THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 3-2-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD'S PECULIAR PEOPLE: A PECULIAR WORSHIP"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will? Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. Furthermore, what a sweet smelling savor the fruit of our lips is to our Creator. So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning? The name of the song "For the Beauty of the Earth!"
(SONG # 1)
Living in a world that is full of so many people, we are reminded every day how different everyone is. Think about how hard it is, at times, to get along with everyone and to overlook each other's imperfections. Probably everyday, whether it is at home among family, at work among coworkers, or at school among peers, we are faced with getting upset about something that has been done to us or something that offends us in some way. Maybe the comments made are not even to us or about us, but still, they often bother us enough for us to put them in the back of our mind, so that we can remember them on a regular basis.
For the next few minutes we want to consider something that my wife has learned to be really good at - forgiveness. One of the most fundamental social principles found in the Bible is forgiveness. In fact, we can quote scripture after scripture, that reminds us of the need to be a forgiving people.
However, we must remember that at the heart of it all, God was first willing to forgive. We must remember that God first gave His own Son to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Thus, we read, "in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins," Ephesians 1:7. As Christians, we are not asked to be a forgiving people because we are special or different, but we are asked to forgive because God first forgave us. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, "for if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Here we learn that the only way God will forgive us, is if we learn to forgive others.
The lesson of forgiveness is a hard one for us, but nevertheless it is important to understand because the "unforgiver" will not be forgiven. Paul put it well in Colossians 3:13, where he said, "bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." We must be patient with each other in this life, realizing that we all have faults and shortcomings. So, we must learn to forgive others, as God has forgiven us.
Isn't it the golden rule that adds another aspect to this study? "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." If we want to be forgiven by God and others, we must learn to be forgivers of others faults. This is the will of God.
Finally, let me ask you a question, "did Jesus have to be asked before He forgave others?" What about on the cross, Jesus was asking the father to forgive those who had not even asked for forgiveness yet. Are you striving to follow this example of Jesus? Or do you keep thinking, he or she never asked me for forgiveness or said they were sorry! Let's learn to be better Christians, by learning to be more Christ-like. Isn't that what Christianity is all about?
Today we will continue our study on, "God's Peculiar People." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "A Peculiar Worship." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I 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, "Alas And Did My Savior Bleed."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In the Bible we see that God says that "we can know the Truth and the Truth can make us free." We also find in Matthew chapter 28 verse 18 that "Jesus was given all power and authority directly from the Father." And then it is the same Jesus in John 12 and verse 48 that tells us that "it is by His Words, those Words which He delivered from the Father that we will be judged in the last days." What does that tell us? It tells us that whatever Jesus said by His authority, we must obey for He is God and He is the one who has determined what the Will of the Father is by presenting it to the world and by making it known that we might be free. So today when we look at the continued study together of "The Peculiar People of God," we build on what we saw last week, the church being special and unique in every way. But now more specifically getting in greater detail in many of these different areas specifically today being in the worship to God. We are a peculiar people. We have a peculiar worship.
You might recall there in Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2, the Bible says, "Do not be conformed to the world but transformed." We are to be different. We are to be seen as those who are different, who are unique, who daily show forth the service of God and exemplify in all that we do and say our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not based on what we want or what we think or what's good for us, but based on the authority of God that has been delivered and presented to us and recorded in the perfect Word, the Bible. So as we look at that in relationship to worship, what do we find? We find the Bible tells us that not all worship was acceptable.
In Matthew chapter 15 and verse 9 it speaks of a vain worship. What type of worship was it? It says that "those who were practicing and teaching the doctrines of men," therefore the text tells us, "their worship was vain."
Another text tells us, Acts 17 verse 23, that "there was those worshipped ignorantly" when it spoke there of the different gods and the place there, Athens, and there Paul was speaking of even the god that they had built an idol to known as the unknown god. He spoke there of an ignorant worship they had because they worshipped a god they did not know. Again, that could possible. And then a willful worship, in other words what I want and what I think.
In Colossians 2:23 the church there was rebuked for a way that I want it, a way that feels good to me worship. Well the reason we mention all of these things is because it shows us in the Bible it didn't make a difference. Now we can actually drop back in example and see what a big difference it made.
