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Monday 21st of August 2017

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In Spirit and In Truth
Written by Ben Winslett   
Friday, 07 January 2011 14:41

 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

According to John 4, the Father SEEKS His children to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. That means it is His desire, not only receive worship, but also to receive the RIGHT kind of worship. Worship is not something to be invented out of blind zeal, but to be offered according to God's prescribed methods.

This is true in both worship covenants, called the Old Covenant and New Covenant.

No one would debate the specific nature of prescribed worship under the Old Covenant. Nor could anyone debate the horrific conditions that occurred in Israel when those specifications were ignored or disregarded for culture, personal preference, or popularity. The abandonment of God-prescribed worship led to all sorts of error including idol worship, yet the worst quite possibly being child sacrifice.

The New Covenant is no different. Just as God prescribed what actions were acceptable in worship in the Old Testament period, God has prescribed what is appropriate for worship in the New Testament period. God leaves nothing up to the imagination, but exhorts us often in His Word.

So what does God-prescribed, first century worship consist of?

The general make up of it is as follows. A congregation of grace touched sinners met as an assembly, with the anticipation of being joined by God Himself, the Holy Spirit. They met as families, unsegregated, often in homes but occasionally outside or even in a synagogue. The group would pray for one another and thank God for His mercies. They would lift their voices in praise of Jesus Christ, Who was slain for them as their Saviour. They would then listen as a God-called man presented them a lesson about Jesus Christ from the scriptures (which at that time consisted of the Old Testament and New Testament books as they were written). Initially, the speakers were Apostles but were eventually replaced by Elders as the primary teachers (such as Titus, Timothy, etc). Questions were often asked of the ministers. Sinners repented and were Baptized. Those Baptized were given seats at the Lord's Supper to partake of unleavened bread and wine. They would also wash one anothers' feet as an example of their submission and servitude, one to another.

That, my brother, is God-prescribed worship. All other additions are futile, unfruitful, unfilling perversions of that which Christ has made. Frankly, I am satisfied.

 

 
Snowed In - Worship at Home!
Written by Ben Winslett   
Sunday, 26 December 2010 12:24

Dear Friends,

A brother shared this verse of a hymn earlier today on Facebook. Since many churches in our area had to cancel services due to the dangerous conditions, this verse has been on my mind.

"Every season of the year, let your worship be sincere; when the storm prevents your roam, serve your gracious Lord at home." - Baptism, #265 Old School Hymnal 11th Edition, verse 4

The first two verses are about Baptism. Specifically, not to fear the cold water if your heart is warm for the Lord. The last 3 verses are about our duty as Christians after baptism. It was written by Elder John Leland. You remember that he is partially responsible for the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. He was an Old Baptist minister.

Baptism

Christians, if your hearts are warm, Ice and snow can do no harm;
If by Jesus you are prized, Rise, believe, and be baptized.

Jesus drank the gall for you, Bore the curse for sinners due;
Children, prove your love to Him, Never fear the frozen stream.

Never shun the Savior's cross, All on earth is worthless dross;
If the Savior's love you feel, Let the world behold your zeal.

Every season of the year, Let your worship be sincere;
When the storm prevents your roam, Serve your gracious Lord at home.

Read His sacred word by day, Ever watching always pray;
Meditate His law by night, This will give you great delight.

God bless,
Ben Winslett

Related:

http://marchtozion.com/history/389-biography-of-elder-john-leland

 
A Biblical View of Justification
Written by Ben Winslett   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 12:54

The following is the answer to an inquiry I received via email - BW.

The word Justification, as used in the Bible, is a legal term. It is not a biological term (as most people incorrectly use it). It means "to declare one just." When a judge issues his verdict of "not-guilty," the person on trial is then "justified." There are texts that speak of God being "justified in the Spirit" (1 Tim 3:16) and even texts when men "justified God" (Luke 7:29). Obviously, God needs no one to "make" Him righteous. These verses teach of God being "declared to be Just." Certainly every action of God declares that He is just! But, I hope these verses help define a Biblical usage of the term itself.

 

Now on to specifics. In the Bible, pertaining to men, there are three types, or phases, of Justification. There is justification by blood, justification by faith, and justification by works. I will write briefly about each of the three.

 

Justification by Blood (Rom 5:9). This is legal justification in the sight of God. This happened ONCE in the history of all the Earth, when Christ made Himself an offering on the Cross. When Christ was made an offering for sins, God the Father was pleased with the Son's sacrifice and we were legally justified (declared just). This verdict occurs in God's courtroom!

 

Justification by Faith (Rom 4). This is experiential. In short, when a born again person trusts solely in Christ's power to raise the dead, that faith is "counted unto him" for righteousness. The reality of being redeemed (justified by blood) is understood by the believer. That person, upon believing, experiences peace with God (5:1). Below are some specific, undisputable facts about justification by faith.

 

Paul's two examples of this are Abraham and David.

 

Abraham - According to Paul in Romans 4, Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 15:6 when he believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Notice though, that Abraham left Ur in Genesis 12:1. According to Hebrews 11, Abraham left Ur by faith. According to Galatians 5:22, faith is a fruit of the Spirit. According to Hebrews 12:2, Christ authors Faith in a person. In short, no one has faith without first being born again (1 John 5:1). Faith is a product of the New Birth, when God writes His laws upon our hearts, and teaches us to “know Him” (Heb 8).

 

According to Reformed Theology however, justification by faith comes at the identical time as the new birth. Yet, we find Abraham walking by faith 15 years prior to the event in which he was “justified by faith,” all the way back in Genesis 12:1. Hmm...how can one walk by faith for over a decade prior to being justified by faith, if justification by faith and the new birth are synonyms? Simple, that idea is erroneous.

 

Abraham walked by faith, worship God, etc., prior to believing in Christ's power to raise his dead body in a reproductive sense. He was already born again. But, when he believed God's promise, his redeemed state with God was felt and he was justified on the level of his conscience. The legal fact was now a felt reality!!!

 

David – Paul, in Romans 4, quotes from Psalm 32 written well into David's life pertaining NOT to the event in which David was born again, but when David confessed sins and was blessed with a renewal of God's fellowship through repentance.

 

So what is Justification by faith? Simple – as stated above, when a Child of God believes in Christ's power and turns to God in repentance, he is declared on the level of his conscience to be just, and experiences peace with God. This is experiential.

 

Justification by works (James 2). This occurs in the “courtroom of others' opinions.” By good works, we show ourselves to be righteous to other people. To quote James 2, we “show our faith by our works.”

 

To sum up justification:

  • By blood: God's courtroom.

  • By faith: The courtroom of a believer's conscience.

  • By works: The courtroom of onlookers' opinions.

 

This view is the only view consistent with both Paul's examples, other fundamental teachings (such as faith being a fruit of the Spirit, not the cause), and the actual definition of the term.

 

Further Reading:

http://marchtozion.com/discipleship/92-faith

http://marchtozion.com/salvation/317-regeneration-versus-justification

 
We Believe
Written by Ben Winslett   
Monday, 08 November 2010 08:37

Each Primitive Baptist Church has her own Statement of Faith. The two terms generally describing this document is "Articles of Faith" or "Statement of Faith." Occasionally you will see such document described as "Abstract of Principles." Whatever the describing term, the document is generally a short, concise expression of the individual Church's founding principles. The number of articles usually varies between 8 and 14, and highlights the essential, non-negotiable doctrines of the Bible (The Godhead, election, redemption, regeneration, resurrection, ordinances, etc). Ordinarily, each article begins with the phrase "We believe."

While there is no such recorded "Statement of Faith" for the first century church recorded in Scripture, there are several "We Believe" statements given. Below is every such occurrence of the phrase as found in Scripture. I find them incredible encouraging and comforting!

Read more...
 
Know The Lord (Regeneration and Conversion)
Written by Ben Winslett   
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 10:06

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. - Hebrews 8:11

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost... - Matthew 28:19

Study these two verses. Both present important principles with which a Christian must be concerned. Both texts also incorporate the term "teach." At first glance, a newcomer to these texts might perceive a contradiction between these two statements. (Note: No contradiction exists in Scripture, for it cannot be broken. Contradictions only exist in a person's understanding of Scripture)

Read more...
 
Encyclopedia Entry On Footwashing
Written by Ben Winslett   
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 21:51

I was researching our practice of "foot washing," or "washing of the saints' feet." This is from Wikipedia. Keep in mind that this is Wikipedia, not a credible Baptist history book. Nevertheless, I believe you will find the historicity of this practice interesting.

From the article:

"The rite of foot washing finds its roots in scripture. After the death of the apostles, the practice was gradually lost.

