At Lancaster Baptist Church, we typically observe the Lord’s Table several times throughout the year. One of those times is the Sunday before we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. I am thankful for how this focuses our hearts on Jesus’ sacrifice and the events leading into His crucifixion and resurrection.
Before we observed the Lord’s Table this past Sunday, I preached a message titled “3 Lessons from the Lord’s Table” from 1 Corinthians 10. In this passage, we see that the Lord’s Table is not only a reminder of the sacrifice of the cross, but it is also a reminder that Christ deserves our exclusive love and loyalty. And, as Paul pointed out to the Corinthian church, our separation from anything that competes with or replaces Christ.
In this message, we looked at how the Lord uses this time of examination to teach us the priority of loyalty to Him, separation from idols, and, in a local church context, ecclesiastical separation from false worship.
I trust this message will be an encouragement to you to renew your love and loyalty to Christ as we celebrate His sacrifice for us and His defeat over sin and death.
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I’ll be upfront: as an independent Baptist pastor, I am concerned.
Statistics bear that various groups are sliding, and every indication is that established independent Baptist churches are seeing fewer people added to the church by baptism.
This means that even as our nation is growing, our evangelism and discipleship efforts are not. Or at least that they are not growing in effectiveness.
I believe it is time for independent Baptist pastors to seek the Lord about our spirit and our vision. Do we believe it is possible to reach our nation? Is our spirit hindering the spread of the gospel?
And more importantly, what can we do about it? (more…)
In part 1 of this post, we set the context for wanting our music to be honoring to God and offered three principles related to music. In part 2 we looked at seven more principles, for a total so far of 10:
I believe preaching is central in worship and evangelism.
I believe music is to reflect the holiness of God.
I believe there is a true danger in over contextualizing church ministry.
I believe sacred music is for the purpose of worship, thanksgiving, rejoicing, consecration, edification, evangelism, and preservation of our faith.
I believe in the priority of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as taught in the Word of God.
I believe a hymn is a celebration of God based on Scripture.
I believe Christian music should reflect the orderliness of God in its melodies and rhythms.
I believe the CCM movement as a whole denies the scriptural teaching to come out and be separate.
I believe music can be used in a moral fashion to glorify God or in a worldly fashion to glorify man.
I believe new songs are commended and helpful in worship.
If you have not yet read the previous posts (1 and 2), I’d encourage you to do so before reading this one.
Otherwise, here are five final principles as well as a few concluding remarks: (more…)
I thank God for the gift of music. I am particularly thankful for sacred, Christ-honoring music. Music is an integral part of worship and edification. It can draw our hearts closer to the Lord and reinforce scriptural truths in our minds, or it can weaken our walk with God and pull our flesh toward the world.
Because the church is an ekklesia—a called out assembly—our philosophy of church music should be cultivated scripturally and should provide a “certain sound” of distinction.
For all the blustery discussions regarding music, however, I have been surprised to find few of my friends who have written a policy or philosophy of music. This lends credence to my sense that much of the discussion is based on personal paradigm and preferences.
In truth, everyone has a paradigm. Some view music as a musician. Some as a listener. Some as a “joyful noisemaker.” Of course ultimately, our paradigm should be biblical. Mine in this article is simply from a pastor’s heart trying to rightly interpret and apply Scripture. (more…)