THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 4-1-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: WHEN ARE WE WORSHIPPING?”
Jesus once promised, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:20. Isn’t it great to know that we always have our God by our side?
Thanks for being with us this morning for the Living Word Program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and praise to our God. We are glad you have chosen to be with us today, as we together study from God’s Word and sing songs of praise to His name.
Let me encourage each of us this morning to do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now let’s begin by approaching His throne in prayer.
Consider all the wondrous things that God has done in your life. Sometimes we wonder why God would do so much for us or why we are worthy of such. Our first song this morning talks of the many blessings we receive from our God. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, “Is It For Me Dear Savior?”
(SONG # 1)
Have you ever stopped and asked the question, “Why do we have the Bible?” At one time or another in our Christian lives we have all questioned our faith or what we believe in. But when it comes to the Word of God we need to understand why we have it!
John helps us with our answer in his gospel account, in chapter 20, verses 30-31. There we read, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” There we have it, we have the Bible so that we may believe on the name of Jesus.
Let’s also read from 1 John 5:13. Again, in this verse John helps us with our discussion as he said, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
Praise be to God that we have the Bible to help us know who Jesus is. And not only to know who He is but also what He expects of us if we are to be pleasing in His sight. We have been given The Book, The Book Of Books, The Word Of God - to know exactly what we need to know, to know exactly what God wants of His followers.
Isn’t that what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17? There he said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Here we have confirmed, all of the Bible is from God, it profits us in all areas of our lives, and it completely equips us for everything we must do in life.
Praise be to God that He has blessed us with such a wonderful and informative book. A book that is perfect, as James said in chapter 1, verse 25 of his book! It is this perfect book from God which gives us all the answers we need and shows us the proper direction in which to go.
So, now let me ask you again, “why do we have the Bible?” May we always realize that we have God’s Book to know our Jesus and to obey His Will! Are you doing what God asks?
Our topic today is still related to our series entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such To Worship Him.” Our specific lesson this morning will focus on the question, “When Are We Worshipping?” 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 song of the day, its name, “Is Thy Heart Right With God?”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us now as we go back to God’s Word and consider yet another discussion on our series concerning worship. And as we begin let me also thank so many of you who have responded so well to this series and we’ve had a lot of interest and those who might want CD’s or transcripts or who have even made kind remarks concerning the things that we have studied together. So let’s continue to grow together in the Word of God and try to really understand what it is that worship is from God for us. We might do that again by taking just a few minutes and try to bring together all those things we have been discussing thus far.
First of all, we began to see what it was that the Bible defines as worship. And when we say that, we mean specifically the words in the Hebrew and the Greek that identify what worship is. Clearly those words simply mean the idea of to honor or respect something by lifting up or prostrating oneself. In other words to give homage to something by some sort of action and then we even were able to see that really the words are not confined to the ideas of even religion or even true worship or even unacceptable worship. Really the idea of worship in and of itself is a very general concept where even those of this world are sometimes willing to give an honor or a respect to something and therefore to focus on it, therefore worshipping that item or that thing or even that individual and the same is true in religion. Worship might be engaged in and it’s something that might be done as one honors or respects God, that does not mean that they are true worshippers. It does not mean their worship is acceptable. It does not mean that the actions they are going through are proper actions. It does not mean that their heart is right, but they are still giving an honor or a reverence to something or someone or God. Therefore it is worship.
And so then we begin to try to understand that concept of what it is that constitutes worship. There are some things involved as we think about the element of true worship, the true worshipper (John chapter 4) and the fact that the true worshipper worships in spirit and attitude, the right frame of mind and heart, as well as in truth, the right way. And so then we begin to see that good or acceptable or true worship, and again that is what I believe most are referring to when they in a wrongful way just condemn others for using the term worship. The concept of true worship does have clear design. It is something that is controlled by God because God says there is a way that is right, the truth, and there is a way that we have the proper attitude and spirit in order for worship to be acceptable or as a true worshipper.
We also are able then to consider a lesson on the standard of worship. Obviously God and His Word are the ultimate standard s God is that perfect being, that all-powerful God who not only created us but gave us His commandments. Well we look to that Word, the Bible in order that we are able to do what? To know exactly what the true worshipper is when he does what is right and exactly what that attitude is that is required as we in spirit worship our God as commanded.
