An Old Confession of Faith — Lancelot Andrewes 1555-1626

Lancelot AndrewesLast week a friend of mine, Karl Minor, mentioned a volume from someone in the late 1500s, which he said had the richness of the Puritan prayers of The Valley of Vision.  I did a little research and ordered a copy of Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions, by Alexander Whyte.

To this point I have only done a cursory overview of the book, but I did find the following very refreshing and clear.  It is Andrewes’ own Confession of Faith.  I believe it is a worthy read and meditation, and so I commend it to you.  I maintained the language as it was published.  A few words may not be immediately obvious in their meaning, but it is worthwhile to look them up.

4. CONFESSION OF FAITH.

I believe, O Lord, in Thee,
Father, Word, Spirit, One God;
that by Thy fatherly love and power
all things were created;
that by Thy goodness and love to man
all things have been gathered together into one
in Thy Word,
Who, for us men and for our salvation,
became flesh, was conceived, was born,
suffered, was crucified,
died, was buried,
descended, rose again,
ascended, sat down,
will return, will repay;
that by the forth-shining and operation
of Thy Holy Spirit
hath been called out of the whole world
a peculiar people, into a commonwealth
of faith in the truth
and holiness of life,
in which we are partakers
of the communion of saints
and forgiveness of sins in this world,
and in which we look for
the resurrection of the flesh
and the life everlasting
in the world to come.

This most holy faith once delivered to the saints
I believe, O Lord;
help Thou mine unbelief,
increase Thou my little faith.
And vouchsafe* to me
to love the Father for His love,
to reverence the Almighty for His power,
to Him, as unto a faithful Creator, to commit my soul in well doing.
Vouchsafe to me to partake
from Jesus of salvation,
from Christ of anointing,
from the only begotten Son of adoption;
to serve the Lord
for His conception, in faith,
for His birth, in humility,
for His sufferings, in patience and in impatience of sin;
for His cross, to crucify occasions of sin,
for His death, to mortify the flesh,
for His burial, to bury evil thoughts in good works,
for His descent, to meditate upon hell,
for His resurrection, upon newness of life,
for His ascension, to set my mind on things above,
for His sitting on high, to set my mind on the
better things on His right hand,
for His return, to fear His second appearing,
for His judgment, to judge myself ere I be judged.
From the Spirit
vouchsafe to met o receive the breath of saving grace,
in the holy catholic (universal) Church
to have my own calling, sanctification, and portion,
and fellowship of her holy things,
prayers, fastings, groanings,
watchings, tears, sufferings,
for assurance of the remission of sins,
for hope of resurrection and translation
to eternal life.

*”vouchsafe”to grant or furnish often in a gracious manner

I am looking forward to further reading in this very old, but rich book.

Worship is What We Do . . . or should be!!

WorshipWorship is what we do when we gather together each Sunday.  We do that for a lot of reasons, not least of which is because God has called us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  There are other times when we do other things.  We have times of fellowship and play together.  There are times when we get together to have some entertainment, such as the annual youth event, Blast from the Past.  But when we enter the sanctuary on Sunday we come with the focused  purpose of worship.  We sing, read God’s word, pray, and study God’s word; and not much else.  Again, that is by design.  Once we hear the call to worship (usually Scripture) at the beginning of the service until the benediction at the end, our focus is on God and His Being and truth.  You say, Bill, that’s a given, what else would a church do?

I ran across something in my study this week that was shocking to me, in that it could have been written last week.  It was written in the early 1900s by a man many of you have perhaps read, A. W. Tozer.  He said:

“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment.”

I am amazed at the churches I see across the nation that have become more entertainment centers that places of worship.  I wept when I saw that a former church that I poured over 10 years of my ministry into, feeding them on the word of God, had a “power team” in to “wow and dazzle” with their feats of breaking bricks and boards and tearing phone books in half.  I watched on TV last week a “Christian comedian” in the pulpit during the time set apart for worship. Was he funny? Yes.  Did he handle the Word of God seriously? Absolutely not!!  I talked with friends this week who were lamenting the fact that the church they have just left (they are moving to another state) now evaluates everything as to what is the “wow factor”, whether signs in the buildings or sermons.

