THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-13-01
LESSON TITLE: CAN WORSHIP BE UNACCEPTABLE?
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.
Many of you might wonder why we never make appeals for money or how we support the productions and airing of this program. Well, we are privileged to have many fine congregations of our Lord, helping to support the Living Word Program. Beginning today, I would like to begin taking a few minutes each morning to introduce you to a congregation which helps in making this television program possible each Lord's Day Morning.
Today, I would like to start by mentioning the Alpena Church of Christ in Alpena, Arkansas. This congregation has been with our work for many years now. These brethren regularly meet for Bible study as 10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. They also assemble for Worship at 11:00 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. every Sunday. A mid-week service is offered on Wednesday evening at 7:00. If you have opportunity, please get by and visit with these brethren. If you need further information feel free to contact one of their members Kenneth Bailey at 1-870-437-5223. We thank this congregation for their continued support!
I often think of the great joy that being a Christian brings to our lives. It is truly an honor and a privilege to have a Creator and Savior who loves us so much. In fact, we can see His love in everything He has done and is doing for us.
This morning we want to begin with a song which reminds us of the happiness we have in Jesus, as we strive to do His Will. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today!"
(SONG # 1)
We just sang a beautiful song about the joy we must have in Jesus. However, as you look around the religious world 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."
Finally, may we never forget the greatest promise which brings joy in our life as Christians - that is the promise of Eternal Life! God has offered us something beyond this life. Something which will last an eternity. Are you following His Will, so that you may have this type of joy in your life?
We are pleased to have a guest speaker with us today who is the minister for the Curry Street congregation in West Plains. Brother Ivie Powell, is with us, and he will lead us today in our lesson of the morning from God's Word.
Our topic today will again focus on our new series concerning worship! Our specific study of the day will consider the question, "Can Worship Be Unacceptable?" So stay with us this morning and in a few minutes brother Powell 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, "We Praise Thee, O God."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ivie Powell
"The churches of Christ salute you," Romans 16:16. We deeply appreciate the opportunity of being here with brother Sullins and the great congregation at Kansas Expressway and we would like to invite all of you to attend services at the nearest church of Christ today. We especially would like to invite those of you that are in the West Plains area to be with us for Bible Study at the Curry Street church of Christ this morning at 9:30. The morning assembly will be at 10:30. Then the Lord willing, we will meet back again this afternoon at 6:00 for the evening service. We also have services Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
Now this is the day that the world has designated as Mother's Day, and of course we understand that it is the Lord's Day, and we hope that all of the mothers out there with there with their families will be in attendance this morning, and not just today but at every service. You could do no greater favor to your mother than by being a faithful member of the body of Jesus Christ. The greatest joy that any parent has is the joy of knowing that their children are not only members of the church but that they are faithful members of the church.
Now the subject before us today is an interesting subject. It has to do with "Can worship be unacceptable?" Now the Bible says in John 4:24 that "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." There will be millions of people assembled today to worship God, but not all worship is going to be acceptable unto God. Why is that the case? Bear in mind that in order for worship to be acceptable, it must meet what the Lord said in John 4:24, and that is our "worship must (underscore the word must) be in spirit and in truth." Now one can worship God sincerely but not according to truth, and God would not accept that worship. One can worship God according to what He has set forth in scripture, but not be sincere. Thus, God would not accept that worship either. Worship must consist of sincerely worshipping God according tot he truth found in the New Testament.
Now I think it needs to be pointed out though it should be understood that in order for God to accept worship, one must be a child of God. "If an individual is in sin, he is separated from God because of his sins," Isaiah 59:1-2. Paul says referring to the gentiles that "they at one time were dead in trespasses and sins," Ephesians 2, verse 1. When you look at verses 12 and 13, you will observe that before they became children of God, Paul said that "they were without God, without Christ. They had no hope." And so my friend, if you are not a child of God, that is the condition you are in, and there should be a great sense of urgency that swells up in your heart at this very moment of desiring to become a New Testament Christian. Are you a Christian? Have you repented of your sins? Have you confessed Jesus Christ to be the son of God? Have you been immersed in order to receive the remission of sins based upon Acts 2, verse 38? If not, we plead with you my dear friend to make haste this morning and become a child of God. Now "when one does obey the gospel, he is to assemble with the saints," Hebrews 10, verse 25. As he assembles, he has the great privilege and honor of worshipping the great I am.
