For Our Pastor To Remain True To Scriptural Truth

Scriptural Daily Prayer for Protection

For Our Pastor To Remain True To Scriptural Truth

by Cindy Vander Haar

Scripture Prayer

Thank you for visiting Scriptural Daily Prayer for Protection.  To fully understand the principles of praying scripturally, please read the teaching “Why Pray Scripture?” .

Hearing God: As it is rare to hear an audible voice from God, one of the ways God will speak to us is through His written Word and a small still voice inside us.

Before reviewing the scripture references below that address what the Bible says about protection ask the Holy Spirit of revelation to join you.

When certain verses capture your attention more than others, meditate and incorporate those into your personal daily prayer life.

Heavenly Father, we ask You to give complete knowledge of Your Will to this reader, and to give him/her Your spiritual wisdom and understanding as they seek You with all their hearts and lean not on their own understanding. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Prayer for Protection Scripture References

(All scripture is quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.)

Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgivith all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 2-5

For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4,5

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty whose power no foe can withstand. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust!For then God will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

Then He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge: His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.

You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.

Only a spectator shall you be (yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High) as you witness the reward of the wicked.Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High you dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.

For He will give His angels special charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways of obedience and service.They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot.

Because he has set his love upon Me (says God), therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name and has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love and kindness—he trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will I will never forsake him, no, never.

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation. Psalm 91 (AMP)

Call on me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 3:33

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins gird abut with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the firey darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:10-18

Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the earth. 1 John 4:4

…Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such : of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:20-26

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:19

Roll your works upon the Lord (commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and) so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:3 (AMP)

Scriptural Daily Prayer for Protection

Dear Lord, we commit this day unto You, that You would establish it and cause my thoughts to become agreeable with Your will. I thank you for Your promises in Psalm 91. By Your grace and through the faith of Jesus Christ, I receive them for myself and my family. Thank You, that You watch over Your word to perform it.

I choose to dwell in the secret place of the Most High so that I would remain stable and fixed under Your wings. I ask that You make that a revelation in my life. Thank you that I can draw closer to You each day through my redeemer Jesus and Your written Word which brings stability and strength.

You are my refuge and my fortress and I trust You. For You deliver me from the traps of the enemy and deadly sickness. You give me wisdom and cover me with Your grace and I find my refuge in Your unfailing love. Your truth and faithfulness protect and amaze me.

You have set Your love upon me, Lord. Thank you. I am a little child receiving Your undeserved and yet lavish and unconditional love. You have made me both a child and a soldier and equipped me with Your armor.

Because You live in me, I will tread on the enemy who attacks me–for greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. You are with me in trouble and You deliver me– and You even honor me with Your favor.

We praise You, Lord.

Thank You Jesus that You died to give us forgiveness for our sins through Your blood and healing by the gouged bloody stripes on Your back. Your grace extended to us is unending. You alone are our provider and You are almighty and greatly to be praised.

Thank you that You are at work within me causing me to desire and to do Your will. Thank you that You are producing the fruit of the spirit in my life making me more You, taking me to repentance and refining me, changing my heart to serve and honor You in my thoughts and deeds. Lord, forgive me today for……

Lord, Help me to love others with the love You have given me and to extend the grace You have extended to me.

Because I trust You, I will not be afraid of terrible things that happen, of evil plots against my nation or myself. I won’t be afraid of what people may say about me. You have given me favor and You are my vindicator. I can rest in You. Your grace is so sufficient.

Because of You, I don’t have to be afraid of sickness, or pestilence, or sudden destructions or deaths. As I dwell in Your secret place, I can even be a spectator as the world falls around me because You are my refuge and dwelling place.

I thank you that no evil will befall me or my family, and no plague or calamity will come near our home for You have given your angels charge over us to preserve us in all our ways. They will bear us up on their hands and protect us.

I will put on Your armor every day—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. I will shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I will yield the sword, which is Your word. And above all, I will take up the shield of faith which protects me from the firey darts of the enemy. I will pray in the Spirit and pray for others.

Thank you that when I call on You, You answer. You will satisfy me with long life and I will see Your salvation in every area of my being. I welcome Your will and Your kingdom in my life. I love You, Lord. You are Holy and Just and Worthy of all praise eternally.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11

Scriptural Daily Prayer for Protection was written to lift up and encourage the body of believers; sharing your testimony is one of the ways that we continue to overcome the enemy.

