This is how king David looked at God's creation. Psalm 19:1-4.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the
work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night
after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all
the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens
he has pitched a tent for the sun."
Every action that God has done or will do brings glory to him.
What does our worship mean to God? Let's look at Romans 3:23 to
see something. Romans 3:23. "for all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God " We've all fallen short of the glory
of God, all of us. God is the point of everything. This is an
interesting point and a way of looking at sin. No matter what
we do or who we are, we've all fallen short of God's glory, and
we always will! Worship is not about us, it is about God. God
could have raised up stones, rocks, to worship him--but he raised
us up instead. Every action that God has taken or will take is
to bring glory to him. How do we view worship, public worship? Worship
is not about what makes us happy but what makes God happy. When
God becomes happy, pleased with us, that happiness is reflected
back into us by him. We in the Worldwide Church of God
have gone through some changes in our public worship. In our worship
team meetings we pray and talk about the subject of worship and
the effectiveness of our worship of God. We pray about the subject
of worship and ask others to pray about our public worship. We
pray for a proper understanding of what worship is. What is worship
for anyway? There is a broad spectrum of worship both in what
we do or what we may yet do. Some leave one Christian fellowship
and go to another simply to find a worship service that suits
them. But the question isn't so much "What is the worship service
that I like " but "How does God want to be worshipped? What
is acceptable and what isn't acceptable to God?" To learn this
we must look into God's Word for God's understanding of what he
wants--what is acceptable and what isn't. We find there is a framework
that God gives us to work with.
STARTS THE PROCESS FIRST
Worship is our response to God. It is something we are
doing to him. He touches us first, to open our minds to
him. He gives us his love first, regardless of who or what we've
been and what we are. No matter what we've been or are now he
says to us, "The very first thing I want you to know is that I
love you!" "I love you. And as a result of all I'll show you and
do for you, you'll worship me." God created us for his pleasure,
not for ours. We were created for his purpose. That's what worship
is about. We can't exist without God. Worship is from God, for
God, to God. He created us to comfort him. Worship is initiated
by God first. And there is a remarkable benefit for us when we
worship God, when we enter this world of worship. What happens
when we enter into worship with God? We enter into a loving relationship
with God. We enter into a relationship that will go beyond measure.
Are you in a relationship with God right now? Do you know what
that relationship is or should be? Let's look into the subject.
A lot of us know God. A lot of us understand that God exists.
But all of this is one way. We find that we're loving God on our
own terms, not his.
All our idols fall short of God. When we come before God in a
complete, open, loving relationship, that is worship. Worship
in the Old Testament was a formality, a covenental agreement of
obedience. Did Israel believe God? No. Worship in the New Testament
is a different relationship. In the Old Testament the primary
vehicle to worship was the Temple. The people had to come to the
Temple to worship God. And bringing sacrifices for their sins
was an essential part of this worship. That's why they needed
to go to the Temple to worship God. They had to do all this before God
would hear them. In the New Testament the focus has changed. The
focus is now on Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection,
and the atoning power of his blood. It is by the blood of Jesus
Christ, shed for our sins instead of all those bulls and goats
of the Hebrew sacrificial system of worship, that we are now able
to be with God. You don't have to go to the Temple of God to have
Jesus' blood cover and atone for your sins. Both forms of worship
required us to respond to God's initiative in our lives. Before,
you had to do things before God would hear you. As we just saw,
you had to enter into the old covenant Temple with your physical
sacrifices. Now Jesus is our true Temple and so we come to Him
to worship. We get into this Temple by his shed blood. Jesus had done it
for us. And so we find that worship of God revolves around having
a relationship with God--in both the old and new covenants. The
two are common but different in many ways. The common denominator
between the two was that worship revolved around having a relationship
with God. The relationship with God is the primary motivation
for worship. In Old Testament Israel they worshipped God as a
result of his great acts for them. The book of Exodus is full
of those acts. Read from Exodus chapters 1 through 12, and then
chapter 15 verses 1-18. What God had just done caused them to
worship him in praise and worship.
