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pastorway

And He Himself gave some to be....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...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Recovering a Right View of Worship

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Psalm 86:10
For You are great, and do wondrous things;You alone are God.

Daily Scripture Reading - 1 Kings 18:20-40

Puritan Catechism
Question #12 - What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state wherein he was created?
Answer - When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Gal. 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Gen. 2:17)

Devotional Thoughts
Recovering a Right View of Worship – 1 Kings 18:20-40

Introduction

As we have evaluated the need to recover a right view of God, high, holy, sovereign, and glorious, we find that when we have a right view of Him, we see other things as they should be seen. We see ourselves for who we are just as Isaiah did, we sin for the horribleness that it is, we see our own failures and weaknesses, and we see worship in a new light as well.

To truly grasp the holiness and perfection of God means that we see not only how He commands but also deserves our whole-hearted worship and adoration. Worship though is one area where it seems so easy for the church to mess things up. We worship God according to what we think, according to what makes us feel good, instead of according to what He has revealed to us in His Word.

Let us take a moment today and examine worship. Do we worship God as He commands? Or do we worship Him in a manner that fits what we think and desire instead?

Worship that Displeases God - Faltering Uncertainty

From our text in 1 Kings 18, we find a confrontation between the worship of God and the worship of idols. The Prophet Elijah has summoned the false prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel for a showdown in front of the nation of Israel. As the people gather to watch this confrontation, this battle for their hearts and minds, they hear Elijah proclaim truth boldly and fearlessly. He begins with a question that is always relevant to discerning the true motives of our worship of God.

Elijah proclaimed, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."

Here is the question - how long will you vacillate between two positions? How long will you be tossed to and fro on the waves of uncertainty? Is the truth from God so difficult to discern that you sway back and forth between truth and error, not knowing which is which? If God is God, follow Him! If Baal is God, follow him! PICK YOUR GOD and stop being so wishy-washy!!

In order to determine who the real God was, Elijah proposed a test. Each "side" in the confrontation would take a bull, prepare it for sacrifice, lay it on the altar on the hillside, but they would not add any fire to it.

Then they would entreat their god and Elijah would pray to God Almighty, and the God who answered the prayer by sending fire to burn the sacrifice, that was the God who was God and should be worshipped.

The people agreed. The worshippers of Baal agreed. And the games began!

The prophets of Baal started, they prepared the bull, put it on the altar, and began crying out for their god to hear and send fire and so prove his divinity. They did this for half the day, and Elijah started mocking them! Oh, he was in grand form. He accused Baal of leaving to go on a journey, being asleep, being in a state of meditation, or even of taking a break to go to the bathroom!! In any case, it was apparent to Elijah that Baal could not hear his prophets.

That was like pouring gas on a fire, for now the prophets of Baal went into high gear - screaming, jumping up on the altar, cutting themselves with knives and bleeding all over the place, going on like this for 5 or 6 hours - all to convince Baal, who was the god of fire and lightening, to send a little fire down on the altar!

And as they all looked toward the sky with expectation there was nothing! No answer. No fire. No power. No great revelation of the truth that Baal had any power whatsoever.

Then it was Elijah's turn. The first thing he did though was not pray. No. He repaired the altar. For the altar of the Lord was in disrepair. It had to be fixed first, before the sacrifice could be made. He wanted to be ready to worship!

THIS is a powerful picture to us of the need for worshipping God as He commands. For out of a lack of use the altar had fallen into disrepair and needed to be built back up. Elijah took 12 stones and rebuilt the altar.

Often when we wonder why worship is not as it should be it is because we have left what the Word of God says and we have gone our own way - trying to give God what we want to give Him instead of what He demands. Cain did this. Abel did not. And out of this jealousy, Cain murdered Abel. Amazingly the first murder in human history started with worship that displeased God!

After Elijah rebuilt the altar, after he got ready to pray, he asked that 4 water pots be filled with water and then poured over the altar! These were water pots that were 4 to 6 feet tall. And he had them do it a second and even a third time! Seeing that there was a drought on, brought about by the prayers of Elijah 3 and a half years before, water was scarce, and now they had poured 12 water pots over this altar.

Did Elijah do this to prove that God could burn water? No. He did it because water was so scarce and such a necessity that by the time he and them pour all this water over the altar, the people had made a substantial sacrifice, an incredible investment in this confrontation! Twelve pots of water!! Elijah had their attention.

