Friday, May 05, 2006

Sola Scriptura and Orthopraxy: In Our Worship and Christian Living (Part 5)

Sola Scriptura and Orthopraxy: In Our Worship and Christian Living (Part 5)

"If our Church leaders are practicing Sola Scripture then we as members are being properly equipped in theological doctrine and in the outworkings of the doctrine in the practice of Christian living."

Sola Scriptura is to be the basis of the life of the believer in worship and in Christian daily Christian living. If our Church leaders are practicing Sola Scripture then we as members are being properly equipped in theological doctrine and in the outworkings of the doctrine in the practice of Christian living. I have found it very interesting that everyone that I have discipled when hey had a problem in their life had a theologicial doctrinal issue they had missed, left or forgotton. It was in this doctrinal error or issues in their life that affected their practical Christian living. If you don’t bleieve me read the examople given of Helen in the article Forgiving God. You will find she had accepted a God whim could possibly have wronged her in some manner therefore she had reduced or eliminated His holiness and righteousness.

In worship we are called to use all our body soul mind and strength and worship God in Spirit and in truth. “How is this accomplished” you may ask? Well in the first place you are to come to God the Father through Jesus Christ. That is believe in Christ resting on His work on the cross for salvation. Having done that you now can rejoice in the Lord. Be happy in Him knowing that He is your friend and that “He cares for you”.

You now can enter into the worship service with anticipation to hear from God. After all you are the “ekklesia” the called out ones, called out to meet with the King and Lord to Hear His word and to worship Him. The King will speak and will show Himself to His people. So prepare to respond to God as He reveals Himself in worship. Take note of the instruction of Solomon: “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” (Ecc 5:1-2)

Our practice of reading His word will be done properly in our practice of Sola Scriptura. We will read the Bible with a “high and reverent esteem”. We know with a strong confidence that the Bible is the very Word of God. We also come to it recognizing that He must enable us to understand, know and believe it. We also recognize and look to God who enables and empowers us to live it. The Apostle Paul said: “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phi 2:13) Therefore we read the Bible with diligence, and attention and with meditation, application, self-denial, and always in prayer.

Sola Scriptura also calls us to a proper understanding and preparation and practice of the Sacraments within the context of worship and in our practice of the faith in our lives. Since your baptism you must have thought about it. What it means, the blessings of it, its activity and work in your live, etc? Your baptism signified that you were grafted into Christ and that in Him you have the remission of sins by his blood, and are regenerated by the Holy Spirit being adopted as a son awaiting the resurrection and entering into everlasting life. Therefore in the practice of our faith in Sola Scriptura we are not to forget our baptism. It is important to us in our daily lives as we remember we wear the badge or mark of a Christian. It will help us in times of temptation as we consider we are God’s people and that weare to “improve our baptism”. Now I know this is a new concept to many reading this for in our modern Churches we are not called or reminded to talk much about this wonderful sacrament that was applied to us. But we should often! This is true orthopraxy at its finest. The Westminister divines, after a dedicated study of the scripture, proposed the question and answer to the people of God in this manner:

How is our Baptism to be improved by us?

Answer: The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.

Let us therefore remember and give thanks to God for this great sacrament and the blessing of God which come by and through all that it is, it represents and it signifies.

Another aspect of our orthopraxy within Sola Scriptura is the proper preparation in coming to the Lord’s table in worship and in our duty and practice following our partaking of the Supper.

In coming to the table there is to be an examination of ones life. And a process of reflective consideration and life change after receiving the supper. Again this is summarized in the Westminister Shorter Catechism:

How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?

Answer: They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.

May one who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s Supper?

Answer: One who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account has it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s Supper, that he may be further strengthened.

May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s Supper, be kept from it?

Answer: Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s Supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ has left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.

What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in the time of the administration of it?

Answer: It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fullness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.

What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?

Answer: The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, is seriously to consider: How they have behaved themselves therein, and with: What success; if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfill their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance: but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.
"Sola Scriptura in practice
prepares you for worship each Lord’s day."

Finally concerning our worship let me just say that when we have worshipped in Spirit and in truth within the context of Sola Scriptura we then will be people who share our faith with others through evangelism and missionary out reach. To see our first priority as evangelism and giving the gospel toothers and not to worship is not Sola Scriptura. We are called to worship God and from out of that flows evangelistic and missionary endeavors. And I do believe I am correct in saying that these endeavors will be blessed of God for when we go preaching the gospel to others we will go to save their souls for the purpose of worship!

Sola Scriptura in practice therefore prepares you for worship each Lord’s day. This happens because you live holy during the week as you remember the goodness of God to you as you improve your baptism, consider the Lord’s Supper and read His word for spiritual growth, guidance and direction in life situations. Therefore you live in the presence and peace of the Lord (Phil 4: 4-9 ) Always rejoicing!

The orthopraxy of Sola Scriptura effectually works to cause you to glorify God in you family life and in your calling or work life. You glorify God by being obedient and faithful to obey the commands and follow the principles and precepts within God’s word daily (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore you know how to communicate with your spouse, the children your neighbors and others in and with grace and in truth. If you are buying or selling, doing business as a business person or just working for an employer you will ensure that you are fair in all things. (Eph 4: 21-32). Your love for your family, neighbor and brethren will be biblical love which is always active. If you have offended someone or if you have been offended you will go to that person and be reconciled. (Matt 5:23-24) and then come and worship. You will repent when needed and forgive where needed always living in the presence of the God of peace and in peace with your fellow man.

In conclusion there is so much more that could be said. I have sought to give you the sense of the direction of the Bible as to how worship and life truly are holistic - to worship is to effect ones daily Christian living. I now encourage all Christians that read this to take this to heart, put worship in its proper place and practice it properly and biblically and make it a part of your life.

Perhaps you re not a Christian and would like to know Christ and worship Him I then call you to repent of your selfish and sinful life and to turn in faith to Christ the Lord who died for sinners and redeems them by his blood. Please contact a local bible believing Church or contact me through this link below if I can be of assistance. Also I suggest you read the blog posted earlier titled: "The Gospel - Jesus Saves"


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