Now as stated, not all worship is going to be accepted by our heavenly Father. A lot of people, I suppose a great number of people, have the idea that if one is sincere then God is bound and determined to accept what they do whether it is right or wrong. Now my friends, that is faulty reasoning and certainly not in accordance with the word of God. As we go back again, we find that the Lord stated clearly that "in order for us to worship Him, we must worship Him as He has set forth in scripture, in spirit and in truth," John 4:24.
But now there are three types of worship that the Lord will not accept. If you have your Bible, I invite you to turn to Matthew the 15the chapter. We usually look at verses 8 and 9, but I want you to actually look at the entire setting there, though we're not going to quote all of these verses. But you will notice that when they were keeping the traditions of men, that the Lord stated in the latter part of verse 6, "You made the commandments of God of none effect by your traditions. Man-made doctrines makes void one's worship." And then notice verses 8 and 9, "These people draw nigh to me with their mouth, honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, but in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." So here, the Lord sets forth clearly that if one follows the doctrines and the precepts of men, then He will not accept their worship.
Now if we were to break this down into some categories of what constitutes vain worship, it would be as follows. Here is a child of God who worships God but for six days he has lived like the devil, doing any and every thing he so desires to do. Then he assembles on the Lord's day and expects God to accept his worship. Well, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 10 and verse 20 that "the child of God can not sit at the table of the devil and at the table of the Lord." You can not sit at both. "A child of God must walk in the light as He, Christ, is in the light that we might have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sins," 1 John 1, verse 7. So that ones worship would be in vain because their life is not lived in accordance with the teaching of the Lord.
Now we could look at also a situation in which a person may not be living an ungodly life but they may have hate and animosity and unforgiving spirit toward a brother or sister in Christ. Well, when they come to worship, God lets us know when you turn to Matthew chapter 5 and read that chapter over there, and when you turn to 1 John 3 and 1 John 4, that one must have the right attitude and a forgiving spirit toward those who have wronged us if our worship is to be acceptable in His sight.
But then vain worship would also consist of doing things that are not found in the word of God. For an example, I dare say that the majority of people in this audience who worship with mechanical instruments of music have never given hardly any thought as to whether it is right or wrong, and yet when one turns to the New Testament, he can not find one verse in all of the New Testament that commands us to use instruments of music in worship. You can not find it, friends. You can not find one Bible example in all of the New Testament where early saints worshipped with an instrument and you can not gather verses of scripture from Matthew through Revelation that would support the use of instruments of music in worship. Such worship, though many accept it, is worship in vain.
It would also be worship in vain for people to sow discord when we look at Romans 16, verses 17 and 18. It would be vain worship unto God for people to teach and or support false doctrine. Look at 2 John 9 through 11. So, there is vain worship. God will not accept vain worship.
Then when you turn to Acts 17, verse 23, there's another type of worship that God will not accept and that is worship that is done in ignorance. Ignorance when someone or something is worshipped other than the God of heaven. God will not accept that worship. Now there are a lot of people who worship snakes and monkeys. There are a lot of people who worship nature. There are a lot of people who will worship Mary. There are individuals who will worship a mortal man. There are individuals who will worship not only the ones that I've mentioned, but they will worship Buddha, or they will worship something else. Well God is not going to accept that worship at all. We must worship the God of heaven in the way that the God of heaven has set forth in His divine word. And so ladies and gentlemen, for people to worship ignorantly doesn't mean that God is going to accept them in their worship. The 17th chapter again of the book of Acts. Look at verse 30 and 31. "At the time of this ignorance God winked at, but commandeth He all men everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He would judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained where of He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead." So God is not going to wink at, overlook, turn His face and accept ignorant worship.