Twenty-five years ago a young preacher in Chicago went door to door and surveyed his neighborhood as to why people didn’t go to church.  The number one answer:  I get bored.  Bored!?!  Then something is seriously wrong.  As I read the scriptures I never find boredom a reaction when coming into the presence of God.  Fear, trembling, weeping, amazement and awe, but never boredom!!

Perhaps, and I’m only speculating here, the problem is in where the focus is.  If we focus on meeting with the living God there will be no boredom, I don’t think.  May God keep us focused as we worship Him each week.  As the writer of Ecclesiastes states, “To every thing there is a time and purpose . . .”  Let’s never forget the purpose for which we gather each week.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

rainbow018The hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness has long been one of my favorites.  So I was interested today when Bob Kauflin of Worship Matters sent out an email dealing with the story behind the hymn.  I believe it is worth a read:

The story behind Great is Thy Faithfulness should encourage every Christian who thinks of their life as ordinary. There’s no tragic story (think “It Is Well” by Horatio Spafford) associated with this hymn. It’s just the fruit of a faithful man with a simple faith in a faithful God.

Thomas Chisholm, who sometimes described himself as “just an old shoe,”  was born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1866. He was converted when he was 27, became a pastor at 36, but had to retire one year later due to poor health. He spent the majority of the rest of his life as a life insurance agent in New Jersey. He died in 1960 at the age of 93. During his life he wrote over 1200 poems, most of which no one will ever hear.

But back in 1923, at the “beyond his prime” age of 57, Thomas Chisholm sent a few of his poems to William Runyan at the Hope Publishing Company. One of them was Great is Thy Faithfulness, based on Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lam. 3:22    The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Runyan was particularly moved by Great is Thy Faithfulness and sought to set it to a melody that would reflect the response of wonder and gratefulness to God’s faithfulness conveyed in the lyrics. Apparently, he succeeded.

The song quickly became a favorite Moody Bible Institute, and later George Beverly Shea sang it at Billy Graham crusades. Now it’s known all over the world and has been used to encourage millions of Christians to trust in a faithful God.

Pretty impressive spiritual fruit from a life insurance agent.

When Chisholm was 75, he wrote in a letter:

“My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

The hymn has three verses and a chorus. Verse 1 speaks of God’s faithfulness revealed  in his Word, and is adapted from James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Verse 2 tells us of God’s faithfulness revealed in creation. The seasons,the sun, moon, and stars all continue on their courses perfectly, orderly, quietly – guided by God’s faithful hand, without any help from us.

Verse 3 reminds us of God’s faithfulness revealed in our lives. He pardons all our sins, fills us with his peace, assures of his presence, gives us strength, hope, and blessings to numerous to count!

Whatever challenges, trials, or disappointments you might be facing right now, this hymn reminds us that God’s promises are true, that he never changes, that his compassions never fail, and that his faithfulness to us in Christ Jesus is more than good—it’s GREAT!

God doesn’t need incredibly gifted or wildly famous people to proclaim those truths from his Word.

Just faithful ones.

Happy Birthday, John Calvin

Calvin's B'day CakeToday marks the 500th Birthday of one of the most influential theologians in the life of the church of Jesus Christ.

There has probably never been one so misrepresented and slandered than Calvin.  But for those who take time to read his work there is an exaltation of Jesus Christ and a worship of God that is unsurpassed.

So I gladly join the hosts in saying Happy Birthday!!

My favorite quote ABOUT Calvin comes from the pen of one of my favorite contemporary theologians, J. I. Packer.  Packer writes in Honoring the People of God, page 19:

“The amount of misrepresentation to which Calvin’s theology has been subjected is enough to prove his doctrine of total depravity several times over.”

