DiM | “All of Creation” by MercyMe

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

Today’s song comes via reader-submission. We’ll be reviewing the song “All of Creation” by MercyMe. This is a very short song. I love this song very much. It serves as a reminder for some of the core promises of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You might be wondering, “then why is it not on the ‘Approved’ list?” It doesn’t proclaim the Gospel clearly. Only believers with sound doctrine will clearly understand the references in context. I don’t think it can be negatively misinterpreted very easily… just that if your theology is immature or heterodox, you’ll miss the beauty of the song and the encapsulation of the Gospel therein. Let’s give the song a listen and then look at the lyric and the passages of scripture it invokes.

VEVO Official Audio

 

Lyric (via MetroLyrics)

Separated until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

[chorus:]
and all of creation sing with me now
lift up your voice and lay your burden down
and all of creation sing with me now
fill up the heavens let his glory resound

Time has faded and we see him face to face
every doubt erased forever we will worship the king

[repeat chorus]

ohh ah ohhh…ohh ah ohhh

the reason we breathe is to sing of his glory
and for all he has done praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one

[repeat chorus 2x]

and every knee will bow oh and every tongue praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one

Songwriters
Muckala, Daniel John / Millard, Bart / Bryson, Jim / Cochran, Nathan / Graul, Barry / Scheuchzer, Mike / Shaffer, Robby / Bannister, Brown

Published by
Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., MUSIC SERVICES, INC.

Discussion

Okay, I find it odd that such a short song has so many writers credited. In this case, it’s neither a pro or con, just an observation.

Verse 1. Here we have a reference to the veil of separation between God and sinful man being torn in the Christ’s flesh on the cross. There are a few passages we can review for this. Let’s begin by looking at the referent, the rending of the Temple Veil that separated the Most Holy Place (The Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept) from the Holy Place within the Temple.

Matthew 27:45-54 (ESV) | The Death of Jesus

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.*

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

* John 19:30(ESV) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I added the asterisk to include my favorite three words, “It is finished” from John’s account… such a comfort to me. Now, the letter to the Hebrews spends a great deal of time expounding on the significance of the torn curtain or veil and how Christ’s finished work on the cross brought the Mosaic Covenant to an end and enacted the New Covenant of His Blood. I encourage you to read through the whole book, but for now let’s read a portion from chapter 10.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV) | The Full Assurance of Faith

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, though Israel was the chosen People of God access to the Most Holy place was strictly limited to a human High Priest as a mediator between God’s children and God and only once a year. But Christ didn’t need to be perfected or cleaned, for He is the Son of God, and He became our Perfect mediator and in Christ we have access to the Most Holy Throne of God. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, also used this reference to encourage the Gentile believers in Ephesus. You see, the Old Covenant stood also as a barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Ephesians 2 (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. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One in Christ
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Amen.

Verse 2. This verse, I think, refers to Paul’s description of our status as beleivers in Romans 6.

Romans 6:17-19 (ESV) But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

We are bound to righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus, not by chains of sin. Paul goes on in this letter to describe our condition in this life as simultaneously sinner and saint… for as long as we live in these fleshly bodies we will have to contend with our own passions and desires emanating from within our fleshly hearts. The ultimate resolution will come in the Last Day, when Christ returns and those who are asleep in Christ will rise and those who are alive will be transformed finally set free from our fleshly, corrupted, sinful bodies. Which leads us to our chorus.

Chorus. There is a tendency for modern evangelicalism to try to take the eternal promises out of eternity and make them apply to this temporal life. This is sometimes called the “Theology of glory” as opposed to the “Theology of the Cross”. Let’s take a look at what Paul writes in Romans 8.

Romans 8:18-30 (ESV) | Future Glory

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We, and all of creation, will sing in victory in eternity. When Christ returns and this fallen world is brought to an end, and all of creation will be freed from sin, and those who are in Christ will be ushered into the New Heavens and the New Earth, when we will see Him face to face.

Conclusion

For Christians who know the Scriptures, the Gospel of Jesus Christ… this is a great song of encouragement. While I feel the lyric lacks enough detail to be fully “Approved”, I love this song. In closing, I’d like to look at what the Apostle Peter wrote concerning the coming Day of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:1-13 (ESV) | The Day of the Lord Will Come

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing,following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

According to His promise… His promise. 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.