CAN WORSHIP GOD IN VAIN
You can worship God in vain. And the result under the old
covenant could mean death. Look at Nadab and Abihu's example of
vain worship in Leviticus 10:1-5,9-11. "Then Nadab and Abihu,
the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put
incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which
He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and
devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said
to Aaron, 'This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who
come near to Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the
people I must be glorified.' So Aaron held his peace. And Moses
called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron,
and said to them, 'Come near, carry your brethren from before
the sanctuary out of the camp.' So they went near and carried
them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said." Verses
9-11, "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, or your sons
with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you
die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,
that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between
unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel
all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand
of Moses." Judging from this command which comes right on the
heals of Nadab and Abihu's untimely death, they were drinking
on the job and it affected their proper judgment and responsibilities
as priests. They were worshipping God in vain in a very real way.
In the New Testament Jesus has this to say. Matthew 7:21-22. "Not
everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many
will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied
in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders
in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew
you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" The penalty
under the old covenant was physical death. The penalty under the
new covenant is separation from God and his eternal reward, at
least for that time of judgment, which may come at the time of
his 2nd coming. This may just be a command to 'Get
away from me and become real Christians now!' We just don't know
BETWEEN OLD AND NEW
In the Old Testament the children of Israel worshipped God
as a result of his great acts. So as a result of God's intervention
in their lives, their reaction was, 'I'm going to worship you.'
Moses touched the core of ancient Israel's relationship with God.
They knew that God loved them and that God would do anything for
them. All the plagues (Exodus 6-12), all the miracles (Exodus
13-19 and elsewhere) that occurred--they were always taken care
of. God loved them and they knew it. It was because that relationship
existed that they thought they could control God. They could control
God they thought. The reason Moses gave Pharaoh why they wanted
to get out of slavery was so they could worship God. We see a
New Testament parallet in the book of Revelation. The book of
Revelation parallels the book of Exodus. Most don't realize that.
In Revelation 7 we see a New Testament parallel--the symbol for
Passover is used. We find the saints have washed their robes in
the blood of the Lamb. In the Old Testament example the Israelites
took the blood of lambs, and came under the protection of this
blood, which spared them from the death angel and certain death.
In Revelation 7 we find the saints washed themselves, their lives
in the blood of Jesus Christ--the only thing that can cleanse
sin. And the Passover example is there. In Revelation the sentence
goes on to say that they've washed their robes in the blood of
the Lamb so they can worship the Lord. That's
why they do it. And furthermore, it is this blood of the Lamb
which saves us from Eternal death and separation from God. We
have to accept the fact that in some ways the form of worship
carries over from the "old" to the "new," in the form of it, the
worship aspect, and even in the symbols used. The similarity involves
worship, reverence. The similarity involves attitude.
There are many forms of worship in the world today, aren't
there? Many different types of worship exist when it comes to
worshipping God. Sometimes we're uncomfortable with the ways that
others worship God. We fear, primarily, that we may be offending
God. That's one of the reasons that we may feel uncomfortable.
The others maybe are personal. How do you feel about saying
"Amen"? It means that we agree with the prayers that have just
been said. So if we say, 'Father, help me so that I may love you
more,' we might hear an "Amen". But if I say, 'Father, please
help the Red Sox beat the Mets tonight,' is that something that
you would say an "Amen" to? Maybe not. Maybe you don't feel that
would be total worship. If I said, 'Brethren, let's just stand,
and for a moment look up into the heavens and raise our hands
and just thank God personally for what he has done for us.' Maybe
you might feel comfortable with that and maybe you might not.
What if I said, 'Brethren, let's just raise our hands, let's just
sit here with our hands raised to him. And let's meditate on him.'
Maybe that would feel awkward. Maybe that would feel good. I think
of Moses when his hands were outstretched, and what happened?
When the battle with the Amalekites was going on, as long as his
hands were raised he and the Israelites were fine. When he let
them down they would start to lose the battle. Sometimes those
things might be considered a little bit out of the
"norm" for us. Some will say, 'I don't want any part of a Jewish
festival! That's all in the old covenant and I don't want any
part of that.' Others will say, 'Well, there's a lot of meaning
there.' God gave them for a reason. He must have had some intent
behind them.' And so we see there's feelings on both sides.
CHANGE IN THE CONTENT OF WORSHIP BETWEEN OLD AND NEW
The content of worship changed between the old and new covenant.
