The worship of the Christian Church is remarkably different from the worship of any other religion. Only in the Christian Church does music serve such a central role in expressing the people’s heartfelt praise and thanksgiving for who their God is and what he has done on their behalf.

Yet, how many times have we sung a song only to realize we are not entirely clear on the meaning of certain words, lines, and references? The shame of this is not our lack of knowledge but our inability to honor the Lord. Because singing mindlessly, that is with our mind disengaged from the truth being sung, or singing without an understanding of the meaning is the same as singing gibberish. It does not glorify God and it does not properly stir the affections of our own hearts toward him.

Thinking about this I have selected the first three songs that come to my mind in which we might pass over the lyrics without really understanding their meaning.

Fairest Lord Jesus

I love this song and here is why. The word “fairest” does not mean “just” as in “It was a fair decision.” It means “attractive,” “pleasing in appearance,” or “beautiful.” The first line is then exclaiming how beautiful Jesus is to those whose hearts have been born again. This same idea is present in the second and third lines. To paraphrase them, they say, “The meadows are beautiful! The woodlands are still more beautiful! But Jesus is even more beautiful! He is the most attractive thing to my heart!” “Sunshine is beautiful! Moonlight can be even more beautiful! And the heavens above are breathtaking! The thoughts of them make my mind turn inside out! But Jesus, O Jesus, shines brighter! He is more beautiful than all of these things! His death is more precious to me than all of creation because he takes my sins! He is the “Fairest Lord Jesus.”

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

The second line of this song asks, “Hast thou not seen / How thy desires e’er have been / Granted in what He ordaineth?” But have you ever thought about it? What exactly does that line mean? Here is what I believe it means. “E’er” means “ever” or “always.” Therefore to reword it slightly the line is asking, “Haven’t you seen how your desires have always been given to you according to what God has planned?” Then if we consider the context of the verse, “Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth,” we can see that this verse is talking about God’s gentle care for Christians. It is asking us to recall how God has sheltered us and sustained us. Because of this, “Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been granted in what He ordaineth?” should be understood as celebrating God’s ability to sovereignly keep the hearts of his people desiring himself. This truth is at the very heart of the Bible! That through Christ, God has made and will keep a people for himself who desire himself and the things of God.  What a wonderful truth! It means that I will remain a Christian until the end of my life, not because I am spiritually strong enough to keep myself faithful to God but because God mercifully sustains me and turns my heart to himself. It is what he has ordained. He has ordained that I desire him and for that I must give him all the credit and all the glory.

It is also interesting to notice that in the last line the word “aye” means “always,” and not the more common “yes.” As a whole the last line declares, “We will always gladly adore Him!” – And why will we always gladly adore him? Because he graciously keeps us. What an excellent thought.

Finally, the author of this hymn is addressing both himself and the assembled people of God. When he is speaking to himself he uses the words, “thou,” “thy,” and “thee” but when speaking to the entire congregation he uses the plural word, “ye.” He is instructing his soul to praise God. Like this song I find it helpful to urge myself, often silently but sometimes out loud when I am by myself, to worship or delight in God. Most often I do this when I read or hear a truth about God that I know should elicit the sweetest praise I have to offer but does not because my heart is a fallen human heart. In those times when your emotions do not match the truth of what is being said, it is helpful to say to yourself, “Come on heart! Love the Lord! This truth is glorious! Love the Lord! Feel the goodness of what is being said here! Come on emotions, catch up with the truth you are hearing!”

Rock of Ages

There is a line at the end of the first verse in Rock of Ages which says, “Be of sin the double cure / Save from wrath and make me pure.” I’m not sure when I didn’t notice this earlier but this line points out the two sides of sin. First, sin defiles us making us impure. Second, it places us under God’s wrath. – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” (Romans 1:18) – In this line the author is drawing our attention to the death of Jesus which is our “double cure” for sin. This is because on the cross Jesus took our sin upon himself and suffered God’s wrath while we received Jesus’ righteousness in place of our impurity. Therefore Jesus is the “double cure” for sin. He saves us from wrath and makes us pure.

It is my hope that this post will cause God to receive greater honor from his people and our hearts to burn more brightly with his truth as we worship him through music.