If this teaching on Scriptural Daily Prayer for Protection has impacted your life, we invite you to share your testimony

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Scriptural proof that Christians cannot lose their salvation

For Our Pastor To Remain True To Scriptural Truth

by Matt Slick

Is there Scriptural proof that Christians cannot lose their salvation? Yes, there is; and it is found in the words of Christ.

  • John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
  • John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

From these two verses, we can learn several things. First, those who are Christians have been given to the Son by the Father.

We know this is the case because Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.” God the Father has given a select group of people to the Son.

Not all people are given to the Son. For more information on this, see What does it mean that the Father gave people to the Son?

Second, in John 8:29 Jesus told us that he always does the will of the Father because he says that he always does the things that are pleasing to Him. So, Jesus can never fail to do the will of the Father. If he did, then he would have sinned.

Third, we see in John 6:39 Jesus said that it is the will of the Father that of all who have been given to Jesus that he would “lose nothing but raise it up on the last day.” From this, we can conclude that Jesus cannot lose anyone and that those who are given to him by the Father will also be resurrected.

These are believers because Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Therefore, the context means that those who are raised are believers and is speaking of the resurrection to glory — which occurs on “the last day,” (John 6:44; 11:24).

So, it is the will of the Father that of those whom are given to Jesus . . .

  • Jesus will lose none
  • Jesus will resurrect them on the last day

If people lose their salvation, then Jesus fails to do the will of the Father by both losing some and by not resurrecting them. If Jesus were to fail in doing this, he would have sinned; but Jesus cannot sin.

Therefore, we must necessarily conclude that not only will Jesus do the will of the Father by not losing anyone who has been given to him but that he will also do the will of the Father by resurrecting those same people to glory.

So if people can lose their salvation, then it necessarily follows that Jesus would fail to do the will of the Father by resurrecting them. But this can't be. Therefore, Christians cannot lose their salvation. Simple, isn't it? Still, objections remain.

The will of the Father is not always done

It is true that the will of the Father is not always done. For example, God does not want people to sin, yet they do sin. But John 8:29 and John 6:39 are not about those who fail to do the will of the Father. They are about Jesus who always does the will of the Father. Therefore, this couplet, particularly John 6:39, cannot mean that the will of the Father is not accomplished by Jesus.

Raising them up on the last day is not only for the Christians

It is true that all people will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. The wicked will be judged and cast into eternal damnation and the righteous into eternal life; but in the context of what Jesus is speaking, of the ones raised are only the believers. Please take a look at the following verses:

  • John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
  • John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.””

In John 6:44 Jesus is talking of those who come to him. Those are believers. In John 6:54 he says that those who have eternal life he will raise on the last day. Therefore, the context is speaking of the believer's resurrection to glory. 

You can lose yourself

Some people shift the burden of responsibility from Christ to the Christian when it comes to not being lost. They say that Jesus will not lose anyone, but the person can lose himself. Therefore, it is not Jesus who is doing the losing but the individual who rebels against God.

This objection cannot work because if someone were to turn from Christ (if that is even possible after being regenerate), then Jesus would fail to resurrect those given to him by God the Father. Notice that in John 6:39 the will of the Father is that all who have been given to the Son will be raised on the last day. Again, Jesus said that he always does the Father's will.

So, Jesus must resurrect them (to glory) on the last day, or he has failed even if “they lose themselves.” Jesus is performing the action of the resurrection because he says so in John 6:40, ” . . . and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

” So, if a person can “lose himself,” then Jesus will not be able to do the will of the Father by resurrecting to glory that person who has been given to him by the Father. Again, that would mean Jesus failed to do the will of the Father, which cannot happen.

There are Scriptures that tell us we can lose our salvation

If the analysis of Jesus' words in the couplet above is correct, then there can be no Scriptures to tell us we lose our salvation because the Bible does not contradict itself. If someone still maintains that salvation can be lost, then he must address what Christ says in John 8:29 and John 6:39.

Nevertheless, the Bible must be understood as a whole; and if we have a set of verses on the subject of eternal security and one set of Scriptures can only be interpreted in one way and other Scriptures can be interpreted in different ways, then the latter must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the former.

Otherwise, we are setting Scripture against Scripture.

