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Carelessness and Casualness in worship
The Middletown Bible Church ^
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Posted on 08/19/2003 7:56:34 PM PDT by RaceBannon
Carelessness and Casualness in Worship
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself [conduct thyself] in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)
"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him." (Psalm 89:7)
Whatever Happened to our Sunday Best? by Dr. Paul Tassell
The Way We Dress Should Show That We Honor the Lord!
One trend I have noted in local churches in recent years is carelessness. Carelessness in dress. Many people attend the house of God attired the same way they would dress for a rodeo or a football game.
When people are to be guests at the White House for a meeting with the President, they dress upsuits and ties for the men; pretty dresses for the ladies. Appropriate dress indicates appropriate respect. When the President speaks to a joint session of congress, the gallery guests as well as the lawmakers are all dressed in their best.
Does not our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, deserve as much consideration and respect as our President? Does not your pastor deserve that much respect for his message?
I grew up in a home with two brothers and three sisters. My job every Saturday night was to polish eight pairs of shoes My parents taught us six children to "dress up in our Sunday best" for the house of God. When my wife and I go to hear our pastor, we dress up. We respect him, and we respect the Lord he represents.
Pastors and their wives should lead the way in setting a proper example of dressing for the occasion. More than once I have been disappointed at a classy restaurant where I was meeting with a group of businessmen and a pastor, only to have the pastor show up open-collared and inappropriately informal while all the businessmen were dressed in three-piece suits and ties. I do not believe the pastor's influence and testimony were enhanced by such a breach of etiquette.
I know the Lord looks on the heart, and clothes don't necessarily make the man, but how we dress when we go to a worship service ought to indicate how much we honor our Lord. We do not have to be fashion models, but we should "dress up" for our Saviour's special day at His special house, the local church. The spirit of what I am saying is captured in the words of Malachi:
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Master, where is My fear (reverence)? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests (Malachi 1:6).
"Just as I Am" is an invitation for sinners, not a description of how the saints are to attend a church service. The Prodigal Son came home in rags. As soon as his father accepted him, however, he was dressed in a fine robe; shoes were put on his feet and a ring on his finger. Before Joseph went in to have an audience with Pharaoh, "he shaved himself, and changed his raiment" (Genesis 41:14). So should we look our best when going to the house of God to worship the Lord of the Church.
I am not pleading for barring anyone from a church service because of the way he or she is dressed. But I do think visitors to our services ought to be impressed by how special we believe our church and Lord to be as we "dress up."
Let's not allow our local churches to become sanctuaries of the sloppy and temples of the tacky. Let's respect our Master, minister and message. --Dr. Paul Tassell
* * * * * * * *
God's Holy and Special Person requires reverence on the part of those who know Him and who seek to honor His Name. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him" (Psalm 89:7). He is the great and awe-inspiring God who demands our worshipful respect, not only in the way we dress, but also in the way we sing.
We dress in a proper and special way on the Lord's Day because it is a special occasion and we are meeting with a special Person, even the God who is to be feared and revered. Because of this special occasion and special Person, we want to sing in a manner that is appropriate and befitting such a worthy and glorious God. It is a time of worship, not entertainment. Applause runs horizontally and relates to man's humanity and not vertically relating to God's deity. It is out of place in the place that is seeking only to point to God and honor Him.
The dressing, the singing, the bending of the heart before God in humble worshipall of this is but the preparation of one's heart attitude for the glad reception of God's Holy Word. The One who is high and holy is looking for those who will tremble at His Word (Isaiah 66:1-2). He is looking for those who will bow before the authority of His Word. "Speak Lord, for Thy servant is listening."
Right dressing encourages right thinking. Right thinking encourages right singing. Right singing readies and tunes the heart for thankful learning. May God's Word dwell in us richly and may God the Master Musician produce His melody in our hearts to His praise (Col. 3:16). "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:3).
* * * * * *
Casualness in the Way We Sing
by Robert Regal
Music, The Barometer of a Society The church has swallowed the monstrous heresy that noise (music), size, bluster and activity, make a man dearer to God. --A. W. Tozer The article by Dr. Tassell and the above quote of Dr. Tozer should sound an alarm in the midst of the saints who have gone to sleep at the helm of the "Good Ship Grace," and have turned aside from "the faith once delivered to the saints." The Church, the "Body" and "Bride" of Christ, made up of local assemblies around the world has been impacted in our time by the "spirit of the world" (1 Corinthians 2:12). This is foreign to God's ideal which is delineated in the rest of the verse: "...but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
Many of the saints of our time seem unable to discern "the Spirit of God" from "the spirit of the world." We are commanded not to love the world, nor be enamored by it, and never to be dominated by it. We are not to be "conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind," for "...we have the mind of Christ" (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:16).
