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Sunday, November 2, 1014 am                        Basics Index

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Worship - 2
The Seriousness of Worship

 Today we continue our study of true worship as a fundamental subject to our faith.  Last week we defined what worship is.   Thayer defines the word worship as, “to kiss the hand to (toward) one in a token of reverence.”   Worship is the prostrating oneself with one’s heart and form and rendering due homage (according to His instructions) the one we are worshipping.  by noting some words translated “worship” in our English Bibles and by noting some qualities of worship (It is sacred, it is a way to draw near to God, a way to give back to God, and a deliberate act we enter into). 

Today we want to address the seriousness of worship. 

 I.                     In Spirit and in Truth

a.        John 4:23-24.  In this text we find Jesus teaching the Samaritan woman about worship.  We learn a great deal about worship from this account.  We find that God designates WHEN and HOW He is to be worshipped.  We also find at least 4 things necessary for TRUE worship.    Worship requires:

b.       A subject to be worshipped – Clearly, that should be God.  He is who and what our worship is about.    One of the problems Isaiah dealt with was the idolatry of Israel and nations around her.  Continually he addressed the foolishness of worshipping inanimate idols who cannot do anything.  He then showed how He IS God and as such the object of their worship. 
That is still true today.  WHO we worship IS important.   Many today worship false gods and false ideas of God.  We must worship the TRUE and LIVING God.
Jesus told Satan, Luke 4:8, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

c.        A worshipper – that sounds obvious, and it is.  
Interestingly, there is a sense in which nature itself worships God – or more accurately it does His will and thus declares His glory.  Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
But TRUE worship calls for a TRUE worshipper, John 4:23 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
When we worship God we need to do so with the mindset that we are worshipping and serving Him.  God is looking for such.

d.       An attitude – “In spirit” – we continually emphasized the importance of proper attitude.  Worship is more than the acts we do.
Matt. 15:8-9 says that we can worship God in vain because our heart is far from Him.
1 Corinthians 11:26-29 speaks of partaking of the Lord’s Supper “in a worthy manner”.  This involves both HOW we do it AND our attitude.  Paul speaks of “not discerning the Lord’s body”
2 Corinthians 9:7 speaks of our giving as being “not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Colossians 3:16 tells us to sing “with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 14:15 says both our singing and prayers must be “with the spirit and with the understanding.”

e.       Action – “in truth” – the other element of TRUE worship is following God’s instructions.  Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman who was worshipping God in a way NOT prescribed.  It was that point that Jesus addressed in John 4:19-24 the context of our text.
Why was Cain’s sacrifice rejected? Why was Nadab and Abihu’s fire rejected?  Why did King Uzziah become a leper for attempting to burn incense to God? (2 Chron. 26:16-23)  Why was Jeroboam’s golden calfs rejected?  Add to these numerous accounts of people who FAILED to worship God as He prescribed!  They did NOT follow HIS pattern!
Friends, there is a reason we follow God’s pattern in our worship.  We could attract much larger crowds if we would entertain them and give them what they want, but that is NOT true worship.  There is a degree of formalism necessary in our worship.  Why?  Because it is GOD we are worshipping, not man.

 II.                  The seriousness of worship

a.       We are worshipping the ONE True God –

                                                   i.      Proper worship is always directed toward God.  While there are references to worshipping others, things and attitudes, in scripture these are always condemned.
The first of the 10 commandments, “you shall have no other God before Me.” (Ex.. 20:2-3)
Deut. 6:13-15 says, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” (cf. Matt. 4:10)
 
Joel 2:27, “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.”

He is Not A God!  Heb. 11:6, we must believe that He is.

                                                  ii.      He is OUR Creator.   Gen. 1:1, Acts 17:24.  By His word He created all things and He sustains all things (2 Pet. 3:5-7).  The One we worship made us, knows us and cares for us.

                                                iii.      Sometimes, we simply need to pause and consider this.  In studying the psalms we are reminded of this.  He is everything and we are nothing (compared to Him)

b.       He demands reverence

                                                   i.      What is reverence?
L & N defines the word as, “to show respect to a person on the basis of his high status.” 
“Profound respect and esteem mingled with fear and affection, as for a holy being or place…” (Webster Revised Unabridged, 1913)
We understand the idea of reverence – an occasion or person that is not treated flippantly.  Examples would include our respect for the office of the president, or standing when a judge enters the courtroom, or when the national anthem is played.  Understand that while one might not respect the person in an office, the office itself calls for reverence, i.e. – the presidency or the law.
IF we will show reverence for such occasions and things, how much more should we acknowledge our God, Creator and judge.

