Is Your Worship From the Heart?

Luke 19:28-40

When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:  “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Sadly by the end of the week, the crowd was calling “Crucify him!”

Is your worship from the heart, or the kind of worship that could go from mass hysteria to mob violence?

We are physical, spiritual, social creatures.

The emotions that we reflect at various times in our lives are a part of these different elements.  When we are happy or depressed, joyous or sad, these emotions are the result of

  • Our physical well being
  • Our psychological outlook
  • Our spiritual relationship with the Creator

In extreme stress due to sickness, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, marital problems, our entire being – body, soul and spirit or physical, spiritual and social are affected.

Here is the scene – Jesus’ triumphal entry. There were those who knew this Jesus

  • Mary Magdalene
  • A blind man
  • A crippled man
  • A leper
  • Others who had been touched in some way miraculously, wondrously by Jesus
  • Then there were those who only cried out “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” along with those who really knew Him, who really had a relationship with Him, but were expecting a King, an earthly rule, a change from the Roman occupation they were experiencing.  Expecting someone to set them free of Rome and its bondage.  Their cries were “Hosanna”, but what did it really meant?  Was it “What can I get out of this man being King – more money, more prosperity, an easier life style, a better job without Rome breathing down my neck?  Wow!  I could have a much easier life.” 

Just a few days later those who were caught up in the emotional frenzy of the day – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – would be equally caught up in the emotional frenzy of the crowd who would cry out, “Crucify him!”

Who do you suppose really loved Jesus, the ones who had experienced a change in their life, their body or those just momentarily caught up in the events of the day?  It was hard to tell probably.  Their voices were all raised; they all shouted praises; it all sounded great. 

But there was a difference.

  • The ones who had really experienced a change in their life, the sinner, Mary Magdalene, the beggar, the lame man, the blind, all now restored – their praise was from the heart.
  • The others, part of the crowd, their emotional high was probably not too different to see, to hear, but there was a difference.  Their cry of “Hosanna” was for selfish reasons, was for what they wanted.

Is it really any different today?

We come into the church; we worship, we sing praises.  For those whose lives have really been touched by the Master, those whose sins have been forgiven, there is praise from the heart – the emotions of the heart, the soul, the spirit from way down deep inside.  Rejoicing, praising and worshiping God for who He is and for what He has done in their life.  Their worship is from the heart.

The others are giving lip service.  There may be emotion, perhaps frenzied, perhaps on the whole appearing not different from others, but theirs is worship from the lips, from being in the church, from perhaps longing or desire.  But their worship leaves them unchanged in their everyday life because there has not been a change in the inward man.

Their cry of praise, of worship could just as easily be cries of (do we dare say “crucify him”) for their life has not been touched by real change.

What kind is your worship?

Jesus is in the House

Luke 7:36-50

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”  So he said, “Teacher, say it.”  “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”  And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The invited guest – Jesus was invited to dine with one of the Pharisee in his home

  • Customary hospitality
  • Greeting with a kiss or embrace
  • Water was provided for washing the feet
  • Oil was provided for anointing of the head
  • They reclined at the table

The uninvited guest –

She was not an invited guest, but she heard that Jesus was in the house.

  • She came into the house knowing that everyone knew of her sins.  She was “an especially wicked woman.”  A social outcast – devoted to sin. 
  • She came at great risk.  In the Old Testament sinners were required to live outside the camp.  You were not to eat, associate with or even touch those who were “unclean.”  She made her way through the house, through the large crowd knowing that those who were there would be whispering or perhaps even talking out loud about her as she passed by.  There was a good possibility that she would be thrown out or even stoned.
  • When she saw Jesus, she set her eyes on Him and him alone, not looking to the right or left, not caring what others thought or said about her.  She gave Jesus her full attention, humbling herself in His presence. 
  • She wept in His presence, allowing her tears to fall on Him.  Her tears were important to Jesus.
  • She wiped His feet with her hair
  • She kissed His feet affectionately.
  • She anointed Him with the expensive perfume.  She gave Jesus the very best she had.  Costly – rate – worth a year’s wages for a working man.  The alabaster container alone was worth a great deal of money.  “A compact fine-textured white and translucent gypsum often carved into objects.

The container had to be broken in order for the perfume to be released.  The Gospel according to John says, “and the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  She allowed herself to be broken in His presence.  The whole house was filled with the fragrance of her worship.

