THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
AIR DATE 6-27-04
LESSON TITLE: "IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF GOD: THE DOCTRINE OF WORSHIP"
Isn't it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord's Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God's sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer.
Let me begin this morning by again stating how thankful we are for the many fine congregations of our Lord which help to make this program possible. More specifically, this morning, I would also like to thank the Sunset Church of Christ, here in Springfield, Missouri, for their continued encouragement and support of the Living Word Program. Let me encourage you to visit with these brethren whenever you are able. This congregation offers two morning worship assemblies every Sunday, one at 8:15 and another at 10:30. There is also a Bible Study period in between these worship assemblies, this study is held at 9:30. Furthermore, on Sunday evening this family of God assembles at 6:00, for another time of worship. A mid-week service is offered each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. We hope you will visit with these brethren soon. If you need further information, contact their minister at (417)883-2044. This brothers name is Joe Bright.
Now it's time to join in with the congregation in song. The name of our first hymn, "Love Lifted Me!"
(SONG # 1)
Doesn't it feel good to have knowledge and to understand things? I don't know of anything worse than someone asking us a question and not knowing the answer or sometimes not even understanding the question. Knowledge is important.
Especially in relationship to God, it is important to know that which God would have us to. And just think for a moment, "where do we get understanding?" You guessed it, God Himself. Read with me what God's great servant Job said in Job 32:7-8. "I said, 'Age should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.'" Sometimes our earthly knowledge and experience determine who has the best answer, but Job tells us that Elihu said that the great and best knowledge comes from God and His Word!
Do you know God's Word? Are you studying it, in order to know it better, and thus to be better equipped in the things of God? Choose today to stand with God and to have the right answers through your knowledge of His Word.
Our study of the morning will again focus on the, "Important Doctrines Of God." As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider, "The Doctrine Of Worship." So please stay with us and after our next song, brother Kevin Patterson will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Night With Ebon Pinion."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Thank you and good morning. We thank you for staying with us.
For some time now we have been studying the overall series of lessons entitled "The Important Doctrines of God." We have previously noted that a doctrine is a teaching on a given subject and so thus the doctrines of God are His revealed teachings on a particular topic.
This morning we are going to examine the specific subject of "The Doctrine of Worship." As in many of the subjects that we cover, it is important for us to understand just exactly what the word "worship" really means as there is a lot of controversy and misunderstanding about what this specific act is all about.
Let's first take a look at Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words where it defines worship in one setting under the Greek word "proskuneo" which is the verb form of the most frequently used Greek meaning for the term "to worship." It's defines worship as "to make obeisance or do reverence to." In other words, to literally kiss toward or kiss the hand toward someone or something. It is used as an act or homage of reverence to God."
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines worship as "reverent devotion and allegience pledged to God, the rituals or ceremonies by which this reverence is expressed."
The English word "worship" comes from the Old English word "worthship," a word which denotes the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.
There is much confusion today between the two words "service" and "worship." It is indeed true that our lives, if we have dedicated them to God, are to be filled with service to God. Everything that we do throughout the days of our lives as we walk through this life should be done in service to God. But not everything that we do is worship to God because worship is a very specific act. It is certainly an act of service because we are obeying God and doing His Will. But worship itself, s we're going to take a look at, is something that is done very specifically to God. It's not something that is done casually or without consideration, but is a very purposed act on our part, a purposed act that we devote specifically to God. Let me give you an illustration for just a moment. If I were to, as I was going throughout my day, sit down and help my son to do my homework. That would certainly be something that was pleasing to God because I am taking care of my son. I am carrying out the obligation that God gave me as a father to care for him and to nurture him and to raise him up in good ways. So by showing and expressing that love to my son, I am serving God, but I am not worshipping God through that act because nowhere in that act might I ever even have given God consideration. However, when we sing songs of praise to God, when we pray to God, when we partake of the Lord's Supper and remember the body and the blood of God in the flesh through the man Jesus Christ, we are worshipping Him. So we have to understand the distinction between service and worship, worship being a very specific act.
Let's take into our consideration this morning some of the various qualities of what worship really is and how we can break down and understand what worship is when we conduct ourselves in such a manner.
First of all, in order to worship God we have to have the right object, the right focus, or the right aim and obviously when we worship we want to worship God. We do not worship anyone or anything else. In Matthew chapter 4 and verse 10 Jesus said to Satan, "Go Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy chapter 6 and verse 13 where we read, "You shall fear only the Lord your God and you shall worship Him and swear by His name." So the idea is (that) Jesus said very clearly, "God is the only one worthy of our worship," and so when we worship our focus must be on Deity.
In Revelation chapter 7 and verse 11, "All of the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God." In John's revelation he saw this heavenly image of those in Heaven falling down and not worshipping one another but worshipping God.
We also read in Matthew chapter 2 verses 1-2 about that one we mentioned just a moment ago, Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh when He came to live on this earth. We remember those wise men or those magi who came from the East to Jerusalem to find the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah. We read that they saw His star in the East and came to worship Him.
In chapter 2 and verse 11, "After coming into the house they saw the child and Mary with His mother and they fell to the ground and worshipped Him."
