Archives For Discipleship

It is understandable that unbelievers understand and practice music from a man-centered perspective. Believers, however, must reject a man-centered understanding and practice of music.

Three lines of biblical reasoning show that we must reject such an understanding and practice of music.

The Existence of Angelic Beings Who Produce Music in Heaven

Scripture reveals the existence of angelic beings who play music in heaven:

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

The existence of angelic beings who produce music in heaven shows that humans are not the originators of all music and that they are not the producers of all the music of heaven. In fact, we do not have any basis that any of the music that these heavenly beings play is of human origin in any way.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Existence and Use of Musical Instruments Not Originated by Humans

Not only does the Bible reveal to us that angelic beings play music in heaven that is not at all of human origin, but also it reveals the existence and use of musical instruments that are not at all of human origin.

Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

We do not have any basis to hold that these instruments used in heaven were originated by humans. Humans, therefore, are not the originators of all musical instruments.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, the existence and use of musical instruments in heaven that are not at all of human origin teaches us that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Reality of Divine Production of Music

Most importantly, Scripture reveals that God Himself plays a musical instrument:

Zechariah 9:14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.

Certainly, God did not learn anything about music from humans. His playing a musical instrument profoundly shows us that humans are not the originators of all music.

Furthermore, because any music produced by God is music that is perfect in every way, we plainly understand that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

Application

By considering carefully what certain Scripture passages reveals about music and musical instruments that are not at all of human origin, we learn unmistakably that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered. Rather, we must base our understanding and practice of music foremost on what Scripture reveals about the music of heaven and of heavenly beings, most of all of God Himself.

I recently began reading an excellent book by John Flavel, Triumphing over Sinful Fear. The following paragraph arrested my attention:

It cannot be said of any person, as it is said of Leviathan: he is ‘made without fear’ (Job 41:33b). The strongest people are not without some fears. When the church is in the storms of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, her most courageous passengers may suffer as much from this boisterous passion within as from the storm without. This is the result of not thoroughly believing or seasonably remembering that the Lord—Admiral of all the oceans and Commander of all the winds—is on board the ship to steer and preserve it from the storm.

—Triumphing over Sinful Fear, 2

I praise God that I was able to read the entire Bible again in 2020!

I read the following books more than once this year:

2x Ecclesiastes; Isaiah; Minor Prophets; all the books of the NT

3x Proverbs

4x Daniel; 2 Peter; Jude; Revelation

5x Psalms

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Praise God for the perfection of His Word and for revealing Himself to us through it!

Suppose you arrive late to a temple where people are worshiping. As you head toward the building, you hear loud sounds emanating from it

Because you are outside the building and still quite a distance from it, you are unable to tell what exactly you are hearing. All you hear are composite, pulsating sounds that you can feel even in your body. What you hear sounds chaotic and raucous to you.

When you get to the heart of the temple, you discover that the people are wildly dancing and chanting and moaning with words and sounds that you cannot make any sense about what they mean. You are also completely unfamiliar with the strange instrumental music that is blaring deafeningly throughout the building.

Because you cannot make any sense of either the verbal sounds being produced or the instrumental music being played, the composite sound sounds to you like confused noise. Would you think that God would be accepting that worship that sounded like confused noise from a distance and sounds like confused noise even when you are directly in the middle of it?

Whether there has been massive election fraud in the 2020 US Presidential election and other elections this November is a matter of great dispute. Believers who desire a righteous accounting of the votes in these elections should pray fervently to the only One who knows all that has happened and is able to make known the truth about what has happened.

Passages to Pray

Three passages in the Psalms provide instruction about how we may pray about possible election fraud. They do so because they petition God about what He does in dealing with those who are unrighteous or.they speak about what He does to such people.

Psalm 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

Psalm 140:8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

Prayer

Applying these passages to our prayer lives, we should pray biblically about the possible election fraud that may have taken place in this election. The following prayer provides an example of how to pray based on these passages.

Heavenly Father, You are God alone. You know all things. You can do everything. We do not know what truly has happened in this election.

Please let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just. If there has been fraud in this election, please bring it to an end and bring about the establishing of those who actually won their elections but have been wrongly deemed to have lost them.

Lord God, make Yourself known by executing judgment so that whoever has committed election fraud would be snared in their own works so that there is a righteous accounting of the votes in this election.