What about in the very beginning we find that the man, Adam, and the wife, Eve, had two children to start with, Cain and Abel. What happened with these two? Well, Cain kills Abel. But why? Well it says there that "Cain offered improper worship, a sacrifice," if you will on the altar. So they were worshipping God. God had given them a design and we know there in the same chapter, that is chapter 4 of Genesis that it says in verse 4 that, "The Lord respected Abel's offering but not Cain's." Well what does that tell us? They were both worshipping God. They both were supposed to be doing it a certain way for God had asked of it. But now what happens? Cain's was unaccepted. "So by faith," the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews 11, that "Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice."
We move on to other individuals like Noah. Noah always did all according to the Will of the Lord. When He told him how to build the ark, the size, the things to use, what to put in it, all that God said it says, "Noah did all according to what the Lord had commanded." Time and time again the text tells us that and therefore he was seen as faithful. But then when he got off the ark, what did he do? He offered a sacrifice. He worshipped God. Again showing us God designed specific worship.
We can go on to Moses. Moses gave the law through God which was very detailed in worship and even in relationship to building the tabernacle and worshipping God in the tabernacle. What did it say in Exodus 40? That "Moses and the people did all according to what God had commanded." Not what Moses thought. Not what the people thought. But what God thought!
We could go on and on and on and on and find so many more examples that show us the same thing, but the point that we're trying to come to and to understand is that when God has designed and told us what He wants, then that's what we should do. If my wife requests of me to do something and says, "Pick up something at the store," and I go and buy some bread for her and I bring back rolls instead and she says, "I wanted bread," and I say, "Well the rolls were on sale," then have I really done what she asked? No! Why is it so difficult then for man to hear what God says through command by example in the scriptures and then to disregard it? Why? Because of what I want, what feels good to me, because of what others have said, because of what others have done, because of what my religion says. Well, we want to see. Again, it is what God commands! The peculiar, the different, the unique worship and that is what is so wonderful about the church of the Bible because we see the Bible tells us it was a unique worship, a simple worship.
That's one of the things that stands out to me when folks visit with us as well no doubt many other religions at times. Your worship is so simple. It seems so fundamental, so elementary. There's no theatrical performances and there's no big bands, etc. So how fitting, because what do we find in the book, the Bible? What do we find in Acts chapter 2 and thereafter when the church has been established? Simplicity! We find that the church came together and they did what? They studied the Word of God through the preaching of the Word. They offered prayers obviously there Acts chapter 2 tells us. In Acts chapter 20 we see that on the first day of the week when they assembled they were partaking of what? The Lord's Supper. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 they were doing what? Giving of their means on the first day of the week and even singing songs of praise. In Colossians, we learn there where the Bible says that "we must offer the fruit of our lips." We must give to God what He has asked and speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to one another, in song to help each other not only praise God, but to lift Him up.
And so therefore no wonder we read passages such as 2 Timothy 1 verse 13 where it tells us to "hold fast the pattern of God." What is the pattern? Something laid down by God. Has He given us the pattern? Again, certainly He has through the Word. That's why we read places like Jude chapter 1 and verse 3 where it says to, "Contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." It was one faith delivered and it was delivered to the saints and we must do what as we have learned here? Follow that faith, that pattern, that gospel, that doctrine. Notice that every time these are mentioned in a singular way. So again we find out what is it that we must do, those things that God commands.
And as we look at all these aspects, we are again reminded when did they happen? The first day of the week. And so when we look there again at the idea of The Lord's Supper, we see that not only by command here (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11 and other passages), but also by the example of history back when the church began long ago in AD 33. What is the precedent? What is the practice? And we find that which we should follow.
But let's spend the remainder of our time this morning looking specifically at the concept of Psalms in worship. You and I know that probably one of the clearest differences sometimes in the religious world is how often Psalms or singing is done in worship assemblies.
I want you to write down some of these passages and read them for yourselves later. Then I want you to study your New Testament on the issue as well. I've mentioned already Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16. Please mark down also Hebrews 13:15 and then 1 Corinthians 14:15. In 1 Corinthians 14:15 it says, "I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding." What does that mean to us? It back us up to John 4:24, "God is a spirit." Those that worship Him as true worshippers, worship how? In spirit, the right attitude and truth, the right way. And so it says here that I will sing in what way? With the right attitude, the right spirit, but also the right truth and the right understanding. And what was singing for? Not to please me. Is worship about me? Certainly not. It has never been about Ray. It will never be about Ray. Worship is about God. Why do I sing then? Not to feel good. I might feel good from it by praising God. There might be outcomes that benefit me. But why do I sing? To praise God, to accomplish His Will, to worship in a peculiar, special way as God Himself has designed.
