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Introduction:

I.                   Call to Holiness

A.       The Ministry of John the Baptist

John’s ministry was to prepare the hearts of the people for the work that Jesus was going to do.  I believe that every great work that God wants to do in any individual’s life or in a church will start off with repentance.  It’s going to start off by preparing our hearts in the area of yielding our life more entirely to Him and pursuing after the things that are righteous, and true, and holy and apart from that there will be no genuine revival.  There may be numeric growth but it’s not going to be the revival that God speaks of within the Scriptures. 

                This study is more of a preparation, a calling to turn our hearts to the Lord even more than what we have done and John the Baptist had that sort of ministry. 

 

1.    Luke 3:4-6

 

a)         “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

b)        3:4 speaks of John prophetically

(1)        John the Baptist would come along and prepare the hearts of the people spiritually for the coming of Jesus Christ.

(2)        Historically, if you had a dignitary coming to town, you were responsible to go out and make the highways smooth for that person as they came riding in so there wasn’t bumps and the road wasn’t all rough and messed up.  If it were, you would go out and fix it. And that was a way of showing that individual that you were welcoming that dignitary into you presence and you were honored by his presence. 

(3)        Also you would go out and meet the individual, there would be a big fanfare and depending on how much power the individual had, if he was not met by the people you could literally come in and destroy them and the would have to pay for that.  It they weren’t prepared the wrath or judgment would come upon their life. 

(4)        That is the same thing that is happening here with the ministry of Jesus Christ, it is not as though John is trying to make smooth the literal road but the path right straight to the hearts of the people.

(5)        Jesus wanted to come and bear fruit among the nation of Israel and John the Baptist was that forerunner preaching and crying repentance.  THAT’S WHERE IT ALL STARTS!

(a)         the seven letters in the book of Revelation all of them accept one He told to repent

(b)        the others he called to repentance

(c)         I believe that is the avenue to see the fullness of God’s blessing coming to our life.

(d)        The bottom line is Humility…

(1)        Here are some things that are not right I’m not going to justify it.

(2)        I want the fullness of what God want’s to do and so I’m going to humble myself and say the Word of God is right and my heart is not lining up with the Word of God.

(3)        I want to flee those things

c)         Make his paths straight—the Lord wants a straight shot right to our heart!

(1)        There must be nothing hindering or cluttered in my heart.  When the Lord says to do this or that, go or stay, pray, read or whatever it is, there must be nothing (sin, hypocrisy, etc.) in the path to my heart, it must all be cleared out and then Lord is able to direct my life easily. 

d)        Every valley shall be filled—all those low spots.

(1)        Discouragement—

(a)         Excuses, “Well you know life is tough and when I rebound and things start going right then I will really give myself over to the Lord” OR

(b)        “The Lord has let me down what has God done for me, I have had a hard life” OR

(c)         Maybe you’ve been involved in ministry in the past and you took a beating and know your kind of gun-shy and say, “I’m not going to get back and be involved with that” because of your discouragement, the Lord wants to clear that out.  There is no excuse, if God has called then He wants to use your life for His glory and for His purposes.

(d)        Whatever God has called you to do you need to make sure you put your hand to the plow (Luke 9:62), forgetting about the past and press forward with the things that God has for you (Philippians 3:13-14).

e)         And every mountain and hill brought low—this is the aspect of “humility”

(1)        Humility—

(a)         What is your life really centered on?  What are you really taking pride in?

·         Is it your job that you just can’t let go of that prestige?

·         Is it the amount of finances you have to have?

·         Or, what sort of kingdom are you building for yourself rather than for the kingdom of God?

(b)        If were going to experience the fullness God has for our life and not just a portion of it, He doesn’t want any other idles in our life.  The Bible says you cant serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). That word master means, “absolute sovereign God, or Lord over someone’s life.”

(c)         A lot of times things can come in and grip our hearts and we put so much time, energy and effort in those things because they are “for ourselves” and “for our own name.”

f)          And the crooked places shall be made straight—those places of deception.

(1)        Deception—

(a)         Maybe some of them aren’t necessarily against the Bible, but you know the Holy Spirit’s been saying, “I Want you to stop that!”

(b)        He want’s to straighten out some areas that God’s telling you, “That can’t be a part of your life if your going to serve Me fully.”

·         He may not be placing that upon other people’s lives but He has been speaking that directly to your hearts, saying,  “Set that toy aside and walk with Me!”

·         He’s calling for that utter obedience and allegiance that this other thing is taking up.  It may not even be sinful, just a little bit not quite straight, and the Lord is saying, “Set that aside, I want a full straight shot right to your heart, I want you entire heart given over to Me.”

(c)         Read “others may, you cannot”

(2)        Make the most of every opportunity—

(a)         What I believe the Lord is speaking to some of us, maybe many of us, is that it’s time to be more serious about the “things of the kingdom of God.”

(b)        Not in a legalistic fashion saying, “You can do this and you can’t do that,” because our relationship and our devotion to Jesus Christ needs to be out of Love (2 Corinthians 5:14; 8:9; Luke 7:42-47).  The Holy Spirit will come along and say, “This needs to stop, your putting to much time, and energy or effort into this,” and He lets you respond. 

(c)         The Holy Spirit is not saying you cant do that because its found in the Bible that your sinning, but yet to give your heart over to Him a little bit more.  He’s asking you to give those things over to Him.

(d)        So I say, “LET’S YEILD TO THE LORD IN THOSE AREAS” and I believe we will find the fullness of what He has for us.

g)        And the rough ways made smooth—the way we would treat each other

(1)        application for the marriage relationship

(a)         the harsh words that we would speak that are not edifying

(b)        a tenderness toward our spouses

(c)         The words to our children, God want’s our children protected as well.  He wants discipline, training them in the ways of the Lord, but also we need not to vent anger toward those precious little lives that Jesus loves, but a tenderness of heart, leading these little ones in the way of the Lord.

(d)        Our speech to one another—No Gossip

(2)        An endeavoring to keep the unity of the bond of peace.  This is very fragile, it doesn’t take much to break it, just one rough word that can get around about somebody, and “boom” its like a dagger going into the heart and then there’s that separation.

God would want us to be tender and kind towards one another and as we do that…

h)         And all flesh shall see the salvation of God—our preparation \ God’s working in the midst

(1)        As the people prepare themselves that way God’s going to work in the midst of them.

(a)         They’re going to see the things that God’s sowing in their hearts, the desires.

(b)        But it starts with us responding to, the voice I believe being the Spirit of God, by saying,

·         “Lord we want to humble ourselves, we want to deal with these areas that your convicting us on, repent of obvious and known sin because you’re about to bring something good to our life.”

·         “You’re about to use us in a greater way and we want to be a part of that.”  So even down to the smallest little detail of our life, “Lord line our hearts us up with what you want to accomplish.” 

     As we have been studying on worship, there’s been a passage of Scripture that’s been coming over to my mind and heart and I do believe it does relate to “Holiness.”  And if we are going to continue to grow in the area of worship there needs to be a holiness about our life or it would be a mockery wouldn’t it?

     Because worship isn’t about coming to church and singing and rejoicing its much more than that as you well know.

The Beauty of Holiness

A.       Praising the Beauty of Holiness

1.    2 Chronicles 20:21

 

a)         And who should praise the beauty of holiness

(1)        I remember hearing that passage a long time ago and it was like one of those, “what does that mean, ‘beauty of holiness’?”

(2)        Something happened as God was beginning to do things in the area of worship.

(a)         He started working in my heart, to worship Him, and have more of an appreciation of how awesome and holy He is.

(b)        And really up to that point I could say that in my life when I would think of God’s holiness it would be something that would cause me to take a step back, saying, “God your Holy and I’m not.”  It really wasn’t something beautiful it was maybe something more scary. 

(c)         As I began to worship a lot of the songs started stressing the holiness of God, I believe it was the Holy Spirit bringing these songs to me.  As I was singing these songs of holiness I just could not express it enough.  It was like “I’m saying this, but Lord you’re much holier than the words that I could express.”

Then…

(1)        God started working in my own heart

(2)        In the privacy of my own thought life

(3)        God began to, I believe, make some breakthroughs in my own heart giving me a greater hunger and thirst for the things of God, a greater hunger and thirst for righteousness. 

And then when that happened it was like holiness…

(1)        No longer became something I wanted to back away from.

(2)        Was something I wanted to embrace

(3)        Was something I wanted to declare about the nature of God

(4)        Was something I wanted to praise Him for

(5)        Was something I began to rejoice in was the holiness of God and it became beautiful for me really for the first time in my Christian life.

B.       Application for the Church

 

1.    Are you living a holy life?

a)         In the Midst of Worship

(1)        If your in our midst and your not able to worship it could be that your just bound by tradition and your fearful to lift your hands or to lift you voice, that could be it.  But I think deeper at the recesses of what God is doing here, if your not living a holy life, if your not pursuing with all your heart after the things of God, your not going to be able to worship in the way that were worshiping because it’s a mockery.

(a)         Jesus said He wants us to worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  Part of that truth is who God is, part of it is I’m being truthful with the things that I am saying.

b)           A Love for Holiness

(1)        If you don’t have a love for holiness, if you don’t have a love for holiness in your own life, and understanding of how holy, and perfect and awesome God is, you’ll never really enter in to the beauty and the fullness of what worship is all about.

(2)        But when your able to embrace God’s holiness and understand that He is holy, and your longing for it in your own heart you’ll see a beauty about it, and worship will just explode out of your heart.  It will be something you can not hold back. 

c)         Progressing in Holiness?

(1)        We can get the most anointed, talented musician’s, worship leaders and singers up on this stage, but if we don’t progress in the area of holiness, there is going to be something lacking at the heart of our worship that would not be honoring to God.

We need to be a people “who should praise the beauty of holiness.”

(1 Corinthians 16:29,30; Psalm 29:2; 96:9)

Spurgeon  

                This is the only beauty, which He cares for in our public services, and it is for one, which no other can compensate.  Beauty of architecture and apparel he does not regard.  Moral and spiritual beauty is that which His soul delights.  Worship must not be rendered to God in a slothful, sinful, superficial manner.  We must be reverent, sincere, earnest and pure in heart both in our prayers and in our praise.  Purity is a white linen of the Lord’s choirist’s, righteousness is the comely garment of His priests, holiness is the royal garment of His servants.

     We have come to a point and I believe our worship is honoring to the Lord, but I want it to be more honoring.  God needs to take our lives, transforms our lives and make us holy, as He is holy.  Then as He sees His holy servant’s worshiping Him, I believe His soul does take pleasure in that.

2.    The Heavenly Scene – Revelation 4:8-11

a)         Verse 8:

(1)        These are these created beings that are in heaven.  When we read them we think that these being may sound kind of gross, but I know that they are going to be beautiful creatures when we get there.  God is the Creator and whatever He creates is beautiful

Look what these beings do…they do not rest day or night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy…

 

(2)        There is something about people that is not able to describe that sort of worship that’s living a compromised life, an unholy life.  They may be able to sing the songs and they may be in the same worship service as we are, but its not going to be a praise that’s flowing from the heart.  Holiness is something that is declared of God day and night without rest. 

(3)        God cannot have unholy people trying to make these statements.

(4)        There needs to be that pursuing after holiness

(5)        none of us are ever going to arrive at being absolutely holy but you know the difference

(a)         when your worshiping and your worship is matching what’s in your heart verses

(b)        Living a compromised life then coming into church and trying to work up some sort of spiritual fervency up in the heart, it doesn’t happen. 

(6)        What the church service is designed to do is that you have been seeking God during the week, you have been in the Word He’s been speaking to you, and now with anticipation you cant wait to get there to be with your brothers and sisters to honor the Lord

·         there is a sense of expectancy because you have been walking with the Lord

·         now you want to proclaim His goodness, His holiness

·         that is true worship and only God can see that

·         And although I do believe we should be very active in our worship, it doesn’t mean anything unless we are pursuing after the things of God.

b)        Verse 9-11

(1)        The crowns may be some sort of rewards and the twenty four elders are humbling themselves saying, “We have no glory in your presence, we give it all to you,” “utter humility.” 

(2)        Notice they give glory and honor and thanks.

(a)         Worship is something you have to give to the Lord because He is worthy of it, are you going to give that to Him? 

(3)        Notice in verse 11that the Lord is worthy to receive.

(a)         He is ready to receive this sort of worship from His holy people.

(b)        He’s sitting back, He doesn’t change, He’s eternally the same, and no matter what’s happing He is worthy to receive such worship.

(4)        Everything is created for God’s pleasure, and what brings God pleasure hear in the Scriptures is for people to proclaim His holiness, to bow down, and to cast their crowns.  Any degree of dignity they may have is to be utterly humbled in His presence and to give Him glory, honor, thanksgiving, power, praise and the list goes on through the book of Revelation!

