THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 4-22-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: WHO MUST WORSHIP?”
Jesus once proclaimed, “You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you,” John 15:14. Good morning and 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 Savior.
Our commitment this morning is to give glory to the Creator through the singing of songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope and pray that each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.
There is only one perfect way to turn in this life to find the right direction. Jesus Christ alone is the Way unto salvation. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together the song, “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning.”
(SONG # 1)
This morning we began with a verse which reminds us that we need to be friends with God. Furthermore, we learned that we are friends of God by obeying His commands.
Certainly, friendship is an important topic in the Word of God. In fact, we see that Jesus also instructed us to be friendly if we want to be befriended by others.
I remember in the Old Testament probably one of the most famous friendships ever mentioned in the Bible. That is the friendship between Jonathan and David. Jonathan was the son of Saul, David’s main enemy. Yet they nurtured a friendship which we can all learn a lot from. In 1 Samuel 18:3, we read the following, “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.” Notice here that a true friend loves the other as their own self.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 22:39. There He clarifies for us the second and greatest commandment which we are all to follow. That verse says, “And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
We must all learn to be true neighbors and friends, by treating others as we want to be treated and by loving others as we love ourselves. If we can learn this lesson from God’s Word and apply it in our lives - just think how much better our lives would be with those types of relationships in them.
The wise man Solomon concluded, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” Proverbs 18:24. Are you proving yourself to be friendly? Do you treat your friends like brothers? Why not follow this example of Jesus and be found pleasing in His sight.
Today, we will be continuing our series entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such To Worship Him.” Our next lesson together will focus on the question, “Who Must Worship?” So, please continue with us this morning, and in just a few minute we will be led in this important study of the day.
As far as our speaker of the day, we again welcome brother Jerry Sullins to lead our thoughts from God’s Word. Brother Jerry is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri, here in Springfield. We thank him for being with us and we look forward to him leading our thoughts after we sing our next song together. The name of the second hymn of the day is, “Living By Faith!”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
I’d like to welcome you again to The Living Word broadcast. We are so thankful that you have chosen this program this morning to view and we hope and pray that what is said will lead you closer to God and will keep you in His loving care. We are hopeful also that as we view this subject that we have been considering these last few weeks that we will indeed begin to realize even more how important it is to understand what worship is and how we are to respond to our God as we worship Him throughout our lives. Worship is a subject that is mostly misunderstood by many people today including those in the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For that reason this series was chosen so that we might indeed look into the pages of God’s word and understand even more how we are to worship him.
Today specifically I am supposed to deal with who is to worship God or those who should be in obedience to Him. We might consider first of all how it is that this subject has been so neglected throughout our generation. For many people when they enter the assembly or some assembly to worship God they really do not realize in many ways why they are there, or what they should be doing while they are there, or what they should be thinking while they are there. But, consequently they go there expecting to do what they consider to be worship. Now this topic has been discussed thoroughly and I’m just taking a certain aspect of it but I want to emphasize again that worship involves the body, soul, and mind. I am sure that that has already been stated in one of the subjects that has dealt with worship itself. But, we must continue to understand how important it is to understand that worship involves the highest level of our beings. I don’t know of anything more important that we do in this life than when we assemble together to pay homage to God. One must understand what worship is so I want to give a short definition of worship so that we might get our minds affixed on what we are speaking about. One person has defined worship as to revere, to serve, to wait on, to do obeisance. It is when we bow down in humble submission and obeisance to his will that we worship him. Now God has authorized how we are to worship him that subject has been covered. We know there are certain acts that God has demanded us so that we come in tune with his will. But who is it actually that is suppose to be worshiping God?
I call your attention again to a series of scriptures that has been used probably more than once in this series and is found in John 4. It was a conversation that took place between a Samaritan woman and Jesus Christ, the son of God. You might remember that in John 4:19, the Samaritan woman said this to Jesus, “‘Sir I perceive that You are a prophet.’” And she made this further statement, “‘Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.’” Then He made this great and wonderful statement in verses 23 and 24, “‘But the hour is coming, and now is , when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’” Worship is not something that just started in the time of the New Testament, but it was something that went on from the very beginning of man.
Remember in the times of Adam and Eve they bore two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable or more excellent as the Hebrew writer says than Cain’s, why? What does this show us? This shows us that even the first family that is Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel, was involved in a system of worship. A system where they showed obedience and this system was derived from God himself. Which showed obedience of them to God himself, to honor Him, to revere Him, to actually worship Him?
But even beyond that we see in the times of Noah that certainly worship was going on. In fact after Noah built the ark and they were in the ark for over one hundred days and the ark rested on the Mountain one of the first things they did after they came out of the ark was to build an altar to God. This shows us and certainly we can see this, that Noah obeying what God wanted him to do and that was to preach to the people in his day for over one hundred years, we can see that God had provided Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives and anyone else that wanted to a way to revere Him. He provided a way to bow down in humble submissiveness to Him a system whereby they could indeed show homage to God through what we refer to as worship.
Abraham was alike to the same thing ,that is, as far as worship was concerned. Remember when he was going to be offering up his son Isaac? He was actually there to go up and offer a sacrifice to God. Later on he found out that the very sacrifice that he was to make was his only son Isaac who was the son of promise. The point is that even in the day of Abraham, who is considered to be by the way our Father of Faith, worshiped God and had instructions from God in how to worship Him. No doubt anyone who has read the Bible from the book of Exodus through John of the New Testament and even beyond John of the New Testament realizes that there was a very specific system of worship that God placed before the children of Israel. In fact, it was so strict that any man who did not worship God according to how God had planned that worship to be done to Him would suffer death. It was that serious of a thing because that is the way that the children of Israel showed obedience, how they revered God, honored God, how they respected God because they worshiped Him in spirit and in truth.