Jude 24-25E (ESV) 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, 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 | “Call It Grace” by Unspoken

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

April 28, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Call It Grace” by Unspoken which currently sits at #17 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

This song is better than the most of what I’ve been hearing on CCM Radio. This week the better of our local stations is doing their fundraising (sidenote: stop assuming that everything you do as a radio station is “spreading the Gospel”… the Gospel is infrequently articulated and absent from the majority of the music being played) so I’ve had the radio tuned to Air1. Wow, they’ve gone full seeker-mergent-nonsense with Tony Campolo and Levi Lusko getting airtime for their moralistic deism posing as Christianity. This song is on the better end of the “listen with Discernment” spectrum, but the problems in the song were enough to make granting an “approval” unsettling for me. Let’s take a look/listen.

UnspokenVEVO

 

Lyrics (via LyricsBox)

It’s the light that pierces through you
To the darkest hidden place
It knows your deepest secrets
But it never looks away
It’s the gentle hand that pulls you
From the judgement of the crowd
When you stand before them guilty
And you got no way out

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it’s a miracle
It’s nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace

It’s the breath that’s breathing new life
Into what we thought was dead
It’s the favor that takes orphans
Placing crowns upon their heads
It’s the hope for our tomorrows
The rock on which we stand
It’s a strong and mighty fortress
Even Hell can’t stand against

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it’s a miracle
It’s nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace
Call it grace

Amazing, unshaking
This is grace, this is grace
Unchanging, unfailing
This is grace, this is grace

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it’s a miracle
It’s nothing less than scandalous
This love that That Jesus took our place
Oh call it what it is, just call it what it is
Call it grace

Discussion

Okay, so the best thing going for this song comes by way of what may have been an ad-lib after the bridge, you’ll see above where I crossed out what is in the posted lyrics and wrote in the ad-lib. Here, we have a Gospel nugget, but it’s not presented well and it comes very late in the song. The biggest problem with this lyric is the pronoun game and the treatment of God’s Grace as a thing unto itself. This is common for an evangelicalism that is steeped in Star Wars Christianity where Faith is like the Force and Grace can be an opportunity, or Love, or a second chance, etc.

The Pronoun Game. Were it not for the ad-lib, the “it” of the song would have no direct object. Whatever “it” is… apparently cannot be known directly, it has to be experienced in some way and then that experience… well, let’s just Call It Grace. We’ll assume that’s what grace is… whatever “it” is in the song. Now, we do have that last ad-lib connecting “a love that took our place” with the Name of Jesus. That’s a Gospel nugget. Took our place where? What did it mean when He took our place? Why did He take our place? What does this mean for me? None of these questions gets any sort of answer in the lyric of the song. The song just poetically hints at experiences it assumes the listener will be able to piece together. That’s not sharing the Gospel, folks… that’s being vaguely spiritual-ish. We’ll work through some of the hints at scripture, and we’ll see that reading the Actual Scripture gives so much more clarity than these paltry hints. And here’s the thing… as with most of the songs that fall in our middle-category, only those whose doctrine is sound and scripturally rich have any chance of being edified by these vague works of art… most will walk away clouded, confused, and leavened.

Starting with the ad-lib rescue, let’s look to the best place in Scripture where we can see the answer to what it means to have Jesus take our place, and we’ll pull from Romans 5.

Romans 5:6-9 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Immediately, we get to our second point, too, being that the song talks about grace as a thing unto itself apart from God. But notice that is not how the Apostle Paul talks about the Grace and Love of God. It’s personal. He loved us by dying for us in our place for our sins. We could go to a few places, but let’s look to Paul’s intro in his letter to the Galatians because it will help connect these points to the next point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:1-10  (ESV) | Greeting

Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospelnot that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Now, in this specific context Paul is most concerned about the Judaising heresy, one which sought to compel Gentile believers to convert to Judaism in order to be (or to prove they truly were) Christians. This heresy hasn’t gone away, we still have various hebrew-roots and torah-observant legalists running around, but we also have the non-jewish versions like theonomy and moralistic therapeutic deism. While these errors are not in today’s song lyric (yay!) the sterile treatment of Grace as a thing unto itself drives a wedge between the blessings of the Grace of God and the God from Whom that Grace flows. That wedge creates a gap that is easily filled by false religion of works.

I don’t see any upside to treating the Grace of God separately from God Himself. There is no benefit, no edifying purpose in it. In my view, it only presents a pitfall.

Now, lets work through the vague hints toward scripture found in the verses.

