A Brief History of Psalm Singing (Audio)

Reverend Warren Peel speaks about the history of Psalm Singing in the Church. Little known fact today is that the Church for the majority of history sang the Psalms and not man written hymns. God commands us to sing the Psalms. The early Church knew the book of Psalms as being Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. They didn’t worship with man made writings. They sang the inspired word of God in Worship. Psalm singing is making a comeback as the Church realizes the authority that the scriptures hold. May we grow accustom to Worshiping God as He has told us to worship him. Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19

Thomas Manton SERMON XLIII

Psalm 119-verse 38.-“Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.”

DOCTRINE.-That man is indeed God’s servant who is devoted to his fear.

There may be weaknesses and failings, but for the main he is swayed by the fear of God.

1. What it is to fear God.

2. Why this is a sure note of God’s servant; because it removes all the lets of obedience.

1st. What is the fear of God. There is a servile and a filial fear; a fear of wrath which the worst may have: “The devils believe and tremble” (James ii.19). And a fear of offending which the best must have: “Happy is the man that feareth alway” (Prov. xxviii.14); a reverend disposition of heart towards God as our sovereign lord and master, yea, as our Father in Jesus Christ.

For the first of these: –
1. A fear of wrath. Every fear of which is not sinful; it is a duty rather than a sin; all God’s children are bound to have tender sense of God’s wrath or displeasure against sin, to make them awful and serious in the spiritual life, as, “Let us serve God with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. xii.28). Mark, upon that account and consideration, as “he is a consuming fire” that should have an influence upon our godly fear; and, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” (Matt. x.28). The words do not only contain a description of the person who ought to be feared, but the ground and reason why he is to be feared, and therefore it is not simply the fear of which that is sinful, but it is the servility and slavishness of it. Now, what is the servility and slavishness of the fear of wrath? parlty when our own smart and terror is feared more than the displeasing of God; and they have a mind to sin but are afraid of Hell, and it is fear accompanied with hatred.  Servile fear, though it keep us from some sins, as a wolf that may be scared from the pray, yet keeps its devouring nature. It is accompanied with hatred for God; all that fear God they hate him; and indeed they could wish there were no God, none to call them to account; they could wish he were not  so just and holy as he is; and so here lies the evil of it, not so much as fear of wrath (for that is a grace rightly conversant about its object), but as it tends to this hatred of God; and partly, too, servility lies in this, as it makes us shy of God, and run away from him, rather than draw near to him, as Adam ran into the bushes to hide himself. Holy fear is an awe of God upon the soul, but that keeps us in a holy communion with him; “I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me;” but that fear which makes us fly from God is slavish, and partly as it hath torment and perplexity in it, and so hindereth us in God’s service: “Fear hath torment” in it. The fear of wrath, that is a duty, but slavish fear is such a fear of wrath makes us hate God, and shun his presence, and afraid more of wronging ourselves than wronging of God, and such a fear that hath a torment and perplexity in it, that cannot serve God so cheerfully.

