WORSHIP IS TRULY in the melting pot. A new style of praise has swept into evangelical life, shaking to the foundations traditional concepts and attitudes. The style of worship followed throughout the entire history of Bible-believing churches has been shunted on to the sidelines — and why not? Young friends are asking — ‘What’s the matter with contemporary music groups? Isn’t there every kind of instrument, including percussion, in the Psalms? Didn’t they dance in worship in Bible times? Isn’t God the same yesterday, today and for ever? Why should we be tied to gloomy Victorian culture in our praise to God?’…continue to read intro here.
This is an old article but the lesson can apply to a Christian’s celebration of X Mass and Easter. It is not a small thing nor is it a matter of Christian liberty but, rather, a matter of obedience. Please take God seriously!
Back before I was saved, I decided I was going to read the Bible from start to finish. My husband at the time had a Bible, but he hadn’t read much of it. I picked it up one day and started at Genesis. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, half way through Numbers. I was done. I didn’t understand any of it and I thought it was a stupid book. There were things in Leviticus, in particular, that set me off. I didn’t know why they called it Leviticus, but I thought they should have named it Ridiculous. It all seemed downright silly to me. Why would God care if the people wore one kind of fabric with another kind of fabric? In Leviticus 19:19, it says, “You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.”
Years ago, I didn’t understand. Today, it makes complete sense. In this law, God was telling His people that they were to be set apart from the surrounding pagan nations. God is holy; He is pure. It was God’s desire that His people understand His holiness and purity. Therefore, in all that the people would do, the LORD would have them be reminded of His holiness and purity. From their livestock, to their fields, to their clothing, God was continually reminding them not to mix the holy with the unholy, the pure with the impure. As a people, they were not to mix with the surrounding pagan nations and in their lives before a holy God, they were to remember God’s holiness in all that they did.
Read the rest of the short article here.
1 Peter 2:4-5New King James Version (NKJV)
The Chosen Stone and His Chosen People
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
In his 1948 classic The Pursuit of God, Tozer challenged the stiff and wooden quality of many Christian lives. He noted: “Complacency is the deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.” Indeed, Tozer believed that thirst for God was the sign of coming revival. Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past. “These people know God, and I want to know what they know about God and how they came to know it,” he observed. Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of his life. One biographer states that his preaching as well as his writings were simply an extension of his prayer life. Another noted that Tozer spent more time on his knees than at his desk. He called for a return to astonishment and wonder at the majesty of God. Then he added: “The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution;very well-behaved, very denominational and very much one of us.” In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” Tozer believed that worship rises and falls with our concept of God and that if there was one terrible disease in the modern church, it was that we do not see God as great as He is: “We’re too familiar with God. …that is why I do not believe in these half-converted cowboys who call God `the Man Upstairs’.” In the Preface to The Knowledge of the Holy, his last book, Tozer stated how important our view of God is: “The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men. .. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error.” Tozer addressed the state of the evangelical church even more bluntly in Keys to the Deeper Life. In a chapter entitled “No Revival Without Reformation”, he stated: “A widespread revival of the kind of Christianity we know today in America might prove to be a moral tragedy from which we would not recover in a hundred years.” The imperative need of the day, he affirmed, was not simply revival but a radical reformation that went to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies: “Prayer for revival will prevail when it is accompanied by radical amendment of life; not before.”
FTA: Faulty arguments
Jesus observed the weekly and annual Sabbaths because he was born under the law, while the old covenant was still in force (Galatians 4:4). He observed old covenant customs such as participating in the sacrifice of Passover lambs, tithing to the Levites, telling cleansed people to make offerings as prescribed by Moses, etc. He also observed Hanukkah. Such examples help Christians focus on Jesus’ teaching and the meaning of what he did for us.
By comparison, Christians should be careful about using his example in cultural, time-bound circumstances. We should instead focus on what he actually taught, and the meaning of what he did for us. If we were to teach circumcision as a requirement, for example, then we would be denying the significance of what Jesus did, even though Jesus never said anything against circumcision itself. We would be failing to recognize the new covenant that he brought; the same is true if we require other obsolete laws.
The early church observed the festivals, since the first Christians were Jewish. They also observed circumcision and other customs that were not binding on Gentile believers. It was certainly permissible for Jewish believers to continue observing their traditions, but their example is not authoritative, and we have no evidence that Gentiles were required to observe these festivals. God gave the Holy Spirit on one festival, but he never told us to commemorate that event with a required assembly (although many Christian churches observe Pentecost, it is by tradition rather than command); he gave the Spirit on other days, too. Later history shows a few Christians keeping the festivals, but some kept circumcision, too. Their example isn’t authoritative. Our standard must be the Bible, particularly the new covenant.
Paul kept some festivals in Jerusalem, but he was away for most of them. He also kept other Jewish customs, so his example isn’t automatically authoritative. We can’t assume that we have to do everything he did. We need to discern which details of his life were based on the culture he lived in, and which were based on the new life in Christ. Paul considered himself under the law of Christ, not under the law of the old covenant (1 Corinthians 9:19-21). Today, we are to obey the commands of Jesus (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus commanded a commemoration of his death, but he otherwise did not command Christians to observe any festivals. Likewise, Paul did not command Gentiles to keep the festivals. In referring to the Festival of Unleavened Bread, he spiritualized it, saying that Christians were to rejoice in sincerity and truth. And he told the Colossians to ignore what others might say regarding Jewish festivals. They were symbolic shadows, so they did not matter. The reality to which they had pointed had come. They had symbolic significance, but so did circumcision and the sacrifices. They are meaningful, but that in itself does not mean that observance is required.