John 6:37-40

When we examine John 6:39 in context, we can see even more clearly that none will be lost. I've color coded the verses to highlight related concepts to aid in explanation.

John 6:37-40
37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

In verse 37 Jesus says he will not cast out any who come to him. In verse 38 Jesus is telling us he came from heaven to do the will of the Father.

In verse 39 Jesus tells us that the will of the Father is that he lose none and that he also raise them up on the last day.

In verse 40 Jesus continues to tell us the will of the Father which is that of all who behold the Son and believe in him will have eternal life and that Jesus will also raise them up on the last day.

So, Jesus came from heaven to do the will of the Father (v. 38). The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none (v. 39), that all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life (v. 40), and that Jesus also will raise them up on the last day (v 39, 40).

If Jesus fails to accomplish the will of the Father by losing some, then does Jesus also not accomplish the will of the Father that says when someone believes in Christ they have eternal life? Neither would make sense. If someone believes in Jesus, he has eternal life.

But if it is true that some are lost, then Jesus has not accomplished the will of the Father by not losing any, by not raising them up on the last day, and also by not giving them eternal life. It makes no sense.

Does God the Father fail?

If some of the ones that are given to Jesus by the Father end up being lost, then wouldn't that mean God the Father himself failed because some of the ones the Father decided to give to the Son for the Son to keep ended up being lost? Doesn't the Father, in all his omniscience, know who to give to the Son so that they will not be lost? And, does the Father also know that the Son will accomplish His will and not lose any? Of course he does. Does not the Son know how to carry out the will of the Father and keep those given to Him? Of course he does. So, to say that some of the ones given to the Son by God the Father will be lost is to accuse God the Father of making a mistake in his judgment of whom to trust with those he has chosen to have eternal life.

Do you see the humongous problem that is laid at the feet of those who would say that they can lose their salvation by saying they have to keep the law and/or remain faithful? The verses that we're talking about here speak of the work and the will of God the Father giving to the Son a special group of people and not giving others to Him. If they can be lost, then Jesus failed to do the will of God the Father; and it would also mean God the Father made a mistake in giving those to the Son for safe keeping.

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7 Important Bible Verses About Purpose

For Our Pastor To Remain True To Scriptural Truth

Sometimes we can be so busy about our lives that we forget the purpose behind them. We are driven by the demands of life and not realizing that God always has a greater purpose. His purposes not only encompass our lives, but the lives of those around us—at home, school, work, and community. It’s important to know and live out the following Bible verses about purpose:

God has a purpose for everyone

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

Pharaoh mistakenly thought that he was in control. However, God put him in the place of being an Egyptian leader for His purpose. God has a purpose for everyone—including those who resist Him. Ultimately God will get the glory no matter the person because He is the Giver of purpose in every life whether they live for Him or not.

God’s purpose can’t be undone

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Once God has established His purposes for our lives—no one can change it. What door God has shut, no man can open and what door God has opened, no man can shut.

People will wear themselves out in efforts to make a situation turn badly for believers, yet God will still ultimately accomplish His plans.

Christians can take courage that He is working everything for our good even the most difficult life situations.

God’s purpose is the one that lasts

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

The lives of men and women are but a vapor; however, God’s purposes can be fulfilled throughout multiple generations. We can make our plans and set out to see them accomplished, but if we don’t pray and seek God’s direction—we could find ourselves drifting in an ocean of problems without a sail. Every plan should begin and end with God in mind first.

Every person is born with purpose

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).

All people are made in the image of God. Each of us are born with a purpose and calling that we can discover or completely miss. The influence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers gives us insight to His purposes for us. We find peace and courage when we sense the confirmation of the Spirit that we are in the right place at the right time of our designated calling.

God fulfills His purpose for believers

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

God’s greater purpose has to always be on the forefront of our minds. We may be offered employment, school, and marriage opportunities that may not fit in God’s purpose.

This takes wisdom on our part to wait on God’s peace before making presumptuous decisions that may have lifetime ramifications.

There’s great joy in the discovery of His purpose when we trust in Him rather than on our feelings or pressures from other people.

God works through all situations to fulfill His purpose

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Hard times can make it difficult to see God’s purpose especially when we only feel pain and grief. Many times we don’t want to be reminded that God is working our difficulty for our good. However if we practice living our lives with the mindset that God is working things out for us, we can have smoother transition of accepting this truth in the hard places.

