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ReFocus on Worship: Worship in the life of the Family

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Worship in the life of the Family

We have been called to worship!
Psalm 100 is just one example in the Bible (there are many) where mankind is called to worship!
Psalm 100 ESV
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
God is the One who calls us to worship.... we do not approach God on our terms… but on His.... He has revealed Himself to us.... He has provided us with a means by which we can worship.... and He has called.... even commanded us to respond to Him in worship.
Last week we saw in Romans 12 that worship is a way of life.... Worship is our response to God’s glory.... reflecting honor and adoration back to Him. We worship the Lord by how we live our lives in response to His Word.... as we serve the Lord in Spirit and Truth… and as we are transformed… day by day into the image of Christ.
Worship is the way we live as individuals.... and those truths we talked about last week not only apply to our lives as individuals… but they all also apply to the lives of our families.
We are called to worship God not only as individuals, but as family units.
Today we are going to be looking at some of the truths the Bible has to teach us about worship in the life of the family. To do that we are going to turn our attention to an Old Testament passage found in the book of Deuteronomy.
If you watching today and you are not a believer… first of all I want to thank you for watching....
Perhaps you are watching today and you are a new believer, a young person or a child that is just not as familiar with the Bible… since we are currently meeting in our homes and watching the service online… many of our children who would regularly be in children's church are now sitting through the service..... or possibly doing cartwheels and flips on the floor during the service while mom and dad watch the sermon on tv at home! :-)
Whether you are a regular attender… or a first time visitor.... 65 years old… or 6 years old, welcome… thank you for joining us… and let me help you find the book of Deuteronomy.
To be honest, if you were to pick up a Bible and start reading, Deuteronomy is probably not one of the first books of the Bible you would turn to. It is a great book, but probably not on most people’s most frequently read lists.
The book of Deuteronomy is towards the beginning.... it is the 5th book of the Bible....Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is in a section called the books of Moses or sometimes referred to as “the Law”. As you can guess… this section is called that because Moses wrote these 5 books.
I invite you to open your bibles to the book of Deuteronomy as we begin our study today. We will be studying through verses 4-9 of chapter 6.
As you find your place, let’s remember to whom this information was originally given. Who was the original audience? — The Jews… who were currently living in the wilderness.
The people of God had been freed from slavery in Egypt and were on their way to a land that God had promised to give them. Because of the sin ,rebellion, and selfish choices of the people, the Israelites ended up wandering in the wilderness for about 40 years.
As we come to the point in time when the events recorded in the book of Deuteronomy take place, the 40 years of wilderness wanderings is almost over. All of the people who had been adults when they had fled Egypt through the crossing of the Red Sea are now dead except for a few.... Joshua, Caleb… and Moses.
38 years ago, the people of Israel had been given instructions about how life was to be centered around Worship at Mt. Sinai. They had spent the last 38 years in the wilderness… learning what it meant to depend on God for everything…. living in a community that literally centered around worship.
last week we ended by talking briefly about how the Israelite camp was built around worship with the Tabernacle in the center. Each tent was to face the glory of God…. and all aspects of life were to be centered on responding to God…. Worshipping the Lord.
Now, the wilderness wanderings are complete and Israel is preparing to enter the Promised Land. Deuteronomy is the record of a time when Moses re-gave and re-explained the Law to the Israelites.
Why would God want Moses to re-give and re-explain the Law at this point in time? — That is a great question. Thanks for asking.
The people who were preparing to enter the Promised Land may have not been old enough to even remember when the Law was initially given at Mt. Sinai and many of them had not even been born yet.
Their parents had been the ones who heard Moses give the law… almost 40 years ago.
So, as they prepare to enter the Land…. it is reasonable that God would direct Moses to re-give the Law… re-explain the revelation from God.
The inhabitants of the Promised Land where the Israelites were preparing to go did not worship Yahweh (the One true God)… they were pagans who believed in and worshipped many (false) gods.
When the Israelites would enter the land… they would have to remember whom they served.... they would need to remember the Character of their God… the only living God.. The God who created all things and sovereignly ruled over all creation.... the God who had rescued them from Egypt.... provided for them in the wilderness… and the God who was giving them the land, which was promised to their forefathers centuries earlier.....