(5)        What you need to realize is that God is worthy of that praise all of the time and it doesn’t matter what is happening in your life, God is worthy of such praise isn’t He. 

(a)         It is kind of like the sun, the sun is always there its always giving off that radiant heat, it doesn’t change.  But at night it seems like it gets dark or during the day clouds could cover it up but its still they’re burning away.

(b)        That’s the same things with the Lord, you may have the circumstances come in and maybe you don’t sense the Lords presence, love or maybe you say, “Why aren’t you doing these things in my life Lord.”  But He is still on the throne and He has not changed, He is eternally the same and He is worthy of that sort of worship all the time.  And He wants us to give it to Him and that is what we will be doing in heaven, so let’s get some advanced preparation for heaven.     

3.    The Potters Hand

a)         Jeremiah 18:1-4, 11

(1)        I was greatly blessed to sing that song tonight, “The Potters Hand,” and I do believe it goes right along with what I want to say tonight.  I believe that is exactly what the Lord is calling us to is to submit our life up on that wheel and let Him fashion us anyway He pleases.

(2)        And again as your own heart, “YOU” have to set your heart to the Lord; He is not going to force it.  He is asking you to get up on this wheel and He is going to start spinning you and start fashioning you into something that is going to bring pleasure to Him. And our hearts just need to be yielded to that not fighting it.

b)        God taught Jeremiah something through the potter’s house.  

(1)        As it seemed good to the potter to make underline this phrase in your Bible (Verse 4).

(a)         Whatever God’s will is for you life, you submit to it and He fashions out of your life what He is desiring to.

(b)        He doesn’t want you to say, “God I have these wonderful plans for my life please bless them.” 

(c)         He wants you to say, “Lord what is it you have for my life anything that you want to do any way that you want to bring glory to Your Name, then so be it.”

Pastor Bryan Parish

I remember when we had Mike Rosel come out with his ministry “Pottersfield Ministries.”  As I was watching I was learning obvious truths from this passage of Scripture, and I thought, “Hey this is kind of how God treats us.”  When he first put that big lump of clay on the wheel, I thought that’s all we are is a big lump of clay, “brother lumpy.”  But Mike made something very beautiful out of that big lump of clay. 

When he started working he started spinning that wheel really fast.  And doesn’t that seem to be what happens with your life sometimes, things just seem to be going tough and fast and you say, “and Get me off of this thing!”  But I noticed as the wheel was spinning fast he wasn’t doing any detail work he was just kind of giving a general sort of shape to it.  So often when things are going crazy in our lives I think God is just doing a kind of general work, nothing detailed in our lives, but getting our lives submitted to Him.  So if things are hectic and haywire that’s because He is trying to get your attention.  He has to have your attention first then He can fashion your life.

So God uses all sorts of things in our life to get our attention, doesn’t He?  Then you say, “I didn’t realize how much I really needed Him”, now He’s got us and He can slow the wheel down.  Then when the wheel slows down you say “God is not doing much in my life,” but He is!  That’s when He is cutting deep inside the heart teaching you more valuable lessons, deeper lessons now that He has got your attention.  And a lot of times we don’t even notice the growth in our own life during those seasons, somebody else comes along and says, “Wow, the Lord’s really doing a mighty work in your life,” and you say, “well I really didn’t even notice that.”       

  

c)         Marred in the hand of the potter (Verse 4)

(1)        It was marred, there was a problem that was there and so He just started all over again. 

(2)        The Lord wants to take those areas that are marred or cracked, those areas of sin and He wants do dig then out and He want’s to re-fashion it into something that will bring Him more glory and honor. 

(3)        He is asking this of our lives tonight, right now, that we would just willingly get up on to that potters wheel and say, “Lord, do what you want, make my life bring glory and honor to You.  I have no desire for anything else, there is no love in my life greater than You, whatever you want for my life, here it is, start fashioning as You desire.”  

(4)        I believe at this point what the Lord is asking of us is to set our hearts towards the path of holiness, walking in a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord.  You say, “Well I am already doing that…”

(a)         Wouldn’t you say that there’s more growth that is needed as well? 

(b)        Maybe there have been some little areas that you have tolerated and the Spirit of God is saying tonight, “Those have got to go.” 

(c)         If you really want to see the fullness of what God want’s to do through your life and through this church, then lets get serious about “the things of the kingdom of God.”

(1)        You may be saying, “I’m not doing anything wrong.”  That’s not the point, are you:

·  Hungering and thirsting for righteousness?

·  Pursuing after the things of God?

·  Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

·  Can you really say, “that’s the center of my life, God has my attention and now I am allowing Him to fashion my life into whatever He is desiring to do”?

d)        Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you (Verse 11)

(1)        These people were stiff necked; they were not going to allow God to fashion their lives as He was wanting to so He says, “OK. I’ll let you learn the hard way, so I’m going to fashion a disaster against your life.”

(2)        God will allow you to learn through the disasters, or you can yield your heart to Him. I don’t know about you but I have had enough disasters having to learn the hard way.

(a)         The word “fashioning” in verse 11 is the verb form of the word “Potter.” 

(b)        God either wants to be a “Potter” and just put His hands upon you and mold your life or He will fashion something that will get your attention. It may be a disaster or it may be some sort of difficulty.  I don’t want to go down that route, I just want to say, “Lord, I surrender, my life is yours do as you please.” 

(c)         My heart has a tenderness towards what the Lord is wanting to do.    

4.    Psalm 32:3-9

In the beginning of the Psalm David speaks about the joy of forgiveness.

Verses 3-4

This is what happens when we hide sin and won’t repent God’s hand is upon us and it says, “my bones are growing old on the inside,” there is just a lack of life a lack of joy.

Verses 5-7

After David repents, God speaks to Him in verse 8.  I believe there is a change there from David describing him confessing his sin and God forgiving him and now the Lord says this…

Verse 8-9

After he repented God says, “Now I am able to direct you now that I got your heart.  I want to guide you with my eye, not like a horse or a mule that you have to have a harness around that you have to pull and tug on. 

        To guide with the eye that’s what the masters did with the servants, they were sitting there having a meal and the master had that certain look and the servant knew exactly what the master wanted.  So that servant was there ready to please the master, “just tell me what you want.”  You know the more you know somebody you know his or her looks, right?  Husbands and wives you have some looks that go across the dinner table, or when someone else is there, you communicate a lot don’t you? 

        God is saying, “I just want to look at you and your heart is saying, “O.K. Lord, what is it You want?”  “Whatever it is Lord I just want to please You.”  That is how simply God wants to lead us, ever so gently with His eye because your heart is so entwined just wanting to please the One that bought us with His blood.  To glorify Him with everything that’s within us, and God can so easily direct our lives as He gets our hearts.  And I believe He is calling us with that sort of tenderness with that sort of commitment and I believe it is a path towards walking in holiness.  And as we pursue this I think it will just foster and explode even more in the areas that were desiring the Lord to do things in.     

 II.               What the World Needs to Know

A.       Worship in the Bible

1.    The Concept of Worship Dominates the Bible.

a)         In Genesis, we discover that the fall came when man failed to worship God.

b)        In Revelation we learn that all of history climaxes in an eternal worshipping community in the presence of a loving God.

(1)        Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5 & called it the greatest commandment: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!   "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

(2)        The First of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20:2-5) is a call for worship.

2.    Worship was the focus of the people of God in the Old Testament; it covered all of life.

a)         The Tabernacle was designed & laid out to emphasize the priority of worship.

(1)        The description of its details requires seven chapters—243 verses.

(2)        Yet, only 31 verses in Genesis are devoted to the creation of the world.

b)        The Tabernacle was designed only for worship.

(1)        This is where God met His people & to use it for anything else but worship was considered blasphemy.

(2)        There were no seats in the tabernacle:

·         they did not go there to attend a service

·         they did not go there for entertainment

·         they went there to worship God

·         if they had a meeting for any other purpose they had it somewhere else.

c)         The arrangement of the camp suggests the worship was central to all other activity.

(1)        The tabernacle was in the center & immediately next to it were the priests, who led in worship.

(2)        A little farther out from the tabernacle were the Levites, who were involved in service.

(3)        Beyond that were all the tribes facing toward the center, the place of worship.

d)        The list of ceremonial offerings described in Leviticus 1-7 are all acts of worship.

(1)        The burnt offering was the most significant & unique of all offerings.

(a)         It was completely consumed—offered totally to God

(b)        Whenever the offerings are referred to in Scripture, the burnt offering appears at the beginning of the list.  Why?

(c)         Because, when anyone comes to God he is to come first of all in an act of worship where all is given to God.

(2)        The Incense offering (Exodus 30:34-38) & the prescription.

(a)         Incense is symbolic of worship in the scriptures

(b)        It fragrance rises into the air as true worship rises to God.

There is a warning found in (vv.37-38) – God says, “Here is a recipe for a special perfume emblematic of worship.  This perfume is to be a unique and holy perfume.  And if anyone dares to make this perfume for himself, just to smell better, I will kill him.”

Clearly, there is something so unique, so holy about worship that is utterly apart from anything else in the human dimension.  No man may take from God that which He has designed for Himself!

(3)        Our lives are to be like that perfume—holy, acceptable fragrant—ascending to God

(a)         Romans 12:1-2 & 2 Corinthians 2:15

(b)        The person who uses his or her life for any purpose other that worship is guilty of sin.

·         It is the same sin as that of an Israelite who misused the holy incense

·         This sin was so serious that under the law it was punishable by death (Ex.30:37-38).

B.       Four Kinds of Unacceptable Worship

1.    Worship of the true God in a self-styled manner.

a)         Nadab & Abihu the sons of Aaron the high priest (Lev.10:1-7).

(1)        In their first real function as priests, leading the people in worship, they offered “strange fire.”

(2)        They did not do what was to be done as priests, leading the people in worship.

(3)        They acted independently of the revelation of God regarding proper worship, & God killed both of them.

b)        King Saul (1 Samuel 13:8-14).

(1)        Saul decided to usurp the role of a priest.

(2)        He departed from God’s prescribed method of worship, and it ultimately cost his descendants the throne.

(3)        If you are in the music ministry, you need to make sure God has called you to this, do not be leading worship for your own desire to be seen by men!

c)         Uzzah the Kohathite (2 Samuel 6:1-7)

(1)        The Kohathites had one task, to transport the Ark of the Covenant.

(a)         One of the basic principles they learned was to never touch the Ark.

(b)        It was carried by poles pushed through rings and transported on their shoulders in a manner prescribed in (Numbers 4:5-6).

(c)         Numbers 4:15 says that it was to be covered carefully “so that they may not touch the holy objects and die.”

(d)        In disobedience to the divinely ordained method, he was allowing the Ark to be transported on a cart.

(2)        Uzzah endeavored to carry out a responsibility before God in a way that God had not given.

(a)         He may have seen his act as one of worship, but he defiled the Ark by the touch of his hand, and it cost him his life.

(3)        God will not accept abnormal worship.

(a)         Some would insist that any kind of sincere worship is acceptable to God, not true.

(b)        The Bible clearly teaches that self-styled worship is unacceptable to God.

(c)         No matter how pure our motivation may seem, if we fail to worship God according to His revelation, He cannot bless us.

2.    Worship of false God’s.

a)         There is not other God but the God of the Bible & he will not tolerate the worship of another.

(1)        Isaiah 48:11 God says, And I will not give My glory to another. (Isaiah 48:11).

(2)        Exodus 34:14 says, “You shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.   "You shall have no other gods before Me.   "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:2-6 NKJV)

b)        The world worships false gods, idols.

(1)        Everyone worships—even an atheist, he worships himself.

(2)        Romans 1:21-2:1 indicates all of mankind who ultimately faced judgment without excuse.

(3)        False gods may by material objects or mythical supernatural beings.

(a)         Job 31:24-28—describes a man who refuses to worship his material wealth.  If you worship what you possess, if you center you life on yourself, your possessions, or even your needs, you have denied God.

(b)        1 Corinthians 10:20—says that things offered to idols are really offered to demons.  Therefore, if men worship false beings, they are actually worshipping the demons that impersonate those false Gods. 

(c)         Acts 17:29—says that God is not like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by man.  We are made in God’s image, we are not silver, stone, or wood.  How could we think that our Creator would be such?

3.    Worship of the true God in a wrong form.

a)         God is not to be reduced to any image.

(1)        The Israelites worshipped the true God but reduced Him to an image (Ex.32:7-9)

(2)        Years later, as recorded in Deuteronomy 4:14-19, Moses said to the assembled Israelites,

"And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.  "Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, "lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, "the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, "the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth.  "And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.

(3)        When God revealed Himself to the Israelites, He was not represented in any physical form.

(4)        That is the true God of the Scriptures because God does not wish to be reduced to an image.

