DiM | “Heart Like Heaven” by Hillsong United

Evangelical Worship Edition.

February 01, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “Heart Like Heaven” by Hillsong United.

With only one song left on this list after today, I must say that I’m more concerned than ever about the poor doctrine being taught through the musical arts in what is supposed to be Christian Corporate Worship. I’ve come to realize that the modern church-musician has abandoned the traditional role of music as a vehicle for teaching doctrine and memorizing Scriptures. The modern-day musician thinks his/her role is to create a “worship experience” using music. Regardless of whatever quasi-spiritual/mystical purpose for writing your songs/music, what we sing becomes what we believe. We discussed this reality a while back in DiM | lex orandi, lex credendi. Progressive Liberals (within the Church as well as in pagan politics) like to play in word games where there is no such thing as reality, but all is a matter of perception and intention. It’s nonsense, of course, but if your spirituality is no more meaningful than “being nice” you are easily peer-pressured into “going along” with bad corporate worship as long as “it truly touched” the musician or pastors of your church. We need to wake up. We memorize songs more easily than we do Scripture. What we sing becomes what we believe much faster than something we hear preached once, even if the bulletin has a fool-proof 3 steps to happiness handout included. We are giving these songs way too much of a pass. They are empty, vain, and sensually focused.

Getting down to the song for today, I love Electronic Dance Music (EDM)… it’s the style of music that most directly moves me, personally. I enjoy many forms of music, but EDM is one of my core favorites. Hillsong United gets this style of music and performs it well. Nevertheless… the lyric comes up wanting. As with most of these songs, there is a phrase or line that sound very Biblical and one is tempted to assume the rest is equally praiseworthy. This song is leavened with mystical sensuality… it’s aim isn’t to bring glory to God; rather, it is to evoke a sense of desire and felt passion in the singer somehow directed at God.

Hillsong United Official Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via Worship Together)

Verse
Holy no measure knows Your worth
Face down where mercy finds me first

Pre-Chorus
Whoa
If you sought perfection
Whoa
I’d die trying to reach it
Whoa
But this broken heart is all
You want

Chorus
Singing
Holy, heart like heaven, singing
Holy God almighty own this heart broke sound
Singing holy is Your name
Singing holy is Your name

Bridge
Own the sound forever
Heart and heaven together
Singing, ‘Holy is Your Name’
And if it lifts You higher, burn in me Your desire
A passion worthy of Your Name
| 2x |

Pre-Chorus 2
Whoa
And I’ll throw my weakness
Whoa
Into Your greatness
Whoa
If this broken heart is all
You want

Final Chorus
For You are worthy, Jesus Saviour
You are worthy, King forever
Hear my soul cry out
Singin’ holy is Your Name

Writer(s): Matt Crocker, Joel Houston
Theme(s): Call to Worship , God’s Attributes
Ministry(s): Hillsong
CCLI #: 7037921
Scripture Reference(s): Isaiah 14:13; Psalm 99:3

Discussion

Okay so the song is the typical vague, mystically sensual poetry fare we should expect coming out of Hillsong. But there is a real doozy in the first scriptural reference cited. Let’s take a look.

Isaiah 14:13 (ESV)
13 You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;

Does this verse sound familiar? No? If you know the answer try not to spoil it just yet for your neighbors. Let’s look at this verse in its immediate context.