Verse 1. The picture of rescue in this paragraph doesn’t demonstrate the message of Salvation, because our condemnation wasn’t before the world, it was before God. We sinned against God and were dead in our sins and trespasses from birth. I think this verse is pulling more from the pericope adulterae:

John 7:53-8:11 (ESV) | [The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]
The Woman Caught in Adultery

[[They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her,“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

As you can see in the note pulled from the ESV (and other good translations), there is a concern regarding this account. It is absent from the earliest copies of the Gospels entirely, and the copies that have the story aren’t always in the same place, or even the same Gospel. It’s included, but with a strong caveat here. While nothing in this section directly contradicts scriptures, taking this narrative passage and building theology from it is strongly discouraged. If we keep it in the text, we must keep it submitted to the rest of Scripture. Jesus didn’t forgive here because there were no accusers left, He forgave her. The scribes and Pharisees were not misinterpreting the Law of Moses, and Jesus didn’t argue what the Law commanded, He instead argued that He alone was just to judge the woman… and He forgave her. What the song ends up doing with this clouded passage is somehow make all of us the woman caught in adultery, and Grace rescues us from all who judge us… but it’s clunky in its vagueness. God doesn’t slip us away from the judgement seat, we stand before Him, accused by the devil and we are indeed guilty before God. So, the Gospel isn’t us being whisked away… it’s Jesus standing before us, taking our punishment in our place and imputing His righteousness onto us, so that we might bear the Righteousness of God the Son while standing in the sight of God the Father.

Chorus. Okay, so the chorus plays in the wiggle room left by the pronoun game. Some may call it foolish and impossible is probably a reference to Paul’s letters referring to the Message of the Cross. Remember the rescue mechanic for “it” was Jesus, but here they are using “it” to refer to the message of the Cross.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV) | Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

This passage is also where we get the idea that the Gospel of the Grace of God is a scandalous one… the notion that God would save us in this way, by faith in what He has done, and not in something we have to earn or make up for. It’s not a terrible reference, just a vague one… mostly due to the poor pronoun game. We preach the word of the cross, we preach Christ and Him crucified… and the world thinks it foolish, to their own destruction. Sadly, the song doesn’t actually preach it… it hints at it.

The second verse has the same issues of vagueness, pronoun play, and treating salvation as a result of a Grace somewhat separated from the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. There is a reference to Salvation as being adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven. But it focuses too much on the outcome (blessings) of that adoption while skipping over the means of that adoption, the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-14 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

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.

I hope that once you read through how the Apostle Paul wrote of the Gospel in several letters, it becomes more clear why I take such an issue with the sterilization or isolation of the concept of “grace” apart from the Triune God who Saves.

Conclusion

I think this song is okay, but too vague and open for misinterpretation. The pronoun-game without a clear object is a pitfall that really should be avoided in writing, even artistic expressions of the Gospel. As with most of the songs coming out of CCM, we need more Gospel. Not just for the unbelievers that they might be granted saving faith, but also for the believers who need to grow and be encouraged in their Faith. That doesn’t come by artistic introspection or contemplation… faith only comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).

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 | “Ever Be” by Aaron Shust

CCM Radio Edition.

disapproveApril 26, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Ever Be” by Aaron Shust which currently sits at #17 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

On my first listen to this song, I was immediately confused by the mystical lyrics. It’s not clear if the song is a love song to God, from God, or if it’s going to be a love song for earthly marriage. As I read the upload comment, I realized it wasn’t likely to improve. This song earned a quick and solid “Disapproval”. While this song finds itself on the CCM Radio charts, I’m fairly certain there are churches using this song in their worship services. I don’t think it fits that purpose, either.

Published on Feb 22, 2016. 

I’m excited to be sharing the official lyric video with you all! Throughout the Bible, the love God has for us is likened to the devoted covenant of a marriage. He vows to love us forever and this song (from Bethel Music) is an outpouring of worship in response to that love! His praise will be ever on my lips!

So it comes from Bethel Music, and we’ve said before that we consider Bethel to be a heresy house. Moving on from that point, we see they have their analogies backwards. Earthly marriage is the imperfect foreshadowing of the relationship between Christ and the Church. So when we speak of God’s Love for us, it is the Perfection, and we are the imperfection, our concept of the marriage covenant is the imperfect picture of God’s Perfect Love. Why is this a problem? Because this sort of confusion leads to an overly emotional/sensual/experiential pursuit of “God’s love”. God isn’t found in our emotions, He’s found in His Word.  God often describes His relationship to His people as that of a marriage, but each time He does so (except at the Last Day when Christ returns for the Church) it’s to point out our infidelity, our adultery (idolatry), and our sin.

Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful You will be
You pledge Yourself to me and it’s why I sing

(chorus)
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan
Your kindness makes us whole
And You shoulder our weakness
And Your strength becomes our own
Now You’re making me like You
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride

Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame
And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

(chorus)
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised
With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord
You will be praised You will be praised
With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord
And it’s why I sing

(chorus)
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Ever be on my lips, ever be on, ever be on my lips

Publishing: © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Words and Music by Kalley Heiligenthal, Gabriel Wilson, Chris Greely, Bobby Strand

Discussion

Ugh, this song was painful to sit through. Having to listen to Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips eleven times is just… overkill. And it doesn’t say anything. Are we talking about eternity? Well, yeah, we will be praising God forever. Are we talking about temporally? Well, you’re lying. In fact, while you’re repeating this line eleven times, you know what you are not actually doing? Praising God. You’r talking about what you may be / will be doing, but not actually doing it.

While we are on the subject of Praise, why will the Bride (the Church) be praising Christ forever? Because HE SAVED US. Does this song explain that? No, instead it presents God as a fairytale night in shining armor who shows up out to rescue us from our shame and guilt so that we can be called by our true name… I wonder if the Never Ending Story is driving the imagery in this song with the whole true name thing. Anyway, it presents a romanticized rescue as if God simply waved His hand and all the guilt and shame just went *poof*.  That isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5 (ESV) | Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is why we Praise the LORD our God and Savoir. We have no need to romanticize or conjure up some emotional experience when we have the Truth of God’s Word clearly proclaiming and displaying God’s immeasurable and incomprehensible Love for us. The Holy Spirit will bring life through God’s Word and there will be moments when your emotions will line up with your faith and you’ll get that warm glowy feeling, or breath that deep sigh of relief that calms the soul… but when those emotions are not under control, and not submitted to the Scriptures, the Truth of this promise doesn’t change. God’s love doesn’t change, it doesn’t go away, when your emotional high wanes and you’re left having to deal with everyday life. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, unshackle your faith from your temporal and fleeting emotions, and hold fast to the external, Written Word of God, remember your baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and trust in these means to feed, grow, and sustain your faith. Your emotions are so easily manipulated and stirred, they are a poor anchor for your faith… and your sinful, carnal flesh wants desperately to do just that, to get you completely focused on your emotions, your feelings, your circumstances, your impressions, your felt-needs.

There are a few truthy statements in there… God is indeed the Father to the fatherless and it is His kindness that makes us whole. The overall messaging, though, isn’t about what God’s Word says about Him… it’s about stirring up the imagination and moving their emotions about.

Conclusion

When this life is finally over, and our Lord Jesus Christ returns for His Bride, we who are found in Him will indeed praise Him forever and ever. It is certain. Does that make this a good song? No. This song is emotional goo. While it is presented as praise to God, it’s actually just intended to stir up the crowd into a mystically charged emotionality so that folks can walk away feeling they accomplished something spiritual… it is intended to create a good work of inviting the Presence (allegedly of God the Holy Spirit) into the place, so those present can all feel emotionally loved by God. Scripture doesn’t describe fitting worship in this way. In fact, such fleshly worship is often attributed to false gods.

I’d like to close today’s post by looking at what God’s Written Word has to say about what lay ahead for those who are in Christ Jesus by Faith. We’ll look to the last 2 chapters in Revelation.

Revelation 21 (ESV) | The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22 (ESV) | The River of Life

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Jesus Is Coming

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Amen, Indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “God is on the Move” by 7eventh Time Down

CCM Radio Edition.

disapproveApril 19, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “God is on the Move” by 7evenths Time Down which currently sits at #14 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

This is an anthemic Evangelical motivational song. It’s intended to stir up the listener emotionally. The song doesn’t really teach anything Biblically sound. It does express a poor understanding of salvation and the Gospel, which we’ll discuss in a bit. I don’t like the song… it is a distraction from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fixates a bit on man. That seems odd for a song that repeats “God is on the move” so many times… but let’s listen, read the lyrics, and then discuss what I think is the core problem with this song.

Official Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Any time a heart turns from darkness to light
Any time temptation comes and someone stands to fight
Any time somebody lives to serve and not be served
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

Any time in weakness someone falls upon their knees
Or dares to speak the truth that sets men free
Any time the choice is made to stand upon the Word
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

I see a generation
Standing on the truth
In each and every nation
God is on the move

Any time the gospel stirs a searching soul
And someone says, “Send me, here I go”
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

I see a generation
Standing on the truth
In each and every nation
God is on the move

Publishing: Love Journey Music, Moms Like Us Too, Aevinesaintmusic, Promotion And Relegation Music, Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing, Songs From Exit 71 (SESAC)
Writer(s): Mikey Howard, Cliff Williams, Ian Eskelin, Tony Wood

Discussion

If we’re to put the best construction on the title and chorus of the song, “God is on the move”, we have to frame that phrasing carefully. God isn’t “moving” anywhere. He IS everywhere. So, the only right way to understand this phrase is to think of it as God drawing us to Himself. God has placed each of us where we are, and He has called us, opened our eyes and ears to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has brought us to Life in Christ Jesus. He has done the Work, we didn’t do anything. Which leads us to a major problem with the theology presented in this song: It is a pep-talk for listeners to “choose to follow God”.