If you found this post helpful, please let me know by rating it. If it seems helpful I may make this into a series and explore the lyrics of other songs. I have given some thought to going through the new Baptist hymnal song by song. It includes both traditional and contemporary worship songs. As always, I invite your comments.

What do you think about women pastors and what would you say to a young woman interested in the pastorate? I was recently asked about this by a very special young lady. This is what I told her. If you are thinking of reading it, please do not, unless you are willing to read the entire letter.

Dear Sister in the Faith,

I am so glad to hear that you are interested in being a pastor. Not long ago Rachel and I were talking about how we saw God working in your life. It seemed to us he had given you a love for himself and a desire to allow his Word to take root in your life. So while I am happy you have had an interest in being a pastor I am even more excited to hear that you desire to know if this is what God would have for you.

You have asked a great question. To answer it, I think we need to go all the way back to the beginning. We need to answer two questions, “Did God create men and women to have different roles?” and if he did, “What are those roles?

Genesis 2:5-8 and 2:15 tells us that God created man to work the garden and keep it. Then in 2:18 God states, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So we see that the man was given the role of working the garden to produce fruit and of guarding the garden and the woman was given the role of helping the man. Therefore, we should notice that according to God’s plan, before sin entered the world and messed things up, God intended for the man to have a leadership role with the woman as his helper. The proper order of authority was then God, man, woman, and then creation (the animals and plants).

But notice when Satan came to tempt the humans he turned the order of authority upside down. He, an animal, went to talk to the woman and not the man whose job it was to protect his wife. This was Satan’s way of rejecting God’s established order of authority.

Then sin entered the picture.

It is important to notice that when God speaks to the serpent and the humans in 3:14-19, he first curses Satan (But he does not curse the humans!). He then causes the woman’s pain in child bearing to increase and the man’s pain in working the garden to increase. God causes pain to occur in the areas related to the woman’s primary role and the man’s primary role. He also says to the woman in 3:16, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This means the woman, because of sin, will desire to take the leadership role over her husband. But God then reestablished his original plan by saying the man will “rule over” (or lead) the woman.

So, why does all of this matter? It matters because we see that different roles for men and woman are not the result of sin but are part of God’s good and gracious plan from the very beginning. Therefore, to say that men should lead and protect is not being sexist, traditional, or abusive. It is how God has created us. But I have to emphasize, because of sin men tend to be poor leaders and poor protectors. They can be overly authoritative and abusive or they can be reluctant to lead or to protect at all. Both are sinful and not right. Because of sin, women also tend to either want to take leadership over men or make the opposite mistake of thinking they cannot do anything without a man. These distortions are also sinful.

But you asked about women serving as pastors. What does any of this have to do with women pastors?

It seems that God’s original plan for different roles between men and women is also present in the New Testament. For example Ephesians 5:22-33 teaches that men are to take a leadership role in caring for their wives. They are to love their wives as Christ loves us, the Church. Women are to submit to their husbands because they know this is what it means for them to follow Christ (“as to the Lord” in verse 22) The order of authority from Genesis is again present in verse 22: God is the head (meaning authority) of the Church (both men and women) and man is then the “authority” over his wife. It all goes back to God’s plan in Genesis. It then follows all the way through the Bible to this passage where it was revealed for the first time that men and women are suppose to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Bride; the Church. “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32)

To understand all of this allows us to understand the major passages on women in ministry. They are 1 Timothy 2:11-15, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-36. The easiest one to understand is 1 Timothy 2:11-15 which says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” and goes on to tie the reason for this to God’s original plan in Genesis.

The next passage 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, seems pretty difficult to understand at first. But it teaches that women should dress like women when they pray or prophecy in church. (At that time a head covering was considered dressing like a woman.) But why would Paul care what a woman was wearing? It is because dressing as a woman indicates that the women praying knew her distinct role as a woman. She was not trying to reject God’s plan for men’s and women’s roles by dressing like a man. It showed that the woman was recognizing her submission to the male leadership as she prayed or prophesied.