Isaiah 14:3-23 (ESV)
3 When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

“How the oppressor has ceased,
the insolent fury ceased!
5 The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers,
6 that struck the peoples in wrath
with unceasing blows,
that ruled the nations in anger
with unrelenting persecution.
7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing.
8 The cypresses rejoice at you,
the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low,
no woodcutter comes up against us.’
9 Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.
10 All of them will answer
and say to you:
‘You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!’
11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are laid as a bed beneath you,
and worms are your covers.
12“How you are fallen from heaven,
    O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
    you who laid the nations low!
13 You said in your heart,
    ‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
    I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
    in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 But you are brought down to Sheol,
    to the far reaches of the pit.
16 Those who see you will stare at you
and ponder over you:
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
who shook kingdoms,
17 who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?’
18 All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
each in his own tomb;
19 but you are cast out, away from your grave,
like a loathed branch,
clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,
who go down to the stones of the pit,
like a dead body trampled underfoot.
20 You will not be joined with them in burial,
because you have destroyed your land,
you have slain your people.
“May the offspring of evildoers
nevermore be named!
21 Prepare slaughter for his sons
because of the guilt of their fathers,
lest they rise and possess the earth,
and fill the face of the world with cities.”
22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.

Did you catch it? The verse being quoted was part of a pronouncement of judgement against Satan, here personified as Babylon. It is also a prophecy against the actual Babylon that had taken Israel captive. Point being, WorshipTogether lists this single verse… without context… as a reference for this vague song supposedly written for worship. What a theological mess. And remember, this is on the list of “best new worship songs 2015”.

Let’s go ahead and look at Psalm 99 next:

Psalm 99 (ESV) | The Lord Our God Is Holy
99 The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name!
    Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!

So, they pull one verse that compels “them” to praise God’s Great and Awesome Name, for He is Holy. There is a lot more in this Psalm that doesn’t even get touched on in the Hillsong song. Why reference this Psalm, and what does this have to do with the Isaiah 14 passage? We could connect the themes in a sermon, but this song doesn’t even try. I don’t even think the song writers used these verses, and if they did they had no idea of the context of the Isaiah 14 passage.

I’m not going through this song line-by-line. There’s no point, and frankly, I’m upset by the “references” used to justify this nonsense. The overall theme of the song is a pious sounding, “God doesn’t ask me to be perfect, just broken” and then makes odd appeals to God for a desire and passion worthy of His name. Telling God to “own the sound” of us singing holy… what does that nonsense even mean? There are the obligatory “whoa”s and the nonsensical appeal to God to listen to our souls crying out… dear Christian, do you know how to cry out with your soul while you are living in an earthly body? Is that a level of muscle control one can learn? No. It’s empty words weaved into a transcendental audio track with warmly echoing harmonious voices. This song teaches Christians that they need to passionately reach out to God since that is really what he wants… your brokenness felt in a deep and mystically sensual way. After reading the lyrics and the “scripture references”, I can’t for the life of me attempt an explanation for the title of the song “Heart Like Heaven”… it simply makes no sense within the lyric. Your eisegesis is as good as mine on the meaning of this phrase… and that’s not a good thing.

Another thing that upsets me is that considering how little is actually said in this song… this song drones on for over 6 minutes. Drop the seance mood-music and sing actual Praises to a Living and Gracious God, or sing songs that teach sound doctrine for the building up of the saints in the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints!

Conclusion

This song shouldn’t be sung/performed in corporate worship. I still can’t believe the scripture references provided. Completely derailed any attempt I might have had at trying to salvage a portion of this song. It’s unsalvageable, dump it. Corporate worship isn’t about sensuality, it’s about building up the body of Christ in the faith through hearing (speaking, singing, preaching) the Word of God.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Unbroken Praise” by Matt Redman

Evangelical Worship Edition.

January 28, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “Unbroken Praise” by Matt Redman.

I’m not happy with the idea of this song being included in corporate worship. It’s an empty song. It’s a bit self-seeking, actually. Nowhere in this song is there any actual praise to God for Who He is or what He has done.

