the world.  

9. We Are More Than A Product Of Our Culture.   Paul is saying to the saints in Rome you are to be more than a product of your culture. He tells the redeemed in Rome you are to be more than a product of your environment.  You are to be more than a result of geography.  You are to be more than a piece of merchandise molded, made by surroundings, more than a manufacturers object of weather and meteorology. You are not to be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed that ye may prove what is that good an acceptable perfect will of God.

It thrills God to see his children around town reflecting Scriptural culture rather than societies culture. When he sees the boys with decent haircuts and without their pants hanging down to their ankles with their underwear showing. God loves it when he sees his young ladies dressed in modest clothing without a vampire look. I thank God I belong to a church where members are taught to dress right and people around town know just by looking they belong to Longview Baptist Temple.

10. There Can Be No Conforming Until There Is Transforming.   Paul is saying it may be difficult to not be conformed to this world, but difficult is not spelled “I M P O S S I B L E.”  He says do not drift, but steer! He says do not float but swim! He says do not descend but ascend. He says do not blend but transcend. He says do not condescend, but apprehend. He says do not be a slave to dust be its master. He says swim the tide.

The key is the mind.  To allow the mind of Christ to flow through our minds will transform our minds.  This will give us spiritual power to not be conformed.  Transforming must come first in order to battle conforming.  It matters not who you are and what you are you, can live for God wherever and whenever. Factory workers can live for God. 

If they could do it in Rome and Paul expected them to do it in Rome then so can any of us! The Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible expected them to live for God in Rome, which means we can also live for God in our Rome.

God is saying to his children in Rome be like the lily in the mud which transforms sordidness into beauty and stagnates into fragrance. He is saying to them do not bow your knee to the god of fashion, the Baal of conformity, the deity of compromise, the altar of timidity to the prince and power of this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

Conquer this world’s gravity! Be a lily in the mud, a daisy in the gutter, a flower in the wilderness, a stream in the desert, and a rose amidst needles and thorns. If you have to flee to the catacombs flee singing! If you are appetizer for the lions then die praising God. Throw your shoulders back and chest out, lift up your head, and hold your banner high to let everyone know you are a child of God!

Emerson said, “Whoso would be a man must be a non conformist!” If the Bible is true, if God be real, and you desire to be a man then do not conform to this world and see what happens? Show me a famous Christian who was a conformist? Show me one in history?

11. The Hall Of Fame Is Filled With Non-Conformist.  The Hall of fame list includes John Bunyan who spent twelve years in the Bedford Jail. Why, because he would not stop preaching the Gospel on the street corners! He had a blind daughter who would come to the Bedford Jail and say, “I’ve some good news daddy. They will let you out of jail if you promise to quit preaching the Gospel on the streets.” He was a non-conformist!

John Wesley was a non-conformist! Read his diary sometime and you will read, “Kicked out of church after church after church…” We garnish his tombstone and crucify the people who are like him today!

·      John Bunyan a non-conformist
·      John Wesley a non-conformist
·      Peter a non-conformist
·      Paul a non-conformist
·      John the Baptist a non-conformist
·      James a non-conformist
·      Savonarola a non-conformist
·      Martin Luther a non-conformist
·      Cromwell a non-conformist
·      John R. Rice a non-conformist
·      Lester Roloff a non-conformist
·      Tom Malone a non-conformist
·      Lee Roberson a non-conformist
·      Shadrach a non-conformist
·      Meshach a non-conformist
·      Abednego a non-conformist
·      Daniel a non-conformist
·      J. Frank Norris a non-conformist
·      G. B. Vick a non-conformist
·      Curtis Hutson a non-conformist
·      Jack Hyles a non-conformist
·      Charles Spurgeon a non-conformist

These were not all Baptist people, but they were God's children and learned how to bring about an impact on a world without using the world.  Today, there is resurgence of using the world to reach the world and it will fail just as it has always failed in history.   I John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”   II Corinthians 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…”

12. History Is Repeating Itself.   In looking back I see a time when we were conformed to this world.  Then I see a transformation from religious Egypt to the Promised Land.  Now, I see some in this generation turning to being conformed instead of being transformed.  This old wicked world will not be won by the power of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Ghost.  

This power is not found in a bargain basement sale, but in long nights of begging God.  I much prefer being transformed than being conformed.  The great men and the great churches they pastored were not built like some are attempting to do today.  Be careful, history is repeating itself and you will have to be a non-conformist to be used of the Holy Ghost.

Thank the Lord America had some great men who fought the invasion and onslaught of a social moral decline. They were the Watchmen on the walls protecting their people.  All we need are a few good men who will be willing to sacrifice popularity with their peers and with the post modern populous movement in order to gain Heaven’s attention.  

The common denominator of our mentors was not the standards they held as much as it was the passion in their hearts they held for those headed for hell.  No purpose simply means no passion!  Do not conform, but be transformed. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

MUSIC CAN BE A BLESSING OR A CURSE




Music Is A Powerful Tool Use It Wisely


 1. Music Has A Power Over Our Lives. That is why discretion is so important when it comes to music. If we are not careful we will find ourselves in a quagmire of ungodly music. It is entirely possible to allow the power of music to become the main attraction. Music is like a plate on which we serve a meal. The focus should be more on the food than on the plate.