Going in and taking possession of the land was not going to be an easy task… but it was a possible task because God would fight for His people..... the truth of God’s character and the accurate knowledge of who God is… was to provide strength and sustain the people as they obediently followed God’s leading.... in a world that was filled with difficult situations.
As the Law is re-explained in Deuteronomy, a passage often called the “Shema” is recorded in chapter 6, that has some important principles regarding worship.
In this passage, there are some very important commands given by God to the Israelites.
Now, we are not Israelites… living in the wilderness preparing to enter the promised land.
So, we cannot take what is written here and apply it 100% to us. Interpretation must be done. We have to understand what it meant to the original audience… and take that truth and then interpret its meaning to see how it can be applied to us today in 2020.
We can draw some pretty strong principles that are still very applicable to our lives today.
As we look at God’s Word today I would like to point out several Truths from the text that apply to how we are to worship as a family.
The first of those truths is pointed out in verse 4. Family worship was to be done in obedience to the Word of God. We will see that this truth was commanded in the OT… and then later commended in the NT.
I. In Obedience to the Word of God (4-9) — (Commanded in the OT and commended in the NT)
Let’s begin by reading through this passage together.
Deuteronomy 6:4–9 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Hear, O Israel!
Shema Israel!… Adonai elo-henu, Adonai ech-had..... Is a phrase that you would have heard regularly throughout Israel each time God’s people gathered to worship.
That phrase “Shema Israel”, translated as “Hear O Israel” in verse 4 in our English Bibles was the beginning phrases to what is called the “Shema”.
The Shema is a statement that summarizes the fundamental truths of Israel’s religion as well as the foundational response to those truths.
The truths expressed in the Shema were so foundationally important that The Shema (verses 4-9) would be recited each time a group of Jews would gather to focus on worshiping the Lord.
In a way, it was almost like a pledge of allegiance to the Lord. A constant reminder of who their God was.... His character… and how a worshipper of God was to live life in response to HIm.
Let’s look at a few different aspects of the Shema today by first looking at what was commanded. The first word translated as “Hear” is a pretty strong command.
It is a command with the understanding that you will follow through....
It is a command that anticipates a person....gladly hearing with the intent to understand and obey.
Matthew records a time when Jesus uses a word that expresses the same truth… when Jesus describes what the “Good Soil” looks like in Matthew 13:23.... in this parable Jesus says,
Matthew 13:23 ESV
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
While it is a Greek word in our New Testaments, the word Jesus uses here in Matthew expresses the same concept..... understanding with the intent to gladly obey.
The Good soil … the person who is redeemed… is someone who gladly hears the good news of the gospel with the intent to understand and obey it…
As we turn our attentions back to Deuteronomy, let’s understand that as God had Moses record this passage in Deuteronomy, he wasn’t just saying.... hey guys listen to this… I have a great idea.
No, He was saying with a pretty gracious amount of loving forcefulness and authority.... ‘Israel.... Listen up and be prepared to follow through with what I am asking you to do....’
God had made a covenant with Israel. It was formalized back in Genesis 15 and 17 when God confirmed His covenant with the Abraham and with his descendants.
Later at Mt. Sinai, God again expressed His covenant with the Israelite people. As Moses presents the covenant to the people, their response is recorded for us in Exodus 24:3,…
Exodus 24:3 ESV
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
The covenant that God has made with Israel was made with the nation a a whole. That is somewhat described here in chapter 6, verses 1-3. (look with me…)
Deuteronomy 6:1–3 ESV
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
So, as a nation… as a unified community… the Israelites were expected to pay attention to.... submit to... and obey the commands of the Lord...
The most basic foundational segment of the Israelite community was the family (Moses pointed that out in verses 1-3). If the commands of the Lord were to be followed by the nation… by the covenant community… they must also be followed by the family.
In many ways this translates to us as well. As believers we are part of the body of Christ… the bride of Christ… made visible through the local church… and one of the most basic units that makes up the local church body are family units.
Many of us are longing for the day when we can worship again corporately.... I want to challenge you with this thought. If we are going to obey the Lord’s command to worship Him… corporately… we need to be able to worship Him privately as a family…as well.
Now, you might be saying… I’m not an Israelite living in the wilderness waiting to go and conquer the promised land! And… you would be right.
So, how does this play out to those of us living in the era of the New Testament? We don’t live under the law.... we live under grace!