4.    Worship of the true God in the right way, with a wrong attitude.

a)         Malachi 1:7-10—God denounces the people of Israel for the inadequacy of their worship.

(1)        They were treating the matter of worship with disdain (contemptible), flippancy (v.7)

(2)        They offered blind, lame & sick animals instead of bringing the best they had (v.8)

(3)        God did not accept their worship because their attitude was not right (v.10)

b)        Amos 5:21 . . . Hosea 6:4-6 . . . Isaiah 1:11-15 was hypocrisy not worship. 

(1)        The offerings were empty—like many today, they were guilty of giving God the symbol, but not the reality.

(2)        If we eliminate all the false gods, all images of the true God, and all self-styled modes of worship, our worship will still be unacceptable to God if our heart attitude is not right.

·         When it comes time to give to God, do we give Him the best of all that we have?

·         Is our inner being filled with awe and reverence?

·         Does our heart have the right attitude? 

·         Is it lip service, done with words only (Isaiah 29:13)?

c)         Substituting Mans Ideas for the True Worship of God.

(1)        Matthew 15:1-9 cf. Mark 7:7– these people instituted ritual for worship that have been made by man.

(2)        The “religious” people of that day had invalidated God’s Word by substituting man made rituals, recitations, & postures in place of true worship of God.

(3)        These passages reveal that it is possible for man to bring worship to God in a inappropriate manner.

(4)        Remember, we do not worship God simply because it makes us feel good, but, because He is worthy!

(5)        The prayers & praises of God’s people go up to God like a fragrant aroma (Ex.30:9; Lev.16; Ps.141:2; Rev.5:8).

(6)        Yes, worship can make a person feel good, but the reason for worship is to please the Lord

May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the LORD. (Psalms 104:34 NKJV)

III.           Worship As It Was Meant To Be

Worship involves all that is inside a person, all that is outside a person, and all that takes place within the corporate assembly of God’s people.  William Temple defined worship this way: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

Worship is all that we are reacting rightly to all that He is.  What we want to do now is to get a view of acceptable worship and how it affects our lives, and that will walk us through many truths from Scripture.

Acceptable worship does not happen spontaneously.  Preparation is essential.  In a worship service, for example, the choir & worship team prepares, the preacher prepares his message, the other musicians prepare for their part & even the sound man prepares the settings for the sound board for all the instruments.  But the most important preparation of all is the preparation of the worshiper, and that is usually the most neglected of all. The issue is not how prepared the worship team is or the Pastor, but “how prepared I am.”  How does one translate all the truth about worship into preparation for worship?  Hebrews 10:22, a call to worship, gives rich insight into what kind of preparation God expects from a worshiper:

Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22NASB)

That verse suggests four checkpoints to test our readiness for worship & drawing near to God:

·                     Sincerity

·                     Fidelity

·                     Humility

·                     Purity

A.       Preparing To Worship

1.    Sincerity  “with a true heart”

a)         “undivided heart”

(1)        We must draw near “with a true heart.”  Acceptable worship requires a heart fixed on Him & His glory. 

(2)        Hypocrisy is fatal to worship.  So is double-mindness, & preoccupation with self.

(3)        We cannot rush into the presence of God with a heart that is not sincere.

a)         Whole heart devoted unto Him

2.    Fidelity “full assurance of faith”

a)         The Old Covenant. 

(1)        The writer of Hebrews was addressing people accustomed to the Old Covenant, they were trying to hang on to it.

(2)        The New Covenant had come, with new revelation in Jesus Christ, and the mysteries of the Old Testament were unfolding.

(3)        To worship God the Hebrews had to say no to the Old Covenant and its ceremonies, sacrifices, symbols, pictures, and types.  The Old was gone it was set aside.  A new and better had come, and they had to be willing to come to God in full confidence of the revealed faith of the New Testament.

b)        The New Covenant.

(1)        The New Covenant, in contrast to the old, is not a system based on ceremonies, sacrifices, and external obedience to the law.

(2)        It requires the worshiper to come to God fully assured that his access is by faith in Jesus Christ.

(3)        Worshiping in full assurance of faith simply is worshiping according to the truth that faith alone is the ground for acceptance by God.

Think About This. Too many people have divided loyalties. They do not have the full assurance of faith—full assurance that Jesus Christ is absolutely sufficient to present them perfect before God. Too many think that they are acceptable to God...

·                     because they are good persons and do a great deal of good works.

·                     because they belong to and attend church.

·                     because they think they are worthy.

·                     because of self-righteousness

·                     because they have been baptized and confirmed, rituals.

·                     because they have never done anything considered really bad.

All of these are good things, and every one of us should live good and decent, moral and just lives. But these are not what make us acceptable to God. Jesus Christ alone can bring us into the presence of God and present us to God. When we approach God, we must have full assurance of faith in Jesus Christ—absolute assurance that Jesus Christ is the sacrifice for our sins, the perfect High Priest who can present us to God.

Personal good works, worthiness, self-righteousness, rituals, and other good deeds of the flesh do not give us access to God.  The true worshiper must come only on the basis of his faith—That is fidelity.

3.    Humility “having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience”

a)         I come to God knowing that I am unworthy.

(1)        While we come to God confidently, in full assurance of faith, we must nevertheless come humbled because of our own unworthiness.

(2)        We must know that we have absolutely no right being there without purification by the blood of Jesus Christ, because our hearts are evil.

4.    Purity “let us draw near… having… our bodies washed with pure water”

a)         This is not referring to a literal washing of the body.

(1)        We cannot have our sins washed away by taking a bath!

(2)        This refers to the daily confession & spiritual purging necessary to deal with the sins of our humanness.

(3)        The sprinkling of the blood of Christ that happens at conversion is a permanent & complete cleansing of the life.

(4)        Our feet tend to pick up the dust of the world in which we live in.

b)        Christ washes the disciples feet – John 13:1-10

(1)        When Jesus came to Peter, Peter was going to refuse to let Him do it (v.8)

(a)         Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (v.8)

(b)        Peter responded, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (v.9)

(c)         Jesus said to Peter, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean” (v.10).

(2)        The daily confession and cleansing from the defilement of sins is a prerequisite to acceptable worship.  1 John 1:9 talks about “touch up cleansing”

B.       Worship That Overcomes the Barriers

1.    Worship of Repentance.

a)         David worshiped God in the midst of a tragic situation.

(1)        David committed adultery with Bathsheba, & had her husband murdered.

(2)        Bathsheba had a child as a result of their sin, & that child died.

(3)        David knew that God was punishing him, and this was David’s response:

So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped (2 Samuel 12:20).

(4)        David worshiped God even in the midst of God chastening him, because he knew he was receiving what he deserved.

(a)         Chastening always calls for praise. 

God chastens us because He loves us & our hearts ought to respond with worship.

(b)        Where there is no praise, where there is anger & bitterness against God, there has been no genuine repentance & confession of sin.

2.    Worship of Submission.

a)         Job accepted his place in life.

(1)        After Job received the news that he had lost everything including his family, he worshiped the worship of submission.  The Bible says;

Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. (Job 1:20).

(2)        God was not chastening him for sin like David—He was allowing Satan to test Job, yet Job said:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."   In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. (Job 1:21-22).

(3)        Many people are not able to worship God because:

·              they do not accept their places in life.

·              they do not accept their jobs, their careers, or other circumstances.

·              their response is bitterness, & they cannot worship.

Do you get bitter and angry with God for negative circumstance in your life?

(4)        When God brings negative circumstances in our lives, He always has a positive purpose.

·         Job was able to look beyond his present circumstances & see God’s good plan.

But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

b)        If we do not have problems we will not grow!

Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs, And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into captivity. Therefore his taste remained in him, And his scent has not changed (Jeremiah 48:11).

The people of Moab had had it so easy and so smooth that they had become rotten.  The analogy Jeremiah uses is from winemaking.  Winemakers in Jeremiah’s day put crushed grapes in a container and let them sit.  Eventually the bitterness and the sediment—called dregs, or lees—would settle into the bottom.  The winemaker would pour the wine off the top into another vessel, and the remaining bitterness would settle into the bottom of the second container in more sediment.  The he would pour that wine into another container, and another, and another—and over a period of time, all the sediment and its bitterness would be removed (they used to make vinegar), and the wine would have the aroma of sweetness that the winemaker wanted it to have.  Moab had never lost its bitterness, because the people had never been poured from difficult situation to difficult situation, where the bitterness could be purged out.

                We are better off in life if God pours us from trial to trial to trial, because each time we’re poured into a different trial, each time we’re confined in a different undesirable circumstance, a little of the bitterness if removed. 

                                                                John MacArthur, Jr.  The Ultimate Priority p.152

3.    Worship of Devotion.

a)         Abraham devoted himself to worship no matter what the cost – Genesis 22:3-5

(1)        Abraham was able to see this difficult circumstance as worship to God.

(a)         Abraham did not use the word “sacrifice” he saw beyond that.

(b)        He was devoted to worshiping God & was willing to pay the price that God wanted.

(c)         He saw beyond the barriers of pain, difficulty, and the loss of his son.

(d)        Some people do not worship God because they feel it may cost them a little sacrifice of time and effort.

C.       The Results of Worship as It was Meant To Be

1.    God is Glorified.

a)         Glorifying God is the most crucial element of worship.

(1)        “Worship” is ascribing glory to God, recognizing His glory & offering praise to Him for it.

(a)         God demands it – Leviticus 10:3 says:

 

“By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.”(Leviticus 10:3 NKJV)

2.    Believers are Purified.

a)         Worship demand purity.

(1)        A worshiping individual is a pure individual (Ps.24:3-4 cf. Ps.15:1-5)

(a)         Practical holiness. 

(b)        We must recognize our personal sinfulness & have a willingness to abandon that sinfulness.

(c)         A consuming desire to be pure and clean is the normal result of being with God.

(d)        The closer we draw to God, the more overwhelmed we become with our sinfulness.

3.    The Church is Edified.

a)         The Saints are built up and transformed.

(1)        Our Worship will not only affect us but the life of the church.

(a)         If your worship is acceptable, the church will be edified.

(b)        If your worship is unacceptable, the church will be weakened.

·         Acts 2:42-47 – A careful examination of the Book of Acts reveals that when the church was worshiping, they found favor with God, and the Lord added to the church daily, those who were being saved.

(2)        Edification does not mean we feel better, it means we live better.

(a)         The Lord purges, purifies, and builds up the church.

(1)        The quality of our worship is the key to our own holiness.

(2)        As the saints come together to worship the Lord, they become stronger both collectively and individually.

(3)        As this happens a transformation takes place (2Corinthians 3:18).

(3)        If the corporate worship in the church leaves people unchanged, the church is not worshiping.

(a)         Worship always results in a transformation, and the church is edified.

(b)        If what goes on in the church service does not spur the saints to greater obedience, call it what you will, it isn’t worship.

4.    The Lost are Evangelized.

a)         A worshiping individual will shine.

(1)        In holy intimacy, the true worshiper comes face to face with God, & is transformed by the glory.

(a)         Moses had an intimate relationship with God (Ex.33:11)

(b)        Afterwards, Moses’ face shone.

(2)        As the people of God worship together, their faces shine because they are in His presence!

(a)         This will have an impact on the people who do not know God.

(b)        All of our apologetics and evangelistic methods can never duplicate the impact of a true worshiper!

D.       Living In the Light

1.    Come to the Light – John 1:9-12

a)         There are those who reject the light – John 3:19-20

(1)        Love darkness rather than light

(2)        Deeds were evil

(3)        Hate the light

(4)        Will not come to the light

b)        There are those who receive the light – John 3:21

(1)        He who does the truth comes to the light.

(2)        His deeds are done in God

c)         The result of receiving the light

(1)        Become a child of the light – 1 Thessalonians 5:5

2.    Spend Time in the Light –  His Word

a)         The Positive

(1)        Believers must allow God’s Word to shine upon our hearts daily!

(a)         Psalm 119:105, 130 – able to walk without stumbling.

(b)        Proverbs 4:18-19 – the path of the just

(2)        Believers must spend time in His presence.

(a)         Moses – Exodus 33:8-23; 34:29

(1)        The Lord spoke to Moses as a friend speaks to his friend

(2)        The presence of the Lord was with Moses-Moses would not go without the Lord.

(3)        Exodus 34:29—Moses’ face shone from the presence of the Lord.

b)        The Negative

(1)        Believers must reflect the Light – The two lights.

(a)         The greater light (sun-Jesus) to rule the day.

(b)        The lesser light (moon-us) to rule the night.

(1)        We reflect the light of our Lord onto this dark world.

(2)        Ephesians 5:8 – For you were once darkness, but now [you are] light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

(c)         The eclipse

(1)        The world gets between the sun & the moon

(2)        The lesser light no longer shines.