Matt Redman VEVO (Lyric Video)

 

Lyrics (via Worship Together)

Verse 1
Praise unbroken
Praise unending be Yours
Be Yours forevermore
Praise untainted, praise unfading
Be Yours, be Yours forevermore
Be Yours, be Yours forevermore

Chorus
Unbroken Praise be Yours, God, forever
All my praise be Yours, God, forever
Lord take this life, let it become Your throne
Unbroken praise be Yours

Verse 2
My surrender
My devotion be Yours
Be Yours forevermore, be Yours
Be Yours forevermore

Chorus

Bridge
So let my deeds outrun my words
And let my life outweigh my songs
2x
Chorus
2x

Writer(s): Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman
Theme(s): Adoration & Praise , Call to Worship , Commitment & Dedication
Ministry(s): Passion , ThankYou Music
CCLI #: 7043173
Scripture Reference(s): Jude 1:25; Psalm 86:12

Discussion

Okay, so the song doesn’t say very much. It uses the word “praise” a lot, but the focus doesn’t seem to be on God being worthy of all praise; rather, it seems more focused on how we are committing ourselves to praising Him. Let’s begin with the cited references.

Jude 25 (ESV) 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Now lets look at it in context:

Jude 17-25 (ESV)

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

The context of the close of this letter is that of eternity. Perseverance in the faith until the Day of Christ’s Return, the day of His mercy on all who believe in Him, when we will be resurrected to eternal life in Christ. Let’s look at the second reference.

Psalm 86:12 (ESV) I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

Now lets look at the Psalm:

Psalm 86 (ESV) | Great Is Your Steadfast Love
A Prayer of David.

86 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

The cited verse comes toward the end of a stanza that began with actual praise to God and closed with God having delivered David’s soul from the depths of Sheol… again, this is in eternity. David is praising God for his Salvation, and confessing that he will glorify the Name of the Lord in eternity.

Now, getting back to the Matt Redman song, there is not a single confession of the worthiness of God to be praise. He is Worthy, absolutely worthy, but the song didn’t bother to name a one. That’s odd. That’s a problem. King David prayers and his psalms praised the LORD God for who He is and what He has done and what He has Promised to do. If this song is to be considered a song of worship and praise to the Living God, then the Living God should be worshiped and praised in the lyric. At best… at the very best… giving a lot of grace to the song… it is a song about the idea of praise and worship to a Living God.

Verse 1. This is a verse about the kind of praise God should have in eternity. Okay. But you know… in seeker-sensitive, “worship experience”, “presence inviting” churches… this verse is sung as if we are offering this sort of praise in the here and now. But we aren’t. It’s like singing about giving the LORD a shout… but no one is shouting. Or singing about bowing down before God… but not bowing down. Pretty words bereft of meaning. If the intended context of this verse is eternity, that’s fine but why not start with confessing the faith in the One Who secures our entrance into eternal life?

Chorus. Well, it starts off seemingly in the same context of “forever”… a bit of a speed bump with the sudden shift to “all MY praise”… and then we’ve left the rails with the odd request, Lord take this life, let it become Your throne (cue vinyl-record-scratch). What the heck does that even mean? The LORD is seated on His throne now… with Our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ at His Right Hand. This isn’t praise, this is requesting special favor, special position, to be the throne of God. There were a couple of Apostles whose mother had asked for similar honors… didn’t get the response she was aiming for.

Matthew 20:20-28 (ESV) | A Mother’s Request

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 Jesus answered,You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The point being, God has His throne, and we aren’t worshiping Him to be made into something uniquely special ourselves. He has already done everything for us… our praise flows from our thanksgiving for what has already been delivered and what has been promised as though it were already delivered… because His promises are assured.

Verse 2. Oh, well, why not just go all-in with the self-promotion. Let’s praise God by pointing out our devotion, and our surrender to Him. I’m sure He will be pleased/impressed by how devoted we are to Him (/sarcasm_font) . The song hasn’t actually Praised God for anything…. but it has asked of God a special place in recognition for the praise the song is suggesting will come to Him.

Bridge. And now I’m just throwing up my hands in despair. After not actually Praising God for anything, we are revisiting the idea of God making our lives His throne by granting us the special favor of great works that exceed our words, and a great life that outweighs our songs? Is the song an attempt to secure temporal prosperity and fame in exchange for eternal, unbroken praise in the afterlife? My mind keeps jumping toward the Osteens, with Victoria Osteen saying, “So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?” Read more. No, Victory, we cannot “amen” that statement.

