When “praise and worship” songs come to my mind, I do not include very many from today’s contemporary offerings. Some, like “God’s Not Dead,” and “I Can Only Imagine” are exceptions that fit in very well. My preference is Southern Gospel, and especially the older ones. (all emphasis mine)
Much of what’s being offered today are what I call “7-11” songs. The same seven words repeated eleven times to finger-snapping upbeat music. For some, this may be exactly what they’re looking for. Many people today also like to attend “church services” that are designed for entertaining and “ear-tickling” messages, but are not very scriptural. No mention of sin and hell, just pure “soul-lifting” experiences. After all, it’s great to get an uplifting message that makes us feel happy, and puts the world’s problems on the sideline.
Being told certain activities are sinful and certain lifestyles are an abomination to God just adds to our daily stress, and we surely don’t need that pressure. Sadly, numerous evangelical services are catering to today’s wishes rather than presenting God’s true word. We’ve been told that false prophets and antichrists would become more prevalent during the end times; and for some churches, the goal is to keep seats and collection plates full no matter what it takes. Church members are not encouraged to read God’s word, but to hear what the speaker says and take it as “gospel.” If the “pastor” gives a truly uplifting (though unbiblical) message that makes everything seem right, what more can one possibly expect?
It will be interesting to note just how many of today’s organized churches will have any reduction in members present immediately after the Rapture. Some will not see any change from the Sunday before to the Sunday after. These will be the ones where it’s taught that all religions worship the same god, (note the small “g”) and Jesus isn’t necessary for our Salvation. The teachings are straight out of Satan’s playbook that started back in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
Thinking of actual Praise and Worship songs, I would offer the following as examples: “Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross”; “Praise Him – Praise Him,”; “He Hideth My Soul”; “I Am Thine, O Lord”; “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior”; “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus”; “Tell Me The Story Of Jesus”; and many more such as these. In fact, one person wrote these and about 8,000 others during her lifetime between 1820 and 1915. I have already presented “Blessed Assurance” from Fanny Crosby, and would like to offer one more: “To God Be the Glory.”
This song was written about 1875 and shows the plan of Salvation. That would be to confess we are sinners, ask the Lord’s forgiveness, and know that only through Jesus can we be saved. Appropriate Bible verses that are implied are John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:23; Romans 8:1; Romans 10:9-13 and so many others. In all the hymns that were done by Ms. Crosby, there is not one word that is false, or would lead anyone away from Jesus, Our True Lord and Savior.
When we fully realize we are all sinners, and without Jesus we are lost, we will see a real need to seek a true relationship with Him. It’s not God’s words that make us feel condemned, but our very own acts. When we have a relationship with the Savior, the Holy Spirit convicts us each time we sin, and encourages us to seek forgiveness. God’s words are truly the “gift” of eternal life if we will turn our hearts over to Jesus. On this earth, and in these human bodies, we will never be pure enough for the Father to accept us. We are as lost as lost can be.
However, the good news (gospel) is that God Himself provided the means to how we can appear pure and holy, and ultimately have a home with Him. This is because of what Jesus did for us when He took our place on the cross and shed His pure lifeblood that would cover every sin ever committed on this earth. It’s almost overwhelming that God sees every sin ever committed of every minute of every day. What amazes me is He hasn’t destroyed us yet just for what’s taking place in this sin-filled world today.
God’s covenant with everyone is that all who will call on Jesus to be their Savior will be saved (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). Likewise, all who refuse to accept this wonderful gift will be condemned to the Lake of Fire forever. This is about as righteous and just as it can be.
Jesus took upon Himself the punishment, the pain, the humiliation, and the death that we totally deserve. When He arose that third day, the blood He shed became our gift that completely covers our sins. Just one drop of His sinless blood is more valuable than all the treasures combined on this earth. When God looks at anyone who has received and accepted Jesus, He no longer sees our sins, but sees that we are a member of Jesus’ precious flock.
For this, all praise and glory belong to the Father who has not given up on all humanity. He loves us beyond our frail human comprehension, and wants everyone to succeed and be with Him forever (2 Peter 3:9).
Please consider the words of this inspirational song:
“To God be the Glory; great things He has done. So loved the world, that He gave us His Son. Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin, and opened the life gate that we may go in.
(c.) Praise the Lord; Praise the Lord; let the earth hear His voice. Praise the Lord; Praise the Lord; let the people rejoice. Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son, and give Him the Glory; great things He has done.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood. To every believer, the promise of God. The vilest offender, who truly believes, that moment from Jesus, forgiveness receives.
Great things He has taught us; great things He has done. And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son. Bur purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see!”
One thing we must remember is that we will sin all the way to the instant that we leave this earth. God knows this will be so, and has provided for us a pathway to forgiveness in 1 John 1:8-10. We try to turn away from habitual sin, but occasionally will slip. Jesus gave us an example of how forgiveness works with the Father, as an illustration for us to likewise forgive others.
Matthew 18:21-22; “Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, not seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven” (NET). This does not mean 490 literal times, but represents an infinite number. God will forgive us when we ask in the name of Jesus, but He expects us to forgive others as well. This is given in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others their sins, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
This is not to say you are to leave yourself open to further abuse; but forgive, and then turn it over to the Father. Then, if the situation warrants it, remove yourself from further contact with the abuser. Ms. Crosby gave a great example of this when she was old enough to realize that a faux doctor had caused her permanent blindness. She had no further contact with him ever, but told others she forgave him for that deed.
Joseph gave an example of God’s will when he forgave his brothers in Genesis 50:20. “As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so He could preserve the lives of many people as you can see this day.”
On our own, we can never measure up, but “To God Be the Glory” for all He has done for us. The hardest part is having faith, and believing it is the truth. The time is rapidly approaching when all believers will be taken from this earth in the “twinkling of an eye.” Those left behind will face a very terrible period as never has been before on this earth.
Call out to Jesus today; ask Him to forgive your sins; ask to be added to His precious flock of true believers. You will have the “Blessed Assurance” of an eternal home with Him. Finally, at the sight of our Jesus for the first time, we will declare, “To God Be the Glory!” Amen
Maranatha (come, Lord Jesus)