So? Whom Do We Really Worship?

One of my major concerns about evangelical Christianity in the 21st Century is that worship is not that . . . at least not toward the proper object of worship, the True and Living God.  In many churches man is exalted, recognized, applauded, and congratulated, but God is less and less the main focus.  God’s word is not read all that much . . . prayers are brief . . . being silent before God (Psalm 46:10) is feared . . . songs don’t reflect doctrinal truth, but rather emotional syrupy sentimentality.   In other words man is catered to rather than being pointed to the Sovereign Creator and Redeemer.

This was brought to my mind when I read the following in a blog that I frequent.  The writer is recounting a recent vacation where he visited a local (I’m sad to say) Southern Baptist Church:

Away on vacation in North Carolina at the OBX last week. We attended worship at a Southern Baptist church. First they introduced all the visitors. Then they honored all the fathers. Then we sang happy birthday to all the birthdays. Then we sang Happy anniversary to all the anniversaries. Then the pastor called the kids up front and played with a ventriloquist doll, and the point was to come to VBS next week.

I wondered when we’d get to God, you know, worshipping God as part of a worship service?

My hopes were raised by the call to confess a Creed.

But the Creed was, and I am not kidding, the following.

I’m too anointed to be disappointed.
I’m too blessed to be depressed.
I’m too chosen to be frozen.
I’m too elected to be rejected.
And I’ve got more to shout about than to pout about in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

I don’t think God showed in the service at all.

We had three choices on the Island, Catholic, Methodist, and Baptist.

We made the wrong choice……… (from The Boar’s Head Tavern)

The first part of this man’s statement describes much of what I observe as I visit churches around the SBC (and that is my demonination).  As for the creed?  I think I’ll stick with The Apostles Creed !!

A friend of mine, Tom Ascol, posed this question in the Founders Journal in 2004:

What if I had to choose between a liberal church that does not believe in the full authority of Scripture yet thinks highly enough of it to read it publicly in worship, and a fundamentalist church that loudly affirms Scripture’s inerrancy but feels no compulsion to read it or be governed by it in worship?

We will prove our belief about the Scriptures and about worship, more by what we do than what we say.  Our worship services should include multiple readings of God’s word.

We must remember that “worship” means focusing on some(One) who is worthy of great worth.  It is not us (Psalm 115:1 — Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory) but it is God, through Jesus Christ, that is to command our attention.

Let’s work hard to keep the focus as it should be . . . on the Sovereign Creator and Redeemer.  Gazing upon Him will change us into His image!!  Programs, and entertainment, and man-centered activity will not. Let’s keep that out of “worship” so that it will really be that!!

Recovering Biblical Worship Against a World Sold on Entertainment

worshipContinuing our series on “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century.” We’ve already looked at :

1. Addressing Post-modern American with the authentic Gospel.
2. Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.
3. Preaching the unchanging Word in a time of increasing flux.

And now today: 4. Recovering Biblical worship against a world sold on entertainment.

In 1986 Neil Postman wrote a book entitled, Amusing Ourselves to Death. It was published just two years after 1984 which was the title of Orwell’s novel. Postman looked at the American culture and gave an analysis in which he saw everything based on entertainment or amusement. He spoke about Orwell’s dark vision as compared to Aldous Huxley’s in Brave New World. Postman said:

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies . . .”

There is no doubt that in 21st century America we have fallen prey to Huxley’s vision in a very tragic way. We seek to only be entertained, and that entertainment must be continuous. The real tragedy is that this attitude has infiltrated the church in a major way. It is all about “me” in so many of our churches. Make “me” happy or else I will go somewhere that they will. Lost is the concept that it is not about “me” but it is all about Jesus Christ.