2. There is a filial fear, a fear of reverence. This fear of God was in Christ as mediator (Isa. xi. 1, 2). Among other graces there reckoned up which do belong to Jehovah “the Branch,” to Christ Jesus, this is one, “The fear of the Lord.” Christ, as man, had a reverend affection to his Father whom he served, and this fear it continueth to all eternity in the blessed spirits that are in Heaven. The saints and angels have this kind of far, a dread of the holy God, and a reverent and awful respect to his majesty. It is an essential respect which passeth between the creature and the Creator, and can never be abolished. Now, this fear of reverence consisteth in a high esteem of God, of his majesty, glory, power, and in the sense and continual thoughts of his presence. And then a loathness to sin against God, or to offend in his sight, to do anything that is unseemly when God is a looker-on.  What! Can a man sin freely that lives in the sight of the holy God, when he hath a deep sense of his excellency imprinted in his heart? This is that fear which is the note of God’s servants.  2ndly, This must needs be the note of God’s servants because it is the great principle that both hindereth us from sin, and quickeneth us to duty. The fear of God is one of the radical and essential graces which belongeth to a Christian. It is a mighty restraint from sin. The beasts were made to serve men, and how are they held in subjection and obedience to man? “The dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth” (Gen. ix. 2). So we are made for the service of God. Now, how are we kept in subjection to God? When the fear of God is upon our heart, that will not suffer us freely to do anything that is displeasing to God. “God is come to prove you, that his fear may be before your faces that you sin not.” (Exod. xx.20). It is a great remedy against all temptation of gain, and worldly profit, and temporal convenience. Looks, as that man that had a fear of the king upon his heart: “Why didst thou not smite him to the ground?” saith Joab; and the man answered, “Though I should receive a thousand shekels, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son.” (II Sam. xviii. 11, 12). Just such a fear hath a child of God of his heavenly king; no, though I should have never so much offered me to tempt me from my duty; no, I dare not, the Lord hath charged me to the contrary. Or, as when the Rechabites were tempted to drink wine, pots were brought before them to inflame their appetite; no, we dare not. These passages express the workings of heart’s in one that fears God, though temptation be present, and never so much convenience thereby, yet how can they do this wickedness and sin against God.

USE.- It informeth us who are God’s servants. Those that have most of this fear of God planted in their hearts: “He was a faithful man, and feared God above many.” (Neh. vii. 2). And then that they express it in their conversation; God will not take it planted in our hearts, if we do not obey him in those things that are contrary to our interests and natural affections. When God tried Abraham that was to offer his Isaac: “Now I know that thou fearest God, since thou hast not withheld thine only son,” 7c. (Gen. xxii.12). Why was Abraham unknown to God before that time? As Peter told Christ, “Lord, thou knowest all things;” cannot God see the inward springs and motions of our souls, and what affections are there? Could not God tell what was in Abraham? But now I acknowledge. For God will not acknowledge it in this sense until we express it. They are the true servants of God that have his fear planted in their hearts, and express it upon all occasions. (pp. 378-380)

Itching Ear Epidemic

But this [a lack of solid biblical, expositional preaching] doesn’t seem to bother many churchgoers. In fact, if given the option between a systematic, verse-by-verse exposition of a book of the Bible or a more topical message where verses are plucked from all over Scripture and combined to create a special series on practical issues like marriage, parenting, sex, money, work, dating, stress, etc., most churchgoers would pick the topical series as their favorite because in their minds it in easier and more enjoyable to listen to and is seemingly more helpful to their everyday lives. This should come as no surprise since the charge Paul gave to Timothy was given with a view to the future when the church ‘will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears fro the truth, and will turn aside to myths’ (2 Tim.4:3-4). We are living in that time period about which Paul warned Timothy.

There are lots of people in churches today who will not put up with sound, doctrinal preaching. They are intolerant of anyone who gets up behind a pulpit and preaches truth that confronts their sinful lifestyle or makes them feel uncomfortable. They flat-out refuse to sit there and listen. If they feel like the preacher is stepping on their toes, they either run him out of the church or find another church where the preacher strokes their ears and makes them leave church feeling good about themselves. They successfully insulate themselves from what they consider the offensive truths of the Bible by surrounding themselves with preachers who caress them rather than confront them, who tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. They evaluate preachers based not on whether their teaching lines up with the Scriptures, but on whether it tickles their fancies, scratches them where they itch, and satisfies their craving to always be encouraged and entertained. It seems most people these days prefer listening to light, uplifting, entertaining messages. If given the choice, they would rather hear fictional stories than biblical truths.

