By and large, I’m not a big one for the singing. It is an element of church I do, and I engage with, because I love Jesus, I want to obey him and I want to serve others and prefer their needs. And I think that is far more important than whether I enjoy them on a personal level myself.
My wife and I were chatting about singing in church the other day. We had recently been somewhere where the singing was particularly good. Everything was sung with gusto and the room was full of people really belting out the hymns. She absolutely loved it. Whilst I was glad to hear people singing up, and it was nice enough, I wasn’t nearly so moved by it.
The truth is, I’m just not that fussed by hymns. There I said it. Of course, it is absolutely right for us to sing in church. It is right because scripture tells us to do exactly that. It is also absolutely true that some people love hymns and singing in church, they find it a really key way they engage with the Word. And that is absolutely great. But we aren’t all built that way, and that’s okay I think.
The reason I share this isn’t to say how great it is that I don’t tend to love singing in church. I don’t think it is something to aspire to. I wish I liked it more if I’m honest. But it is a prime example of something I do in church, essentially, because scripture tells me to do it not because I love it.
Now, you can – if you are so minded – consider that a defect in me. I don’t absolutely love something the Bible tells me to do. The issue is surely mine.
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By Josh Buice — 1 year ago
We are never to allow people to walk down a pathway of sin because of a misunderstood view of Luke 6:37 or Matthew 7:1. In love, the church is to confront people in their sin with a goal of restoration (see Matt. 18:15-20). In love the church confronts unbelievers regarding their sin in evangelism (which is not sinful). Many people who pursue various forms of sinful autonomy misquote Jesus’ “judge not” statement while demanding a proper execution of justice which involves judgment. The statement must be interpreted properly.
Historically, the most famous verse of Scripture has been John 3:16. It’s like the gospel in one verse. It has been preached, quoted, and memorized more than any verse in the history of the world. Tim Tebow once wrote John 3:16 on his eye paint under his eye during the National Championship game for college football. Following the game, as he was eating supper, it was announced that some 94 million people had googled “John 3:16” during the game.
Long before Tim Tebow stormed the college football field, an eccentric man named Rollen Stewart, popular for his rainbow-colored wig and his “John 3:16” sign. He would position himself in strategic locations for popular televised baseball, football, and basketball games in the 70s and 80s. Rollen Stewart, known as Rock ’n’ Rollen and Rainbow Man, popularized John 3:16 by the use of signs and well planned campaigns.
Today, it seems that another verse is the most quoted verse of our day and it’s Jesus’ words found in Matthew 7 and Luke 6:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged.”
As with any verse in the Bible, you can alter the meaning if you interpret it outside of the proper context and outside of the biblical teaching of that particular subject. In short, the statement by Jesus has become one of the most misquoted and abused verses in the entire Bible.
Jesus Never Taught People Not to Judge Others
In our day, it’s common to hear people begin a statement or a personal confession with the preface, “no judgment” or “don’t judge” or “judge not.” In fact, the LGBTQA+ community often uses the statement by Jesus to condone their lifestyle and to shield themselves from judgment as they engage in hypersexualized behavior that violates God’s design for humanity, marriage, and the family.
It may come as a complete shock, but Jesus never condemned judgment. In fact, he commands that people engage in judgment. The statement by Jesus taken from his famous sermon known as the sermon on the mount. Jesus gathered his followers, apostles, and the growing curious souls from the surrounding communities together where he delivered his sermon with power and authority.
The statement by Jesus regarding judgment is centered on hypocritical judgment that refuses to judge properly. Therefore, to misinterpret Jesus’ “judge not” statement by imposing a meaning that prohibits judgment not only butchers Jesus’ intention, but it likewise proves that we must carefully and rightly interpret holy Scripture.
By Mitch Chase — 4 months ago
On the third day, the Lord Jesus rose and put on bodily immortality. His resurrection was unto glory. He was the firstfruits of the future resurrection of God’s people. When Jesus returns, he will raise the dead (John 5:28–29). And this time the dead who come to life will not die again.