Conclusion

The visible church has been tolerating people-pleasing, ear-scratching preachers for so long, that we’ve gone the extra mile to write people-pleasing worship songs. Songs that praise the people for their good work of singing praises… or rather, singing along with the emotionally mystical songs played by the band. Matt Redman is the celebrity… because he writes songs that make the people singing them feel good, not because he is gifted at praising God. He’s a gifted musician and singer… but these lyrics don’t lead people in praise or worship of a Living God. The song is empty and self-seeking.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | Addressing the Sin of Abortion

To deny that Abortion is murder is to suppress the Truth of God’s Word. We expect such fruit from unbelievers born dead in their sins and trespasses. The struggle comes when we discover professing believers struggling against this truth. Abortion isn’t merely a way of erasing a mistake; it is stacking on the sin of murder on top of whatever sins led to the unwanted pregnancy. As Christians, we should really stop using “mistake” to describe sin. The Sermon on the Mount doesn’t leave room for “oopsies”.

There’s more to Abortion than Murder

There are several para-church groups fighting to end Abortion in the US and to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. The courts are in Planned Parenthood’s pockets, the Politicians, the Media, Hollywood,… the false god of this world has re-created child sacrifice and sold it to this nation under several misnomers such as: reproductive health; women’s rights; choice. There are various street ministries who picket/demonstrate outside of Abortion centers pleading with pregnant women not to commit murder, not to sacrifice the innocent child on the altar of selfishness. But there is more to Abortion than the sin of murder. Many of those mothers, boyfriends, parents, friends are themselves dead in their sins and trespasses.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Let’s pause our reading in Ephesians, to expand on what we once were as dead men/women in the trespasses and sins… before the Grace of God regenerated us to new life. The best place to do that is in Romans 1… I humbly ask that as you read “they” in the following verses, understand that we were once included in this group… and have only been saved by the Grace of God.

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This is the unbeliever, and such were each of us… Like the rest of mankind… 

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Who judges the sin of the unbeliever? God. They stand condemned in their unbelief… they are by nature children of wrath. We do all that we can to end legalized abortion and to save every human life we can… and there is more to the problem of Abortion than trying to stop the murders.

The lost need to hear the Word of God preached

I pray that the government returns to the proper understanding that abortion, in all cases, is murder and that there is no justifiable reason for killing an unborn baby. None. But the legalization of the murder is only a symptom of the problem. The problem is sin. All of the illegal murders that happen, still happen, despite their being illegal. Murder is against the Law of God. But that Law is incapable of granting the ability to do what the Law demands. Having the Law doesn’t make a person righteous, it exposes the unrighteousness in the one breaking the Law. As Jesus pointed out, the Law of Murder is broken in our hearts before it has been committed by our hands. None can stand innocent (Righteous) before this Law except for Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Let’s look at how Paul expands on this thought in Romans 10… but he’s not just referring to the Law against Murder, but all of the Law.

Romans 10:5-17 (ESV) | The Message of Salvation to All

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The Christian needs to hear the Word of God preached, also

With the rise of “missional” church movement, and the notion that good works are the means of evangelism comes a dreadful ignorance regarding the need to preach the Gospel both to unbelievers and to believers. We preach the Gospel to “them”… “those people” who are wicked, lost, depraved, and slaves to darkness. Once they’ve made a confession of faith in Christ and been baptized into the local church… we quickly “put them to work” outside of the church to them, those people who are wicked, lost, depraved, and slaves to darkness… so that they can live out the Gospel. What of the sin that still remains in their flesh? Is there not forgiveness for the sin they commit? Do they not still stumble? Will they not still fall? In some cases, their sins are lorded over them as a sign of doubt to the authenticity of their faith, their sanctification is called into question… they are beaten down by the Law… because, after all, they already heard the Gospel and were already made new creatures, right? No. Let’s look to Galatians 3.

