A most amazing and amusing human practice is sleep. Amazingly, one who has reached the Biblical seventy years has already spent about twenty-three in bed! It is amusing as we all, overcome by an uncontrollable urge, climb into bed, put the lights out, and wait – until the phenomenon of sleep turns down our hearing volume, closes our eyes, and quietly slips the brain out of gear. During the hours of sleep, millions of tiny ‘workers’ are very much awake, reconditioning and recharging the body for another day’s toil.
There is, of course, a time to be asleep and a time to be awake. The Lord counselled His disciples to “rest awhile” [Mark 6:31] after a time of strenuous labour for Him and His kingdom. However, some believers get things mixed up; they sleep when they should be awake and are awake when they should be resting.
Some can sleep in the most unlikely of places and times. These hardy souls can sleep sitting bolt upright on a hard pew whilst their eardrums are assaulted by the preacher’s strident voice. It’s my medication may be their excuse! “Good message, pastor,” they say as they file out. They must measure its “goodness” by the speed with which the sermon puts them over!
But Paul here [1 Cor. 15:34] speaks of those who sleep in the Lord’s work. Their eyes are closed, and they have no vision of the great need of a perishing world. Their eyes are blinded to their own sinful and slothful ways. They are unconscious of those who have never heard the gospel of redeeming grace. Their spiritual sleep prevents any action, and they do little or nothing for Christ. Hence Paul’s strident alarm, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” May this day be one of wide-awake service for Christ.
A few weeks ago, we marked the 45th anniversary of the Toronto church. One of the first families to join us in 1976 was Jim and Norma Wilson and their children Shirley and Peter. Jim and Norma served the Lord faithfully in the church and Sunday school until illness made attendance impossible for Jim. Sadly he passed away on July 24. The funeral service was conducted by the Toronto pastor, Dr. Larry Saunders, on Tuesday past. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Wilsons at this sorrowful time.
THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC
Music has been an integral part of church worship since the beginning. We ought not to underestimate the profound effect that music can have on man’s body, soul, and mind. Strangely, the same basic notes played one way can make us feel happy; played another way can make us feel sad, or depressed, or triumphant, or inspired, or calmed, or degraded. That is why we must be careful what music enters our minds.
Much of the message of modern music is profane, sadistic and degenerate. One expert describes some of it as being manic-depressive. But the worship of God calls for the highest means and is a source of encouragement to the soul.
Johann Sebastian, the great composer, was right when he said, “The aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but the glory of God, and the refreshment of the soul.” Let us exalt the good and reject the bad.
WHY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH?
From all corners of the world comes a challenge to God’s Word. Doubt and denial are encouraged by the enemy. Everything seems against the Gospel of Christ. But we must remain to fulfill our duty. What is the duty of Christian men at such a time?
They should not say, as some do, that more time should be spent on the propagation of the Gospel and less on its defence. As a matter of fact, not less time, but more time should be devoted to the defence of the Gospel. Paul said he was “set for the defence of the Gospel.”
There may have been a day when there could have been the propagation of Christianity without defence. But such a day, at any rate, is passed. At present, when the opponents of the Gospel are almost in control of our churches, the slightest avoidance of the defence of the Gospel is just sheer unfaithfulness to the Lord. [From an article by Dr. J. Gresham Machen].
LUTHER ON THE DEFENCE OF THE FAITH
“If I defend the whole Christian faith at every point, but do not defend it at the point where it is presently being attacked, then I am a traitor and a coward.”