THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date – 3-4-12

LESSON TITLE: “THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: WHAT IS WORSHIP?”

WELCOME

Welcome to our program on this wondrous Lord’s Day morning. Here we are together on another glorious day which the Lord has blessed us with. Thanks for choosing to be with us this day 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.

(Prayer)

Think for a moment about the many good songs we sing together about our great savior, Jesus Christ. Just consider the great blessings He gives us throughout our lives. This morning we want to sing about the perfect source which we have that gives us all of this knowledge concerning God. Won’t you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, “Give Me the Bible?”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

In the book which Paul wrote to the Thessalonians we see that he continually exhorted them to do what God wanted them to. In fact, I like his reference in 1 Thessalonians 2:11, when he refers to his exhortation as similar to that between a “father and a child.” In that verse he told them, “As you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.” What wonderful love and concern this statement shows for the brethren. Paul told them that he was only trying to help them be their best by exhorting and encouraging them, just as a parent would motivate his or her child.

Now, look at verse 12 with me, there he goes on to say, “…walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” Wow, this is a massive statement here, which I don’t think we often really comprehend or understand ourselves. Have we forgotten who our God is? Have we failed to remember that He is all righteous, all powerful, the creator, and giver of all? Now with that in mind, let’s read Paul’s words again, “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” Scary isn’t it! How can we truly walk worthy and acceptable, before such an awesome and magnificent God?

Well, the good news is we can, because God is only asking that we give it our best. He realizes that we are not perfect and never will be. He understands that we have sinned, and will sin - remember that He made us with an ability to choose! That is why the writers of the Bible always talk about the need we have to be more like Christ, and to go on toward perfection However, God knowing all along that as human beings we can not reach it!

Remember what the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 6:1, “…let us go on to perfection….” Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” 1 Corinthians 11:1. As Christians we must strive every day to be more Christ like, thus proving ourselves to be worthy of His promises and blessing, which we receive through His grace!

So, I would ask you this morning, how are you living for Christ in this present world? Are you doing your best and striving to walk worthy according to what He wants of you? Are you giving it your very best so that God can be pleased with what you are doing? If not, why not commit yourselves to being more like Him, even today - so that you may truly receive His gifts, if you do all of that which is according to His Will.

Today, we will begin a new series of study entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such to Worship Him!” Our specific lesson this morning will be, “What Is Worship?” So, please stay with us this Lord’s Day and in a few minutes I will return to lead this study from the God Word. But for now, let’s join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, “He Leadeth Me.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

Over thirteen years ago, I was privileged to move to the Springfield area. I remember after moving here, it is always unique to go to a new place and to learn a lot about the folks as well as a lot of the different things that people believe or that they stand for in an area. I was not really that surprised about a lot of the different denominational ideas that are found in this area or even some of the ideas that were prevalent in the church. That being the case, I have found it significant over my time here that there are certain issues that continue to plague people, as far as understanding, although in and of themselves they are fairly simple concepts that are given to us from God. Certainly that is often the case and the reason being is because we are often told so many things by those around us, so many in the world, so many again in denominations, and often sometimes so many within our own assemblies tell us things that really aren’t from the Word of God and teach us things that really are not so or true.

Beginning today, we would like to begin a new series of study pertaining to one of these issues that I have found to be a great trouble spot for brethren throughout this area in the churches of Christ and that is pertaining to the idea of worship. Worship simply really is a very simple concept found in scripture, but often has been misunderstood, misapplied and even used in various ways to either justify or condemn certain actions by individuals who are Christians and who try to give their very best to God.

That being the case, in this series our desire is going to be as always to go to God’s Word and to find out exactly what it has to say to us, not about what we think or what we want or what we’ve heard, but exactly what it has to say to us about what God says.

Don’t you remember what it was that David records for us even there throughout the Psalms? Do you remember the different times he spoke of worship? Do you remember what it was his son, Solomon, said for instance in Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 12 when he again reminded man that it is really not in our abilities to guide ourselves because the ways that seem right to men lead to where? To death!

