Bible Lesson 39

On Worship
#5 in a series

As we continue in our series on True Worship, we will begin by looking again at the word of God, to find out the Who, Where, When, and How we are to worship our Great God. It may seem strange to some who read these lessons as to why there is a need for people in the church of our day to be reminded about how to worship; however, it has been a continuing problem in the church, from the time of Jesus Christ until today.

The word worship means a lot of things to a lot of people, and it does not always mean that a person wants to bow down and adore God. If you remember, the wise men from the east journeyed toward Bethlehem, as they followed a great star, and in Matthew chapter two and verses one and two, we find them stating their reason for making that long journey.

They said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him”. They had made a dangerous long and arduous journey and they brought expensively and valued gifts to lay at the feet of Jesus Christ.

They had truly come to worship and adore Him. Just six verses later in that same chapter, we see King Herod, as he instructs the wise men to go and locate Jesus and then come back and let him know where they found Him because he wanted to go and worship Him also.

Now, when Herod said that he wanted to worship this newborn King of the Jews, he did not mean what the wise men meant; what he meant by worship, was that he wanted to kill Him, and destroy any competition that he represented to Herod. The wise men and King Herod both used the same word, but they meant very different things.

To the wise men, it was an opportunity to recognize and heap worth on Jesus Christ, but Herod meant that He wanted to kill Him. Those two extremes still exist in the world today when it comes to defining the worship of Christ. Some love and reverence and fear the Messiah, the Savior of men, the God-man: and many others would love the chance to kill Him if they could, anyway they could.

Those extremes could probably be found in the visible church of our day, perhaps in different degrees, but they exist anyway. What do you mean when you say that you are worshiping God? What benefit is there in our worship of Jehovah? The gospel of John reminds us that only the prayer of true worshipers even gets a hearing from God. (John 9:31). Since that is true, shouldn?t we seek with every fiber of our being to make sure that what we do, and call it worship, is worship that God will accept?

There are so many questions that are necessary that let’s begin our last portion of this series on worship, by tracing the Bible?s history of worship as we seek to answer some of our questions. Genesis 22:5 gives us the first record of the use of the word, worship.

There we find Abraham and Isaac as they approach Mount Moriah, where God had told Abraham that he was to offer Isaac to God as a burnt offering. Abraham speaks to the young men that were with him and say, “stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship and will come back to you”. This was to be the ultimate worship for Abraham; because he was going to obey what God had said to him, about offering up his only Son Isaac to God.

It is almost impossible for us today to relate to those feelings because Abraham loved his son for many reasons? first, because he was the son of promise. God had promised Abraham this son many years before; but gave him when Abraham and Sarah, his wife, were well past child-bearing age, she is 90 years old and Abraham being 100 years old.

Isaac was the seed of promise to Abraham, and he was well-loved by him; but God has commanded and Abraham would obey, in faith, knowing that if God took him, that God would provide another, which God did by substituting a ram for Abraham to offer in place of Isaac.

That’s a good place for us to stop and ask ourselves, could our worship ever match that of Abraham’s? Would we be willing to offer up one of our children as an act of worship and obedience to God? In all probability, we will never have to make that decision; but at least we must consider how far worship has to take us.

Think about this, every man who was a disciple of Jesus Christ knew that there was a possibility of martyrdom, yet in acts of worship, they followed Him; and everyone except the Apostle John was martyred. There are people in our time that die in their service and worship of God. That tells us something about the scope of worship, it certainly takes us past Sunday school and church attendance.

Just Who is it that we are to Worship to that extent? Well, let’s look back to the time that God led the Children of Abraham out of bondage in Egypt. They came to the Mountain of Sinai; while there God gave them the Law, the Decalogue; the first four of the laws dealing with worship. They specify who it is that we are to worship. Exodus 20 and verse 3 begins with Jehovah God, the I Am, speaking to the people and saying, “you shall have no other gods before Me.” So that means that there is only One God and we must worship Him and Him alone.

Verse 4 of Exodus 20 reminds them and us today that we must not make any kind of idol to represent to us our Great God; because nothing that we can imagine would or could, properly illustrate the Creator. Verse 5 states that we must not bow down or worship anyone or anything whether in heaven or on the earth.

And verse 7 tells us that we must not take the name of God in vain. Certainly, this would include our using profane language in connection with God’s name; but it must also speak of our misappropriating His Name when we say that we are Christians and our lives do not glorify His Name.

