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Friday, October 26, 2012

Spiritual and Truthful worship

John 424 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

I asked a good friend of mine what the most literal translation of John 4:24 was from the original Greek.  The most literal rendering of John 4:24 is as follows: "God is a spirit and the ones who are continually worshipping him must (it is necessary) continually worship in spirit and truth."  God is Spirit and therefore it is necessary for the worship of the believer to be in spirit and truth. 
Our God is a great God and is more than worthy of the worship that man can give.  Certainly the high priests understood that the offerings were to be the best of the cattle in the land and the way that the offering was to be conducted was certainly to be presented the best that they knew how, however, the Old Testament priests did not have John 4:24.  The Lord Jesus revealed this verse to us, so the worship that we bring to the Lord not only needs to be our best, but also needs to be yielded to the Holy Spirit and contain as much truth as possible, and not just our worship, our whole life needs to be yielded to the Holy Spirit and contain as much truth as possible.  Obviously, we are human and have that fleshly nature in us until we see Christ, but until then the Lord demands our reverent worship towards Him and our life and bodies to be yielded to Him.  If we are God’s children, then we need to have a distinction in the way we live and in every facet of life.  Our behavior needs to be different than the world’s behavior, our language needs to be different from the world’s language, the way we dress, the way we treat people and even the music we choose to listen to needs to be distinct from the world’s music.   Being different from the world is a testimony in itself for the Lord and the children of God should be willing to be different and distinct.  The worship that a true believer offers to God should be the closest in which a fallen human can portray the worship that will be experienced in eternity.   John 4:24 tells believers that worship to the Lord needs to be spiritual and truthful.  Worship that is not spiritual or truthful is not really worship at all, though it might feel like it or look like it.  There are requirements in the Bible of how the worship of God’s children needs to be done.  Any other ingredient added to, or detracted from God’s recipe for worship towards a Holy God, will only deplete that worship.   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Holy Life

 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

The Bible tells us that the sacrifice that we present to the Lord needs to be our whole life, which also needs to be holy and acceptable.  Earlier in chapter 6, believers are told that each member of our body needs to be yielded as a sacrifice to our Lord and Savior. Hebrew 13:15 says “…let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  Every facet of our life; behavior, speech, dress, attitudes, even our music needs to be yielded to the Lord when worshipping the Lord.  Music has such a powerful influence on people that it needs to be brought before the Lord so that the Lord is really our influence and motivation.  Romans chapter 6 was mentioned because we’re encouraged to present every member of our body to the Lord and our ears are the way in which music gets to our brain and in turn influences our thought patterns.  The way the high priests worshipped in the Old Testament was very particular and the Lord made it very particular.  In this age, the Lord commands us to worship him with our whole life, body and every part of our body. 
Another key to this verse is that the believer’s life needs to be a sacrifice for and to the Lord.  Most everybody that goes to church, no matter what denomination, worships on Sunday.  This is the day that has been set aside for worship.  People that go to church, whether saved or unsaved, most always go on Sunday.  There is no mandate for this in the Bible and in fact the only mandate in the Bible was directed to the Jews to worship on the Sabbath day, which is actually Saturday.  The point is that there is no specific day mandated in the Bible that is to be set aside for worship.  Romans 12:1 tells us that our life is to be set aside for the service of the Lord.  Believers should be yielding the time they have in this life to the Lord, according to God’s Word.  

To the melody of “God is so Good”

A Holy Life, A Holy Life, A Holy Life
Christ has given me.
He sets me free, He sets me free, He sets me free,
Unto Him all praise.
I will rejoice, I will rejoice, I will rejoice,
And be glad in Him.
Forever more, Forever more, Forever more
In Him to dwell.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Holiness of Worship

od possesses many characteristics and God also shares some of His characteristics with music.  The Lord himself is a very Holy God and the characteristics of God are also Holy.  Everything that the priests did was to be conducted in the holiest way a human could obtain.  In fact, the high priest himself was, in a way, distinct in the sense that the high priest could only be from the line of Aaron, there could be no physical defects and even what was worn by the high priest was in great detail.  In the book of Leviticus, we read of the tremendous detail and the numerous distinctions in the different sacrifices.  A trespass offering was different from a sin offering or a meat offering.  Distinctions are important to the Lord because He is a very Holy God and demands to be kept separated from all that defiles.  The high priest, the animals that were sacrificed and even the type of linen in the clothes the high priest wore during those sacrifices were to be Holy and because God is a Holy God, He wants his people to be Holy.  The Lord says “Be ye Holy for I am Holy.”  The word Holy means to set apart and the book of Leviticus reveals tremendous amounts of information about the holiness of God and the very specific commandments He gave His people because of His holiness.  These commandments were to be obeyed and revered because God was and is to be obeyed and revered.  To disobey God’s commandments and to be irreverent when worshipping God, is sin.  In Leviticus 26:2, the Lord commands his people to revere his sanctuary and later on in the New Testament, the Lord reveals to His people that they themselves are the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells.  We read in the Bible of how God reacted when someone disobeyed His commandments or was irreverent in their worship.  The worship that is commanded of the One, True, Lord is not to be taken lightly and the Bible reveals, quite honestly, frightening consequences for not doing things the way the Lord wants them done.  In the Old Testament, Nadab and Abihu were killed by the Lord for worshipping THEIR way.

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

In the same way, the music that believers engage in needs to be distinct from the world and holy unto the Lord.  Music has a powerful message and when and if we choose to represent the gospel or different characteristics of God through music, then we need to choose music that is consistent in representing that God-like message.  Most music that is said to be representing a God-like message has a lot of inconsistencies and that in itself is an opposing message to who God is.  There are many concepts of what worship is today and let me share something found from one churches website regarding their view of worship.

"It’s foundational to our church. When we join together to sing and worship, we create an outward expression of what’s going on in our hearts.  We realize that one worship style doesn't fit everyone, so we worship in many different ways – traditional, contemporary, and in between. We might worship through music, drama, technical arts, dance, choir, the visual arts… or something new entirely.  At… it’s all about authenticity. That’s the one common element of all of our worship styles.”

The Lord demands to be worshipped HIS way. It’s folly to think, just like Nadab and Abihu, that we can be casual about our worship and to think that we can create a worshipful atmosphere towards the one, true God.  The Bible also tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Believers do not even know what is in their own hearts and so how do we express worship?  Reading the above quote tells us that churches desire to express worship on their own terms, instead of how the Bible commands.  We need to turn to God’s Word for the answer.  Later on in Leviticus, the Lord gives very specific instructions to the high priest in order to conduct the sacrifices.  Nadab and Abihu suffered the deadly consequences of worshipping the Lord, their way.  Some might be thinking that was in the Old Testament and in the church age, the Lord would never be that forthright.  In the book of Acts chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying and this was during the church age.  The Bible tells us that when we worship or serve the Lord, it needs to be with reverence and godly fear.  (Hebrews 12:28)    In The Old Testament, the Lord set forth many rules and restrictions of how He was to be worshipped, but in the New Testament, the Lord demands a higher form of worship from his children.