Particular contemporary musical styles have become classic examples of the "spirit of the world" invading the church. Not only have they invaded the assemblies of believers world wide, but they dominate. Try to address it and the assembly splits. Leadership hesitates to address it for fear of creating unnecessary waves, and, "after all, we must get together in our day; we must unite on the main issues and not be overly concerned by doctrine." (I might add, we need to be sure that it is sound doctrine.) First, certain styles of the musical language are tolerated, this is soon followed by domination (down with the traditional, conservative, stylings) which, in turn, leads to compromise.
A consequence of this invasion affects the life style of the believer. Where you find an emphasis on much of contemporary stylings, you will notice a cloak of casualness that moves in among the saints. Thus the timely article of Dr. Tassell. If this situation is addressed the assembly cries out, "legalism!"
The style of music will not only affect the attitude of the saint in the area of clothes, grooming, and personal deportment, but in theology. It fosters a looseness in the spirit of worship, teaching, edification and fellowship. I have observed in many of the churches in which I have visited this "casualness," not only in attire, but in fellowship (conversation, noise), which becomes boisterous to the point that the pastor or man of music, or whoever is in charge, has great difficulty in beginning the service. What makes it worse is that the fellowship (conversation, noise), usually has nothing to do with the purpose of the church meeting together. What has created this mood and encouraged this pre-service situation?
One of the strengths of music and its varied styles are the moods and the emotions it generates. I am not saying that Pop, rock, in all its versions, Western, Country Western, Jazz, Folk, Stamp Baxter, New Age, Contemporary, and such like, are not part of the musical language, for they are an expression that comes out of our age and culture, which culture, in many areas, is caught up in insipid subjectivism and decadence. What I am saying is that these styles and idioms speak of the world and its culture good and bad and are thus disqualified to be the musical vehicle for the saints in worship, fellowship, evangelism, and the Christian life in general. The following are two quotes supporting this position:
The development of form in music itself is an attempt to reach completeness through an artistic media. Music having a definite secular symbolism is poor music for worship. Jazz, etc. is confusing. It is too much like everyday life to be ultimately satisfying. (Emphasis Mine)
--Dr. Bernstein, Professor of Music, New York University
Art and music always reflect a particular view on life and the world. Deeply felt values are expressed through the way the theme and subject matter are handled. Thus, even junk and punk rock say something very definite, very deliberate. What rock is saying in today's culture disqualifies it as a vehicle for spiritual communication.
Reduced to its smallest component parts, music is amoral. There is nothing inherently wrong with 440 hz vibration or a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note. The same could be said for a letter in the alphabet or a drop of paint or a particle of clay. But as soon as a human being combines any of these building blocks, the creative process has begun and the resulting creation always reflects a view of life.
For this reason, the Christian cannot sanitize rock. Even if we ignored the worldly associations of rock (and we cannot), its musical origins spring from a view of life altogether different from the Christian's. Because Christ must be the focal point of our music, the style must never overshadow Him or draw attention to itself. (Emphasis mine)
--Peck, "Rock, Making Musical Choices"
For too long the church has assumed and taken for granted its musical heritage which is rich in great hymn and gospel composition wedded to magnificent texts both in subjectivity and objectivity, that have passed testing through the channels of time and have emerged in our day arranged and rearranged, added to and extended, imbued with the touch of the art of great musical invention. Excellent music has been and is being written in our day, but one has to sift through and discern its textual and musical values and not be caught up in the argument for style. God gave us the substance of music, man gives us the style. There are 12 tones in our music scale. The arrangement of these tones in melody and harmony, the pulse of the meter that drives it and guides it, the text that gives the composition meaning, all fall into a style that must be thought about.
It should be remembered that two areas are involved in music ministry in and to the assembly, and for that manner, to each other and to ourselves. See Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 and Hebrews 13:15. Two languages are wedded together and both have a grammar, a syntax, and a rhetoric: Lyrics, or the word text, and composition, the music text. This then is the substance of musical expression, which expression becomes the barometer of a society. If this is true, and it is, then we could say without any provocation, that it is also a barometer of the church and its condition in society, and in its address to today's culture.