Finally, 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 is another verse that seems hard to understand. It is set in the context of interpreting prophesy. It is talking about how the Church should interpret what God has said. It tells us that, “women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission.” But! This does not mean women are supposed to sit silently in church. As we have seen in the previous verse women are allowed to prophesy and pray in church. Both of these require a woman to speak. We need to remember that this verse is in the context of interpreting prophecy. It is only saying that women, because of the role they have been given, should not stand before the congregation and interpret what God has said. Today, the person who stands before the congregation and interprets what God has said is the pastor. This is why I believe Scripture teaches that only men should serve as pastors.

But please do not be discouraged by this! I am very glad that you have a desire to serve as a pastor and even more thankful that God has given you the desire to see what his Word says about it. I think you very well may have a calling to “full-time” or “professional” ministry, just not as a pastor. Women can, and should, serve in roles appropriate for what God has designed. Women are desperately needed to teach younger women (Men are not allowed to do this), children, or in a women’s ministry (Something men would not be good at!). These kinds of ministries are extremely valuable to the glory of God. I think you may be called to full-time ministry. I think you should seriously consider it and pray about it!

Finally, a few side notes. First, it is often said that this point of view allows women to only teach women and children as if teaching men were the really important work of ministry. This is a terrible view that somehow places a greater value on teaching men than women and children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Men are not more valuable than women!Men and women are of equal worth, intelligence, and ability. Many women would even do a better job serving as a pastor than many of the male pastors I know, but that is not God’s plan. We need to remember it is his Church and he will build it as he sees fit. Second, there are a million objections to this teaching of Scripture. I think all of them are answerable. I will only comment on the most common one. Many people point out that Deborah was a Judge over Israel beginning in Numbers 4. But the story of Deborah does not mean women should serve as pastors. The story is really a condemnation of a lack of male leadership and the book of Numbers itself was written to show us how messed up life gets when we do not live it according to God’s Word. Everything in Numbers is messed up! Nothing is what it is suppose to be! Therefore, we should not try to base our doctrine of male and female roles from the book of Numbers when other passages are very clear in their teaching. Third, a very helpful, short, and free book on this topic can be found here: 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns About Manhood and Womanhood.

My dear sister in Christ, please, please, please consider full time ministry and may the Lord bless you as you seek his will in this area of your life.

In Christ,

will

The End. I hope you made it this far without getting bored!

If you found this post helpful, please let me know by rating it. I also invite your constructive comments.

Congratulations on considering a call to ministry! Going to seminary will be a major commitment of your time, finances, and energy. But what you gain, a deeper knowledge of God, is precious and cannot be rivaled. Therefore, in order to maximize the benefits of your time at seminary, please allow me to pass along a few helpful suggestions.

On Studying Hebrew and Greek:

  1. Use GreekDrill. It is a Greek vocabulary flashcard program which tests you using not only the lexical forms but all possible forms of the words. No other program allows you to study words as you would find them in the text. It has a free 21 day trial period.
  2. Do not use language helps. Okay, use them a little. But force yourself to do the hard work even though it is 2 AM, you have to go to work at 4 AM, and you haven’t fed your fish in a week. If you use the language helps too much you will become dependent upon them and the grade on your final exam will earn you the moniker, “Ichabod.”
  3. Buy a marker and find an empty classroom. Write out every paradigm. Wear comfortable shoes.
  4. Download and install free Greek and Hebrew fonts from BibleWorks.
  5. Give your laptop a Greek or Hebrew keyboard by purchasing keyboard stickers from eBay. They are transparent stickers you place over your current keyboard and allow the English letters to show through. They are inexpensive and durable.
  6. Play with your language settings in Windows. You can set Windows to switch between English, Greek, and Hebrew. The Hebrew will type right to left. Assign each language to a hot key. For example: English = [ctrl] + [1], Greek = [ctrl] + [2], and Hebrew = [ctrl] + [3]. That way you can type in English, immediately switch to Greek, throw in a Hebrew word, and return to your native tongue before your coffee has a chance to cool.
  7. Favor the language classes. They are worth the hard work. When you have to make a choice between studying Greek and doing “okay” on a history test, choose the Greek.
  8. Don’t take your Greek New Testament (or your Hebrew Old Testament) to church. It is distracting to others and only serves your own pride. You most likely won’t be able to translate fast enough to keep up, thereby decreasing and not increasing your understanding of the passage. You work too hard studying the languages only to nurture a prideful attitude and render your investment useless to the Church. One of the best things you can learn in a language class is humility. Often you don’t know as much as you think you know.
  9. Leave your tools in the shed. As a pastor or teacher you are a servant of God’s Church equipped with the tools of Greek and Hebrew. You have been entrusted with these tools in order to cultivate a more fruitful understanding of Scripture. Therefore, after using the tools to the best of your ability you should set them aside and present the fruit of your labor as a feast to feed God’s people. You should not bring the tools of Greek and Hebrew to the congregation for them to choke on. It is not their business to know how to use the tools. So what benefit will come from displaying them week after week? It will only cause harm to God’s people as you unwittingly imply to them their inability to accurately interpret their English Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth! Some of God’s most faithful preachers and missionaries never studied the languages! So leave your Greek and Hebrew in the shed where they belong.

