THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-5-12
LESSON TITLE: “HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE: SPECIAL IN WORSHIP”
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows
His handiwork.” How true this verse is today as we gather
together on another beautiful Lord’s Day, which He has so richly
blessed us with. No matter what it is like outside, everyday
should be magnificent with God on our side!
Thanks for joining us this day for the Living Word program. It is great to have you with us this morning for this time of worship to God. Let me encourage us all to do our part today, to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now let’s begin by approaching His throne in prayer.
There are so many good songs we sing together about our great savior, Jesus Christ. This morning we want to sing about how wonderful He is to those whom He has redeemed! So, won’t you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together the song entitled, “More About Jesus?”
(SONG # 1)
My family and I were on vacation several years ago and we saw something really beautiful in the sky. It had many colors and stood out like a wonderful gift from God. I guess you know what I am talking about by now - a rainbow. We could see from one end to another and what a beauty it was, as well as a testament to the power of our God.
Of course the first thing which came to my mind again was our wonderful creator and giver of all - our God in Heaven. Have we forgotten that these rainbows have been given to us by God as a sign for those who believe in Him?
If you go back with me to the book of Genesis, we are reminded there of the awesome story of the flood. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. And then the ark floated for over 100 days before it came to rest on dry land - on top of Mount Ararat! It was then that Noah and His family and all the animals left the ark and then Noah made an alter to the Lord God above. In Genesis chapter 9 we know that God was very pleased with Noah, and in verse 16, He made the following statement to His faithful servant, “The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” So the rainbow was placed in the sky as a sign from God to all His creation. The very same sign to us as His creation today. But what was the sign that God wanted them, as well as us to know?
Go with me again to the Bible and let’s read verses 13-15. There God told Noah, “I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” So, a rainbow in the sky reminds us of the promise of God that He will never again destroy the earth or His creation with water.
So next time you see one of these spectacular gifts from God in the sky, remember all that God has done, is doing and will do for you. Furthermore, let it be an encouragement to us to know that He had the power to do such a wondrous thing, because surely this means He will be able to fulfill all of His promises! Praise be to God for the clear evidences in nature of His awesome power.
Concerning our topic, we are still considering our series called “His Own Special People.” Our specific lesson this morning is entitled, “Special in Worship?” So, please stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God’s Word. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In Psalm 95 I want you to notice with me what it is that David said concerning worship. In verse 6 we read, “Oh come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker for He is God.” When we read this text here certainly we find out something that is very unique and special about us as people of God because since the very beginning of creation, God has desired that His people worship Him. And so today, we are going to consider another thing in relationship to you and I as children of God being special before God, a holy nation, a royal priesthood and that idea that we want to consider together is that we as the chosen of God have a special worship.
As we said a moment ago, worship has always been within God’s design. In fact, the very first man and woman indicate to us that worship was a part of God’s plan. When they had children there in Genesis chapter 4, you might remember with me there that it states to us in verse 3 that Cain brought an offering to the Lord. And then in the next verse, verse 4, it says, “Abel as well brought an offering to the Lord.” Where do you think they learned that? Certainly they learned it from God. Most likely they learned it from their father whom also had taught Seth later to be a what? A righteous man. And we learn about that later there in chapter 5.
But as we continue to think about the idea, we turn over a few more chapters and immediately we begin to see in chapter 6 the story of Noah. Do you remember what it was that Noah did even as we made reference to earlier that was so great before God? After he had been saved by God and came off of the ark, he built an altar. In fact there in the text, chapter 8, at the end there he says that “Noah,” verse 20, “built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings to the Lord.”
So we find the first folks on the earth. We find that Noah does the same thing. We turn over to the great patriarch, Abraham, there in chapter 22 commanded by God to take his own son and offer him. What was he going to do? He was going to worship God by offering at the sacrifice his only son of promise. And then do you remember what it was that he told those servants or those young men that had gone to assist him? In verse 5 he actually says that they “should remain here as the lad and I go over yonder and worship.” You see he knew what worship was.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah, and we know now that Abraham, all of them knew what worship was because again from the beginning it has been God’s design that they worship. Who? They who follow God! They who believe in God! They who love God! That they worship their Creator!
And so then we see even under the Law of Moses, really the first place that I identified is found there in Exodus chapter 19 not that there had not been some type of sacrifices before, but it was there that they were at Mt. Sinai about to receive the Law that would give them very specifically in a written form what God required in worship. And do you remember what He told them there in chapter 19? He told them to go and make ready for three days because He was going to come down on the mountain and He was going to proclaim to them His Truth and they were going to what? Worship Him! In fact, it even said that, “They feared Him and they trembled at the power of God.” So then we go throughout the Law of Moses, I think it is probably best seen there in the book of Leviticus in chapter 1 and after that we have very clearly given the different offerings by God that were required of His people to make what? Sacrifices. And what were those sacrifices for? Well they were for the purpose in the tabernacle and then later in the temple that Israel would have that they might do what? Worship their God in the way that God commanded!
Anyway we could go on and on throughout the Old Testament and we could find the same types of ideas that we even see presented by David that one must come before the Lord and worship Him because He is worthy of worship. He is worthy of praise. He is worthy of being lauded and magnified and glorified in every way.
Then we move over to the New Testament and immediately we begin to see the same thing even in the New Covenant, even before as Jesus began to establish a covenant. You might recall with me John 4:24 where it says, “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” Well the verses just before that actually indicate that the true worshipper is who God is seeking, the one who truly worships God as they should. So notice the areas of worship. The two areas that are involved in proper worship is the right way, the truth. How are we going to know? The truth- look to the Word of God! And then the right spirit or attitude. So what that means is that not only must I go through the right actions as designated and provided by God, but my heart and my body and soul, all of the essence of man must be involved sincerely in the act that is commanded by my God. So then we see throughout the New Testament that the church worships God. Why? Because God had always desired worship. He desired it under the Patriarchal Period. He desired it as we’ve seen in the Mosaical Period. He desires it under the Christian Period. And you and I being within the Christian Age are still told to be what? The true worshippers of God!
Now if you’ll turn with me to the book of Acts chapter 2. I find it significant that the very day the church began that what is found is not only the idea of a preaching and proclamation of the Word of God which certainly would lift him up and glorify and praise God, but what was also found was a desire that some would obey but then I want you to notice what they were commanded to do. There in verse 41 it says, “Three thousand souls were added to them.” Really what it is talking about is as we see in the same verse those that were baptized and those that were gladly receiving the Word therefore being baptized were around 3,000 men. So when we look at the next verse, guess what it says. It says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine.” He also adds there the concept, “In fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer.” What do we begin to deal with? Spiritual matters! Those who were becoming Christians were not just becoming Christians through baptism and then they could do whatever they wanted. They could forget God. They didn’t have to look to God. They didn’t have to have faith in God. They could just live their life in any way and since they had already been saved it didn’t matter what else they did. What did they do? It says, “They continued in the apostle’s doctrine.”
Well what would be the doctrine of the apostle? Was an apostle (John 14) led by the Holy Spirit? Yes, the Holy Spirit was given to them. Verses around 14-16 in John 16 say that, “It was specifically given by God that they might know all things.” Isn’t that beautiful? God wanted man to know all things and those men that He was speaking to who were given the helper or the comforter were specifically God’s chosen apostles. So when we talk about the apostolic doctrine, we’re talking about doctrine that would come from the apostles directly from God who inspired them through the Holy Spirit. Much in the same way do we have the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) that is inspired, all scripture is inspired of God, that it might do what? Give us everything that we need. How did He do that?
Well if you’ll notice, one of the main things He did was inspire men like Paul, an apostle, to record in writing the Word of what was required of a servant of God. Guess what a part of that was. A part of it dealt with worship, spiritual matters of how the church assembled and worshipped God. Now there are a few ways that we see it. Sometimes we see it in what is referred to as a direct commandment. In other words, God, in a sense, says, “Thou shall,” or God says, “Do this,” or God says, “Pray without ceasing,” or God says, “Examine yourself before you partake of (what?) the fruit of the vine or the bread.” You see, God is giving specific commandments to followers.