The Lord Jesus is a model for every believer. He was in the world but was not of the world: "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). He was sent on a mission to the world, a world which hated Him, and He in turn has sent believers into the world, and in turn, the world will hate them; that is, if they are truly believers and love Him and desire to please Him as He pleased the Father, and realize that they also are on a mission to the world. See John 17:15-21.
The Lord Jesus, in verse 21, requested unity for the future believers (see also verse 11 and verse 22). These verses have been misused and abused by the promoters of the present ecumenical movement.
"Admittedly the divided church is in many ways a scandal. The cure, however, is not institutional union. Jesus was not praying for the unity of a single, worldwide, ecumenical church in which doctrinal heresy would be maintained along with orthodoxy. Instead, He was praying for the unity of love, a unity of obedience to God and His Word, and a united commitment to His will. There are great differences between uniformity, union, and unity." (Emphasis Mine)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (NT), p. 333
All believers belong to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), and the world should know of their spiritual unity by their life style. This life style, whether the church or the world, is expressed through the greatest medium of expression we know, musical expression, the heart of this discussion. Nowhere in the Word of God am I encouraged to adopt the musical language that expresses the world that hates God and the believer, for as Dr. Bernstein wrote...."music having a definite secular symbolism is poor music for worship...it is confusing. It is too much like everyday life to be ultimately satisfying."
"When you take great theology and wed it to grand musicology, it ascends before God in magnificent doxology." Stephen Olford
--Robert Regal From the book: With the Voice of Singing
REVERENCE BEFORE THE AWE-INSPIRING GOD
If we are going to know God who is holy, we need to reverence and fear Him. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). Since God truly is such a unique and awesome Person, He ought to have our respect. When we speak of His Name and Fame we ought to have a healthy response that reverences Him because of who He is.
Worship is intimately connected with the reverence and fear of God. Worship means to prostrate oneself before God, to bend down, to bow down, to bend the knee and thus to bend the heart. "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker" (Psalm 95:6).
We need to read the Bible with an understanding that God has all authority. He has the right to be worshipped and reverenced. The least I can do is hear what He says and respond to what He says in the right way. I may not understand all He says, but at least I will give Him reverence. I will bend my heart and bow before the authority of His Word.
The Bible describes God as a "terrible God." This means that He inspires terror, fear, dread. He is awe-inspiring, demanding our deepest respect because of WHO HE IS and WHAT HE HAS SAID. "For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible [awe-inspiring]" (Deut. 10:17). "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD" (Deut. 28:58). May He be your fear! May He be your dread! (Isaiah 8:13).
THE MISSING INGREDIENT
Whatever characterizes the religious attitude of our day, it is not reverence and awe. Rarely can one enter a church today, where the hustled silence in the atmosphere makes one conscious of the presence of Him who is a "consuming fire." The head bowed "waiting in silence for God only," the tuning of the heart, the tremulous expectancy have gone out of worship. A babble of voices and a discussion of trivial affairs is not an atmosphere conducive to doing business with the living God.
Here are some suggestions as you prepare for the worship service: 1. Remember that when the organ begins playing the prelude, God's people are to be silent. There is to be a "holy hush" as believers prepare their hearts to meet a holy God. Refrain from talking and chatting with your pew neighbor so that your mind will be centered on the Lord rather than on self and others. 2. The moments may be used for silent prayerremembering yourself and your own heart attitude, the Pastor, the choir and the other worshippers. 3. The moments may be used for prayerful meditationyou could think upon a verse of Scripture or you could meditate upon what you learned from the Pastor's last message. 4. Remember the words from Psalm 46:10--"BE STILL, and know that I am God: I WILL BE EXALTED among the heathen, I WILL BE EXALTED in the earth."
HOW TO WORSHIP
Be silent. Be thoughtful.
Be reverent, for this is the house of the Lord.
Before the service, speak to God.
During the service, let God speak to you.
After the service, speak to one another.