The Pharisee

Luke 7:39 – Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him—for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin). (Amplified Bible)

Jesus’ Reply

  • We should never criticize, judge or look down our nose at how someone else worships.  We do not know where they have come from.
  • What Mary did was important and monumental that Jesus did not want us to miss it.  Her story is told in each of the four gospels.  In Matthew 26:13 and Mark 14:9 Jesus says, “I tell you, where the good news is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also in memory of her.
  • Satan would like nothing more than to convince us that we are not worthy to be in God’s house or we are not worshipping correctly.  Jesus teaches us the simplicity of worship in this account.

Jesus is looking for a people who will

  • Come into the house
  • Come as they are
  • Humble themselves
  • Not care what others might think or say
  • Set their eyes upon Jesus
  • Give Him their full attention
  • Give Him their best
  • Allow themselves to be the alabaster contained broken in His presence that the perfume of worship may fill the house as they honor and reverence Him
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to lead them in perfect worship.  Like Mary, you will not leave the same as you came.  You will be changed.

Jesus told her to go in peace.

  • Shalom – peace  –  completeness, welfare, health, to a whole, sound perfect – nothing missing – nothing broken
  • Sozo – saved, healed made whole

The Church at Philippi

Acts 16:6-40

Philippi was the gateway to Europe.  Named after Philip of Macedonia, Alexander the Great’s father, Philippi lay on the great Roman road, the Egnatian Way.  This road connected Europe from Asia, the West from the East. 

It was a proud Roman colony.  Veteran Roman soldiers ready to retire were granted citizenship if they would go out and settle colonies.  As these colonies proved loyal to Rome, they were granted the title of a Roman Colony.  Their citizens were Roman citizens.  They kept the Roman language, customs, and dress. 

Philippi’s strategic location on the Egnatian Way made it an excellent place for a church.  Travelers passed through the city from both Asia and Europe and from here the gospel could be carried throughout the known world. 

The church at Philippi was founded on Paul’s second missionary journey.  It was here that the gospel first entered Europe.  The church began with three important conversions:  (1) Lydia, an important and successful business woman, with her household; (2) a slave girl set free from a demon possession; (3) the jailer and his entire household. 

This church was made up primarily of Gentile believers.  They appear to have had a very close and loving relationship with Paul, and they were strong supporters of his ministry (see Introduction to Philippians).

Leadership of the Holy Spirit

  • The Holy Spirit forbid Paul to preach in Asia.  (This was not the continent of Asia, as we know it today.  This was the Roman province of Asia which is what is now known as Turkey.)
  • The Holy Spirit would not allow them to preach in Bithynia.  (Look at a map in your Bible.  God stopped Paul from proceeding directly west.  When he tried to go north, God said no.  The only direction left in that location was to go to the city of Troas.)
  • The Holy Spirit directed Paul through a dream.  John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 16:13

How does the Spirit direct us? 

  • Through supernatural knowledge – Acts 5:1-11
  • Through angels – Acts 8:26
  • Through visions – Acts 9:1-8
  • Through dreams – Acts 9:9-16
  • Through prophecy – Acts 11:27-30
  • Through a word from the Holy Spirit – Acts 13:2
  • Through God’s Word – 2 Timothy 3:16

NOTE:  We must never let a closed door stop us from doing what God has called us to do.  God, who sees the future as if it were the past, knows what doors should be open, what doors should be closed.  Part of learning to trust Him is to accept the doors that are closed, and be obedient while you wait for Him to open the doors that He has for you.  Recognize that Paul was not given a reason why the doors were shut.  Perhaps he never knew.  It was enough that God had closed the doors.  Paul trusted Him to lead and direct him in the right way. 

Unity in Leadership

  • Paul shared this vision with his companions, Silas, Timothy and Luke.  (Note the use of the word “we” beginning here.  Luke, the doctor and writer of Acts, joined Paul at this point.  It appears he remained with Paul until Paul left Philippi (Acts 17:1).  Apparently Luke stayed in Philippi and reunited with Paul when Paul returned to Philippi (Acts 20:5).
  • They concluded that God had called the team to preach the gospel in Macedonia.