But then we turn over to the writer Isaiah, we actually find why this is so because when we deal with man’s thoughts and ideas or we really look to ourselves for great wisdom or the world or the men of the world or religions, then what we find is that we fall short because Isaiah said in Isaiah 57 that really we are those who have lower thoughts than God. In fact, verses 8 and 9 go on to say that, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways…” And why? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

And so what I have tried to do as we begin this series, even for myself, is to go back to a lot of the generic and simple concepts and principles of worship, and what I ask us to do is to take these words and these ideas and try to understand what it is that God was saying to us without all of the baggage, all of the preconceptions of what one denomination has said or another denomination, or what you have believed, or what you have followed, and I want you to look with me clearly as I also continue to go back and to look into the original language and I continue to study some of those words and try to see the intent that was imposed to the Hebrew and the Greek. I want us together to understand what it is that God was talking about when He spoke about the idea of worship. So let’s begin our study.

We can start at the very beginning because it was early on within just a short time that we find the first man and woman who lived on the earth that their sons were worshipping God. There in Genesis chapter 4, although the word “worship” is not used, you recall the time when Cain and Abel bring offerings before God. IN fact, it says that Abel brought of the firstborn of the flock there in verse 4, and later it said, “The Lord respected His offering.” Do you see that there was an act, an offering given? Another word we often use there is “a sacrifice.” That sacrifice was enacted or involved in in order to accomplish what? Worship! And so really what they were doing was not worshipping as such, but what they were doing was giving an offering and sacrifice based on the commandments of God. So we want to understand in a moment what it means to use the word “worship” in the text.

We go on over a few more chapters to Genesis 6. Noah, the story of Noah is a beautiful story and no doubt he also offered offerings and sacrifices, but do you remember what was found there as he came off of the ark in Genesis chapter 8? And as he came off the ark, it tells us there that “Noah built an altar to offer to the Lord,” what? “To offer up every clean animal on that…” Why? As a burnt offering.

Now we can go to the book of Leviticus. We can go to several of the books of the Pentateuch and we can see that in a very detailed way the Lord ascribes different types of aspects or acts that were done to accomplish worship. Really, and of themselves they are not the word “worship.” That’s not what the word “worship” means. The idea of the offering, and when engaging an offering would certainly be involved in what one does to worship, but in and of itself it really is the act, the sacrifice or the offering that is being done. Now that being the case, what did he do? He built an altar. He went through the act of doing something and a specific action ascribed from God in order to do what? Well we know what he was doing. He was worshipping.

We know that because as we go on into the book, the same book, Genesis chapter 22, we have one of the most clear and beautiful examples there through Abraham. Do you remember when Abraham was told by God to do what? Offer his son! In fact, verse 2 of chapter 22, it says, “God told him to take his only son whom you love and go to the land of Mariah and offer him there as a burnt offering.” Wow, that’s kind of interesting. He didn’t say, “Go worship Me.” He said what? “Offer your son as a burnt offering.” Now that being the case, what do we see Abraham doing? Well, Abraham (verse 3) gets up early in the morning. He makes preparation for the offering. He even gets wood for the offering. He gets everything ready and he begins to travel (verse 4) for three days to this mountain that God says He will show him that he might make this offering of his very own son which is a sacrifice, a burnt offering to God, in order to sacrifice as God has commanded His children. What did Abraham understand that to be when he went to make this offering or sacrifice? What was the word Abraham used through the Holy Spirit as we have been given here by Moses, what was the word that he said he was going to engage in?

Look at verse 5. And Abraham said to the young men, those servants with him, “Stay here with the donkey and the lad and I will go over yonder and worship.” The first time ever found in the Bible. The first time in the Hebrew that we have the word that is used in the Hebrew that is translated “worship” is found in Genesis 22. Does that mean that was the first time they ever offered sacrifices and offerings? No, certainly not! Because we have already seen that Cain and Abel offered sacrifices or offerings. We see that Noah did. We have seen that Abraham has done these things. So they were already worshipping God but this was the first time the word “worship” in the Hebrew was ascribed and used that we can use in the English the counterpart which is worship in English.