It's changed dramatically and forever. It's important for us to
realize that it changed. What's the difference between worship
in the Old Testament and New Testament? Two words. Anybody know
what they are? Jesus Christ! Big difference
between the old and the new. Two words that bring Eternal life
and Salvation to you--Jesus Christ. Christians in the New Testament
had many Jewish characteristics though. We can read the book of
Acts, and we find out the book of Acts was comprised early--the
early Church was made up of Jewish converts. What had they established
in their lives already?--traditions and customs. These were Jewish
traditions and customs. Some of those customs and traditions live
on. Many of those traditions became more meaningful to Christians.
Because of Jesus Christ, they saw those two words in these customs.
For example, Jesus Christ and all he was and did and is today,
the Messiah, can be seen throughout the customs and traditions
of the Jewish Sedar meal. One Jewish person, while a student at
Brandeis University, discovered Jesus Christ, came to recognize
him as the Messiah, when he saw his sacrifice portrayed in the
customs of the Passover Sedar meal he was observing at home with
his parents one year. He became a Christian, and he wrote a book
about this experience. So changes in the New Testament Church
over worship services began to take shape. In the Old Testament
we had Temple worship. You had to bring sacrifices for your sins
to this Temple before you could approach God and be heard. Temple
worship was glorious to be sure. King David set up whole divisions
of singers from the Levites, who rotated on duty, and sang in
what must have been huge choirs. King David exuded musical enthusiasm.
The whole book of psalms were put to music to be sung in the Temple
as Praise and Worship hymns. Now in the new covenant the Temple
was and is Jesus Christ. And so the worship service changed, became
different. Format changed as well. There was active participation
in the service by all people. It wasn't just a certain group of
people, as it had been in the Temple at Jerusalem. The congregation
was sent forth to preach the gospel, to praise Jesus Christ's
name by living what they believed. And by when someone said, "Hey,
I notice something different about you. What is that?" "That's
the hope of Jesus Christ living in me that you too can have!" How
can we preach that gospel [the gospel of Christ]? We can live
it. We can then talk about it. And if I was so inclined, and wanted
to, I could go and knock on my neighbor's door. And some will
"There's Mr. Ebeling, he's saying, 'We have to go door to door!'" I'm
not saying that, but what would be wrong with that? Would it help
or would it hurt? [Let that be your way of determining your actions.]
We see that there were Christians that started to worship Jesus
Christ on Sunday as their day of worship, totally different from
the Sabbatarian Jewish Christians. Yes, there were still Christians
who gathered on Saturday, the Sabbath day, as was their custom
to worship Jesus Christ. No fault there, nothing wrong with that.
[If you think so, read Romans 14, where Paul was correcting the
Gentile Christians for their judgmental attitudes toward the Jewish
Christians in their congregation.]
What we see is that the New Testament Church focussed on this.
They focussed on the birth of Jesus Christ, they focussed on the
life of Jesus Christ, they focussed on the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ. They then focussed on the ascension of Jesus
Christ. And they focussed on the soon coming return of Jesus Christ.
And all was focussed on Jesus Christ. That's what the New
Testament Church was founded on--on the Rock, Jesus Christ. Jesus
said, "I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will never
prevail against it!" That was never said of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The structure of worship retained a lot of Jewish elements. They
gathered to worship. We gather to worship. The gathering occurs.
We have the ministry of the Word, where in the Temple or synagogue
the reading of the Law took place. Now we preach the gospel message,
both in services and abroad. The structure of the Jewish Church
and Temple was and is still in the Christian Church. Instead of
the Sedar meal, the Christians partake of the Lord's Supper, until
He come again. There was a sending forth of the worshipping community, "Now
go out and preach the gospel unto everybody." Jesus said that
in Matthew 28 verse 19. In the congregation today we have prayers,
singing, preaching, Scripture reading, and congregational participation.
And lastly, the use of spiritual gifts in the praise and ministry
of Jesus Christ, because we all have gifts. When we come together
in our Christian congregations, our worship isn't for us, it's
for God. This type of worship in the early Church that began to
develop involved the whole person--body, mind and soul. Worship
involves every part of our being. (Soul can be translated as "spirit.")
Worship in the New Testament was no longer single dimensional,
it was multi-dimensional, in the full spectrum. It wasn't just
an emotional binge but something that came from deep within. In
fact, this worship affects our heart. And this type of relationship
that we want to have with God suggests to us that we need to have
this type of worship service--a worship service that facilitates
this type of realization that we're in a loving relationship with
God. That's the substance of worship.
