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What, Where, When, Why?

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Understanding Reverence

Notes & Transcripts

Intro

Each of you has a bulletin with you, hopefully. If not I’ll have deacons or jr. Deacons ready to give you a scrap sheet of paper. Also if you need something to write with, please raise your hand and someone will assist you. What I’d like you to do is first write down 4 words, What, Where, When, Why?
These words are in reference to the word we will be discussing today, and that word is “Reverence.” Specifically reverence is as pertains to worship.
I’d like to preface this by admitting, when talking about reverence in worship to God, we are often tempted to say what reverence is not....fight that temptation for now and focus on what reverence is.
What is Reverence? Genuine honor, respect and worship to God, which fears Him, and is about Him
Where should we be reverent? Reverence to God seeps into all avenues of our life, thus is a lifestyle, not a once a week thing.
When should we be reverent? If Reverence to God is a lifestyle, than all my actions should be predicated around honoring our savior.
Why should be we reverent? Because He is worthy
Once you have answered these: Lastly: Would you say Reverence is a tradition or a Lifestyle
Once you have written down the questions and your personal answers, discuss it with those around you, groups of 3-5. I’m going to be calling on groups to answer the question.
Use the KISS principle…keep it simple, “student”
Today I am going to attempt to define what, where, when, why reverence is important to our own perosnal spiritual journey and our relationship to the God we come to honor and give praise. I have one principle, I would like us to follow. Let’s let pre-concieved notions hang outside for a little while, and allow scripture to be our guide today. Before we go further, lets take time to pray.
Body
I want to go on record that I believe whole heartedly in a spiritual core principle found in , found in verse 1-2.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

All of our beliefs and values as Seventh-Day Adventist Christians must be founded and practiced from our belief in Jesus Christ. Our thoughts on practicing reverence should be no different. What is being written here in these opening verses reminds the people, there is a cloud of people watching. As a pastors kid, growing up, I was raised with this in mind. Seriously, looking back, I think its unfair to expect pastors kids, to be expected to be different than any other kids. I got into trouble just like any other kids in school, and church, but I also knew going to places like camp meeting or church events I represented my family. I’m sure I embarrassed my parents countless times with my shenanigans…sneaking away from my mothers grasp and crawling under pews, while my father preached. Saying outloud, loud enough for the next 3 rows to hear, “dad has been preaching forever! when is he going be to done??” Probably most people wouldn’t say, I was irreverent, I was just being a kid. It was at home talking to my parents, it was at adventurers and pathfinders, it was in church school that I began to produce a picture of what reverence looked like. But I also don’t believe I got the full picture. I associated reverence only with church. I also associated reverence with only music, and the pathfinder Law, “Walk softly in the sanctuary.” Two great examples of ways in practicing reverence. But with no understanding of purpose, reverence only becomes tradition without any natural spiritual attachment or worship in any way.
So, lets today start with “What?” What is reverence? It says in verse 28, “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and Awe. Scripture is clear, in worship, we are to show reverence. How does the Bible define reverence? In the Old Testament, it was used in reference to approaching to the sanctuary. Having Godly Fear and Respect. In the New Testament, we find the word reverence used mostly within a marital relationship. Showing respect and being courteous for your husband and for your wife. Funny how the use of a word extends beyond the borders we place on them. We think of reverence as being simply as practicing a behavior when we find ourselves in the worship room, in a sanctuary of God, but scripture points to reverence as a lifestyle. One that invades our family life. I would add that it extends all of those in our lives. We are to be reverent (respectful and courteous) even to those we have disagreements with. How we carry ourselves in the sanctuary, carries into our daily lives as well. “We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” Sure theses witnesses are right here in church, but these witnesses are in far greater number outside these walls. Many of you hear either own or work in a small business, is your fear and love for God evident in the way you treat your employees, or your clientele? Is it clear to the people that you are a man or woman of Godly-reverence?

