Header Image - WCTS AM 1030

WCTS

Alistair Begg on Making a Joyful Noise

by WCTS

When I was a boy growing up in Scotland, we regularly sang and memorized many of the Psalms at school. Learning from the Psalms forms a framework for understanding who God is so that when we read passages like “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” or “Come into his presence with singing!” or “Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (which are from Psalm 100), we have greater insight into what these words truly mean.

The Psalms are rich with history and offer a window back into the Old Testament practice of singing them in the temple. These ancient poems, put to music, were part of synagogue worship when the Lord Jesus was a teenager. The Psalms formed the lyrics to the songs Jesus sang, the prayers He prayed, and even the final cry He called out from the cross.

When we follow the pattern that Jesus gave us by singing and praying from the Psalms, we gain a sense of our roots and can see ourselves at the end of the long lineage of God’s people. It’s a tradition that unites us with a great chorus of witnesses from throughout the generations who are also heading toward that day when we’ll form one voice with angels around the throne.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

There is great joy in singing these songs with a loud voice when we gather in worship. Regardless of the quality of our tone, our singing is evidence of a Spirit-filled life. When the love of God fills our hearts, that love pours out through song, and our participation is a matter of spiritual importance. If you ever find yourself reluctant to sing out with strong measure, let me encourage you to consider the invitation found in the first verse of Psalm 100 and to be bold in your praise by worshipping the Lord with gladness in the awareness that He alone is God and He alone is good.

Incidentally, I find it tremendously helpful to read from the Psalms when I read the newspaper these days. It helps both before and after so that I maintain a sense of balance when it’s hard to make sense of all that is happening around me. If you read a Psalm a day, it will take you 150 days, which, if you start now, will about take you to your summer vacation. If you live in a climate like here in Cleveland, where these winter months are cold and dark, the Psalms offer an abundance of warmth and light for the soul.

Alistair Begg on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

by WCTS

October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This theological revolution is largely ignored and forgotten, not just in our secular culture, but more tragically in an increasingly confused and compromised Church.

At the Reformation’s heart was the question, “How are sinful men and women made right with God?” It was this that preoccupied Martin Luther and caused him great agony of soul. When he came to discover that justification is not a process involving good deeds, but an act of God accounting the work of Christ to the sinner that receives Him, he declared: “I felt myself straightway born afresh and to have entered through the open gates into paradise itself.”

Around the same time in England, Thomas Bilney (the forgotten Reformer) read in Latin the New Testament translated by Erasmus. When he came to 1 Timothy 1:1

5, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” he realized he was put right with God not on account of something done by him, but for him. Justification is a once-for-all event of which good works are not a part, but a consequence. The Reformation declared that authority was found in Scripture alone. In looking to Scripture, we find our acceptance with God. In Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone—soli Deo gloria.

Let me encourage you to follow up on this by studying for yourself. We are offering a really helpful resource titled These Truths Alone: Why the Reformation Solas Are Essential for Our Faith Today. It’s an in-depth study that will help you or your Bible Study group learn more about the Gospel truth proclaimed by the 16th-century Reformers. Along these same lines, our other offer, The Character of the Church, explains how to consider these truths when assessing local church membership.

The task of Gospel proclamation is not over. At Parkside, we often sing the hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished,” the third verse of which reads:

We bear the torch that flaming
fell from the hands of those

who gave their lives proclaiming
that Jesus died and rose.
Ours is the same commission,
the same glad message ours;
fired by the same ambition,
to Thee we yield our powers.

 

David Jeremiah on Relentless Pursuit

by WCTS

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8

Recommended Reading: 1 Samuel 24:8-15

In the 1969 comedic Western film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the two main characters have committed a robbery and are being pursued by a posse of lawmen. Every time the main characters look over their shoulder, the posse is still there. The robbers repeatedly ask, “Who are those guys?”

Relentless pursuit is part of the Christian life. That is, we are constantly being stalked by “[our] adversary the devil.” It was the same with David in the Old Testament; he was pursued by King Saul who sought to put David to death. Unlike the film characters, we are not being pursued for a specific sin or action. In fact, it is the opposite: We are on God’s side and are relentlessly pursued and attacked by our spiritual enemy, Satan. For that reason, we must “be sober, be vigilant”—we must never let our guard down. We must clothe ourselves daily in the believer’s spiritual armor, our only defense against the “fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Be vigilant, but not fearful. In Christ, we have all the defense we need against our spiritual enemy. We are victorious in Christ.

Satan does far more harm as an angel of light than as a roaring lion.
Vance Havner

Upcoming Series on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg

by WCTS

 

Life in the Spirit

Dates: February 5-28
Scripture: Romans 8

What does it mean to be a Christian? How does faith in Jesus make a difference in a believer’s daily experience? In this series of sermons, Alistair Begg addresses these questions by exploring Romans 8 from the perspective of one who is already in Christ. As Jesus’ finished work on the cross is applied in our lives, we receive a new freedom to make choices that please our heavenly Father—and the indwelling Holy Spirit’s power enables us to walk in those choices. We think differently because of our new identity in Christ, knowing that hardships and suffering have a purpose in God’s ultimate plan. Since we are in Christ by His grace, there is no condemnation; and since we are kept by His eternal love, there is no separation between us and Him forever.

Listen to this series