I have seen before where someone took Psalm 23 and demonstrated parallels in the ministry of Jesus, but I did not keep the material, and it was so long ago that I do not remember who did it. It was in the days before the Internet. Has anyone seen such a thing, or have an outline of it. I would love to see it.
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The crucifixion of Jesus Christ began at 9:00 a.m. and He died at 3:00 p.m.
A long time ago, someone told me that is when the two daily lamb sacrifices were made. Exodus 29.39 does make reference to a daily lamb sacrifice in the morning and in the evening, but I cannot find out the times.
I can see how 9:00 a.m. could qualify as the morning sacrifice, but I am having a hard time with 3:00 p.m. being evening, although the Keil and Delitzsch commentary does refer the reader to their comments on Exodus 12.6 and how some have argued that 3:00 p.m. is when the sun begins its decline toward the evening, where a similar issue of timing is involved.
Anyway, if Jesus began to die and died at the times of those daily lamb sacrifices, that would be very significant.
Has anyone done any study on this?
Yesterday, as I contemplated my sermon on First Peter 1.22–25, verse 22 about love struck me,
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”
I see Peter as saying four things about love, and it is the third point that makes me question myself, and perhaps the church as to whether we are practicing it:
1. Love the brethren
2. Love the brethren sincerely
3. Love the brethren fervently
4. Love the brethren with a pure heart
I do not mean that I or the church has perfected items 1, 2, and 4, but that they are perhaps easier to detect than number 3. How can I know whether I am loving the brethren fervently?
What does it mean to love fervently? My wife, Kerri brought up the idea of sacrifice, that we know we are loving fervently when we sacrifice for one another.
What do you all think?
This is a post, a long one, from the Word, my heart, and what I see as the street, or more specifically, our local congregations. Don Ruhl
A Cappella Evangelism
Let us cease thinking that a cappella music is a disadvantage
By Don Ruhl
Do you believe that what is worth doing is worth doing right?
Do you know what is involved in writing a song? Do you know the skill involved?
Let us not do the song writers a disservice by halfhearted singing. Some halfhearted singing arises because we are happy merely to be making music without the assistance of man-created instruments, convincing ourselves that all God wants is a joyful noise, as though that justifies doing less than our best.
Is A Cappella Music a Disadvantage?
Many people believe that if we used man-made musical instruments we would attract more people. That is a matter of opinion. In the beginning of the church, no instruments were used, yet the early church took over the mighty Roman Empire! However, when we attempted to be like the world, we lost our influence. Instrumental music is an attempt to be like the world, to try to win the world in a way that pleases them. It only works to make the church more like the world, and the world less like the church, leading to the greater use of worldly music. Thus most denominational worship services resemble worldly concerts.
If a cappella music was effective in the highly entertainment-oriented Roman Empire, it can still be effective in the highly entertainment-oriented modern world.
Loving Vocal-only Music
I learned to love vocal-only music, although I still saw it as a negative for many years. The positives of it were obvious to me, but those positives were lost in the overall negative aspect so that I became convinced, along with most other people, that instrumental music attracts more people.
However, a cappella music is God’s way and His way is always best. We see that in marriage, in the organization of the church, in salvation; let us see it in the music of the church. When people see God’s way, they embrace it zealously. In the end, a cappella music will be more effective.
A Cappella Music Must Be Done Right
Many Christians are satisfied as long as we are just singing, acting as though the actual command is do not use instruments of music. Brethren, we do not use instruments of music because God commanded that we do something else. If we do not use instruments, we still have not obeyed God. We obey God when we do what He commanded how He said to do it.
Compare our singing to preaching. Is it enough that we preach the word? Before you answer that question, think about some things. Yes, we want only the word of God, but what about its presentation? If you invited someone to the worship services, how do you want the preacher to present the word? Do you want it to be done: Lovingly? Zealously? Interestingly? Understandably? Intelligently? Boldly? Emotionally? Do you want a tear in his eye when speaking of the lost? Do you want him to be joyful when speaking of the wonderful things of Christianity?
Have you sat in a lifeless and boring Bible class? The truth was taught. Perhaps the teacher did nothing more than read from the Bible and stopped after each verse and asked if anyone had comments. How did that affect you?
Have you heard boring congregational singing? Should we not put into the singing what we think should be in the preaching?
Obey the Command to Sing Like Any Other Command
Sing to the glory of God. First Corinthians 10:31 covers everything that we do as Christians. Now apply what is said here to your singing. Does your singing glorify God? “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Sing in love. First Corinthians 16:14 also covers everything that we do as Christians. Again apply this passage to your singing. Does love for God and your neighbor fill your heart when you sing? “Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
Sing to the best of your ability. Ecclesiastes 9:10 speaks of the hand, but the principle includes the heart. We readily apply this to other things, but I wonder if we apply it to our singing. We have been so persuaded that we must not use instruments, that we think we are doing our best, if all that we do is not use instruments. There is more. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Colossians 3:23, 24 does not leave anything out. When we sing, have you thought about who is truly listening? “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23, 24).
What is worth doing is worth doing right. What would change about your singing, if you saw God listening to you? Therefore, learn more about singing. Improve your ability. Sing zealously. Titus 2:14 reminds us why Jesus died. If you witnessed His death, how would that change your singing? “…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Singing is a good work.
Did Jesus die that we might sing apathetically? Some people think that it does not matter how well we sing. How can that be argued after what we have seen from Scripture? Should we not try our best and seek to improve? It is true that we do not have to be professional singers.
What if we used this view toward preaching? Most of us want good preaching. Yes, we want the word of God, but we want the preacher to be trained and for the sermon to be interesting. Do you know what God expects from us in our singing?
Our Singing Is to Be Evangelistic
Acts 16 shows two preachers singing, knowing that unbelievers were listening. The preachers did not see a cappella music as a disadvantage, but without shame sang to God.
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:25–30).
Brethren, that was a cappella evangelism! That was making music God’s way, and it did not include instruments, because Paul and Silas were chained in jail. God’s way was best. God’s way is still best. If you think to yourself that the quality of our singing does not matter because you think that our worship service is only for God, you have made a mistake, not knowing fully what the Bible teaches about our singing.
Most of the religious world in America knows us as the people who do not use instruments of music. That means they are listening. What do they hear? A group of people who say they are making a joyful noise, but in many cases it is not joyful and it is only noise. However, like the prisoners in Acts 16:25, let them not only notice that we are lacking something, but that there is something else there.
Let Our Singing Be with the Spirit and with the Understanding
First Corinthians 14 shows that both the spirit and the understanding are necessary. If you think about it, the singing that touches you the most has both. Why do you have favorite gospel songs? It is not noise, but the words are meaningful, the tune is touching or catchy and it sounds good.
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified (1 Corinthians 14:14–17).
In the context of chapter fourteen, Paul is discussing spiritual miraculous gifts. Speaking in a foreign language instantly without having studied that language is a miracle. When a first century Christian did this in front of someone who did not know the language, that Christian was speaking in the spirit, that is, only to himself and to God, and the one listening did not understand what was said.
Is it possible that the opposite could happen in a non-miraculous setting? That is, we are not singing in a foreign tongue, so the unbeliever can understand what we are singing, but if we are not singing with the spirit, how does that affect the unbeliever?
If we understand what we are singing, it will change the spirit with which we sing. Notice the words to our songs, and you will see what I mean. By doing these things we help unbelievers understand.
Sing with Grace
Colossians 3:16 explains that something resides in our hearts before a song does. When this thing does, grace follows. Is grace in your heart when you sing? How does your singing affect others? Are they learning anything about discipleship? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly[,] in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
Remember you are singing to the Lord. Does that give you any reason to have grace in your heart?
If your singing is meaningless, routine and without zeal, it is unacceptable even if you did not use instruments. Purpose to grow in your singing ability even as you grow in your faith.
Don Ruhl has been preaching for the Savage Street Church of Christ in Grants Pass, Oregon since October 2002. He graduated from the Southern California School of Evangelism (a work of the Buena Park Church of Christ in Buena Park, California in 1980).
220 NE Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526-1310, 541-476-3100, Rdruhl@aol.com
Some of the best advice comes from the Book of Proverbs, and the best way to get that wisdom into you is to read the chapter that corresponds to the day. For example, for today, December 8, read chapter 8 and there you will hear wisdom saying to you, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors” (Pro 8.34). Right there, the Book of Proverbs tells you to read it daily!
From the word I post: Nehemiah 9.6 when the Levites confessed that our God alone is Yahweh, that He made heaven, the earth, and that He preserves them all. Therefore, the host of heaven worships Him, and so
From the heart I post: Praise our great God who looks upon us though so small in comparison to the heavens and the earth, and so
From the street I post: Let all the earth worship our God, even as the host of heaven does!
Acts 4.24 says in part, “they raised their voice to God with one accord and said…”
How did they do pray in one accord?
Did they all speak simultaneously?
If so, was the prayer written out beforehand?
Or did someone say a few words, and the others repeat it?
Or did Luke simply mean that one man uttered the prayer, and he spoke for all?
Or are there other options?
The Ephesian Church is most intriguing. What got me interested in this church is Bill Boverie’s book, “From Caves to Cathedrals,” published by Quality Publications. Watch the church start in the Book of Acts, then see where it ends up in Revelation 2, although Paul, Apollos, Timothy, and John had been preachers there!
Where would your congregation be today, if in the past forty years those men had been the preachers? The truth is, while preachers can do much to help congregations, individual members still must do their part.
I have been persecuted numerous times, including from some in-laws who are atheistic and evolutionary in their beliefs. Every time I have stood up in public for what the Bible teaches in regard to homosexuality and abortion, people have persecuted me.
This past September we held a seminar on Islam with brother Burt Jones, and we advertised it heavily, and people persecuted us in the newspaper, through e-mail, answering machine messages, and protests during one of Burt’s speeches.
These people persecuted me in particular, but through it all, we responded as Jesus taught us, and praised God that He counted us worthy to suffering for His Son’s name and truth! Praise God!
I often contemplate what my life would be like without Christ. Would I have given in to some temptations that I resist now? I know that I would not be a preacher, but probably would have continued to operate a backhoe for my stepfather. What I would have been or not been, I do not know, but I do know that I would be headed for the fires of hell, but the holy brethren at the Longmont Church of Christ, Colorado, and the Lord working through many others changed all that. Praise God!
Does anyone know of a Bible passage that refers to plants either as living or dying?
For me the most striking saying of Jesus is what He said on divorce and remarriage (Matt 19.9), and the disciples saw it as very striking (v. 10), and today it is still one of the most controversial issues.
Concerning Philippians 1.19–23, The Expositor’s Dictionary of Texts (p. 709), says, “Death parts two old friends (body and soul) but it joins two better friends, the soul and Christ.”
Welcome, John T. Polk II, to The Fellowship Room. We will enjoy cogitating on exegetical profundities with you.
Randal asked where the Bible says Jesus sat down.
Well, after I had my kidney transplant, I was too weak to stand and preach, so I would sit on a stool. When I was a guest speaker during that time, a brother—whether joking or serious, I do not know, the Lord knows—said that it was not scriptural to sit while preaching. I then referred him to Matthew 5.1 which shows Jesus delivering the greatest sermon ever while sitting down.
So, Randal, the passage that I thought of was Matthew 5.1. Did I get it right? Did I win something?
Oh, I made a mistake. Revelation 1.17 had already been taken, and I did not realize it.
In Revelation 1.17, after John fell down from seeing the glorified Christ, Jesus then laid His right hand upon John, which hand had previously held seven stars, and told him not to be afraid. Wow! With the same hand that Jesus uses to hold stars, He can touch an old man in his nineties and tell him not to fear! Praise God!
I am like Ed Boggess, the KJV brought me the NKJV. I found this interesting and thought-provoking thought from C. S. Lewis on the King James Version, “We must sometimes get away from the Authorized Version, if for no other reason, simply because it is so beautiful and so solemn. Beauty exalts, but beauty also lulls. Early associations endear, but they also confuse. Through that beautiful solemnity, the transporting or horrifying realities of which the Book tells may come to us blunted and disarmed, and we may only sigh with tranquil veneration when we ought to be burning with shame, or struck dumb with terror, or carried out of ourselves by ravishing hopes and adorations…”
Barbara Ann is a woman after my own heart. I have wanted to collect swords for a long time, but my wife is not very excited about the idea. The only unusual knife that I have is a ulu knife.
However, I do have many copies of the Sword of the Spirit, which is my preference over just a spiritual pocket knife, such as carrying only a New Testament.
In my family tree is Darwin French (my great-great-grandfather), who was the physician on the team that explored Death Valley, California, and the town of Darwin, California is named after him. This is on my mother’s side.
My favorite non-biblical quote is this one from Christopher J. H. Wright in “The Mission of God,” “God dwelling among his people should be the most attractive force field on earth” (page 339).
Randal, I wish that you had written that book on balance, for we need it badly. My Greek and Hermeneutics teacher, Troy Cummings, had started to write a book on Spiritual Balance, but he died before he could finish it.
Yes, I have brand fidelity, and when Randal mentioned Apple, I could not resist! When Steve Jobs returned to Apple and turned the company around, it delighted me greatly. I have been using MacIntosh computers since 1991, and love them.
When I was a kid, my mother knew that I wanted Levi jeans and I was happy, and that is still true. I do not know that I have ever worn any other brand, and I am 53 years old!
I organize this way:
1. I used the Ready Record compiled by Jim Bill McInteer since 1980, but now they have changed the format so that I no longer find it useful for preaching. Therefore, I am switching to Action Day.
2. I use Palm Desktop for Mac even more than the old Ready Record.
3. I also use iCal.
What thought do I have about God?
Well, in 2010, I have preached eight sermons on the existence of God, and over two dozen on the attributes of God.
I conclude that He is the God of glorious beauty, shown magnificently in the glorified Christ in Revelation 1.10–18.
I have many movie favorites, including the six Star Wars movies, The Princess Bride, The Man From Snowy River, but the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie has to be the best (I like the other two also), and I like the first Pirates movie just simply because it is fun.
A real man is whatever Jesus of Nazareth was. He could rebuke sternly, and yes, He could even cry. He could work with His hands, and He could work with people. He could speak, and He could listen. He could love the righteous, and He could love the sinner. Whatever He was as a man, I want to be as a man.
My favorite verse is this one, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls…” (2Co 12.15a). To me, that epitomizes the spirit of Christianity.
What is my favorite Bible book to teach? Whatever one I am teaching at the present! If I have to be forced into making a choice, I will say Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and the Gospel According to John. Oh wait, that is plural and Mister Editor/Webmaster wants a singular choice. Okay, I will go with Ecclesiastes.
When did mortality hit home for me? It was in 1981, when I was 22 years old, and the doctor told me that I had an incurable kidney disease.
When is it OK to quit? Troy Cummings, my Greek and Hermeneutics teacher, said that you will know when it is time to move on. He was right. I knew when to leave the North Long Beach congregation in Long Beach, California, but it was not quite so obvious with the Nile Street Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
What book exceeded my expectations? Brother Steve Lloyd highly recommended, “The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative,” by Christopher J. H. Wright. Wow, it caused me to refocus my ministry entirely, starting with the year 2010! It reminded me of what I learned in a class in preaching school, the Scheme of Redemption, and I realized that I needed to redirect what I want to accomplish in my work as a preacher.
The latest book to disappoint me was, “The Seven Faith Tribes” by George Barna. The Preface and opening chapter were great, but then the rest of the book fell flat. I was told that his books can be that way, that is, he can identify a problem, but then his solution is not all that great. That was true of this book, but I cannot say anything about any of his other books. He has some appealing titles, so, I want to give him a couple more chances.
I just read Psalm 87 this morning and verse 7 makes a distinction between singing and playing that I had never noticed before. This is the New King James Version,
Both the singers and the players on instruments say,
“All my springs are in you.”
I thought you all would find that interesting.
Caffeine! The other preacher who works with me has his master’s degree in nutrition, and he told that caffeine has a half life of eight hours. That means eight hours later you still have half the caffeine in your body. That makes me wonder how many other people have problems sleeping because they had caffeine in the afternoon or evening.
When I hear Christians say that we should not study the Old Testament or that we should have nothing to do with it, my eyes roll, because my first reaction is, “You are not even reading the New Testament, for if you were, you would know that we must know the Old Testament as the New Testament says in countless places.”
Kerri and I loved Bucerias, Mexico in November 2008. We just returned from Southern California and Ormond Beach, Florida and enjoyed both. We love to vacation in Colorado where we met each other, were baptized, and married there.
I have not posted anything in a while, because my wife and I were on vacation to California and Florida. Now we are back and ready to continue the Lord’s work in Oregon.
What always gets me about the trial of Jesus, was when the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to Pilate, but they would not enter the Praetorium lest they defile themselves, exempting themselves from eating the Passover that year. Let me see, I do not want to defile myself by entering a Gentile place, but I can defile myself by conspiring to kill an innocent man. Of course, they should have seen Jesus as the Son of God, but knowing that they had to find false witnesses to convict should have shown them that He was at least an innocent man.