Program Air Date - 11-10-02



Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God’s Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week, and I hope your weekend was a profitable one also. Here we are on another glorious Lord’s Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we have again today to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.

As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible’s handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let’s begin by talking to our Father in prayer!


At this time, we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won’t you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, “Is It For Me, Dear Savior.”

(SONG # 1)


As followers of God, whether we accept our duty or not, I think we all realize the obligation we have to preach the Gospel of Christ to this lost and dying world. We accomplish this in many different ways, but mainly we prove our obedience through the things that we do and say. As long as we are proclaiming His will to other, we are pleasing in His sight. However, I think we also fail to realize the great responsibility that comes with carrying out this command of our Lord. Not only are we to proclaim the message, but we must further realize that it must be according to His Will, and not our own.

The point is, it does make a difference what we do and what we say. It does make a difference how we say it and how we present ourselves. Why? Because God said He has but one Gospel for us to make know to this world. Paul said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed,” Galatians 1:6-8.

Even Jesus as He came to this earth proclaimed that He did not come to accomplish His own Will. Rather, Christ always gave the credit, honor, and glory to His Father for all that He did and said. He stated over and over in the gospel accounts that the origin of every word He said came directly from the Father in Heaven. What a wonderful example this is to us today. Finally, notice what James said in chapter 3, and verse 1 of his book. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Why does it matter what we teach and how we teach it, because we will be judged according to the job we do. You see, there is more to this work that is before us than just getting out and doing something. We must make sure the things we do and say are according to God, so that they properly instruct and edify the hearers. Let’s all do our part in studying God’s Word, so that we may know what we are to teach in order that we will be found faithful in His sight.

This morning, we are excited to have as a guest speaker brother Bill McFarland. Brother McFarland is the minister for the North National Church of Christ here is Springfield, Missouri. This brother is well known in this area, and is a fine gospel preacher who stands in the Word of God. We certainly appreciate him and are glad he agreed to be with us today. In our study of the morning, we will be continuing our discussion on, “Authority in Religion.” Our specific topic of the day will deal with, “Bible Authority in Worship.” So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together brother McFarland will return with this lesson from God’s Word. It’s now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “Just Over In The Glory Land.”

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Bill McFarland

Good morning everybody. It’s been well said that worship is the soul of religion. Most of us immediately think of worshipping God when we give any thought to spirtitual life or to trying to live in obedience to the Lord. The New Testament begins by telling us of the ministry of Jesus and as He faced the tempter and as He dealt with the same kinds of temptations that challenge all of us in our relationship to God. The tempter tried to offer Him the opportunity to bow down and worship him in exchange for all of the kingdoms of the world. The Lord answered though that “it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” And then at the end of the New Testament, as John describes what he saw and what he heard, it says that he fell down at the feet of the angel who showed him all of these things and he began to worship him. The angel however, told him not to do it. He said, “I’m a fellow servant with you and with the prophets and with those who keep the Words of this book.” And he said simply, “Worship God.” That instruction then, to worship God, to serve Him and to honor Him is the burden of the message of the Holy Testament and certainly of all of the scriptures that called to worship God and has the authority behind it which also applies to how we go about worshipping God. If you think about what worship is, I think the simplest description would simply be to give God what is due Him.

In Psalm 29 for example, the Psalm begins by telling us “Give unto the Lord, oh you mighty, give unto the Lord, glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” When we worship then, we are making an effort to recognize God and to give Him the place that belongs to Him. Worship involves giving God the thanks which is due Him for all of His gifts. Worship involves giving God the praise which is due Him for His holiness and His greatness and His wisdom and His love. Worship involves adoring God, returning the great and matchless kindness that He has bestowed on all of us. Worship involves humbling ourselves before God because of His awesome greatness and goodness. Worship involves at times expressing our submission, even our confession of our weaknesses and of our deep needs for Him. Worship involves simply orienting our whole lives and our thinking and our being to God and to who He is. This kind of worship is not merely an emotional response nor display of emotions though it may involve every aspect of our being as human beings.

In Revelations chapter 15 for example as we see the song of Moses and as we see the worship of heaven, the Bible says that they were saying, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways thy king of the saints. Who shall not fear thee oh Lord and glorify thy name for thou only art holy for all nations shall come and worship before thee for thy judgments made manifest.”

Notice that worship involved the objective recounting of the attributes of God and of the actions of God and then responding to those things in our lives. The call to worship is the consistent theme of scripture. The nature of worship is for us to recognize who God is and what He has done and then for us to respond appropriately to that.

It is interesting to notice how the nature of worship even defines what it is to live as a Christian. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer deals with weary Christians and with people who are needing to understand the necessity of enduring and patiently going on and living for the Lord. There are two statements that come fairly close together which help us to understand something of why worship requires the authority of God. At the end of Hebrews chapter 12, first off, there is a statement in verse 28 in which the writer says, “Therefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved. Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Notice that in this passage worship involves an attitude of reverence, an attitude which recognizes God’s greatness and which then humbly responds to that with service or with reverence. It involves by the nature of it a tone of godly fear which wants to offer what is acceptable to God. That attitude would naturally call for God to show us the way and would involve a willingness for Him to have His way and not merely for us to have our way.

