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BCB Week 7: Why is singing so important?

5 Oct

Singing is so important in the life of a believer. Not only do our words have the power of life and death in them, but it is even scientifically true that each sound affects the atmosphere and our bodies in a different way. This is one of the reasons why even just going to a specific geographical place and lifting up praise and adoration to King Jesus can drastically shift the atmosphere!

It is important that we take notice of what words we are singing. This is true because of the power that our tongues have. Also what better words to sing than that which lifts up, exalts and adores the Lord as well as speaks out TRUTH about Him!

Theology and doctrine is spread mainly through song. If you think about it, how often do you remember words that have been preached, compared to songs that have been sung? You will even remember radio songs sometimes easier than what is spoken only. Both good theology and bad theology has spread throughout history very easily through song. For example in the songs and hymns of Luther and Wesley, or even Hillsong, Bethel, or Misty Edwards. (Arianism is an example of bad theology – denying Jesus as God – that was spread in part through song).

We are urged through scripture to speak to each other in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19). Paul also writes to the Colossians “Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you”. How does he write that this should happen? By “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16). Paul also mentions both speaking and singing in the spirit and also with our understanding. We sing with our spirits and yet we also sing with our understanding, not just for ourselves, but so that others may hear and be edified (1 Cor 14:15-17). We are also encouraged to sing praises when we feel cheerful 🙂 (James 5:13).

We also know through scripture that God is enthroned upon the praises of His people (Ps 22:3) and that new songs sung by the redeemed play a main part in descriptions of His throne in Heaven. God Himself also is one who sings over us (Zeph 3:17)!

In short, singing is very important – it is an important part of Christian worship, as well as building up ourselves and the rest of the body or family of God. It is even said to be more important than preaching (keep in mind the lyrics of these songs it is important to be scriptural). What better way to put the Word in our hearts than be singing it to God and to each other!

BCB Week 6: Should Christians Repent?

29 Sep

Should Christians repent? Didn’t we already repent when we “got saved”? Aren’t we now saints, not sinners and therefore we don’t sin or even if we do Jesus already washed us clean and so we don’t need to repent anymore? We don’t want to feel bad all the time now do we?

Yikes. Well, first of all, do Christians sin? To answer for myself- yes I do! Do I ever mutter something in my thoughts against someone who just really pressed the wrong button today, perhaps they got picked for something that I knew I was better qualified for [at least in my mind!] and then they just did it all wrong [again, really? am I actually the one to judge that?] and therefore I got mad inside and called them a name – even something seriously not even “bad”, like, say…. “stupidhead” ? (or maybe I reserved that name for the one who made the decision to pick them not me). *Note see quote down bottom*

Do I ever get mad when I’m driving (now all of you who know me now know this hasn’t happened in a while, because I don’t drive here!) and really just want to brake really hard at that driver behind me who just will NOT stop tailgating.

Do I ever picture myself punching someone in the face because of how much they tick me off.

Do I ever prefer myself above another? Perhaps set a bad example or even teach something to a child that is really not God’s way of living… (whoever causes this little one to stumble…)

These are just “minor” things, some people would say they are not even all that bad and I’m not counting other “sins” such as lying, gossip, feeding on movies, music or pictures that are definitely NOT what Jesus-followers would be meant to feed themselves on… (there are 100s more examples of “minor” things we wouldn’t see as that bad because they’re not murdering someone).

Every single person who lives and breathes on this earth sins. The only one who never did was Jesus, and yes, we still war against our members even after we give our lives to Him. Is not faith in itself proved in walking out that faith, day by day, decision by decision. If we do not act on it it is not faith at all. When we do sin, when we do look up that website again or fail to walk out of that movie or complain about people to other people, or lift ourselves up in pride in our hearts… We need to repent.

We need to come to Jesus, ask His forgiveness and feel the relief of His mercy toward us… I actually like that I get convicted and I want my heart to remain tender and soft… I actually like being sensitive to the One who I claim is my best friend! I want to have HIS heart! Therefore I have decided that I will say sorry, I will lift up those thoughts and actions to my Lord and Saviour and recognise BEFORE HIM that those thoughts or actions were wrong. I need His forgiveness and I need His discipline because I must know that I am loved, I am His daughter and I have been adopted into His family. Those whom the Lord loves He chastens and without discipline we are illegitimate sons (illegitimate sons did not get any inheritance, just saying…).