3.    Live in light

a)         Believers must put on the armor of light

(1)        Romans 13:11-14

(a)         Putting on the armor of light also consists of the casting off the works of darkness.

(b)        Put on the Lord Jesus Christ – daily conduct

(c)         Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.

(2)        Philippians 2:15

(3)        Ephesians 5:18-16

4.    Proclaim the Light

a)         Speak in the light, preach on the housetops

(1)        Matthew 10:27

(a)         What I have taught you in privacy, go now and proclaim publicly.

(b)        This happens through prayer and the study of the Word – Quiet time.

b)        Preach the word.

(1)        2 Timothy 4:2

(2)        Romans 10:15 – And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (The harvest is plentiful the workers are few) As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

c)         Set our light on a candlestick  -- Matthew 5:14-16

IV.           Worship as a Way of Life

A.       Worship is the most Essential Element

1.    Real acts of worship must be the overflow of a worshiping life.

a)         Psalm 45:1, David says, “My heart is overflowing with a good theme.”

(1)        The Hebrew word for overflow means “to boil over,” and in a sense that is what praise is.

(2)        The heart is so warmed by righteousness and love that, figuratively, it reaches the boiling point. 

(3)        Praise is the boiling over of a hot heart—it is a reminiscent of what the disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning within us?”  (Luke 24:36). 

(4)        As God warms the heart with righteousness and love, the resulting life of praise that boils over is the truest expression of worship

b)        Worship is something that we give to God.

(1)        Modern Christianity seems committed to the idea that God should be giving to us.

(2)        God does give to us abundantly, but we need to understand the balance of that truth—we are to render honor and adoration to God—the consuming, selfless desire to give to God is the essence and the heart of worship.

(3)        It begins with the giving first of ourselves, and then of our attitudes, and then of our possessions—until worship is a way of life.

B.       Worship in three dimensions.

A key adjective, often used in the New Testament to describe proper acts of worship, is the word acceptable.  Every worshiper seeks to offer that which is acceptable, and at least three categories of acceptable worship are specified in Scripture. 

1.    The Outward Dimension – “Giving, a love that shares.”

a)         Sharing Love – How we behave toward others

(1)        Romans 14:18 says, “For he who serves [latreuo—rendering honor, or paying homage] Christ in these things is acceptable to God.”  What is the acceptable offering to God?

(a)         The context reveals that it is being sensitive to a weaker brother. 

(b)        Verse 13 says, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle (stumbling block) in a brother’s way.

·         When we treat fellow Christians with the proper kind of sensitivity, that is and acceptable act of worship. 

·         It honors God, who created and loves that person, and it reflects God’s compassion and care.

b)        Sharing the Gospel with unbelievers

(1)        Romans 15:16 implies that evangelism is a form of acceptable worship.  Paul writes that special grace was given to him “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable.”

(a)         The Gentiles who were won to Jesus Christ by his ministry became an offering of worship to God.

(b)        In addition, they who were won became worshipers themselves.

c)         Meeting the needs of people on a very physical level.

(1)        Philippians 4:18, Paul thanks the Philippians for a gift of money to help him in his ministry: Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

(a)         Here acceptable worship is described as giving to those in need.  That glorifies God by demonstrating His love.

2.    The Inward Dimension

a)         Personal Holiness.

(1)        Ephesians 5:8-10 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

(a)         In this context, he is referring to goodness, righteousness, and truth, saying clearly that to do good is an acceptable act of worship toward God.

b)        Doing Good.

(1)        1Timothy 2:1-3 – Paul is urging Christian to pray for those in authority in order that believers may live peaceful lives in godliness and dignity.

(a)         The final words in (v.2) are “godliness a reverence {dignity}.” 

(b)        Verse 3 goes on to say, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”

(c)         Verse 4 implies that living a life of doing good could lead to the salvation of unbelievers.

3.    Upward Dimension

a)         Thanksgiving & Praise – Hebrews 13:15-16  

(1)        Hebrews 13:15 says, Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

(2)        Verse 16 brings together all three categories of worship: “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

C.       Whole Life Worship

Our definition of worship is enriched when we understand that true worship touches each area of life.  We are to honor and adore God in everything.

1.    True Worship Touches Every Area of our Life

a)         Present ourselves as a living Sacrifice –  Romans 12:1-2

(1)        The mercies of God refers to what Paul has described in the first eleven chapters.

(a)         They take us from the wrath of God through the redemption of man, to the plan of God for Israel and the church.

(b)        The theme of those chapters is God’s merciful work on our behalf.

(2)        This is the starting point for all acceptable, spiritual worship, it to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice.”

b)        Offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through our Lord Jesus Christ – 1Peter 1:3-5

(1)        Peter gives a full & rich statement of what Christ has done for us.

(2)        Our response to that is in (chapter 2, verse 5): “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.

(a)         Because of what God has done for us, we are to be occupied with offering up acceptable spiritual sacrifices of worship to God.

c)         Showing gratitude – Hebrews 12:28-29

(1)        Verse 28 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken [again he is dealing with what God had done for us], let us have grace [showing gratitude], by which we may serve [is a form of latreuo—rendering honor, or paying homage} God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

D.       The Order of Priorities

1.    God’s Word confirms the Priority of Worship.

a)         Hebrews 11 contains a list of Old Testament heroes of faith.

(1)        Abel – His life echoes one word: worship

The single dominant issue in Abel’s story is that he was a true worshiper; he worshiped according to God’s will, and his offering was accepted by God. 

(2)        Enoch – His life may be identified with one word: walk

Enoch walked with God; he lived a godly life, faithful, dedicated life.  One day he walked from earth to heaven!

(3)        Noah – When we think of Noah, the word we think of is work.

He spent 120 years building the ark.  That is work—the work of faith.

b)        The order of priorities is: worship, walk, and work: the same order in the layout of the camp of Israel around the Tabernacle.

(1)        The Priests – those who’s function was to lead the people in worship, camped immediately surrounding the Tabernacle.

(2)        The Levites – whose function was service. 

The positions illustrated that worship was to be the central activity, and service was secondary.

c)         The same order was built into the Law of Moses.  Moses established specific age requirements for different ministries.

(1)        Numbers 1:3 – a young Israelite could serve as a soldier when he was 20.

(2)        Numbers 8:24 – a Levite could begin to work in the Tabernacle when he was 25.

(3)        Numbers 4:3 – says that to be a priest and lead the people in worship, a man had to be 30.

The reason is simple: leading in worship demands the highest level of maturity, because as the first priority in the divine order, worship holds the greatest significance.

E.       Our Priorities Must Be Kept in Perspective – Luke 10:38-42

1.    Spiritual Hunger—Character (v.38-39)

a)         Martha is the first person seen, & she has a highly commendable character. 

Therefore, it is important to see the strong points of her character, and to see what it was that caused a person who was so strong to fail.

(1)        Martha was a giving person—she gave lodging to Jesus & His disciples

(2)        Martha was a courageous person.

(a)         It was now dangerous to associate too closely with Jesus, especially around Jerusalem.

(b)        The authorities were seeking some way to kill Jesus (John 7:25, 30, 32).

(c)         Many of His own disciples had forsaken Him (John 5:66) and others were now speaking against Him (John 7:20, 43-44), even His own family had rejected Him (John 7:3-5).

(d)        Nevertheless, Martha welcomed Him; she was willing to let the world know of her devotion to Him.

(3)        Martha was a caring & loving person.

b)        Mary also had a commendable character.

(1)        She had a Devoted Love & a Sense of Humility

(a)         Nothing else mattered, she wanted  to be close to Jesus

(b)        She demonstrated her humility by sitting at His feet. 

(2)        She had a Spiritual Hunger for the Word of the Lord

(a)         She “heard His Word.” She sat there, fixing her eyes and attention upon Him.

(b)        She centered her mind upon what He said; listening and concentrating and hearing what He had to say.

2.    Service—Ministry, Murmuring—Complaining (v.40)

a)         Martha was distracted “with much serving.”

(1)        “Distracted”—means to draw around, to twist, to be drawn here & there, to be distracted.

(2)        She loved others; so she ministered to them, helping whomever and wherever she could, even using her own home as a center for caring.

(3)        But Martha had a problem:

(a)         She was “distracted,” loaded down with the cares and needs of others.

(b)        She became so weighed and burdened down, so tired and fatigued, so pressured and tense...

·         that she lost sight of her priority.

·         that she became aggravated and critical of those who were not helping.

b)        Material things, food & necessities & cares of this world could also distract Martha.

(1)        It was the things of this world—food, necessities, cares, and social entertaining—that had distracted her.

(a)         As any lady of the house would do, she felt a keen responsibility for taking care of the guests and meeting their needs.

(b)        When Jesus arrived, she naturally expected her sister to help with the preparation of the meals and lodging.

(c)         The problem in her mind was that even Jesus did not suggest that Mary help. Martha was disturbed with Jesus as well as with Mary.

(2)        Martha had a legitimate complaint, and that legitimacy points out the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His Word (Luke 10:39).

(a)         No matter how important anything else is, sitting at Jesus’ feet is the one thing that is to be given priority.

(b)        Martha had one basic essential in life: having her spiritual hunger fed with the Word of Christ Himself.

c)         Think about this!

(1)        Man needs food and necessities and some social entertainment. But he is not to be distracted by these. He is not to be choked by the cares of this world.

"Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. (Luke 8:14)

"And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. (Luke 12:29)

"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. (Luke 21:34)

“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:4)

(2)        We should serve and serve, working our fingers to the bone in meeting the needs of a desperate world. But we must not become distracted and burdened down to the point...

(a)         that the pressure gets to us.

(b)        that we become critical of others.

Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. (John 6:43)

Nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (1 Corinthians 10:10)

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15)

3.    The Greatest Need—Worship—Devotions—Quiet Time (v.41-42)

a)         Jesus loved and was tender toward Martha despite her failure.

b)        Jesus reproved her because she was “worried” about so many things.

(1)        “worried” has the idea of being:

·         inwardly torn & divided in two

·         distracted from what one’s mind, heart, & life should be focused upon.

(2)        “troubled” means to be disturbed, agitated, stirred up, ruffled.  

c)         Jesus said “One thing is needed.” What was the one thing?

(1)        He clearly said that it was the good part which Mary chose. And in the words of Scripture, “Mary...sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word.”

(2)        Martha’s mistake was failing to do what Mary did. She let “many things” distract her from her devotion to the Lord, from sitting at His feet and hearing His Word.

(3)        Note what Jesus meant by the “many things,” what it actually was that distracted Martha from her devotions:

·         giving lodging and food to those who needed such.

·         preparing the food for those who needed it.

·         serving the hungry.

·         making the needy comfortable.

(4)        Remember that Jesus was poor in worldly goods, having no place to lay His head, and apparently He sometimes had no money for food. Yet, He still stressed the spiritual over the physical.

d)        Jesus said that the “good part” chosen by Mary would not be taken away (cf. Matt.5:6).

4.    Our Devotion to Christ Must be a Daily Affair (Luke 9:23)

a)         Seeking to hear His Word is to be a daily experience.

(1)        Every believer should have what is commonly called daily devotions.

(a)         Jesus Himself arose early in the morning (Mark 1:35).

(1)      If Jesus the Son of God needed to spend time alone with God in prayer, how much more do we?

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. (Psalms 5:3)

Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. (Psalms 55:17)

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11 NKJV)   

"And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, (Deuteronomy 17:19)

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.   He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalms 1:2-3)

V.               Saved to Worship

A.       All of Creation is Responsible to Worship God.

1.    Worship is not optional.

a)         In (Matt.4:10), in response to Satan’s temptation, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13

(1)        In saying that to Satan, Jesus swept into the command every being created.

(2)        All are responsible to worship God.

(a)         Psalm 150:1-6; 134; 135:1-3; 145:1-7; 146:1-2

(b)        Psalm 147:1-2; 148:1-14; 149:1-6; 95:1-6; 96:1-10

(1)        Worship is commanded

(2)        Worship is physical

(3)        Worship is audible

(c)         Psalm 37:4 “Delight is incomplete until it is expressed”, “we praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise.”

·         Bowing low (Psalm 95:6)

·         Holy array and in trembling (1Chronicles 16:29-30; Psalm 96:9).

·         Putting your face flat to the ground (2Chronicles 20:18).

·         Those who dance (Psalm 149:3)

·         Clapping & shouting (Psalm 47:1)

·         Singing joyfully (Psalm 9:11)

·         Being still before God & meditating in the heart (Psalm 4:4; Isaiah 30:15) or being silent before the Lord (Psalm 65:1)

·         Lifting up your hands to the Lord (Psalm 63:4; 119:48)

·         Lifting your hand to God while at the same time bowing their faces low to the ground (Nehemiah 8:6)

2.    The foundation upon which true worship is based is redemption.

a)         The Father & Son sought to redeem us that we may become worshipers (Lk.19:10)

(1)        In (John 4:23) He reveals the purpose for His seeking.

