After just weeks ago moving to Maryland, I have noticed after visiting several churches what seems to be a common practice among many of the churches in my area. Maybe I am wrong, but I’d like to think other wise. Church after church, a majority Southern Baptist Churches have multiple services. However these services are not because they lack room for the members of their church, it is because they have a contemporary service, or a traditional service and even some in the city of Baltimore have a “thankful” service which includes songs, prayer without the preaching. These multiple services may have 50-100 in the traditional services (where the money comes from) then about 300-400 people in their contemporary service (where their numbers come from). Yet, what is worse is from my own personal experience seeing these churches have two churches within them. Maybe I am wrong on this, but it seems a bit man-centered to me.
I guess if I went Presbyterian I would not have to worry with this, would I?
How one is to under the practical theology behind the blasphemy in breaking the third commandment. Here is eight common ways in which one does so today
- A common swear word (Leviticus 24:11)
- Misusing His name in false worship (Psalm 24:4; Judges 17:2-3; Deuteronomy 12:4,8,13; John 14:6 & Acts 12)
- Misusing the name of the Lord in careless worship (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2; Numbers 26:61; Deuteronomy 12:48 & John 14:14)
- Using the name of the Lord to support a lie (Leviticus 19:12; 1Kings 13:18 & Acts 5)
- Mocking God (Isaiah 52:5; 2 Samuel 12:14 & Romans 2:23-24)
- Using the name of the Lord in idle oaths (Numbers 30:2 & Matthew 5:33-37)
- Using the name of the Lord in complaint and unbelief (Malachi 3:13-14; Numbers 14:27 & 1Corinthians 10:10)
- In mishandling His word (Example: Matthew 8:5-13 was a homosexual slave)
The issue behind these common actions among humanity is that the name of the LORD is carelessly thrown around, and His character is belittled. But what is even worse is when the actions are commonly done in and by the church – that is, among so-called believers of the gospel. If the believer of the gospel properly understood that the squandering of God’s name is to really say that their God is of no noteworthy value, the beginnings of apostasy would never exist; for doing this is the very beginning of leaving the central gospel truths, is making less of who God is, and using His name meaninglessly. The way the believer talks about God – the way he talks about the One in whom he claims relationship with – can begin a pathway to apostasy.
To make light of His name, to make fun of His being, to speak loosely of His character, to joke about His Word, to laugh at His nature, to allow His name to be misused, to constantly gain a tolerance for the misuse of God Himself, then claim that one is in right relationship with Him is thoroughly hypocritical. Yet this is where it is most typical to begin falling away from Christ and leave the gospel, if one does not fully understand or know the importance of the third commandment. They put to waste the LORD’s name, and make light of Him as if He is like any other human being. But how does that lead to apostasy? Simply put, it is this command that the LORD’s people are asked to keep, and yet they allow themselves to fall short, and in most cases allow the way of the culture to decide for them what is acceptable and what is not. To some it is just a name or perhaps just a little joke… no biggie, just something to swear by in order to sound right… make a promise in His name because that is what people do. It is these acts which draw the individual away from the gospel truths, and it is in these acts that the individual starts to leave that which God has asked of His people.
If one breaks the third commandment of the Decalogue, does that make him an apostate? Is not an apostate one who departs from the gospel? Though it does not make one an apostate directly, this here – the misuse of the LORD’s name – is where apostasy easily begins. Disrespecting the LORD’s name is only the beginning of the act of apostatizing. It is here where one loses their respect for the name of the LORD and begins their path of leaving either what they had claimed to believe, or what they were taught about the gospel. But how can the believer of the gospel keep from a constant breaking of the third commandment?
The believer must see and fully understand that the use of the LORD’s name a privilege for them to use. Edwards speaks to this when dealing with the third commandment in relation to us today:
“It is our privilege to use the ‘name’ of our triune God-the Father, Son and Holy Spirit-both in worship and in witness. But we must use it carefully. There are few things more wonderful than to use the name of our God and Saviour-and nothing more dangerous than to abuse it.”
This is how the Law is love to the believer: not that it is restricting us from the things our nature wants to do, but it lays the principles in which we can enjoy the gospel fully. It is in this that one can continue to focus in happiness, being able to speak of God as his God.
You can read the full paper here. The Law and Apostasy
Due to a recent interaction with an old high-school friend on politics, it made me think a lot over the past few days. The argument was over if the government should continue borrowing money to keep giving unemployment to those who have been without jobs over a year. Of course my answer was no, and his was yes. But his was not just a yes, it was a yes but telling me that my ruthless heart had no compassion for my fellow-man, and that I did not practice what I say to claim as a religion. To him Christianity was all love and all giving and if I believe in the so-called man Jesus Christ that I would care about those who lost their career at GMC or at Chrysler Motors. Besides the fact that what he thought was not true, what really got under my skin was everything he had seen, knew, and interacted with of me during my high schools years was today’s same picture of me. This is ever so far from the truth.