Taken from chapter 4 of Ken Ramey’s book, Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word , (Kress Biblical Resources, 2010). This chapter treats Paul’s warning to Timothy in 2 Tim.4:1-4 and is titled “The Itching Ear Epidemic” (pp.51ff.). In it the author speaks both to preachers and to listeners.

in light of what Ramey writes here, we may examine ourselves concerning our own propensity for “itching ears.” Have we been affected by this epidemic found in the churches about us? May God give us a hunger for the pure preaching of the gospel according to His Word and make us faithful listeners of such spiritual food.

Taken from Three R’s Blog

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The Sabbath Day!

The first day of the week How to spend it?

In what manner, the Lord’s day is to be regarded or observed; not to ourselves, to our own profit and pleasure; but to the Lord, to His service and glory.

(1) Not as the Jewish Sabbath; with such strictness and severity as not to kindle a fire, dress and manner of food, and travel no farther than what is called “a Sabbath days journey” though perhaps these were never enjoyed with the strictness some have imagined.

(2) We are not to do our own work; that is to follow any trade, business, or occupation employed in on other days; otherwise there are works of piety, mercy and charity to be done, and also of necessity for the preservation of life, the comfort and health of it, our own or others.

(3) It is to be employed more especially in acts of public worship, in assembling together for that purpose in preaching, and hearing the word preached in prayer and singing praises.

(4) In private acts of devotion, both before and after public worship, such as has been already observed.

(5) The whole of the day should be observed, from morning to evening; the early part should not be indulged in sleep nor any part spent in doing a man’s own business in casting up his accounts and setting right his shop books nor in carnal pleasures and recreations in games and sports; nor in walking in the fields nor in taking needless journeys. But beside public worship men should attend to reading the Scriptures, Prayer and meditation and Christian conferences, and in such pious exercise should they spend the whole day. John Gill

Faithful Vigilance

Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus about the critical need for them to be vigilant: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert…” (Acts 20:28–31). This apostolic warning was not just for the Ephesian church; it is a warning that is necessary for every church in every age.

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“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:1-6) KJV

Wisdom, having solemnly warned rebellious scorners, now instructs her dutiful children. The dark question long before asked-“Where shall wisdom be found?” (Job 28:12, 20, 21)-is now answered. It is here set before us, as the fear and knowledge of God (Verse 5); a principle of practical godliness (Verses 7-9); a preservation from besetting temptations (Verses 10-19); and a guide into the right and safe path. (Verse 20). Hence follow the security of its scholars (Verse 21), and the certain ruin of its ungodly despisers. (Verse 22). 

The rules for its attainment are such as the simplest comprehension can apply. Carefully pondered, and diligently improved, they will furnish a key for the understanding of the whole word of God. Let us examine them more distinctly.

Receive my words– Let them be “the seed cast into the ground of an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15)-a heart prepared of God. (Chapter 16:1.) Read the book of God as one who “sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his word.” (Luke 10:39.) Like the Bereans, “receive it with all readiness” (Acts 17:11); like the Thessalonians, with reverential faith, acknowledging its supreme authority (1 Thess. 2:13.) Hide my commandments with thee. Carry them about with thee as thy choicest treasure for greater security (Col. 3:16, with Matt. 13:44); as thy furniture always at hand for present use. (Chap. 4:20, 21; 8:3. Job 22:22). Let thy heart be the hiding-place for the treasure. (Luke 2:19, 51. Ps. 119:11.) Satan never snatch it thence.

But there must be an active, practical habit of attention. Yet to incline the ear, and apply the heart“who is sufficient for these things?” Oh! my God! let it be thine own work on me-in me. Thou alone canst do it. Let it be with me, as with thy Beloved Son-“Waken my ear morning by morning to hear the learned.” (Isa. 50:4.) So let me under thy grace “incline mine ear, and hear, that my soul may live.” (Ibid. 55:3.)