You might remember a little later on when Jesus was an adult and was in the midst of His ministry that He came to His disciples walking on the water and you remember that they were scared and afraid, but He let them know that it was He and that there was no reason for them to be afraid. You might remember that Peter actually said to Jesus, "IF it is really you, let me get out of the boat and let me come walk unto you and he did." But as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and he started to notice the storm around him, you'll remember that he started to sink. "Jesus stretched out His hand," in Matthew 14 and verse 31, "and took hold of him and said, 'You of little faith. Why did you doubt?' When they got into the boat the wind stopped and those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying, 'You are certainly God's Son.'" So they acknowledge Jesus as being Deity and therefore worthy of their worship.
In Matthew chapter 28 and verses 8-9, we read about how "after Jesus had been raised from the tomb, He had resurrected from the dead," we read that, "They left the tomb quickly with fear and joy and ran to report it to His disciples, and behold Jesus met them and greeted them and they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him."
So when we talk about worship, it is important that we understand the object of that worship and it is always properly God. Now it is important for us to understand that improperly there are a lot of other persons and beings and things that people try to worship, but this is not in accordance with God's Will. For instance, in Acts chapter 10 and verses 25-26, "When Peter came to Cornelius, Cornelius fell at His feet and worshipped him." Then in verse 26, "Peter raised him up saying, 'Stand up, I too, am just a man.'" So it's important that we never loft anybody up or raise anybody up onto such a pedestal that we make them somehow equal with God. We have to realize that we, too, are just human beings, imperfect flawed sinners who make mistakes. We are nowhere near the level of God.
Well what about angels? There's a lot of talk about angels today. A lot of people talk on TV or on the radio about it. A lot of books have been written about angels and after all they're up there with God. Are they worthy of being worshipped? Well, in Revelation chapter 22, verses 8-9, we read that, "I, John, and the one who heard and saw these things and when I heard and saw I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, 'Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren, the prophets, and of those who heed the words of this book...'" and listen to the two final words that he gave him, '" worship God.'"
We also see another erroneous way or worshipping and that is to worship evil. In Revelation chapter 13 and verses 3-8, we see a whole section of people or a whole section of scripture where people were worshipping the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast and they worshipped the beast saying, "Who is like the beast and who is able to wage war with him?" But in Revelation chapter 14 verses 9-11, "Another angel, a third one, followed them saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast in his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His angels and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast in his image and whoever receives the mark of his name.'" It is a very serious thing to worship something other than God, but it's certainly serious to worship anything which represents evil. There are consequences and those consequences will be eternal.
Paul, on one occasion, when he came into the city of Athens in Acts chapter 17 and verses 15-31 observed that the city was very full of idols. They had constructed graven images to just about everything under the sun and in fact they even had constructed an image, an idol with the description to the unknown God. Paul addressed that in Acts 17 and verse 22, "When he stood up in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all aspects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, "To An Unknown God." Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.'" So when we worship, we worship God, and therefore it is a very specific, very purposed action on our part. God must be in the forefront of our minds. He must be the focus of our actions.
Well what about those actions? What about our mindset? It is important that we have the right object, but it's also important that we have the right attitude and the right action.
In Mark chapter 7 and verses 1-9, Jesus said of some Pharisees and scribes who were very hypocritical in their attitudes and actions. He said to them in verse 6, "Rightly did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites as it is written. This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me, but in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men." First of all notice their attitude as Jesus said, "Their hearts are far away from Him." So their attitude was not on proper worship and furthermore they were changing the doctrines of God for the teachings of men. This is something that is very easy to be done and it's very popular in this day and age when people have the attitude, "I can worship God any way I want to." That's not true. We can only worship God and it be pleasing to Him if that worship is offered in spirit and in truth.
For instance, consider praying as an object of worship or as a way that we worship God. IN Matthew chapter 6 and verses 5-13, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, but He taught them to pray to God. He taught them to pray with the right attitude, not as one trying to receive attention, but rather as one that was between the prayer giver and the one who would receive that prayer, God.
We also see in passages like Colossians 3 and verse 16 that when we sing, we are to sing with thankfulness in our hearts to God. Once again, singing to God, but singing with the proper attitude, an attitude of thankfulness, and with the proper action, singing with songs and hymns and spiritual songs.
In Acts 20 and verse 7 we see another act of worship, the partaking of the Lord's Supper. We see that this action was taken on the first day of every week. In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 and verses 23-29, we see that this action of worship is something that we do in remembrance of Christ and we do it by examining ourselves to make sure that we are in such a position as to worship Him in a way that would be pleasing to Him.
We see in passages like 1 Corinthians 16 that another act of worship, our giving, is something else that we do on the first day of the week, but we also read that we are to set aside, that we are to have the attitude of planning and preparing for this time. In 2 Corinthians 9, verses 6-7, "We are to have an attitude of giving bountifully and not begrudgingly or under compulsion, but cheerfully." Once again, a good attitude. And to give to the Lord as the Macedonian churches did in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and verse 5.
Another aspect of our worship is preaching and sometimes we look at this as a man who is speaking to an audience, but rather what the Bible teaches us is that we are all participating in an offering to God and as such we need to realize that "it is the preacher's job," according to 2 Timothy chapter 4, "to preach the Word, but it's also those who hear that word, it's their job to make sure that they examine the scriptures to ensure that what is being said is so," Acts 17, verse 11.
I want to leave you with this final passage of scripture from John chapter 4, verses 19-24. "The woman said to Jesus, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe me an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know for salvation is from the Jews, but an hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For such people, the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit an truth.'"
(SONG # 3 - "O The Depth!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
But for now, let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or 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
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What a great privilege it is to know that our God has given us a pattern for Worship. May we always strive to do things His way - in spirit and in truth!