THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 3-11-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: WHAT CONSTITUTES TRUE WORSHIP?”
Thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this worship to our God.
Our commitment this morning is to give glory to God through the singing or songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer?
At this time we want to sing a comforting song about just how truly wondrous our God is. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time, as we together sing, “A Wonderful Savior?”
(SONG # 1)
In Hebrews 6:19 we read, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” Wow, isn’t that an exciting concept? There is complete and true hope to be found by the child of God. And guess where this hope is? Well, verse 20 goes on to say, “where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Praise be to God that we have a sure hope, through the wondrous gift and love of Jesus Christ our Lord! What a great blessing this is to all who believe. But now we might ask, “How does God bless us?” The answer is, “In many different ways.” Let’s consider these things for a few minutes!
Begin with me at a verse in 3 John which really shows us the great love this apostle had for the one who he wrote the letter to. In fact, in verses 1 and 2, we see that John twice refers to this brother Gaius as beloved! How encouraging this title must have been to Gaius, especially coming from a man of God like John! You might also remember back in the gospel according to John where Jesus Himself referred to John as the beloved apostle, 13:23.
Now if you go back to verse two in 3 John, we read, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Here we see two different aspects which John addresses to His beloved brother Gaius. First, we see that John said his prayer was that Gaius would prosper in all things and be in health. What a wondrous example we have here of the care that one Christian had for another! His request of God was that his follow laborer would be blest in everything and be healthy in his service before God.
The other thing which John addresses in this verse is Gaius’s soul. John said his prayer was that Gaius would prosper in all things, as well as in health - just as he had already prospered in his soul. Now I don’t know about you, but this is kind of scary to me. What if we prospered in this life and health according to what we are doing spiritually? Where would we be? What would we have?
But the fact is, this is true! God is going to bless us according to our service and obedience in His kingdom. That’s why in Matthew 6:33, we are told to seek the kingdom first to have all things! Again in Luke 6:38, we read, “…For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” As we give to God we will receive from Him.
Now, for John to say this to Gaius in all prayer and confidence that he would receive it - oh, what a great man in God Gaius must have been. We all need to strive to do more for God and justify our souls before Him, so that we will prosper accordingly in relationship to our health and all things!
Today we continue a new series of study entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such to Worship Him.” This morning, our specific lesson is, “What Constitutes True Worship?” So, please continue with us this morning and after our next song together I will return with this study from God’s Word. The name of our next song is, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be!”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We’re so glad that you’ve continued with us today as we now go to God’s Word and look at another lesson in relationship to our study on worship. So far, I believe we’ve begun to learn a lot together in relationship to the general concept of the word itself, “worship,” that again can be so generally used or applied whether it be in secular matters or even in religious matters, but yet when one begins to bow down or prostrate to the extent of showing honor or reverence to something, it is worship, whether it be acceptable or not. And so therefore when we also add the added element of last week which I think really is what most people are talking about although they are not maybe using the best word or best semantics to really express themselves, what most people are probably talking about when they say the word “worship” is being used wrong is when we actually add the idea of godly worship or acceptable worship or worship that is according to true worship.
So therefore we begin to actually see something that is very, very specific and something that was done as we’ve already begun to introduce in our first lesson and actually we will look at even more in later lessons that was done by individuals at times such as David would worship God as an individual, all by himself. And we would find at times when Israel would actually go and worship by themselves without the whole congregation. Then we would also find assemblies such as there in Exodus chapter 19 when the whole assembly of Israel would come together in order to do what? To again bow down, prostrate themselves, but then in an acceptable way to actually do the worship God designed according to His Will.
And so what do we want to add today? What we would like to add today is really the standard for worship, and really the importance of this lesson is obvious because as you look around the world today and you see all of the different religions and you see all of the different denominations that claim to be of a protestant background, they all worship differently. Some worship in this way and some in that. Some wear certain types of clothing and some don’t. It’s just on and on and on you can go through list after list of those things that now are being done, and yet everyone claims to follow the same pattern. So we’ve got to know who the standard is and once we have obviously established the standard of God today, we need to know that we’ve got to go to the Word to find out what is there for us to be as we see true worshippers in spirit and truth. In other words to know the right way, not only just the right heart and attitude but to know the right way we’ve got to go directly to the source. Hasn’t this always been the case? Hasn’t it always been what God wanted? Certainly!
In our first lesson we actually talked about the situation in Genesis chapter 4 with Cain and Abel. In fact, in verse 3 it says, “Cain brought an offering of the ground.” Well why? He just randomly starts bringing offerings? Certainly not! God had shown him obviously as well as their father that it was good to do what? Bring offerings such as the first fruits of the land or the first of the flock because verse 4 says, “And Abel also brought of the firstborn of the flock.” Sounds exactly what we read about under the Law of Moses which was simply a written law. But guess what. Under the Patriarchal Period it sounds like they were serving the very same thing in offering sacrifices, the same way that God designed it and commanded them under the Old Testament Law, the Law of Moses is the same way that He directed and commanded them under the Patriarchal Period. So they are following the Will of God. But were they all following the Will of God? Well read on there in that text as we even saw in our first lesson together. Verse 5 says that, “God did not respect the offering of Cain.” If you’ll even notice there in verse 7 it says, God speaking to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” What was the problem with the offering? They both bring offerings which we know because as we have learned that if you’re going to bring something and you’re going to in a sense bow down and worship, honor and reverence whether it be right or wrong, they both came worshipping God, but it says there was something wrong with Cain’s. It doesn’t say that God didn’t see him worshipping. He was going through the motions. But there was something wrong it says in respect to Cain’s offering.
Now I think it helps us even more over in the New Testament. If we go over in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter, but verse 4. Here it tells us, “By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” Now if you’ll notice there, there was something more excellent about the sacrifice of Abel whether it be in spirit or in truth than Cain. They both came to worship, but there was something that was more excellent and therefore making Abel’s offering acceptable and Cain’s not. That verse actually goes on to say, “Through which he obtained witness that he was righteous. God testifying of his gifts.” God saw the gift that he had brought and He was pleased with the gifts. He was pleased not only with the gift because he had done not only what God commanded in the action that was to be carried out and actually the truth, but He was pleased also as well in the spirit or attitude of Cain. Otherwise in one way or another he would have been unacceptable. So what we know about Cain is that he was unacceptable because he had failed to show his faith properly. Faith is not blind faith. Faith is something that we know is based on what we have been commanded by God, what we have been told to do and then our obedience to God. So therefore Cain had no respect of God in his offering. It seems to indicate that there might have been obviously something wrong with the gift itself, but as we read on there in chapter 4 and chapter 5, there was also something wrong with Cain’s attitude. So certainly his spirit might have been well off with God as well. He was certainly not giving God what He commanded or his best.
Another example that I think helps us to understand who it is that is the standard for worship and obviously so is that there in Exodus chapter 32. You might recall with me that this is the time when Moses is up on the Mount receiving the Law and Israelites are down there and they want a calf. They want an idol to worship. This is after, by the way, Exodus 19 when they had prepared to worship God as the congregation. In fact, for three days they had preparation before they met God on the mountain. Secondly, we find also in chapter 20 that it tells us clearly that they were told not to make idols. In fact, we might even note there together that first and great commandment given to Israel in Exodus 20, verse 3 beginning. It says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Then the second commandment followed line with that. In verse 4 it says, “You shall not make yourselves a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is on earth beneath or in the water.” So He is saying that you cannot make images of anything that is in the heavens like birds, or as we can even say in Colossians the concept of worshipping angels is mentioned. And notice there again the idea of where it says that “they were still worshipping,” and it wasn’t right, but they were still worshipping angels Colossians 3:18 and that was unacceptable. Notice here that He goes on to say that “Nothing of the earth should be made an image after.” He goes on to clarify that not even images of cattle or anything like that in the more specified law, and then He says even in the seas. Don’t worship those great fish or a whale or something of the sea. So God says, “Don’t make them!” And what did they do? Here when the Law was being given, they make an image and they beg Aaron and force him it seems to do so, although he could have rejected, but he does not. And what we find actually taking place here amongst Israel is that they begin then to desire this image. The request is found in verse 1. “The people gathered together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Come make us gods that should go before us.’” In other words, we want to see the gods that are before us and that we might follow because we don’t know where Moses is. Then it says that Aaron begins to do it. Then in verse 4 as he fashions it, notice what happens. “And he received the gold from their hands and he fashioned it with an engraving tool and made a golden calf and then he said, ‘This is your god, o Israel that brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” It is kind of interesting because the Egyptians had many gods and the Israelites now say, “Give us our gods or make us our gods,” and then Aaron says, “Okay here is your god that brought you out of Egypt.” You know the real God. And so it’s a bit odd that really Aaron begins to apply the concept that this is that true God that they know of that has brought them out of Egypt and that Moses was now talking to in the mountain and this is the God that was represented in this calf.