LEARNING FROM THE ANGELS
"When we consider what glorious beings the angels are, and yet that they are but creatures of, and servants to, the God whom we serve, waiting before His Throne, and humbly attending His commands; this consideration, if we let it sink deeply into our hearts, must needs possess us with most awful apprehensions of the glorious majesty of our God at all times, but especially in our approaches to Him in His worship, and fill us with the greatest reverence and humility. With what reverence should we behave ourselves in our addresses to the Divine Majesty, before whom the Seraphim themselves hide their faces! And if they cover their feet, are conscious to themselves of their natural imperfection, compared to the infinitely glorious God; how should we clods of earth, we vile sinners, blush and be ashamed in His presence, assuming no confidence to ourselves, but what is founded on the mercies of God and the merits of our blessed Redeemer and Advocate, Jesus Christ!"--Bishop Bull (1634-1710)
IMPROVING THE PASTOR'S PREACHING
Sunday the sermon was sluggish, 'twas hard attention to keep.
The theme was faultily chosen, it almost put me to sleep.
Monday was blue with sheer boredom; Tuesday was carnal by choice.
Wednesday my conscience was wakened by pleas from a still small voice.
Prayer Meeting left me uplifted, loyalty lingering long.
Thursday my heart was responding; Friday His nudging was strong.
I came to thorough repentance the following Saturday;
I yielded in full surrender as all on the altar I lay.
Sunday the sermon was perfect, superb and quite at its peak;
Amazing how greatly the Pastor improved in the space of one week!
* * * * * Come with a prayerful attitude and a prepared heart. You will find it to be one of the best ways of improving the Pastor's preaching! There will be more POWER in the pulpit when there is more PRAYERFULNESS and PREPAREDNESS in the pew!
The Middletown Bible Church 349 East Street Middletown, CT 06457 (860) 346-0907 More articles under The Local Church
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy; US: Connecticut
KEYWORDS: carelessness; ccm; sin
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This is a continuation of the thread on CCM music and the apostasy that CCM is.
To: RaceBannon; HiTech RedNeck; PlutoPlatter; Theo
This is for your reading pleasure. Please read it through and think a little.
To: RaceBannon; jude24
you might like this, too.
John the Baptist, Ezekiel, Amos, and a handful of fishermen need not apply.
posted on 08/19/2003 8:01:34 PM PDT
by AD from SpringBay
(We have the government we allow and deserve.)
I always knew Jesus was a corporate climber.
25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
To: AD from SpringBay
Ill bet they wore their best clothes on Saturday.
Guidance from God's Word
67 Tests that can be used by a believer to decide upon a course of action
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GUIDANCE
SHOULD I or should I not? Life is full of decisions: Should I do a certain thing? Should I go a certain place? Should I take part in a certain activity?
Those who are believers in Christ have a wonderful objective standard of truth which can guide our conduct and govern our lives in a way that pleases our Saviour. The heart cry of the Psalmist was this: "Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me" (Psalm 119:133). Our lives, our actions, our decisions are all to be ordered and governed by Gods Word.
In many, many areas Gods Word is not specific. Instead the Bible gives us clear principles and sure guidelines which if rightly understood and applied would answer every specific question. The problem is that we often fail to apply the principles and follow the guidelines which the Lord has given to us.
In this study we have set forth 67 TESTS by which we can determine which course of action to take. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Other TESTS could be added to it. Most of these guidelines are taken from the New Testament epistles. Many other guidelines or "tests" could certainly be found in the gospels, in the book of Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible.
None of these tests will do us any good unless we really apply them. With a desire to please Christ in all that we do, let us test our deeds and actions by these New Testament guidelines:
(Note: These "tests" are given in New Testament order so that the verses can be more easily found)
1. The Scripture Test (Isaiah 8:20; 1 Thess. 5:21)
Does the Scripture forbid it? Am I commanded not to do it?
2. The Stewardship Test (Luke 16:9-12)
Will doing it involve a waste or poor use of the money, possessions and time God has entrusted me with?
3. The Separation Test (Rom. 1:1).
Is this action or activity consistent with a life which is separated unto Gods good news?
4. The "Bodily Members" Test (Rom. 6:13)
In doing this are my bodily members being presented to be used as instruments of righteousness unto God or are they being used in a way that is not honoring to the God who owns me and Whom I serve?
5. The Abhorrence Test (Rom. 12:9; cf. Jude 23)
Would doing this in any way make unclear the fact that I hate sin and abhor evil and must avoid it (1 Pet. 3:11) at any cost?
6. The Love Test (Rom. 14:15)
In doing this am I walking according to love? Am I seeking Gods highest and best for those persons that I am involved with?