Nevertheless, it appears to have been practiced in the early centuries of post-apostolic Christianity, though the evidence is scant. For example, Tertullian (145-220) mentions the practice in his De Corona, but gives no details as to who practiced it or how it was practiced. It was practiced by the church at Milan (ca. A.D. 380), is mentioned by the Council of Elvira (A.D. 300), and is even referenced by Augustine (ca. A.D. 400). Observance of foot washing at the time of baptism was maintained in Africa, Gaul, Germany, Milan, northern Italy, and Ireland. According to the Mennonite Encyclopedia "St. Benedict's Rule (A.D. 529) for the Benedictine Order prescribed hospitality feetwashing in addition to a communal feetwashing for humility"; a statement confirmed by the Catholic Encyclopedia.[1] It apparently was established in the Roman church, though not in connection with baptism, by the 8th century. The Albigenses observed feetwashing in connection with communion, and the Waldenses' custom was to wash the feet of visiting ministers. There is some evidence that it was observed by the early Hussites. The practice was a meaningful part of the 16th century radical reformation. Foot washing was often "rediscovered" or "restored" in revivals of religion in which the participants tried to recreate the faith and practice of the apostolic era."


By the way, the Albigenses and Waldenses are in our Baptist family history. While this practice seems strange today, especially in our proud American society, it has been a custom among God's church since the time of the Apostles. It is even a requirement for a widow to be taken under the financial care of the church (1 Tim 5).

Here is one more excerpt concerning other Baptist groups who practice this:

"Baptist practice

Many Baptists observe the literal washing of feet as a third ordinance. The communion and foot washing service is practiced regularly by members of the Separate Baptists in Christ, General Association of Baptists, Free Will Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Union Baptists, Old Regular Baptist, Christian Baptist Church of God, Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), Brethren in Christ,[4]. Feet washing is also practiced as a third ordinance by many United Baptists, General Baptists, and Independent Baptists."


The whole article is here. I was surprised to see that it is as widely practiced in our day as it is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_washing

 
A Touching Story
Written by Ben Winslett   
Monday, 04 October 2010 09:29

Dear reader,

Two months ago, a young brother was tragically killed in a traffic accident in Savannah Georgia. His story is one so touching, that I feel the need to publish it that others may read and know it. Below is a brief summary given by this dear brother's pastor, Elder Tim McCool.

-MTZ

Dear friends,
War-time hero, faithful church member, dear friend - these are all descriptions of Bro. Aaron Barr.  I wanted to write a short note about the recent passing of my dear friend and brother in Christ.  Bro. Aaron had just been honorably discharged from the Army. He was a Ranger and went on 3 tours - 2 in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan.  He was on the "front line" while there, and saw a lot of action as a Ranger. Bro. Aaron bought a street bike on Thursday of last week and was side-swiped by a driver on Saturday, lost control of his new bike, and was killed instantly on impacting a guard rail.

We plan on laying him to rest in the Springer Family cemetery just across from Bethlehem on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the church (Aug. 26).

Bro. Aaron was 27 years old and leaves a dear widow - Sis. Carli - to grieve his passing.

Back in February of 2003, I baptized Bro. Aaron.  He came to church with Bro. Jackson Boyd from Mississippi State and joined the church the first time he ever came to an Old Baptist service. He loved Jesus Christ, loved the truth of salvation by grace, loved the church and God's people.  He and Sis. Carli, who he had been engaged to for some time, were married a couple years ago at Bethlehem when Bro. Aaron was on a furlough from the Army.  He gave me 2 days notice to put the wedding together, and they were married on Sunday afternoon after our morning church service in a Spiritual ceremony that made us all rejoice.

It would be difficult to put into words what Bro. Aaron meant - he was faithful to the church, faithful to the truth, and a faithful friend.  Many hours I have spent with Bro. Aaron in my home when he would visit before he was married, and even after he and Sis. Carli were married and they would visit together.  Many joys of counsel and friendship were shared.  I now rejoice in the coming day when I will see my friend again - either by my own departure from this world, or by the imminent and glorious return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Bro. Aaron was baptized at Bethlehem, married at Bethlehem and tomorrow, he will be laid to rest there.  I hope we could all take inspiration from the way the church of our Lord was such an important part of his life, and even in his passing.  I have attached a picture of my friend. It was taken on one of his furloughs when he came back to visit with and worship with us.

I ask you to join me in prayers for his dear widow, Sis. Carli Barr.

It is such a comfort to know that when His body expired here on earth, his soul was wafted (taken) into the presence of His Savior.

"Sweet To Rejoice in lively hope that when my change shall come,
Angels shall gather round my bed and waft my spirit home.
We are passing away, we are passing away, we are passing away to the great rising day"
(The Primitive Baptist Hymnal No. 504)

Blessings to you all,
Bro. Tim

 
Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Sermon)
Written by Ben Winslett   
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 09:28

Daniel Chapter 9

24. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Below is a very thorough, yet simple expository on the 70 weeks in the book of Daniel chapter 9 by Elder Joe Holder. Many contemporary Christians place the fulfillment of the 70th week some time in the future. Yet, as this sermon explains, the 70th week occurred during and directly after the personal ministry of Jesus Christ.

 

 
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