Postman mentioned something that took place in 1985 where many celebrities gathered in a tribute to comedian George Burns for surviving 80 years in show business. Shecky Green, Red Buttons, Milton Berle, and others were joined by Billy Graham for this tribute. Postman tells this about the evening:

“The Reverend Graham exchanged one-liners with Burns about making preparations for Eternity. Although the Bible makes no mention of it, the Reverend Graham assured the audience that God loves those who make people laugh. It was an honest mistake. He merely mistook NBC for God.”

Sadly, in many church contexts there is more of an entertainment mentality than a worship attitude. Make me feel good, make me happy, wow me with something different and unusual, and the list can go on and on. When I come to church I want to see and hear something that I can find no place else. Something that nothing the entertainment media can give me. I want to have an encounter with the God of Truth. I want to “hear” from Him from His holy word. I want to express to Him my gratitude for all that He has done to bring about my salvation in the cross of Christ.

Corporate worship is the most exciting thing in the world . . . when we approach it properly. Of course, we can worship God individually throughout the week, but when we come together on Sunday there is nothing individual about it. It is the Body of Christ gathered with one purpose in mind, or it should be, and that is to worship — To declare the goodness, the grace, the glory of the living God in Jesus Christ, our Lord. To gaze into His face as we “see” Him high and lifted up.

When we seek entertainment, we are lowering God to our level. We “make” God too small in our estimation. David said in Psalm 96:5-7 — “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary . . .Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” Our God is a great God, a big God, the true God . . . Let us forget about entertainment and worship Him in a manner that is worthy of His greatness.

Blaspheming God!!

The very words should strike fear in our hearts. But do we ever stop and consider if that might be a problem? I remember in 1998 hearing John Piper preach the annual preaching lectures at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. One of his sermons that week was, How Not to Blaspheme God in the Pulpit.” (Click the link to listen)  It was one of the most penetrating sermons I have ever heard and I listen to it at least once a year.

Being a preacher myself, this is a question I ask myself regularly. My greatest fear is to not declare the glory of God in all its beauty and majesty when I preach.

I fear that a trend in our country today is to “dumb-down” God, to bring Him down to our level and to make Him dependent on us rather than us on Him. Mega-churches with their desire to reach great numbers and offend the least amount of people’s sensitivities (read that sins) dare not speak of God ‘s sovereignty and Christ’s Lordship, but paint Him as a buddy who only exists to make us happy. That is blasphemy!!

I remember reading something that Richard John Neuhaus wrote in First Things back in December of 1991 that dealt with this very issue. He was relating something he had read in The New York Review of Books about Albert Einstein’s view of organized religion. Here is what Neuhaus wrote:

• Discussing a number of books on cosmology in The New York Review of Books, Daniel Kevles quotes Charles Misner, a specialist in general relativity theory: “I do see the design of the universe as essentially a religious question. That is, one should have some kind of respect and awe for the whole business. . . . It’s very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had ever imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt the religions he’d run across did not have proper respect . . . for the Author of the universe.” You might want to pass that on to your preacher. If you’re the preacher, you might want to give some thought to repenting. As might we all.” (Emphasis mine)

May we forever exalt the true nature of our Sovereign, Holy, Magnificent God. Sola Deo Gloria!! To God alone be the glory!!

Preaching the Unchanging Word in a time of increasing flux

Here we go again considering the “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century.”

1) Addressing Post-modern Americans with the authentic Gospel.

2) Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.

And now — 3) Preaching the unchanging word in a time ofbible-glasses increasing flux.

We live in a day that almost worships the idea of “change.” If you followed the presidential race, that is just about all that you have heard from both sides: “We must have change.” Sometimes change is good. Many times people just cry for it instead of thinking through the issues. One thing is for sure, change is coming and only time will tell if it is for the better or worse. Sadly we no longer consider what our fundamental, foundational issues really are. To change, just for the sake of change, is quite foolish indeed.