(2)        The Father sent Christ to seek and save for the specific purpose of producing worshipping people.

b)        The object of redemption is making worshipers.

(1)        Our salvation is first of all for God’s benefit.

(2)        To escape hell & enjoy all of the eternal blessings of God is not the primary purpose for our redemption, this is a blessed benefit.

(3)        We have been redeemed so that God may receive worship—so that our lives might glorify Him.

(a)         Paul affirmed that when he described his purpose of evangelism (Rom.1:5) for his names sake, also the same is emphasized in (3Jn. 7).

(b)        This does not mean there is no blessing in salvation for the believer.

(c)         The blessing are an additional benefit—not the ultimate purpose

(d)        We are to seek to glorify God before we seek to gain anything from Him (Matt.6:33).

3.    Worship & the Cross of Christ (Psalm 22).

a)         According to (vv.22-23), to what end did Christ die?  For what purpose did He die?

b)        According to (vv.25-27), what is the right response to the death of Christ on our behalf?

(1)        Worship is the essence of the matter.

(2)        The only proper response to the saving death of Christ is the heartfelt expression of true worship.

c)         Isaiah’ Prophecy (Is.66:22-23), this is the goal & consummation of the Messiah’s work.  WORSHIP!

4.    The New Testament—the Messiah arrived, & the overwhelming response to Him was worship.

a)         Jesus Is Fully God & Is Worthy to Accept the Worship of Others.

(1)        He was worshiped as a small child by the Magi (Matthew 2:11)

(2)        He was worshiped in a boat by His disciples (Matthew 14:33)

(3)        A blind man (John 9:31-38)

(4)        A Samaritan leper (Matthew 8:2; Mark 1:4)

(5)        A Synagogue official named Jairus (Matthew 9:18; Mark 5:22)

(6)        A man possessed by demons (Mark 5:6)

(7)        A Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:25)

(8)        A repentant prostitute (Luke 7:38)

(9)        A Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25)

(10)     Lazarus’ sister Mary (John 12:3)

(11)     Others after His resurrection (Matthew 28:9, 17)

(12)     Serve (worship) God acceptably (Hebrews 12:28-29)

5.    Worship without end.

a)         Revelation 5:13-14 – What did the elders do?

b)        Revelation 11:15-17

c)         Revelation 14:6-7

(1)        Notice the angel’s message is called “the eternal gospel.”  What is the eternal message?

“Fear God, and give Him glory . . . and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth.”

(2)        John also records the words of the multitude who had been victorious over the beast:

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You (Rev.15:4).

d)        Revelation 19:1-4

e)         Revelation 19:10; 22:9 – What did the angel tell John to do?

Worship God – that is the everlasting gospel, the message that God has given from eternity to eternity.  It is the theme of Scripture, the theme of eternity, the theme of redemptive history—to worship the true and living and glorious God.  Before creation, after the creation, in eternity past, in eternity future, and throughout all time in between, worship is the theme, the central issue in all of creation.  John MacArthur, JR.The Ultimate Prioity p.31

B.       Who May Enter His Holy Hill?  Psalm 24:3-6

1.    Old Testament Picture of and Acceptable worshiper

a)         The one’s who have the right to go into God’s presence, to draw near are:

(1)        Those who have receive righteousness from God, those who are redeemed.

(a)         One does not become a true worshiper apart from redemption.

(b)        One who is genuinely redeemed becomes a true worshiper.

(c)         He is done with superficial religion and false gods and adores the living and true God.

b)        How you worship reveals your destiny because it manifests whether the life of God is within you and reflects whether you are acceptable to God.

(1)        Those who are acceptable have clean hands.

(a)         They live in obedience to God – they have been purified and made clean

(2)        Those who are acceptable have a pure heart.

(a)         Their motives and desires are right—they are a generation who truly seek God (v.6)

c)         We will fail, and at times our worship will be less than it should be.

(1)        Our goal must be to pursue glory for God as those committed and recreated to worship Him.

(2)        No believer is satisfied to offer worship that falls short of what God wants it to be.

d)        Romans 1:18-21 gives us a picture of those who refuse to worship God acceptably.

(1)        They will suffer eternal separation from His presence for their unbelief.

(2)        The essence of the condemnation is that they did not properly worship God

(a)         The emphasis is on (v.21), “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful.”

(b)        Mans condemnation can be traced to his failure to honor & glorify God as God.

(c)         If worship is the ultimate priority, not to worship God is the ultimate affront (insult, slap in the face, offense to God) & to worship God properly is the heart of the issue.   

2.    The mark of the believer (Philip.3:3)

a)         Paul is contrasting the Christian with the Judaizer.

(1)        The Judaizer taught that the mark of the believer was a physical mark—circumcision.

(2)        Paul taught that a Christ has a spiritual mark—“We worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” 

3.    What about you?

a)         A Christian is a worshiper of God.

(1)        A worshiper is not concerned with what he gets as with what he gives (worship).

(2)        He is not just seeking a blessing.

(3)        He is offering to God a sacrifice – the sacrifice of sharing, of doing righteously, and of praise.

b)        The basis for worship.

(1)        That which transforms and unacceptable worshiper into a acceptable worshiper is salvation.

(2)        If you are redeemed and are not now worshiping acceptably:

(a)         you deny the very thing for which you are redeemed

c)         Ask yourself these questions:

(1)        Do you worship God?

(2)        Is it a way of life for you?

(3)        Do you give God acceptable worship or unacceptable worship?

(a)         Scripture calls for worship

(b)        Destiny calls for worship

(c)         Eternity calls for worship

(d)        The angel call for worship

(e)         Our Lord commands it!

(4)        Are you a true worshiper?  As a true worshiper, is your worship all it should be?

VI.           The Beauty of Holiness

A.       Holy, Holy, Holy. 

Of all the attributes of God, holiness is the one that most uniquely describes Him and in reality is a summarization of all His other attributes.

1.    Holiness refers to:

a)         His separateness, His otherness, the fact that He is unlike any other being.

b)        It indicates His complete and infinite perfection.

c)         Holiness is the attribute [characteristic] of God that binds all the others together.

d)        When properly understood, it will revolutionize the quality of our worship

Revelation 4:8 the angels didn’t say:

a)         “Eternal, Eternal, Eternal,” or “Faithful, Faithful, Faithful,” or “Wise, Wise, Wise,” or “Mighty, Mighty, Mighty,”

b)        They said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty”

God’s Holiness is the Crown of all that He is.

a)         Exodus 15:11 the answer, of course, is that no being is equal to God in holiness.

b)        Holiness is so uniquely and exclusively an attribute of God that Psalm 111:9 says, “Holy and awesome is His name.”

B.       The Standard of Absolute Holiness – God Does not Conform to a Holy Standard

1.    He is the Standard.

  

a)         God never does anything wrong.

(1)        He never errs, or makes a misjudgment, He never causes something to happen that isn’t right.

(2)        There are no degrees to His holiness.  He is holy, flawless, without error, without sin, fully righteous, utterly, absolutely, infinitely holy.

2.    To be in God’s presence, one must be holy.

a)         This was demonstrated when the angels sinned

(1)        God immediately cast them out and prepared a place for them separated from His presence

(2)        Matthew 25:41 – When men choose not to come to God, when they choose to reject Jesus Christ, their ultimate end is to be sent to the place prepared for the devil and his angels, out of the presence of God.

b)        Imputed Righteousness (Phil.3:8-9)

3.    God’s holiness is best seen in His hatred for sin.

a)         God cannot tolerate sin; He is totally removed from it.

b)        Amos 5:21-23 records God’s strong words to those attempting to worship Him while polluted with sin

c)         Sin is the object of His displeasure.  God loves holiness (Ps.11:7)

C.       The Proof of God’s Holiness

1.    The Creation of Man

a)         Ecclesiastes 7:29 – in other words, when God made man, He made him to reflect His holiness.  Sin was mans rebellion against that purpose.

b)        Residual (remaining effects) of God’s holiness are still evident in man despite man’s sin.  

(1)        Man has an innate sense of right & wrong (Romans 2:15)

2.    The Moral Law

a)         One of the primary reasons God instituted the law under Moses was to demonstrate His holiness.

b)        When God laid down a legal standard of morality, He proved Himself to be a righteous, moral, holy being

c)         Romans 7:12 – “the law is Holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good”

3.    The Sacrificial Law

a)         When God commands that animals be slain as sacrifices & their blood sprinkled all over, we see in a graphic way that death is the result of sin (Rom.3:23).

b)        Every time the Jews made a sacrifice, they illustrated the deadliness of sin, and that stated by contrast the holiness of God.

4.    Judgment of Sin

a)         2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 cf. Jude 14-15

b)        God’s judgment on sin is a reflection of His holiness; He must punish sin because He is holy.

5.    The Cross of Christ – The Supreme Demonstration of God’s Holiness

a)         Matthew 27:45 – Throughout Scripture, darkness is connected with judgment (Is.5:30; Joel 2:2; Amos 5:20; Zeph.1:14-15).

b)        The darkness seems to signify divine judgment, this happened during the time when Christ’s suffering was most intense, in the last three hours before He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 

c)         Hebrews 9:26 – The Cross of Christ is where God bore man’s sin in the person of Christ

(1)        This is the greatest illustration of Holiness—His hatred of sin & power over it.

(2)        God paid the ultimate price necessary to satisfy His holiness THE DEATH OF HIS SON.

D.       Worship the Lord In the Beauty of Holiness

1.    A Worshiping Life must Affirm the Utter Holiness of God

a)         An acknowledgment and understanding of God’s holiness is essential to true worship

(1)        Psalm 96:2-6 describe acts or worship

b)        The key statement is in (verse 9): “Worship the Lord in holy attire; tremble before Him, all the earth.”

Holy attire means “the spiritual clothing of holiness”

Tremble before Him “implies fear” this is a fear that grows out of an overwhelming sense of unworthiness in the presence of pure holiness.

(1)        Genesis 18:27, Abraham confessed in the presence of God that he was dust and ashes.

(2)        Job said after his pilgrimage, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.   Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6 NKJV)

(3)        Ezra 9:5-6 records Ezra’s sense of shame as he came before the Lord to worship.

2.    Isaiah’s Encounter with God (Is.6:1-8)

a)         What He Saw (v.1b)

(1)        Unless we see God for who He is, we will never really be able to live for Him.

(2)        We probably won’t have a vision like Isaiah’s, nor will we ever read any messages in the sky, but we can hear His voice in the words of the Bible, and we can feel His presence in our lives.

(3)        We can observe His character incarnated in Jesus Christ, & we can experience His love in other believers.

“I saw the Lord” Isaiah writes. 

The Royal Presence is everywhere, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, the robes of God’s flowing glory filled the temple and enveloped Isaiah with radiating splendor.  He was standing before Almighty God!  And he saw angels hovering above the throne and heard their booming voices

b)        What He Heard (v.2-4)

(1)        The word seraphim is plural in Hebrew, so there could have been two or two thousand

(2)        Seraph means, “to burn”; these were angels of fire.  With two wings the magnificent beings shielded their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

(3)        From the crying of the angels back and forth saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts,” the sound resonated throughout the massive temple so that “the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke,” & in (v.5) is Isaiah’s response.

c)         What He Said (v.5)

(1)        All the “woes” in chapter 5 (v.8, 11, 18-19, 20, 21, 23) he directs to “those” but now he turns his finger of judgment upon himself: unable to face God’s holiness any longer, Isaiah finally cry’s out “Woe is me”!

(2)        In the brilliant light of God’s holiness, Isaiah sees his true self.  How unworthy he must feel his soul naked before the Lord, yet unless he recognizes the depth of his own sin he will not discover true humility.

(3)        He says, “I am undone!”  The Hebrew word for undone means “cease, cut off, destroy.”  We might say, “I’m finished,” or “It’s curtains, I’m done for!”

d)        What He Needed (v.6-7)

(1)        The burning coal of God’s judgment becomes the instrument of His grace. 

(2)        As the coal touches his sin-tainted mouth, he feels, not searing pain but purging release, Isaiah is forgiven!

e)         What He Did (v.8)

(1)        Note: this is the first time in the vision that God Himself speaks, and that the God of limitless power asking for volunteers!

·         God could have ordered Isaiah to serve Him

·         God could have shamed or manipulated Isaiah, but He doesn’t.

·         God calmly asks, then waits.

(2)        Isaiah has seen the Lord high & lifted up & holy, he has realized the depth of his own sin and experienced the forgiveness of his sin before a Holy God.