Friends from the past can be great, and well can be a pain in the you know what. There are at times in life that one (such as myself) seems he can never get away from his high-school days. Which I’d either one, do them all over again, or two, never like to think about them again. No matter what happens now, they are done but they are not over. No matter where I may travel for work, where I go on vacation, what I plan to do somehow those awkward 13-18 year old days keep coming back and back and back, and seriously… back and back and back. Then when you try to ask someone to forget them, they come back and back and back, but never in a good way, and it is always something you rather never hear again.
This is most seen on Facebook at how much I am ignored in Disgust. I am ever shocked by the massive amounts of friend request I receive from fellow high school students during my 4-years there and even students that I knew of before and after high-school on Facebook. Whatever is more intriguing is the number of them that do the following:
1. Message me that they are sick of reading my religious Facebook status.
2. Comment on my Facebook wall bashing me because I have an awful worldview.
3. Delete me from their friends list after sick of reading my “religious” status.
However it is the same request I get from today’s Christian friends.
1. Message me that they do not care what kind of music I listen to, what burger I ate, or where I am head. They only want to read my blog post, Christian news, or something about a new book coming out.
2. Comment on my Facebook wall bashing my for a conservative view, or not such a conservative view.
3. Delete me from their friends list after sick of reading my “religious” status.
No matter a believer or not, I hear the same thing from both sides but dealing with different issues. Nothing is going to change however, I’ll still talk about my blog, I’ll still write blog post for me to help me on my english and I’ll still tweet about Lebron James, the Ohio State Buckeyes, Jesus Christ and faith Alone.
However the reason for the post now, is that so-called friends that one had in the past are not in the past once you start using Facebook. The relationships ruined, the hearts you hurt, and the lives you made fun of when you were 16, 17, and 18 are very much the “friends” on Facebook that read your status’ your notes and look at your pictures to see how much weight you have gained or how many kids you had. But they still remember you the way you were, because they cannot see you the way you are. How great of the Gospel, that doesn’t continue to look back at our failures, or continue to look back at how bad we were in sin. How great of the gospel to look at you through the lens of Christ, clothed in Him and constantly putting ones self down, to make Christ known greater throughout the everyday battle with what we are still yet stuck in, the old, the flesh and this nature. How great it is of the gospel that one day, we will never have to deal with that of today, we will not live dealing with past mistakes and we can continue to enjoy the gospel to its full potential throughout eternity.
I have no idea how you can be when Ephesians 1: 11-23 reads,
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,to the praise of his glory. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
In no particular order…
- Playing video games (NCAA Football) with Nick till 6am
- Catfishing with Chris, Bobby, Logan, every weekend in Ohio when I visited
- Hanging out in Bubba’s garage all night not knowing a thing I was working on
- Library dates with Emily in college
- Playing euchre with bobby and his dad, it was always eventful
- Going to listen to Country music every friday night with Donnie in Michigan
- Beating Matt Dick every year in NCAA Football (besides 2003)
- Going to Big Lots with my Mom, no matter how long, or when I visit, somehow we end up there
- Grandma telling me stories of her past
- Talking to Dan Cruver, at least 3x’s a week in his office and learning oh so much
- Grandpa making 101 noises with his lips, but yet never says one word
- Dollar movies with Logan, Cam, Jessi, Jerod, … way too many people I did this with to remember.
- Late nights at the Estep’s & dinner’s at the Estep’s
- Summer fishing with Tommy up at Lake Ann
- Date nights with Emily
- Hanging out with Shane Miller and his family during my college years
- Traveling with Beeke to Reformed conferences and learning
Do you have any to share?
I am reminded in this connection of the declaration of Jude, verses 3-4,
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
If Jude begins his account dealing with the false teachers by describing the devious way they have slipped into the church, why would we today allow any means for such a gospel of the Roman Catholic church to pervert the Church today?
What may seem very little to the many evangelicals today, the Reformation Heroes laid down their lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that man did not have to ever agree with Rome, nor partner with Rome, and nor shall we Protestants today! For the Gospel of Protestant Faith, is not the same as Rome.
However, now is when someone to me says, “this is not a Gospel issue.” I understand that The sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty are social justice problems, Yes. To which I respond, would you travel to Africa to help the water problem with Catholics, would you go to take food to the homeless with Catholics, would you have a homeless shelter with Catholics? Would you pass out Turkeys for thanksgiving along side the Roman Catholic church? My point is that these issues like The Manhattan Declaration are social justice problems.
Although many of them should be the Churches job, they should be the True Church, the elect of God – doing them together for the sake of the True Gospel, and not together with one that is false. Protestant theology affirms the sole authority of Scripture, for that we practice together among ourselves the True Faith that has been granted to us, and purchased by Christ for us.
7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
That is quite the blessing for taking the lives of little ones don’t ya think?
I have been thinking a lot on the number of blogs (both “Christian” and non) that are blogging like there is no-tomorrow on politics. I am not saying that no one should, but it is getting a bet repetitive and “out-of-control” in a number of ways. This passage has come to my mind when reading the number of those who seem to care so deeply about vocalizing their opinions and thoughts on their blogs.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.