THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-25-04
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT: "CHRIST'S DESIGN FOR WORSHIP IN HIS CHURCH"
What a wonderful Lord's Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God's Living Word.
It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.
As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning I would like to encourage our viewers in the Lead Hill, Arkansas area to take advantage of the opportunity present in your community to visit with the Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ. This congregation assembles every Sunday morning at 10:30 and I know they would love to have you worship with them before the throne of God. If you need further information about this congregation you can contact them at (870)436-5697 - Or you can contact us and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
Now it is time to join in our first song of the Day. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Jesus is Tenderly Calling."
(SONG # 1)
So far on our study concerning Christ's Church we have considered many things which stand out as identifying marks which God Himself has confirmed in His Word. Another sobering thought for us all, is to consider the responsibility and privilege we have been entrusted with in Worshiping our God and Creator. But why do I say sobering? Because not all worship is acceptable to our God. In fact, Jesus confirmed this very point in Matthew 15:9, there we read, "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." You see there is worship being done by many in life that is actually unacceptable and vain in the eyes of God! And why? Because it is according to the doctrines of man and not God.
So, this morning we want to begin looking at the type of Worship which our God ascribed to us through His Word. What must I do and what does it take to truly have a worship that is according to His will and His desires and not our own. How blessed we are to have God's Word to help us to know exactly what our God wants, so that we may follow that which He commands in the Bible. Are you a true worshipper of God as the Bible mentions in John 4:24?
Today we are happy to have brother Ivie Powell with us as our guest speaker. Brother Powell is the minister for the Curry Street Church of Christ in West Plains, Missouri and he will be leading us in our lesson of the morning at the appropriate time. As far as our study concerning our series on "The Church Which Jesus Built," the specific lesson of the day will deal with, "Christ's Design For Worship In His Church!" So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Powell will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "He Leadeth Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ivie Powell
Thank you very much, brother Sullins. I appreciate very much the opportunity of being with you today on this great television program. We want to thank the great eldership at Kansas Expressway church of Christ for having this program. And for those of you that live in the West Plains area, we would like to invite you to be with us this morning for Bible study at 9:30, the morning assembly at 10:30. We do meet on Sunday afternoon at 6:00 and mid-week Bible studies Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
The Bible says that "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth," John 4:24.
My friends, the Bible also informs us that there is worship that our heavenly Father will not accept. "He will not accept worship that is vain," Matthew 15:8-9. "Nor will our Lord accept worship that is will worship," as stated in Colossians 3:21-23. And "neither will our Lord accept worship that is ignorant," as in Acts 17:30-31.
Everything that we need, knowing how to become a Christian and living a Christian life which entails worshipping God in spirit and in truth is revealed in this, the book of books that we call the Bible. As we gather to worship God, God wants us to worship Him as set forth in His revealed word. We are not at liberty just to do any and everything that meets with our approval. Worship is not entertainment. We do not assemble to be entertained, but we assemble to worship the Almighty again in spirit and in truth.
Now I want you to observe many folk as they enter into the assemblies of churches of Christ. We'll quickly observe that we do not use instruments of music in worship. This naturally poses a question "Why?" Why don't you folks use instruments of music in your worship? Well, it isn't because we cannot afford to purchase an instrument Nor is it because we are trying to be cantankerous and just different. It really boils down to the simple fact: There is no Biblical authority for the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship.