We find that Hebrews 10 is really a summation of chapters 7,
8 and 9. Let's read Hebrews 10:19-25. "Therefore, brethren, having
boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new
and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil,
that is, His flesh, and a High Priest over the house of God, let
us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having
our conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold
fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised
is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir
up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Now
verse 25 which is in bold. What that verse means when you look
at it under the surface is that those who purposely and willingly
continue to abstain from meeting with one another (of like faith)
eventually lose their relationship with God! And that relationship
comes in the form of worship! That's how powerful worship is.
When you worship God collectively as the body, the relationship
is there and it spills over into our relationship with others.
Next we will go into the theology of worship--how you and I need
to approach worship when we come to Church services, and how you
and I need to develop our lives before God when it comes to this
vital subject of worship. Hymn # 215 of our hymnal says it all.
[At this point I would like to make this statement of intent.
This webpage has been created and exists for the express purpose
of spiritually nurturing and uplifting Christians in their walk
with Jesus and God the Father by stirring up the Holy Spirit in
them through the reading of the gospel of Christ. The material
in this website is never written or presented
with the intention of drawing a Christian out of his or her own
particular Christian fellowship into another. It is the intent
and desire of all who work on this site that Christians remain
in the Christian fellowship they came from, using
the resources made available here to strengthen themselves and
thus their own fellowships by their gaining a better understanding
of God's Word, and particularly the gospel of Christ. The editor.]
II: "WORSHIP THE KING"
When I hear music that touches deep inside, when music touches
you in a certain way, it's no wonder God surrounds his throne
with music. Music enhances things.
II Chronicles 7:14. "If my people who are called by my name
will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from
their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive
their sin and heal their land." The point is that we have some
things to do, and when we do them, God hears, and participates
in everything we do. God created worship. Everything he created
is for his pleasure. Worship isn't about us at all. Worship is
all about God. We have an obligation to each other when it comes
to worship. You see, we're encouraged by one another when we worship
collectively to our God. In a nutshell, worship comes from the
heart. This topic, to many of us, is a new topic, but it is really
When is comes to worship (personally) I can think about my own
education in worship and I remember coming to Church and sitting
down and learning a great deal from what
was said from this very pulpit--and trying to assimilate those
facts into my life. And every week I looked forward to learning
more. Maybe you can share in those feelings. And as a result we
grew in our knowledge and we grew in certain areas of spiritual
knowledge, and the point is we grew, and that was good. But as
I also look back, my application of worship has undergone a great
deal of scrutiny--because I didn't always worship God. What I
did, at times, was I came to hear what was said about God. I came
to hear what the Bible said, and that is a good thing, a great
thing, but I'm telling you that my understanding of worship wasn't
always crystal clear. It just wasn't an area that the Worldwide
Church of God focussed on in the past. Maybe your understanding
of what worship is went through a similar transition that mine
We should ask ourselves these questions when we look at what we're
doing in the area of worship: Is our worship service worshipful?
Are we worshipping God (as opposed to just hearing about him)?
Is our worship pleasing to God? Can we improve our understanding
of worship? Are we as a group, when we come together, when we're
a congregation that comes before our God, when we're an entity
known as this local Church, when we come before God's throne in
worship, are we really seeking to worship God? So
for us, as you can imagine, this subject needed to be discussed.
We found that we had been lacking in our proper understanding
of what true worship of God was supposed to be.
So, what can we do to improve our understanding of what worship
is? That's where we turn to the Bible and ask God for his direction.
Why? So that we can worship our God with a better understanding
of just why we're here right now, on this rainy day, where it
would have been nice to stay under the covers. Let's read Matthew
6:25-33. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body,
what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body
more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither
sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds
them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying
can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither
toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes
the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little
faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or
'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all
these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows
that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added
What do we see here? When we come to worship God we enter into
a relationship of love--a relationship with him. God is love.
When we worship him we're entering into that relationship. And
here we are in Matthew 6, a chapter filled with a lot of information
that Jesus Christ was giving to his disciples. And along about
verse 25 the little heading in my Bible says, "Do Not Worry".
Don't worry, be happy. The overwhelming thought that Jesus wants
us to know is that we shouldn't worry--if we're with him, in him.
