Pilgrim’s Keyboard

February 26, 2009

Worship: Delight in God!

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 3:57 pm


Surely there is a place for delighting in worship. Even the Puritans were glad to say that man’s chief end is to glorify God AND TO ENJOY him forever. So many of the Puritans tell us of their surpassing delight in worship.


One of the first theological works written in America, Thomas Shepherd’s WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS, is filled with this sense of delighting in prayer and praise.


No one could be more eloquent on this subject than Jonathan Edwards. In his FAITHFUL NARRATIVE he tells us of how the Great Awakening brought his congregation to a deeper appreciation of worship. They feasted on preaching, they rejoiced in psalmody, and they flocked to the Lord’s Table with sacred joy. As Edwards saw it, the children of God delight in the things of God. They rejoice in being edified by the preaching of the Word. It refreshes and illumines them, and in this they find delight. There is no greater happiness than to be in communion with God, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is the feast day of this communion. As Edwards saw it, it is the religious affections that draw us to Christ and transform us into his likeness.


The ordinances of worship, the disciplines of prayer, the exercise of praise, the reading and preaching of Scripture, and the celebration of the sacraments are the means God has appointed for nurturing these religious affections. This is how the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds. When this happens and we sense that it is happening, there is a holy delight in worship. Edwards would insist that worshiping God is a means of both glorifying God and enjoying him forever. That is to say, the delight is not so much in the worshiping as in the one who is worshiped. It is, in the end, God who is delightful. When we find our delight in him, then God is worshiped.

— Hughes Oliphant Old, THEMES AND VARIATIONS FOR A CHRISTIAN DOXOLOGY: SOME THOUGHTS ON THE THEOLOGY OF WORSHIP. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 5-6. ISBN 0-8028-0614-7. —

    Carl Stam – WQTW      




February 23, 2009

The Enduring Nature of Truth

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 7:48 pm

The Enduring Nature of Truth   –  by:  Allen Raynor

(Feb. 23, 2009)

Truth is unique, truth is enduring. Everything else is fading away, but truth remains. Jesus Himself said in Mat. 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” In John 17:17 Jesus said “Thy Word is truth.” In his first epistle, in chapter 1 vs. 24-25, Peter quotes from Isaiah 40:6-8 when he writes, “All flesh is as grass; and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls away but the word of the Lord endures forever.” Basically everything that is created has a life span but the truth of God remains untouched and unscathed by any attacker.

When considering the enduring nature of truth, there are a couple of things which have occurred in the month of February which illustrate this so very well. On Feb. 2nd George Beverly Shea celebrated his 100th birthday! During a private ceremony to mark the event Shea took the stage expressing his gratitude and then sang one of his favorite hymns, “The Shadow of the Cross,” in his strong and familiar bass-baritone voice.

How many times have we heard Shea sing with unmistakable conviction beloved hymns like “I’d Rather have Jesus,” and “The Love of God?” The joy resonating from his heart has been unmistakable. Shea has been a part of the Billy Graham Crusade team for more than 60 years and stands in remarkably good health today and will likely continue his ministry of singing for the foreseeable future. There is little doubt the thing which keeps him going is his deep love of Jesus and his commitment to the changeless power of Biblical truth!

On Feb. 9th of this year John MacArthur marked his 40th anniversary as pastor of Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, a Los Angeles suburb. MacArthur’s ministry there has been nothing short of remarkable, leading a group of 300, who were present on his first Sunday in 1969, to average 8000 in Sunday AM worship. Recently on the daily Grace to You radio broadcast, they played the first message preached by him as the church’s pastor entitled “How to Play Church” from Mat. 7:21-23. The quality of recording is far less superior to the cd quality of today, and his voice is a little higher pitched being only 29 years old at the time, but the crux of the message is remarkably similar to what you would hear him preach today. The reason is because the truth has not changed! The truth is really the only operative in existence which has the power to transform lives, any other “fix” is only temporary!

In addition to the thousands of messages he has preached (now all available to download free of charge from http://www.gty.org) MacArthur has written more than 150 books! A recent count revealed I personally have 97 books on my shelf written by him! This total includes a superior New Testament Commentary series which is a compilation of his sermons in 28 volumes to date. He has not yet completed volumes on Luke and Mark.

In a recent book published by Grace to You to mark the occasion of MacArthur’s 40th anniversary entitled Truth Endures: Commemorating Forty Years of Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time 1969-2009: Landmark Sermons by John MacArthur, his biographer Ian Murray recounts opposition MacArthur has faced over the years. At various points he faced it from his staff, the elder board at the church, the community, news organizations for stands he has taken, the charismatic movement, the seeker- friendly church movement, advocates of the prosperity gospel, and those who advocate what is known as “no lordship salvation,” which is extremely popular today. His first best-seller The Gospel According to Jesus released in 1988 explored what Jesus specifically taught about salvation and exposed how it had been watered down over recent decades to become something far easier than what Jesus taught. The high cost of following Christ had been somehow forgotten and replaced by an “easy believism” which was far outside the reaches of New Testament theology. That book was so monumental that Grace to You released a 20th anniversary edition of the book in 2008.

