Pastor’s Viewpoints, “God Made Us to Worship Him”

“God Made Us to Worship Him”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The title of this article is not my opinion. God said it. Genesis 1:26-27 declares that God made man and woman in His image. Colossians 1:15-16 reveals that everything was made by Jesus, God’s only Son, the second person of the Trinity, “the image of the invisible God. Further the text documents that everything was not only made by Jesus but also for Him. Romans 11:36 states, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

My purpose is not to convince anyone of this divine truth. I can’t do that nor can any man. I am simply declaring the truth that we are creatures and as creatures we owe worship to the Creator. God doesn’t need us. He created us and all of Creation because He willed to for His glory.

I know that if our sovereign God reveals this fundamental truth to you, you will see all of life from a different perspective, His perspective. The only way that sense can be made out of all the distortions and evil in the world is to view all of life through the lens of Scripture, the breathed out words of God.

The primary evidence of knowing this truth is worship. One who knows God bows down to God in worship. Those who don’t know God will still worship. They will worship their own god, often themselves. The great reformer, John Calvin said this, “Every one of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” Acts II: 413

The cause of false worship is sin. All men inherit a sin nature from our first parents, Genesis 3. Even believers, set free from the bondage of sin, still sin, Romans 7. Therefore, God by His grace gave His people a clear command re: worship, Exodus 20:1-3. God said that His people were forbidden from bowing down to or serving any man-made image or likeness of God, Exodus 20:4-5. He declared that He is the LORD and besides Him there is no God, Isaiah 45:18. Further, any worship that is not based in God’s word is false and is idolatry, John 4:23-24.

The object of true worship is God who has revealed Himself in His word written and Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. Jesus said that God the Father is the one who seeks worshipers, John 4.

The Apostle Paul quoted the Psalms and wrote that no one seeks after God, Psalm 14:2; Romans 3:11. Even though God has made His existence plain for all to see by what He has made, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We are eager to fulfill our God-given desire to worship and often do so by erecting idols. Our idols control our lives.

Normally in Evangelical Protestant Churches, we don’t see people bowing to or serving carved images as part of their acts of worship and devotion. But, we must honestly reflect upon those things that we seem to value the most and serve. In other words we are: loving, honoring and obeying things more than God! We seek to find churches that entertain us with snappy music or skits, etc. We are so full of ourselves that we think that worship is about us. Beloved, God is the object of worship. He is the “audience.”

When God is truly worshiped, the Lordship of Christ is acknowledged by submitting to His word. The words, love, honor and obey are relational words that describe our primary relationship to God in worship. In expressing our relationship to God, we need to be reminded that He established the requirements for our relationship. Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

Finally, Christians know that worship is not only a weekly event. Worship is what we do every moment, every day of our lives. The Apostle Paul made the daily reality of worship clear to those who have experienced His saving grace. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Christian, God made you for worship. Worship Him in holy attire!

Pastor’s Viewpoints, “More than a Religion”

“More than a Religion”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Webster’s Dictionary defines religion as an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. There are many systems of belief in the world. As a professing Christian I know that there is only one true faith. Saving faith has Jesus, the only Son of God as its object. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 Jesus also said, “… I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus also commanded His disciples to make disciples by identifying them with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them the word of God, Matthew 28:19-20.

There is a difference between religion and faith. Faith is God’s gift by which the recipient professes trust and reliance upon Jesus as He is offered in the gospel. Religion is the expression of that faith. As there is only one true faith there is likewise only one true religion.

The Westminster Confession of Faith makes the following statement: “The visible church… consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Chapter 25, Par. 2)

But there is one world religion that is more than a religion. There is one existing religion that is a theocracy.

Once again, I refer to Webster’s Dictionary. A theocracy is a government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely inspired. The religion to which I refer is Islam. It is hard for those of us living in the West to understand a theocracy. Many hold dear the idea of the separation of church and state even though our founders assumed that the church would influence the morals of the state. We were a Nation founded upon Christian Principles. But, we were not intended to be governed by one religion.

In a theocracy church and state are one. Israel of the Old Testament was a theocracy. God appointed Prophets, Priests as well as Judges and Kings. The civil rulers were commanded by God to govern as God commanded. Israel’s civil laws were divine laws. Israel, as a biblical nation ceased to exist in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus.

In Romans Chapter 13, the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1-2

From its inception Islam with its false view of God was established as a theocracy. Logically therefore, Islam’s goal is for there to be a church and state functioning as one under its god.

In my opinion our leaders are either purposely deceiving us or simply ignorant of Islam’s fundamental beliefs and goal. The various sects of Islam, in my opinion, may use different methods but their goal is the same. Islam will continue to seek to establish a theocracy such that the world would be ruled by their false god.

My purpose in writing this article is to cause men and women, especially Christian men and women to think about the most dangerous assault on our way of life in decades and it isn’t man-made climate change!

We are constantly bombarded by various philosophies, most notably secular humanism. We have dealt with the threat of the Fascism of Nazi Germany. We have watched as President Regan spoke concerning the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. We watch as our leaders refuse to act against those who see themselves above the law. We have even adopted some socialist programs that may indeed cause our economy to suffer. We have seen the world refuse to call evil evil. We have even seen in our Nation evil called good and good evil. We have witnessed little outrage at the murder of babies, even to the point of Planned Parenthood’s selling of murdered babies body parts.

