Worship Attitude and Choosing a Church

Q. What is the attitude to go to Sunday service? How do I pick a church to attend?

A. Regarding our attitude in worship, the following is representative:

Wholly devoted, no half-hearted
1 Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Joyful and thankful
Ps 100:1-2, 4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. … Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
Not in vain by neglecting the commandment of God to hold on the tradition of men
Mt 15:9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’” (also Mk 7:7)
In spirit and truth
Jn 4:23-24 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Sacrificially
Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Glory in Christ only, not self
Php 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
With faith
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
With gratitude, reverence and awe
Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Be humble
Jas 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (also 1 Pet 5:5)

To choose a church to attend or join, consider the following:
1) If you already have a home church but are thinking of leaving due to some disagreement or dissatisfaction, it is better to resolve your differences than to carry your grievances elsewhere. What’s wrong may be with you, or your church, or both. God does not want us to walk away from problems, but solve them. Only when you are sure the fault is not with you but with the church, and they are not willing to correct what’s wrong, should you consider switching to another one.

2) Assuming 1) is settled and you need to change, examine what do the churches you are considering believe. Do they hold to the fundamentals of the faith? e.g. the authority of Scripture; the deity of Christ; salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone; the trinity etc. How does their statement of faith compare to the historic creeds e.g. Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed. If their beliefs are not in line with the Bible and historic Christianity, find another one.

3) Assuming their beliefs are consistent with conservative evangelical Christianity, what do they do? It’s one thing to believe the right things, but is theirs a living faith or dead orthodoxy? Do they preach the gospel? Are they zealous in evangelism and making disciples? Are they mission-minded? Do they serve the community in outreach and social action?

4) Assuming their practice is right with good programs serving different groups, do they have the right attitude? Right beliefs and behavior is good, but some churches have a toxic environment as their attitude is wrong. Do they love brothers and sisters and their neighbors? Are they accepting of newcomers? Do they encourage their people to grow, to serve, to be World Christians, or are they narrowly focused on their worship, their fellowship, and their programs?

Those are a few things to consider. Take your time to pray and ask God to lead you. He will guide you to one that’s right for you and your family.

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Begotten not Made

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Q. The Nicene Creed said “Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father”. Doesn’t that say the Father begats the Son and is therefore superior? Wouldn’t that mean the Son had a beginning and was created?

A. No. The Nicene Creed’s declaration on the person of Christ states:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.

The Creed specifically asserts that Christ is:
• The only Son of God i.e. there is none other;
Eternally begotten i.e. without beginning or end;
• True God, just as the Father;
• Not made i.e. not created;
• Of one Being with the Father i.e. same essence.
Skeptics and cults misconstrue the word “begotten”. To understand what the Creed means we need to go back to the NT.

“Begotten” translates the Greek adjective monogenes, which means “single of its kind, only“. It was used of only sons or daughters, and of Christ denoting Him as the only begotten Son of God. The word monogenes appears 9 times in 9 verses, 5 of which referred to Christ:
Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
• Jn 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
• Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
• Jn 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
• 1 Jn 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

You can see immediately that John wanted to point out not only is Jesus Christ the only begotten Son, single of its kind, He is also the only begotten God. As the Word He was God who co-existed with the Father from the beginning and created all things:
Jn 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Skeptics and cults are therefore totally misinformed and sadly mistaken.

Testing Faith

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Recently we had occasion to evaluate a potential coworker’s beliefs to see whether they are compatible to ours. Since he had not written out his “statement of faith” or “philosophy of ministry“, we had to ask his position on various “fundamentals of the faith” and what his practice would be under different scenarios. Some tools we had found useful in situations like these are the five fundamentals, plus the three main historical creeds:

1. Apostles’ Creed – AD 390, based on the Roman Symbol (Creed) of the first to second century. It was not written by the apostles but contained a summary of their teachings.

Apostles' Creed 2

2. Nicene Creed – AD 325, which emphasized the divinity of Jesus.

Nicene 1

3. Chalcedonian Creed – AD 451, which stressed the two natures (divine and human) of Christ unified in one person.

Chalcedonian 1

There are others, such as Athanasian Creed (AD 500) which defended the Trinity, and subsequent confessions of faith during the Reformation, but these were the main one we referred to as a checklist to quickly assess whether a person’s beliefs are orthodox.