Holy Father, grant not, O Lord, the desires of those who have cheated in this election. Do not further their unjust devices, lest they exalt themselves.

Regardless of whatever the outcomes may be, please bring about a righteous accounting of the votes in all the elections in our country. In Your wrath that we are justly experiencing for our sinfulness, please remember mercy. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Many believers may not understand the profound importance of what Psalm 117 teaches because of its brevity–it is the shortest chapter in the Bible.

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

In spite of its brevity, examining how the NT uses Psalm 117:1 makes clear the profound importance of that teaching in a way that any believer can readily understand.

The Use of Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11

The following comparison shows that Romans 15:11 cites verse 1 of Psalm 117:

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.

Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

The first two words of Romans 15:11 show that Paul cites Psalm 117:1 as biblical proof of what he teaches earlier in the passage:

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

Specifically, Paul teaches that Psalm 117:1 is proof that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God” in order that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”! The NT thus instructs us that Psalm 117:1 is a divine mandate to all the Gentiles and all people to glorify God by praising and lauding Him!

Because glorifying God is the premier obligation toward God that every human being has, we see the profound importance of what Psalm 117:1 teaches about what God mandates. Moreover, because Psalm 117:2 explains the bases for that divine demand and reiterates the divine demand of praising Him given in Psalm 117:1, we learn that Psalm 117 emphatically makes known the universal obligation for all humans to glorify God by praising Him for His mercy!

Application

God wants all the world to glorify Him by praising Him for His mercy. We must use Psalm 117 to make known to all men everywhere the divine mandates for them to do so!

No other chapter in Scripture highlights the importance and nature of faith the way Hebrews 11 does. This morning, I understood something about how this marvelous chapter underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for Christians in a way that I do not remember seeing before today.

Of the 40 verses in Hebrews 11, 37 verses either directly or indirectly concern named individuals who were exemplary for their faith in God. Of those 37 verses, Hebrews 11:4-29 comprises the largest unit because all of the people named in this unit are people whose primary accounts are all in the Pentateuch.

Named People in Hebrews 11:4-29
Name Verse(s) in Hebrews 11 Primary Accounts
Abel Heb. 11:4 Gen. 4
Enoch Heb. 11:5 Gen. 5
Noah Heb. 11:7 Gen. 6-9
Abraham Heb. 11:8-19 Gen. 11-25
Sarah Heb. 11:11 Gen. 11-23
Isaac Heb. 11:20 Gen. 21-35
Jacob Heb. 11:21 Gen. 25-50
Joseph Heb. 11:22 Gen. 30-50
Moses Heb. 11:23-29 Exod. 2 – Deut. 34

Based on this feature of Hebrews 11, we learn that Hebrews 11:4-29 distinctively underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for a believer’s having a right understanding of their having faith in God! Feeding on the Pentateuch is vital for our having the faith in God that He wants us as Christians to have!

A Time to Weep and Mourn

November 7, 2020

Proverbs 24:11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Unless God intervenes, we in America will soon again have at two of the highest levels of authority in our country people who support policies that authorize the slaughter of the unborn through abortions—even up to birth.

A time to weep and mourn for the lives of the innocent babies who will die under such leadership and policies.

Whether or not people should consume any alcohol is a hotly disputed point. No passage sets forth the eternal riskiness of consuming alcohol more solemnly than what Paul wrote to the Corinthians to warn them about those who would not inherit the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In no uncertain terms, Paul proclaims under inspiration of the Spirit that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God! Those who become enslaved to alcohol will perish eternally unless they repent of their being drunkards.

Given that one’s eternal destiny is at stake on whether he becomes a drunkard or not, no one should risk perishing eternally by choosing to consume any alcohol.

Scripture provides a sobering account about a man who pretended to care for the poor, but his real concern was not at all about caring for them.

“The Judas Approach” to Helping the Poor

Seeing Mary lavish on Jesus her affection for Him by anointing His feet with very expensive perfume, Judas protested against what she did:

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

He asserted that the perfume should rather have been sold and the money given to the poor to help them. His real motivation, however, was anything but an earnest desire to help the poor:

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Instead of genuinely wanting to help the poor, Judas was a thief who wanted the steal the money for his own wicked gain.

Application

We must beware “the Judas approach” to helping the poor that pretends to care for the poor but actually is intended for getting money for oneself through iniquitous means.