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The Ten Commandments 02 - Worship in Spirit and Truth

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Reading: Deut 4:15-20; John 4:19-24 / HC Q&A 96, 97 p.49
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Exodus 20:4 (NIV)

I.   Don’t Limit who God is to you

     A.  God is unlike Anything we know

           1.  God doesn’t appear as something else

                 a.  Not as the sun, a lion or a bull

                 b.  Not as a bearded old man

                 c.  He comes without a definable form

           2.  There isn’t anything else like God

                 a.  God doesn’t show himself as something because there’s nothing like Him.

                 b.  People are in God’s image–but God is much more than we are.

                 c.  God shows himself in creation, but he’s more than any of it and all of it.

           3.  Every image of God distorts our understanding of who God is

                 a.  We can’t make a picture of God unless we distort our view of God

                 b.  Every depiction of God is incomplete.

     B.  God is bigger than any Box

           1.  Making an image boxes God in

           2.  No box – no definition – can contain God

           3.  We can never comprehend God

     C.  Don’t Form an image of God

           1.  Don’t make any physical representations

                 a.  Don’t make a plastic Jesus

                 b.  Don’t make any object to use to help you worship God

           2.  Let go of mental images too

                 a.  Yeah Right! As much as possible

                 b.  Don’t hang on to any single image

                 c.  Our mental images also limit God

           3.  Don’t worship God by using images.

                 a.  The command tells us not to worship the true God with mere images.

                 b.  God doesn’t want to see us bowing down to things–only to Him!

                 c.  Don’t worship the true God this way!

II.  Watch yourselves very Carefully

     A.  It is easy to slip into Idolatry

           1.  The image quickly takes the place of God

                 a.  We are quick to grab concrete things

                 b.  We quickly forget God and instead worship the images we have of him.

           2.  Even mental images can become idols

                 a.  Our mind wants to comprehend

                 b.  If it can’t it fills the gaps imaginatively

                 c.  So we quickly conclude God is what we imagine Him to be and worship that.

           3.  The form of worship can become an idol

                 a.  Even Temple worship–or church

                 b.  We prefer our kind of worship, rather than preferring to worship our God

                 c.  The acts of worship easily degenerate into what worship is.

     B.  Our images of God Corrupt us

           1.  We don’t change God by making an image

                 a.  God Himself isn’t limited by our images

                 b.  What God does isn’t limited this way

           2.  We rob ourselves of God’s fullness in our lives

                 a.  We are the ones who have the problem

                 b.  Our images of God, limit how we see Him in our lives.

                 c.  We don’t see Him doing what He is and attribute to Him what He isn’t doing

           3.  An incomplete God, makes it hard to yield to Him completely

                 a.  A “policeman” God, makes us think of His rules, rather than yielding our hearts

                 b.  A “nice” God, lets us forget about sin

                 c.  A “disciplinarian” God makes us cower in fear of how he may punish us next

                 d.  A “teacher” God makes us think merely of getting things right in our heads

III. Worship as God Wants to be worshiped

     A.  Worship God for Freeing us

           1.  Don’t worship what God has “apportioned to all the nations”

                 a.  God deserves our worship because He is great and powerful.

                 b.  God doesn’t want to be worshiped for being like the sun, or a lion

                 c.  God wants us to worship Him because of His unique relationship with us.

           2.  God wants our worship as our response to his saving work in our lives

                 a.  Not what he’s like but what he’s done.

                 b.  In Ex4 God reminds us of his salvation

                 c.  Worship our Savior/Rescuer/Liberator

     B.  Worship God for Adopting us

           1.  God doesn’t “save us and send us home”

                 a.  He doesn’t just pull the zebra out of the mud and send it on its way.

                 b.  He doesn’t abandon us so we can just keep on getting stuck in the mud

                 c.  We aren’t alone in making the Christian life something meaningful and good

           2.  He makes us His people–His children

                 a.  He adopts us–as if we were his children

                 b.  He treats us as if we’re His children

                 c.  Worship our Father in heaven!

     C.  Worship Him in Spirit and Truth

           1.  God is Spirit–worship Him with your spirit

                 a.  Not our art, our motions, our jewelry

                 b.  Worship from deep down inside the real you.

                 c.  Our deepest connection with God is spiritual: spirit to spirit.

           2.  Worship Him in keeping with Who He is.

                 a.  Worship in Truth – as He really is

                 b.  Worship without an image of Him

                 c.  Worship knowing that what you know is only a small part of the big picture

           3.  Worship Him with spiritual integrity

                 a.  Worship in Truth – not hypocritically

                 b.  Really and truly love, honor and praise

                 c.  Without reservation, without just going through the motions.

The Bottom Line:

God is Unimaginably great. Worship Him Deeply from our Hearts.

R#319 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise vv.1, 4


Notes:

Heidelberg Catechism

Q&A 96

What is God’s will for us in the second commandment?

That we in no way make any image of God1 nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word.2

1 Deut. 4:15-19; Isa. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:22-23

2 Lev. 10:1-7; 1Sam. 15:22-23; John 4:23-24

Q&A 97

May we then not make any image at all?

God can not and may not be visibly portrayed in any way.

Although creatures may be portrayed, yet God forbids making or having such images if one’s intention is to worship them or to serve God through them.1

1 Ex. 34:13-14, 17; 2Kings 18:4-5

(end)

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