Now I want you to pause and think about that. Mill it over in your mind. Now the Bible informs us that if we're going to prove that something is right, then there must either be a direct command as in the case of Acts 10, verse 48. You know, they commanded them to be baptized. Or it could be in the case of an example. In Acts 20, verse 7, "The disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread." And so we have an example of partaking of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week. Thirdly, it could be by implication or inference. Matthew chapter 3, verse 16, "Our Lord came up straightway out of the water." Well, this is inferring that they went down into the water as in the case of Philip and the Eunuch in Acts the 8th chapter. Therefore, when one turns to the New Testament, he does not find: 1.) a direct command for the use of instruments in New Testament worship. 2.) One does not find an example where a congregation or the church of our Lord ever used instruments of music in worship. 3.) There is not implication or inference that instruments of music were ever used in New Testament worship. So that is the reason we do not use instruments of music in New Testament worship. Now, it will probably be a shock to a lot of you out there to come to the realization that the far majority of denominations in this country once stood on the same ground that we stand. That is, they did not use instruments of music in New Testament worship. And so we are crying and pleading with people to go back to the Bible, to speak where the Bible speaks, to be silent where the Bible is silent.
Now many take the silence of scripture on this subject to mean that they are at liberty to do what they want. That is not the case. The Bible says that "Whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord," Colossians 3:17. That is by His authority. Again, "if any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God," 1 Peter 4, verse 11. Since the Bible does not address this subject again by either a command, an example or an inference, then we are not at liberty to use instruments of music in worship. It therefore, my friend, is a sin to use instruments of music in New Testament worship. God will not accept our worship if we add unto that worship that which is not authorized.
Right at 100 years ago, the Lord's church unfortunately had a division, not over the instrument per say, but over the attitude one had towards scripture, Biblical authority. We need to understand, my friend, that when it comes to mechanical instruments of music in New Testament worship, that this is a fellowship issue. It breaks my heart that a great number of our brethren, even in this area, are stating publicly that instruments of music in New Testament is not a fellowship issue, although they do not intend to use the instrument. Now, my friend, those who either use mechanical instruments of music in New Testament worship or those who sanction it's use by such a statement are lending their allegiance to false doctrine. We call upon brethren to go back to the Bible, to do what the Bible says. It is not a trivial thing to go beyond the teaching of our Lord. If Biblical authority can be set aside on this subject, then why must we respect Biblical authority for anything? This again is not a trivial matter!
The Bible lets us know that "whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the doctrine, the teaching of our Lord hath not God," in 2 John 9. Well, when one uses mechanical instruments of music in New Testament worship, they're going beyond the teaching of our Lord. Whenever an eldership or a preacher says, "That instrument in New Testament is not a fellowship issue," they're going beyond the teaching of our Lord. They are selling truth out. The Bible says that "we are not to have fellowship with workers of darkness," in Ephesians 5, verse 11. God's view of this matter is that "His wrath is upon any and all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," Romans chapter 1 and verse 18.
Now instruments of music in New Testament worship is a sin. It will cause people to be removed from fellowship with God and with faithful brethren. It is a sin because again there is no command for it's use. There is no Bible example. There is no inference. It was not even known in the religious world until about the 7th century. Then when it was introduced into the church of our Lord back in the latter part of the 1800's, it became such a divisive element that congregations of the church of our Lord were split asunder at the pleading and the begging of brethren to set this issue aside.
Then of course, instruments of music in New Testament worship is a sin because if folks try to go back and prove that it is all right by the use of the Old Testament, then by the same token one could prove that the burning of incense religiously would be acceptable in the sight of God.
We do not live under the teaching of the Old Testament. We live under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we turn to the New Covenant of Christ, we find that churches of Christ are to assemble on the 1st day of the week. As we assemble, we do so with the intent of worshipping the Almighty in spirit and in truth. And as we pray unto our heavenly Father, as we study from a portion of His divine truth, we will also lift up our voices and praise to God. We will be plucking the strings of our heart. Not the strings of an instrument, but the strings of our heart in praise to God. And we will gather around the Lord's table to remember the death of Christ for the sins of the world. We will also as we have gathered on the Lord's day, separate and apart from the Lord's Supper, give as we have been prospered. My friend, those five avenues are what constitutes New Testament worship.