But a part of the relativistic/post-modern age in which we live is the idea that there are no eternal truths; no fixed realities; no established issues worth dying for. Everything changes and to our generation that is just OK. In many areas of life that may not really matter. But when it comes to all that is revealed in God’s word it matters much.

Our churches across the nation are suffering because of the crisis of “changeitis” — holding nothing close as eternal truth. It has crept into the pulpits where there is only a type of pop psychology being taught and preached. One of the most critical missing elements from many pulpits is the cry of ‘thus says the Lord!” Some turn God’s commands into so many suggestions; His instruction in righteousness as something from the dark ages and certainly not for today. It is a sad thing but we live in a generation of spiritual and Biblical illiteracy in so many ways.

In spite of all this, God has given us His unchangeable word . . . The Bible . . . The word of truth . . . That which Paul says is “inspired (literally ‘God breathed’) by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.” We must be a people who look to God’s word for counsel and direction, not the latest fad or CNN, MSNBC, or FOX. The stock market may crash, but the word of God stands. The form of government in our nation may change, but the word of God is unshakeable. We must be a people who believe, live, and proclaim God’s holy, inerrant, infallible, trustworthy, and authoritative word.

We have to realize that this makes us look really strange to the world around us. As Al Mohler said in 2000, and it is still true today, “These days, this means confronting, not only a secular world, but a market driven, hyper-consumer sensitive church with the reality that it is the task of preaching the unchanging Word that is the central criterion of ministry, even, and especially in a time of flux.” Change means that there are no “hooks” on which to hang on when things get rough. We must show the church and the world that the word of God is all we need for security in times like these.

Cultivating a People of Truth in a Culture of Relativism

A couple of weeks ago I began discussing the “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century. These were presented in a message by Dr. Al Mohler to the Board of Trustees at Southern Seminary in 2000.

Last week: 1. “Addressing Post-modern Americans with the authentic Gospel.”

This week: 2. “Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.”

Is there any question that our culture is captivated by relativism? Everywhere we turn there are reminders that many people today don’t see life in terms of truth and falsehood. It is not uncommon to hear people speak of something being right for you but not for them. This philosophy, or worldview, is liable to show up just about anywhere. A few days back, I stopped in Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Their cups have quotes on them titled “The Way I See It.” The quote on my cup today was #293 and it said this:

“The way I see it isn’t necessarily the way you see it or the way it is or ought to be. What’s more important is that we’re all looking for it and a way to see it” (Desi Di Nardo, author and poet, Toronto, Canada)

Say what?!?! Now that may sound like so much gibberish to you, but it expresses the worldview of relativism. There is no “the” way to see things only my way and your way and they don’t have to correspond at all.

But as Christians we cannot fall for this type of faulty thinking (or lack of thinking). Truth is a basic foundation of Christianity. When Jesus stood before Pilate he was asked, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world for the purpose of pointing to the truth. He even said in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth and the life.”

This is the reason when we gather for worship we focus on God’s Word, the Bible, not on man’s opinion. When we select Sunday School material to study, we insist that it present the truth of God’s Word, not just fluffy, easy believism. If we are to be a people of truth then we must know intimately and apply daily God’s word. It must affect how we spend our money, how we relate to people outside the church, how we vote, how we do everything in our life.

We must realize that if something is not “truth” then it is a “lie.” Jesus is the truth and the teacher of it. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). In early 2009 you are going to hear about groups forming to become involved in “The Truth Project.” The purpose of this is to help us develop and become people of truth. When you hear about this opportunity, I hope each of you will pray about it and consider becoming a part of this important emphasis for the future of Grace.

A Day to Remember — October 31 (1517)

491 years ago today was a day that changed the course of the church for all time. On that day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Chapel. His desire was to begin a debate about abuses that he saw by the Papacy and the church. He had no intention on beginning a new church or even a movement. He simply wanted to see the church “reformed” that is re-formed by God’s word and in the image of Christ.