On Preparing for the Future:

  1. Celebrate your first day on campus by buying a commentary. (Get your parents to buy it.) Each time you have to write a paper buy another one. Celebrate all minor holidays by buying a commentary. That way you will graduate with a substantial collection and reduce trips to your school’s library. Use Carson’s New Testament Commentary Survey and Longman’s Old Testament Commentary Survey to help you select the best commentary for what you require.
  2. Keep two easily accessible files on your computer, “Ideas for Ministry” and “Recommended Resources.” Have them open during class and record any book, audio resource, website, or great ministry idea your professor shares. I use One Note for class notes which allows me to keep all these files immediately accessible and organize them by topic.
  3. Begin a sermon illustration file. Include quotations, news stories, statistics, and any other material that would help you develop a sermon point. Label each entry by topic, scriptural reference, and source.
  4. Type out or photocopy the table of contents of every book you purchase. Then file hardcopies by topic or better yet create a searchable database. This will help you locate resources in your own library for future research papers, sermons, and teaching opportunities. Otherwise you will completely forget about that one perfect chapter in a seemingly unrelated book.

On Saving Valuable Time:

  1. Use StyleEase. This software installs in Microsoft Word and automatically formats your papers. There is a special “Seminary Style” edition for our particularly unusual requirements. You can find it at StyleEase.
  2. In addition, figure out your school’s formatting before you arrive on campus. Format a document to use as a title page template. Then when needed, plug in your assignment’s title and class information. Format it now and use it for all the papers you will write over the next several years.

On Maximizing Your Classroom Experience:

  1. Use ratemyprofessors.com to help you select classes.
  2. Avoid new Ph.D.’s and favor professors who have been teaching for many years. Nothing against new professors but the older ones are usually better. They have had more practice, done more research, and fielded many more questions. Avoid professors you have never heard of, cannot find in an internet search, and are not recommended by a few other students.
  3. Go to a theologically solid seminary. Do not compromise for convenience. Your theological education is too important to the future of your congregation. In my undergrad I sat through hours of what I can only describe as insanity. When discussing this with pastors I would often hear them say, “Yeah, there’s one of those professors at every school.” But the truth is there isn’t one of those at every school. I encourage you; find a good seminary where you don’t sit around wasting your time debating if God is a woman or if sin is wrong.
  4. Don’t sit in the back row where you will be tempted to not pay attention by checking Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite blog.
  5. Consider recording your classes. If you are consistent you could complete seminary with an entire M.Div. on tape.
  6. Go to as many chapel services and guest lectures as you can. Sometimes one lecture can open doors for you that an entire semester will not. Guest lecturers are often very good; otherwise they wouldn’t have been invited.
  7. Test everything with Scripture. Even the best professors have an off day.