The decline of a culture can be directly tied to the decline of music. It is not an insignificant thing.  According to Ephesians 2:1-2 there is a “spirit of disobedience” in every unsaved person.  The power Satan gives to a Madonna, Justin Bieber and other musicians is real.  God’s people must guard themselves from the power of music that is promoted by Satan.  
Christian Music should rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to draw and convict the unsaved of their need for Christ.  If there is no conviction there can be no conversion. I saw the slow shift of the Saturday Night Singings” in my church to professional Gospel Quartets performing in massive secular auditoriums.  After a while that led to carnality.  It went from being about the message to being about the performance.

It was the custom of Jewish families to sing together, so it is not a stretch to assume that as a child Jesus sang.  We also know that He sang with His disciples in the upper room as they partook of supper.  “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.”  (Matthew 26:30) This would be the last time He gathered with His disciples during His earthly ministry.  Jesus blessed the broken bread and the fruit of the vine.  Then He passed the bread and juice to them.  They parted by singing a song of praise to God.



2. There Is Clear instruction On Music To The Local Church. The Scripture gives us a clear exhortation to abstain from being drunk and a clear command to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then, the Bible commands the church at Ephesus to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 5:18-20

The church at Ephesus was instructed to sing these type of songs and make melody in their hearts to the Lord.  This is a clear command to the local church. If the local church is to be a reflection of her head Jesus Christ, then she must obey this clear command.  To do otherwise is to disobey our Lord and to open the door to let the world into church through the power of music.
David was the human pen for the majority of the Psalms.  The book of Psalms is often called the “hymnbook of the Bible.”  The Psalms were songs given to men in the midst of their struggles, their suffering, and even their victories.  The Bible speaks of singers, musicians, and musical instruments more than five hundred times. When choir members, special singing groups, soloists, and orchestra members are in tune with Christ and with each other, their music can bring about or enhance a spiritual event.  




 3. Music Will Bring Out The Best Or Worst. Music's influence will bring out the best or the worst in people.  That is the power and influence music possesses. Plato said, “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws.” Aristotle believed that if you listened to music that reflected a certain mood, you would experience that same mood.  Dr. Jack Hyles said, “If one listens to the wrong kind of music, he will tend to become the wrong kind of person; but, conversely, if he listens to the right kind of music, he will tend to become the right kind of person.”

Depression seemed to be a regular occurrence with King Saul.  The further he strayed away from God, the deeper his depression.  I Samuel 16:15 states that he was troubled by an evil spirit. When his servants noticed Saul’s condition, they recommended a solution in I Samuel 16:16.  “Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.”  To soothe the evil spirit, they sent for David.
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”   I Samuel 16:23
Notice that David did not sing a word.  He simply played it for King Saul.  The music refreshed Saul. If David could create a sound from the harp that calmed a depressed King Saul, then the power of music cannot be denied or ignored.  Music is an invisible reality.  God’s people must be careful in both their private and public choices of music.  
Music affects us in three ways: physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Music also has three primary parts: melody, harmony, and rhythm.  Melody comes from the Greek word meloidia, which means “choral sing.” Meloidia is derived from melos, “tune,” plus aoiden, “to sing.”  Thus, the musical term melody. The Bible command us to be filled with the Spirit, teaching us that melody and the fullness of the Holy Spirit are related.
Our mind responds to harmony, the intellectual part of music.  The word harmony comes from the Greek word for joint, which implies the concept of fitting together. Thus, the harmony joins the melody and the rhythm together.  Our body responds to the rhythm.  Rhythm is the Greek word rheo, which means “to flow” or “to pulse.” Rhythm, then, is the physical part of music.  Remember, music can be evil or good, depending upon its use.
The melody must dominate the music of the Christian.  The harmony must follow the melody in the supportive role in the music.  Last of all, the rhythm must be under strict control in music.  In essence, this is a picture of the Christian with his body and its desires under strict control.  Romans 8:13 explains, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” I Corinthians 9:2 says, “If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.”



 4. The Key To Good Music Is Balance. Rhythm must not be forsaken.  It needs to be in a proper relationship with the harmony and melody.  In our day, the melody (spiritual) and harmony (intellectual) are not just being overpowered; they are being dissolved by the overpowering, pulsating rhythm (physical).  America’s music, both in the church and in the society, reflects an obsession with the physical.  It will take discipline in leadership to be able to see down the road the results of unbalanced music.