What is the church to do? The Bible says that action should follow knowledge (Psalm 119:105; Matthew 4:4; Romans 12:2; 2Timothy 3:16:17). Knowing the truth will both guard your mind and inform your actions!

Pastor’s Viewpoints, “What is a Christian?”

“What is a Christian?”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Luke, the evangelist, wrote in Acts 11:26 that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. A disciple is a follower and a learner. Disciples follow and learn from their Master who is the Risen Lord Jesus. Therefore, a Christian is likewise a learner and follower of the Risen Lord Jesus.

I don’t think that there are any reasonable people who would not agree that Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. We also know that cults use the name Jesus. Simply using His name does not indicate that they are Christians. No, Christians follow and learn from Jesus Christ who is the Second Person of the Trinity.

The Jesus who is offered in the gospel is the eternally begotten Son of God. He is the One who took upon Himself human nature, Philippians 2:6ff. He is the God – Man. He is not a created being as the cults contend. Jesus is God. He is not a god. He is the God. He is the only way to the Father. He is the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6

The Apostle Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what was written is authoritative, as is the whole of Scripture.

Salvation is only through confessing Christ to be Savior and Lord. Salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ alone! Ephesians 2:8

Many claim to be Christians. But not all are. Jesus addressed this condition in His famous sermon. Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

We must be clear on this fact. A genuine Christian is one who has declared that he commits to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We know that all lords issue commands. Jesus has issued absolute commands. His commands are His words written. Christians live under the plain and revealed word of God preserved by His grace in the Bible. The sixty six books that make up the Bible are the commands of our Lord Jesus.

We continue to hear of those who call themselves Christians affirming sinful behavior, behavior that God has expressly condemned. At the risk of offending some, let me say that those who affirm evil behavior of any kind and lead others to do the same are in no way Christians regardless of what they may say.

My entire ministry is centered on the word of God. I know that I am not sinless. God’s word says that anyone who says that he’s sinless is deceiving himself and does not have the truth. No, I sin and I seek God’s grace of forgiveness through confessing my sins to Him, 1John 1:8-9. Yet I seek to obey God’s call of me as a pastor. As do all Christian Pastors who seek to do their best to present themselves to God as those approved. I work like all Christian Pastors to righty handle God’s word. I am accountable to Him to preach and teach the truth, God’s word is truth, John 17:17

I am reminded of God’s warning given through the Prophet Ezekiel. God said that if the watchman sees destruction coming and does not warn the people their blood is on his head. If pastors fail to warn their members of the certainty of eternal judgment for living in a sinful lifestyle without conviction, they will pay a heavy price when they meet the Lord! This is exactly what is happening. Main line churches and other apostate groups are not only failing to warn their members of certain judgment but are actually affirming evil behavior, calling evil good.

I’m not only referring to homosexual behavior, but also other expressions of immoral behavior. This is a time of opportunity. Jesus told us that in this world we would have tribulation, but He has overcome the world. I exhort professing Christians to deepen their knowledge of what God has said. Peter wrote always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” 1Peter 3:15

We have the great mystery uncovered, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Pastor’s Viewpoints, “Love Will Win!”

“Love Will Win!”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” 1John 4:8-9

My wife and I recently returned from Brooklyn, N.Y. There was a great celebration in that city over the Supreme Court’s issuance of law concerning the union of same sex couples. I refuse to use the term marriage, as they did because their unions are repugnant to the definition of marriage.

My refusal is not based on my opinion. It is based in God’s ordination and definition of marriage. He did so on the sixth day of Creation, Genesis 2:23-24. Jesus referred to this and said, “…What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6b

My purpose in writing this article is not to re-visit God’s definition of marriage. Every genuine Christian affirms marriage to be the life-long union of a man and a woman. Surely, I am not a Christian because I believe in this definition of marriage. I am a Christian by God’s sovereign choice. I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, Ephesians 2:8

Yet, as a Christian I hold to God’s definition of marriage because I live under His word! In fact, I submit to all that God has said. I fall short more times than not. As one who has been born again, I often choose to sin. But by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I acknowledge my sin and appeal to God’s mercy for forgiveness. The Bible says, “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2Corinthians 7:10

God said that all men are born dead in sin. It should not surprise me when pagans act like pagans. Yet I was shocked by the hubris of five of our Supreme Court Justices. Hubris is defined as extreme pride. It was an extremely prideful act to usurp the authority of God and re-define what He had defined in Creation.

Even though I know that, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision”, (Psalm 2:4) I was angry at those who demonstrated hatred of God.

Now, I am grieving over those whose sinful lifestyles have received the affirmation of our highest court. I am grieving as I hear of churches and pastors who call themselves Christians celebrating this decision saying, “Love won.” In fact, love will win; the love that wins proceeds from the Sovereign Lord who is love.

My purpose in writing this article is to exhort all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to grow in the knowledge of what we believe and why we believe it. The Apostle Paul wrote to those who were born again and said, “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

Marriage was given to mankind by God to be a blessing; to be the foundation of all societies. Marriage between a man and a woman is a profound mystery that refers to the relationship that Christ has with His church, Ephesians 5:32.

Don’t be surprised at the behavior of those who are lost. They oppose God because their hearts are evil continually. We would be just like them, children of God’s wrath. But God was rich in mercy and chose to save His people by grace, Ephesians 2.

Finally don’t be misled by those who may tell you that you can live as they do and still be a citizen of the Kingdom. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:9-11

Christian pursue godliness by living under His word for His glory! Grow in a church that teaches the truth.