And then he prayed.

LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.

Look at that. A 63 word prayer that never even mentions fire once, 2 short verses. He just asked God to prove Himself to His people and turn their hearts back to Him.

And BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fire fell from heaven and consumed the altar, the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, even the dust and the water.

And BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The people saw that God was indeed God and at this display of power they fell on their faces and worshipped him.

God was glorified. The prophets of Baal were put to death. The people repented and were revived. And Elijah prayed and the drought was ended.

Conclusion

The worship of idols along with the worship of God was a sign of the wrong view of worship and of God that the people had. Likewise, today, our churches need a right view of worship, because for so long so many churches had added the worship of idols in with the worship of God!!

Churches think that Biblical worship is boring or old fashioned or dead, and so they add their own elements to what the Bible tells us about worship. They pollute the worship of God by doing what they want to do - in essence making an idol out of themselves, seeking to please self instead of God!

Think about it. How many people look for a church for what they want to get out of it? This is idolatry! And it is time we stopped faltering between two opinions.

One opinion states that God is God and should be worshipped according to the Bible. The other opinion is that we can do whatever we want whenever we want and God will accept it. The Biblical record is clear though. Read the Book of Joel and Amos. There were times that God said He HATED their worship, because it was all a lie! Their lips and hearts did not match up!!

So what kind of worship is it that pleases God? Worship in Spirit and Truth. For more about what this means, look back over the devotional from December 12, 2005, where we learned what it means to worship God in spirit and truth.

To close today we can answer the question this way - what does God want in our worship? Single minded devotion, love, and obedience. And here is a brief snapshot of worship that displeases God! Check the list and make sure your worship does not contain any of things - because if it does, you need to repent, forsake your sin of worship that mocks God, and seek to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Worship that Displeases God

Exodus 20:1-11

A. Worship of Anyone or Anything Other Than or Together with God – Ex. 20:3; Ps 86:10; Rom 1:18-25

B. Worship that involves Disobedience – Ex 20:4-6; Ex 32

C. Worship that Takes God’s Name in Vain – Ex 20:7; Malachi 1:6-14; Matt 15:9

D. Worship that is not Holy – Ex 20:8-11

Worship that is not holy will be:
1. Void of Faith – Heb 11:6; Rom 14:23
2. Lips vs Hearts – Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 12:2; Matt 15:8
3. Based on Lies (false doctrine) – John 4:24; Psalm 17:1
4. Worship that is not Separated from the World – Rom 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17
5. Worship that Profanes – Ezekiel 22:23-31

BONUS: You can listen to a sermon on worship that displeases God here: The Sacrifice of Fools


Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon titled, A Wise Desire taken from Psalm 47:4.

But now a second observation. I will ask any sensible man, above all, any serious Christian here, whether there have not been certain times in his life when he could most distinctly see that indeed God did "choose his inheritance for him?" You are a young man—you are asked what will be your pursuit: you choose such-and-such a thing. You are about to be apprenticed to that peculiar trade—a misfortune happens—it cannot be done. Without your consent, or will, you are placed in another position. Your will was scarcely consulted; your parents exercised some authority, while the hand of providence seemed to say to you, "it must be so"—and you could not help yourself. Take another case: you had established a house of business—suddenly there came a crushing misfortune which you no more could avoid than an ant could stop an avalanche. You were driven from your business, and now you occupy your present position because there was nothing else to which you could betake yourself. Was not that the hand of God? You cannot trace it to yourself; you were positively compelled to change your plan; you were driven to it. Perhaps you once had friends on whom you depended; you had no thought of launching out into the world and being independent of the assistance of others. Suddenly, by a stroke of providence, one friend dies; then another; then another; and, without your own volition, you were placed in such circumstances that like a leaf in the whirlpool, you were whirled round and round, and the employment you now follow, or the engagement that now occupies you, is not of your own choosing, but is that of God? I do not know whether all of you can go with me here, but I think you must in some instance or other be forced to see that God has indeed ordained your inheritance for you. If you cannot, I can I can see a thousand chances, as men would call them, all working together like wheels in a great piece of machinery, to fix me just where I am, and I can look back to a hundred places where, if one of those little wheels had run awry—if one of those little atoms in the great whirlpool of my existence had started aside—I might have been anywhere but here, occupying a very different position. If you cannot say this, I know I can with emphasis, and can trace God's hand back to the period of my birth through every step I have taken; I can feel that indeed God has allotted my inheritance for me. If any of you are so wilfully beclouded that you will not see the hand of God in your being, and will insist that all has been done by your will without providence: that you have been left to steer your own course across the ocean of existence; and that you are where you are because your own hand guided the tiller, and your own arm directed the rudder, all I can say is, my own experience belies the fact, and the experience of many now in this place would rise in testimony against you, and say, "Verily, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."—"Man proposes, but God disposes," and the God of heaven is not unoccupied, but is engaged in over-ruling, ordering, altering, working all things according to the good pleasure of his will.

