The Central Act Of Worship In The Church

Transcript of The Dividing Line. March 6, 2018 at the 9:00 minute mark, Dr. James White.

“I believe very, very strongly that the central act of worship of the Church is the full and careful and balanced ministry of the word of God to the people of God, gathered together to hear what God has to say. So meaningful, sound, solid exegesis – everything we do before and after – if there is anything after – is simply meant to heighten and to prepare us, to put us in the proper frame of mind to be obedient and to have hearing ears. Anything that we put into that worship service that closes our ears, distracts us, in any way shuts down our ability to hear the word is wrong – it is going the wrong direction. And the most important thing that a shepherd of the sheep can do is to faithfully communicate not just the part of the message you think is all fire important but if you really believe that all scripture (not just some) but all scripture is theopneustos (God breathed) then you need to deliver all of it… all of it. And that means covering some stuff that ain’t going to make people see gold-dust coming out of the ceiling. I mean there is some tough stuff to handle – there is some difficult stuff in there. And that means there are going to be services that are highly instructional, there are going to be services that are incredibly uplifting, there are going to be services that do bring you into the very presence of God in heaven and there are others that absolutely smack you down into the dirt, when you realize how much of God’s grace you take for granted, and how few of the duties are ours we actually pursue with the proper zeal of redeemed people. In other words, it is going to be balanced. And the balance is determined not by us but by what is found in the Scriptures given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – that canon of Scripture God has given to us – that… that is where our balance is to be found.”

Why Do We Primarily Use The New American Standard Bible At Kings Church?

Pastor John Samson

Here at King’s Church we recommend the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and it is the one most frequently used in our services. I say this for two main reasons; the first being that it can be very confusing if we have the different words in front of us in our Bibles as the sermon is being preached. This can be very alarming for new Christians who are not aware of the issues and see a text in front of them that is sometimes quite different from what the preacher is using.

Decades ago, there was only one real Bible version of choice, the King James Version. History tells us that it was actually the Geneva Bible, with its Reformation based explanatory study notes, that was the very first Bible to come over to the shores of America on the Mayflower. However, the growing popularity of the KJV eventually made seeing the Geneva Bible a rare event in church services and homes.

The King James Version is certainly an excellent translation which has served the church for many generations. However, the meaning of words have changed a great deal in the centuries since the first printing of the KJV in 1611. Many preachers (me included) found that when using it, much time was required in a sermon to update and explain the archaic language used. A newer translation removes the need for this.

In addition to the archaic language of the KJV, what we know of the original text and languages has improved significantly in the last 400 years or so. The Church in our day has needed a Bible translation which reflects this great advancement in scholarship.

In some church services, there can be as many as 10 to 15 different versions in use. Of course, people can use any translation they like. They are definitely free to do so! Yet I think it is very helpful for pastors and elders to recommend one main translation to eliminate any potential confusion for a congregation.

With this as a foundation, the next question we need to ask is “which is the best Bible to use?”

This leads me to talk about the second reason for choosing the NASB. It stems from the desire to have an essentially literal translation (a “word for word” translation) in use rather than a dynamic equivalent, or “thought for thought” one. The primary advantage in choosing a “word for word” translation is that it gives us confidence that what we read in our Bibles are the equivalent English words for what the authors actually wrote. There is no need to wonder at every point where translation ends and subjective, personal commentary begins or if important material might be omitted from the original.

Certainly, there are other excellent translations out there. For years I have used the English Standard Version (ESV) which is a wonderful translation. However, a choice needed to be made and it is the NASB that is our Bible of choice here at King’s Church.