But then another way is by example! You know what one of the greatest ways we have today to be able to look into the New Testament and find out what it is that the New Testament church led by the Holy Spirit through the apostle’s doctrine to find out what they did is by looking again at what God says through His spirit. So again, what do we do? We back up to Acts 2. Prayer was mentioned there. Certainly there is an element of fellowship when we come together as a church, but prayer was obviously mentioned there. You can notice there that Peter preached for them. In fact, after he had preached do you remember what it said? “They were cut to the heart.” They heard what he said and they responded to what he had said.
Then we can even think about for instance what it says there in Acts chapter 20 and verse 7, “Paul as he was travelling on his journeys,” it says, “arrived there in Troas and he actually waited,” verse 6 says, “for seven days in order that he might be there on the first day of the week.” Why? Because as we read in verse 7, it says, “On the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread.” What was it that the disciples, the followers of God that were assembling in Troas were doing? They were assembling on the first day of the week. Why? Well we’ve studied that before together. Because the day the Lord resurrected, the Lord’s Day, the day of the Christian worship is Sunday, the first day of the week. And so what do we see? They assemble. And we see they pray. And we see here in this text that they broke bread, the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians chapter 11 or Matthew 26). Then after that we even see that Paul preached to them until midnight.
So we see several aspects of what we would refer to as clear New Testament examples of what the New Testament church was doing according to apostolic doctrine based on what God revealed through the Holy Spirit and His apostles.
Another element that we clearly see is the idea of giving. In 1 Corinthians we find there clearly in chapter 16 the idea that they were to do what? Lay by in store. Make preparation. When? Verse 2 says, “On the first day of the week, let each one of you lay something aside storing up what he may prosper that there be no collections when I come.” He was talking about giving. I find it significant that so many denominations and religions would never forget to give on the first day of the week, but they leave out other aspects of worship. Why? Why do you think that’s so? Well probably because they want the money. Maybe their hearts and minds are somewhere else because what we find is that giving was an important part, but not the only part. What we find was that there are actually more verses and texts that show us that they were partaking of the Lord’s Supper than of giving. But why is it that people remember to give and to command their people to give but not to partake of the Lord’s Supper when they were coming together as the church to break bread? Then we see the element as we have said of preaching, and then we also the element of prayer.
The final thing is revealed to us once again by example in the book of Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 19. “They were singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.”
Then in Colossians 3:16 we find a parallel type text to the Colossian church where once again they were said to have been those who were worshipping God (guess what) in song and here we see at least two reasons why they were commanded to sing. They were told to sing in order to teach and to admonish. Well certainly we know in worship our first and foremost desire is to praise God, but he was trying to help them understand that we can also learn through teaching in our songs, but we also can be edified or encouraged through songs. So all of these are wondrous things concerning song and the need for song. If you’ll notice here there is no mention of instruments. Certainly that is an important fact because we have the pattern of what God asked for. What else would we need?
Then I find it significant as well that in the next verse, the very next verse, Colossians 3:17 that he actually goes on to say, right after he says to, “sing and make melody in your hearts,” right after he says to, “teach and admonish through song,” right after he talks about the idea and element of thanksgiving, he then says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” What? You mean that everything that I do has to be according to the Will of God? Certainly! Isn’t that what it means to be a true Christian?
Isn’t that what it would mean to be a special people, a special people that not only respects the worship of God because we see the commandment and the example commanded through the Holy Spirit of what the New Testament church did by apostolic doctrine, but therefore a people who is special because they believe all of God’s Word and have taken all of God’s Word. Have you done that? Have you become a Christian as God commands? Have you confessed His name? Have you repented and turned from sin? Have you been buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism? Do you know why I ask those questions? Because those are the things that Jesus said through the Holy Spirit as the apostolic doctrine would have commanded that one be saved. If you have not been saved, do it God’s way today! Then give your life fully to Him that you might really be a special people in all areas including worship.
(SONG # 3 - “Nothing But the Blood!”)
Thanks for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. And let me invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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As followers of God, may we all learn to focus more on Him and on keeping His commandments, so that we might be found as those who are faithfully walking in the light of God in all that we do and say! Are you worshiping according to the Precepts of God?