The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

March 9, 2014

 
In This Issue:
Two Men Sin
by Jerry Curry

Congregational Singing
by Ralph A. Casey

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Two Men Sin

Sin has been man’s greatest problem since it entered the world in the days of Adam and Eve. Sin’s entrance into the world and its spiritual consequences are noted by Paul in Romans 5:12. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Sin is a problem for each of us, as clearly stated in 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” So the question we ponder this morning is not, will I sin? The question is, how will I respond when I do sin? To help us clearly see the right response, we examine the response of two Bible characters who sinned, and their response to their sin.

Judas

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16) This meeting between Judas Iscariot and the chief priests marked the beginning of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. The sin of Judas culminates with the kiss of death while Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane. “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.  Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.” (Matthew 26:47-49)

Judas, not completely unlike ourselves at times, has sinned and recognizes the magnitude of the sin that he has committed. The question now is, how will he respond to the sin that he has committed?

“When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, what is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:1-5)  Judas seemingly had remorse and regret, and even felt guilt as he proclaimed, “I have betrayed innocent blood.”  He attempted to salve his conscience when he sought to return the thirty pieces of silver. The one thing he lacked was true godly sorrow that could have led him to repentance. Instead, he went out and hanged himself.

David

The sin that David committed with Bathsheba was as obvious as that committed by Judas. “And it came to pass at eventide that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sends and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her (for she was purified from her uncleanness); and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, I am with child” (2 Samuel 11:2-5). David subsequently compounds his sin by having Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, put to death in battle.

David is confronted with his sin by the prophet Nathan. “Wherefore hast thou despised the word of Jehovah, to do that which is evil in his sight? Thou hast smitten Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2 Samuel 12:9) The question now is, how will David respond to the sin that he has committed?

David immediately acknowledges his sin. “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah. And Nathan said unto David, Jehovah also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) Instead of following the path of many and turning away from God, it is very noteworthy that David turned towards God. “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel; and he came into the house of Jehovah, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.” (2 Samuel 12:20)

David’s response to his sin is clearly portrayed in Psalm 51:1-4. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”  David was moved with godly sorrow and responded with humility as he asked God for mercy, lovingkindness and forgiveness. 

Try as we may to avoid and overcome sin, it will eventually come our way. When confronted with sin, learn from the example of Judas and avoid his response. Follow the example of David. Be moved with godly sorrow and humbly ask God for lovingkindness, mercy and forgiveness.

- Jerry Curry


 

Congregational Singing

 

Congregational singing is unique music. The singing of a congregation of Christians is the singing of the young and the old, the much talented and the not so talented, the musically experienced, and the inexperienced, some who can sing beautifully and many who cannot. It is not a vocal performance by auditioned, rehearsed professionals. It is the music of heart strings rather than vocal chords.

The primary design of congregation singing, then, is not to demonstrate how accurately these singers can sing the musical notes in a church hymnal, nor how beautifully they articulate the words of their songs. Its objective, rather, is the congregation's participation in a collective spiritual experience, "teach and admonishing one another and singing with grace and melody in their hearts to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), and speaking words of worship, praise, and thanksgiving to their heavenly Father. Their prayer songs become living prayers, just as their praise hymns become living praises. Their songs become living vehicles of spiritual expression! "...in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee." (Hebrews 2:12)

Unlike the fictional songs sung by the world, these worshippers sing about eternal realities; the only true and living God, His resurrected and returning Son, Jesus Christ, and, of heaven, their eventual eternal home. The songs they sing to one another teach, admonish, exhort, and encourage. They revive memories recalling "exceeding great and precious promises..." (2 Peter 1:4). They build faith, strengthen hope and express love for one another. The hearts of these singers are musical instruments, provided by their heavenly Father and on these hearts they strum spiritual messages and emotions of their present life and the life to come. These worshippers don't just sing songs; they make their songs sing!

Genuine, sincere, intentional worshippers seize each opportunity to pour out the thoughts of their hearts in song, "singing with the spirit and the understanding" (1 Corinthians 14:15) with a desire to offer their songs as "sacrifices of praise, the fruit of lips...for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Hebrew 2:15,16). In the midst of the assembly of the saints of God, let every heart rejoice and sing! "Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing" (Psalm 100:2)

Via Forward from songbook Songs of the Church 21st Century Edition edited by Alton Howard

-Ralph A. Casey