James 1:27 tells us, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” What makes worldly music?Because of its identification with the world, some music should be considered worldly. The writer and the associations identified with the music will help determine its flavor. If the places where the world congregates to feed their flesh use a certain style of music it would make sense that it is probably worldly music.
If those places started playing hymns such as “The Old Rugged Cross” or “Amazing Grace” the musicians would probably be booed, and many customers would leave.  Why? Because the music does not match the setting!  Then why do so many pastors and Christians think their music belongs in the church?  God’s music is meant to bring praise to God, not to entertain man.  
In his book Music in the Life of Man, Julius Portnoy says, “The Christian musician is a member of two worlds, the spiritual and the material.  The choice is his: to create sacred music that is pleasing to God because it ennobles character or to defile the miracle of creation and produce secular music which arouses lust and desire.” God's people are to remain unspotted by the world and music is a part of that which must remain unspotted.
There is a sound that the world’s music gives out.  When music is heard, the mind immediately forms an image because of the sound.  What image comes to mind when barroom or honky-tonk music is heard? Conversely what image do people get when they hear the music in our churches?  What image are Christians projecting from the music they play in  their cars or in their homes? There is a direct correlation between the power of God and the music of God.  
In many cases I do not see balance in the music put in front of the people.  The Jesus movement was a big thing in the 60's. The music  philosophy was that nothing matters but the uplifting of Jesus. There seems to be a revival of, nothing matters if we are uplifting Jesus in our music today.  However, there is a whole counsel from the Scriptures on music that does matter.   Music is a powerful tool use it wisely.



The Bible makes it very clear music does matter. The future of fundamentalism depends on a strong position on music that adheres to our fundamentals positions. This is a part of God's plan for the spiritual maturing of God's people. The local church is responsible to maintain Biblical boundaries and that certainly does not exclude maintaining the right kind of music. Music is a powerful tool use it wisely.

Monday, August 4, 2014

IF JESUS PREACHED TODAY WHICH BIBLE WOULD HE USE?

IF JESUS PREACHED IN YOUR CHURCH, WHICH BIBLE WOULD HE USE?


(A small review and recommendation of Jack McElroy’s book, Which Bible Would Jesus Use?)
It would be foolish to say he would use no Bible, since he used one during his earthly ministry (Luke 4:16-20; 24:27, etc.).

Would he use a Bible that makes him a liar, as the NIV and ESV do in John 7:8?

John 7:8-10 (KJV) Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
(NIV) “You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.
(ESV) “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe how many Christians will accept version upon version of the Bible that shows their Lord to be a liar, as the NIV, ESV, and so many others plainly do, but it would be crazy to think Jesus would carry a book to the pulpit that has him breaking the law he came to fulfil.
This is the simple question asked by Jack McElroy in his book, Which Bible Would Jesus Use? (Also available for Kindle.)
The mere question would be laughed off by modern scholarship as too absurd to consider.
But this question deserves serious consideration by any genuine follower of Christ. After all, the Bible is Jesus’ book, and so picking the one he would have us use is certainly something we should do!

Would Jesus use a Bible that gives Satan his own title in Isaiah 14:12?

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Revelation 22:16 (KJVI Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, andthe bright and morning star.
The NIV gives Satan the title Jesus has plainly reserved for himself:
Isa 14:12 (NIVHow you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
Are you okay with that? Do you think Jesus is okay with that? (See this article for more on Lucifer vs the Morning Star.)
McElroy’s book is an excellent addition to the many on the “Which Bible” topic. The tone is easy and conversational, laying out the issues in a manner that makes the answers obvious. In fact, I suspect this will be my new “go to” introductory book for believers new to the topic.
McElroy gives an excellent overview of the preservation and translation of the Bible, presenting a clear and compelling case for why we should trust that the King James Bible is in fact the very word of God without error. His deductive logical arguments are enough to convince any sincere seeker that we can have faith in God’s book as it is preserved to us today.
But he does not stop there — McElroy isn’t afraid to point out the deficiencies of the modern and commonly held definition of inspiration, getting to the heart of the matter and demonstrating that not only do modern experts have aflawed theology of inspiration, with their own words they show that they don’t believe there ever was a perfect “act of inspiration” in the first place.
Even if you’re already a King James Bible Believer and need no convincing, this book is still a great read. I’ve had a public presence on the Internet defending the Authorized Bible for almost 20 years now, and I’ve heard it all.  McElroy must have had a peek into my inbox, because all the common “gotcha” questions are here. More importantly, they’re all answered ably.
  • Yeah? So where was God’s word before 1611?
  • The NIV and ESV are no different than the different “revisions” of the KJV.
  • So Which Edition of the KJV is perfect? What about the differences between editions?
Now, we know that in the end this is still a matter of faith. After all:
Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Any time someone demands “proof” that the King James is God’s word they are seeking to avoid the issue of faith and excuse the egregious errors in their favorite Bible versions. However, it can be (and has many times been) proven beyond any reasonable doubt that modern Bible versions contain error. As McElroy demonstrates with their own writings, modern Bible editors actually believe that imperfection is often a sign of a more genuine reading.
But it’s not enough to demonstrate the corruptions of modern Bible versions, because the question will still remain: why the KJV? There are deductive reasons good enough to answer the sincere seeker willing to place faith in God that he would preserve his word, and Which Bible Would Jesus Use? provides these reasons and more.
Highly recommended!
Jack McElroy has kindly made chapter 8 of his book available in full here: Why can’t the Lord choose the ©1982 New King James Version?
Which Bible Would Jesus Use? is available in print from Amazon.com and also on Kindle. You can read more about Jack at his website.