Let’s fast forward for a moment and consider an example of the results of family worship recorded for us in the New Testament. Let’s leave the book of Deuteronomy for a moment and consider a man named Timothy who we are told about in 2Timothy 1:5.
He was born into a broken home… his mother a Jew and his father (a Greek), perhaps a Roman solider (?).
In the Jewish community, if a woman were to have a child with a Gentile… a Greek (Roman?), then their child would be considered less than Jewish… a half breed… a word used could have been Monzer. This child would not have been allowed to have access to the temple.... this child would not have been allowed to be circumcized… have his bar-mitzva,.... he would have had no access to the privileges of community… corporate worship.
As far as we know, from the NT text Timothy was raised primarily by his mother and grandmother. Then later when Paul comes into the picture, timothy is taken under Paul’s wing and discipled as a believer.
2 Timothy 1:5 -
2 Timothy 1:5 ESV
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
So, what took place in Timothy’s family life… that to Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to write what is recorded for us in 2 Timothy 1:5?
Family worship..... Lois and Eunice took the Shema seriously… they took family worship seriously.
Timothy’s family took Psalm 118:15 seriously, which says.... Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “
Most likely, Timothy’s family worshipped from home. They studied the Scriptures at home… they sang praise to the Lord at home… they prayed.... at home..... they worshipped at home.... as a family.
This family took the example of Job seriously.... as Job led his family in worship as he sacrificed with and for his children..... Job 1:5 tells us that Job continually interceded before the Lord for his children.... just in case they had committed a sin in their hearts.
The only way that the “sincere faith”, which was in this mother and grandmother could have been passed on to him… would have been through intentional.... God focused… family worship and disciple-making.
I hope that is the desire of your heart.... that God will look into the hearts of everyone in your household… in your family… in your sphere of influence… and say that they have a sincere, biblical, and God focused… sincere faith.
The process that encouraged Timothy’s sincere faith in the Lord… family worship... is being commended here in 2 Timothy 1:5.
The spiritual fruit and outpouring of Timothy’s life.... was an illustration of the quality and faithfulness of the family worship he engaged in while at home.
Whether you are an OT saint or a NT believer.... worshiping as a family is to be lived out with the seriousness and weight of a command… and with the joy of knowing that as we worship the Lord as a family… we are engaging in a life that is commended by the Lord.
Worshipping as a family is just another aspect of the Great Commission.... how are we to make disciples of every nation if we are not making disciples in our own homes?
We can live out obedience and participate in God’s great commission by making disciples out of the natives who live under our own roofs!
In our study so far we have seen that worship of the Lord as a family unit was commanded in the OT… and is commended in the NT.
We are to worship the Lord in obedience… and part of that obedience is worshiping as a family.
Next I would like to draw your attention to the truth that we are also to worship the Lord in response to His character. As we do this… our worship will yield spiritual growth.
II. In Response to the Character of God (4-6) (which Yields Spiritual Growth)
Look with me again at 6:4.
Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
The Israelites were to worship God in obedience… but their worship was to be in response to the truth of who God is.... the truth of His character.
Responding to the truths of who God is will lead us towards spiritual growth and maturity.... We cannot worship the Lord without a correct understanding of who He is.... and we cannot gain a proper understanding of who He is unless we are devoting time to grow in our knowledge of Him.
The Worship of God is based in our response to the Character of God. In the Shema, here in verse 4, the Lord communicated that He is One....
Out of all of the characteristics of God, why was this one highlighted over the others?
Think about the context.... the people were getting ready to enter the pagan land where the Ammonites, Canaanites, Jebusites,, and all the other mosquito bites lived..... (laugh!)
The people who lived in Canaan were engulfed in the worship of multiple gods.... there was no divine unity in their worldview.... there was no concept of one benevolent, all powerful, loving, relational God.... their gods were petty, weak, needy.. and far removed from mankind.... and the Canaanites engaged in all kinds of immoral, perverted and sick practices (human sacrifice, infanticide, etc… ) in order to appease these man-made deities,
God stands in contrast to all other so-called God. “The Lord your God.... He is One.”
Yahweh… the promise keeping God who called you out of Egypt.... Elohim, the all powerful God who created everything… and who holds all things in his grasp.... He is One…
He is the only One… he is unique… He is a unity with Himself.... all other so-called gods (Baal, Ash-era, Marduk and the pantheon of Canaanite gods) are mere puppets of Satan and pale in comparison to the real thing.