While the abuses may not be the same as they were in Luther’s day, the church today had departed from the pure Gospel message in many ways. There are many abuses where the church has watered down, distorted, and simply denied the Gospel. We have been content to let “little” errors enter without challenge thinking that a little error won’t do much harm. But it has and today the church is in as great a need of re-forming as it was in Luther’s day. What if you received a letter from your drinking water provider that said, “we have had a little problem with our water filtration system and some of the sewage from the treatment plant has gotten into the water supply. But the good news is that it is only 10% and 90% of your water is still pure.” You would be outraged. Yet, every day we allow the “sewage” of false teaching to enter into the church and think that it won’t hurt anything. How wrong we are.

Out of the Reformation came five “battle” cries. These expressed the basics of the Gospel for their day. They have not changed over the past 491 years . . . indeed over the past 2000 years . . . though we sometimes forget them or we let little errors push them aside. In 1998 as we dedicated a new campus of the church I pastored back then, we used these five “alones” (or Solas) for a dedication Bible Conference. Today we need to remember their importance as we remember the Reformation.

Sola Scripture — By Scripture Alone

It is through the Scriptures, the Bible, that God speaks today. The Bible is not just a book that somehow contains God’s word, but rather it is God’s Word! It is in His word, with the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that we find God’s will, His purposes and His requirements for our lives.

While we believe that denominational traditions and church history are important and should be known and studied, it is God’s Word, the Scriptures, where we find our ultimate and absolute authority.

2 Tim 3:16 -17All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 19:7The Lord of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Solo Christo — By Christ Alone

We live in a day which cries for diversity and tolerance. Thus, when people hear a church or group claiming that there is “only one way” to a relationship with God they appear to be horrified. However, the Word of God is quite clear on this matter. Jesus Christ himself left very little doubt as to where salvation is to be found.

John 14:6 — Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

Acts 4:12 — “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

We believe and proclaim that there is no salvation, no relationship with God, apart from the person and work of Jesus Christ. His death was as a substitute and sacrifice taking away our sin and giving us His righteousness. In reality, He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He died in our place the death that we deserved.

Sola Gratia — By Grace Alone

Man is notorious for wanting to “do it for themselves” – no matter what the “it” is. The Gospel teaches us that in the matter of salvation and being right with God, there is absolutely nothing that man or woman can do for themselves. Man is in rebellion toward God and will never seek God according to Romans 3:

Romans 3:11 — THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

If it were left up to man to “get saved” it would simply never happen. The good news is that God has determined to save a people for His glory. The Holy Spirit, in drawing men and women to Christ, demonstrates that salvation is totally of grace. It is only because of this grace that anyone will ever be saved.

John 6:44 — “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:37 — “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Sola Fide — By Faith Alone

The core, or fundamental truth, of the Gospel is that justification, being made right with God, is not on the basis of works, that is, anything we have done, but rather by faith in Christ alone.

Eph 2:5-8 — even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, (7) in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Salvation does not involve being as good as you can be . . . obeying all the 10 Commandments . . . or living by the Golden Rule. Salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

We acknowledge that when true faith is exercised in Christ there will be a change in life. New attitudes and actions follow faith in Christ. But this is the work of Christ in us, not our work for Him.

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone belongs the Glory

What does a person say when they have come to faith in Christ? The only proper response is “Thank you God!!” Too often men try and claim the glory, the credit, that belongs only to God. However, the Word of God clearly declares that God alone is worthy of worship, praise, and adoration.

Who should receive the glory for what we gain in this life? God should, because it is only by His grace that we have anything at all.

1 Corinthians 6:20 — For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Peter 4:16 — but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.

Job 1:21 — And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”


This is indeed a day of celebration . . . and also a day to call for a new reformation in the 21st century. It is time to see that these 5 solas are the foundation for the church to be formed in the image of Christ. The following was the sign erected (though it no longer stands) and became the church logo and expressed that we were standing on a solid foundation — the foundation of God’s word and Jesus Christ.

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