Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category
I was reading from Psalm 148 today and one can easily read this portion of Scripture and see that all of creation is to praise God. Everything that God has created is to praise Him. This is why He created. Everything is to the glory of God (Romans 11:33-36).
Psalm 148 reads in the New King James Version:
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
14 And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!
I pray we join in with all of God’s creation and praise His holy name!
True praise doesn’t flow just when everything is going the way we think it should go. Often we are all guilty of praising God when times are good but do you praise God even when times are hard? Do you praise God when life seems to be coming against you from every side? True praise flows at all times and not just when we feel like praising God.
James 1:2-4 reminds me of that fact. Trials come (v.2) but God allows trails to come to test our faith and to produce steadfastness (v.3). Steadfastness in turn leads to us being perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (v.4). How can this be? Because praise breaks us into the presence of God and we realize that He is faithful and He is sufficient no matter what we face. We choose to see God in our trials and we learn to praise Him in the midst of them and this leads us to see the sovereignty of God and trust completely in Him. Verse 4 is not speaking about money or about sinlessness. That is not even James’ point here. He is speaking about a trust in God that does not waver in the midst of trials (v.6). A trust in God that leads to us standing firm in our faith in the wisdom of God and the power of God (v.5).
Trails are not fun. They often hurt. But God is faithful and we can praise Him in the midst of the storms of life. Praise has a way of focusing on what really matters and that is God Himself (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). God is our delight. God is our reward. To be with Jesus is our aim (Philippians 1:20-21). Praise has a way of showing us that this world and its pains are insignificant to the reality and glory of heaven (Revelation 21:1-4). Come what may: cancer, debt, loss of freedoms, corruption of our bodies and decay, etc. – we can trust God and praise Him. He is good. He is faithful. He is sovereign.
In Ephesians 1:16 Paul the Apostle states that he prays for the Ephesians and he states that he prays for four things specifically for them:
1. The Father would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
2. Their eyes would be enlightened to know the hope to which they were called.
3. What are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.
4. The immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe that He demonstrated in Christ.
I want to focus specifically upon number 3. I believe that all four of these things that Paul prayed flow directly from knowing God. The deeper we go in a our understanding of the Word of God, the more we will know God. The heart of the disciple of Jesus is not to just knowledge about God or facts about Christianity but to actually know God. Bear in mind that Jesus said that He will cast away those who never knew Him in Matthew 7:21-23. Only those who know God will seek to obey God. Obedience flows from knowing and loving God (John 14:15) and not blind submission to His laws.
When we begin to understand our God, the greatness of His salvation, the depth of His love for us (1 John 4:10), the greatness of the cross in light of our utter sinfulness (Ephesians 2:6) – we begin to see the glorious inheritance we have in Christ. We see just what it is that He did in securing our eternal salvation. All the glory, all the honor, all the praise goes to Jesus alone when we begin to see the biblical teaching about our God. We recognize that we don’t deserve this salvation. We recognize that we didn’t earn this salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). We recognize that what we deserve is His just wrath against our sins (Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-18). We see that we deserve to be cast into hell (Matthew 25:46). We did not love God. We did not seek God. He came seeking us (John 10:14-17). Jesus came to bear our sins and die in our place (Isaiah 53:4-6). We see that Jesus doesn’t deserve our punishment for He was perfect in word, thought, and deed (1 Peter 2:22) yet He took our place (1 Peter 2:24).
All of this, this understanding of our sins, the wrath of God against sin, the depth of Christ’s love on the cross – all of this leads us to worshiping this great and mighty God! We see how wonderful He is. We see how great is His love for us (Romans 5:8-9). We see His mercy (James 2:13). We see His grace (Romans 3:22-25). We see His power given to us in His Son (John 1:12-13). We see the fact that the reason for rejoicing is because our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Luke 10:19-20). We rejoice that the wrath of God is complete in His Son (John 19:30).