Galatians 3:1-14 (ESV)

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written,“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

In this life, we’ll not ever graduate from the Gospel. Our Sanctification will not be complete in this life. Why are we talking about this and how does it relate to Abortion? The death of Abortion is the wages of the sins that precede it. The hard truth is that there are believers falling to temptations of the flesh, or being made victims of the sins of others, and in their shame they are turning to murder to hide their sin.

King David killed a man to hide his sexual sin. There are believers today still resorting to murder to hide their sin… society is different, but the victims of these murders are no less innocent than Uriah. And these murders are no less guilty of sin than was King David. Repentance and forgiveness was available to King David… and it is no less available to everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord.

 

Closing Thoughts

I’m grateful for the faithful Brethren who faithfully preach the Word of God outside abortion clinics. My wife and I work closely with a para-church Adoption agency. But there is more to the problem of Abortion than its murderous conclusion, the heart of the matter is sin. The sin of adultery, the sin of murder, the sin of covetousness, the sin of idolatry. Christians are committing these sins… daily… and they need repentance as much as the unbelievers. We need to hear the Gospel of Grace flowing from the pulpits… in equal measure with the full-power preaching of the Law. I’m not lobbying for lawlessness… on the contrary, we need to hear the law, unsoftened, unmitigated, and unwavering… but the Law does not grant the obedience it requires… we need to hear of God’s unmitigated Grace in Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

Pastors, if I may, I’d like to draw your attention to a truth that is not often discussed in the open. In your congregation:

  • there are folks addicted to pornography
  • there are youth engaging in sexual immorality
  • there are married men taking advantage of lonely women
  • there are married women seducing foolish men
  • there are unwanted pregnancies being hidden and aborted in secret

They need repentance and the forgiveness of sin. It isn’t enough to simply rebuke the sin and wonder why some stop attending. Preach both Law and Gospel… allow God the Holy Spirit to do the rest. We need elders and deacons who hold each other accountable to the LORD. We all need God’s Grace on a daily basis.

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV) | Bear One Another’s Burdens

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

The body of Christ needs to be a place where we gather together to receive the Grace of God for the forgiveness of sin. We are to forgive our neighbors as we have been forgiven by God. The Church of Jesus Christ is a place for believers to find Rest in Christ Jesus.

DiM | “One Thing” by Hillsong

Evangelical Worship Edition

January 25, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “One Thing” by Hillsong Worship. If you’re idea of a worship song is to take the typical “woo your girlfriend for romance” type of song and replace “girlfriend” with “Jesus” and “romance” with a mystical experience (or just leave it as it is and call it ‘passion’), then this is the song for you. *sigh* 

This should never be played in a church service… but what worries me is that this was probably aggressively pushed at youth conferences/rallies/retreats.

Hillsong Worship Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via Worship Together)

Verse
I tasted the world, seen more than
Enough, it’s promises fleeting.
Of water and wine I emptied the cup
And found myself wanting
But there is a well that never runs dry
The water of life, the blood of the Vine

Chorus
And all I know is everything
I have means nothing
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now

Chorus 2
‘Cuz all i want is
Everything you are and nothing
Jesus if you’re not my one thing
Every thing to me right now

Verse
Just one thing I ask
And this I will seek, if
Only to know You
To be where You are and
Go where You lead, my God, I will follow
The things of this world, I’ve counted as loss
I lay it all down to take up this cross

Chorus

Chorus 2

Bridge
And I’ll sing, Whoa , whoa
I want nothing but to know
You and Be with You, my God
|2x|

Chorus
Instrumental
Chorus
Chorus 2
Bridge

Writer(s): Joel Houston, Aodhan King, Dylan Thomas
Theme(s): Call to Worship , Commitment & Dedication , Faith & Trust , Peace & Hope
CCLI #: 4869957
Scripture Reference(s): John 4:14; Psalm 27:4

Discussion

Let’s begin with its Scripture Reference(s):

John 4:14 (ESV) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Clearly this single verse isn’t the complete thought. However, this passage wasn’t torn out of its context for this song. The passage is referenced in a manner consistent with its context… though I really wish they’d reference the full passage. The point of the first verse of this song is an attempt to place the singer in the shoes of the adulterous Samaritan woman at the well. Let’s read it in its context.