Then in verse 8, God reminds us that we need rest and refreshing, so we are to remember to set a day apart (for the Jews it was the last day of the week, for us the first day of the week) to rest and worship God. The first four of the Ten Commandments reminds us of the Who, the how, and the when we are to worship God. This does not limit the fact that we who know Christ in the forgiveness of sin and the New Birth, have an attitude of worship as we live every day.

Worship encompasses every aspect of our lives and we have lost much in that we have limited our worship to a formal display of attending services which in many cases has nothing to do with real worship. How often do we when we write our tithe check or drop it into the plate at church, really stop long enough to thank God that He is the one to whom the credit belongs for any prosperity that we have (See Deuteronomy 26:10-11). Another aspect of worship is the fear of God.

We must fear God, not because He is capricious or mean-spirited; but because we know Him well enough to understand His great almighty power and Holiness and we fear ever displeasing Him. Fear is worship; and the Jews and us today, are told in 2nd Kings 17:33-39, that Fear is to be one of the prompters of our worship.

We can never fool God about worship. He alone can read the hearts and minds of His creatures; and He warns us in Matthew 15:8-9, about “playing church” and He says ” These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”. Someone may ask, is Christianity that serious, and does it require that we be this careful about how we approach God? The simple answer is, YES!

Christianity is a very serious subject since it was put into place by the death of Jesus Christ. Not just his death; but his humiliation by the very people who nailed Him to the cross. It required His physical death on the cross as he hung there under the weight of the sins of all those who would ever be saved; and the just punishment by the Father for every sin.

It also required the spiritual death of Christ, as the Father turned his face away from Him as He became sin for us. That’s what Jesus Christ did to pay the sin debt that you and I owe but can never pay. When God calls those whom He elected before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:1-6); and regenerates us, brings us back to spiritual life, we are according to Romans 6:1-14, put to death, because our old man was crucified with Him. Then in Ephesians 2:10, we are recreated as new creatures, “in Christ” unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

Then In 2nd Corinthians 5:17, we are reminded that because of having been born again, we are new creatures, and the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. The true Christian is to walk in newness of life, and that is a radical departure from what the old sinful creature was capable of doing. That requires a Great and Glorious God to take a “crooked stick” and make it straight, but it’s not a problem for Jehovah God. There is normally a disconnect right here, at least for so many who have been led astray by false teachers.

So many in our day have been pointed toward a cross and a Savior who has been manufactured by leaders who have chosen to “go into business for themselves and leave God outside”; but that will never get anyone into heaven.

Those who have been “saved” by a nice pastor or preacher, or a well-meaning friend, or by some church group, experience only what their peer groups can make them believe; but sooner or later, they realize that they are not able to do what God calls His children to do; because all they have as power is the power of the flesh. True Christians don’t have that problem; because they have been born again and indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit, and they can do all that God requires without a problem. (See Philippians 2:13; Romans 8:1-11).

Those who are truly saved know how to worship God in Spirit and Truth because they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and He becomes their teacher. (See Titus 2:11-12). The Spirit that indwells us creates in us the ability to love God and man, and our worship is out of love for God. How much do you love God? Do you love Him enough to obey Him?

Do you love Him more than you love anyone or anything on this earth, including yourself? Be sure you measure your answers to the above; because I am human and I know that we tend to believe that nothing should come before our close relatives, but Jesus Christ tells us in Luke 14:26-33, that when we come to Him for salvation, we must come loving Him more than anyone or anything on the earth, or we cannot be his disciples.

Only as we have dealt with these critical verses and others that deal with that intimate relationship that comes between us and Jesus Christ, in salvation, are we ever really prepared to worship in Spirit and Truth? True worship of God can never take place until we have set self aside, died to self, taken up our cross, and stepped down from the throne of our own lives in favor of the One who deserves the throne! Have you done that? It is my prayer that you and I and all who claim the name of Christ will undertake to refocus our worship on Him and begin to see ourselves as nothing, without Christ.

In our depraved condition, before God calls us to salvation, we are as the friend of Job, Bildad, would say in Job 25:6, worms. We were fit only for death and hell; but now because of our loving God, we are in Christ and are seen in His righteousness, and are of infinite worth. That should give us cause to worship the One who planned and paid the price for our salvation.

So come and let us worship and praise Him; for He has made us be light and salt to a world that is dark and sinful. In the future, before you go to worship God, prepare yourself, by careful examination of your life, by putting away anything that does not glorify God, and then reading His Word the Bible and taking time to meditate on the Word and the God of the Word.

See if your life does’nt improve as a result of that closeness you will have with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob