Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Personal Worship Strong in the Old Testament

Worship for the Believer
Personal Worship is very strong in the Old Testament

Exodus 12:21–28
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

There was a previous mention of worship by Abraham by offering Isaac. It is a direct statement that worship was directly related to the offering of the sacrifice. This was a private moment of worship in which Abraham was willing to sacrifice any possession, emotion, and act of obedience.

Private worship as depicted in Abraham’s offering of Isaac defined and shaped the future understanding of worship for corporate Israel. In the future, instead of private, secluded places, God would establish a tabernacle and a temple where sacrificial worship could occur, but it was still an individual act. The individual Israelite male and female were responsible for obedience to a code of sacrifice, were responsible for the appropriateness of the offering, and were responsible for their correctness in relation to the sacrifice.

Therefore, it would be a wrong assumption that corporate worship is the replacement for personal worship, or that corporate worship does not include personal worship. In fact, worship can only occur individually regardless of the event the believer may be attending. Worship is and always will be a private matter of the heart sometimes set in the venue of an assemblage. There are many Biblical instances in which corporate worship is mentioned, yet, for the most part, the corporate is actually an assemblage of individual acts of obedient worship.

The believer can worship privately through prayer in the modern church service. The prayer of cleansing prior to the observance of the Lord’s Supper would be one such time. In order not to partake unworthily of this prescribed church event the believer is warned to be certain of his worthiness.

The believer can make the offering time an act of worship. The believer can renew his understanding and commitment that all he has is from the Lord’s, and he physically makes this an offering of his wealth. It is a sacrifice to God on the altar of his heart.

The believer can worship while listening to the preaching of God’s Word. Listening and then sacrificing his understanding and thinking for the understanding and thinking developed in God’s Word.

The believer can worship at the invitation by responding to the Word of God physically. The invitation time is the altar experience which is the sacrifice of the believer’s will to God’s will.

Worship in the New Testament church

Worship and the Believer
Is the New Testament church supposed to engage in liturgical worship like the Old Testament worship system?
Should the New Testament church conduct liturgical services?
Should the New Testament church limit worship to specific buildings or times or authorities?
Should the New Testament church worship be conducted or spontaneous?
Should there be efforts during corporate worship times to inspire or generate worship expression in the worshipper?

These are questions that are asked and pondered by theologians and church leaders conducting worship services for the believer(s) who attend centers for corporate worship.

John 4:19–24 (KJV 1900)

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The woman engaged by Jesus in the passage obviously recognizes his authoritative position concerning spiritual matters and calls Him a Prophet. Obviously, she was so impressed with His wisdom; she listened to his message. It would be wise for all who are seeking answers to questions about worship to study the passage for answers concerning proper worship.

Liturgical Worship is based in a location

The first question raised by this poor woman was the accurate place of worship. This was more important to her than the actual content or method of her worship. She was the product of a society which defined worship based upon ancestry or national origin. For her, worship of God could not be separated from loyalty to her heritage or ethnicity.

Although the modern definition of “separation of church and state” in our country is incorrect, it is certain that the state not encroach on the worship expression of any individual seeking to be responsible and sincere. The infringement in even the location of worship is too much encroachment. She was obviously so shallow a worshipper that her nationalism was an acceptable limitation of her belief and worship.

Although we are admonished to live in accord with human government, we must never be so deceived as to believe that the combination of politics and worship are acceptable. The fear is that “a Pharaoh my rise up that knows not Joseph.” Worship must never be supported financially by government funds. Worship must never be held hostage to political concerns or agendas. True worship of God should always be according to the Word of God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Deliverance by God Generates Worship

Deliverance by God generates worship

Exodus 4:30–31 (KJV 1900)
30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

The Children of Israel are in bondage to Egypt, and God chooses Moses in a burning bush experience that makes him God’s representative for the deliverance of His people.  Moses at first is very disbelieving and objects strenuously to this proposed role in the deliverance of God’s people.  However, after much demonstration and answer to Moses objections by God, Moses assumes the role.

As Moses and Aaron relate their mission and their overwhelming signs, the leadership of Israel is crushed under the weight of such evidence that God is working to deliver his people.  Under this overwhelming revelation, they bow in humble adoration of their God.  The scriptures say they bowed and worshipped because God was looking on their affliction to deliver them.  This overpowering revelation left them with intense desire to fall back before their God.

The church can be overwhelmed regularly as people are delivered from sin through the salvation of Christ.  The stronger the church becomes in reaching the lost, the more deliverance experiences will be demonstrated to empower worship.

The church can be overwhelmed by God’s deliverance by experiencing reclaimed lives spared from the destruction of the consequences of wrong or improper conduct.  The more effective ministry for and interaction with those who are overwhelmed by sinfulness provides opportunity for the church to experience changed and reclaimed lives leading to worshipful experiences..

The church can be overwhelmed by God’s deliverance by providing comfort, encouragement, and physical relief to all those who are in trials and tribulations of life.  The church should have counseling and resources to relieve the tested and tried souls of men so the affect of the ministry of deliverance can be experienced.