(3)        Flowing naturally out of a grateful heart (2Corinthians 5:14) is his eager response: “Send me!”

f)          Exit Isaiah – Enter You

(1)        God is asking us the same questions that He asked Isaiah (v.8)

(2)        Are you willing to say to the Lord “send me?”  He may not make you a fiery prophet like Isaiah nor send you to a foreign land as a missionary.

(3)        God just want’s to know if you are available to Him for whatever service He requires & that is the attitude of a winner in the Christian life

E.       Questions To Consider

If you struggle in this area, finding it difficult to surrender yourself completely to the Lord, here are a few questions with which to probe your heart:

1.    Is it that you have never seen the Lord holy and lifted up? 

·         The Lord probably won’t give you a vision like Isaiah’s, but He does long to reveal Himself to you in other ways—through worship, prayer, and Scripture.  As Isaiah’s vision teaches us, in order to say “yes” to God, we must first encounter Him in all His holy glory.

2.    Could it be that you are unwilling to leave your familiar and comfortable surroundings? 

·         They may provide you security, but think how much safety there is in the Lord.  Material things will pass away but God is always on His throne.  There is no greater comfort than depending wholeheartedly on Him. 

3.    Are you feeling to proud to commit your life to the Lord?

·         Maybe you want to sit on the throne, reigning like Uzziah over your own little kingdom.  One glimpse of God’s holiness and power should quench that desire.  Be like Isaiah instead of Uzziah and humble yourself before the Lord.

4.    Is there any sin you’ve been hiding, unwilling to confess?

·         Let the burning coal touch your unclean lips and purify your soul.  Then you will know the true joy of being forgiven.

F.        Whatever Happened to the Fear of God?

1.    True Worship does not enter into God’s presence unprepared & insensitive to His Majesty.

a)         Until we understand the Holiness of God, we will never understand the depth of our own sin.

b)        If we are not deeply pained about our sin, we do not understand God’s holiness, without this vision, true worship is not possible.

(1)        Worship is life lived in the presence of an infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His holiness and consequently overwhelmed with his own unholiness.

(2)        If you have never worshiped God with a broken and a contrite spirit, you’ve never fully worshiped God, because that is the only appropriate response to entering the presence of Holy God.

2.    Shallow Worship in Regard to God’s Holiness

a)         In the modern mind our relationship to God has become to casual, a buddy, buddy, type of attitude.

(1)        If we burst into His presence with lives unattended to by repentance, confession, and cleansing by the Spirit, we are vulnerable to His holy reaction. 

(2)        It is only by His grace we are breathing each day!  He has every reason to take our lives, for the wages of sin is death (Rom.3:23).

b)        There is much supposed worship going on today that does not genuinely regard God as Holy.

(1)        A lot of nice songs are being sung, nice feeling’s are being felt, nice thoughts are being thought, and nice emotions are being expressed, without a genuine acknowledgment of the holiness of God.

(2)        This kind of worship is psychological & fleshly not theological & spiritual.

G.      Reverence & Godly Fear

1.    A true worshiper comes into the presence of God in healthy fear.

a)         God punishes sin, even in those who are redeemed (Heb.12:6)

2.    The two key elements of acceptable worship (Heb.12:28)

a)         The word for serve is latreuo, a word for worship, and he lists two key elements:

(1)        Reverence and Godly fear

(a)         Reverence carries a positive connotation.  It describes a sense of awe, as we perceive the majesty.

(b)        Godly fear can be seen as a sense of intimidation as we see the power and holiness of God, who “is a consuming fire.”  That refers to His power to destroy, His holy reaction against sin. 

Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NKJV)

b)        Psalm 147:10-11

(1)        The kind of fear that we should have toward God is the kind of fear that is left over when we have hope of protection from whatever causes us to fear.

·         It would be like being caught in a life threatening storm, but finding safe harbor from that storm, but still appreciating the power behind that storm.

·         We must be aware of the great power of God.

·         God’s greatness is greater than the universe of stars and His power is behind the unendurable cold of the arctic storms.  Yet He cups His hand around us and says, “Take refuge in my love and let the terrors of My power be as a glorious source of awe and delight” (Heb.10:31).

c)         True worship demands the sense of God’s holiness & power, my sinfulness, and the cry for purging of sin.

H.       The Response to Jesus

1.    The presence of Jesus aroused a sense of fear in people.

a)         Many things contributed to this:

(1)        His authority was present (Matt.7:28-29)

(2)        His words were unique (Jn.7:46)

(3)        His works were undeniably of God (Jn.9:33)

(4)        His wisdom was superhuman (Matt.22:45)

(5)        His purity was undeniable (Jn.8:46)

(6)        His truthfulness was unquestionable (Jn.18:23)

(7)        His power was astounding: He fed the multitude, cast out demons, and spoke to a fig tree, causing it to die on the spot.

(8)        Even when He was a boy the teachers were shocked when He spoke (Lk.2:46-48)

(9)        His knowledge was beyond anything the people of His day had ever known (Jn.7:15) 

b)        Many were fearful when they faced the reality that He was God.

(1)        The disciples crossing the lake (Mk.4:37-41)

(2)        Jesus encounter a man possessed by a legion of demons (Mk.5:17)

(3)        The woman with the flow of blood for twelve years (Mk.5:21-34)

(a)         The word “trembling” is the word used in the Septuagint to describe the shaking of Mount Sinai when God gave the law.  She really shook!  She was terrified.

(b)        A sinner in the presence of the Holy God should be.

(4)        Peter falling at the feet of Jesus realizing his own sinfulness when confronted with the power and presence of Holy God (Lk.5:1-11).

(a)         The true worshiper of God comes in that Spirit, he or she is broken over his or her sinfulness.

(b)        A true worshipping life is a life of contrition [brokeness] (Ps.34:18; 51:17; Is.57:15; 66:2).

(c)         It is a life that sees sin and confesses continually (1Jn.1:9)  

I.          God’s Grace Does Not Cancel His Holiness

1.    We have lost the fear of God because we take His grace for granted.

a)         Adam & Eve ate from the tree, but God demonstrated His grace (Gen.2:17) they did not die that day.

b)        The law called for the death of adulterers, blasphemers, and even rebellious children.

(1)        But many in the Old Testament violated God’s laws without suffering the death penalty.

(2)        David committed adultery & murder, but God didn’t take his life, for God was gracious.

c)         We are alive & breathing today because God is merciful.

(1)        Instead of accepting the mercy with great thankfulness and keeping the perspective of fearing God, we begin to get use to it.

(2)        When God does punish sin, we think He’s being unjust.

d)        Some suggest that we shouldn’t teach the Bible to children because the God it speaks of is too violent.

(1)        What kind of God would snuff out the life of a man simply for touching the Ark?

(2)        Why would God command the Israelites to destroy all the people living in Canaan?

(3)        What kind of God would cause a bear to destroy a group of children for making fun of a prophet’s baldness?

(4)        What kind of God would open the ground and swallow up people?

(5)        What kind of God would drown the whole world?

2.    We are so used to mercy that we think God has no right to be angry with sin.

a)         Romans 3:18 sums up the world’s attitude.

 

Why did God take the life of certain people in the Bible?

Not because they were more sinful than anyone else; but because somewhere along the line the process of grace and mercy, God had to set some examples to make man fear.

The Romans did this by hanging the criminals on a cross out side of their city, in order that people coming into their city would see that if you are guilty of a crime that this is what could happen to you.

a)         Lots wife was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen.19:26 cf. Lk.17:32)

b)        The Old Testament has examples for us for our own instruction (1Cor.10:1-14).

c)         God is gracious & merciful, but He also has the right to take at any moment our life.

(1)        Do not ever get to the place that you are so used to God’s mercy and grace that you abuse it by going on in your sin.

(2)        Or that you question God when He does what He has every right to do against a sinner.

Why is it that God has not done the same to you and me?

God, by His mercy and kindness to us, is often actually bringing us to the point where we see His love for us and our need of repentance (Romans 2:4).

God is a living, eternal, glorious, merciful, holy being, His worshipers must come in the contrition and humility and brokenness of sinners who see ourselves against the backdrop of that holiness. 

a)         We are to live in confession, repentance, and turning from our sin so that our worship is that which fully pleases God.  We dare not go rushing into His presence in unholiness.

b)        We cannot worship God acceptably except with reverence and godly fear, and in the beauty of holiness. 

c)         We must return to the biblical teaching of God’s utter and awesome holiness in order to be filled with the gratitude and humility that characterize true worship.

VII.        Worship’s Place in a Congregational Service

A.       Praise and Worship

1.    Definition’s of praise & worship

a)         Worship – the reverent love and allegiance accorded a deity, idol, or sacred object. 

(1)        Shashad – to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall flat, to make obeisance, to worship (Ps.95:6).

(2)        Proskuneo – to turn toward, to kiss, to kiss the feet (John 4:24)

(a)         Ardent, humble devotion.  To love or pursue devotedly. 

b)        Praise – an expression of warm approval or admiration, strong commendation. 

(1)        Yada – to revere or worship with extended hands.

(2)        Towdah – an extension of the hand in adoration or avowal.  A sacrifice or praise or thanksgiving.  Specifically, a choir or worshipers.  (Ps.42:4) remember the word “multitudes” here.

(3)        Halai – to shine, boast, rave, celebrate, to make a show, to be clamorously foolish (Ps.150).

(4)        Shabach – to address in a loud tone, to commend, to triumph, praise, glory, shout (Ps.63:3).

(5)        Barak – to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration (Ps.95:6).

(6)        Zamar – to touch the strings, or parts of a musical instrument.  To play instruments, to make music, to sing forth praises (Ps.57:7; 108:1).

(7)        Tehillah – to sing, to laud (Ps.40:3).

·         To extol, exalt, or worship. 

·         To express one’s esteem. 

·         To acclaim or pronounce one or something on has done as worthy of honor.  Often used literally to mean actual applause or cheering. 

·         To extol suggests resounding praise in a lofty style. 

·         To proclaim excellence, often repeatedly or excessively. 

·         To laud expresses respectful tribute given formally and decisively.

·         Sincere, heartfelt expressions of praise and worship specifically directed toward the true and living God as modeled in the Scriptures 

c)         Is Worship Different that Praise?

(1)        Praise describes the physical, outward act.

(2)        Worship describes the inward, intimate, heart felt act.

·              Praise is the outward expression of the inward worship.

·              True worship will give birth to expressions of praise.

d)        John 4:23-24

(1)        Both really relate strongly to our hearts and our minds.

(2)        In Spirit:

(a)         The word spirit in verse 24 refers to the human spirit, the inner person

(b)        Worship is to flow from the inside out.

(1)        It is not a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right clothes, with the right words, the right music, and the right mood. 

(2)        Worship is not an external activity for which an environment must be created; it takes place on the inside.

(3)        David worshiped God in his spirit (Ps.45:1 cf. 103:1)

My heart is overflowing with a good theme (Psalms 45:1)

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Psalms 103:1)

(4)        David comes to God in repentance with a broken spirit & a contrite heart (Ps.51:15-17).

“O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.   For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.   The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:15-17).

(c)         God is Spirit – our spirit connects and communes with the Holy Spirit.

(d)        We respond to who God is through our spirits, from the whole of our inmost being.

(3)        In truth:

(a)         We should mean it, or it isn’t truthful worship.

(b)        Worship is a response built upon truth; truth is a prerequisite to acceptable worship!

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalms 145:18).

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalms 86:11).

“Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" (John 18:38)

"Your word is truth” (John 17:17)

 

If we are to worship in truth and the Word of God is truth,

we must worship out of an understanding of the Word of God.

B.       The Whys Whens, Wheres, and Hows of Praise.

1.    Why should I praise God?

a)         Jesus Himself sings praises to God in the midst of the assembly – Hebrews 2:12

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." (Hebrews 2:11-12)

Jesus made the way for each of us to come into the presence of God and to become a part of the kingdom of God by tasting death for us. He bore our sin and our iniquity, purged us Himself from our sin. Now He presents us as brethren, joint heirs with Him, unto the Father that we may share together with Him the glory of God's Eternal Kingdom. No wonder David said, "What shall I render unto God for all of His blessings unto me."

When I think of what Jesus has done for me. What can I do for Him to show my thanksgiving, my appreciation for His tasting of death for me, by bearing the guilt of my sin and taking the penalty that belonged to me. And then He granted me the glorious privilege of being an heir with Him of God's Eternal Kingdom.

What in the world can I render unto God to show my appreciation for such things? I feel such a beggar sometimes. I have nothing to offer Him. He has done all for me and I have so little to give to Him. But all He wants is that I just give Him my heart and my life. That means more to Him than any "bucks" which I might drop in the plate. Just give Him yourself, your love, spend some time with Him. Turn off your T.V. and spend some time with Him is all He asks. He wants to Fellowship with us, but we even fail in this.

                                                                                                                Pastor Chuck Smith

b)        It is commanded.