                                                  ii.      The fear of God - 
There are two types of fear.  There is being afraid and there is a reverential fear – or respect.
L & N – a figurative extension of the word for fear, meaning ‘to have profound reverence and respect for deity, with the implication of awe bordering on fear.”
Luke 1:50, “And His mercy is on those who fear Him, From generation to generation.”
Acts 13:16, “Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:”
Perhaps a good example of this would be a healthy “respect” for a police officer.  When you meet one, they may seem intimidating, but you respect them because of who they are and what they represent.  And you know you have nothing to be afraid of if you are doing what you ought to do.

                                                iii.      Passages that address reverence – fear, reverence, devotion

1.       Psalm 89:7 – “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to held in reverence by all those around Him.”

2.        Psalm 111:9 – “He has sent redemption to His people, He has commanded His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.”  NOTE: the KJV uses the word “reverend” here.  While the original word is found in other texts, this one rightly addresses the greatness of God.

3.       Hebrews 12:28 – We are to serve God with reverence and godly fear.

4.       Revelation 5:9-14 – read this.  Notice the respect of those who stood before the throne of God.  Note vs. 14, they fell down and worshipped Him.

                                                iv.      Examples of reverence for God

1.       Genesis 17:3 – realizing he was in the presence of God, Abraham fell on his face (probably before the Angel of the Lord).  NOTE: Quite often we find when someone realized they were in the presence of God (or His representative) IMMEDIATELY they responded with reverence.

2.       Exodus 3:5-6, Moses was commanded to take off his shoes at the burning bush because it was holy ground

3.       Leviticus 10:3 – After Nadab & Abihu were burned to death for using unauthorized fire.  “And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me  I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'"

4.       No one could look upon the face of God and live – Exodus 33:20.  Judges 6:22-23 – when Gideon saw “the Angel of the Lord face to face” he feared.

5.       In the New Testament we see that reverence as many bowed down and worshipped Jesus.  And He accepted that worship as God.

6.       Also consider that twice, Jesus cast the money changers out of the temple saying, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.’  But you have made it a den of thieves.”  Jesus understood the importance that place as the place where God was as the Jews worshipped Him.

7.       Acts 5:11 – great fear came upon the church after the deaths of Ananias and Saphira.

c.        Remember this when we assemble to worship Him.

                                                   i.      When we come together to worship God, we need to consider these words and ideas.  Worship is not a time to play or be entertained.  It is not a time to socialize.  It is a serious occasion when we honor our God and Savior.

                                                  ii.      Consider some of the positions we read about in scripture.  Notice that there are many different positions which does not mean we have to take a certain posture, but ALL of them show reverence.

1.       Looking down – Luke 18:13 – the tax collector vs. the Pharisee praying at the temple

2.       Nehemiah 8:4-6, As Ezra opened the book of the Law to read, the people stood

3.       Abraham fell on his face – Genesis 17:3

4.       1 Timothy 2:8 – lifting up holy hands

5.       At least twice we read of Jesus, “looking up to heaven” (Luke 9:16, Mark 7:34)

6.       What is the significance of this?  IT is not so much about a specific position that we assume when we pray and/or worship Him, as much as it is a downcast heart. 
 It is an acknowledgement of the superiority of the one before whom you bow or show reverence AND a realization of your lowliness and submission in his presence.  Consider this with standing for a judge – How often today do we see total disrespect in court?  It is a sign of arrogance and a challenge to the judge that you are not subject to the law that he/she represents.   Equally pitiful is that some judges will let such contemptuous behavior go.

d.       Are we as serious as we ought to be?

1.        It is a problem today – many churches have trivialized the worship service turning it into nothing more than another form of entertainment and appeasing the desires of their audience.  We find churches trying to imitate the world with their style of music. 
They have turned the service into a casual occasion where you can come and relax and just enjoy the experience.  We have weightlifters for Jesus, rap bands, rock bands, movies, pageants, etc.  All these things do is trivialize the solemness of the occasion.  There are even “drive-in” churches so that you don’t even have to get out of your car.  Many churches provide several services so that you can pick your times and days.  Attendance is considered optional but recommended.  Is it any wonder many know very little if any Bible or what God is really about?

2.       In addition to this, there are concerns with casual attitudes among brethren, problems with distractions and improper attitudes toward attendance.  Such things, can often be symptomatic of an attitude that does not take worship as seriously as we ought to.  In another lesson we are going to address these and other concerns with worship. 

But for now I leave you with what we have discussed today.  WE need to develop a mindset that acknowledges Him for who He is.  Our worship is not just another block of time in our daily schedules, but a time where we come together to honor and reverence our Creator according to the pattern He has prescribed for us.  May that be our attitude at all times.    If we demonstrate proper reverence in worship, it will build us up as God intends.   Think about it!