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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « The Narcissism Epidemic | Main | "Imagine All the People Living Life in Peace" »

    Organized Religion?

    When someone tells me, "I am not into organized religion" I usually respond by asking, "Oh, that's interesting. So you prefer the disorganized kind?"

    The conversation normally goes somewhat quiet when I ask that question. Usually most people have not thought about the matter to any great degree.

    Yet, if we were to understand that WE and our feelings and opinions are not what matters on this issue - that we are not the center of the universe and in fact, that God has the right to orchestrate worship as He sees fit.. I know, what a concept!!... but yes, were we brave enough to stop and ask God's opinion, seeking to find out what pleases Him, we would not read far in our Bibles before finding out that worship is to be carried out His way on His terms.

    Remember Cain and Abel? Remember how one sacrifice was accepted by God (Abel's) and the other was not (Cain's). Remember the Tabernacle? Remember that His instructions had to be followed precisely and meticulously? Talk about organization... Entire books of the Bible were dedicated to revealing His precise instructions. God is holy and is to be treated as such by those seeking to approach Him in worship. Failure to do so had severe consequences. Nadab and Abihu were struck dead by God for seeking to design their own methods of worship. After their deaths, no one in Israel (including Aaron their own father) was allowed to even mourn their loss (Leviticus Chapter 10). Remember that?

    Leviticus 10 reads: 1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

    4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come near; carry your brothers away from the front of the sanctuary and out of the camp.” 5 So they came near and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. 6 And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. 7 And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.

    8 And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”

    Frightening stuff, yes? Actually, its meant to be. It is a fearful thing to come before God in worship. All of us will be consumed if we do not come His way, on His terms, and by means of the sacrifice He has authorized. (see Hebrews 10:19-22)

    So back to our discussion - were we to seek God's thoughts on the matter, one of the many things we would find is that He loves the corporate worship gathering of His people, greatly preferring it to all of our private spiritual devotions combined.

    "The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God." (Ps. 87:2-3)

    "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25, 26)

    This is just the starting point of course, but rather than taking a poll of the community to ask for people's personal preferences, its time we come on our knees humbly before God and with open Bibles ask Him, "What pleases You God? What is a true Church in Your eyes? What is Your view of worship? What isn't?"

    I hope that each of us are prepared to obey Him when He tells us the answers.

    - JS

    Posted by John Samson on June 30, 2012 08:45 AM

    Comments

    I "worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness" without a church-building with worldlings. Am I not the temple of the Holy Ghost ... and do I not love to worship Jesus around the clock?

    John,

    Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit but this is not in view when the New Testament speaks of a local Church which is a corporate gathering of the saints, where the word is rightly preached, the sacraments are rightly administered and elders/shepherds are in place for the spiritual well being and protection of the sheep (church discipline).

    Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

    This verse teaches us two things very clearly:

    (1) Each believer should know the identity of the leaders he/she is to submit to

    (2) The Elders/Leaders know exactly who they are accountable for

    How are you applying this verse to your life John?

    I refuse to go into a church-building with pastors and elders which agree with the pagan Roman Catholic Church + Arminian + anti-KJV ... where are the christians when I preach the gospel of grace by faith alone on the street (for 26 years non-stop and sleep on a card-board in the park.)?? There is no love of Christ among them. I use to say: "When I am the senior pastor I will go to church." But, that's not my calling ... I want to worship God 18-hours per day, and dream about my Jesus in the night time, even rise up at midnight and praise the Lord like Psalm 119:162 ... and such like. I'm not into story-telling pastors and 95% hypocrites which are not regenerated and have these pagan Roman Catholic ESV, NIV, NASV, NKJV... I agree with everything you wrote, because it is scriptural as we know from Timothy and such books how a church should be run ... do you understand my point (in forsaking all that you have and give it to the poor?) ... "Preach the Word" --

    John Stewart,

    I read your comment with a large measure of sadness. Obviously, you are not part of a local church and would seem to be very much caught up in the extremely misguided and divisive KJV Only movement. From the way you write, it would seem you are not in any way open to correction. If I am mistaken and you are indeed willing to look into the matter further, I would point you to Dr. James White's book "The King James Only Controversy" where the outlandish claims are thoroughly refuted. http://www.monergismbooks.com/The-King-James-Only-Controversy-Can-You-Trust-the-Modern-Translations-p-18404.html

    I do not believe you are "sad", but rather "hasty fruit".... I'm against these anti-KJV-cults, and Christ abhor any other version, since God Almighty already told me that his name is: JESUS CHRIST!--and He also said, the KJV is His word...James White and his hatred towards Gail Riplinger and other true prophets that shows the word of God in perfect (not 'mature')-- is a shame in the sight of Christ, and John Stewart! THUS SAITH THE LORD!!!

    OH--by the way--the Lord just said: BURN JAMES WHITE ANTI-KJV-PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN AGAINST MY WORDS -Holy Spirit

    John Stewart,

    I am indeed sad and especially so that all my concerns have been confirmed.

    To hear both sides in this debate see this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kTfiuksOwl4

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