Monday, February 10, 2014

I Will Praise Him

Yesterday morning in church we sang an old hymn, "I Will Praise Him." It was written in 1898 by Mrs. Margaret J. Harris and provides a great statement of praise. This statement of praise is based on the powerful truth that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can wash away the stain of sin from our lives.  
Some of the words are as follows:
Blessed be the Name of Jesus!
I’m so glad He took me in;
He’s forgiven my transgressions,
He has cleansed my heart from sin.
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.
The song made me reflect on the real problem we have in our churches today. In today’s world, there seems to be an overemphasis on "the positive" and a total non-emphasis on "the negative."
I remember when I took a personal evangelism class in college. The students were asked how we would present the gospel, and every one of us started with the fact of sin as the reason the gospel was necessary. We were told that approach was wrong and would turn people off. Instead, we should start with the positive: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." I quickly came to disagree with that, because many of those I talked to would respond that they already had a very good life and saw no need for God’s love and plan. Salvation does not seem necessary to someone who is not really aware of the reality of sin and its consequences. A person has to realize he is a sinner before he can be saved.
Nevertheless, much of the professing church today has degenerated into a social club that revolves around trying to make people’s lives here on earth better. There is nothing wrong with improving one’s life, but that is not the primary purpose of church. There seems to be an unending string of seminars, conferences, "encounters," etc. on topics such as finances, physical fitness, self-esteem, marriage, parenting, teaching methods, prophecy, communication, etc., Ad infinitum. While there is nothing inherently wrong with such topics, especially if they are conducted by a biblically-oriented church and if the content is thoroughly biblical, the problem is that so often such seminars are very long on "pop psychology" and very short on biblical truth. (By the way, I do believe there is one exception: "self-esteem." This topic is very unbiblical and should not be a part of Christian teaching. Click here for an article on self-esteem by James M. Bramblet.)
In all of this positivism, there is often a de-emphasis on the reality of sin, which is the cause of all the problems in the first place. Sin is real and needs to be dealt with. We have locks on our doors because of sin. We have laws because of sin. We have corruption in government because of sin. We have police departments and the military because of sin. We have the U.N. because of sin. The U.N. does not and cannot work because of sin. People are condemned before a Holy God because of sin. Sin is the issue that brings everything down, and that fact is ignored by the culture, and sadly, by much of the church also.
Sin cannot be ignored. Believers need to be reminded of the terrible state from which we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and our response ought to be, "I will praise Him." Unbelievers need to be warned of the terrible results of sin and the necessity of coming to Christ as the only remedy for that sin. Churches that want to emphasize "the positive" and ignore "the negative" are doing a great disservice and really have no function of any eternal value. No matter how much a person’s life is improved here on this earth, it means nothing if the reality of sin and its consequences are ignored. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36, NKJV).
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All of this points to the necessity for believers to find and attend a church that stands firm on the Word of God instead of on the wisdom of men. If you live in or near Colorado Springs, you are invited to Grace Bible Church. If you are looking for a church that is thoroughly biblical, you will not be disappointed.

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