You see, Scripture calls us to trust in, have Faith in God, through the hearing of His Word. But He has to bring us out of darkness, we can’t do it ourselves. There are no seekers out there… there are only those who are dead in unbelief, and then there those who have been brought to Life in Christ Jesus through faith.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (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. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

When Paul wrote to the Romans, we find him quoting several Psalms to put together to completely obliterate the notion of “searching souls”, or of any form of works-based righteousness.

Romans 3:9-20 (ESV) | No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

For the greater context of this letter, one really has to read the full letter to the Romans. Paul is making clarifying the proper distinction of Law and Gospel in this letter. Here he is point out that God has made it clear to us in His Law that we are all sinful and unrighteous in ourselves. This is what sin has done to all of mankind. The ONLY remedy is the penal substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Perfect Sacrifice for our sin. By Faith (which only comes through the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ) in Christ Jesus our unrighteousness is exchanged for the righteousness of Christ.

How do go about getting people Saved? We must preach the Word of God (not our ideas, not our gimmicks, not our dreams, not our flair for entertainment… preach the Word).

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV)

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 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. For“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

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? 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!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

What must they do to be Saved? When Peter was asked this very question after preaching on the Day of Pentecost, his response was simply, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins…” (Acts 2:37-41 ESV)

Acts 2:37-41 (ESV)

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Notice that Peter didn’t compel them to “believe” or “make a decision for Christ” or any such decisional thing? Those whose ears were opened to the Gospel, whose hearts were made alive by the Holy Spirit were granted Saving Faith. Those who were granted saving faith, repented and were baptized for the forgiveness of sin. And that Promise of Salvation, of forgiveness was not only for them, but for their children, and for all who are far off. And none of it was of their own doing in any way. It was, and is, a Gift from God.

A good place to get a condensed summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 (ESV) | The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

This song doesn’t convey this understanding of salvation. The song isn’t concerned with declaring the Salvation that belongs to the LORD, instead this song is attempting to stir up your emotion, your zeal, your determination to “do something”, to “follow God” because “God is on the Move.” It’s calling you to good works, but not in way that flows from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

There is a dark side to the pep-talk, motivational coin. And that is the idea that if you don’t move with God, you’ll miss Him. On this side of the coin, we also see that unless you’re doing something special, or specially motivated by your choice to follow God, then you’re just living a mediocre and ordinary life, and God is less pleased by that. That’s false. It is God who places us in our vocations. God places us in our families, in our homes, in our jobs, in our culture. God saves us, reconciles us to Him, and we are to serve our neighbors. We are to preach the Gospel and server our neighbors in our vocations. Fathers need to be fathers, Mothers need to be mothers, and in everything that we do we are to do in Thanksgiving to our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His Grace and Mercy toward us.

Hebrews 13:1-17 (ESV) | Sacrifices Pleasing to God

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said,“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

It is only from within the framework of Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone (which comes through Scripture alone), in Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone that we can properly speak of good works pleasing to God. Our reconciliation with God was done by Christ… we do good works for our neighbor’s sake.

Conclusion

The song is an emotional trap. It is a distraction from the Gospel toward the Law… a works-based call to “do something” for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel itself isn’t conveyed in the song. God is always moving in our lives, drawing us to Himself, crushing us under the Law that we might die to sin, and bringing us back to Life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, we decided this song earned a Disapproval because of its fixation on man rather than on Christ.

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

Friday Sermon | Grace and Peace by Alistair Begg

frisermonToday we’ll be hearing Grace and Peace (Part 1) of a series entitled Growing in Grace by Alistair Begg.

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church.

In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio.  He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.  The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church.

He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1975 and they have three grown children. [Source]

Grace and Peace (Part 1 of 2)

When Peter wrote his second letter, moral carelessness and false teaching was on the rise among the people of God. Peter urged his readers to return to the basics of the Gospel. We begin a new study in Second Peter called Growing in Grace on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg!

 

Sermon Text

2 Peter 1:12-15 (ESV)
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV) | Prophecy of Scripture
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

 

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge