Dear Friends,

I’m interrupting my series on heaven to share a message on worship that
the Lord has been speaking to my heart. One thought that comes to mind regarding
worship is singing praise songs to the Lord which is certainly part of being
a worshiper. But as we’ll see from the Scriptures, worship ultimately
means offering all of our life to God as a living and holy sacrifice (Romans
12:1) in humble, reverent, obedience in response to who God is and what He has
done in Christ (See Revelation 4 & 5).

We see in the account from John 4 that Jesus led the woman at the well to realize
that her greatest need was a spiritual need (the Spirit of God- living water)
and until that need is met, she and all of us will not worship the true God
but seek after other things and people (five husbands and a live-in boyfriend)
to try to meet our needs for love and acceptance, meaning and purpose. In Romans
1:21-32 we see a sad account of the downward spiral of a soul who does not worship
God alone but worships lesser things – idols of various kinds. An idol
is anything or anyone we love, trust, seek after and serve more than God Himself.
(Psalm 115:4-8) God is rightly the most jealous Lover there is for He knows
it is to our hurt that we put others before Him. Jesus tells the woman that
God is spirit, that He is spiritual, immaterial, invisible and so we must worship
him in spirit and in truth. We are created in His image as spiritual and relational
beings. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in perfect relational oneness and
call us to oneness with them by being “born of the Spirit” (salvation
–John 3: 3,5,8) through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the God-Man who
has revealed the Father who is unseen. (John 1:18) Then God, the Holy Spirit,
continues to give us on-going revelation of God to our spirit-man. (1 Corinthians
2:9-16) Only in Christ can one worship God in truth for Jesus is the way, and
the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him. (John
14:6) People can and do worship false spirits, the occult, false religions etc.

The Hebrew word for worship is “shachah” which means to bow down,
to prostrate oneself to royalty or to God. Scripture calls us to this deep heart
attitude in our relationship to God and it was perfectly demonstrated by Jesus
as a Man. Jesus was the perfect worshiper of God with the heart attitude of
reverent humility and obedience even to voluntarily becoming the sacrificial
Lamb of God for our sins. (See Philippians 2:5-11) He is “the” example
of worship.

Because of the fall of man into sin worship involves sacrifice. Abel sacrificed
his best lamb shedding its blood whereas Cain only offered “some”
fruit. Abel’s heart of worship is seen in his offering and “God
looked with favor on his offering but not on Cain’s.” (Genesis 4:4-5)
In Genesis 22 we see that Abraham in humble obedience to God and in an act of
worship (v.5) was willing to offer his only and beloved son believing that God
could raise him from the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19 – This meant raising
a body that was drained of blood and burned to pieces on the altar.) Abraham
knew by faith that God would keep His word that through Isaac the covenant promises
would come to be. This is a picture of worship – faith and obedience to
God’s Word for “without
faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Then Paul exhorts us to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy
and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans
12:1) He goes on to say we do this by letting God transform us as we study and
submit to His Word and will which is good, pleasing and perfect. The shedding
of blood has been done “ through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) But we as Christians have to crucify the
flesh (Galatians 5:24 -the sinful nature) and “put to death whatever belongs
to your earthly nature." (Colossians 3:5) Like Jesus (and by His power
within us –Galatians 2:20) we too must say to God “Nevertheless,
Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:39) even when it requires a sacrifice of
something we want or even feel we need. And if we don’t believe God is
worthy (worth it) here and now on earth but more certainly at the Judgment seat
of Christ, then the world, the devil and the flesh have deceived us and we will
ascribe more worth to lesser things than God. “Do not be deceived: God
will not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his
sinful nature (the flesh), from that nature will reap destruction; the one who
sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not
become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if
we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9) As a friend of mine said: “Don’t
dabble with Jesus”. Anything less than wholehearted worship and obedience
to Jesus is unbiblical, unsatisfying and unwise.

King David had a very difficult life: from his early life as a lonely shepherd
boy he was overlooked by his father and hated by his brothers, then fled for
his life for years as Saul hunted him like an animal, he fought constant battles
with Israel’s enemies, he fell into deep sin of adultery and murder and
suffered severe consequences in the loss of his baby and the rebellion of his
sons, as well as famines and more battles. Near the end of his life as he went
to yet one more battle with the Philistines the Scripture says “and he
became exhausted.” (2 Samuel 21:15) Maybe you, like I, identify with David’s
weariness in fighting life’s battles and reaping consequences of sowing
to the flesh in earlier years. If so, I pray you too will be encouraged as I
am by David’s heart of worship to the end – that His God and our
God is worth it regardless of the trials and struggles. His honesty with God,
as he pours out his heart in the many Psalms he wrote, often leads me out of
discouragement and inspires me to live the day in worship and obedience as I
say with David: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from
Him.” (Psalm 62:5) And he finished his life worshiping and singing praises
to God as we read in 2 Samuel 22. Listen to just a few of the words and phrases
of worship: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. I cried
to my God and my cry for help came into His ears. He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy. He rescued me because He delighted in
me. For Thou art my lamp O Lord and the Lord illumines my darkness. The Lord
lives, and blessed be my rock. And exalted be God. Therefore I will give thanks
to You, O Lord among the nations. And I will sing praises to Your name.”

Abel, Abraham, David and many other men and women in the Bible and throughout
history have said by their life and their words: “You are worthy our Lord
and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things,
and because of Your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
“My food” said Jesus , “is to do the will of Him who sent
me and to finish His work.” May we be inspired by our Lord and these others
to be worshipers of God in spirit and in truth.

For He alone is worthy,

Len and Kristen

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