Without this spirit of prayer-there may be attention and earnestness; yet not one spiritual impression upon the conscience; not one ray of Divine light in the soul. Earthly wisdom is gained by study; heavenly wisdom by prayer. Study may form a Biblical scholar; prayer puts the heart under heavenly tutorage, and therefore forms the wise and spiritual Christian. The word first comes into the ears; then it enters into the heart; there it is safely hid; thence rises the cry-the lifting up of the voice. Thus, “the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119:130.) God keeps the key of the treasure-house in his own hand. “For this he will be required of” (Ezek. 36:37) to open it unto thee. We look for no other inspiration than Divine grace to make his word clear and impressive. Every verse read and meditated on furnishes material for prayer. Ever text prayed over opens a mine of “unsearchable riches,” with a light from above, more clear and full than the most intelligent exposition. David (Ps. 119:18, &c.) and his wise son (1 Kings 3:9-12) sought this learning upon their knees; and the most matured Christian will continue to the end to lift up his voice for a more enlarged knowledge of God (Eph. 1:17, 18.)

But prayer must not stand in the stead of diligence. Let it rather give energy to it. The miner’s indefatigable pains; his invincible resolution; his untiring perseverance; seeking, yea, searching for hid treasures,-such must be our searching into the sacred storehouse. To read, instead of searching the Scripture,” is only to skim the surface, and gather up a few superficial potions. The rule of success is-Dig up and down the field; and if the search be discouraging, dig again. The patient industry of perusal and reperusal will open the embosomed treasure. “Surely there is a vein for the silver.” (Job, 28:1.) Yet what miner would be content with the first ore? Would he not search deeper and deeper, until he has possessed himself of the whole; not satisfied with taking away much, but determined to leave nothing? Thus let us daily explore “the length, and the breadth, and the depth” of our boundless stores, until we be “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 2:18, 19.)

This habit of living in the element of Scripture is invaluable. To be filled from this Divine treasury; to have large portions of the word daily passing through the mind; gives us a firmer grasp, and a more suitable and diversified application of it. Yet this profit can only be fully reaped in retirement. We may read the Scripture in company. But to search them, we must be alone with God. Here we learn to apply ourselves wholly to the word, and the word wholly to us. This enriching study gives a purer vein of sound judgment. The mere reader often scarcely knows where to begin, and he performs the routine without any definite object. His knowledge therefore must be scanty and ineffective. Nor is the neglect of this habit less hurtful to the Church. All fundamental errors and heresies in the Church may be traced to this source- “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.” (Matt. 22:29.) They are mostly based on partial or disjointed statements of truth. Truth separated from truth becomes error. But the mind prayerfully occupied in the search of Divine truth-crying and lifting up the voice-will never fail to discern the two great principles of godliness-the fear and knowledge of God. There is no peradventure nor disappointment in the search- Then shalt thou understand. The Lord giveth wisdom; it cometh out of his mouth. None shall search in vain. (Job 32:8. Isa. 48:17; 54:3. Jam. 1:5, 17. Comp. Gen. 41:38, 29. Exod. 4:12. Dan. 1:17.) Never has apostasy from the faith been connected with a prayerful and diligent study of the word of God.

(Charles Bridges)       

Christianity and Theological Liberalism by Burk Parsons

The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of theological liberalism in the Protestant church. It wasn’t new. It was an old liberalism repackaged with attractive branding and a clever marketing strategy, and the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries laid the perfect foundation. The Enlightenment viewed reason and empirical evidence as the primary way to construct a comprehensive system of all things pertaining to scientific and religious knowledge, as well as a way to understand ethics, government, and aesthetics, providing man with the supposed ability to obtain objective truth about reality. The Enlightenment was heralded as the “Age of Reason,” as opposed to the “Age of Faith.” Theological liberalism was simply the Enlightenment applied to theology, and so it was the obvious child of the Enlightenment.

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John 3:16 and Man’s Ability to Choose God

It is ironic that in the same chapter, indeed in the same context, in which our Lord teaches the utter necessity of rebirth to even see the kingdom, let alone choose it, non-Reformed views find one of their main proof texts to argue that fallen man retains a small island of ability to choose Christ. It is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

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