Summary: In the context of current society the overriding emphasis in a great number of congregations today has been placed on emotionalism, and that, in and of itself is not wrong. It should be noted that emotionalism that grows out of knowledge...knowledge of
Prepared for Delivery as the Keynote Address
Magic City Lectureship • Birmingham, Alabama
Monday, September 11, 2000 at 8:00 p.m.
In the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus...my soul is just glad to be here. To my good friends who serve as co-anchors of this lectureship, brothers Peter Moss, Steve Clark, W.C. Edwards and Elijah Bush, I thank you for this opportunity to address the saints in Birmingham, and I encourage you to continue in this great work you have begun and perpetuated. I count it an honor to be associated with men of your caliber, and I am always praying on your behalf. To this audience, we appreciate so much your coming out and supporting this effort. We are delighted tonight to have members from the NorthPointe Church in Montgomery with us. They are strong supporters of the Word, strong supporters of the Church, and strong supporters of their preacher, and I am humbled and encouraged by your presence tonight. The text that has been assigned to me tonight comes from Nehemiah, chapter 8 and verses 5 and 6. Would you please stand and read this aloud with me? Nehemiah 8: 5-6:
"And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above
all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra
blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen,
with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the
Lord with their faces to the ground."
The subject that has been given to me...WHEN IS IT TIME TO SHOUT?
In the context of current society the overriding emphasis in a great number of congregations today has been placed on emotionalism, and that, in and of itself is not wrong. It should be noted that emotionalism that grows out of knowledge...knowledge of who God is and what God does, is a good thing, but emotionalism by itself is dangerous and empty. Behind every act of emotionalism there must be self examination of motive. By the same token, the stoic, ritualistic and formal approach is just as dangerous because it does not encourage a real connection to God, but rather a connection to tradition as a god. There are elements of our corporate worship that are beautiful, especially when they involve a sense of pageantry, for example, white gloves while serving communion or dim lights during moments of prayer...however, as with the shouting, all of these are mere outward representations that can prove to be true or false by the actual lives that we live. That is why true worship is based on “spirit and truth.” True worship may incorporate both approaches to God, or one of these approaches to God, but true worshippers never take opportunity to force their own approach to God on someone else. Worship is not about what we do in the presence of others, but rather what we do in the presence of God...not about being acceptable to each other, but being acceptable to God.
Hear Paul in Romans 14:4:
Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he
standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make
Our selected text tonight deals with this issue in a very clear and concise manner.
As a means of background, Nehemiah was the third great leader in the Jewish restoration. He had led a group of exiles back to Jerusalem, and led the massive project which rebuilt the cities walls. The cities walls had been destroyed as they suffered defeat abd became enslaved. While most of the Israelites were in bondage, a remnant remained in Jerusalem, however, Jerusalem was desecrated. Not only was it desecrated physically, but it was desecrated spiritually. By the time we get to chapter 8, Nehemiah has invigorated and inspired the people to move, out of a sense of pride and character, to rebuild the walls, and now, the man of God, Ezra, begins the process of the people rebuilding their spiritual lives.
On the first day of the seventh month (verse 2) the people gathered together for a holy convocation, the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24, 25), which typified the regathering of Israel from among the Gentile nations. Standing on a special platform and flanked by thirteen Levites, EZRA READ FROM THE LAW OF MOSES for several hours. Three things, I believe, in this text, can give us an idea of WHEN IS IT TIME TO SHOUT:
I. IT’S TIME TO SHOUT WHEN THE LORD IS HEARD.
II. IT’S TIME TO SHOUT WHEN THE LORD IS PRAISED.
III. IT’S TIME TO SHOUT WHEN THE LORD IS WORSHIPED.
Ya’ll gonna give me a little time?
I. IT’S TIME TO SHOUT WHEN THE LORD IS HEARD...