7. The Conscience Test (Rom. 14:22-23)
Can I do it with a good and clear conscience? (The believer must never do what his conscience forbids. The believers conscience may need to be corrected and brought more and more into harmony with Gods Word, but it is never safe to go against ones conscience and to rebelliously do what my own heart condemns) When in doubt DONT!
8. The "Who Am I Pleasing?" Test (Rom. 15:1-2)
Am I doing this to please myself or others?
9. The Fire Test (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
Would this be building upon that which will last forever or will it contribute to mere wood, hay and stubble which will all be burned up at the judgment seat of Christ?
10. The Expediency Test (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23)
Is it profitable, beneficial, advantageous to do such a thing? (This is better than asking "Is it permissible?")
11. The Slave Test (1 Cor. 6:12)
In doing this will I become a slave to anything? Will it make me a slave? Will it bind me up so that I am not free to serve my Saviour as I must?
12. The "Temple of God" Test (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
Will it harm my body? Will God be honored by the way I use my body? Will this course of action rest and strengthen or will it weary and weaken the body and brain? If I spend myself to the point of physical exhaustion is it for a wise and righteous cause, even the cause of Christ (2 Cor. 12:15)?
13. The Distraction Test (1 Cor. 7:35)
Would doing this distract me from serving the Lord? Would it hinder me from pleasing the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32)?
14. The Stumblingblock Test (1 Cor. 8:13; 10:32; Rom. 14:21).
Will doing this cause another person to stumble? Would it in any way hinder another believers growth? Would it in any way hinder an unsaved person from coming to know Christ as Saviour?
15. The Missionary Test (1 Cor. 9:19-22; 10:33; cf. 2 Tim. 2:10).
Will my actions contribute toward and encourage others to come to know Christ as Saviour? Will it in any way hinder or detract from Christ and His gospel? Will it help others to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour?
16. The Idolatry Test (1 Cor. 10:7,14; 1 John 5:21)
In doing this am I allowing something or someone be more important to me than God?
17. The Edification Test (1 Cor. 10:23; 14:26).
Will this edify and build up a fellow believer? Would my actions encourage anothers growth in the Lord?
18. The Selfishness Test (1 Cor. 10:24; 13:5).
Am I doing this to please and serve myself or others? Am I living to myself or to the Lord (Rom. 14:7; 2 Cor. 5:15)?
19. The Glory of God Test (1 Cor. 10:31).
Can I do it to the glory of God? In doing this am I showing forth a clear picture of my God and WHO HE IS?
20. The "Follow Me" Test (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9).
Would I want others to follow me in this? Would I want other believers to imitate me in this? Could I recommend this course of action to them?
21. The Association Test (1 Cor. 15:33; cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Pet. 4:4).
In doing this will I be brought into a compromising association with bad company (evil companionships) which will have a spoiling and corrupting influence upon my character and morals?
22. The "Labor in the Lord" Test (1 Cor. 15:58; cf. 2 Cor. 9:8).
Would this in any way keep me from abounding in the work of the Lord? Would it keep me from serving the Lord with ardent zeal and zip?
23. The Temporal/Eternal Test (2 Cor. 4:18; Col. 3:1-2).
Am I basing my decision on temporal or eternal realities? Am I seeing the short view or the long view? Am I making this evaluation based on time or eternity? Am I seeing it as God would see it?
24. The Judgment Seat Test (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10-12).
Would this bring shame to me (cause me to be ashamed) at the Judgment Seat of Christ?
25. The Motivation Test (2 Cor. 5:14).
Am I motivated by the love of Christ or by the lust of the flesh?
26. The New Creature Test (2 Cor. 5:17).
Are these things part of my old life (are they part of the "old things" which have passed away) or part of my new life in Christ?
27. The Ambassador Test (2 Cor. 5:20).
In doing this am I representing My Saviour in a clear and unmistakable way?
28. The Holiness Test (2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Tim. 2:21).
Would doing this in any way cause me to compromise personal holiness? Would it hinder me in any way from being a clean and set apart vessel for the Lords use?
29. The Mental Test (2 Cor. 10:5; cf. 11:3).
Will doing this help me to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ or will it put me in the place where my mind is bombarded with high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God?
30. The "Pleasing Who?" Test (Gal. 1:10).
In doing this am I seeking to please God or man?
31. The "Reap What Is Sown" Test (Gal. 6:7).
Am I prepared to reap the consequences of this action?