(1)        Psalm 117:1 (Paul quotes this in Romans 15:11)

(2)        Psalm 150:1

(3)        Psalm 134

(4)        Psalm 135:1-3

(5)        Psalm 145:1-7; 146:1-3; 147:1

(6)        Psalm 148

(7)        Psalm 149

(8)        Psalm 95:1-6

(9)        Psalm 96:1-10

(10)     Psalm 30:11-12

c)         God is worthy of our praise

(1)        Revelation 4:11

d)        We were created to praise God

(1)        1Peter 2:9

(2)        Isaiah 43:21

e)         It’s good to praise God

(1)        Psalm 92:1

(2)        Psalm 135:3

f)          There’s power in praise – it helps us focus on God

(1)        2Chronicles 20:19-21

2.    When should I praise God?

a)         All times

(1)        Psalm 34:1 – all times means ALL TIMES!

(a)    when we feel like it (James 5:13)

(b)   when we don’t feel like it (Job 1:21)

·         Our emotions can and should show up in our praise, but our feelings our secondary.

·         Praise is a sacrifice, and act of the will.

3.    Where should I praise God?

a)         Everywhere

(1)        In the congregation (Ps.22:22,25)

(2)        Before all men and nations (Ps.96:3)

(3)        Even after being beaten & put in prison “Paul & Silas” (Acts 16:25)

4.    How should I praise God?

a)         Praise is physical

(1)        Lifting our hands

(a)         This is a symbol that shows us receiving everything God is doing in our lives, or a visual opening of our hearts to God, like baptism is a symbol of our salvation.  A football player stretches out his arms to catch the ball – when we lift our hands, it shows a willingness to accept and receive all that God has for us.

(b)        Vulnerable & unprotected posture – shows trust!

(c)         Child reaching to the Father.

(d)        The natural desire to reach up to God for help as well as surrender.

·         Ezra 9:5 – he fell on his knees & spread out his hands

·         Psalm 28:2 – when I cry out I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary

·         Psalm 63:3-4 – my lips will praise you, I will bless you, & lift up my hands in Your name

·         Psalm 119:48 – lifting up my hands to His commandments which I love & will meditate on

·         Psalm 134:1-3 – lift up your hands to the One who made the heaven & earth

·         Lamentations 2:19; 3:41 – cry out to the Lord while pouring out your heart lifting your hands

·         1Timothy 2:8 – without wrath & doubting

·         Nehemiah 8:6-7 – the people answered “Amen” while lifting their hands, bowing their heads with their faces to the ground.

(2)        Clapping hands

(a)         This is not meant to merely keep the beat like a drummer

(b)        It is another form of making a joyful noise unto the Lord

·         Ps.47:1 – all people should clap their hands, for He is awesome & is the Great King!

(3)        Kneeling & Bowing down

(a)         This should be natural & focuses on humility

·         Psalm 95:6 – let us worship & bow down kneeling before the Lord our God our Maker

·         Revelation 4:9-10 – this is the heavenly scene before our Great God

·         Revelation 5:8, 14 – falling down before the lamb of God & worshiping Him

·         Revelation 7:11 – falling on our face before the throne of God worshiping Him

(a)         This is the first act of worship Jesus received

·         Matthew 2:11 – the Magi worshiped Jesus NOT MARY!

·         Mark 15:19 – the soldiers mocked Jesus [ how horrifying it is going to be for these men the day the stand before the one whom they mocked!]

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11)

(4)        Dancing

(a)         Exodus 15:20-21 – Miriam & all the woman danced after crossing the Red Sea

(b)        2 Samuel 6:14-16 – David danced after recovering the Ark [more to say on this later]

(c)         Psalm 149:3 – praise His name with dance

b)        Praise is audible

(1)        Singing

(a)         Psalm 47:6

(b)        Psalm 100:1-2 – make a joyful shout… come before His presence with singing

(2)        Speaking

(a)         Psalm 26:7 – proclaim with a voice of thanksgiving

(b)        Revelation 4:8-10 – the four living creatures say “Holy, Holy, Holy”… the twenty four elders say, “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

(3)        Shouting

(a)         Psalm 47:1 – shout with a voice of triumph

(b)        Psalm 66:1 – make a joyful shout

(c)         Psalm 95:1 – shout joyfully

(d)        Psalm 98:4-6 – shout, break forth, rejoice, shout joyfully

(e)         Psalm 100:1-2 – sing & shout joyfully

(f)          Psalm 132:9 – shout for joy

(g)        Ezra 3:10-11 – they shouted with a great shout, a shout of joy

(4)        Other references

(a)         Psalm 46:10; Habakkuk 2:18-20; Revelation 3:19  – being still

(1)    There are no clear statements of Scripture that focus on both the idea of silence/quietness during worship and praise.

(2)    There are clear statements of Scripture about NOT being quiet during worship

·         Luke 13:37-49 – “the stones will cry out”

·         Psalm 66:1 – “shout for joy to the Lord”

(b)        Psalm 108:1 – with all my glory, or with the best of my ability

(c)         Psalm 109:30 – with my mouth: I will, it is an act of the will.  This is not just during a chorus but offering up words of worship.

(d)        Psalm 149:5 – on our beds – at night before you go to sleep

(e)         Psalm 150 – with many different instruments

(f)          Hebrews 13:15 – a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips

(g)        Colossians 3:16 – we can minister to each other through Psalms & Hymns, grace in your hearts.  This all starts with the WORD OF CHRIST DWELLING IN YOUR RICHLY & THIS WILL ONLY HAPPEN IF YOU MAKE THE TIME TO READ THE BIBLE!

(h)         Ephesians 5:19 – the same truth: making melody in your hearts & singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. (Psalms 111:1)

I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You. (Psalms 138:1)

C.       Examples of Worship in the Bible

1.    David rejoices over the Ark – 2 Samuel 6:12-23

a)         David danced before the Lord with all his might (v.14)

(1)        David was not worried who was watching him.  He danced and celebrated “before the Lord” not before the people (v.21).

(2)        If you are a leader, people will watch you and follow you, therefore, all leaders-people, must be true worshipers before God not caring what others think.

(3)        David wanted to be humble in the sight of God (v.22)

(4)        Finally, David’s “dancing” is on now way an excuse for modern “dancing”; for his actions were done before the Lord to glorify God.

b)        Michal despised David (v.16, 20-23)

(1)        There are many reasons to give for her despising David

·         She resented being married to her father’s armorbearer as the “prize” for victory against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25).

·         She resented the fact that David had other wives (see 3:2-5; 5:13-16), all of whom were chosen after here marriage to David.

·         Her father had died shamefully, and his enemy now reigned victoriously over all Israel.

(2)        She was an unbeliever and did not understand or appreciate the things of the Lord

·              1 Corinthians 2:14 – the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit

·              1 Samuel 19:13 indicates that she worshiped idols

·              Her harsh words to David after a great time of praise must have cut him deeply.

·              It is usually true that Satan has a “Michal” to meet us whenever we have been rejoicing in the Lord and seeking to glorify Him.

·         Her wicked words revealed a wicked heart.

(3)        Do you despise others when you see them worshiping the Lord with all their heart?

·         What are you looking at them for, you should be worshiping God.

·         If you criticize others it only reveals your wicked heart!

·         Revelation 4:9-11 – not distracted by the person next to them-they were focused on God.

2.    Jesus contrasts the attitude of the repentant and self-righteous

a)         The woman anoints Jesus’ feet – Luke 7:36-50

(1)        The attitude of the repentant

(a)         This was an act of worship—the attitude of a repentant heart.

·         She sensed a desperate need for Jesus…do you?

·         She approached the Lord despite all… are you worried about what others think?

·         She surrendered to the Lord in utter humility… have you humbled yourself before God?

·         She loved much giving her most precious possession

(a)         The person who comes to Christ must give up all

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.   Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8 NKJV)

(b)        The person who comes to Christ must come with a broken and contrite heart

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18 NKJV)

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15 NKJV)

For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist," Says the LORD. "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2 NKJV)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalms 51:17 NKJV)

b)        The Scoffer

(1)        The attitude of the self-righteous

(a)         The man considered himself better than the sinful woman

(b)        He sensed no need for forgiveness & repentance

·         He was good enough in religion

·         He was good enough in behavior.

There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. (Proverbs 30:12 NKJV)

Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: `This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Mark 7:6 NKJV)

Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 NKJV)

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.   "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank You that I am not like other men----extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.   `I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'  "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!'   "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5-7)

c)         Questions to consider

(1)        Do you give God your all?

Worshipers are givers.  She gave costly perfume (v.37)

(2)        Do you weep over your sin with a broken heart and contrite spirit?

Her heart was deeply stirred before God—she was weeping, a brokenness and tears (v.38).

(3)        Are you a worshiper?

She kissed Jesus’ feet (v.38).  The definition of worship—Are you a worshiper?

(4)        When you worship do you focus your attention of Jesus or do you look at others and scoff at them?

She was not worried about others, she was focused on Jesus only.

VIII.    Glory to God in the Highest

A.       What is God’s Glory?

1.    Definition

a)         Excellence and praiseworthiness set for in display (glory shown) exaltation; brilliance; beauty

b)        Honor & adoration expressed in response to this display

(1)        In His acts of creation, providence & grace God shows His glory:

(a)         Glorifying Himself—(Is.44:23; Jn.12:28; 13:31-32)

(b)        His son—(Jn.13:31-32; 17:5; Acts 3:13; cf. 1Pet.1:21)

(c)         His servants—(Rom.8:17-19, 30; 2Cor.3:18)

c)         Seeing this, His worshipers give Him glory, ‘glorifying’ Him by:

(1)        Praise, thanks, obedience, and acceptance of ordered suffering for His sake.

(a)         Jn.17:4; 21:19; Rom.4:20; 15:6, 9

(b)        1Cor.6:20; 10:31; 1Pet.4:12-16

2.    God’s Glory has two aspects:

a)         “Inherent; intrinsic glory”

(1)        Definition: God’s glory cannot be added to or taken away.

·              We don’t give it to Him; it is His by virtue of who He is.

·              God is the only being in all of existence who can be said to possess inherent glory

·              His glory is His being—simply the sum of what He is.

·              If no one ever gave God any praise, He would still be the glorious God that He is, because He was glorious before any beings were created to worship Him.

(2)        Men do not have “intrinsic glory”

(a)         Man’s glory is granted to him (Rom.8:17-19, 30)

(b)        If you take off a king’s robe and crown and put him next to a beggar who has had a bath, you will never know which is which. The glory of the king is external

(3)        Old Testament

(a)         God’s glory took the physical form of light

·         lightening (Ps.29:3)

·         the brightness of theophany (Ezek.1:27-29)

·         the bright cloud that led the Israel though the wilderness (Ex.40:34-38)

·         the annunciation to the shepherds & Paul’s conversion (Lk.2:9; Acts 7:55)

(b)        The Essence of God’s glory is His holiness & goodness.

(1)      Ex.33:18-34:8 cf. Is.6:1-5; Jn.12:41

(4)        New Testament

(a)         God’s glory is linked with His display of power,  wisdom and love in the death, resurrection, enthronement and mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ

(1)      Jn.12:23 ;13:31-32; Rom.6:4; 2Cor.3:7-11; 4:6

(2)      Eph.1:6, 12, 14, 17-18; Phil.4:9

(5)        God does not give His glory away nor share it in any sense (Is.48:11)

b)        “Ascribed Glory—giving God glory”

(1)        The Psalmist is urging us to recognize God’s glory, acknowledge it & praise Him for it.

(a)         Psalm 29:1-2

(b)        1Chronicles 16:23-29

(c)         Psalm 96:7-9

(d)        Titus 2:9-10 cf. Phil.1:21 – through godly behavior. 

(2)        Creation itself magnifies God (Ps.19:1 cf. Rom.1:21)

B.       Why Should I Give Glory to God?

1.    Because He made us.

a)         Psalm 100:3 – we tend to forget that & think that our accomplishments make us worthy of praise.

b)        As Creator, He alone is worthy to be glorified (Psalm 100:3 cf. Revelation 4:11).

2.    God made everything to give Him glory.

a)         The whole purpose of creation is to glorify God (Prov.16:4)

b)        God takes pleasure in His people giving Him glory willingly

This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise. (Isaiah43:21)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

c)         Unbelieving may not want to give God glory but they will.

(1)        Pharaoh was determined not to glorify God but God was glorified in Pharaoh’s destruction.

"And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:17 NKJV)

"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16 NKJV)

d)        One day all men will give God glory, willingly or unwillingly (Phil.2:9-11)

3.    God judges those who don’t give Him glory.

a)         According to Romans 1:21-23, lost men are condemned because they refuse & corrupt God’s glory.

