THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-9-01
LESSON TITLE: WORSHIP
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
How wonderful it is to be a Christian. Our first song this morning reminds us of the happiest day in ones life - the Day we put on our Savior in Salvation. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "O Happy Day."
(SONG # 1)
It is really hard to believe that we are already in December again. Another year has flown by and before you know it Christmas will be here. I know everyone is busy making preparation and buying special gifts for their loved ones and friends. It seems like things just keep getting busier and busier as all the shoppers rush around here in Springfield.
Although there is a lot of excitement in the air and a lot going on, let me encourage us all to remember that in all things we are first and foremost servants of God. Christians are to be examples at all times to all peoples. Everything we do must show forth the glory and praise of the One who created us and made us in His image.
But why do I mention all of this? Well, because so many of us often have a problem with acting like Christians during these hectic times of the year. Although we are excited and happy in so many ways, we are also in a hurry and impatient with those around. During these busy times no one moves fast enough for us, no one knows how to drive but us, and often we act as if the world should stand still so that we can do our own thing - forget everyone else.
You don't have to look far this holiday to find those who get mad in a store or who honk at someone they feel is in the way. Friends, let's all remember that when we act in these ways and show such attitudes we really are defeating the whole purpose or joy of such a festive season. Isn't one of the major points of this season to show our love and care for loved ones and our fellow man?
So let's make an extra effort during this holiday season to really show others that we know how to act like Christ. Let's replace that stress with happiness, that anger with a smile, that eagerness with patience. If we can learn to respond in these ways then others will truly be able to see our God in us. So let me ask, "what type of season do you plan to make this as you interact with your fellow man?"
We have a guest speaker with us this morning who has been with us several times before. He is the minister for the Curry Street Church of Christ in West Plains Missouri. We are happy to have brother Ivie Powell with us to lead us in our lesson of the day.
This morning we will be continuing our study on the Lord's Church. The specific topic today will deal with "Worship." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Powell will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Face to Face!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ivie Powell
Good morning my friends. The Bible says that "the churches of Christ salute you," in Romans 16:16. I appreciate very much the opportunity of being with you once again over the program and I want to thank brother Sullins and the good elders at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ. We would like to invite those of you that are in West Plains and who will be driving to West Plains today to assemble with us for Bible study at 9:30. The morning assembly is at 10:30 and if the Lord willing, we will meet back again tonight at 6:00. We also have services Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. This will be at 111 South Curry Street in West Plains, Missouri.
Now on this particular day there will literally be millions of people assembled to worship God. I have noticed quite frequently driving to the church building the number of people that do not attend services. We have probably a population of 10, 500 people in West Plains within the city limits. Needless to say, we do not have that number that will be assembling to worship God. I have never calculated or found the calculation or number of people that will assemble, but I assure you that man needs to be made aware of the fact that he has the great privilege and honor of worshipping God.
The Bible lets us know that "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth," John 4:24. By nature, man wants to worship. Now that does not mean that he will worship God. He may worship a cow, a monkey, a snake. He may worship a rock. He may worship an image such as a Buddha statue. He may not even believe in God. He may have as his way of worship - atheism or agnosticism. But nevertheless, man by nature does want to pay homage to something or someone. Without the word of God, we are in a complete state of darkness as to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels, heaven, hell, why we are here and so forth. The word of God has been given to man that he might know the truth. Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," in John 8, verse 32. And so upon this earth as we exist, we are here for the purpose of pleasing Almighty God.
Now the Bible lets us know as we turn to scripture that when it comes to worship that it actually is that which consists of as pointed out a moment ago, worshipping God in spirit and in truth. One of the great problems many congregations have is getting people to assemble on Sunday evening, much less during gospel meetings, Vacation Bible School, special events or on Wednesday nights. Often time, folk will wonder, "Well, why don't they return on Sunday night?" You know perhaps a better question would be, "Why do they assemble on Sunday morning?" If a person has the right attitude, a very key word, toward God and His word then they will look forward as David did in the long ago of assembling and worshipping God. We today live under a far better dispensation than David lived under. The privilege and opportunity of worshipping God is truly just that, a privilege and a great opportunity.