In response to God’s character, God commands the people of Israel to respond. Look at verses 5-6 and see the response God desired....
Deuteronomy 6:5–6 ESV
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
To love the Lord..... God’s desire was for the people to respond in committed and devoted love.
Again, this is in contrast to the false-gods of the Canaanites. If you were to ask a Canaanite, “what is one word that would describe the way that Ba-al wants you to respond to him?’
… Most likely the Canaanite would say..... FEAR!”
God desired that His people would obediently respond to Him… in love.
To love the Lord means to respond to Him in an intimate relationship and to obey His commands. .... Loving Him was to be wholehearted and was to permeate every aspect of the Israelite’s being and life. (soul and strength).
As Christians, spouses and parents … we are to love the Lord in such a way that we model it to our families… and to our neighbors.
We are to lead our families in loving the Lord with our whole being....
How can we love someone, who we don’t know? Who we don’t spend time with?
Regularly worshipping the Lord in your home as a family gives you a wonderful opportunity to know the Lord better, and lead your family to respond in love to the truths of who He is.
If family worship… the study of God’s Word.... prayer.... singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is a part of your families rhythm of life,... then the fruit of your worship will be an increased family love, unity, … and Lord willing, spiritual growth and maturity.
In the Getty’s little book titled “Sing”, they commented on family worship saying,
“In a culture where the bonds of family are often brittle, singing (worshipping) together can put strength in our arms as we hold on to each other.” (Getty, 62)
Such a true and needed concept for our culture today. The family is under attack on multiple fronts. All you have to do is turn on the TV or click on the internet to see the family made fun of, deconstructed… or deemed necessary.
You want to strengthen your family?
You want to help your spouse and children grow in their relationship with the Lord?
Start worshipping together at home...... start having a consistent time around the Word together.... pray together… sing together.... respond to God’s truth together… in the ever changing context of your lives.
So far in our study today we have seen that we are to respond to God’s Word in obedience as we engage in family worship. We are to worship God in response to the truths of who He is… growing in our knowledge of God… responding to the truths of who God is… in love.....
and our commitment and whole hearted response to the Lord.... will yield spiritual growth as we engage in worship as a family.
Now, I would like to draw your attention to the truth that family worship is to be reinforced privately and proclaimed publicly. Let’s look at the last part of the Shema and see how family worship prepares us for Corporate worship.
III. Reinforced Privately & Proclaimed Publicly (6-9) (Family worship prepares us for Corporate Worship)
Look at verses 6-9 with me.
Deuteronomy 6:6–9 ESV
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Family worship… the spiritual care and instruction of the family was to be a way of life… for true God worshippers.
In verse 6, the text says that the commands of the Lord were to be on their hearts....
the people were to think on them, meditate about them.... in such a way that obedience to the commands of God was not to be a legalistic thing… but a loving response based on an understanding of who God is… and the realization that His Word was being given to mankind as an expression of His love for us.
Once the adults understood how they were to live and respond, verse 7 expresses that the leader of each family was responsible for their children.
Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Basically… all the time… you are to be actively involved in the teaching and discipleship of your children… of those who are in your care… those that are in your household.
Family worship and instruction does not have to be a formal… cold classroom experience.
God intended it to be natural....
You could express verse 7 in another way..... ‘As you are living life together.... be intentional about teaching your children about God and how they are to respond to Him. Let God’s Word flow from your mouth in the context of every situation all day long’.
Worship was to be a regular aspect of family life.
That concept has been lost in the minds of many Christians today.
Many Christians see worship as something that is separate from the family… worship is something we do in the bubble of church and church activities..... but not at home....
It wasn’t always like that....
“It was a Puritan practice in the seventeenth century that a man would be refused communion on a Sunday if he was not actively and consistently involved in leading prayer and singing and Bible study with his family during the week. — if our spiritual forefathers took what happened in the home so seriously, shouldn’t we too?” (Getty, 54)
Verses 8-9 express another interesting truth related to how we can live out family worship.
Deuteronomy 6:8–9 ESV
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Worship was to be practiced/ taught in private as part of the family life… but it was also to be expressed publicly.
Some Jews, even today, have taken these verses in a very literal sense and place Scripture in little pouches on their foreheads, and nail them to the door jambs of their homes.