And then in the middle of all these 'don't worry's he says in
verse 33 "But seek first His kingdom", first, above anything else,
above any worries, above any blessings, above anything seek his
kingdom first and his righteousness. How do we seek his righteousness?
Where is his righteousness that we could go there and seek it?
How can we do that? How can we launch into seeking that? Because
it says, 'If we do these things, lots of other things are going
to be given to us.' And so in the context of telling his disciples
not to worry he says "Seek me first, above everything else, seek
me." Where is the Lord's righteousness so we can go there and
seek it (verse 33)? God's throne, isn't it? How do we get there?
"Worship" is one of the ways we seek righteousness. We must look
past the worship style and look at the foundation of worship--which
is the purpose of worship.
Sometimes we're blind to seeking God in a better way than we could.
So what Jesus was saying here in this little passage was that
we need to seek God first, we need to seek his righteousness.
Worship is one of the ways that we seek righteousness. Worship
fills that void. Sometimes when we look at worship we tend to
look at the particular style. That's the part that we can see.
Sometimes we look at the style and forget the foundation. We neglect
to remember the foundation. We neglect the fact of what is actually
taking place. What is taking place is that worship is going on.
Worshipping God is going on, and somehow, we're lost when we should
be seeking. And we have to grope around until we find out what
we are doing.
So what is the chief end of man? Well, the textbook answer is: "Man's
chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever." Is that
your chief end? Is that what we seek in life is to glorify God?
You know glorifying God is an easy thing to say. Glorify God
can be transposed to worship--we worship God in everything
we do, and in various ways and in various styles. But there are
times when we come together, and together we worship God. Everything
that has been created has been created to bring praise, glory
and honor to God. Take a look at God's creation and the intricacy
of its' design, the beauty and intricacy goes both macro and microscopic.
Look at the marvel of the DNA code, which man has only just begun
to crack. King David marveled, as do all astronomers, at the glorious
creation in the heavens. Now with super telescopes and the orbiting
Hubble telescope our marveling and awe for the heavens only gets
greater. Take the lowly mosquito, which most of us hate. If you
could put it under a powerful microscope and see how it was made,
you and I would be awestruck. Go to the library and pick up a
copy of Astronomy, look through the back issues, watch the Discovery
Channel, and remember--God made all of this, God created all of
this, the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. The book
of Psalms is full of praise for God's heavenly and earthly creation.
There is so much musical praise and worship material in the book
of Psalms that our church used them almost exclusively in our
hymnal for years. Every action that God has ever taken or will
take has as its' intent to glorify him. He is the one who created
everything, without him nothing would exist. By his will you and
I sit here today [in whatever Christian congregation we may find
ourselves in]. We read last week in the book of Romans, chapter
three and verse twenty three, that we all have something in common.
And that common denominator is this, that we all fall short of
the glory of God. We see that God is the point of everything.
So true worship, the worship of God, begins with the understanding
of the God who is to be worshipped. We have to know who God is
in order to worship him. And he reveals himself to us through
Scripture. He reveals himself to us and tells us everything we
need to know about him. And yet, what do we find? We find we fall
short when it comes to worshipping him.
Ineffective worship is almost always related to a diminished view
of God. If you're not able to fully worship then maybe you don't
fully know God. The more we know God, the more we understand how
much he is to be worshipped. Remember Enoch in Genesis 5? We see
that he walked with God. And then he was not. He was no more.
What happened to Enoch? Let's turn to Hebrews 11.
Hebrews 11 is a chapter that is dedicated to faith. It is called
the "faith chapter" of the Bible In Hebrews 11:5 we find out what
happened to Enoch. And before he was taken away he was commended,
applauded as one who pleased God. That's what it says about Enoch.
Verse 6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God." So
when someone says 'I feel like I'm just not pleasing God.' Stop,
ask yourself, 'Do you have faith in him?' Yes? Well that's good,
faith is pleasing to God. Because anyone who comes to him must
believe that he exists and that he rewards those who--what?--earnestly
seek God. We have to seek God in order to worship him and to glorify
him. And that's what Enoch evidently did before he was taken up.