God has a greater purpose in saving us

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Salvation is only the beginning for Christians as we were saved to do good works in the name of Jesus. The promise of eternity and living free from the bondage of sin is a wonderful gift of salvation. These promised blessings free us up to be about God’s business every day. We need to start our mornings with a prayer asking God to reveal to us His purposes for that day.

Perfect Purposes

The Lord and His purposes are perfect, but we are not. We are assailed by doubts and fears that many times keep us from living out the purposes that He has established for us.

However, we can overcome this by consistently reading and studying His word so that our faith will be made stronger day by day.

As we learn of God and pray to Him regularly, we become more embolden to accomplish great purposes in His name.

Take a look at this great article: 5 Ways to Follow God’s Plan for you Life

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Biblical Principles for Music and Worship

For Our Pastor To Remain True To Scriptural Truth

I thank God for the gift of music. I am particularly thankful for sacred, Christ-honoring music. Music is an integral part of worship and edification. It can draw our hearts closer to the Lord and reinforce scriptural truths in our minds, or it can weaken our walk with God and pull our flesh toward the world.

Because the church is an ekklesia—a called out assembly—our philosophy of church music should be cultivated scripturally and should provide a “certain sound” of distinction.

For all the blustery discussions regarding music, however, I have been surprised to find few of my friends who have written a policy or philosophy of music. This lends credence to my sense that much of the discussion is personal paradigm and preferences.

In truth, everyone has a paradigm. Some view music as a musician. Some as a listener. Some as a “joyful noisemaker.” Of course ultimately, our paradigm should be biblical. Mine in this article is simply from a pastor’s heart trying to rightly interpret and apply Scripture.

I am not a music expert; in fact, I never took music lessons. But I don’t believe you have to know the intricacies of musical technique or be a concert musician to discern godly music.

Although I’ve asked several godly musicians to review these thoughts, I’ve tried to avoid too much technical jargon in this article.

Many of the technicalities of music tend to be subjective, and in the end, it boils down to spiritual discernment anyway.

I never took drugs or had a rock and roll stronghold in my life, so I may not always see a connection someone who has a background of this nature sees it.

I am not familiar with current secular or Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) groups. I don’t make it my practice to research or study them.

Scripture tells us to be “wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Romans 16:19).

I simply write as a pastor, sharing a pastor’s heart and God’s Word. any other pastor, I’ve made my share of mistakes. Our music staff has had to pull songs. I remember a few years ago when a friend brought me an issue or two related to songs we’ve used and we deleted them from our repertoire. As my friend, Dr.

Wayne Van Gelderen, with whom I’ve spoken about contextualization on numerous occasions, said, “Constant evaluation of how well we are aligning with the truth of God’s Word and a willingness to put away questionable things is a strength of any vibrant ministry.” Indeed, we attempt to do so on a regular basis.

It has been our desire from the very beginning of our ministry to take a strong, biblical stand while remaining sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We periodically step back and evaluate, to be sure we are unashamedly standing for truth.

And so, while there are a variety of paradigms from which a person will approach the subject of music, realize that our philosophy on music must come from Scripture.

There are, in fact, over 750 references to music in the Bible found in over 300 passages of Scripture. Through God’s Word, we see overarching principles that should encompass every area of our lives—including our music. We see:

  • that everything we do should be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31),
  • that God creates and ordains order (1 Corinthians 14:40),
  • that we are to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16),
  • that we are to exercise spiritual discernment (Philippians 1:10),
  • that we are to prove what is acceptable (Ephesians 5:10),
  • etc.

All of these principles relate just as truly to our music as they do to our lifestyles, relationships, personal decisions—or any other area of our Christian walk.

And thus, while most Baptists want to be Bible based in their philosophy of ministry, few areas of discussion have such broad interpretation as music. The following is my best attempt to share a biblical philosophy of music and worship while admitting here and now that there may be a few preferences in the statement as well.

Music can be a tough topic because of the concerns of good, godly people who have differing convictions and paradigms in the discussion. I’ve tried to be thorough, but this is nowhere near exhaustive.

I’d ask that you read this material in its entirety (which will be posted as a series of three blogs), rather than skimming for “hot button” points or phrases. Also, realize that I am not writing to set a standard for your church.