Then last week we began to look at this concept specifically of a vain worship and then did a great job, brother Brent, as he led us there in the ideas of the fact that there is a such thing as an acceptable worship and in the fact that there is a such thing as an acceptable worship it also identifies to us that there is a such thing as an unacceptable or a vain or a will worship. But do you notice there in the Bible even as we saw last week for instance in the book of Matthew early on or there even in Matthew 15 that as he talks about vain worship, he still calls it what? Worship! It may not be right worship because of the heart, the spirit, or the actions being incorrect or even unacceptable or not worthy before God or because they are of man, but still it is what? It is worship! It’s the concept of worship whether it be right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. And again brethren, that’s one of the things we are trying to understand in our series as we continue to develop the concept of worship that we might use Bible words and Bible concepts in Bible ways. Not in denominational ways and not in ways that somehow appease us or accomplish the task of what we are trying to promote.
So our lesson today continues on building on those things by asking another question and that question is: When are we worshipping? Why is this so important? Well, it’s important because some people really act as if they don’t know. Some people try to say that everything is worship. Some people try to go to the other extreme and they try to say, “Well even though I might be doing something to honor and reverence God, I’m really not worshipping because I say I am not worshipping.” So what do we want to understand? We want to know what the Bible says that is clear worship or acceptable worship in relationship to the fact of when we actually are worshipping and when we are not worshipping. Well if we go back then to the Bible, I think then we will find our answers and we’ll find them beginning with some of the same ideas and concepts and I purposefully used these because it helps me and it should help you as well to continue in our discussion to understand that some of these same examples prove to us some of the very same points.
For instance, remember as we talked about several weeks ago, Cain and Abel? Did you notice that there was a specific intent to worship God? It wasn’t just like they were walking along one day and all of a sudden they go, “Let’s offer a sacrifice,” or “Ooh I accidentally killed this animal and I’ll just accidentally throw it on this fire and it’s worship.” It was clear intent. And do you know what that meant? It meant the intent required certain aspects of what? Preparation that they might make an altar. Preparation that they might choose the sacrifice. Preparation that they might again probably lay their hands on it and even kill the animal, and even put it on the altar. You see there was intent, a clear intent. Worship, my brethren and friends, does not happen by accident. It happens by clear intent.
We see that as we continue on. Noah again didn’t just by happenstance actually build the altar after he came off of the ark, and then burned all of these animals and they just happened to get on this altar. He had clear intent.
When Abraham prepared (Genesis 22) to take his son to this mountain that God would show him and to worship, he actually tells them, “You wait here, servants, because I and the lad are going to go over yonder and worship.” But do you remember what he had done? He had already prepared the wood before he left home. He had made ready many of the elements for the sacrifice. He had taken the sacrifice which he knew was actually going to be his son, and he actually goes to the very place of worship. What does that require? Intent! Intent again! Not just a knowledge of where I am going to worship and when I am going to worship and what I’m going to do, but that I have prepared to do what God commands in order to be what? Truly worshipping!
So when are we worshipping? When we have the intent to worship. When we have done those things required by God to not only to prepare, but to set things in order and then to engage in these actions of homage and reverence that are based on what? The Book! The things that God designs and that we have made ourselves not only ready but we are at the appointed time, at the appointed place, in the right ways and manners and spirit and truth trying to again do all exactly as God has said just like we have made ourselves ready and are now engaging in those things. Do you see how beautiful that is? To see that worship is something that is very precise. It is something that is beautiful because it is something that is not only precise but precise in the fact that God is that one who controls it. He is the object of it. He is the deliverer of what should be done and when we get it right, oh how beautiful it is to know that we have done those things that are true before God.
So as we think about the when of when we really accomplish worship or do things that accomplish worship, we then begin to see this concept of a clear intent, a concept of clear purpose because of preparation and being made ready in not only knowing what God wants but in being ready to do those things. Also the idea of being one who now also has design.
You know I think back to an example we used there in Exodus chapter 19 again showing us all these things. The Israelites went to a certain place God had shown them, a certain place, a certain time. “In three days I am coming upon this mountain so prepare yourselves.” So what did they do? They began to clean their clothes and wash their bodies and they began to do what? To worship God! With intent, they prepared with clear purpose and intent to do what? Obey the design of God and to worship Him!