ENDORSEMENTS OF THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE

“The New American Standard Bible has set the standard for faithful Bible translations for a generation. It is the favorite of so many who love the Bible and look for accuracy and clarity in translation. The New American Standard Bible should be close at hand for any serious student of the Bible. I thank God for this faithful translation.” – Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The NASB is an excellent translation that seeks the closest possible verbal equivalency.” – Dr. R. C. Sproul

“Better than any other English translation, the Updated NASB represents the writings of the original Hebrew and Greek authors. For private study and public readings, it’s unsurpassed!” – Bruce A. Ware. Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Theology, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

“The NASB is ‘my’ Bible, the finest and clearest of translations for inductive study. You can be sure this is the translation I recommend above all others.” – Kay Arthur, Co-Founder, Precept Ministries International

“Among the wide variety of English Bibles available to readers in our generation, the NASB offers the most literal translation of the text of the originals. It blends accurate scholarship with devotion and the end product is one that both informs the mind at the same time as causing the Christian to rejoice. It certainly is worthy of a place on the bookshelf of every Christian.” – Dr. Robert M. Norris, Senior Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, Maryland

“In a time when there are so many translations to choose from, it is a joy to know that there is one that you know is accurate and readable. As I prepare for messages, I find without fail that the NASB has accurately and clearly translated the word or the text. It is the translation I recommend to all who ask.” – Pastor Randall Morton, First Evangelical Church of Greenville, South Carolina

“As a preacher, it is my desire to present the Word of God as accurately as possible to my people. The New American Standard’s word-for-word translation helps me greatly in achieving that task. With the NASB, I can proclaim, ‘The Bible says…’ with confidence.” – Rev. Bob Hurd. Pastor, Beacon Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA

Is Grace ‘Amazing’ To You?

The Bible does not merely show sinners to be undeserving, but as ill-deserving. So often we are inclined to think of ourselves, prior to our salvation, as in some sense “neutral” in the sight of God. We are willing to admit that we have done nothing to deserve His favor, but this is entirely insufficient as a background to the understanding of divine grace. It is not simply that we do not deserve grace: we do deserve hell!

Grace is stripped of its meaning when it is merely thought of as a “good business decision” on God’s part. I am referring here to the mistaken idea that God saw our “worth” and decided that the high price was indeed right, and that He would pay the necessary expense to bring us safely to heaven. No, a thousand times, no! That’s not grace at all. That’s just a good business deal!

Grace is seen in this – while we were wretches; while we were sinners, shaking our fists at God, hating God, defying God in thought, word and deed – every single one of us; God did something ridiculous – paying an outlandish and scandalous price to redeem us (the blood of His beloved Son). This was not because He calculated it all out and thought it was a good investment on His part; that we were “worth it.” No, God was motivated by His radical, amazing, abundant and all conquering love alone, as He set about saving a people for Himself. There was nothing of intrinsic worth in the creatures He redeemed. Any worth we had was entirely borrowed from the God who made us in His image.

I find that all of us really need to get this in our bloodstream, so to speak, before grace can be fully appreciated. At times, we are far too quick to talk of God’s remedy for sin before we have described and firmly established our terrible plight before a holy and just God. Fallen humanity is not to be thought of as merely helpless, but as openly hostile toward God. It is one thing to be without a God-approved righteousness. It is altogether another thing to be wholly unrighteous and deserving of divine wrath. It is, then, against the background of having been at one time the enemies of God that divine grace is to be portrayed, for “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).

Grace is sovereign and free. Although God is gracious in His eternal being, He need not be gracious or shower His grace upon anyone. Think about it – though many angels had fallen into sin, no plan was ever initiated to rescue even one of these angels from the fierce wrath of God. Yet, the angels of God surrounding the throne are still singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” In the heavenly courts, there is not even a hint of injustice in any of this. Why? Because God is never obligated to show mercy to any of His creatures. No injustice takes place when justice is administrated! If God was ever obliged to show mercy, we would not be speaking of mercy at all, but of justice.

Grace is not to be thought of as in any sense dependent upon our merit or demerit. This may be expressed in two ways. As said above, in the first place, grace stops being grace if God is compelled to give it. But more than this, grace treats a person without the slightest reference to merit whatsoever, but solely according to the good pleasure of God. Since grace is a gift, no work is to be performed, no offering made, to repay God for His favor.