32. The Holy Spirit Test (Eph. 4:30;cf. 1 Thess. 5:19).
Does it grieve (sadden, pain) the Holy Spirit of God? Would doing this in any way quench or hinder the Holy Spirits working in my life?
33. The Saint Test (Eph. 5:3)the child of God test (Eph. 5:1), the new creature test (2 Cor. 5:17), the citizen of heaven.
Am I acting in a way that is appropriate and fitting to WHO I AM in Christ Jesus? Is that what a child of God would do? Is this what a saint would do? Is this what a new creature in Christ would do? Etc.
34. The Divine Approval Test (Eph. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:9).
Is it well pleasing to the Lord? If I do this will I have Gods smile of approval and His "Well Done!"? (cf. Matt. 25:21,23)
35. The Time Test (Eph. 5:16).
Is this the best use of time? Is it the best way to buy up the opportunities God has given to me?
36. The Submission Test (Eph. 5:21)
In doing this am I in submission to those authorities whom God has placed over me?
37. The Armor of God Test (Eph. 6:10-18).
Will doing this make me more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy?
38. The Excellence Test (Phil. 1:10).
It may be acceptable and permissible to do this, and it may even be a good thing to do, but is it really the BEST THING?
39. The Magnification Test (Phil. 1:20).
By my doing this will Christ be magnified?
40. The Gospel Test (Phil. 1:27).
Would my actions in any way detract from or cloud or confuse the message of good news which I want others to know and believe?
41. The Dung Test (Phil. 3:7-8).
Am I willing to sacrifice and forego certain things that are important to me for the sake of Christ?
42. The Joy Test (Phil. 4:4).
Is my joy in the Lord or is it in something or someone else? If I were not to do this, would I lose my joy? Am I seeking joy, happiness and satisfaction from the wrong source?
43. The Contentment Test (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6,8).
If I were not to do this or have this, could I still be content and satisfied?
44. The Pure Thinking Test (Phil. 4:8).
Will this contribute to pure, wholesome, healthy thinking or will it encourage me to become occupied with mental garbage?
45. The Preeminence Test (Col. 1:18).
In doing this will the Lord Jesus be given first place in my life?
46. The Name of Christ Test (Col. 3:17).
Can I do it in the Name of the Lord Jesus with thanksgiving? Would He want to identify His Name with what I am doing?
47. The Servant of Christ Test (Col. 3:23-24).
Can I do it heartily (with all my soul) as unto the Lord?
48. The Good Testimony Test (Col. 4:5).
Will it present a clear testimony to those outside of Christ?
49. The Prayer Test (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 18:1)
Would this in any way hinder my prayer life or make prayer more difficult for me?
50. The Thanksgiving Test (1 Thess. 5:18; Eph. 5:20).
Can I do it with thanksgiving? Can I thank God with a clear conscience?
51. The Appearance Test (1 Thess. 5:22).
Would what I do assume any appearance of evil? Would my actions be misinterpreted or seen in a negative light?
52. The Modesty Test (1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-4).
Would doing this draw attention to me or to Christ in me? Would I be displaying SELF or the SAVIOUR?
53. The "Blameless" Test (1 Tim. 3:1).
Would doing this give anyone an occasion to point the finger at me and blame me for conduct that is out of harmony with my professed faith in Christ? (See Daniels worthy example in Daniel 6:4).
54. The Example Test (1 Tim. 4:12).
By doing this would I be a good example of what a believer ought to be?
55. The Entanglement Test (2 Tim. 2:4).
Would doing this get me caught or tangled up "with the affairs of this life" to the neglect of my primary duty which is to please Christ?
56. The Pleasure-Loving Test (2 Tim. 3:4).
Am I doing this because I love pleasure more than I love God? Am I delighting myself in other things or other persons more than I am the Lord (Psalm 37:4)?
57. The Second Coming Test (2 Tim. 4:8; 1 John 2:28).
Would I want the Lord to come when I am doing this? Would I want the Lord to find me in this place, involved in this activity when He comes?
58. The Adorning Test (Titus 2:10).
Will this activity adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour? In doing this will the truths and principles of Gods Word be beautified in my life?
59. The "Denying Ungodliness" Test (Tit. 2:12; cf.1 Pet. 2:11).
In making this decision am I saying "NO" in strong, clear and unmistakable terms to ungodliness and worldly lusts?