Now how did they do that? Offer sacrifices? Offer praise many times through these different offerings? See there was always a clear design. That’s why again when we go back to Cain and Abel, one is bringing the first fruits of the ground and one is bringing the what? The animal sacrifices. That’s why when we get to Noah he was giving an animal sacrifice of all the clean animals. And that’s why Abraham, even though he did not offer his son, that a ram was provided by God, and again a design of how one would worship God by using an altar and by placing a certain sacrifice on the altar shows us that offerings and sacrifices were a part of God’s worship.
But not only that, we see singing being done. The Israelites often would sing praises to God in order to do what? In order to worship Him! I recall when they crossed the Red Sea and they began to sing and worship their God. They also, in Nehemiah chapter 8, read the Word of God. And reading the Word of God was another element that proved that one was engaging in worship.
And they tithed of their means. And guess what tithing was. It was a way to show honor and reverence to God spiritually showing that God had blessed them and therefore they wanted to give back a portion to God. They also observed certain feasts and ceremonies and rituals that we find throughout all of the Pentateuch. And why did they do these things? Because God gave a specific design for worship and man with a clear intent must then engage in worship.
So is it so strange when we come to the New Testament that we begin to see some of the same aspects? Acts chapter 20 verse 7. That Paul preached to them. Who? The church at Troas. He preached to them at midnight.
We also see there the idea of the breaking of bread in Acts 20 verse 7 which is also reiterated to us in detail in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 23 beginning.
We see the element of prayer (Acts 2:42). Not only do they continue in the apostle’s doctrine and in fellowship, but it says there, “The breaking of bread and in prayer.”
We also see giving like the old concept of tithing. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, they laid by and store or purposed in their heart according to the blessings God had given to them and they were to give when? On the first day of the week!
And what about singing? We also see singing. There by example in Ephesians chapter 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 again they were singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord that they might do what? Colossians says, “Teach and admonish one another” as they praised God and accomplished worship. Worship by what? Design and clear intent! Certainly when we come together as the church and we go through the acts of worship, we are engaging with clear intent and that formal design that God has given for worship.
But what about when I do it by myself? What about when I sing praises to God at home and I begin to again glorify and honor and give Him reverence? Do I not also need to still have a clear intent when I deal with the things of God? Do I also need to still have a clear design? When I give reverence and honor to God, when I deal with the things of God, do I need to make sure that I am not ever using God or the things of God in a flippant or a careless way? Certainly I must!
In fact, you and I know that I am not to take the name of the Lord in vain, although many who claim to be Christians do. They go around saying, “Oh God,” or “Oh my God,” or “Oh Lord,” or “Oh Jesus Christ!” Do you think they really understand that by doing such they are engaging or calling on the name of God in whom they are only supposed to be doing what? Giving reverence and honor and using it in a proper way.
You see what I am suggesting to you is that we never have a right to deal with the holy things or the clean things of God except we have clear intent and design and that we make sure that what we are doing with the holy things is worthy of God. “Be holy for I am holy,” God said there in 1 Peter. And He tells us there in chapter 1 verse 15 that as He was holy that the things that we do should be holy and that every aspect of life should be like that divine, pure nature of God giving Him glory, giving Him honor, proving that I don’t have a right as one who is following God to simply be careless with holy things.
Can you imagine in the Old Testament the priests when they were careless with holy things? Can you imagine what we looked at with Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus chapter 10? They lost their lives because they were careless with holy things. Again, what I’m suggesting to us through the Word of God is that when we deal with holy things, i.e. God, His Will, His Word, things that show honor and reverence, worship, we had better make sure we have the intent, God’s design, and that we are never careless or flippant with those things that are of an eternal nature for it is these things that give God the glory and prove our honor, respect and obedience to Him. Do you love God that much? Do you love God that much to understand that when I deal with spiritual and holy and righteous and good things that I had better make sure they are to God’s glory and praise, His honor, His reverence and that I better give Him my very best because only my very best is what is acceptable?
I would challenge you today, my brethren, my friends, to make sure that in all aspects of worship that you will remember it is all about God, and when we make things all about God it doesn’t matter what I think or what you think. It only matters what God says. So why not do what God says? Why not obey Him fully? Give yourself to Him so that you will be blessed now and eternally, some day receiving the reward of Heaven and that mansion over the hilltop?
(SONG # 3 - “Jesus Calls Us!”)
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. 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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How exciting it is to see a clear pattern of what God wants in worship, as well as to be able to do those things we He has required. The question is, “Will we fully submit to God and His Will in our worship; and will we be satisfied with doing things in His Way?”