On Considering Odds and Ends:

  1. Get married. Wives are awesome.
  2. Don’t get a puppy. Puppies are still awesome.
  3. Check out wtsbooks.com. It is the bookstore of Westminster Theological Seminary. Their prices are so low they are depraved. Shipping is incredibly effectual and only $4 no matter how many books you buy. If your order is over $35, shipping is only $1; an irresistible grace for poor seminary students. (You just know these guys have been reading Isaiah 55.)
  4. Buy a coffee grinder. You’ll need it. It will help wake you up in the morning. Buy vinegar to clean your drip coffee maker. Find the instructions online. Buy a nice coffee mug. You will be spending significant time with it. It may become your best (or only) friend.
  5. Take a C. Do not sacrifice your Scripture intake, prayer time, or family to the demands of seminary and when you begin to, let that A go and accept a C. God will be honored by your poor grade.
  6. Get exercise or you will slowly gain weight from all the sitting you will do.
  7. Buy a compact Bible to carry to class. Everyone I know ends up doing this. Make it easy on yourself and select your preferred translations as soon as possible. That way you can familiarize yourself with it before you graduate.

If you found this post helpful, please let me know by rating it. I also invite your comments. What have you found helpful or worth passing along to a future seminarian?

I love podcasts. For me, they are the greatest invention since the printing press. Kind of like a printing press for your ears! And one of the best way to grow in the Christian faith is to increase your intake of the Word of God. There is no substitute for Scripture and there is no shortcut to spiritual growth. If you want to grow spiritually, you need the Scriptures. The great blessing of technology is to put sermons and audio resources at our fingertips without any effort at all. Simply subscribe to a podcast, let your computer download the files, and enjoy listening while you are in the shower, around the house, cooking dinner, at work, or driving in your car.

But, if you are gong to listen to podcasts you might as well listen to the best. There are so many great resources on the web that it is a shame to settle for anything but solid biblical preaching and teaching. Therefore please let me recommend what are, in my opinion, some of the best podcasts and audio resources on the web.

Free Podcasts:

Free Audio Resources:

Enjoy!

And if you found this post helpful, please let me know by rating it. I also invite any comments you may have. Thank you!

Who doesn’t love free stuff? So today in a shameless attempt to draw readers to my blog I have compiled a list of free quality offers from a few trusted biblical sources. Enjoy!

Books:

Audio Recordings:

Bulletin Inserts for Churches:

Thank you for reading this post. If you found it helpful, please let me know by rating it. I also invite your constructive comments or free resources you would like to share.

As I sit here watching the State of the Union I am reminded what the Scriptures say concerning this man, our President. It is a hard teaching to take to heart and put into practice. But we Christians should call attention to it, urge it upon our fellow Christians, and give assent to it without any hesitation whatsoever. As a teaching of Scripture it carries the full authority of God. It may not be politically correct or popular in every circle of Americans but popularity and political correctness is not what followers of Christ are called to. We are called to obedience to God above all things, including political convictions and affiliations. Therefore, as I was reminded tonight, please let me remind you what the Scriptures teach about Barack Obama.

The Scriptures tell us Barack Obama has been placed in authority over us by God himself.

  • “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

The Scriptures call us to be willingly subject to our President Barack Obama.

  • “My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise” (Proverbs 24:21)
  • “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1)
  • “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient” (Titus 3:1)
  • “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

The Scriptures command us to wholeheartedly thank God for our President Barack Obama and pray for his good.

  • “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1)

The Scriptures teach us that those who resist President Barack Obama’s rightful authority will be judged by God as resistance to what God has appointed.

  • “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Romans 13:2)
  • “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

It is right to pray for, give thanksgiving for, and submit ourselves to those in authority. As Christians this becomes more important the more we may disagree with those who rule over us. There are exceptions when we as Christians are no longer obligated to pray for the wellbeing of our leaders. But that is not our situation as American citizens and we should not use this as an excuse to be disobedient to God who has set President Barack Obama over us.

Father, please have mercy on our country by blessing our President with wise judgments which accord with your Holy Word. Thank you for your grace in placing a government over us to restrain evil and encourage peace.

If you found this post helpful, please let me know by rating it. I also invite your comments. (Due to the nature of this post please refrain from entering political debates in the comments section.) Thank you!

Is there any reason to read old books? Books hundreds of years old? With archaic language and unusual spellings? Whose authors could never have imagined something as simple as an e-reader? Let alone the printing press?

Well yes! I think there are great reasons, but one in particular stands above the rest. It is simply this: We all think alike.