A third fact let me mention. If you turn to the pages of inspiration, and read the lives of some of the most eminent saints, I think you will be obliged to see the marks of God's providence in their histories too plainly to be mistaken Take, for instance, the life of Joseph. There is a young man who from early life serves God. Read that life till its latest period when he gave commandment concerning his bones, and you cannot help marvelling at the wondrous dealings of providence. Did Joseph choose to be hated of his brethren? But, yet, was not their envy a material circumstance in his destiny? Did he choose to be put into the pit? But was not the putting into the pit as necessary to his being made a king in Egypt as Pharaoh's dream! Did Joseph desire to be tempted of his mistress? He chose to reject the temptation, but did he choose the trial? Nay, God sent it. Did he choose to be put into the dungeon? No. And had he aught to do with the baker's dream, or with Pharaoh's either? Can you not see, all the way through, from first to last, even in the forgetfulness of the butler, who forget to speak of Joseph till the appointed time came, when Pharaoh should want an interpreter, that there was verily the hand of God? Joseph's brethren did just as they liked when they put him into the pit. Potiphar's wife followed the dictates of her own abandoned lust in tempting him. And yet, notwithstanding all the freedom of their will, it was ordained of God, and worked according together for one great end, to place Joseph on the throne; for as he said himself, "Ye meant it for evil, but God intended it for good, that he might save your souls alive! "There was the ordinance of God's Providence in it as clearly as there is light in the sun. Or take again the life of such a man as Moses. I suppose no one will deny that there was a Providence in his being placed in the ark, just in the particular spot where Pharaoh's daughter came to wash. And who will deny that it was a providence that she should say, "Go and fetch me a woman to nurse this child," and his mother, Jochebed, should come to nurse him? I imagine that no one would consider that there was an absence of Providence in the fact that the child was comely, and that he grew in all the wisdom of Egypt, and that he had a mind capacious enough to receive knowledge. Nor will you deny the providence that led him to the side of Horeb's mountain, or to Jethro's daughter, nor can you for an instant deny that there was a providence which afterwards brought him before King Pharaoh, and helped him all his way through. The man was a God's-man. God seems to be stamped upon his brow in all his acts; in all the three forties of his life, whether the forty spent in the palace, the forty in the wilderness, or the forty that he was king in Jeshurun. In all this there seems to be so manifestly God overruling the man's acts, that you cannot help saying, "Here is the Almighty! here is the hand of God in everything the man does!" and ye turn from the history of Moses, and say, "Truly God was in this place though I knew it not." I might refer you to the life of Daniel, fraught with interest as it was, and in that book you would see how his steps were first of all sadly guided to Babylon, by being carried captive; and yet that from the degradation of his banishment there arises the grandeur of Daniel's visions, and Daniel's character is displayed in all its clearness, so that you must see that a wise hand was dealing with him, and developing his virtues and his excellencies. More I shall not say here, because I like you to refer to the Scripture yourselves. Scripture is the best book of providence we have ever read. If any one should ask me for a book of anecdotes illustrative of providence, I should refer him to the Bible. There he might find the marvellous story of the woman who went out into a distant country, and during her absence lost her inheritance. On a certain day she went to the king to ask him for it, and just as she came there Gehazi was telling the king concerning a woman whose son Elijah had raised to life—and he said, "O, my Lord! this is the woman, and this is the son!" There were Gehazi and the king talking on the subject, and the woman came in just at the moment. And yet there are some fools who call that a "chance." Why, sirs, it is an appointment as clearly as anything could be. And that is just one out of myriads of instances you could find in Scripture, where you can see God present in the affairs of man.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

2 Comments:

Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

This fits well with Phil Johnson's post today.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

I would say something about great minds......

:)

~pastorway

10:39 AM  

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