THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 4-8-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM: IS EVERYTHING WORSHIP?”
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus once proclaimed, “the pure in heart will see God!” Are you living in such a way and striving to keep your heart pure, so that you will see your God?
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.
At this time, won’t you join in with the congregation as we sing together our first hymn of the day. The name of the song, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
(SONG # 1)
In Psalms 51:10, we find some of the most beautiful and thought provoking words every written by David. There he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
What a wonderful spirit we see in this child of God as he prostrated himself before the almighty to confess his need for help. In this passage we find that David clearly implied the problem of sin in his life, because of his request for a clean heart.
How many of us struggle with the sin and temptations of this life? How often do we find ourselves slipping or falling into things which are not approved of by God? You see, David was there also, he suffered as we do, and he also fell short at times as we do!
This request for a clean heart also would imply that David wanted to be more like his Creator. Remember the cries by God throughout the Old Testament as He pleaded with His people to, “Be Holy, for I am Holy,” Leviticus 11:45. It is from this knowledge that you and I must also plead with God to give us a clean heart. Furthermore, keeping in mind that today because of Christ we have the ability for complete forgiveness of these sins - if we will but ask and follow His will.
Finally, notice the second part of David’s request, when he said, “And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Here we find another plea from this great servant of God, that the Lord gave Him a renewed strength and the ability to do as the Savior had asked Him to. Oh, what a wonderful church we would have today if we all would rely on God and make similar requests for His Help.
Our Lord can help us to have a clean heart. Our God can help us to have a renewed Spirit, and our Savior can help us to have the strength to do His will. The question is, “are we willing to do our part?” Will you accept the challenge of God today?
Today, we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us to lead our main lesson thoughts of the day. Brother Kevin is the minister for the HWY 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank him for being with us this Lord’s Day.
As far as our topic of study this morning, will be considering the question, “Is Everything Worship.” This is our next lesson in our series entitled, “The Father Is Seeking Such To Worship Him.” So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together Brother Patterson will return with this study from God’s Word. The name of our next hymn is, “Jesus Is All The World To Me!”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
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 Him in spirit and truth.
Thank you for staying with us this morning. As always it’s a privilege and an honor to be here with you and to share with you a portion from God’s most holy word.
The passage of scripture that I read just a moment ago was from John 4:23-24 and it has served as the basis for a theme of lessons entitled the “The Father is Seeking Such to Worship Him”. We have been examining this concept of worship and what worship is. We’ve talked about the standard for worship we’ve even talked about vain worship and this morning we are going to examine the question, is everything worship?
Just in case some of you have missed part of the series thus far I wanted to take a moment and reexamine the definition of worship. Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines worship in one way, as making obeisance or doing reverence to. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines worship as the act of paying honor to a deity, religious reverence and homage, literally in one case to kiss the hand toward one. It goes on to define it as rendering religious service or honor and in the strict sense to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the right instituted for his worship. Of course true worship is always directed at deity and we understand deity to be the one true God of the universe. When we worship we are to worship no one or nothing but the one true God of the universe. In Acts 10: 25-26, we see Peter coming to the house of Cornelius and when he comes in we read that Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up saying, “Stand up I myself am also a man.” Peter saying, “I’m not God I’m not worthy of being worshiped. John would write in Revelation 22:8-9, how he saw and heard these things, “And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that for I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets and of those who keep the words of this book.’” And the angel concludes with two words to John, “Worship God.”
In Matthew 4, in the opening verses we read about Jesus being led out into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. In one of the three ways in which the devil tried to tempt Jesus we read in verses 8-10 that, “The devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, showing Him all of the kingdoms of the World and their glory, and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if you fall down and worship me.’” You see Satan is trying to already throw Jesus off His mission by getting Him to fall down and worship him, Satan, the evil one. But Jesus responds and says, “Away with you Satan for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” So we are to worship God only, but I want you to notice something that is mentioned there in that very last phrase, “…Him only shall you serve.” We have this concept of both worship and service both used in the same sentence but used differently. When you worship God, Jesus says worship Him only and when you serve, serve Him only.
How does worship differ from service? Well, worship is a very specific act of praising Deity, it has a starting point it has a stopping point. To give you an example, like singing we start singing a song and then we finish singing a song. We start to say a prayer to the Lord and we finish by closing that prayer to the Lord. Serving is an attitude and hopefully in the Christian life it is an attitude that is adopted as one follows Christ in all aspects of their life. It is a way that we serve God and it is also a way that we serve God by serving others. It’s something that envelops the entirety of our lives. But worship is not something that is entire in our lives. It is not something that we are doing all of the time because it is very deliberate, very specific, and very purposed. It’s something that you choose to do and it’s something that at some point you choose to end.
Let me give you an example of how the Bible uses the word worship in a number of very quick references where we see people coming to worships and then leaving from that point later at a time after they have finished worshiping. We read back in Matthew 2:1-2, when Jesus has just been born, He is newborn. We remember those wise men who are coming from the East to see Him. We read in verses 1-2, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, “Behold wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, ‘where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Notice that they had not been worshiping him previously, they were not even there in Jerusalem. Previously, they had been on a very long journey, they had come there specifically to find the Christ child and to worship him as being sent from Heaven above.
In the same chapter verses 7-8, we remember the evil King Herod who was trying to trick the wise men. We read that he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star had appeared and he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child and when you have found Him bring back word to me that I may come and worship Him also.” Notice the King Herod certainly had not been worshiping the Christ child and although we realize he had no intentions to do so, he’s saying to the wise men I want to do like you are doing, I want to come where you are to where this Christ child is and I want to worship Him. And finally when the wise men show up in verse 11, we read, “And when they had come into the house they saw the young Child with Mary His mother and fell down and worshiped Him.” That’s when their worship began, when they were in that presence of Deity, when they were in the presence of God in the flesh.