We read about David's passion for God. When you have time, read
Psalm 24. In that Psalm, David with passion overflowing, tells
how much he loves God, and how much he seeks the Lord. It so impressed
the writers of Acts that in Acts chapter 13 they used David as
an example. In Acts 13:22 it says
"after removing Saul, God made David their king. He testified
concerning David, 'I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after
my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.' David was
willing to put everything aside and he sought God with his whole
heart. We're talking today about what's involved in worship. Worshipping
God comes from the heart. You have to want to do it. It has to
stem from the heart in such a way to where it's overflowing and
you just want to show God how much you love him. What outstanding
feature was it that allowed God to chose David as the king? He
wasn't an Olympic weight lifter. As far as his stature went he
was not impressive. Was it because of his intellect? No, it wasn't
necessarily because of his intellect. What was it about David?
It was about the heart. He feared and loved God. He didn't hesitate.
He gave God credit for everything. Whenever there was a problem,
he went to God first. He sought God first. How
many times when we're in difficulties and trials and troubles,
how many times do we seek God first? There's a pattern,
an example here that later Jesus would say in Matthew 6:33, that
is the formula for seeking him. It has to stem from our heart.
Let's turn to Luke 10. Here's a story that we're all familiar
with. Martha knew who Jesus was and was a follower of Jesus. A
rare opportunity came up for her. Jesus was travelling through
Bethany, her town. He got invited by Martha to her house. Just
think if you were in her place. What kind of opportunity would
that be for us? So in Luke 10:38 the story starts. Martha opened
her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who it says sat
at Jesus' feet listening to what he said. Let's get the picture
of what's going on here. Jesus is in the living-room part of the
home, with Mary sitting at his feet listening to everything he
was saying. His disciples are probably there as well. Mary is
just sitting there probably listening to every word spoken. She's
intent on staying right where she is. Now in verse 40 we see Martha
was distracted by all the preparation that had to be made. She
was the one who had invited Jesus to her home. Now she was caught
up in all the preparations she was doing and became distracted.
What happens when you get distracted? Things are not in order
the way you'd like to have them. You get agitated. You look for
justification for this agitation. At this point she came to Jesus
while he was sitting there talking. She probably interrupted him,
or maybe, being a gentleman, he stopped to ask her what she wanted.
Martha said, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me
to do all this preparation by myself!' 'Tell her to help me. Listen,
I invited you here and you've taken away my help. I'm preparing
a big meal over here for you. What are you doing? Wait for me.
Don't tell that story yet. Wait for me.' There's a lot going on
in that little verse. Jesus knew Martha. He knew she was the type
that wanted to have everything perfect--but for who, the guest
or herself? For herself because that reflected back on her. If
things weren't perfect things were unsettled. She couldn't relax.
She couldn't be with Jesus until everything was perfect, the way
she wanted them to be. Do you know someone like that? That type
of person can drive you nuts, making you want to say, "Will you
just sit down!!!" "Forget about all this preparation!" Perfection
is a very hard standard to live up to, isn't it? Martha was in
the kitchen and she wanted to make this elaborate meal. Jesus
would probably have settled for a real plain meal--one that didn't
involve much preparation at all. "I'm here, where's you attention?" "Is
it somewhere else, or with me?"
Mary, Martha's sister chose to sit there and listen to Jesus,
listening to his words which we know are the words of life. She
chose to sit, listen and yes, worship him in that moment. How
did she worship him? She gave him her heart--her full attention--he
was what she was interested in fully. Worship begins with the
heart. Jesus was more important to Mary than anything else. Neither
one of these people were bad people or slouches--but we see a
choice being made here by each sister. Mary's choice was to ignore
all the preparation so she could sit at the Lord's feet and hear
everything he had to say. Martha's choice was, 'I invited him,
but I'm not ready yet because I'm doing all this fancy food preparation.'
You can't fault the fact that she wanted to make a good meal,
but what was going on here? She was putting something else in
front of her Lord. This example doesn't mean we shouldn't do fancy
things. But service to Jesus Christ must not fill our lives to
such an extent that we have no time to worship him. That's the
most important thing. Sometimes we let so many activities get
between us and worship that worship can't take place--there's
no time left for it. To the perfectionist, if everything isn't
just so, he or she can't do what's really important, and in this
case, worshipping God. How can we put this? We shouldn't be in
the kitchen when Jesus wants us to be in the sanctuary. Just that
simple. We honor Jesus much more by sitting and listening to him,
than by providing excessively for his needs. It's all about worship.
