Faithlife Sermons

Deut 12_1-14 Worshiping God His way (3)

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 5 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Worshipping God his way (3)

With joy and thanksgiving

23-04-06pm

Announcements

The Word of God in our midst

Call to worship

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:18-19)

Doxology Hymn no 331:         “Majesty”

Blessing

Grace to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord

Hymn No 88:                               “Now thank we all our God”

Songs:

1.       I thank you Lord with all my heart (Psalm Praise)

2.       Come, Come you Saints (Copied music sheet)

Prayer of Adoration and Invocation

Scripture Reading                     John 15:1-11        

Prayer Confession of sins

Declaration of pardoning

Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. (Isaiah 52:9)

Hymn No 370:                            “We have heard the joyful sound”

Offering and Dedication

Prayer for others

Scripture Reading                     Deuteronomy 12:4-19

Sermon                                          “Worshipping God his way – with joy and gladness”

Introduction

In the last two sermons in this chapter from the Word of God, Deuteronomy 12, the Lord spoke to us about worship.  In the first we learned that the worship of God can only be as He prescribed it to be – it cannot be anything like the worship of the heathen nations, and it cannot be like man sees fit.

The second truth from this chapter is the fact that God distinguishes between corporate, private and informal fellowship.  Not all worship is worship.  There are times and day when God calls his church together for worship of Him.  The focus is on the greatness, faithfulness and glory of God as preached from the Word of God.  The Word is central.  Corporate worship has to answer the principles God set for it.

Tonight we look at another aspect:  the aspect of joy in the Lord.

; There are, I think two dangers in worship these days.  These two oppose one another.  One is the danger of worship without joy, bordering on dirge and boredom and dullness. This might spring for a heart which might fight against the second danger:  undisciplined worship, with the focus on entertainment and amusement.

We see both of these types of worship today.  True Presbyterians don’t show much of joy in their worship, perhaps they are so overwhelmed by a wrong understanding of the splendour and majesty of God, that they leave all forms of emotion home when they come to church.  As a matter of fact, after someone took some close-up pictures of the faces of people leaving morning worship and asked an unexpected crowd to add a caption to it, the most common comment was that the people on the photos must have gotten very bad news.

Others don’t come to these stern worship services because they see no joy.  They might be trapped into the philosophy that worship is primarily meant for people and therefore they go to places where the emphasis is on entertainment and folly.

None of these two is correct.  It is time that Presbyterians also discover the beauty of joy in worship.  ; As a matter of fact, joy in worship is not an option, it is part and parcel of worship.

Let’s once again look at the portion of the Word we read tonight.  Three verses:

There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you. (Deuteronomy 12:7)


And there rejoice before the Lord your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own. (Deuteronomy 12:12)


Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 12:18)

Moses, wrote: "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart . . . therefore you shall serve your enemies" (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).

David called God his "joy and delight" (Psalm 43:4); and also said, "Serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2) and "Delight yourself in the Lord" (Psalm 37:4); and prayed, "Satisfy us in the morning with Your loving-kindness, that we may . . . be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14); and spoke about the complete and lasting pleasure only found in God: "In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever" (Psalm 16:11).

Jesus Christ, our Lord, as we heard tonight in the reading, said, "I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" (John 15:11).

The apostle Paul commanded Christians to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4); and even to "rejoice in . . . tribulations" (Romans 5:3).

The apostle Peter said, "To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Peter 4:13).

The Bible does not teach that we should treat delight as a mere by-product of duty. C. S. Lewis got it right when he wrote to a friend, "It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can."

; This theme of joy and gladness in worship is not as isolated in the Scripture as we might think.  Even further in the book of Deuteronomy this is repeated over and over again: 

To bring your tithes to the Lord is a matter of joy: Israelites who lived too far from the temple could sell their goods for money.  The money was then to be taken to the Lord is this way:

Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice. (Deuteronomy 14:26)

Further, in 26:11, this is supplemented with this command:

Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place He will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. (Deuteronomy 16:10-11)

Free-will offerings had to be given to the Lord in the same way on the feast of the weeks:

Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. (Deuteronomy 16:10-11)

When we look at the word and its meaning within different contexts, it tells something of being glad or joyful with the whole existence.  The heart, the soul and the lighting up of the eyes are associated.

