Worship by definition is to acclaim and make much of one or thing that is worthy of praise, honor, glory, attention or focus. Worship sits deep within the heart and when given opportunity, explodes with expression, not just about that which is worthy, but in honor of and toward such worth. Think about this, do you worship Christ or something/someone else? Are you invested with every fiber of your being in the glory of Jesus Christ? When you gather with the Saints of Christ each week, do  you come to make much of and hear Christ?

Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart that one speaks from the mouth. So, when preachers preach, that which come from their mouths is what they worship. It is becoming more difficult to hear Christ and His truth and see His face in preaching. When Christ is absent from the text which reveals Him, the one proclaiming such fails to herald the One of true worth and instead places his own treasure at the heart of all things. Paul says in Romans 1 that people suppress the truth by unrighteousness and worship created things. I believe that many Christians love themselves and “church work” over Christ, thus, they keep sitting and maintaining worldliness as religion instead of true worship. So often one can hear sermons centered on man’s work, man’s worth and man’s well-being which are guilty of promoting idolatry. Beloved, learn to hear truth and lies and know the difference. Sinner, come to the One who alone is worthy of all praise.

An old hymn rings true to my ears each day I ponder the glory of Jesus Christ… “And the things of Earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and and grace.”  So how do you know? Well, when you stand in awe of God, nothing else is in focus. Not even you! Praise not the content, pastor, service, music, feeling, friends, or anything else. Praise the ONE who is HOLY and who is Worthy of Praise. Run from anything else, it is a terrible thing to worship idols.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)

For His Glory by His Grace,

James

…………………… these are the thoughts of Easter as I ponder the history of my own life, mediate on the practices, consider the purpose…..  I am without any coherent thought on these things.

Easter, as it is, seems to confuse me. It doesn’t fall into any form of the biblical practice of the church and over the last twenty years, I have had a difficult time finding the place for it among the community of faith. While many congregations make much of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on this day, I am still unable to discern why it is tied to a date, day, season, festival, or tradition. A brother recently asked what we were doing on Easter Sunday to which I pondered puzzled. “We are in 1 Thessalonians, and whatever the Lord has for us there is what we’ll do.”  Thinking about breaking out of the glorious heart of voice of Christ (Rom 10:17; John 1) for the sake of the church troubles me and I find no prescription for it. In all reality, I think that if ONE day out of the many days that are the Lord’s is set apart and esteemed, it is probably out of the heart of idolatry, not worship.

Why do we take a worldly practice and turn it into opportunity for that one day to preach the truth? The better question is why do pastors and congregants subject boring and ill-effective half-truths as normative the rest of the year.  Oh yeah, there is the Mass of Christ… my point made.

The church should be about living and glorying in the risen Lord each day, each gathering, each moment and at every opportunity. Instead, she seems to be drawn in by social justice, politics, public service, philanthropy, humanistic self-help, fragmented doctrine and socialization in the name of peace. The reason that the church is so apt to adopt the human invention of Easter and make it as if it were a celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ, is due to the failing of the shepherds of Christ’s people to make much of Jesus in this way each day. We cater as previously listed, to the human nature instead of giving the power of God through Jesus Christ who IS the living word.

So, the reason Easter holds no love in my heart is that it seems to detract from the normal, passionate, continual celebration of Christ and His living reign that should be just as grand every other day of this life. Spurgeon remarks,

“There is no ordinance in Scripture of any one Lord’s-day in the year being set apart to commemorate the rising of Christ from the dead, for this reason, that every Lord’s-day is the memorial of our Lord’s resurrection. Wake up any Lord’s-day you please, whether in the depth of winter, or in the warmth of summer, and you may sing:
“To day he rose and left the dead, And Satan’s empire fell; To day the saints his triumph spread, And all his wonders tell.”
To set apart an Easter Sunday for special memory of the resurrection is a human device, for which there is no Scriptural command, but to make every Lord’s-day an Easter Sunday is due to him who rose early on the first day of the week.

And it so happens that our text this week in 1 Thessalonians, as the last three weeks, reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord!

[8] For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. [9] For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, [10] and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 ESV)

Here we are, the day after the world-wide celebration of Easter, the day Christ arose from the grave victorious over sin and death, establishing atonement for the church and propitiation for God the Father who justifies us as a gift of eternal grace upon grace. So what does Monday bring? Usually the typical, “got to get back to work” or “I am glad this isn’t but once per year” attitude.

Sadly, most people who call upon the name of the Lord for Resurrection Sunday, fall into the “blues” of life on Monday. As someone who has been in this place and longed for every week to be as focused as the Easter week, I understand the position and have found that at best, it is a lack of worship and belief.

Jesus claims in John chapter 4 to be the everlasting and eternal fulfillment of EVERY desire we could possibly have in this life, even over food, sex, family and air! Now, many will see these words and just click the close and write me off as an outlandish surreal fanatic and they would be correct, the problem is not with my views on Christ and His sufficiency, the problem is when we do not agree with God on the matter, which is unbelief.

Jesus is enough.

I could have just written that statement and been done with this article, but for many of us, we don’t really feel this, we don’t really know this Jesus, we just have a Jesus who provides a bloody ticket to some fantasy heaven that will continue to allow us to have the joys of our heart that are truly far from the person of Jesus Christ.  I repeat, that Jesus is Enough.

He is the answer everything because He is everything. And He is everything we need in times of suffering, pain, joy, doubt and fear. This world has blended into the life of the Body of Christ to such an extent that we no longer hold to faith alone in Christ Alone but bleed in philosophy, personal reflection, creative thinking and psychological ideals to answer life’s tough questions. Most of the time, these answers revolve around us and our needs and our wants which in turn puts “us” on the throne of God when He is the all in all and in Him we are all.

Colossians 1:11-14 (ESV)
11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We have been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of Christ who is the bread of life!  Why then do we continue to seek peace in this life with the world and the world’s ways.  The end of this seeking is death.  Emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual death.  The believer in Jesus Christ does not keep looking to the world for answers, but they persevere by the power of God who holds them until the end.

1 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
In the end, those who are truly His stand firm, trust and cling to the hope while they suffer and die. Jesus said we would suffer, Jesus promised we would die, He gave us assurance that we would be hated and agonize in this world because of our faith, however, He gives us a greater hope in that we are not of this world and in Him, we live forever set apart for His glory that we will share. The gift is Jesus, the glory is Jesus, the answer is Jesus! Is He your answer? Or are you looking another direction and hoping to find comfort in the arms of another lover?
Jesus is the lover of your soul, trust in Him to be your all sufficient and satisfying King!