John 4:1-42 (ESV) | Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 1Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Such a powerful story. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Christ, to the Samaritans. But what is the water that flows from Jesus and becomes a spring of water in us unto eternal life? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, of forgiveness, of the waters of Baptism, of the resurrection and the Life in Christ Jesus. Does this song faithfully convey this? No… true to Hillsong teaching, it’s switched from the Gospel to some emotional worship experience that comes as a result of “making Jesus your One Thing”. What does that even mean? We’ll get to that, but for now lets move on to the other referenced passage.

Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

This passage is used to explain the rest of the song. This one isn’t kept as contextually based as the other. The Seeker-driven approach to corporate worship connects exuberance and excitement to attend a Hillsong concert, or “worship experience” to dwelling in the house of the Lord and inquiring in his temple. They don’t focus on preaching the Word of the Lord, Law and Gospel. They are selling the exuberance, the emotion, the passion of the moment. Hillsong preaches the prosperity false-gospel, so they didn’t include the rest of the Psalm that demonstrates hardship and hard times. No, they pulled verse 4 to turn it into a formula that the song is presenting… If I make Jesus my One Thing, then I’ll have everything I need and nothing else will matter. The problem with this formula is the “if I make Jesus my One Thing”. No one is capable of making Jesus their one thing… for we are all sinners. We sin. This is LAW (do this to be righteous). The Samaritan at the well was familiar with the LAW… it wasn’t the LAW that forgave her, it was the Gospel. In this Psalm, David has asked for permission to dwell in the house of the Lord… and committed himself to seeking Him in His House. But he asked, because the LORD gives by His Grace and Mercy… it cannot be granted us by our merit, for we don’t merit anything and our vows are worthless. Only in Christ are granted access to God, adopted as sons through Him.

Verses. These verses are quite pious in their claims at rejecting earthly living. Notice there isn’t a mention of sin, guilt, shame, or repentance… there’s just a sense of “well, I’ve tried the world and am left empty and wanting more… I’m not satisfied”. This is the problem that Prosperity doctrine tries to remedy… not sin and the Wrath of God, but mediocrity, blandness, unfulfilled living. I don’t like throwing out the “pelagian” card, but that philosophy is here… as if to say that we are somewhat neutral at our core, but we’ve been looking to the wrong places for fulfillment… when what we should be doing is ignoring everything but Jesus so we can finally be fulfilled.  That’s not preaching neither God’s Law nor His Gospel… it’s scratching itching ears and teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught.

Choruses. Here’s the wooing of “girlfriend Jesus”… where impossible promises are made to secure an intimate experience. No one else matters to me, hun, you’re the only one I seeNo one holds a candle to your radiant sunshine… or more directly, Nothing else matters to me than to make you my One Thing right now, in this moment, in this place.

Conclusion

So, the point of this song is to make a promise to Jesus that “you’ll make Him your One Thing” so that He’ll give you an emotional/spiritual experience in this moment… so you can feel Him… and then nothing else in the world will matter. So… what happens if you don’t feel Him? Well, just walk through the song to see that clearly you haven’t made Him your One Thing. You need to give sacrificially of your time or money… you need to do more… let go of more… until YOU’VE made Him your One Thing. Anything less than that is failure, worldliness, mediocrity. Law, law, law…. law. Who benefits from this? Hillsong. Who suffers? the congregant who recognizes his/her own sin and crushed by the LAW but isn’t preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin.

