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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Have We Excluded Something Important From Worship?

Praise him with trumpet sound;

praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:3-6 ESV)

In the words of R. C. Sproul:

The visual impact of the furnishings and the buildings of both the Old Testament tabernacle and temple was awesome. The eyes were dazzled with a sense of the splendor of God.

Sound was vital to Old Testament worship. The choral compositions of the Psalms were moving to the Spirit. They were accompanied by the full harmony and rhythm supplied by the harp, the lyre, the flute, and trumpets. The piano and the organ are marvelous instruments, but they cannot produce the sounds that the other instruments provide. Hymns and choral anthems are greatly enhanced when they are supported with greater orchestration.

Old Testament worship involved all five senses. The element of touch is missing in most Protestant worship. Charismatic groups emphasize the laying on of hands, which meets a strong human need for a holy touch. Early Christian worship involved the placing of the pastor’s hands on each person with the pronouncement of the benediction. When congregations got too large for such personal attention, the act gave way to the symbolic gesture of the benediction spoken by the pastor with outstretched arms. This was a simulation of the laying on of hands, but the actual touch was lost.

Old Testament worship included taste and smell. The fragrance of burning incense gave a peculiar sense of a special aroma associated with the sweetness of God. One of the first gifts laid at the foot of the manger of Jesus was that of frankincense. Most Protestants reject incense without giving any substantive reason for its rejection.

Taste was central to the Old Testament feasts as well as the New Testament celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The injunction to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8) is rooted in the worship experience. The people of God “tasted the heavenly gift” (Heb. 6:4).

Perhaps we have stunted worship by excluding elements that God once included and deemed important.

Read more here. . . .

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The Causes of Faction

Quoting James Madison:

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.”

The Exceptional Bible

I was rereading Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Vol. 1, by Josh McDowell recently and thought I would share with you a few of the outstanding attributes which McDowell points out about the Bible. I also hope you will be encouraged to spend more time reading and studying the Scriptures.

The Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years. Approximately 40 authors from every walk of life were involved in contributing to it. Compare the continuity of the Bible with any other writings of a group of men. You will find that the Bible is truly unique in its continuity.

You will also find that although the Bible is written on material that perishes and had to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years by hand; the style, correctness, or existence has not diminished. If you compare it with other ancient writings, the manuscript evidence of the Bible is greater than any 10 pieces of classical literature combined!

“Infidels for 1800 years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today as solid as a rock. Its circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. Infidels, with all their assault make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer on the pyramids of Egypt.” (H. L. Hastings)

There is no other book of religious antiquity which provides so many explicit prophecies in the distant future which have come to pass. It is the greatest written history of the world because the Bible is HIS-STORY!

The Bible deals frankly with the sins of its characters and heroes:

  • Adam and Eve – putting off responsibility on to others;
  • Noah – drunkenness;
  • Abraham – cowardice, lying to save his skin;
  • Moses – disobedience to God;
  • David – lying, adultery, murder;
  • Peter – denying the Lord, causing division through hypocrisy and many others.

Our judicial system is based upon many of the principles found in the Bible. Our standards of morality have, until recently, been driven by the Judeo-Christian ethic.

The Bible is unique because it comes from the mind of the only true God. The Holy Spirit guided the many writers to make their works harmonious. Its primary theme is that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Only Jesus is the Lord of salvation for all of us.

If you are really searching for the truth, then – as a person of intelligence – you should read the Bible. It has had more influence on western literature than any other book. The Bible is the foundation of western democracy and morality. But, possessing and reading the Bible is not enough. The Word of God must be received in your heart and worked out in your life.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25 ESV)

John Adams, the 2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence wrote:

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9)

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