I am simply sharing what I have learned thus far on my journey.

I believe these fifteen basic principles reflect the heart of Scripture and uplift the biblical purposes of God-honoring music in the church:

1. I believe preaching is central in worship and evangelism.

Although we can sing the message of the gospel, God has chosen preaching as the primary means of evangelism. From the Old Testament prophets to the New Testament preachers, God has placed a priority on the declarative preaching of His Word with an invitation for hearers to respond.

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.—1 Corinthians 1:21

2. I believe music is to reflect the holiness of God.

The seraphim in the throne room of Heaven continually cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3), and Revelation tells us that the saints in Heaven wise sing in grateful worship of God’s holiness and redemption (Revelation 5:8–14).

We must not separate our music, especially in church, from God’s holiness, degrading it to merely a matter of personal taste. As Dr. John Goetsch, Executive Vice President of West Coast Baptist College, said,

“We incorrectly take the idea that music is a matter of taste (which, of course, it is) to the extreme and say that it is just taste and therefore is only relative. Taste, however, can be right and wrong.

If my taste for entertainment is directed toward violence, I am told by Scripture that I am wrong. If my taste in literature is slanted toward the profane, I am obviously also in the wrong.

When Christians are of the opinion that their tastes in music (specifically regarding so called ‘Christian’ music) are relative, they take little or no thought to what is holy and what is profane.”

In all areas of a Christian’s walk, holiness matters. And in no area is this more true than in the area of our worship, particularly of the music we use to worship God.

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.—1 Peter 1:14–16

3. I believe there is a true danger in over contextualizing church ministry.

Every Bible-believing pastor wants to help people understand truth. We want to preach and teach Bible truth in a way that hearers will understand and apply it to the context in which they live.

This is contextualization—the way we package a Bible message to connect to hearts. But when over contextualization happens, the “package” distracts from the message.

At that point, it is not the Bible message that is given the emphasis; it is the methods with which it is presented.

Think of it a gift. The Bible truth is the gift itself. Contextualizationis the packaging in which it is delivered. Overcontextualizationis when the packaging is so flamboyant that no one even notices or cares about the gift. In extreme cases, the gift isn’t even there—just the packaging.

I believe the use of technology (such as screens) can be helpful in certain teaching presentations. But in our ministry, when we feel the use of technology is becoming a distraction rather than an aid, we limit its use.

For example, many churches will use some form of staging or light effects at Easter, Christmas, or other special presentations. (Dr. Lee Roberson had colored spotlights on the baptistry during baptisms in the 1960s.) When the lighting effects and technological changes become the predominant theme and attraction, however, I believe over contextualization is taking place.

Every pastor must strive for balance, and on our journey of using such tools, we’ve had times where we’ve spoken about why we should limit the use of these effects to keep the clarity of the message as our focus.

We try to evaluate each special service or event before and after to be sure our use of technology supported our message and mission rather than hindering them.

If we find the décor or technology distracting to presenting Bible truth, we adjust and go on with our best efforts for clarity, connection, conviction, and conversions.

In many of today’s discussions, it’s not unusual for a fundamentalist to say that he’ll never use “XYZ” method.

In reality, however, nearly every fundamental church sings at least one song that was written in a modern era, uses microphones, and has some type of lighting on their platform.

It seems to me that the key in these discussions is moderation and keeping Christ at the center of the message.

Over contextualization is when everything has to be the latest beat, latest feel, and latest look in order to please the “seeker.” At some point, when we’re thinking more about pleasing the seeker than we are about pleasing the Saviour, we’ve tragically distorted Bible worship. (See The Saviour-Sensitive Church, Striving Together Publications, for more thoughts on this topic.)

We would be wise to remember the admonition of Proverbs 24:21 to “meddle not with them that are given to change.” Change is not always wrong, but when we are “given to change,” over contextualization can become a problem.

When a ministry is defined by change, there’s a strong potential for over contextualization and the loss of doctrinal clarity and soundness. It is a real danger to so contextualize to the modern world that people focus more on the context than on the truth.

Thus, you deemphasize truth under a method that was supposed to be in place simply to support it.

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
—Psalm 29:2

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.—1 Corinthians 9:19–23

Stay tuned—in Part 2 of this post, we’ll look at seven more principles for music and worship. You may want to hold your final analysis until you read all three parts over the next few days.

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