That's the main point to that story--service to our Lord must
not take so much time that it interferes with our worship of him.
Worship is of the heart. The main point is Jesus and the time
we spend with him.
Philippeans 3:1-9. "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.
For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for
you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of the mutilation! For
we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice
in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I
also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks
he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so; circumcised on
the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning
zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which
is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me,
these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count
all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, the righteousness
which is from God by faith " Here we learn something
about Paul and what he was like. Paul was a man of zeal, was a
fireball of energy. He had great compassion for Christ. Earlier
in his life he had a lot of anger, at Christians. Uncontrolled
anger does something to you, not just on the outside but on your
inside. It does something spiritually to you. But after his conversion
Paul was filled with compassion. This compassion in Paul came
from his heart. In chapter three he says, 'Rejoice in the Lord,
worship the Lord, be one with the Lord.' He's saying basically,
there's no other place you want to be but in the Lord, in this
relationship and the hands of God. He says, 'Watch out for those
dogs.' -- People who try to lead you away from this precious relationship
with God. In verses 4-6 Paul goes through seven things or reasons
why he could as a practicing Jew have confidence if he wanted
to. Everything the Jews stand for--the Law--all of it's me. But
he then says, 'Guess what? All those things don't mean a thing!'
He says that in verse 7. He then says whatever I considered to
my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What happened
here in his life to change Paul's mind so radically? Jesus Christ
changed his mind, affected his heart, and now his heart told him
through Christ that those things don't enter you into the relationship
with Me. What enters you into a relationship with me is that my
Father in heaven calls you (John 6:44), and you then believe that
I am the Christ. And when you do this, it affects your heart.
You become a changed person, not your old self anymore. Was Paul
the same before and after his conversion? No he wasn't. Paul discarded
all those things that were important to him before, because his
identity was not in those things anymore. His identity was in
Worship involves all of God, every aspect of God. It involves
God the Father. When we worship God it involves God the Father.
He is the object of our worship. In I Peter 2:9 it says, "But
you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His
own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who
called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." When we
worship we also worship God's Son, Jesus the Christ. He is our
Mediator. He is the Mediator of our worship. In I Peter 2:5 it
says, "you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable
to God through Jesus Christ." In other words, we can't fully
worship God until we go through Jesus Christ. And the third
part of worshipping God is God the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is
the enabler of our worship. "We who worship by the Spirit" it
says in Philippeans, and in Romans it says, "and by the Spirit
we're able to say Abba, Father." The Spirit enables us to do that.
Romans 8:9-16. "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit,
if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does
not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is
in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life
because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised
Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the
dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit
who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to
the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according
to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death
the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led
by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not
receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received
the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The
Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children
of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs
with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be
glorified together." But it all comes down to the heart. When
we worship, everything we do points to the greatness of God. We
come to realize that worship should permeate every part of our
lives. Worship should be a lifestyle that you and I are involved
with--how we live. This doesn't mean we stop being normal, that
we put on robes and sandals and walk around with our hands clasped,
muttering and mumbling constantly in worship.
In our modern world today, in the city of Waltham, in the community
where you live, WE PRAY REVIVAL TO TAKE PLACE, DON'T WE? If revival
took place on this level, on the community level, the state level,
the country level --if that type of revival took place on that
type of level, would that be a powerful witness to the power of
God? What would happen if this happened, if revival took place
at that level? Worship would become a community lifestyle, because
everyone would be doing it. The community would then be worshipping
God by how they live and change would take place. When we worship,
we see, hear and understand God, and in doing so we enter into
a relationship with him that involves worship. If this happened
on a community level, people would be flocking to their churches,
and flocking into a relationship with God that they don't have
now, and everything would change. Our lives should change when
we truly understand worship. Unfortunately that hasn't occurred--but
what about me and you? Do we encounter God in a very real and
tangible way? Do we encounter him when we come to worship? Is
God real to us? Is he living in your life? Are we worshipping
him? "The real factor in worship is a heart desire for God.
The reason it fails to occur in a pew is because it fails to occur
in the daily routine of living." That came from an excellent
resource which will help further your understanding of worship.
It is a book titled: "Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel."
