THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 4-29-12
LESSON TITLE: ‘THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO LEAD IN WORSHIP?”
In 1 John 1:4, we read, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Wow, isn’t this an encouraging verse, for here we learn that our God has revealed Himself to us that we might be a happy people!
Welcome to our program this morning. It is great to have you with us for the Living Word. Thank you for choosing to be with us for this time of offering to God. !
As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let’s begin our thoughts of the day with a prayer.
This morning we want to begin with a song which reminds us of just how much our Lord loves us. Furthermore, this song encourages us to answer the question, “Just how much will we love our God?” So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “My Jesus, I Love Thee!”
(SONG # 1)
Let’s turn our attention again to the thought of happiness! Are we a happy people as Children of God? Do we find true joy in the care, blessing and promises of our God? Well, some might question our happiness, but why? If you look around the religious world today, at those who profess to be Christians, many of them do not have smiles on their faces. Is it any wonder why many don’t want to know Christ. Is there any doubt why so many are turned away by our lack of ability to show forth Christ in everything we do.
If you think about it, we have so much to be happy about and to live for as those in Christ. That’s why the word joy is mentioned over 150 times in the Bible. In Galatians 5:22, Paul even mentioned joy as one of the fruits of the spirit. Also, notice what Paul told Philemon in chapter 1, and verse 7, of the book which is called by that name. There he said, “For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.” You see we have joy for many reasons as followers of God. However, at the end of the day, we find joy through God, our brethren and our own blessing and accomplishments.
Another joy which Jude mentions in his book focuses directly on a privilege we will share as the faithful, hear that verse with me. There we read, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:24).” Oh the joy to be presented by Jesus before the throne of God. But better yet, think of the privilege we have as God’s followers to stand justified before our loving God and Creator. As the old song says, “what joy twill be, what joy twill be.”
Finally, may we never forget this wondrous and great promise which brings so much joy into our lives as Christians. We do have the hope and promise of Eternal Life! Our God has offered us something beyond this life, something which will last an eternity. Are you read to do what it takes to have such joy today, but not only today, but for ever more? Are you following God’s Will? Are you obedient to His precepts? So, that in the end you may have the greatest joy found only through God.
Our topic today will again focus on the series entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such To Worship Him!” Our specific study of the day will deal with the question, “What About Those Who Lead In Worship?” So stay with us this morning and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, “Nothing But The Blood.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
The Father is seeking such to worship him. I am so thankful that you have continued with us this morning as we now go to God’s word and consider another lesson in our series concerning worship and what it is that God desires in worship. Together for several months now we have looked at all types of ideas from the concept of the words that are used in the Bible for worship what they mean in general and specifically in the religious sense. Then we went through and looked at all of the ideas such as the standard and those things that constitute worship. That which is true worship and vain worship has also been contrasted. We have also talked about the purpose of worship. We have even asked the questions; Is everything worship? Are we always worshiping in all things? Are we only worshiping when we gather on the first day of the week? Then last week we looked at the idea of who must worship.
Today we want to continue our discussion by looking at the idea concerning leadership. What about those who lead in worship? Isn’t it interesting that again God in his word has given us not only a clear example and pattern but also has told us exactly what he wants in those who lead the worship. The first thing right off hand that we begin to think about is those scriptures and passages that we have already discussed together in relationship to what God really requires of a Christian. This is in relationship to when the child of God deals with holy things and unholy things, or clean and unclean, or righteous and unrighteous. The fact is whenever someone comes before God whether he is a leader or not they are required to come with what? Those clean hands and prepared hands that are ready to worship because they have prepared their heart and mind and cleansed it from that which is wrong. So, the first thing that I want us to begin to note as we begin to look back at the patter of scripture are those who came before the people to preach the word, or to proclaim the word, or to speak the things of God, or to offer sacrifices. All of these individuals had something in common and that was as those priests of God they were consecrated and sanctified. Guess what brethren? Today, as Christians and priests of God, we should have also prepared ourselves that we might be found pure or holy and worthy to approach the thrown of God. This is because we have prepared ourselves by leaving the baggage of sin and those things contrary to God behind us.
