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Friday, June 6, 2014

When is worship appropriate? (Cont.)

       If worship is an expression of a believers love and devotion to God: a love of God, a love for His truth, and a love to understand and learn more truth should be clearly evident in a believers life.

2 Corinthians 5:14  "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then we're all dead:"

     This verse tells believers one of the great sanctification truths of God's love. God’s love should definitely be the main motivation of the believers worship and service to God, but in addition to that, God's love will constrain believers to right worship and service.  (Romans 12:1 and other places in Scripture equate worship and service.)
     There are two ideas that can be gleaned from this verse.  First, the love of God for sinful man, which was clearly displayed at the cross of Calvary, is the controlling factor in the believers life.  Whether this believer is walking with God or being chastened, God's love prevails in everything in those circumstances.  The promise in Philippians chapter 1 that he which had begun a good work, will perform it until Christ returns is reiterating this truth of the love of God.  It is only by God's unending love that His grace abounds, his provision exceeds, and his comfort overwhelms.  In Romans chapter 8, Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God and it is that love that conforms believers into the image of God.  God forces his hand on his children and though it often times is excruciating, the end result is to be conformed to be more like Christ.  What love of God!
       Another idea that can be gleaned is that the believers love for God should control the things that he does.  To know that we are being conformed to be more Christ-like in order to be used more effectively by God should motivate the believer to yield himself wholly to God's loving hand.  Love for God results in stricter dedication and a willingness to refrain from certain activities.  It seems the norm today that ones expression of worship is flippant and anything goes, but the Bible teaches that God only accepts worship that is acceptable and on His terms.  The worship movements and gatherings found within christendom are only superficial displays which play on the human thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  True worship is sourced in the heart and cannot be seen, but the expression of worship within these popular trends are deceiving christians into thinking it is true and Biblical worship.            
       Jeremiah 17:9 warns believers that their own heart is deceitful.  It is needful for all things to be brought before the Word of God, including our thoughts and intents, but in addition to that, our actions and the things we choose to involve ourselves with is to be brought before the Word of God.
        In Leviticus chapter 10, Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the Lord, which the Lord did not command and therefore did not and would not accept, in fact the consequences were quite deadly, literally.  The Bible does not tell us anything in regards to their motives and intents, but it is logical to since they wanted to offer sacrifice to the Lord, we can only rightly speculate that their motives were sincere.  However, they were sincerely wrong.....wrong in their actions.  Let's illustrate this with something I heard from my pastor and this is probably the best and clearest illustration to make this point.   A 5 year old girl wants to express her love to her mom and she knows that her mom likes roses and really wants to give her mom some roses.  One day she is outside playing and sees a bed of beautiful roses, but they are just over their property line in the neighbors yard.  Not knowing the boundaries, but only wanting to show her love to mom, she goes and picks a bunch of roses from the neighbors yard.  Upon giving them to mom, who could only be elated with joy at the heart (innermost thoughts, love, and devotion) of her 5 year old daughter, but also grieved that these flowers were from the neighbors yard, both sides need to be dealt with.  Yes, it is a heartwarming act of love, but it was wrong.  The motives were clearly sincere and heartfelt, but the outward expression was simply wrong and there are some corrections that need to be made.  It is understandable that this little girl did not know that she was crossing the line, but now those lines have to be explained to her so that this doesn't happen again.  If this child were to pick roses again from the neighbors yard, her mom wouldn't be very pleased.  The first time was done in complete innocence, the second time is in rebellion, though the motive may remain the same.  Now that the girl knows where the boundaries are, but still chooses to pick the neighbors roses, her mom will be displeased because there is rebellion mixed with her expression of love.  If that young girl truely loved her mother, that offering would be the purest and truest offering possible.
         The love and devotion a believer has towards God will result in that believer searching the scriptures to understand the way God desires to be worshipped, which we have noted is an expression of love.  The Bible points out in John 4:24 that worship needs to be in spirit and in truth, not just surface truth or what looks like it could be truth, but biblical truth, and as much of it as can be known.  

  God knows the hearts of his children and that is obviously between the believer and God, but the how-to in approaching God is a needful study.    

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