There are a lot of things we could point to and say "that's the
reason worship isn't taking place, that's the reason why we're
not in the relationship we want to be with God. This is the
"If only everything was perfect, then I could worship" syndrome
that Martha had in Luke 10. We all fall short of the glory of
God, but what we need to do is have it take place in our hearts,
as a part of our daily lives Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then when we come together our worship
takes on more meaning because we have been worshipping by ourselves
all week long. But now we have all our brothers and sisters with
us and we're all coming to the Throne of Righteousness and Grace
to worship the King. That's what it's all about.
What was the point of our redemption? We were far off from God
before he entered into our lives. II Corinthians 5:16-21.
"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.
Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now
we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all
things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled
us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry
of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling
the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and
has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we
are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through
us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him." Our sins take us away from
God, but they don't separate us from God (as we used to believe
and some still do) because he forgives those sins--all of them--the
ones we did in the past, the ones that we do now, and the ones
that are down the road--are forgiven!!! What stands between us
and God is our lack of giving glory to God--of knowing Who and
What He Is. Sin is just a by-product, so to restore our broken
relationship with God is it just to stop sinning and then we're
O.K.? No! It's not going to make it O.K. To simply stop sinning
will not bring you into a relationship with God. To restore the
broken relationship with God it takes worship. It's through worship
that restoration takes place.
What's the primary purpose of the Church? The responsibility of
the Church is to Worship the Living, Breathing God on a weekly
basis. Worship is our highest calling. We do so to respond to
what God has done for us. So again, what does the Church and worshipping
God in the Church do for us? Paul explains in Ephesians 4:1-6,
11-16. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to
have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing
with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord,
one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above
all, and through all, and in you all And He Himself gave
some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some
pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the
work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till
we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the
Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of
the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children,
tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they
lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow
up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--from whom the
whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its
share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in
[This two part article was written from the notes taken from two
sermons given by Pastor Al Ebeling who pastors the Boston congregation
of the Worldwide Church of God meeting in Waltham, Massachusetts.
For more information about this local congregation on-line, their
address is: http://www.wcg.org/Churches/US/MA/Boston/index.htm ]
"For a good book detailing more about what Praise and Worship
are, be sure to order this book title WORSHIP AND MUSIC MINISTRY,
by Rick & Dave Newton. It can be ordered online at http://www.thewordfortoday.org/ or
The Word For Today
P.O. Box 8000
Costa Mesa, CA 92628
or call: 1 (800) 272-WORD
Letter to radio station WCHP regarding musical parodies of
Hey Teri & Tonya
This morning you featured two songs by a musical group called "Apologetics" who
specialize in taking popular music tunes and reworking the lyrics
into 'Christian' parodies. You played "Living the Life That Jesus
Spoke Of" (Living La Vita Loca) and "La Bible" (La Bamba). You
asked for listener comments. I say "Two thumbs up"! You may already
know the following story - this is quoted from an 'insight' in
the New Student Bible NIV version: page 509 Lyrics for the Living
God William Booth, believing the 19th-century English church had
become too refined to reach the citie's poor, took the gospel
into the streets. He organized his workers into a "salvation army," ...
Salvation Army recruits did not stick to traditional hymns but
invented their own words for rousing popular tunes.
"Here's to Good Old Whiskey" became "Storm the Forts of Darkness." Booth
had his doubts about this trend until one night, hearing a beautiful
"Bless His Name, He Sets Me Free," he asked about the tune. "Why,
Mr. Booth, that's 'Champagne Charlie Is My Name,'" the embarrassed
singer replied. "That settles it," Booth said. "Why should the
devil have all the best tunes?" Soon 400 bands were crashing about
England, playing hit tunes with Christian words. David and his
people would have liked that spirit. Many of the psalms were meant
to be sung, and sung joyfully. Modern church formality seems far
removed from their frequent command: "Sing for joy! Shout aloud!" Their
instruments included cymbals, tanbourines, trumpets, ram's horns,
harps and lyres. Sometimes dancing erupted. ... Every generation
of Christians renews the discovery of this "new song," sometimes
through the music of their forebears, sometimes in a form that
shocks their solemn elders. The Salvation Army did, as did the
Jesus Movement in the 60s and Christian rock music in the 80s
ad 90s. David would not have been surprised. He jolted his own
wife with spontaneous dancing (see 1 Chronicles 15:29). When people
know God, they come to life with a jubilant song on their lips.