When I was in South Africa, I was waiting to board a plane and the plane was probably 80% Jewish men of all ages. They had the ringlets in their hair and all looked very official.... and as we waited to board the plane, many of them tied a strap around their hand and wrist.... placed a headband on that had a little pouch on it over the forehead.... and they would pray… rocking back and forth. They were publicly and quite literally living out the verses 8-9 of the Shema.
As we interpret this text, I think that as NT Christians we can also publicly live out the verses 8-9 of the Shema.... not by wearing a cord on our hands or a pouch of Scripture on our foreheads.... but by publicly living out the truths we privately practice during our times of family worship.
Worshipping as a family prepares us to live a life of worship before others. Understanding… comprehending and practicing biblical worship as a family.... prepares us for ministry in the world and also prepares us for when we corporately worship together as a church.
Do you want to see your family more engaged in worship at church? Do you want to be more engaged in worship as a way of life? Do you want to glorify God as much as possible with how you live out your life?
Then practice worshipping as a way of life at home. Engage in biblical worship as a family.....
Worshipping as a family will prepare you… your mind… and your heart.... for when we gather to corporately worship together as a church.
Application/ Conclusion:
As we reflect on just a few of the truths presented to us in Deuteronomy 6… what can we take away from our study?
I would like to challenge you to meditate on this main idea this week: Obedience to the Lord requires engaging our entire families in the worship of Him.
Are you demonstrating your obedience to the Lord through how you worship?
How are we to practically respond to that truth?
Lead our families in the true worship of the Lord.. in response to His Word, as a reflection of His Character, glorifying Him before a fallen world.
(in obedience… cultivating spiritual growth.... preparing us for corporate worship)
We have spent some time today considering the theological aspects of worshipping as a family. Now, I would like to leave you with some practical suggestions on how you can worship as a family.
Practical ways to encourage family worship: (on the sermon notes handout)
First of all, have regularity as your goal… not perfection. If you strive for perfection… you will fail… get frustrated.... and quit. (Be Regular: Acts 2:47, 5:42, Ps. 92:2, 1 Cor. 10:31)
Pick a time of day (breakfast, after dinner, etc…) that works for you and have a family bible time… or a time of family worship. It could be 10 minutes.... it could be 30 minutes.... That is going to depend on your family dynamic. Whether you have children, the age of your children, your work schedule, etc...
Study scripture together: Theology, worship, bible questions… you could also take breaks from time to time and read simple Christian biographies together.... (Adonirum Judson, George Muller, etc…)
Stick to a plan: (share some examples of a plan.... read through a book of the bible together in small chunks, share what God taught you from your morning devotions, work through a Catechism, have a devotional book that you use, .... whatever you do… try as much as you can to just be consistent.
Sing together: (Col. 3:16, Psalm 118:15) What better way to prepare your heart and the hearts of your children than to sing the songs of the faith together. If you have young kids, watch and see the excitement they have when they realize that the songs that the grown-ups are singing on Sunday morning is the song that they learned and sing at home.
Singing songs that highlight the character of God and reinforce the truths of His Word is a great way to teach biblical truths to our families and prepares us for when we worship together corporately with the Local church body.
Pray Together: (reflect the pastoral concepts for John 17) — give suggestions on how to develop a time of family prayer together..... pictures of friends, missionaries, family…
— this area is probably the biggest struggle — consistency in prayer..... It is a discipline… and a habit that will yield much fruit.
God speaks to us through His Word..... and we have an opportunity to respond to God when we pray.... expressing our dependance on Him… Thanking Him… Praising Him… brining our requests… petitions.... worries.... and joys before His throne.
Refer people to the attached resources list for family worship that is on the back page of the sermon outline.... in the resources folder in the email sent out on Saturday
As we reflect on all that we have talked about today, let’s remember that for the believer… the born again Christian… Obedience to the Lord requires engaging our entire families in the worship of Him.
How are we to respond to that truth?
(Intended Response) Lead our families in the true worship of the Lord.. in response to His Word, as a reflection of His Character, glorifying Him before a fallen world.
(Remember… When we worship as a family, we are worshiping the Lord in obedience… cultivating spiritual growth.... preparing us for corporate worship)
You want to start worshiping together as a family? Start today. Today… when you are finished with your meal.... while everyone is still sitting around the table.... read Psalm 100 together and talk about how that psalm says we are to respond to the truths of who God is.
Let’s Pray:
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