60. The Hindrance Test (Heb. 12:1-2)
Will doing this in any way hinder me from running the race? Would it weigh me down so that I cannot run as I should?
61. The Reproach of Christ Test (Heb. 13:13; cf. 11:26).
In making this decision what is more important to me (what do I place more value on)the approval of men or the reproach of Christ?
62. The Temptation Test (James 1:13-16).
Does it make resistance to temptation easier or harder?
63. The "Near to God" Test (James 4:8; cf. Heb. 10:38).
Does it draw me nearer to or remove me farther from Christ?
64. The Growth Test (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; cf. Heb. 6:1-3).
Will doing this in any way hinder or stifle my growth in Christ? Will it contribute to my growth in Christ?
65. The Fellowship Test (1 John 1:3-4).
Would doing this in any way rob me of the joy of having fellowship with Christ?
66. The Worldliness Test (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4).
Am I seeking to do this thing INDEPENDENTLY of God (leaving Him out)?
67. The "First Love" Test (Rev. 2:4).
Will doing this make it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is my first love?
The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907 More articles under The Christian Life
WHAT IT IS
The term "legalism" or "legalist" is not found in the Bible, but the serious error of legalism is certainly dealt with, especially by the Apostle Paul who ever and always boasted in the cross and championed the grace of God (Gal. 6:14; 1:6). Perhaps the best way to see what Paul had to say about how the flesh wrongly uses the law is to read carefully through the epistle to the Galatians.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Being obedient to God's specific commands is not legalism. "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4).
Living a holy life that is set apart unto the Lord's service is not legalism. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [holiness], that ye should abstain from fornication....For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thessalonians 4:3,7).
Living a life separated unto Christ and separated from the fads and fashions of the world is not legalism. "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" (Romans 12:2).
Conforming one's life to be in harmony with certain standards decided upon by Spirit-led leaders of a local assembly of believers is not legalism. "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well" (Acts 15:29).
Forgoing my personal rights for the sake of my brother is not legalism. "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak" (Rom. 14:21).
I Peter 3
3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
Legalism has nothing to do with it. Your teaching fails to grasp the basics of Christianity itself.
Your teaching is flatly unscriptural.
You are deliberately twisting words. No one is demanding we wear gowns and tuxes to Church.
68. The Exhaustion Test - After going through all the other tests, do I still have time to do this?
To: RaceBannon; Ff--150; 4ConservativeJustices
Haven't had the chance to read through all the posts over on the other thread but let me throw a thought here. I agree with this article a lot. I was brought up in a country church and you didn't even wear a hat inside. Shorts, definite no. Dresses had to be respectable, not body hugging as some teenagers I've seen wearing to our church as of late. Basically you dressed up because you were going to see God. And I'll admit as a little kid I couldn't stand getting in those stuffy clothes but I don't go to church wearing jeans years later either. Guess the lesson stuck
As for CCM being an apostasy, I don't know. I love music. And when I listen to good Christian music is when I feel closest to the Lord. Carmen, Petra, White Heart, even a little Christian metal when I was younger :) But I also enjoy the music I remember growing up on and watching the Southern Gospel Hour every Sunday morning before I went to church. Is it sacrilege? It can be, yes. But I think also there is a generational difference in some instances. Was the music of what we consider classical artists 400-500 years ago accepted when the standard may have been I don't know, Gregorian chants? Was that music welcomed with open arms? It was a pretty big change. It may have been, but I doubt it.
One thing I've learned about church is people don't like change at all. They want to do it as their parents did it and in some instances I believe that philosphy 100 percent. I don't want guitars, drums, and the like in service. Sing a couple of hymns, listen to the choir sing a special, listen to the preacher, and go home. But on the way home, there's a good chance I may be listening to some Randy Travis or Petra on the drive
posted on 08/19/2003 8:15:38 PM PDT
You teach that holiness is defined by the quality of your clothing.
Your teaching is flatly unscriptural.
Yes and NO!
I believe there are occasons for fitting ceremony etc.
ON THE WHOLE, I have changed my perspective and convictions on this issue.
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH--EVEN THE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAS TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LONG MAJORED IN MINORS AND MINOR IN MAJORS.
And on this issue, I believe we have taken a MAJOR--BEING CONCERNED ABOUT HOW OUR HEARTS WERE DRESSED and turned that important issue on it's head in the toilet while we have pranced and strutted emphasizing EXTERNALS to the glory of jealousy and the devil while ignoring the condition of our hearts--and sometimes worse, ignoring the less fortunate and their sensibilities as we strutted haughtily by them.