September 11th, we are very familiar with what occurred on that day. As a result of that, numbers have risen as far as attendance in services. Sometimes it takes such an even, maybe not on that scale, to wake people up. But we want you to understand my friend, that so many people have the idea that it isn't necessary to assemble with the saints to worship. I've heard people argue, "Well, I can worship out on the lake." Some would have you to believe that they can worship sitting in their own home. Well, we need to understand that God is the one who has set forth for His saints to assemble to worship Him on the first day of the week, the Lord's day.
In Hebrews 10, verse 25, the record says that "We're not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together," as the manner of some is. But the Hebrew writer says, "But exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching." That day is not the day of judgment. That day is not the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in AD 70. That day is the Lord's day. If the early Christians needed such exhortation surely we need the same exhortation today. Motive is very important as well as attitude, why we do things. No one knows why I preach other than God, unless I tell them. There were some Paul mentioned in Phillippians 1 who preached for the wrong reason. What they taught was truth but they didn't have the right motivation. But assuming that we have the right motivation and the right attitude, then we can not help but look forward with great anticipation and joy of assembling with the saints. When we look at scripture, we find that the early saints assembled and as they assembled, God did not leave their worship at their discretion as to what they could do and could not do. You would think that many have that idea today. We need to understand that this is not Burger King worship. You know, you just pick it the way you want to, add to, and take away. One well-known entertainer who died not long ago used to sing and say he had it his way. Well my friend, God does not allow us to have it our way when it comes to becoming a child of his or worshipping Him or living the faithful Christian life. The Bible has been given to us that we might know the truth and "it is truth and only truth that will make one free," John 8, verse 32.
In 2 Peter 1 and verse 3, "The Lord hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness." So in Acts the 2nd chapter, we find there the beginning of the Lord's church as it was established on that first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ. Verse 42 says that "They continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayers." That's exactly what faithful congregations of churches of Christ are going to do the world over on the Lord's day.
As we assemble, we are not going to have a committee formed prior to the assembly deciding what shall we add to or take away from the scriptures. That was settled a long time ago when God gave us His word, His instructions.
So many today have the idea that worship is entertainment. If they don't feel good. If they are not entertained, then they're going to go and look for a place that will make them feel good and entertain them. That is the wrong concept of worship. So many places have turned worship into what Paul would describe in Colossians 2, actually verse 21 through the remainder of those few verses there in that chapter, of will worship. Now will worship is sinful and wrong. As pointed out in a previous lesson some months ago, in Matthew 15, verses 8 and 9, we find that God will not accept worship that is according to the teachings of man. "The people assembled there and in vain do they worship me," He said, "teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." So God will not accept vain worship. God will not accept worship that is according to the doctrines of man. God will not accept worship that is of an ignorant nature as in Acts 17 and as pointed out a second ago from Colossians 2, He will not accept will worship.
Well, what will He accept? "Worship that is set forth in His word in spirit and in truth," John 4:24. So God is the object of our worship. We assemble to worship our heavenly father. I read recently where a congregation devoted the entire service in honoring our veterans. I certainly honor our veterans. I appreciate everything that they have done and are doing, but we need to understand that when we assemble with the saints we are not to honor mortal man. We assemble with the saints to worship the Almighty. And the early saints, when you look at what they did in worship, their worship consisted of learning of God's word, the preaching of the word of God. I can assure you that when you visit the services of the Lord's church that assembles at 111 South Curry Street in West Plains, that you will hear the truth from the pulpit. You're not going to have a surprise day in which the preacher will get up and set aside the Bible and start talking about current events from the newspaper and spend all of your time discussing various things from the newspaper. Now newspaper illustrations can be used in lesson. I understand that, but our time is spent in studying the word of God. Paul told Timothy to, "Preach the word," in 2 Timothy 4, verse 1 through 2. Actually, you need to read down through verse 5. Far too many pulpits are silent when it comes to preaching the word. We have people today as stated before that do not like to be preached to, but every eldership and every preacher out there needs to understand that God has already settled the matter. "I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who should judge the quick and the dead that is appearing in His kingdom, preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering." So that is the obligation of preachers, to preach the word. We like exhortation, but do not forget reproving and rebuking.