A few verses later in Hebrews 13 and verse 15, the writer makes another statement about worship. This time emphasizing love. He says, “By Him, therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” That is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. Where that other verse talked about reverence and godly fear and awe, this passage shows the praise that is offered to God because of gratitude, the love that wants more than anything for God to be honored. This aspect of worship would also naturally call for God’s authority in our lives. Jesus made the point that “if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” John says in 1 John 5 and verse 3 that “the love of God is to keep His commandment,” without that being a greaseless burden in our lives.

The very spirit of worship then causes us to want to recognize the Lord’s authority in what we’re offering to Him. Awe causes us to submit to Him. Love causes us to want to obey Him as we offer our gifts up to Him. Think about those two aspects of worship as they apply to what you and I are to offer to God. What if those things are missing? We engage in religious activity, but it’s not governed by the authority of the Lord.

There was a time in the Old Testament in 1 Kings chapter 12 where Jereboam leads the ten northern tribes, the people known at that time as Israel. Jereboam though he had been given that position by the God of heaven became concerned about keeping a following. He became concerned about people going back to Jerusalem to worship and then turning their loyalty to Rehoboam instead of to him. Now as a lesson for us, we want to observe the danger of beginning to use worship for some other purpose than to honor and obey God. When we begin to try to use it to keep a following for ourselves or to suit ourselves, we open a door that leads to danger. In Jereboam’s case, what he decided to do was to develop a worship based on his own desires instead of God’s. He decided, “I will build two calves of gold and I’ll tell the people ‘these are your gods. Worship them.’” Then he set those two idols up, one at Dan and one at Bethel, and made it possible for people to have a different place to go to worship rather than to go to Jerusalem at the temple. Then he arranged for a different time for that worship. The 8th month instead of the time that God’s law had required. Then he arranged for a different priesthood, people from all of the tribes rather than the Levites which again the Law of Moses had called for. And in so doing, he made it possible for the people to have a more convenient situation and for him to have a following. The problem was all of that was out of his own heart and out of his own mind and it became a sin to him and to Israel that developed and lead to terrible consequences.

The New Testament has Jesus saying in John chapter 4 in a conversation with a woman at the well in Samaria something about worship which is very much like that. The woman noted that her people, the Samaritans worshipped at this mountain while the Jews worshipped at Jerusalem. She wanted to know about that and Jesus answered her straightforwardly. “Woman, believe me. The hour comes when you shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. You worship, you know not what. We know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews.’ Now notice that He honestly dealt with the situation. There was a truth about worship. There was something that suited God and honored and He recognized that.

Verse 23 continues, “But the hour cometh and now it is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father and in spirit and in truth for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Now notice in the case of Jeroboam in the Old Testament, worship required the intention to honor God and then submission to His Will. Notice in this passage in the New Testament, worship requires the intention to honor God, that is the “in spirit” part of this, and then acceptance and submission to His Will. That is the truth part of this. Worship has always required both attitude and action. Worship requires the reverence, a sense of awe, and the love or the sense of gratitude that we’ve mentioned earlier. Reverence then requires action to express those attitudes and that action needs to also be in keeping with God’s Will.

In the New Testament, we find instructions about worshipping God as Christians as the church of the Lord in this world today. We find for example that worship involves the assembly of the church. There are some things that you and I can do in our daily lives to express our devotion to God. We offer thanks for His good gifts. We meditate about His Word and what His Word has to say. We may encourage each other with an instruction from His Word or some thought about it. But there is the call in the New Testament for the church to come together to honor the Lord and to offer up gifts to Him.

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 in the New Testament describes the assembling of the church and he lays down principles to guide us. He says in verse 26 that “all things are to be done to edify the church, the building up of those that we meet with for worship.” He says in verses 14 and 15 that “whatever is done needs to be done with both the spirit and the understanding.” That is, it requires thoughtfulness and intelligence and understanding as well as the attitudes that we’ve described earlier, and then Paul points out that in order for the church to be edified, for things to be understandable, they’re to be done decently and in order. In other words, there needs to be a conduct of the assembly that fits with the offering of worship to God.

Now with that in mind, what kinds of things are done to express this devotion to God? The New Testament shows us the church gathering to observe the Lord’s Supper among the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day. Acts 20 and verse 7 would be a good example as well as 1 Corinthians 11 verses 23 and following. When they met, they also sang. In Colossians 3 and verse 16, with grace in their hearts they sang to the Lord with their gratitude and the teaching and instructing each other as they did it.

Prayer was a part of worship, an expression of it according to Acts 2 and verse 42. Teaching of the Lord’s Word was an another aspect of it that always took place and then on the 1st day of the week, the free giving of the people as a part of their devotion to God.

You and I can worship in those same ways even today.

(SONG # 3 - “Farther Along”)


What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today’s lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

The Living Word 2540 N. Kansas Expressway Springfield, Mo. 65803

Many of these materials are also available on our website. That address is:

Or if you prefer, you may call us at: (417)869-2284

Isn’t it wonderful to know what God’s Will is for us as we approach His throne in Worship? May we always do what is well pleasing to our creator and acceptable in His sight.

(Program closing)