With all that being said, what I want you also to notice with me is that God rejects them! He rejects them because they are not serving Him and they are not true to what it is that He commanded them to do. So then if we drop all the way down to verse 31 and so in that text it says that, “Moses returns and he sees this god of gold,” and it says in verse 32 that, “They sinned. They sinned against God.” Verse 33 says, “Then the Lord says to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.’” Well, what does that tell you? God has given a commandment and what do they do? They broke His commandment! And what did God say? “I will blot them out of My book.” Who is the standard? Well Cain and Abel, Adam, Seth, they all seem to understand. The Patriarchs seemed to get it. Abraham seemed to understand who he was going over yonder to worship. The Israelites seemed to understand according to what Moses told them the true God they should be worshipping, and when they did not that their names would be removed from the Book of Life.
And we see the example over in the book of Leviticus chapter 10 where two priests called Nadab and Abihu fall prey to the same thing. And you remember that story well with me where they offered a strange sacrifice to God, that sacrifice being really not necessarily so much of a sacrifice in the physical sense as a strange fire of sacrifice through the altars and the incense that were to be kept up perpetually there in the tabernacle. And so when we look here at the situation we find that they brought the strange fire and then in verse 2 it says, “When the fire went out from the Lord it devoured them and they died.” Why? Well they were following the right God. They were worshipping. They were going through the motions. It was still worship, but the fire was a strange, or as it says in verse 1, “a profane fire, a fire unacceptable to God.”
Brethren, can that happen today? If we follow the wrong pattern of God or we don’t look to the true standard, the one standard that can guide us, can we have proper worship? No! And Israel continued to be told that throughout all the days of their lives.
In fact you can look to the book of Malachi there in verse 6 it begins to say that they were offering things that were not proper and right. In fact, verse 7 says, “You offered,” Malachi chapter 1, “You offered defiled food on My altar.” He says, “You have defiled yourselves and you have defiled My altar.” You see God said their offerings were corrupt. We see again that they are told that “those who had vain worship,” verse 10, “because they had put fire on the altar in vain, and God said, ‘I have no pleasure in you.’”
He then goes over, you might notice with me into further text in chapter 3 of Malachi, and he says, “Will a man rob God?” Do you know what he was talking about? He says there in verse 8, “You have robbed Me of tithes and offerings.” You see again the standard is God! If you do not know God’s Will, if you do not do it God’s way, what begins to happen is you are rejected by God. You will not be accepted and therefore cannot be able to accomplish those things that you need to according to His precious and pure will which has been commanded.
I also like a great example that is found over in the book of 1 Samuel and chapter 15 specifically. You might recall here there was a time when Saul actually is told by God to destroy those nations or many of those nations, and he spares a King Agag, and he was actually told to kill the king and all of the people, and do you remember what it was he tried to justify? He said, “Well, I did this because I wanted to offer to God or I wanted to give sacrifice.” Do you remember what it was that Samuel said that God wanted him to know in verse 22? He said, “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the truth,” and then he said this, “To obey God is even better than to sacrifice.”
Brethren, to obey God, to know the standards, to understand (Isaiah 55) that God’s ways are best, to understand that even thought Proverbs 14:12 that we might think that we have the right ways but yet the way we go is unto death, that type of worship is vain, is unacceptable. Manmade worship or things that I look or that feel good to me are not about God. But when I can go to the Word of God knowing He is the standard, looking at the pattern He gives by commands and examples and inferences and I obey the pattern of the New Covenant, then I know my worship is true, then I know I am a true worshipper and then I know God the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
Are you a true worshipper today? Are you worshipping God in every way as He has commanded in His Word?
(SONG # 3 - “Home of the Soul!”)
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 for revealing to us what true worship is, so that we might fully obey His will pertaining to our offerings and sacrifices. Are you worshipping God as commanded?