devotional

23AUG
2020

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 194

Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

 

23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.

 

NEXT-

 

Chapter 22. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day. Paragraph 6: “Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto.”

 

Two passages immediately come to mind for me here in the why’s of what they’re saying. One is John 4 in Samaria “Israel” with a woman at Jacob’s roughly 2,000 year old well. Jesus speaks very intimately of her and she responds immediately saying, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” John 4:19-21. Part of what’s communicated here in this partial quotation of it is that the location of God’s true worship cannot be associated with a place, as it had rightly been in Jerusalem and not Samaria, in what Christ had come to usher in. God had chosen Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 6:6; 1 Kings 11:32, 36; 2 Kings 21:7). Now, God is sanctifying everyone’s backyard similarly in Christ who came to unite Jews and Gentiles (all of redeemed mankind) in himself. In Christ, by his sacrifice, the temple would be made obsolete. Hebrews 10:14-18. He himself in fact would very soon destroy it concluding the matter. Worship to God, in light of zip code, would be possible everywhere alike in the New Covenant, and among every tribe and tongue…more than had ever been seen before.

The second passage that comes to mind, that’s perhaps slightly less referenced here, is what’s called, “The Transfiguration on the Mound.” Matthew 17 is one place we see it. I’ve seen with my own eyes from the roadway the mountain hilltop of Tabor suspected to be the sight of the transfiguration. It stands as almost a perfect mound in Israel. On this hilltop, wherever exactly it was, was a worship some distance from the temple mount in Jerusalem. Jesus transformed himself, and thereby it, into a place of the kind of true worship in the Spirit he spoke of in Samaria with that woman. The Father bore witness to it. Peter, James, John, Moses and Elijah all also bore witness to the truth of what Christ would do and was doing on every mountaintop and in every valley on Earth. They’re all places of acceptable worship…in the Spirit and the truth.

Our dining room tables are places of worship where the truth is to be found. Blessed and wonderful places where kids taste of the world outside they’re coming to know from mom and dad while they taste of God’s wonderful delicacies…especially if you’re as honored as I am to have a wife who has a doctorate in the delectable. It’s to be a place of laughter, tears, the breaking of news good and bad, of family sharing, of games, of argument and debate (all God’s idea) in a sphere of worship is which one’s church and government have only their other proper influences. It is a sphere of high influence. Christ has the head of all things including the home’s blessed table. Such are things God gives us richly to enjoy. I pray you do enjoy them. If you don’t, invite Christ to your table today.

The church, in a sense, can be everywhere, but it’s also clearly that common place with more of a structure than just, “Some bro’s at the coffee shop.” The church has an institutional/militant aspect to it with responsibilities accompanying, ruling elders, deacons, ordinances to administer, disciplinary necessity, etc. Such was taught by the Apostles. It isn’t enough then just to get together and have church in the backyard in the fullest sense of what Scripture shows us that “church” is. It’s the building that can be the church and most importantly the people that make it up, and it’s not to be taken for granted. Go to church, man. Online is no substitute. God has established the church as that way in our lives he works most non-mysteriously. There are many traditions that come and go like prayer in the direction of the temple, signs of the Cross, guitars or not, etc., that are not given in the Bible and can be practiced or not in liberty. What is prescribed is for our joy and betterment. There is a power and purpose in what we call “corporate worship” that God has ordained for his saints. Church is for them in worship to God. There’s also the wonderful reality of private worship ordained for the same reason, and in its own measure.

I love the way this confession shows worship to be possible and invites it to be present from the pulpit to the pantry.

 

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