My own church is having a big do in a week or so--the best dressed kid in Hawaiian outfit. I speedily went out and bought some Hawaiian clothes for the less fortunate and suggested that they change the awards to awarding those who's hearts were best dressed in Jesus' Aloha Spirit of Jesus' Love etc.
I have also changed recently from a church wherein virtually every mode of dress known to man appeared with great nanchalance but the worship was earnest and heartfelt, vibrant and energetic and God's response seemed to be well pleased . . .
to a church that emphasizes at least among the staff that coats and ties and dresses are du rigour on Sunday morning. At first, I though--that's nice--as unto The Lord. And I know the folks are doing it for that reason etc. as the article expounds on at such length.
Sadly, in spite of a very loving, warm group with great Biblical teaching, energetic worship etc. the folks seem to be more distant from each other and the tone on Sunday mornings just from looking at the staff dress code is that if you can't measure up to that standard, you're out of place.
I don't think that is at all what Jesus would have and I don't think the pastor or staff would have that if they really saw it and understood it for the reality it is.
Jesus said go to the highways and byways and compel them to come in. He didn't say take them by Saks Fifth Avenue first.
Having our wedding garments on is another issue--a very spiritual/heart issue.
Now there is clean and decent. But beyond that--let our hearts be better dressed than our skin. And if someone didn't make it through the washer, dryer and ironing board that day--let no flinch cross our countenance. Heaven records every idle word . . . and looking down on another in any sense over clothes at church is not a spiritual grace.
posted on 08/19/2003 8:22:44 PM PDT
(DEFEAT her unroyal lowness, her hideous heinous Bwitch Shrillery Antoinette de Fosterizer de MarxNOW)
I will read the entire article later, but agreed with the casual dress problem. I went to my childhood church and one child in front was tossing around a paper airplane (the pastor's kid :( and one parent had her son STAND on the upholstered pew cusions so he could "see" the choir better. Not surprisingly, society's loose casual nature has leaked into the church. Think of how Ronald Reagan honored the White House, he never entered the Oval Office without a suit jacket and tie. Now think of how we treat the church. That is not to say that ragged people can't be believers. But there is a difference between poverty and simple sloppy laziness. However, no matter what the congregation wears, it is NOT on my mind during the service :)
To: AD from SpringBay
"John the Baptist, Ezekiel, Amos, and a handful of fishermen need not apply."
...Nor my late father-in-law who was the person solely responsible for seeing that my wife had perfect Church/Sunday School attendance for 15 years, begining when she was three days old.
When she was about ten years old, she and her older brother had the dubious honor of hearing one of the better dressed matrons of the Church tell her father that he should wear something better than the over alls he had on.
Never mind that was all the old man owned. He was a share cropper with 6 children and no wife to help.
To his great credit, he did not let this incident keep him or his children away from church but as soon as my brother-in-law was old enough to make his own church going decisions he never set foot in a church again up to and including his own funeral.
I am of the opinion that his decision was wrong but I didn't help form his opinions, the well dressed church lady did.
My brother-in-law was a Christian and supported financially a local church pastored by a high school friend of his he did it anonymously and the only reason I know about it is my wife worked as his book keeper.
My brother-in-law passed away about two years ago and I miss him, he was one of the finest people I have ever know in my 58 years on earth.
Graybeard from N. Pekin
To: RaceBannon; sayfer bullets
bump for later reading...but in the meantime...
1. Isn't it great that one has many choices for style of worship? If I am annoyed by loud music, cheerful Christians rejoicing in their love of the father, or a lack of good old responsive reading, I can go to a number of churches with lots people over 50. (tongue in cheek here, I adore hymns and traditional worship as well. we should mix things up you know.)
2. The focus, whether dress or not, should be on the Lord and not on our adornments, accessories, hair, or any other thing about ourselves. With respect to being well dressed, it does show a measure of respect and reverence for our father's house, but should we create an environment unwelcoming to some?
more to read. that's some thick material. I'm probably in agreement to a point, a bit too much invested emotionally here might be counterproductive.
read, comment, and print later
However, no matter what the congregation wears, it is NOT on my mind during the service :)
Uhhhh... yeah. Obviously.
posted on 08/19/2003 9:04:26 PM PDT
(I will not rest until every "little man" is destroyed.)
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