A Taste of Heaven

To be sure, the Spirit of God quickens within the souls of the redeemed a new desire for worship. But that desire is not something that can be left to the natural course of experience. It must be cultivated. It must be learned in accordance with the directives of sacred Scripture. The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, to whims, or to marketing strategies. It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him.

In our time, we have experienced a radical eclipse of God. The shadow that has fallen across the face of God cannot destroy His existence any more than a passing cloud can destroy the sun or the moon. But the eclipse hides the real character of God from His people. It has brought a profound loss of the sense of the holy, and with that, any sense of the gravity and seriousness of godly worship.

—R.C. Sproul
A Taste of Heaven

Joining the Church Triumphant

Right now we Christians are, by God’s grace, members of the church militant.  We struggle with the cares of life that so easily distract us from the business of worshipping our great God.  The promotion to glory of dear saints reminds us that we have a glorious future awaiting us.  And that is not all.  We have a great resurrection awaiting us!   I cannot imagine a greater incentive to perseverance and holy living.  And I want to practice now what I will be doing for all eternity, worshipping the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Right now I want to experience a dry run at being a member of the church triumphant.  Reader, there is only one way to become a denizen of the New Jerusalem, to be in the church triumphant.  And that is by grace alone trusting alone in Christ alone for your salvation.  Another way to say it is that you need to wash your sin stained garments in blood of the Lamb.  Come with me and let’s journey toward the celestial city together…

—Jeffrey C. Waddington

Via: Feeding on Christ

The Universal Phenomenon of Religion

Have you ever wondered why there’s a universal phenomenon of religion? You can go anywhere on the globe and you’ll find evidence of cultic practices of sacrifice. Why is that? I suggest that it is because the original program and prescription for the worship of the living God was sacrifice. Adam told it to Cain, Abel, and Seth. Seth told it to Enoch, and he told it to his sons and they to their sons and so on. It was taught to Abraham. It was taught to Isaac. It was taught to Jacob. It was taught to Joseph. It was taught to Moses. It was also taught to Ishmael and to Esau, and so the idea of the requirement of sacrifice in faith pervaded the whole human race.

But today the need for sacrifices to be made in faith is forgotten – we hear that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. In fact, the basic requirement of sacrifice is unknown – it doesn’t matter what your religious practices are. It doesn’t matter what you worship. It only matters that you do worship. It’s said that the Jews worship God in their way, the Muslims worship God in their way, the Buddhists worship in their way. The unspoken assumption is God is obligated to receive, honor, and respect any kind of worship that people bring.

God didn’t respect all of the worship in Genesis 4. He had no respect for the worship of Cain. And Cain responded in anger when he saw that his worship was unacceptable to God. A faithful man, a righteous man, would have said, “O my God. I’m heartily sorry for having sinned against You. Teach me Your statutes, O Lord, show me the more excellent way. Change my heart, so that the offering that I bring You next Sabbath day will honor you. I’m glad, at least, Holy Father, that You were pleased with my brother’s offering. Father, give me an attitude by which I can learn from my brother, because my brother lives by faith and is trying to obey You.” But that was not Cain’s response.

In reality, that is never the response of the godless to the godly. Which of the prophets did they not kill? Which of the reformers in church history was not despised by the organized church? Like Cain, who rose up and slew his brother Abel, wicked churches have spilled the blood of true Christians. In fact, it was the church that rose up to kill Jesus because He did not respect their sacrifices.

—R.C. Sproul
A Taste of Heaven

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Psalm 2: Return of the King

Christ, the Anointed Son, sits on a throne. His rule stretches to the corners of creation. Every trickle of authority in heaven and on earth is now under his rule. No one–no pharaoh, no king, no president, is outside his reign. The Sovereign authority of the Son encompasses all people—from every racial origin, from all the continents of the globe. All have been created to serve and worship and glorify Him, and to enjoy the rich blessings of an eternal kingdom.

The Anointed has cast his rope of authority over all men.

But man rages against God, thrusting knives at the ropes of authority—as if the chords were an ambush, like a net contracted around a trapped animal, hanging helplessly in the air for its hunter.

Man forms alliances to build strength against the Anointed.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s rage.

No less a rebel is the man who ignores God. He refuses to pursue God. The fool says in his heart that God is nothing, a phantom, an impotent and imagined delusion. God is to him an unnecessary distraction from the banquet of selfish desires (Ps. 10:4, 14:1-3, Rom. 3:11). The fool has become His enemy by intentional ignorance.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s delusions.

The kings of the world conspire together to murder the Anointed Son. False accusations, slander, violence, spit, lashes, nails–all reveal the hatred. Cold death descends with the darkness. But Christ’s murder breaks a pathway down into the ground that opens upward to enthroned exaltation. The throne is a reward for His death.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s wisdom.

The kings of the earth rage against the gospel, persecute believers, threaten violence, destroy families, kill, disband churches, imprison leaders, refuse the distribution of bibles, silence preachers.

The Lord laughs. The church grows. Convictions strengthen. The gospel spreads (Acts 4:19-31).

The Lord laughs because the Anointed is returning. Soon Christ will end the mutiny. He will step down from his throne with an iron scepter in his fist to shatter his enemies like glassware (Rev. 2:27). He will step back into this world to tread his enemies with the sole of His feet, thrusting down on his enemies the winepress of his wrath, crimson blood soaking the bottom of his white robe (Isa. 63:3).

This is the Jesus we never knew—or the Jesus many would like to forget. But this is the real Jesus, the anointed King who will return to fulfill thousands of years of expectations and anticipations of God’s people. He will fix every injustice, dry every tear, and remove the handcuffs of evil from his people and his world.

But before the Son returns with His scepter in his fist, He stretches out mercy in his hand. The Anointed bids sinners to come, to kiss the ring of His Lordship, to find refuge from the wrath.

The King’s heart throbs with love towards sinners. The Anointed takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather hopes that sinners turn and live.

Captured in Psalm 2 are life-shaping realities:

The only refuge from the wrath of the King is to find refuge in the King.

The day of wrath upon His enemies is also the day of deliverance for His people.

His return is meaningless for none.

Perhaps you kick violently against God’s authority, thrusting knives at the bonds of His authority. Perhaps you plug your ears, unwilling to pursue Him. Perhaps you find your heart somewhere in the middle. It matters little. The King’s return is imminent.

Kiss His hand. Bow under His rightful authority. Humbly and joyfully take up His yoke. And find in Him a place of refuge where sinners are given forgiveness in His blood, safety, justice, salvation, spiritual riches and eternal joy. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Via: Tony Reinke

Worship

Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose–all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.

—William Temple

Via: A Slice of Infinity