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Worship in Service

“The prince shall enter by way of the porch of the gate from outside and stand by the post of the gate. Then the priests shall provide his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate and then go out; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.” (Ezekiel 46:2)

We follow our prince into the courts of the Holy Temple of the Lord to worship Him, as He leads us into the presence of the Almighty God. We have by our faith in Him been allowed to enter in to the court and we stand in the humility of our humanity as our Prince stands at the post of the gate. The one who stands at the post is our Christ, the Prince of His people, as we stand in fear and awe that we are in the House of the Lord. As we look in we remember the day that the Son of the Most High God came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. Now before us He stands at the threshold of the gate and gives praise to the Heavenly Father. “The king was standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters were beside the king. And all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets, the singers with their musical instruments leading the praise.” (2 Chronicles 23:13)

This is the command of old that all must enter into the courts of the Most High God with praise and thanksgiving for He created us, He provides for us, and He has redeemed us from the pit of our own way. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) We are praising and thanking our Heavenly Father that He would send His only begotten Son to be our advocate that we as men do not know how to speak to such an awesome God. But our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ knows and through His love for us ever intercedes on our behalf. “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.” (John 17:1-2)

When our Christ was dying on the cross of Calvary He was at the threshold of the gate to eternity with worship and adoration to His Heavenly Father for He was but a moment from the Heavenly realm from which He ascended to accomplish the work that the Father had sent Him to do. In His last moment of agony He cried out “it is finished.” Now man if he should accept the gift of his salvation through the work of Jesus he could now worship his Creator in intimate fellowship. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (John 4:23)

This is the love of our God, this is the love of our Savior that He laid down His life that we may have life and have it abundantly and eternally. We need not ever take this love for granted as a great price was paid for you and me. The wage of our sin is death and that wage must be paid. I do not care to die, do you? I cannot pay that price, can you? I love my Lord because He first loved me in that while I was at my worst He died that I could live towards my best. There was no condition, there was no asking or pleading, and there was no offers of exchange. He paid my sin debt not out of my love or recognition of Him but because He loved me just as I am. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Man was created with a need to worship and all men worship something. I could give a long list but I am sure it is near endless the things that man finds to worship. I think that worship is a driving motivation for much of what we accomplish in this world. But in the end rather than going to what we have worshiped we have left it behind. For the Christian our worship is not only in the true presence of God now but the hope of our presence with Him who we worship eternally. William Temple wrote of worship; “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. it is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of mind by His truth, the purifying of imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart to his Love, the surrender of will to His purpose – and all this gathered up in adoration the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”

There are 4 parts to our worship, a prepared heart and mind, the Hearing of His Word, our response to His Word, and our continuing service to His Kingdom. I read on a Church marque the other day and catchy truth. God wants full custody not just a Sunday now and then. The Lord watches over His own every moment of everyday throughout our eternity with Him. Each day that we have here in this world is a unique gift that we have not received before and is like none other that we will receive again. We should begin each day in the Joy of the Lord. “This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

When we come into His presence let us come prepared to receive His blessing. We are told to enter into His courts with praise and thanksgiving. (Psalm 100:4) The angels of heaven are in continuous praise and worship of God, as the Prophet Isaiah learned. “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:2-3) There is no better way to receive the joy of the Lord than to praise Him and thank Him that He is our God the provider.

When we come into the presence of a holy and righteous God we must first know who He is. He is the Lord God Almighty the great “I AM.” Creator of the heavens and the earth the All-Knowing Ever-Present Sovereign of the universe. He is the One, the only One, and there is none like Him and He and only He is worthy of our praise. “Worthy are You, 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)

When we come into the presence of a Holy Righteous God there can be no sin that comes between us. We have come to worship Him in Spirit and Truth and we need to be rid of that cloud of guilty conscience of sin that come between us and our God. Isaiah the Prophet knew it as he laid prostrate before the Lord humbled by the sin in his life. “Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) Our Lord is faithful and true and wanting to forgive the repentant sinner. “And your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:7)

It is then once the clutter of our lives have been removed, and we have taken ourselves to the throne and acknowledge that our God is able to provide for all our needs beyond that which we know, think or ask, we can focus all our thoughts upon Him and receive the hearing of His Word. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

There are three elements to the proclamation of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit, the teacher and the congregation. The reading of the Scriptures is the power of God to speak to us with His individual message that He has for each one of us. My father was a minister of the gospel and I used to listen to members of the congregation speak about the message they had just heard. Everyone gleaned something different from the same message. The Scriptures are a living Word. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that speaks to us as we read or listen to the word being preached. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Let us listen with our hearts filled with expectation that we receive the Word of Truth that God has for us this day. We do not feed our bodies upon one meal a week and neither should we starve our spirits by one feeding a week. As Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Let us hear and drink in the living water that we may have the words of life written upon our hearts that no man can take way. For His Word, as the Apostle Peter said, are the words of life. “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Every conversation demands a response. We have listened to the God of the universe speak to us and He does not waste His Word. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) We have been given the words of life and now we must go out and live them. We go to proclaim to the word by our word and deed in the faith that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ that others too be drawn to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how we proof and affirm our faith. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. (The Apostles Creed)

We are all sinners, all have come short of the glory of God, but the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous is that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. The Christian has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ who died on our behalf that we might live with and for Him. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) So we must conclude our worship of Him with our offering unto Him. We have been given our time, talent and treasure and must return a portion unto Him as proposed in our hearts. But the greatest offer He wants is that which He purchased with His blood, our submitted will unto Him.

Our worship does not conclude with the benediction but continues on throughout the day, the week, the month, and the years of our lives here in the world. Our worship continues in our service to Him until that day when He calls us to be at home with Him. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 14, 2015

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