What a glorious inheritance we have in Christ! What joy comes when we see that our sins are forgiven because of the work of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7)! To know that Christ is our salvation, our sanctification, our glorification (1 Corinthians 1:30). To know that He came to die for us (John 3:16)! This all leads to worship of this great God. How can it not? Let us bow down and give Him the highest praise!
I have a passion to see souls saved. I admit this. This comes from my understanding of the Great Commission that Jesus gave His Church in Matthew 28:19-20, to go and make disciples of all the nations. My desire and prayer to God is that this would be fulfilled, that people would repent of their sins and come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet I can be guilty of making the gospel sound all about our sins forgiven without realizing that the gospel is not just about our sins being forgiven through the precious blood of Christ shed on the cross (Matthew 26:28) but the gospel, at its center, is about God. “That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Through the gospel we get to know God. I was praying just this morning and was praying for the reality of the priesthood of the saints to be preached among the people of God (1 Peter 2:5). As I pondered this thought about the priesthood, the thought occurred to me about how much we don’t appreciate the work of Christ in regard to Him making us priests unto God. Through Christ, I can come into the presence of God Almighty and worship and adore Him and communicate with Him as Adam and Eve did before the Fall (Hebrews 4:14-16). Because of Christ, I have no fear of judgment as I come before the Father in worship and praise and prayer (Romans 5:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Because of Christ, I have a high priest before the throne of God who protects me from the lies of Satan and who delivers me from the penalty and power of sin (Hebrews 9:14, 24). Because of Christ, I have fellowship with all who are born again (Ephesians 2:18-19). Because of Christ, my salvation is secure (Romans 8:38-39; Philippians 1:6). Because of Christ, I no longer fear condemnation (Romans 8:1-4).
All of this is from God who gave us His Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Forgiveness is ours in Christ (Ephesians 1:7). We even can confess our sins directly to Christ and not through a man on earth (1 John 1:9). Through Christ, I do not earn God’s salvation nor His forgiveness because they are all mine in His Son (Ephesians 2:8-9; cf. Acts 13:38-39). We are saved by grace through Christ alone (Acts 15:9).
What blessings then we have in Christ. The gospel is focused completely on Christ. He is the focus of the gospel. Because Jesus is God (John 1:1; Philippians 2:6) and Jesus is the main focus of gospel, God is the very center of the gospel. In fact, all three members of the Triune God are involved in our salvation from the Father who gave His Son to the Son accomplishing the work of the Father to the Spirit executing the work of Christ for our salvation. All of this, this salvation, this reconciliation, is from God alone. God is the focus. God is our delight. God is our salvation.
Let us then worship and adore our God! Let us praise Him for His great salvation! Let us rejoice in Him who washed all our sins away through the blood of the Lamb (John 1:29). Let us come boldly into His presence knowing that He longs for us and He alone is worthy to be praised.
ON THE WORSHIP OF GOD IN GENERAL
I. The first part of our duty to God and Christ was, the true meaning concerning God and Christ, or true faith in God and Christ; the second part is, the right worship to be rendered to both of them.
II. This part receives various appellations. Among the Hebrews, it is called h r w k [ and µ y h w l a t a d y the honour or worship, and the fear of God. Among the Greek, it is called Eusebeia piety; Qesebeia godliness, or a worshipping of God; Qrhskeia religion; Latreia service rendered to God; Douleia religious homage; Qerapeia divine worship; Timh honour; Fobov fear; Agaph tou Qeou the love of God. Among the Romans it is called, pietas, cultus or cultura dei, veneratio, honos, observantia.
III. It may be generally defined to be an observance which must be yielded to God and Christ from a true faith, a good conscience, and from charity unfeigned, according to the will of God which has been manifested and made known to us, to the glory of both of them, to the salvation of the worshiper, and the edification of others.
IV. We express the genus by the word “observance,” because it contains the express intention of our mind and of our will to God and to his will, which intention partly inspires life into this portion of our duty towards God.