Then worship not only consists of studying the word of God, but of course we pray unto our heavenly Father. People of God, pray to God. A great privilege and honor. "Be instant in prayer," Romans 12:12. "We are to pray without ceasing." That is the attitude that Paul is speaking of in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. We assemble and we pray to God. By the way, when we pray to God, it is not a time to preach to God. It is not a time to preach to someone in the assembly. Sometimes folks will even quote scripture to God. I've always found that kind of interesting right there. But we petition God for the entire assembly of people right there. "The one, the man that is leading us, not woman, but man," 1 Timothy 2:8 through 12, is directing our thoughts in various areas as we approach God in prayer.
Then also, we will partake of the Lord's Supper. It is a great privilege and honor to meet around the Lord's table. "This do in remembrance of me," the Lord said in Matthew 26 as you read verse 28 and following. In Acts chapter 20, verse 7, "the early disciples met on the first day of the week," (First day of the week. That's the Lord's day. The day we call Sunday.) "to break bread," (the Lord's Supper). In 1 Corinthians 11, He tells us the attitude, the how we are to partake of the Lord's Supper, verse 23 through about verse 30. Now sometimes folks will deny to partake of the Lord's Supper except annually or quarterly. Some will partake of it every day. Some will partake of the Lord's Supper at funerals and weddings. My friend, I say this kindly, but that is not according to the Bible. No, no, no, no, no. These folks out here that want to argue, "Oh, you don't have to partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday." Well, what about Acts 20 and verse 7? We find that they partook of the Lord's Supper every Lord's day. By the way, all these preachers want to take up a collection on the Lord's day, the first day of the week, 1 Corinthians 16:1 through 2, but they don't want to partake of the Lord's Supper every 1st day of the week. Why not? Well, early saints partook of the Lord's Supper every Lord's day.
And then not only was there the preaching or the word of God and the praying to the Almighty God, not only was there observance of the Lord's Supper, but there was singing praises to God as in Ephesians 5:19. Observe carefully as you turn to the New Testament that early saints did not use mechanical instruments of music in worship. There is not a man alive, has lived, is living, will ever live, that will be able to turn to the New Testament and find Bible authority (Colossians 3:17) for the use of mechanical instruments in worship. As a matter of fact, it may greatly surprise you, my dear friend, that at one time all major denominations stood on this ground of truth as do we that they all objected to the use of mechanical instruments of music. The instrument that is plucked is the strings of our heart not a mechanical instrument. Look again at Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16 and following. So we sing praises unto God. We lift up our voices in praising God in spirit and in truth.
And then as we are assemble on the Lord's day, we will take up a collection for of the free will offering of the saints, 1 Corinthians 16:1 and 2. By the way, I hear a lot of folks preach that we're to do the tithing. You don't find that in the New Testament. I challenge you to find that in the New Testament. We give as we have been prospered.
And so my friends, these five avenues, five acts if you please, constitute acceptable New Testament worship. Now where will you be this morning at 9:30 this morning, those of you that are in the area of West Plains? We hope that you will be with us for Bible study. We hope that you will assemble with your entire family for the morning assembly at 10:30 and then back again tonight at 6:00. We are so appreciative of the great opportunity that God has given us to worship Him.
September 11th was a day in which thousands of people died. Do you know that thousands of people will die today? If this was the last day that you had upon the face of the earth, would you assemble with the saints? Would you obey the gospel? Would you be restored if an unfaithful child of God? We hope and pray, my friend, that you will take advantage of the opportunity and the joy of becoming a Christian and of serving God that heaven may be your home.
Thanks again for the opportunity of being with you and look forward to doing this again at another time. Until then, have a great day.
(SONG # 3 - "Fairest Lord Jesus!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. 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.
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Thanks be to God that we have the opportunity to worship and praise His name. May we always do that which is according to His Will when we approach the throne of God!