We read in Matthew 8:2, that a leper came who had not previously been engaged in the worship of Jesus but he came and worshiped Him.
In Matthew 9:18, we read about a ruler whose daughter had just died. He had not previously been worshiping Jesus but who came and worshiped Him.
We read in Matthew 14:33, that Jesus’ own disciples in that event where Jesus calmed the sea that was so boisterous. We read that the disciples that were there in the boat came and worshiped Him. And how did they worship Him? We read in verse 33, they did so by saying truly you are the Son of God. They were acknowledging His Godliness. They were acknowledging His Deity. They were acknowledging Him as the Creator of the universe.
So, worship is deliberate. Worship is intentional. It is something that you do on purpose; it cannot be done by accident. Service on the other hand can be carried out without actually giving a thought to the focus of God, or without giving him purposed glory, honor, and praise. We can serve God sometimes without realizing it. We can serve others sometimes without thinking to ourselves, ok I am now going to do this intentionally because I know it pleases God and I know it will be a good example to my fellow man.
Let me give you an example of the deliberate nature of worship and then let’s talk about the unintentional nature that sometimes accompanies service. The example of worship in 1 Corinthians 11 shows how deliberate it is in design. In verses 23-25, we see Paul, the apostle, talking to the Church at Corinth. He says to these Christians who are doing a number of things wrong including partaking of the Lords’ Supper which is an avenue of worship. He is trying to take them back to when Jesus instituted this avenue of worship and make sure they remember what they are suppose to be doing when they deliberately engage in this act. He writes, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the New covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” Notice what Jesus is saying; you must partake of this Unleavened bread, you must partake of this fruit of the vine in remembrance of Me. Your focus must be on Christ. You must be thinking about him when you engage in this avenue of worship. Anyone of us can eat a cracker or a piece of unleavened bread and not think about God. If you are not thinking about God, if you are not focusing on Jesus, you are not worshiping Deity you are just eating some bread. Anyone of us could partake of the fruit of the vine. We could drink grape juice and not think about God and not think about the sacrifice of Jesus. But if we don’t do those things and we drink that grape juice that doesn’t make it worship. Only when we focus on God! Only when we do it to deliberately give Him praise honor and glory! And in the act of the Lords’ Supper only when we do it in remembrance of Him, is it true worship that is found pleasing to God.
How about an example of service? Do you remember the story in Luke 10:30-35, of the Good Samaritan? Here’s a man who is going on his journey and he did not intend to take care of a man who had been beaten up and left for dead on the side of the road but he did. He did it simply because he had a good moral system. Maybe because he had chosen in some way to do what was right in his life and that’s true of the Christian as well. There are many times in our lives where we might do the right thing. Not because ahead of time we think, I need to do this because it’s right, but because we have adopted an attitude that says in all things that we think, say, and do we are going to serve God. So, if somebody has a blown out tire beside of the highway and we stop and serve them we are serving God. When somebody in the school drops their books on the floor and we immediately reach down to help them pick those things up. We are serving them and serving God but that doesn’t mean we are engaged in worship. We can serve people in a number of different ways including feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, and visiting people in prison. Although these are all things that Jesus wants us to do as service to Him it does not indicate that we are actually worshiping Him.
All worship is service to God but not all acts of service are worship to God. So, it begs the question to be asked. Is everything in a Christian’s life considered worship? The answer is no! There is a passage of scripture that seems to have given some people an incorrect indication as to how we are to live. It is in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I want you to notice the end of verse 1, it says that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices and it goes on to say that this is your reasonable service. Both the Old King James and the New King James use this terminology but other translations have added wording. Not just reasonable service, one translation says “reasonable or spiritual service of worship”. Some say “spiritual act of worship”. One consolidates it all together throwing out the word service and just uses the word worship and says, “This is your spiritual worship”. We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices but that living sacrifice is in service to God, not in worship to God. You cannot be in worship to God twenty four hours a day, but you can most definitely be in service to God twenty four hours a day.
Does worship only take place in the Church building when the saints are assembled together? No, that’s not the case. It’s true that we have to have a place to assemble. Even Christians in the first century came together like in Acts 20:7, to partake of the Lords’ Supper. However, we don’t have holy places in the New Testament like they did unto the old. They had the tabernacle, the temple, these places that housed the most holy place, the holy of holy’s, where quite literally God would dwell in the midst of the children of Israel. This was one of the problems that was facing the woman of the well in John 4, she was asking the question, where are we suppose to worship? Jesus comes along and says we are right now in the middle of a time where worship is going to take place all over the place. Paul would say in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” In other words, pray everywhere. When we sing we are to sing everywhere. We see one of the great events in church history in Acts 16:23-25, were Paul and Silas are both in a jail praying and singing. They are not in a church building and aren’t gathered together with all of the saints, we don’t even know if it was a Sunday morning. We just know it was in the middle of the night and they are praying and singing to God, they are worshiping Him.
Just as no one will show up in Heaven accidentally, no one can worship God accidentally. That’s the thing we need to keep in mind. We need to serve God always in everything that we do but whenever we have the opportunity to worship, that deliberate purposed act, let us do so in spirit and truth.
(SONG # 3 - “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling!”)
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.
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Hopefully we have learned today about what true worship really is. May we not get caught up in man’s ideas and thought on this topic, but rather let’s give ourselves fully to God! There’s no better place to turn than to God for the perfect answers!