Longing to Worship: Bulletin 17052020
What do you long for?
Rev. 18:14 reveals that in times of great distress, God may deprive men’s souls of things the flesh desires longingly. These privations may be, as in this passage, a punishment for the wicked, or they may be a test for the ones of whom He approves. They may merely be the circumstances of life which He allows in His providence.
In any case, when we lose the use of things which we are accustomed to, it forces us to the examine what we truly desire, what we long for above all else! These are things which our soul craves. Some, like the people described in Revelation 18, crave merchandise of silver, gold, fine clothes, luxurious furnishings, rich foods, and treatments for the body. Recall that the Israelites craved meat (Num. 11:4-34) “and they buried the people who had yielded to craving.”
When the great city of Babylon in John’s vision received her plagues and was destroyed, (cf. Rev. 1:1-3) John saw sea trade stop and her sea-merchants marveled. (Rev. 18:15-20) The great boats of the world with their captains witnessed the devastation of man’s material & economic strength. However, God’s people were commanded to come out of her (Rev. 18:4) and the righteous rejoiced in God’s vengeance. (Rev. 18:20-24) They longed for different satisfactions of the soul: the righteousness and justice of God, which ushered in to view blessings for His servants. (Rev. 6:10-11)
In the next chapter, the vision displays a a multitude exulting and praising God for two reasons: (Rev. 19:1-9)
1. He has judged in righteousness her who shed the blood of the righteous.
2. He has called His saints to the marriage supper of the lamb.
“Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great.” (Rev. 19:5)
“Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:9)
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7)
Paul, by inspiration, declared who Christ’s bride is, who made herself ready. She is the church, (Eph. 5:25-32) those individual members added by the Lord upon baptism, united by the name of Christ, called out of the world to be God’s people. (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 1:22-23; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:9) While still separate from the Lord and alive on this earth, we have a taste, scant by comparison but overflowing for the mouths of mere creatures, of the joy of heaven in the meetings, work, and worship of His church. (Phil. 1:22-26; Acts 2:42-27; 4:32-25; 9:31; et al.)
While days arise when we see the longings of mens’ souls being taken from them, we are called to blessings in Christ, replete with precious things which satisfy our deepest longings.
Not all cravings are to be condemned. Some are merely reactions of the body to its daily needs. (Is. 29:8) Some things are commendable to ardently desire. (Luke 22:14) Even these will truly satisfy man’s soul:
-Long for God, seeking Him early and thirstily: Psalm 63:1.
-Long for God’s judgments, precepts, commandments: Psalm 119:20, 40, 131.
Compare Psalm 71:24, “My tongue shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long.”
-Long for His Salvation: Psalm 119:74.
-Express your Longing for Him in prayer: Psalm 143:6.
-Long for each other, fellow Christians who have obeyed the confession to the gospel of Christ and are full of God’s exceeding grace, with the tender love of Christ, praying for each other: Phil. 1:8; cf. 2 Cor. 9:14.
-Longing for them as dear to us, as each other’s joy and crown: Phil. 4:1
May we prove to be like those whom the word of God says imitate, affectionately longing for each other, pleased to impart the blessings of God’s gospel to each other, and also to impart even our own lives. (1 Thess. 2:8; 1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1; 3 John 11)
If we have been practicing such longing in recent weeks, it will be a great delight to meet together to worship the Lord and stir each other up to love and good works. (Heb. 10:24-25) We are joyfully excited to be assembling ourselves together! But one more longing needs to be noticed from scripture. One of those good examples that we should imitate is found in the labors of Epaphroditus rendered to the Lord and His people. He longed for the Philippians, specifically with distress because they heard that he was sick. (Phil. 2:25-28)
We should also display such loving concern for one another’s well being.
In light of all these commendable and great longings which God has taught us, please observe theses necessary precautions as we meet together.
Copy of text posted to Facebook and emailed out: (edits in italics)
For the next two weeks, we plan to just have the one service on Sunday morning and no service on Wednesday at Ashburton Drive. For our assembly, please observe the following adjustments and guidelines:
If you regularly sit on the left side of the building (closest to the main entrance and to the left of the pulpit as you face it), please use the main entrance. If you sit on the right side, please use the side entrance to the building. This will allow us to avoid a bottleneck at the man door.
Please refer to the accompanying seating chart for your seat. This will allow enough space between families and individuals to comply with health guidelines.
We have prepackaged communion emblems which will be available to pick up as you come in one of the entrances. We will not be passing any trays around during the service. You will need to have the emblems with you in the seat.
We will place baskets next to each of the doors for you to leave your contribution as you exit.
We suggest you wear masks as you enter and leave, and during times in the service where appropriate.
We also suggest that you refrain from shaking hands and/or hugging, as well as maintaining about 6 feet distance between individuals who are not in your family. This will be a challenge, as we have been apart for so long, but we’ll do our best...!
Thanks to all the men for working on these adjustments, and thanks in advance to all for your cooperation. It is so good to see you!
Bearing in mind that the tabernacle was the dwelling place of God under the law given through Moses, and that those who have been called into His church are now the dwelling place of God in the spirit. (Acts 7:44-50; Heb. 9:1-5, 11; 1 Cor. 3:16-17)
Consider Psalm 84:
How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!