The context of Deuteronomy 12 helps us to understand the reason for the joy in the presence of the Lord.  You remember how we looked at the different sacrifices of Israel:  burnt offerings, grain offerings, Fellowship offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings.  And it usually happened in this sequence: 

1.       First the sin offering or guilt offering; this was to make atonement for specific or unintentional sin and to get forgiveness.  Sin had to be dealt with.  With this the sin is washed away in the blood of the sacrificial animal.

2.       Then the burnt offering; this was an expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God.

3.       Then fellowship offering, which was voluntary in recognition of God’s goodness and provisions.  With others the goodness of God was celebrated.  It was at this stage that freewill offerings and tithes were made – all with joy and thanksgiving.

When the relationship with God was restored, then joy and thanksgiving followed.

How much more do we have reason to be joyful!  We are looking back unto the cross and resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ where He became the atonement for our sins.  There our sins are washed away.  The focal point of our worship and joy in the Lord lies in the fact that we can approach God in the Name of our Saviour.  He who does not know the Saviour does not have reason to rejoice.  He is still in the grip of sin and misery.  The unsaved thinks he has joy and peace if he can do whatever he chooses:  he can be joyful be abusing alcohol, but he wakes up with a headache the next morning, his body is broken down slowly but surely, as his liver and other organs begin to fail.  His mind goes in the end, so does his friends.

The unsaved thinks he enjoys live by having so-called free sex.  This is just an excuse for promiscuity.  The price is ultimately extremely high.  The risks of health and diseases are extremely high and in the end it was not free at all.  The Christian receives from God the gift of love to have a life-partner and enjoy all these things without the risks.  He understands that his sin is forgiven and that he now lives by grace and grace alone.  Therefore when he comes to worship in corporate worship, his heart is filled with joy, because of the blessing of God in all areas of life.

The righteous is glad in the Lord because, according to Ps 5 the Name of the Lord is his protection.  He protects his children even when they sleep at night. This is also the language of Psalm 9.

Psalm 32: 10-11 sings this song of joy:  “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:10-11)

Psalm 40:16 sings:  “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, ‘The Lord be exalted!’” (Psalm 40:16)

; This is the reason for joy:  the salvation, grace and protection of the Lord. 

The minister is not the cheerleader of the worship service.  It is not the job of the minister to cheer up the worshipper be telling a few jokes, be user-friendly and less formal.  Music and the so-called worship in song cannot bring this joy; it is a result of inner joy.  One can sing fairly joyfully and still lack the inner peace with God of sins forgiven.  The true worshipper does not come to the worship with a heavy heart in search for cheer and uplifting; he comes with a cheerful heart because his knows his sin is forgiven.  He may know that because he spent some time with God in the room with the door closed where he opened his heart to the Lord.

This does not mean that all of our worship is joyful.  There are the moments of pain because of remorse over sin.  The worship must have place for that too.  But the joy that follows is not something external; it wells up from the heart in the face of God’s grace and mercy.

Just one comment on the expression found in Deut 12:7 and 18.  Listen again to these verses:

There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you. (Deuteronomy 12:7)

Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 12:18)

What exactly does this expression mean?  I could not find a singular answer in the commentaries.  It can mean at least two things:

1.       ; All of Gods worship must be joyful.  The whole process of bringing the sacrifice, the offerings and the fellowship must be a joyful occasion, pleasing to God.

2.       ; The second:  what you do in your everyday-life (“what you put your hand to”) should be an act of worship which culminates in corporate worship where you worship in joy and thanksgiving for God has given and done by giving his blessing on the works of your hands.

I don’t think we need to pick between these two.  Both are important:  all of our worship must be joyful to the honour of God; all of our life is an act of worship which culminates in corporate worship of joy.

Conclusion

Worship without joy is not pleasing to God.  Over and over again in the Bible we find the command to rejoice before the Lord.  This then means that those who do not serve the Lord with joy and happiness, those who cannot put a smile on their face when they worship God, probably do not understand worship.  It may also mean that they might not have real peace with God.  They still have the pain of unforgiven sin.  This is not what God intended for his children. Jesus said that He wants us to have joy.

Prayer

Hymn no 69:                                “Fill your hearts with joy and gladness”

Benediction

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Threefold “Amen”

Mission Praise 460

Related Media
Related Sermons