Now I want you then to notice with me exactly what it was that was being dealt with here in the text. When we go to the Old Testament Hebrew word that is used and I am not going to butcher the word, and if I were to say it one way then I would have ten other guys to say it a different way, but if you look up in your dictionary, your Hebrew dictionary, your expositions of different words from the Hebrew, you are going to find out what that Hebrew word is. And you know what it meant? The word “worship” in Hebrew meant “to bow down or literally to prostrate oneself out of profound respect.” Did you get that? Did you get the idea of worship? Worship was really not an act that was being engaged in. It was the actions of the individual. It was the actual bowing down or prostrating oneself. Therefore having a lot to do with what? Attitude, spirit and action! Certainly we are going to see throughout our series that there are other lessons that deal with God saying worship and true worship, the ones the Father is seeking to worship Him, those individuals must worship in spirit, the right attitude and truth. That’s another topic. That’s another issue because what we are trying to understand is what does worship mean? Worship means the actual action, the verb action of prostrating oneself, that I am going to try to offer, or that I am going to offer something even if I am doing it right or I am doing it wrong, I am still trying!

Now the same is found in the Greek. We move over to the Greek and there are actually a few different words that are used, some in a verb sense and some in a noun sense. In the verb sense again, the verb for “worship” from the Greek that is translated “worship” in the English is the concept of showing reverence for how? “Prostrating one’s self, bowing before God.” But then also we see another word that is used there, “proskinuo” (spelling??) and that word there actually means “to worship or bow down.” Sound familiar? It kind of sounds like the Hebrew writers and then the Greek writers who were led by the same Holy Spirit and were being told to use the same wording and ideologies to show forth a what? “A reverence being offered to God! “ That’s all worship is. Whenever I offer a reverence… Do you mean even if I am not a true worshipper, even if I am not a Christian and I am going through the acts and I am trying, that is a type of worship? Yes! And do you mean to tell me that the type of worship even can be used outside of religious circles? Yes! There are those who are called “your worship,” “your Lord,” and “your worship.” The very concept in and of itself is not even that which has to be ascribed to religious things although it often is, but one can worship money. One can worship possessions. One can worship their wife or their husband or an individual. You see there are a lot of things that can be worship. But what is the ideology of the Hebrew and the Greek word? The action of one prostrating or bowing before someone in order to do what? To show an honor and respect to someone. So someone might actually be striving to worship because in action they are going through the motions and their attitude might be wrong, yes, and their actions may be wrong. Certainly! But what does the word itself mean? What the word itself means is that we are those who comprehend that God says it is an attitude. It is a desire to humbly reverence and lift up God just as Cain had done, just as we find Noah doing, just like we find as we saw also Abraham doing. All of these examples show us that they were trying to go through an act commanded by God in order to show what? Reverence and the ability to lift one up.

No wonder David said in Psalm 5 verse 7 that, “I fear You and I will worship You.”

But that actually leads us to another thought. Look throughout the Psalms, do you see all the times that David said, “I will worship.” And do you see the distinction how that an individual was able to worship God like David as opposed to Exodus chapter 19 when God said that He “would come to Israel and the whole assembly should prepare,” the word “worship” is not used there, but later in Exodus 24 the word “worship” is used when the elders and Moses and Aaron and others are told to come to the bottom of the mount in order that they may worship God. Well we know what collective worship is. We know that there was not only a collective offering, reverence and respect, but also there was an individual. So let me also encourage you to understand that one can individually worship God alone, in their closet, in their house with their family, and they do not have to come to the assembly. I have had brethren that have told me that you have actually got to join together as the group of Christians, all the Christians, and you’ve got to go through all five acts before you are worshipping God. Somebody should have told Cain and Abel! Somebody should have told Noah because all they did was offer sacrifices. We don’t read anything about prayer or about the other aspects of worship that we know would have taken place and did take place in certain elements of worship in that day.

So I hope you can see together that we are going to dig in and we are going to find out what it is that God wants because when we worship God, we want to worship in spirit and in truth by first understanding how to use words and to use them to God’s glory, so today are you a true worshipper? Are you pleasing to the Father in every way as He commands?

(SONG # 3 - “He Lives!”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

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.

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:

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As followers of God, may we desire to know and understand all that God wants in relationship to our Worship? Will you give God your best in worship and will you be willing to submit to His Way?

(Program closing)