This song is abusive in its theology, and teens are particularly susceptible, given their fixation on the “here and now” and “emotional intelligence”. But they are not the only susceptible group… millions of people worldwide are held captive under this false doctrine of “experience” and law-heavy, man-centric piety.

Jesus is the well of Life… and you don’t even get to draw the bucket. He washes you, regenerates you, and Saves you. You contribute nothing but the sin that needs to be forgiven.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “It Is Well With My Soul” by Matt Redman

Presentation1Evangelical Worship Edition

January 21, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “It Is Well With My Soul” by Matt Redman.

So, when you read that title, you may have thought (as I did), “cool, Matt Redman redid the beloved Hymn by Horatio Spafford. Well, no, Matt didn’t. He just used the refrain from the song.

MattRedman VEVO Live/Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via Worship Together)

Verse 1:
Our scars are a sign of grace in our lives,
And Father how you brought us through
When deep were the wounds and dark was the night
The promise of Your love You proved.
Now every battle still to come
Let this be our song
Chorus:
It is well, it is well
With my soul, with my soul
It is well, it is well
with my soul
Verse 2:
Weeping may come, remain for a night
But joy will paint the morning sky
You’re there in the fast, You’re there in the feast
Your faithfulness will always shine
Now every blessing* still to come
Let this be our song
Chorus
Bridge:
You lead us through battles, (You lead us through battles)
You lead us to blessing, (You lead us to blessing)
And You make us fruitful, (And You make us fruitful)
In the land of our suffering God
It is well, it is well
with my soul!
Chorus

Writer(s): Matt Redman, Beth Redman
Theme(s): Commitment & Dedication , Faith & Trust , Peace & Hope
Ministry(s): ThankYou Music
CCLI #: 7000696
Scripture Reference(s): Psalm 62:5

*I changed “battle” to “blessing” here to match the VEVO Live audio in the clip above.

Discussion

The best thing this song has going for it is that it causes those who know the hymn to think on it rather than these 2 verses. However, if you are unfamiliar with that great hymn… this song doesn’t do much to back-fill the theology. Before we get into that, let’s look at the single-verse proof text cited for this song.

Psalm 62:5 (ESV) For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.

Verse 1. Our scars are a sign of grace in our lives. Perhaps in the most general sense of “you lived through it”, this stands as a valid statement. That you are still breathing is a sign of God’s Grace to you, yes. For believers, it means that God has not yet decided to call you home, so you’ll be relying on His Grace to hold you steadfast a while longer. But our scars also are a sign of sin. A very real and present sign of the sin, death, and the curse. So our scars, on their own, don’t point us to Christ and the Grace of God. The next three lines allude to the cross, but don’t clearly point to it. So we have a verse that mixes two metaphors poorly, one of our scars and another of Christ’s deep wounds and a promise of God’s love. Christ didn’t give His life on the cross for your circumstances, your trials, or your hard times. He gave His life on the cross for your Forgiveness and Reconciliation to God the Father. The original hymn took 2 verses to get to the Gospel of the cross. Our modern-day approach to worship songs tries to condense everything into quaint, simple songs of 2 verses, a chorus, and a bridge/outro that can be repeated ad nauseam. Matt’s song makes an attempt at reflecting upon our own scars, then remembering the cross as God’s grace bringing us through the darkest night in the history of mankind as encouragement that He’ll bring us through all the battles to come… and we’ll do so by singing the refrain, “it is well with my soul”. As a story arc, I’m okay with that to a degree, but it’s not stated plainly enough. There are lots of other ways to interpret the artistically vague lines in the verse. It starts by looking at our own scars, poetically alludes to the cross, then launches into the refrain, as if the point is to get the listener to “align their faith with God’s promises for their lives” or “accept that God is in control”. These are law-heavy themes prevalent in Word of Faith (WoF) and Prosperity teaching where the promises of God have to be proclaimed, declared, and decreed with as much faith as you can muster, otherwise they might be blocked by your own unbelief, negative self-talk, complaining, or law-breaking (not tithing, unrepentant sin, etc). I say all of this to point out that whenever the lyric is vague, the doctrine/theology of the venue determines the meaning of the song.