V. The object is the same as that of the whole of religion, and of the first part of it, which is faith; and this object is God and Christ, in which the same formal reasons come under consideration, as those which we explained when treating generally on religion.
VI. In the efficient or the worshiper, whom we declare to be a Christian man, we require true faith in God and Christ, a good conscience, as having been sanctified and purified through faith by the blood and Spirit of Christ, and a sincere charity; for, without these, no worship which is rendered to God can be grateful and acceptable to him.
VII. The matter is, those particular acts in which the worship of God consists; but the very will and command of God gives form to it; for it is not the will of God to be worshipped at the option of a creature, but according to the pleasure and prescript of his own will.
VIII. The principle end is, the glory of God and Christ. The less principal is the salvation of the worshiper, and the edification of others, both that they may be won over to Christ, and that, having been brought to Christ, they may the more increase and grow in devotedness.
IX. The form is the observance itself, which is framed from the suitable agreement of all these things to the dignity, excellence and merits of the object that is to be worshipped — from such a disposition of the worshiper according to such prescript, and from the intention of this end. If one of these be wanting the observance is vitiated, and is, therefore, displeasing to God.
X. Yet the worship which is prescribed by God must not, on this account, be omitted, though the man, to whom it is prescribed, cannot yet perform it, from such a mind, to this end.
I am amazed at how the gospel is carrying me through this trial of losing my mother to cancer. I am finding strength from the Lord and finding that the gospel is giving me comfort, hope, and victory over all the lies of the enemy and the flesh. There is no denying that my heart is breaking for my mama. I will miss her deeply but I will rejoice that she is in the presence of the Lord and that she is no longer suffering from the effects of sin. Victory will be her’s in Christ Jesus (John 11:25-26).
This all comes from the gospel. The gospel carries us through trials. The gospel gives us the power to help us overcome (1 John 5:1-4). The gospel produces in us that calm assurance that God is sovereignly in control and that He is more than faithful to us by giving us His Son and by giving us His grace and mercy in our redemption. The gospel reveals to me that we live in a sinful, fallen world that is doomed by sin (Romans 8:20-22). The fall of man into sin brought death and destruction (Romans 5:12). The fall is the reason that my mama has cancer. She is fallen and so are you and I. In reality, the gospel shows me that we deserve the wrath of God but we receive His mercy through the cross (Romans 5:8-9). Apart from Christ, we deserve the just dues for our sin which is eternal death (Romans 6:23). My mama is experiencing the Fall as she suffers in her last days. She is a child of Adam and the wages of sin is death but praise God that He has saved her from spiritual death through the giving of His Son and by saving her by His grace (John 1:12-13; 5:24-25).
So the gospel reveals to me 1) the reason for my mama’s suffering (sin and the fall), 2) the faithfulness of God in the giving of His Son for our eternal salvation (John 3:16), and 3) that our salvation is not based on our goodness but upon the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is our salvation! He is the captain of our souls!
My mother, I believe, has placed her total faith in Jesus to save her and to take her to glory when she dies. Jesus is our reward and our delight (Hebrews 11:6). He is our rock of refuge (Proverbs 18:10) and He is our strength and our song and He has become our salvation (Psalm 118:14). Jesus is the reason that heaven is glorious! Forever and ever and ever we get the pleasure of worshiping He who died for our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:24-25; Revelation 5:9-10). We will worship Jesus for all time and eternity but still never cease to tell of His wonder and His glory.
What a wonderful Savior is our King! Jesus Christ is the gospel. He fully reveals God to us since He is God (John 1:1; Colossians 1:15-20) and Jesus is worthy to be praised for saving us because He is our salvation through His own blood (Ephesians 1:7). There is none as worthy as Jesus is worthy and no Savior but Him alone (John 14:6). Let us rejoice in Him knowing that He is our salvation and He is the gospel.