“What?!” – you might say. There are so many different ways of thinking today that no one I know thinks alike. But please let me give you an example off the top of my head. A few days ago I wrote a post titled, “7 Reasons Why I Don’t Like the Sinner’s Prayer.” Now I realize what I wrote is not the dominate view in American Christianity. It’s not even close! Almost every Christian in this country, including myself, has been encouraged to use the “sinner’s prayer” as the way to do evangelism. Whether it is raking leaves, handing out soup, inviting someone to church, or simply talking with a good friend, each type of evangelism is designed to somewhere along the way move the conversation toward the sinner’s prayer. It is simply how evangelism is being done in America in our time. We might think differently on how the sinner’s prayer should be worded, when it should be presented, how a new Christian should pray it, but in the end we still think the same. We all assume it should be the sinner’s prayer and therefore we all think alike without even recognizing it. So what do we do?

The remedy to this is simple. We need someone to point it out to us. But if everyone is thinking the same way no one able to shows us our common assumptions or to critique our accepted ideas and we are left blind to our errors. Unless…. we can find a person living outside of our time and outside of our mindset, who can show us something new and possibly raze or fortify our thinking,

This is the value of old books! They help us to think new thoughts outside of our time we would not otherwise be able to think.

And if any of this is sounding familiar to you, it might be because these thoughts are not original to me. I’m only borrowing them from C.S. Lewis who penned them in an introduction to, The Incarnation of the Word of God, a very old book by Athanasius, a hero of the Christian faith.

Here C. S. Lewis writes to us:

“There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books… This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology.

Now this seems to me to be topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am I writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But it he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old… It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones… We all… need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books… We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century… lies where we have never expected it… None of us can fully escape this blindness… The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through out minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”

I might be completely crazy when I suggest we downplay the role of the sinner’s prayer. But one thing is for sure, if it had not been for old books, I never would have considered that Christians did evangelism differently for the first 1,900+ years of Church history.

Now stop reading my blog and go read an old book! Or better yet, share with me what old book has challenged your thinking about God.

My post today is really simple. Here are ten things I love about the Lord Jesus:

  1. Jesus holds everything in existence. Therefore he holds me in existence.
    • “and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrew 1:3)
  2. Jesus is the promised one who fulfills the Old Testament’s promises. He is the “Christ.”
    • “The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this… her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’” (Genesis 3:14-15)
    • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
  3. Jesus is holy. His purity and spotlessness make him beautiful beyond anything in creation.
    • “And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God’” (Luke 1:35)
  4. Jesus is patient with my sin.
    • “The Lord is… patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
  5. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away my sin.
    • “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
  6. Jesus is meek and humble in his Lordship.
    • “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
  7. Jesus is my life. He has brought me out of spiritual death to life.
    • “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”(John 14:6)
  8. Jesus is alive. Therefore I can trust him as the One with power over my life and death.
    • “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
  9. Jesus is ever present with his people. He knows our trials and keeps us under his care.
    • “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
  10. Jesus is coming again. He has not left this world to forever endure the effects of sin.
    • “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
    • (Revelation 22:12-13) “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’” (Revelation 22:20)

They are many, many more things to love about Jesus than just these ten. What things do you love about him?

“But by the grace of God I am what I am” are Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:10. Although Paul is writing in reference to his former life, persecuting the Church, the principle of being satisfied with who and what God has made you extends to many other areas of our lives. Preachers included, can be an anxious group, uncomfortable with who they are and longing to be someone else. If we are honest, who has not wished to have the personality, ability, intelligence, or discipline of their favorite preacher? But by the grace of God we will not all be the next Bill Hybels or John Piper. In fact, most of us will not be known beyond the walls of our own church or community. And that also is by the grace of God. What a privilege it is to serve as the person God has made us, with all of our quirks, for the unique situation where God has called us.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” had similar advice for his students after lecturing on posture, action, and gesture in preaching. He wrote:

“In conclusion, do not allow my criticisms upon various grotesque postures and movements to haunt you in the pulpit; better perpetrate them all than be in fear, for this would make you cramped and awkward. Dash at it whether you blunder or no. A few mistakes in this matter will not be half so bad as being nervous. It may be that what would be eccentric in another may be most proper in you; therefore take no man’s dictum as applicable to every case, or to your own. See how John Know is pictured in the well-known engraving. Is his posture graceful? Perhaps not. Yet is it not exactly what it should be? Can you find any fault with it? Is it not Knox-like, and full of power? It would not suit one man in fifty; in most preachers it would seem strained, but in the great Reformer it is characteristic, and accords with his life-work. You must remember the person, the times and his surroundings, and then the mannerism is seen to be well becoming a hero-preacher sent to do an Elijah’s work, and to utter his rebukes in the presence of a Popish court which hated the reforms which he demanded. Be yourself as he was  himself; even if you should be ungainly and awkward, be yourself. Your own clothes, though they be homespun, will fit you better than another man’s, though made of the best broadcloth; you may follow your tutor’s style of dress if you like, but do not borrow his coat, be content to wear one of your own. Above all, be so full of matter, so fervent, and so gracious that the people will little care how you hand out the word; for if they perceive that it is fresh from heaven, and find it sweet and abundant, they will pay little regard to the basket it which you bring it to them. Let them, if they please, say that your bodily presence is weak, but pray that they may confess that your testimony is weighty and powerful. Commend yourself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God, and then the mere mint and anise of posture will seldom be taken into account.”

All Christian denominations have historically accepted the Trinity. Jehovah’s Witnesses however have always rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. For both faiths the doctrine of the Trinity is a dividing line between being a believer or being an unbeliever. But who is right? Is there or is there not a Trinity? And can the Scriptures answer this question? I think they can. And I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own New World Translation teaches that there is a Trinity despite its differences in translation with other versions of the Bible.

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, I hope you will keep reading. All scripture references will be taken from your translation of the Bible so that there is no question of an incorrect translation.

Before we begin, let us agree that we will accept whatever the Scriptures teach. If the Scriptures teach that there is one God but three persons are described as God, then by faith we must accept that the one God is three persons. We must be willing to accept the Trinity. We have no other choice if we wish to be faithful to Scripture.

So then let us look at Scripture.

First, God is described as one God who is the only Savior

  • “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah” (Deuteronomy 6:4, New World Translation)
  • “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:10-11, New World Translation)

Second, that one God is “the first and the last” and “the Alpha and the Omega”

  • “This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaserof him, Jehovah of armies, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6, New World Translation)
  • I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8, New World Translation)

Third, Jesus is also “the first and the last” and “the Alpha and Omega”

  • I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13, New World Translation) – Jesus, the speaker in this verse is identified in the following verse:
  • “‘I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to YOU people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.’” (Revelation 22:16, New World Translation)
  • “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha´des.” (Revelation 1:17-18, New World Translation)

Fourth, God raised Jesus from the dead

  • “And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they also did away with him by hanging him on a stake. God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest” (Acts 10:39-40, New World Translation)

Fifth, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit also raised Jesus from the dead

  • The Father – “and to wait for his Son from the heavens, whom he raised up from the dead, namely, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath which is coming.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, New World Translation)
  • The Son – “In answer Jesus said to them: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Therefore the Jews said: “This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said.” (John 2:19-22, New World Translation)
  • The Holy Spirit – “If, now, the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in YOU, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the deadwill also make YOUR mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in YOU.” (Romans 8:11, New World Translation)

Sixth, the apostle Thomas called Jesus “God”

  • “Well, eight days later his disciples were again indoors, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and he stood in their midst and said: “May YOU have peace.” Next he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.” In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen me have you believed? Happy are those who do not see and yet believe.” (John 20:26-29, New World Translation)

As we have seen, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ accepted translation of the Scriptures teach that there is only one God. This God is “the first and the last,” “the Alpha and the Omega,” and the one who raised Jesus from the dead. But Jesus is also “the first and the last,” “the Alpha and the Omega,” and the one who raised himself from the dead along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Finally, the apostle Thomas, a close follower of Jesus, confirms this understanding by calling Jesus his “God.” Therefore, if we are to obey the teaching of Scripture we must by faith accept that the one God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity.

If you are reading this as a Jehovah’s Witness and beginning to question the teachings of your church, then I encourage you to visit a local book store, find a copy of the Bible in the NIV, ESV, HCSB, or NLT and begin to read the Gospel of John for yourself. May God be pleased to reveal himself to you as the God who saves through Jesus Christ.

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