Another thing that we will continue to build on now as we look at that idea is the concept that took place from the very beginning. When we go back to the beginning who was it that God spoke to? Well, the Hebrew writer tells us clearly in Hebrews 1:1 beginning that in times past God spoke through the fathers. Isn’t it significant that God spoke to Noah and it was Noah who later also offered sacrifices to God. God spoke to Abraham primarily and it was Abraham who worshiped and offered sacrifices to God, the same with Isaac and Jacob. We move on through Moses and he didn’t primarily deal with Moses’ wife he dealt with Moses. Moses was the leader, a man of God, who again would serve Him. And on and on we go throughout the period of the judges although through a very wicked time we do see Deborah a judge, who is a woman. We really go back and we see that all of the judges were men, when those men were worthy to serve. Then we see the concept of the kings and leaders of God’s people. And then even when we move over into the New Testament and God sends the one to prepare the way guess who he choose, John the Baptist, a man once again. Then when Jesus went out, after being on the Earth, to pick those apostles that he would send out and guess whom He sent? Well, He again sent men, twelve men that He chose and trained. Someone might begin to read these things and they might begin to say, “Well, God has a problem with women”. In fact, some actually suggest that by saying that men who wrote the words of God had a problem with women because the things that Paul wrote, including Peter and others, deal with the direct things the Holy Spirit guided them in (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There is not any of God’s word that is not from God or according to the will of God.
So, as we think about that I want us to understand together and as we go back I want us to really comprehend that even when the law was given to Moses in a written form, the priests were chosen. The priests were the men who were chosen that were the head of their families and the high priest, the first being Aaron, was a man who was actually head of his tribe. We can go back to Leviticus 7-8 and we begin to see the great rituals that took place to consecrate and sanctify these men, Aaron and his sons, before they could ever enter the tabernacle or before they could ever offer sacrifices to God on their behalf, on the people of Israel’s behalf, or on the behalf of all of the children of Israel. Then there are some really significant verses like there in Leviticus 21, and there is an entire chapter that deals with the regulations and conduct of the priest. The priests were required to follow very stringent standards as men who were leading there home properly and who were leading there people toward God. They could be involved in nothing that was unclean and nothing that could be perceived as unholy. In fact, often they were even told to stay away from those dead that were even members of their family while they were consecrated and sanctified. So what I again want us to understand is that when one chooses to leave or when one comes before the people of God and leads in song, proclaims the truth, or leads in prayer their hands had better be presentable before God. Not just what people see that we look right, that we look clean, or that we look like we dressed up but what God knows about our heart. Are we ready? Are we clean? Are we one who has asked forgiveness? Are we striving to look to the cross and by the blood of Christ to be found justified in the name our God and Father? You see, it is important that we do not just choose anyone to lead because only those who were proper before God and striving to be holy and righteous were allowed to lead throughout all of the periods of the Bible, at least when God was pleased with what they were doing.
Now, another thing in connection with that I might bring to your attention is the idea of blemishes. Did you know that even the blemishes, the physical blemishes of men under the old law, could keep them from serving as a priest? Even someone who is handicapped, even though it was not because of their own fault was not allowed to deal with the holy things of God. Now, it has nothing to do with God being against a certain people or a certain gender. What it has to do with is that when we deal with things that are holy we have to do our best, we have to give our best, we have to prepare our best, and we have to make sure that again these hands that come before God are clean. Now, to understand that more and to further add to our discussion lets turn over to some things that Paul said to Timothy. Timothy a man going to the church at Ephesus and a man who as he traveled throughout other areas and other churches was challenged to preach the word of God and to help them to know how to put in order the things of the church. In fact, there in the book of Timothy you might notice with me first of all that he actually indicates this very concept there in 1Timothy 3:15. He says, “But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the House of God, which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Do you see what he is saying there? He says, “I wanted to help you know how things worked,” the conduct of those in the church. Guess what he had been talking about before that? Well, we can back all of the way up to the first of chapter 2, or really to the beginning of this book, and we begin to see the discussion of prayer and different acts that we certainly know are according to God’s plan for worship. We have already studied many of those things but there in verse 8 he then says, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” You see here that concept again of those who approach a perfect thrown, a pure, a holy, and a righteous thrown of God have to be those who are also trying their best to make sure that they are presentable before God. Not because they are perfect and not because they are sinless and can remain sinless, but because they are doing their best and therefore the blood of Jesus Christ continually is cleansing them and making them presentable to come before the thrown of grace as the Hebrew writer even clarifies for us.