Taking it a step further, repentance is actually a turning. It is turning from wrong behaviour and turning towards right (in the eyes of the Lord) behaviour. It is part of a life of faith. So ask Jesus today, ask Papa, ask Holy Spirit… about what it looks like to turn away from sin. Not just decide in your head that it is sin, but turn away from it and turn towards and walk in HIS ways… Then act on it 🙂

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. – Acts 26:20-21

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. – 1 John 1 (written to Christians)

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ (an insult meaning ’emptyheaded’, meant to point out someone’s stupidity) shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. – Matthew 5:22 (Jesus speaking)

BCB Week 5: Is It Important To You That Jesus Was Raised To Life?

21 Sep

In 1st Corinthians 15:20 Paul writes about Jesus having been raised from the dead – a firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. In Revelation as well as other places in scripture it repeatedly talks about Jesus being firstborn from the dead, or firstborn of all creation. This word firstborn can mean first in supremacy, as well as first in time. The question I used to have was: Didn’t Jesus raise Lazarus and others from the dead? However, I do believe that the reference in 1st Corinthians can help make it clear in that He is the “firstfruits” of those who have fallen asleep…

In class this past week, we talked about the difference between being “raised to life” and being “resurrected”. Many people have been raised to life in Jesus’ Name (thinking in the bible as well as for many others in current times and in between – in many different nations!), yet JESUS Himself is the only one who has ever been “resurrected”. I just did a search for the word “raised” in the bible and there is a word in the Greek which is used of those he commanded to rise, as well as when he sends a message to his cousin John that the dead are raised. It is used to talk of the many dead who came back to life at the tearing of the veil in the temple. It is used when Jesus commands the lame to rise up and walk. It is also used in relation to Jesus’ own raising to life – where it says he will rise again on the third day. Note well however that when I looked up the Greek word for “resurrection”, it is recorded as having been used in many references to the resurrection from the dead at the last day – the end of the age, and it is also used in reference to Jesus Christ’s own raising to life. It is not used in reference to any other person in the bible who was raised to life by Jesus.

Why is this important to me? Why is this important to anyone who follows Jesus and makes Him their Lord and Saviour? It is because Jesus was the first to be raised to life not just as a man to continue His life on earth, but as the first of the Resurrection. He is the first to receive His glorified body – His new body – we will all be changed as well in the twinkling of an eye at the blowing of the last trumpet! Imagine not having to struggle with sin anymore. Yet MORE than that – when we think of the Lord JESUS as being resurrected – it gives us hope that YES, there is more. There WILL be a resurrection. There IS an age to come – we are living for more than just this shadow of a life here in this disease filled world – we are living for another age.  We are looking forward to the Holy City not made with human hands. We are looking forward to a life where there is no sorrow, tears or pain. Where we do not struggle with all of the things that weigh us down in this life. If there was no resurrection, we would have no hope and no reason then for being Christians. Jesus would be a liar and therefore everything our faith is based upon would be false. This is why it is so important to me that Jesus was raised to life.

BCB Week 4: Did Jesus Perform Any Miracles Before His Public Ministry?

15 Sep

Did Jesus perform any miracles before His public ministry? I like that we studied this a little in class this week because I’ve encountered people with different views and this is actually a pretty important question! I feel like it’s important, because it affects the way we view Him as well as ourselves and therefore can affect some other important issues in our pilgrimage on this earth!

Jesus fully emptied Himself. When God incarnate was born as a little Jewish baby in Bethlehem, He was fully human. He had to learn how to walk, He had to learn how to talk, He had to be potty trained (though probably not with a potty… I’ve been to some rough places and somehow am not sure what kind of toilets they would have had back then in Israel… anyway), He was misunderstood just like every single one of us has in some way or lots of ways been misunderstood as a child, teenager or grown up – whether by parents, friends, or people. He understands me, and He understands you! This is so important even just for us to know that He was fully tempted as a man yet was without sin – He understands what it is to be human, to have grown up under scrutiny and condemnation of some sorts as His mother became pregnant in unusual circumstances – He was brought up by a foster/adoptive father – He had prostitutes as well as Kings in His lineage… He studied the Torah hard as a boy and became apprenticed to His father in carpentry. He understands

It says in the gospels that Jesus was led be Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, and that when He came out of the desert He came empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is after this event that Jesus performs His first recorded miracle. Not only is it His first recorded miracle but it is also written in the book of John that this was the first of the signs He did – and His disciples believed in Him.