But you know as we look at the simple worship of the New Testament, I know one of the questions that always comes to me first is "What about in the Old Testament?" David used instruments. David made instruments. He played instruments in worship to God. Well again, if we are under the Old Testament law, that's news to me because there we find many things that must be followed. What are some of those things? Well, offering of incense, sacrificing on an altar, not only animal sacrifices but also doing those things that are all from the old law, and when we do that, are we not held guilty then of being accountable by the old law? I don't know about you, but as the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews in really the whole book, primarily in chapters 8-9, "The old covenant has been placed out of the way..." That we might do what? Have a better covenant through Jesus Christ, a better sacrifice, a better offering through the death, the blood that was shed. Everything is better about the new law and I'm a New Testament Christian, not an Old Testament. So when I want to know what God wants of the New Testament Christian, do I go to the Old Testament or do I go to the New Testament? Obviously, I go to the New Testament for if I go to the Old, I am bound by all that the Old Law requires. But today, through the blood of Christ, I am found in freedom, liberty in Jesus and therefore following that New Law, therefore following as we would say, "that New Covenant."
We also might make mention here that that New Covenant was replacing the Old as is found in Colossians 2:14 where it states, "The old handwriting of ordinances, the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross making way for (what?) the Covenant of Christ."
Then I also want to ask you this question: If singing requires the instrument... When we sing to God, what is it that I must do? Must I sing or must you sing? Well, the Bible says that when we worship God, we must all offer our own worship. In the Old Testament, the Bible says that, "The priests offered worship." Who are the priests today? Well we've been learning in our series, 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9, that, "We are a royal priesthood," each and every one of us as Christians. So who offers worship? We all do. And if we all offer worship, who then must offer a specific type? Prayer, teaching. We all must be involved in those things.
What about singing then? If it is something that was required, which there is not a New Testament verse that mentions the instrument, then what must be known? All must do it. Well should we all pick up an instrument? Is that the practice that we find in religions that we use the instrument? Certainly not. So what we encourage us as well as others to do is to find out what God said. And then again the first thing we find is that people say, "Well it's too simple. It doesn't matter." Well, does it not? Is it not what God has said? Is it not the precedent that He has set? Is it not better to be safe than sorry?
A few other thoughts and ideas I would like us to think about are found again in the holy scriptures. Many passages in the Bible tell us that God may not have been as pleased as often people think with the building and making of instruments and the use. One passage I would encourage you to study is Amos chapter 6 verses 3-6. Jesus there, the Holy Spirit and the Father are revealing some woes against the people and it even mentions among the woes things they had done that really weren't that pleasing to God, the Bible says. One of those things, guess what! It was the stringed instruments that David made. Now why? I don't believe it was necessarily because God didn't find them pleasing. I think He didn't find them pleasing because they didn't have authority. They were manmade. When did instruments begin to take place in the New Testament times? You know the church began in AD 33 and it was not until after 400 AD until the first instruments of music began to be seen in any types of religious institutions related to Christianity. What that tells me again my friend is that Jesus' pattern did not initially include it. These things have been added, not by God, but by man. And the fact that the Bible is silent in the New Testament about these things, what should we be? Silent as well that we might do what? Realize that if something is not of God and we are His peculiar people, what do we want to show forth? That which is peculiar.
The next time your friend says, "Oh you're the church the doesn't have music..." We have music. We sing praises to God and each and every one of our voices are lifted up at the same time to God. They are right in the fact that we don't have instruments of music for we have no precedent, no Biblical command, no example of the New Testament using it and nothing that Jesus ever said should be done in our worship. So be thankful to God that our worship is peculiar, that it is unique and that we do stand out for in the end when we are judged, we know for sure that what we have done is right in the sight of God and we'll be seen as righteous and the righteous will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven someday where we'll live eternally with Him until the time never ends.
(SONG # 3 - "Be Not Dismayed!")
Let me thank you again 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. Let me also 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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How blessed we are to have a pattern from God to guide our Worship to Him. May we never loose the uniqueness of what God has designed nor replace it with the sinful desires of man!