“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God . . . and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man” (Romans 1:21-23)

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth----to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people----saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." (Revelation 14:6-7)

C.       Worship & God’s Glory

1.    True worshipers are to glorify God with a joyful, willing heart

a)         This begins at salvation by submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord (Phil.2:9-11)

b)        Whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God (1Cor.10:31 cf. Col.3:23-24)

(1)        Matthew 24:38-39 – their error was in doing these things with no thought of glorifying God.

c)         Jesus’ purpose in life was to bring God glory even if that meant death (John 8:50 cf. John 7:18)

(1)        1Peter 2:21 – Jesus set the pattern for every true worshiper!

(2)        This takes submission to the Father (2Pet.2:23) & humility (2Pet.5:5-6).

D.       Paying the Price

1.    Seeking to glorify God above all else can be costly.

a)         Exodus 32:1-29

(1)        Israel was stealing God’s glory right at the foot of the mountain by worshiping a calf.

(2)        The glory of God was at steak & those who wanted to defend it were called upon to perform a difficult task (v.27-28) & about 3,000 men died, a high price to pay for God’s glory.

God will not ask us to kill our loved ones for His glory, but He may ask us to forsake them. 

God will often call us to take unpopular stands on important issues.

The one who truly wants to glorify God

will be content to do His will at any cost!

 

(1)        Peter paid the high price of death by crucifixion to glorify God (John 21:18-19)

(2)        Peter wrote to suffering believers to encourage them to suffer for God’s glory (1Peter 4:12-19)

(3)        Paul underscored the same principle (Romans 8:18)

(4)        Jesus suffers when we suffer (Acts 9:9:4-5)

(5)        David takes every blasphemy against God as a personal blow to himself (Ps.69:9).

This is the mindset of the true worshiper of God, the one who has committed his or her life to the glory of God.

We are not to seek our own reputation or self-image, but for the glory & majesty of Almighty God, to whom we have devoted our whole being to worship.

This is the kind of life that is acceptable to God (Rom.12:1-2)

Glorify God right now by confessing Jesus as Lord (Phil.2:9-11)

IX.           How to Glorify God

A.       Confession of Sin

1.    1 John 1:9

a)         “confess” homologeo – comes from the union of two Greek words

(1)        homo, meaning “the same”

(2)        logos, meaning “expression”

(3)        Literally means “to express complete agreement”

(4)        Confession is fully agreeing with God about the responsibility for sin and the awfulness of it.  

b)        Confession of sin is worship

(1)        When we confess our sins, we are:

·         humbling ourselves before God

·         acknowledging His holiness

·         experiencing His faithfulness & righteousness in forgiving us

·         accepting any chastisement He may give, & therefore glorifying God

c)         Hebrews 9:14 – Confession of sin serves as a dual purpose of:

(1)        Being an act of worship itself

(2)        Preparing the repentant sinner to worship

(a)         The Greek word for serve in that verse is latreuo, which means “worship”

(b)        The purifying that takes place in confession & forgiveness is an important preparation to worship.

2.    Joshua 7:1-26

a)         The Warning (Josh.6:18-19)

(1)        There are many warnings God gives us, but to often we do not take heed to these warnings.

(2)        This battle was so completely God’s, and in God’s hands, that God required that all of the booty from the battle come to Him. 

(3)        All of the spoils were to be brought to the house of the LORD.  They weren’t to touch the spoils themselves.  When they conquer the other cities, then the spoils will be divided: but not with Jericho. 

(a)         The word “accursed” can also be translated “devoted.” 

(b)        These things were to be devoted to God.  Keep yourselves from these devoted things, lest you become accursed, if you take of the devoted things, and you make the camp of Israel a curse.

b)        Sin affects others (Josh.6:26-7:1, 11)

(1)        God charged the nation of Israel for Achan’s sin (7:1,11)

(a)         One person’s disobedience can cause the sorrow and failure of a whole nation, family or church.

(b)        Because of Achan’s sin the entire nation of Israel suffered for it

(1)      Romans 5:12 – sin entered the world by one mans sin

(2)      1Corinthians 12:12 ff. – when one suffers the whole body suffers

(3)      Numbers 32:23 Achan was discovered & his sin was exposed!

(4)      We underestimate the seriousness of our sin!

c)         Impatience, Human wisdom & Self-confidence (Josh.7:2-5)

(1)        Joshua was impatient not waiting for the Lords directions (compare Heb.6:12 & James 1:3)

(2)        Joshua acted on mans suggestions rather than God’s Word (compare 7:3 with 8:1).

(a)         When we need wisdom we must come to God (James 1:5)

 

 

(3)        Joshua put his confidence in man rather than in God (7:3-5)

(a)         They just conquered Jericho by faith, trust & obedience unto God.

(b)        After a victory in our life it is so easy to then say, “Well I don’t need the help of God anymore, I can handle this one” (1Corinthians 10:12)

 

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. (Psalms 118:8)

In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. (Proverbs 25:19)

d)        Lack of Prayer (Josh.7:6-9)

(1)        Joshua prayed second rather than praying first (7:7)

(2)        If he would have prayed first God would have revealed the problem & had victory at Ai.

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)

(3)        God never brings us to a place where we will never have to rely or trust in Him

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.   Do not be wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-8).

e)         Sin in the Camp (Josh.7:10-26)

(1)        Achan’s sin found him out (7:19) he thought he could hide his sin but God saw what he did.

(a)         God knows & sees everything (Ps.139:1-12)

(b)        Our iniquities have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), He will not hear.

(c)         Jesus said to the church of Ephesus that unless they repented, he was going to remove the candlestick from its place (His presence). 

(d)        GOD is warning Israel, “Look, I’m not going to be with you anymore until you get things right.” 

(1)      Don’t expect GOD to compromise with sin in your life.  

(2)      GOD will not make a covenant or a compromise.  And with sin in your life; He said, “I’m not going to dwell anymore with you, until you get rid of it, until you destroy the accursed from among you.

(2)        Confessing sin is glorifying God (7:19)

(a)         It exonerates [to free from blame] God and acknowledges that He is holy when He acts in judgement against evil.

(b)        Excusing or refusing to acknowledge our responsibility for sin is blaming God.

(1)      Adam tried to lay the blame of his sin to God (Gen.3:12)

(2)      Revelation 16:8-9 – because they refused to confess & repent they were judged.

(3)        The Progression of Sin (7:20)

(a)         “I saw… I coveted… I took” – Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.   But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.   Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:12-15 cf. 1John 2:15-17)

(b)        His sin destroyed his family.  His family was probably aware of what he did; they were accomplices in this act of sin.

B.       Implicit Faith in God

1.    God is glorified when we trust Him unquestionably.

a)         Faith is perhaps the basic form of worship.

          “[Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20)

b)        The slightest doubt about God or His goodness or His Word implies that He is not all He says He is.

          “He who does not believe God has made Him a liar” (1 John 5:10)

c)         If we say that we cannot bear our temptations and the trials of life, we call God a liar.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13)

d)        Daniel 3:1-18

(1)        Before Nebuchadnezzar cast them into the white-hot furnace he gave them a chance to recant their faith in God & worship a golden image of the king instead.

(2)        Verse 17 is the answer they give to him.

(3)        By them taking confident stand of faith in God, their faith was vindicated, & God was glorified in the eyes of an entire nation.

2.    Faith & God’s delays

a)         Joshua 3:1-17—we must get our feet wet first, step out! 

(1)        We like to say, “Ok God, if you part the sea I will be more that willing to cross it”, but He says, “Put your feet in the water, then I will part it” in other words, “trust Me”!

b)        John 11:1—Jesus stayed two more days after he heard of Lazarus’ death. 

(1)        This was for God’s glory (v.4).  Martha thought it was to late (v.21) she believed that God could raise Him in the resurrection at the last day but not now. 

(2)        God likes to put the circumstance that where, humanly nothing can be done, so that when it is accomplished all men will know that this is a work of God!  He gets the glory!

c)         Genesis 32:22-28

(1)        Spiritual Breaking (v.25)—We see that Jacob is broken of his self-dependence.

(2)        Jacob means “heal catcher”, “deceiver”—Jacob lived all his life as a deceiver, now God is going to break him of that in order to depend on God alone.  

(a)         Application: When we are faced with situations set before us that look like they are not going to work out, do not try and handle it on your own strength & wisdom, do not look inside of yourself and say, “How am I going to work this out”, trust the Lord (Prov.3:5-6), that is what broken people do.

d)        2Kings 5:1-14

(1)        This is probably not the message that he was looking for (v.10).

(2)        Naaman had this miracle all worked out the way he thought it should be done (v.11)

(a)         We cannot order God to do a miracle the way we want it to be done, & then when it doesn’t happen we say, “God, You didn’t do it the right way”, kind of like Martha, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would have not died.”

(3)        When he did it, not the way he thought it should be done, but God’s way, the miracle was brought about.

e)         Luke 11:5-8 – persistence in prayer, with God all things are possible.

C.       Abundance of Fruit

1.    Fruitful believers glorify God.

a)         Spiritual fruit is an essential part of true worship

(1)        John 15:8 – the Father is glorified when we bear much fruit.

(2)        Psalm 92:13-15 – through our fruit the Lord is declared upright.

(3)        Philippians 1:11 – being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ.

(4)        Colossians 1:10 – walking a worthy walk, bearing much fruit is pleasing to the Lord.

(5)        Ephesians 5:9 – goodness & righteousness & truth is fruit.

b)        Demonstrating that fruit can manifest itself in attitudes as well as actions (Gal.5:22)

c)         The fruit we bear reveals the character of God to those who don’t know Him.

D.       Verbal Praise

1.    We glorify God by praising Him with our mouths.

a)         Praise is simply exalting God by:

·             reciting His attributes

·             His works

·             thanking Him for what He is and what He has accomplished.

“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me” (Psalms 50:23)

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

b)        The best way to trust God in the present is to study His works in the past.

(1)        God has always been faithful in the past & his works are a reminder that He is faithful.

(2)        Luke 17:11-18 – only one leper thought to glorify God by praising Him for His wonderful work.

E.       A Willingness to Suffer

1.    Living for God always involves suffering.

a)         To suffer for Christ is the supreme honor to His holy name.

(1)        Peter paid the high price of death by crucifixion to glorify God (John 21:18-19)

(2)        Peter wrote to suffering believers to encourage them to suffer for God’s glory (1Peter 4:12-19)

(3)        Paul was appointed for suffering (Acts 9:16), & underscored the same principle (Romans 8:18)

(4)        The Apostles suffered for preaching the gospel and rejoiced (Acts 5:41)

(5)        Paul wrote to the Philippians saying that suffering is a gift from God (Phil.1:29 cf. 3:10)

(6)        Jesus feels our pain when we suffer (Acts 9:9:4-5)

(7)        Micah was cast in prison

(8)        Isaiah was sawn in two

(9)        Tradition says that Luke was hanged on an olive tree and Peter was crucified upside down

b)        God comforts us in all our afflictions that we may be able to comfort others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

F.        A Contented Heart

1.    Regardless of circumstances, a true worshiper lives a life of contentment.

a)         Contentment testifies to the wisdom and sovereignty of God thereby glorifies God

b)        Discontentment is essentially rebelliousness, blaming God.

(1)        Philippians 4:4 says we are to “rejoice in the Lord; again I say rejoice”

(2)        Philippians 4:10-20 describes Paul contentment in his circumstances.

(3)        It is easy to be content when you have received a gift of money, but Paul was content in adverse circumstances as well.

(4)        2Corinthians 11:23-28 is a catalogue of the things Paul had suffered.

(5)        Such contentment marks true spiritual worship!

G.      Confident Prayer

1.    Prayer glorifies God

a)         John 14:13 is a clear statement that prayer glorifies God.

(1)        Our prayers must be in Jesus’ name.

(2)        This means asking in line with what He desires for us.

(3)        Our request must be in accordance with His will.

b)        We must have the mind of Christ in our prayers.

(1)        This eliminates selfish prayers.

(a)         We must not view prayer as only a way to get things or get out of things.

(b)        We must live in the constant communion & consciousness of God’s presence, learning His thoughts & desires and praying for their fulfillment – “Thy will be done.”

(c)         Prayer does not inform God of things He hasn’t heard

(d)        It purpose is to allow Him to manifest His glory in giving an answer

(e)         His glory is more important than the answer to the prayer.

H.       A Clear Witness

1.    We Worship God by proclaiming His Word with clarity

a)         2 Thessalonians 3:1 cf. Acts 13:48-49

b)        When we proclaim the Word and by it bring others to Christ, we are glorifying God.

(1)        When a person is redeemed he to begins to worship in spirit and truth & devotes his life to Christ.

c)         Worship is an active, all-consuming, never ending pursuit.

(1)        As the worshiper gives his life to the glory of God, he discovers a rich resource of joy and power and meaning not available to everyone, for the life that honors God is the only life God honors.

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