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled

Reverence is a way of communicating to others the victory of Christ in our lives. This is especially true when we come to worship God. We do so with a Godly respect a reverence that we have entered His house for worship. That should be something that comes out naturally. To often though its out of our own self-righteous indignation that we look around and when we see others not converted to our own appeal of reverence do we lose our own grace-filled reverence. I hope, as you hear me say that, you will know, I am preaching to myself more than anyone. I don’t have a high enough tolerance than I should. While I don’t measure reverence simply by how we witness other religions practice reverence, because God does want us to be a special people. I have witnessed other religious groups practice worship outside of Christianity, and I have to say, sometimes they have us beat when it comes to sincere reverent worship. While in seminary, for a class that was educating us on other religions, we went to Mosque to observe an Islamic worship service. Our next class period, where we debriefed what we had just witnessed, the words sincere, geniune, and reverent were used very frequently. When I was in Israel, back in 2010, our group went to see the Western Wall, otherwise known as the wailing wall. This is what is left of Herod’s temple of Jerusalem. Every friday night, Jews come from all over to mourn, and pray at this site. After observing, many of us talked about what we had witnessed. “They were so sincere and reverent.”
If someone observes us worshipping, in prayer, in song, or even in mourning. I hope that observer would say, so sincere and reverent. You know they really believe.
Now I want to quote Pastor Leclaire Litchfield, if you have ever heard him preach before, you almost assuredly would have heard him, say: Reverence does not equal silence. Folks a totally silent and quiet worship service is not one that is honorable to God. I’ll let others argue about appropriate worship music and such, but I will say this, whether you are singing a contemporary praise song, or a song from your hymnal, let Heaven hear your mouths singing praise to your King! Your neighbors may care, but I don’t care if you can’t hold a tune, sing Praise to your King! Worshipping God in song, and prayer, and in attention to Him, is reverent. But it has to be about Him and not the “worhsipper himself or herself.”
Reverence is a discipline we must all be willing learn. Reverence takes accountability sometimes. Loving accountability, and not oppressive accountability.
Coming back to our question, What is reverence? Genuine honor, respect and worship to God, which fears Him, and is about Him
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Coming back to our question, What is reverence? Genuine honor, respect and worship to God, which fears Him, and is about Him. Reverence is pleasing to God.
The When and the Where almost have to be answered simultaneously....we’ve even touched on it answering the what? If I appear repititive, I apologize, but I’m just trying to do my best Mark Finley impression, making sure all of us leave here understanding.
Coming back to our question, What is reverence? Genuine honor, respect and worship to God, which fears Him, and is about Him
When, and Where are we to reverent? I think it comes back to the lifestyle question. If reverence is a lifestyle, I would say always. If its a tradition, than reverence ties are only to the sanctuary.
Lets go back to the old testament. In as Moses is spoken to by God from the burning bush, he commands Moses to remove his sandals in acknowledging his presence being there has made this place holy. Joshua has a similar experience, as he is visited by one who announces himself as commander of the Lord’s army. I believe this to be Jesus himself. He instructs Joshua to remove his sandals, once again acknowledging their place of communion as Holy Ground, because of the Lord’s presence. In awe of whom he is in the presence of Joshua falls to his face in worship.
Commentating on these encounters, the book Patriarchs and Prophets sheds light into the matter.
Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him.
Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him,
When we are here in a place of worship especially on Sabbath, our time of rest from the work week, let us not forget to give our burdens truly to God, lest, we forget to be in awe of the God we have come to worship. When we enter into worship, it is a special time. It is a time for a special communion with God. We invite his presence to be with us. Each sabbath as I pray, I ask that our worship would be acceptable to Him. We’re not here just simply as a social club. We have come to be spiritually filled. Yes please come as you are. But when we come to worship God, we are also asking him to change us, to work in us. I hope you all have come to be in awe of the God who is all powerful, and all merciful at the same time.
Allow me to be clear though, as reverence to God is our lifestyle, we are to take him with us. We are to be reverent in our daily lives . Whether in your devotional life, or in your family life, your work life, we must take Him with us. There should not be a part of your life that you are unwilling to allow God in. When we have been changed our lives should now be marked by our continual allegiance and reverence to Him…unashamed.
Where should we be reverent? Reverence to God seeps into all avenues of our life, thus is a lifestyle, not a once a week thing. But when we enter into the sanctuary, we must acknowledge we are in a place where we are inviting God’s presence to be with us, our actions in worship should reflect our awe of the Love of the Savior.
When should we be reverent? If Reverence to God is a lifestyle, than all my actions should be predicated around honoring our savior.
Why? To some of you it may seem obvious. To some still journeying to the saviour you may still be wondering.
I was reading a blog, and I thought I would share a piece from it: the blogger writes
When my husband and I go for nature walks, we bring our cameras and take close-ups of the plants at our feet, which are like microcosms of the world. What amazing variety and beauty we see, even in the fungi that spring up overnight and dot the woods with splashes of bright orange, red, and yellow!
The snapshots of life that surround us inspire me to lift my eyes to the Maker who created not only mushrooms but also the stars in the heavens. He designed a world of infinite scope and variety. And He made you and me and placed us in the very middle of this beauty to enjoy and to rule over it (; ).
My thoughts turn to one of our family’s “camping psalms”—psalms we read as we sit around the fire. “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. . . . When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” ().
How amazing that the great God who created the world in all its splendor cares for you and me!
Yesterday, before my wife left for work, knowing I’d be at home touching up my sermon, she asked me if I could do a few things if I could spare some time. She asked me if I could fix a loose cabinet in the bathroom, she asked me to take out the trash, and fold the last load of laundry that was still in the dryer. I’m happy to report I was able to accomplish all of those tasks, but I also determined I wanted to do some cleaning to. Unfortunately, I had to answer several phone calls, I hit a couple walls in my sermon creativity. I wasn’t able to get all the cleaning done, as I hoped I could. My wife totally understood. She knew I couldn’t fit everything in. We as humans accept that about each other, knowing we all have flaws and cant do everything.
Thats why we are so awestruck with God is our creator! He has the ability to love everyone, all the time! He is all powerful. He is faithful. He doesn’t forget. He doesn’t have day, where He just can’t get to it all. He is that amazing. Verse 28 has been been my key text today, but i want you to hear this passage in its full context.We serve a God who rules a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Lets look at verse 18. Here the poetry of God’s kingdom, and why we worship the creator God, with such reverence.

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Simply put, our God is worthy. There is no king, no president, no thought leader, no minister, no prophet, no parent, no teacher, no one…worthy of reverence, to be respected and feared the way our God is. He is truly worthy. As we worship, and as you go about your week, don’t forget to show your allegiance and reverence to the God whom is worthy.
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