Chorus. The chorus is the refrain from the old hymn. In the original hymn, it takes 6 verses to lay out the theology that enables the singer/hearer to confess trusting in the LORD despite his circumstances. In spite of trials and struggles, the author is proclaiming the Gospel and confessing that by faith, it is well with his soul. Matt Redman hasn’t built up to that just yet, and with only one more verse and a bridge to go, it’s not looking great. Again, those of us familiar with the hymn are ahead of the curve for rightly understanding what is behind the refrain. The refrain is both a confession and a watermark or goal much like “be anxious for nothing…” (Phil 4:6). It’s not a law to be kept, for it’s not something you can do to keep it… it is Gospel, good news, something that is only made available to you by faith in Christ Jesus. When our eyes turn to our circumstances or to our own strength, we fail… we become anxious… we become troubled… we sin in looking away from our Savior. Repentance is available for that, and His Grace will carry us through and restore us every time we cry out to Him. Don’t let this refrain become a burden or a rebuke for feeling sorrow. Don’t let become an empty statement, either. Let it be a prayer and a confession of faith in Christ Jesus.

Verse 2. I don’t like the first two lines as presented in this song. They do come from Psalm 30, but the lines fit a more metaphorical sense… as in seasons rather than literal night and day reversals of circumstances. That is the sort of thing that can happen when you only grab the second half of the verse.

Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

You see, the Psalmist sets up the idea by contrasting the momentary Anger of the LORD against His Favor for a lifetime. When we endure punishment for our wrong doing, we who are of Faith repent and are forgiven by His Grace to spend an eternity with Him. So the night/morning is much bigger than getting over “having a bad day”. The song doesn’t do a good job of setting that in motion here. I suppose if the hearer were familiar with Psalm 30, then perhaps there’s no harm done. But having grown up in WoF churches… this passage is used to bolster many a “decree / declare” victory speech. The rest of the verse isn’t bad, I don’t feel like picking it apart. But we’ve finished the second verse without a clear Gospel. We have an empty promise setup by the Ps 30:5b being presented as a Promise from God that “things will be better in the morning”. They might not… not temporally, anyway… and that might be all in God’s Will… for His Glory and your benefit, even if you can’t see it. The cancer may kill, the surgery might fail, the ship may sink (as it did in 1873). The Gospel is our hope, and it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which grants us the faith needed to confess, It is well with my soul.

Bridge. Typical of Redman, Passion, Hillsong, … we get a victorious overcomer pep-rally cheer in the bridge. This is the part you repeat… and repeat… throw in a chorus… then repeat…. because this is the Positive Atmosphere or purpose-driven dream destiny thingy.

Let’s take a better look at Psalm 62.

Psalm 62 (ESV) | My Soul Waits for God Alone
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

62 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
3 How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
 if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12     and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

Did Matt Redman capture the theology of the Psalm in this song? I don’t think so. I wish he had, though… it’s a wonderful Psalm.

Conclusion

The music portion of song is fine… upbeat tempo, modern instrumentation, easily sung by a group of people. But lyrically, its a bit of a flop. I don’t know why we’ve abandoned writing 4-6 verses to a song to fully express theology. It’s not for brevity’s sake since we’ve also included Intros, Instrumentals, and repeated Bridges. The original hymn needed 6 verses to explain the refrain. We need to get back to writing songs that clearly express doctrine/theology rather than the current model of “artistically vague” just to broaden the marketing pool for increased revenue. Theologically rich worship songs aren’t going to be bought up by those who no longer endure sound doctrine, and we need to be okay with that.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge