Each week, we publish the top 10 most-played songs from weekend services around the world, and point out any tracks rising fast on the charts. Check here every Monday to learn about which worship tracks are hot. Source
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is known as the Shema, taken from the first word “hear” in Hebrew. Modern Jews consider the recital of the Shema both evening and morning to be one of their most sacred duties. It was cited by Jesus as the “greatest commandment in the Law” (Matthew 22:36–37).
This command seems to be impossible to obey. That’s because in the natural state of man, it is impossible. There is no greater evidence of the inability of man to obey God’s law than this one commandment. No human being with a fallen nature can possibly love God with all our heart, soul and strength 24 hours a day. It’s humanly impossible. But to disobey any commandment of God is sin. Therefore, even without considering the sins we commit daily, we are all condemned by our inability to fulfill this one commandment. This is the reason Jesus continually reminded the Pharisees of their inability to keep the Law of God. He was trying to get them to see their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their need for a Savior. Without the cleansing of sin that He provides, and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of the redeemed, loving God to any degree is impossible.
But as Christians, we have been cleansed from sin and we do have the Spirit. So how do we begin to love God the way we should? Just as the man in Mark 9:24 asked God to help his unbelief, so too we can ask God to help us in areas where we don’t love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is His power that we need to do the impossible, and we begin by seeking and appropriating that power.
In most cases, our love and affection for Him grows more intense as time goes by. Certainly, young Christians newly saved are very much aware of the love of God and their love for Him. But it is through the witness of God’s faithfulness during times of struggle and trial that a deep love for God grows and grows. Over time, we witness His compassion, mercy, grace and love for us, as well as His hatred for sin, His holiness and righteousness. We cannot love someone we don’t know, so knowing Him should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and His righteousness, who take seriously the command to love Him above all else, are those who are consumed with the things of God. They are eager to study God’s Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others. It is through these spiritual disciplines that the love for God grows and matures to the glory of God.
James 4:17 declares, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” A sin of omission is a sin that is the result of not doing something God’s Word teaches that we should do. It is generally used in contrast with the corresponding phrase “the sin of commission,” or sins that a person actively commits. Paul juxtaposes the two concepts in Romans 7:14–20. He decries his tendency toward both types of sin. He does what he doesn’t want to do and knows is wrong—the sin of commission—and he doesn’t do what he knows he should do and really wants to do—the sin of omission. Here is a picture of the new nature in conflict with the flesh in which it dwells.
In the New Testament, the classic example given by Jesus is the account of the Good Samaritan. After a man had been beaten and left in need of help, the first two men to pass by—a priest and a Levite, both of whom knew better—failed to act. The third man, a Samaritan, stopped to show compassion to the man in need (Luke 10:30–37). Jesus used this example to teach that we are to likewise help those in need. By doing so, he clearly communicated that it is sinful to avoid doing good, just as it is sinful to pursue what is evil.
Jesus further describes the sins of omission in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31–46. The goats, those who are sent away by Christ, are those who saw others hungry and thirsty, but did not provide food and water. They are those who saw others in need of clothing, who were sick or in jail but did nothing to clothe or comfort them. These are all examples of sins of omission. There was no sin committed against these needy people—they were not intentionally starved or deprived of their clothing. But the sin of omission was committed when those who could have provided for them chose not to.
Finally, the apostle Paul provides a summary statement that explains why we should do what is right and refrain from sins of omission: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). When we do the will of our heavenly Father (Matthew 12:50), we avoid sins of omission and live productive, fruitful living pleasing to God (Romans 12:1–2).
Yesterday we published Dr. Adams’ list. Here is mine. What would you add?
In particular, we are considering the continuationist claim that tongues in the New Testament did not always consist of real human foreign languages. Wayne Grudem, in Making Sense of the Church, represents the continuationist position when he writes:
“Are tongues known human languages then? Sometimes this gift may result in speaking in a human language that the speaker has not learned, but ordinarily it seems that it will involve speech in a language that no one understands, whether that be a human language or not” (emphasis added).
In his book, The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, continuationist author Sam Storms echoes that same thesis, insisting that “Acts 2 is the only text in the New Testament where tongues-speech consists of foreign languages not previously known by the speaker.” Storms’ assumption is that, even in the New Testament, the majority of tongues speech consisted of something other than human language.
Storms marshals nine arguments to defend that assumption. We have already considered his first two arguments (in the previous two posts). Today we will consider a third.
The following notes are from Jonathan Leeman’s short and very helpful book, Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012).
3 Forms of Discipline
The following notes have to do with “corrective discipline.”
There are different forms of Christian prayer, but whether you have a set prayer time or seek to communicate with God throughout the day (or some combination of both), here are 10 Christian prayers that are extremely dangerous to pray.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray them … we should! It just means that when we pray them, we should watch out!