It is also a matter of ignorance whether one wants to accept it or not to offer unto God that which is not found in His word. Now I've already mentioned mechanical instruments of music. Well, there are a lot of things that people do in worship that they think God is going to accept but God will not accept them. Now they may be ignorant of what the word of God teaches, but that is not the fault of God. That's their fault, because God has given us the word and we have the obligation of "studying to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly divided or handling right the word of truth," 2 Timothy 2:15.
Now, there's a third type of worship that God will not accept. It is found in Colossians 2: 18 through the remainder of the chapter there. And it is described as will worship. That is, we want to worship after our will instead of the will of God. Well, in Leviticus chapter 10, and Old Testament example shows us that Nadab and Abihu wanted to do things according to their will, not the will of God. They offered strange fire unto God and the result was that God consumed them with their fire. Well, there are a lot of strange fires offered unto God today. There are a lot of things done in the name of God in worship that you do not read about in the New Testament at all. You simply can not read, for an example, of dramatic presentations. I've often found it interesting that they want to play out the very things in scripture. Yet, you never read of that in the Bible. Now you just take for an example, the apostle Paul was very much aware of drama. He lived in an age in which drama was a part of everyday life. The Greeks were noted for their drama. And yet, Paul did not use such. Rather, he used the preaching of the gospel of Christ. "Oh to the wise of this world it was foolish, but it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed,"1 Cor. 1:21. Nothing takes the place of preaching the word. Every eldership in this audience, every preacher, need to take heed to the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:1-2. "I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who should judge the quick and the dead that has appeared in His kingdom, preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." So we have the solemn obligation, responsibility and privilege of fully discharging all of the truth. After all, "only truth will make us free," John 8:32.
So when it comes to worship that God will not accept, worship that man wants to do according to his will instead of the will of God, will worship, God will not accept that. Worship that is done in ignorance, God will not accept that. And all types of worship are in vain according to the word of God, that is worship that is not in accordance with the will of God, is in vain. And so, God will accept any and all who will do His will. Thus, becoming a child of His and as they assemble to worship, they will worship the Lord as He has set forth in His word, in spirit and in truth. Every child of God should live a godly life. Look at Romans 12:1-2. "Every child of God should look forward to the Lord's day to assemble with the saints." This service over this television program does not take the place of assembling with the saints, my friends. You need to be in your place this morning as the saints assemble. You need to bring your entire family with you and you need to lead the way, Daddy, and all you mothers out there need to encourage your children and the rest of your family to faithfully follow Almighty God and what we are engaged in in worship is preparing us for that throne room in which we will be with Almighty God to be around His throne, to worship Him night and day. No distractions, we will worship God.
And so my friend, we hope that you're making preparations to be with us for Bible study this morning at 9:30 at the Curry Street church of Christ. We will assemble for the morning service at 10:30. And then back again tonight at 6:00. Now I realize that we've covered a wide variety of material this morning on this program in the short amount of time that we have, and I have just a few minutes before the program comes to a conclusion today. Let me encourage you to open up your Bible and thoroughly study the things that I have presented this morning to you. Remember, "let God be true and every man a liar," Paul says in Romans 3 and verse 4. We are not right unless we follow the right way. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the Father but by me," John 14, verse 6. He is not a way among many ways. You do not have a selection of, "Well, can I pick this?" and not pick that, and God accept that. We therefore, if we decide to become a child of God, we have decided to follow the Lord in everything that He has set forth, and that includes worshipping God as He has set forth in the New Testament worship. Let me say that if you were to ask your preacher today, "Did the early church engage in the use of mechanical instruments of music?" If he knows his Bible and if he knows history, he will answer "no, they did not engage in it at all." As a matter of fact, the Greek Orthodox religious group, to this day unless they've just changed recently, do not use instruments of music in worship because it is not authorized. So we are pressing on the point as set forth in scripture that we want to sincerely worship according to His will, and if not, then our worship will be in vain.
Thank you for being with us. Looking forward to you being with us this day, until another time. Good day.
(SONG # 3 - "Rock of Ages!")
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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May we all realize the importance of proper worship! Because it does make a difference how we approach our Father's throne with our offerings!