It is so wonderful to hear the people of God singing praises unto the Almighty. We are so in tune to entertainment in this day and time that a lot of brethren are greatly inhibited because they think, "Well, I can't sing. I do not know how to sing alto, bass, soprano, or anything else." Well friends, whoever said that you did have to know how to do that? God is not interested in whether or not we sing on key or off key, but He's interested that we render praise unto Him from the depths of our heart. So we are to worship the Almighty. And as you assemble with churches of Christ, you will have no worry about worshipping God other than according to the teaching of His Word.
Now I call upon those, who hold to the view that instruments of music in New Testament worship is not a salvation issue, to carefully examine what they are saying and what they are not saying. Now there are two reasons why people are actually holding to this and many other views along this same line. One would be because these individuals, my friend, have not had good, steady, solid preaching and teaching from the pulpit and the classroom. Too many elders of the church of our Lord have tied the hands of a lot of preachers and forbidden them to preach on certain subjects. I call upon every man that calls himself a gospel preacher to be reminded that "he is given the charge of Almighty God," in 2 Timothy 4, verse 1-2, "to preach the Word in season and out of season, to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine." You will be held accountable, brother, not just for what you preach, but what you refuse to preach. So one is because a lot of congregations have forbidden the teaching and preaching on subjects such as why we do not use instruments of music in New Testament worship. Then what is the difference in the church of Christ and the denominational world? Then of course, the second reason would be because a lot of men occupy the position of elder who are not scripturally qualified. Many were not really converted and as a result of leaving a denomination, they came up out of the watery grave with many of those same beliefs in their hearts and they gradually were placed in a position, perhaps deacon and then an elder, and then they slowly and meticulously worked to move a congregation to accept a moderate view to an outright full-fledged liberal view of many, many subjects including the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship.
Now I want you to think about this. I've never known of anyone to say that it is a sin to sing praises unto God without the use of mechanical instruments of music. Now I've never known of anyone to say that. Why not take the safe role? Why not take the role that we know has heaven's approval upon it? We're dealing again with a mindset or an attitude toward the Word of God. "Speak, Lord, thy servant here with command I will obey." That was the attitude of servants of old. Well we find that the only way that the Lord speaks to us today is through His inspired Word, In His inspired Word, He has said that "He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness," 2 Peter 1, verse 3-4. This includes not only how to become a Christian, and how to live a Christian life, but the work and worship of the church, and in the worship of the church, we are instructed what we are to do.
So my friend, we call upon those who are advocating the use of mechanical instruments of music in churches of Christ to repent. If they repent, we say this kindly, but we say this very boldly and without any apology at all. We tell them that if they will not repent, then we will have no recourse, but not to have fellowship with them. Now it's unfortunate the number of brethren throughout the world who have become fearful. They have more fear of man than they do of Almighty God. But "we're all going to die," Hebrews 9:27, we're all going to meet God at judgment and there is going to be many an eldership and many a preacher to come to a realization that God really did mean what He said. God hasn't changed His mind. God expects us to humbly submit to His Will. After all, the Bible says, "Not everyone that sayeth unto me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the Will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will come to me in that day and say, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out many devils? The Lord will say, "Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I know you not," Matthew 7:21-23. "But as for they that do His commandments that they may have rights to the tree of life and they enter in through the gates into the city," Revelation 22:14.
My friend, are you a Christian? Have you expressed your faith in Christ by repenting of your sins? (Luke 13:3) Confessing Christ as the son of God? (Matthew 10:32) And then by being immersed in order to receive the remission of your sins? (Acts 2:38) If not, why not do that today? When you do that you will not be a member of a manmade institution, a denomination, but the Bible lets us know that it is "the Lord that will add you to the church where in are the saved," Acts 2:47, "and you can go on your way rejoicing."
We, my friends, encourage you to attend the services of the nearest faithful church of Christ even this day. Thank you and have a pleasant day.
(SONG # 3 - "Heavenly Sunlight!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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How blessed we are to have an example from God as to how He desires that we worship Him. May we always choose to praise our God as He commands and as He designed!