The secret of the endurance of men like George Beverly Shea and John MacArthur is not so much that they are great men, although they are, but that the truth of God is at work through them encouraging them and molding and shaping them with each passing day. The thought of walking away from it is unconscionable! It is a life-long commitment of tremendous proportion. God is gracious and kind for entrusting mankind with the truth. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Truly it is not of us but of Him! We rejoice over these milestones knowing it is a gracious God who has allowed His Word to go forth with power! Truly, the truth endures!

In Christ, Pastor Allen Raynor

First Baptist Church, Broomfield, CO




February 18, 2009


Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 9:37 pm


Before the world’s creation

He chose for His own,

And this He did “without a cause”

By sovereign grace alone.


My place He then appointed

My special work He planned

And what He wills, He’ll bring to pass

By His Almighty Hand.


Sometimes by many trials

He works His will in Me

Sometimes in quiet pastures

He leads me tenderly.


His ways I cannot fathom –

I do not need to see.

By grace all will together

Work only good for me.


So through Eternal ages

I still shall be His own,

His loved, redeemed and chosen one

By sovereign grace alone.


(Grace E. Troy, TBE, vol. 43 no. 48, 12/13/1975)



February 14, 2009

The Why – The Where – The How of Theology?

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 8:43 pm

Sinclair B. Ferguson

The goal of theology is the worship of God. The posture of theology is on one’s knees. The mode of theology is repentance.

[James Montgomery Boice & Philip Graham Ryken, The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2002, 179.]


February 10, 2009

Worship in Freedom, Not Bondage

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 4:55 pm


The Christian life is the life of sons and daughters; it is not the life of slaves. It is freedom, not bondage. Of course, we are slaves of God, of Christ, and one another. (See, e.g., Rom. 6:22; 1 Cor. 7:22, 23; 2 Cor. 4:5). We belong to God, to Christ, to one another, and we love to serve those to whom we belong. But this kind of service is freedom. What the Christian life is not, is a bondage to the law, as if our salvation hung in the balance and depended on our meticulous and slavish obedience to the letter of the law. As it is, our salvation rests upon the finished work of Christ, on His sin-bearing, curse-bearing death, embraced by faith. Yet so many religious people are in bondage to their religion!

They are like John Wesley in his post-graduate Oxford days in the Holy Club. He was the son of a clergyman and already a clergyman himself. He was orthodox in belief, religious in practice, upright in conduct and full of good works. He and his friends visited the inmates of the prisons and work-houses of Oxford, They took pity on the slum children of the city, providing them with food, clothing and education. They observed Saturday as the Sabbath as well as Sunday. They went to church and to Holy Communion. They gave alms, searched the Scriptures, fasted and prayed. But they were bound in the fetters of their own religion, for they were trusting in themselves that they were righteous, instead of putting their trust in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. A few years later, John Wesley (in this own words) came to “trust in Christ, in Christ only for salvation” and was given an inward assurance that his sins had been taken away. After this, looking back to his pre-conversion experience, he wrote: “I had even then the faith of a SERVANT, though not that of a son.”


 –John Stott, GALATIONS: A COMMENTARY BY JOHN STOTT (accessed February 2009 at http://www.langhampartnership.org/john-stott). For many other worship quotations by John Stott, please see http://www.wqotw.org/quotes.php .

Taken from post on  wqotw@wqotw by Carl Stam (02-10-09).


February 6, 2009

Love Endures All Things & Never Fails

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 4:39 pm

John MacArthur


Paul writes, “Love … endures all things” (1 Corinthians13:7). He employs a Greek military term that describes the holding of a position at all costs.


Love holds fast to its object. It withstands every storm and every type of opposition. It refuses to lose faith, falter in its perseverance, or stop hoping. Thus it never stops loving.


Love bears what may seem unbearable. After that, it believes the seemingly unbelievable. After that, it hopes against hope. And even after that, it endures.  There is no “after” after endurance, because endurance is the climax of love.


Indeed, love’s permanence is what makes it the greatest of virtues. At the end of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (v. 13). … love will stand as the only eternal virtue, because “Love never fails” (v. 8).


That is why love is the very pinnacle and the highest aspiration in the quest for character. For in the perfection of love, we meet the very essence of true Christlikeness.


[John MacArthur, The Quest for Character, Nashville: J. Countryman (a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2006, p. 142-3]



February 3, 2009

Refuge in Harsh Times

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 6:59 pm

Psalm 118:8-9

It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.


Times are tough. The harshness of the recession that this country is experiencing has affected nearly all areas of life. Gas is high, food is expensive, home foreclosure is up, and the dollar does not go as far as it used to. Thousands are being laid off from their jobs and many face cutback of work hours. With banks failing and wall-street crashing people are becoming frightened because they fear that we are going into another depression era like that of the 30’s.


Because of these mass problems people are now looking to the government for answers. Our political leaders tell us not to worry because their solutions will work. They say, “Just trust me!” This is despite the fact that many of these same leaders are part of the problem, which may help explain as to why nothing that the government tries to do seems to have any effect on the recession.


So what now? Where do we turn? This passage tells us to trust (Heb. – take refuge in, flee to for protection – i.e., a place to hide) in the Lord and not to put our confidence (Heb. – to be sure, having confidence, trusting in – i.e., seemingly to display an open cockiness) in man’s or princes’ abilities. Now considering the track record of man and his devices – I personally will hide in the refuge of the Lord and not depend on man’s abilities or leadership to get us thru these harsh times. May we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.



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