Even Jesus, remember when He was tempted by Satan? He told Satan this, “‘It is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall you serve.” This was taken from the Old Testament. Jesus was the one who was emphasizing the need for worship. And here to this Samaritan woman in John 4 he made that wonderful and great statement that, “‘God is Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’”
Now, worship takes place in designated times in the Lord’s church which we designate to be periods of what some refer to as formal worship. Now the reason they refer to it as formal worship is because God has designated, as you have already studied in this series, that certain acts be performed in worship before him. Is this anything unusual? Did God not designate certain acts to Noah? Did God not designate certain acts even to Cain and Abel, to Abraham, and especially to the children of Israel? There worship was minutely organized by God and such violation of the way they were to worship God was met normally with death. That’s how important worship was. So, in the New Testament are we to assume that God has left no plan for us to worship him? Well, certainly he has! We found out that in our studies of this subject of worship where we are to sing in our worship to God, we are to pray in our worship to God, we are to partake of the Lord’s supper in our worship to God, we are to give in our worship and obeisance to God, we are to hear the word of God honored by the preaching of the gospel as we see so clearly indicated through New Testament example. This is the way we are to worship God according to the New Testament plan. As the Apostles were given these truths to speak unto the people, because there was no Bible at that time other than the Old Testament on scrolls, as they were given these truths led by the Holy Spirit. Remember when Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13 he said, “‘How be it when He the Holy Spirit has come, He will guide you into all truth.’” You see throughout the New Testament that the apostles, especially the apostle Paul, were teaching the people how they were to worship God in spirit and in truth.
We see in the book of Acts, which tells us the history of the Lord’s church in the first century, we see very clearly how the worship of the churches of Christ was done in the New Testament by example, direct statement, and implication we learn and understand how it is that we are to worship God and who is to worship Him. The fact is that Jesus portrayed to this woman at the well in Samaria, He proclaimed to her really that every person is responsible to worship God. To worship God in spirit and in truth, they in Samaria would worship someone who was an idol.
In Jerusalem, the Israelites were worshiping the true and living God but Jesus was said in chapter 4 verse 23, “‘The hour is coming and now is when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; For the Father is seeking those to worship Him. For God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.’” So, this is something that has been expected of all of those who know God and want to do His Will throughout all ages and again we note what was said in Exodus 20, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God.” That was the statement that was made. So the Israelites were expected to worship God.
In Hebrews 13:15, in the New Testament, it says, “By Him therefore let us offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. It is indicated throughout the scripture. In fact in 1 Peter 2:5 Peter says, “‘You also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’” So, my friends those who worship God today and who can worship God acceptably are those who have been obedient to God. Now why would anyone seek the point is and the logical point made out of common sense is why anyone would seek to worship God who has not claimed to be one of his, who has not obeyed the gospel. How could they expect to even come before the thrown of God when they have rejected His will and seek to honor revere, respect, or to do obeisance to Him. In fact the word worship means one who bows down in obeisance to His Will, that is who is obedient to His Will. So that carries with it the concept of this, who is to worship God? Those who are his children. Who is acceptable as a true worshiper of God? Those who have truly done His Will. Now people can believe that there is a God and can respect the fact that God does exist but the only ones who have a right to worship God and the only ones that God accepts worship from is those who have been obedient to His Will. God is no respecter of persons but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to Him. He who feareth Him and worketh righteousness, that is the one who has become obedient to the gospel of Christ. You have the right and you have the responsibility.
Going back to John 4:24, “‘God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’”
Now the question for you this morning is do you truly seek to worship God? Now worship carries with it the idea of obedience. How can you obey God and properly worship him or how could you worship him unless you have properly obeyed God? “You say, “Well I believe that Jesus is the Christ.” Well that’s wonderful. I’m glad that you do. Have you confessed that Jesus Christ is the son of God? Jesus said that “‘He that confesses Me before men, him will I confess before My Father in Heaven.” Paul said, “‘With the mouth confession is made unto Salvation.’” (Romans 10:9-10) Have you made the confession? Have you repented? That is the change of mind that brings about the change of will that brings about a change of life? Have you done that, my friend? Jesus said, “Except you repent you will perish”. Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins which brings you into Christ, Galatians 3:26-27? That is when you put yourself into position of being able to be a true worshiper of God. “‘Be not conformed to this world’” Paul says in Romans 12:2. But before that he says, “‘I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.’” Worship involves service and service involves worship. There are times that we formally worship God but there are times, in fact all the time throughout our lives, is when we bow down in humble submissiveness to His Will to do His Will. That is when we have the right to approach his wonderful thrown of grace and to be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth. So, my prayer is for you today, as well as for me, that we will always keep our lives in conformity to the will of God. That we will seek to do His Will throughout our lives. That we will always honor Him that is our Father as the sovereign of all things. He is our Ruler! He is the very reason for our existence and therefore we need to understand that we must submit ourselves to his will and after we have become obedient to the gospel then we will have the right to enter into his presence with thanksgiving and to his courts with praise. Truly worship him our Lord and our God. So, I beseech you this morning if you are not a Christian to obey the gospel so that you will claim that right and have that right to worship the True and the Living God.
(SONG # 3 - “More About Jesus!”)
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.
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:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these materials are also available on our website:
That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
May we realize that acceptable worship is only done in God’s Way, according to God’s Will, by God’s people! Are you a true child of God today that your worship might be found acceptable in His sight?