Even from reading the bible myself earlier on as a teenager, I have come to the conclusion myself that Jesus did not do any miracles before His public ministry began. This also gives us confidence as His disciples, as it was after Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit that signs and wonders started to follow Him – He lived fully as a man, yet empowered by the Spirit – just as He has given us authority to go forth and do miracles in HIS Name, empowered by HIS Spirit – and do even greater things than those we have seen from Him.

BCB Week 2: How is God Love?

1 Sep

How is God love? I’ve chosen this question out of all the ones we get to pick from this week… Hmmm. God is love.

We see it in the very person of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons, yet one God. They prefer each other in that the Son is always pointing to the Father, the Holy Spirit always reminds us what Jesus said. They delight in each other. The relationship that they have with each other is an example of the relationship we humans can have with each other. For example in marriage – a man and a woman shall become ‘one flesh’ – they are two separate people yet they are one. If God were not three and one He could not be in very essence, love, as there has to be more than one for there to be love. Love is the preferring of another over oneself. It is the decision to do what is best for the other!

God is love in that He always does what is best for us to bring us to complete maturity as sons and daughters. Even if it is discipline. It says in Hebrews that if we are not disciplined by Him we are illegitimate children! His discipline is always good, just like a good parent’s discipline is always toward the maturity of that child or teenager. He removes everything that hinders love. If there is something in my life that holds me back from moving forward in everything that He has called me to, He can and very likely will remove it! At the least He will point it out so that I have a chance to turn away and turn towards HIM instead; walk in HIS ways instead. He removes everything that hinders love – and HIS love is the greatest love of all! Even in His righteous judgements He is love. His judgements and discipline are there to remove everything that hinders love!

God is love in that He found a solution to our problem of sin, and came as a man to be the perfect sacrifice, removing the breach between us forever. All we need to do is to turn to Him and away from our sin, and receive His perfect Love! Yet it is a daily relationship to walk out.

One last thought – in the New Testament, the Greek word used for God’s kind of love is the word “agape”. It is the love of action. It is the love that is not just sentimental but that moves us to do something about that love – for example washing someone’s feet, caring for them when they are sick or rushing to save someone drowning and in doing so drowning ourselves.

This is the love that God is.

BCB Week 1: Sound Doctrine and the Great Commission

25 Aug

Sound doctrine is essential to the Great Commission. What Christians today call “the Great Commission” was Jesus’ command to his disciples after his resurrection, at Galilee.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. // Jesus // Matt 28:19-20

Notice Jesus’ words to “make disciples”. Also to “[teach] them to obey everything I have commanded you”.

Making disciples is not just the act of telling the good news. In fact, the word “gospel” in Jesus’ days meant a message of victory. For example, it would have been used by Roman messengers spreading the word that Caesar had overcome and won a new area and therefore all inhabitants of that area were now to pay homage to Caesar. “Gospel” was used to tell “good” news meant to bring joy.

The gospel – the good news of Jesus’ victory and authority – was only a small part of disciple making. In Jesus’ time, it was common practice for Rabbi’s to choose certain boys of age (normally starting at 13 years of age) to leave their homes, leave their Father’s occupations (which they would be trained up in if they did not leave) and follow that Rabbi. That boy would then spend almost 24/7 with that Rabbi. The Rabbi would consistently question his disciples to see how well they had learned his teaching as well as watching how well they had incorporated that teaching into their everyday lives.

Being a disciple was about a complete change of lifestyle and thinking. A major part of it was following the teachings and walking in the ways of the Rabbi. Jesus’ command therefore, to make disciples of all nations means not just that they decide to follow Jesus, but that they do follow Him. It applies to every Christian and the discipleship process never ends as the very word disciple translates to living it out.

We now come to the phrase “sound doctrine”. This phrase simply means “healthy teaching”. Jesus said to go and make disciples, and also said to teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. Therefore Sound Doctrine – healthy teaching – is essential to the Great Commission. Christians cannot make disciples without knowing what it is they must be disciples of. Jesus’ teaching is found in the records of His life in the Scriptures, and indeed is also found in the complete Old and New Testaments, as it was the Law and the Prophets that He himself studied as a boy. His answers used to astound the priests in the temple. Christians must have a solid understanding of sound doctrine to be able to make disciples of all nations. They must have sound doctrine to fulfill the Great Commission.