Now, the next thing that we know besides the ideology that there is a need to be pure and holy for those who lead in worship, certainly for everyone who even worships God if it is to be acceptable, there also is a clear precedent of men leading in worship and taking those leadership roles within the church as they are designed from the very beginning to be head of the household. But, finally I want you to notice with me today is the role that woman play. You know, many in the denominational world today actually indicate the fact that a woman can take the same leadership roles as a man. Their justification is that times have changed and culture has changed. It is quite interesting that the Bible covers over four thousand, some say as much as six thousand years of history, and things did not change in the days of Adam and Eve. They did not change in the days of Noah, Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs. They did not change for thousands of years under Moses or the people who followed the Law of Moses and the children of Israel. It did not change when the period of time changed and came that Jesus was born into the world and he established as we know on this Earth the Church.
Do you know how interesting it is that He continually throughout all of these ages even into the Christian age, by the way which we are still in, that Jesus was still following the same pattern of old? Was Jesus a chauvinist when He chose only men to be apostles? Certainly not! So, what was God’s plan?
Ephesians 5, that as Christ is head of the church the husband is head of the wife. Why? Because God made man first. Not because He doesn’t like women or because he doesn’t like children but because God made man first. And in fact, specifically the scriptures even tell us there in 1Timothy 2:11, “Let a woman should learn in silence with all submission.” Why? Verse 12 continues by saying, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” What is it that Paul is talking about here? I think it is even better clarified for us over in the book of Corinthians in a type of parallel passage. He actually says there 1Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.” See, just like the law said the Law of Christ also said, the Law of Christ the Law of Moses both said the same. He goes on to say in verse 35, “And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” Again, what does the modern day say? What does the denominational world say? What do they say when a woman chooses to get up and be a preacher or an elder? What do they say when a woman gets up and chooses to be this or that and chooses to take a leadership role in the church? They say well times have changed, God just didn’t get it back then and He didn’t understand. Is that really what the Bible says because right after the quote is made there in 1Timothy 2 he goes on to tell us why? Here it is in verse 13, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” I don’t know but that hasn’t changed as far as I understand. See, it is not based on culture or the way that one nation did it or another. He says Adam was made first and then the second thing he says in verse 14, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Who was deceived first by Satan? The woman. Then she, I think very willfully but really not with a deceptive motive, went to try to get Adam to partake and he partook. She wasn’t trying to deceive her husband I do not believe but she was the one who was deceived and sinned first. So, what do we learn here? We learn that God’s pattern is clear. Why then does it also go into chapter 3 and say that an elder must be the husband of one wife? It is clearly talking about a man who leads as an elder of the church. For the deacon the same terminology is found there continuing in verse 8.
Brethren, it is paramount that we obey God’s will and that we understand his design for the home as is clearly given in the New Testament and his design for the church. We are not talking about the workplace and the things in the world where we might have ladies who excel in many other areas that are certainly proper and right. What we are talking about is God’s design. In God’s design he is always in every period, at every time, in every commandment has chosen men. Why, because they were born first and then Eve as the help me. God’s plan is clear giving man there the headship of the home. Also, not only the headship but what there in lies the great trials and problems of being a good father, bearing the greater responsibility, even than the mother and the children, when they stand before God. So, I challenge you today as those who lead submit to God. Submit to God and do it his way. Make sure that when we come before God’s thrown as true worshipers that we make sure we are right with God. But when we come before God’s thrown as leaders of those who are true worshipers that we make sure we are worthy to do such as men of God who have prepared ourselves, cleansed ourselves, are following the pattern that God set, and has always followed from the very beginning requiring that man not just do good but that man give their very best. Are you giving your best to God? Are you submitting fully to His Will? Will you choose to do it His way and His way alone?
(SONG # 3 - “Peace Perfect Peace!”)
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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Will we be satisfied in our day with God’s plan for those who lead in Worship, according to His Will; or will we follow the will of someone else? May we never choose the direction of man or this world in the place of God, for God alone holds the keys to eternal life!