We know that when people die, their bodies stay dead—which is why our mouths drop open and our eyes widen when we read biblical stories of dead people coming back to life. The God of heaven and earth is the God of life.
In the Old Testament, there were three occasions when people died and came back to life.
In 1 Kings 17:17–24, Elijah raised a widow’s son.
In 2 Kings 4:18–37, Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son.
In 2 Kings 13:21, a dead man revived when his body was thrown into the same place as Elisha’s bones.
In association with Elijah, one person came to life. In association with Elisha, two people came to life. That second person’s restoration to life confirms the greatness of Elisha’s ministry. This second person who was raised from the dead in 2 Kings had merely been thrown in the same place as Elisha’s bones. And “as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet” (2 Kgs 13:21). The fact that Elisha himself was dead is a confirmation of God’s power working through the prophet’s ministry—even in a posthumous scene like 2 Kings 13:21.
These three stories in the ministries of Elijah and Elisha tell of bodies brought to life that would later die again. Bodily restoration foreshadowed the physical glorification of God’s people, so it was not equivalent to this glorification. The Old Testament resurrections were of mortal bodies that remained mortal.
By Marshall Segal — 2 years ago
Ruth did what she could (even straining her capacity at times) to care for those God had given to her, even when the risks were great, even when her strength ran low, even when others would have understood if she stopped, because Ruth was a worthy woman.
She knew that typically the man would make the first move. She knew that what she was doing would appear at least suspicious, perhaps scandalous. She knew what other people might say. She knew just how much she might lose (after all she had already lost). And yet there Ruth lay, in the dark — vulnerable, hopeful, trusting, courageous — waiting quietly at the feet of a man who might wake up at any moment.
Even in a more egalitarian age, the strange and brave step Ruth took that night can make many of us uncomfortable:
When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. (Ruth 3:7)
Such was Ruth’s way of asking Boaz to take her as his wife. But why did she ask like that? Wasn’t there another way? Couldn’t her mother-in-law have put out some feelers with Boaz’s servants?
Maybe. But God, in his wisdom, decided to join this man and this woman in this unusual way. And when we stop to look closer, the strangeness of the scene actually enhances the beauty of their love. This potentially embarrassing moment highlights what makes Boaz a worthy husband — and what makes Ruth a worthy wife.
As scandalous as it may seem for Ruth to lie down next to Boaz while he was sleeping, it seems that, in God’s eyes, she acted honorably and in purity. For all the beautiful glimpses we get of Ruth in these four chapters, she is called a “worthy woman” just once, and it’s right here, at this most vulnerable moment. Boaz, recognizing her in the dark and receiving her humble and submissive initiative, says to her,
Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. (Ruth 3:11)
Worthy when her husband died, worthy when her mother-in-law was left alone, worthy in a foreign land, worthy while working long days in the fields, worthy even here, in the darkness, on the threshing-room floor, waiting at the feet of the man she desired. A truly worthy woman is as worthy in secret as she is when others are watching — and Ruth was just such a woman.
So, what sets Ruth apart as a worthy wife-to-be — yes, in the eyes of Boaz, but all the more in the eyes of God?
The story of Ruth’s worthiness begins with her surprising loyalty.
Her mother-in-law, Naomi, had lost her husband as well as her two sons, including Ruth’s husband. Naomi saw how bleak their future had become and tried to convince her two daughters-in-law to go back to their families. In response, “Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her” (Ruth 1:14). When Ruth had great reasons to leave and save herself, she stayed and cared for her mother-in-law instead. Listen to the intensity of her loyalty:
Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. (Ruth 1:16–17)
Ruth could have walked away, but faith and love had bound her to Naomi. Staying meant suffering. Staying meant sacrifice and risk. Staying could have even meant death — especially in a period when the judges in Israel, though charged to care for the widow, “did what was right in [their] own eyes” (Judges 17:6). But nothing would make Ruth leave now.
As news spread, her future husband was especially drawn to this loyalty in her: “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before” (Ruth 2:11).
Ruth could not have been loyal in these circumstances without also being courageous. You hear and feel her fearlessness in the vows she makes to Naomi:
Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. (Ruth 1:17)