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 – Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Worship on the Sabbath

  • There was no Jewish synagogue
  • There were only women present
  • NOTE: Jewish law required a minimum of ten men to have a service.  Obviously, there must have been a small Jewish population here.  The missionaries were not too good or too important to share the gospel with a group of Gentile women (the word used for “worshipped” in verse 10 is the word used for a Jewish proselyte).  Although there was no synagogue or church in the area, the men found a group of people praying and seeking God. 

Receiving the Gospel

  • Lydia worshipped God
  • God “opened” her heart.  Romans 12:2; Psalm 51:10; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9
  • She led her household to the Lord.  Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Deuteronomy 11:19;  Joshua 24:15; Luke 8:38-39; John 1:41; Ephesians 6:4
  • She opened her home for the ministry of God’s Word.   Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9

Slave Girl with Spirit of  Divination Or ESP

  • Testimony of slave girl was a true testimony – these men were the servants of the most high God.  Satan always mixes a little truth with his deception. 
  • Her testimony was not one of true confession – a true confession is to acknowledge Jesus as “Lord” and to follow him.
  • ESP, Witchcraft, fortune-telling are not a part of God’s will for the Christian.  Galatians 5:19-21; Leviticus 19:31; 2 Kings 17:17; 1 Chronicles 10:13;  Matthew 24:24

Power of Jesus’ Name

  • Paul addressed the evil spirit in the girl – not the girl herself.
  • Paul relied on the power of Jesus’ name – not his own power.
  • The evil spirit had to obey – the power of Jesus’ name is greater than that of the devil. 

No one is too far gone into sin that God cannot redeem them.

Luke 19:10; Hebrews 7:25.

Greed and Love of Money

  • Owners lost their top money maker.
  • Money and greed corrupted the public officials.

Behold I Will Make All Things New

Revelation 21:1-7

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

When we go to be with the Lord on that great day of His return, what a difference for us!!!

  • We have had trials – God will give us victory
  • We have had sickness – God will give us health
  • We have had sorrow – God will give us joy
  • We have had torment – God will give us peace
  • We have had lack – God will give us plenty
  • We have had hate – God will give us love
  • We have had bondage – God will give us liberty

In Christ, on that day – no more death, sorrow, crying, pain.  These are the “former things.”  They are gone, gone, forever gone, forever passed away. God will dwell with us.  What a thought! 

  • God dwelt with the Israelites in the Holy of Holies
  • God came to dwell with us in bodily form through Jesus
  • Now, God will be with us – and we with Him throughout eternity.  Forever and ever.

It is done! 

The Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End – He has accomplished all this for us

  • The fountain of the water of life will be given freely.  I will never thirst again.  My desire will be satisfied.
  • He who overcomes shall inherit all things
  • Nothing will be lacking
  • I will have all things – nothing incomplete
  • It’s mine – The King of Kings calls me His son
  • I will be a joint heir with Jesus Christ

What an incentive to overcome the world!!!!

The Lord God Omnipotent Reigns

Revelation 19:5-7

Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”  And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

End time Bible prophecy is difficult to understand.  It can be interpreted in many ways and much of what has been written has been speculation by those trying to understand.  However, no matter how difficult it is to understand, no matter how it is interpreted, no matter how much we speculate on what it means, God is still in control.

In this passage, we find a great multitude crying:

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

The earth has just been destroyed.  All is in smoldering ruins following the last battle to take place.  And now we hear:

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

This simple statement misinterpreted by the beginning Bible scholar or the one totally innocent to the ways of Bible history might lead one to the wrong conclusion.  “This is something new to God.  He is in charge now, not the devil or his followers.’  Or, perhaps, “It sure took Him a long time to get the upper hand.’

Make no mistake about it – The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  He always has.  He always will.

The very word “omnipotent” brings to mind the thought “all powerful.”   Then, you might ask why are things the way they are in the world now if God is in complete control?

Isaiah 55:8-9 – For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  “For who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has become His counselor?”  “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?”  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Isaiah 40:10-26 – Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?  Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?  Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?  With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice?  Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?   Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.  All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.  To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare to Him?  The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains.  Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter.  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.  He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.  Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.  “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.

Job 40:-1-2, 6-9 – Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said:  “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?  He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”  Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:  “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me:  “Would you indeed annul My judgment?  Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?  Have you an arm like God?  Or can you thunder with a voice like His?

As we look at God’s creation and His Word, we can truly say

“Alleluia!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” 

We can also agree with the writer of Hebrews who said

Hebrews 2:5-7 – For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.  But one testified in a certain place, saying:  “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?  You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.

You Are Worthy, O Lord

Revelation 15:2-4

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.  They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:  “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!  Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.  For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

  • Who is singing this song? – Those who have victory over the beast, over his image, over his mark, over his name.  These are martyrs who have given their lives during the great tribulation. 

Here is a picture of the redeemed of the Lamb.  They are singing and playing their harps on the sea of glass around God’s throne.   They are singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Exodus 15:1-19 – Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:

“I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. “Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. “The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”

Note the similarities between the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb

  • God is being praised
  • The people are no longer captives of Pharaoh or of Satan
  • The Egyptians are being destroyed – the beast is about to be destroyed
  • The people are rejoicing in victory
  • Acknowledgement is made that the Lord will reign forever and ever
  • Following judgment of sin, the Lord reigns forever and ever

Seven things we see in these two songs of praise

  • God is our song
  • God is our salvation
  • God is the strong one
  • God is all powerful
  • God is able to subdue all enemies
  • God is God!
  • We are not defeated! – As we look around us at the sin in the world that at times seems to be everywhere and almost overwhelming, we may begin to feel defeated.  But Satan is a liar.  He is the one who is defeated. 

1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • Praise Him NOW – You may not feel like praising Him, you may be sick, tired, discouraged.  But praise Him NOW. 
  • God is “enthroned” or lives in our praises.  Praising God brings us into His presence.

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

  • Praise is pleasant (satisfying, enjoyable) and beautiful.

Psalm 147:1 – Praise the Lord!  For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

  • Praise opens our heart to trust in God and know that He will deliver.

Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

  • We need to help our children to see what God has done and, even in difficult times we need to set the example of trusting God.

Psalm 78:4 – We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,

and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

  • Let’s praise Him!!!
  • What a Mighty God We Serve
  • Great and Mighty is the Lord Our God
  • Glory to His Name
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Praise Him! Praise Him!
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness
  • Holy, Holy, Holy

Listen Up!

Hebrews 2:1-4

Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away.  For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty,  how shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak].  [Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.

Listen, pay attention, take note, as well as other similar admonitions, are warning signs of possible danger.  Salvation is free to all of us, but it was not free for Christ.  A great price was paid for all.  Therefore, we must pay attention to all we have heard, read and know about the things of God. 

  • Lest we drift away
  • Lest we miss out on His blessings
  • Lest we fall back into great sin.

Be sure you are on the right road.  Get out your map…the Word of God.  Watch the warning signs…the signs of the time and your own reckless conduct, and be aware of danger.

Have you ever been day dreaming and missed your turn –

  • While playing a game
  • A chance to own your own home
  • A great job possibility
  • The spouse of your dreams

all while your mind was somewhere else?

That can and does happen in regard to your spiritual life also.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Did you hear the words “holy” and “acceptable to God?”

Ask yourself, “Am I presenting my body a living sacrifice?

In the Old Testament the lamb that was offered was to be spotless, without spot or blemish…pure… undefiled…not diseased or crippled.

When we dare to come into God’s presence with worship and praise, are we offering up a pure sacrifice?

We would not dare invite some important dignitary to our home for a great feast and prepare them a meal that was not properly cooked or was spoiled?  In fact, we would not allow our families to eat of the same kind of meal.  We would offer our best.  The best that we could afford.  We might even go out and buy new dishes, table linen, or silverware if our guest was really an important dignitary. 

Have any of you ever left out a key ingredient, like baking powder, when baking a cake, or put twice the amount of one ingredient into the mix?  How did it turn out?  Terrible!  I had a sister that baked a pumpkin pie using salt rather than sugar.  The salt had been put in the wrong container and, needless to say, it was totally ruined.

Your Christian life gets messed up too if you leave out God, or if you put in too much of the world’s practices.

Or, maybe you were distracted by a member of your family, the phone, your own negligence and you missed your warning signs. 

Should our offering of worship to God, or our lifestyle, be any less than our offering for man?

What is the good, the perfect, the acceptable will of God?  His Word.

What about the term “permissive will” of God that we all have heard.  What a copout!  Permissive will is not in the Word of God nor is it even implied.  Men have come up with that term to justify their own actions and behavior.  God’s will is God’s will.  What part of “Thou shalt not” did you not understand?

How can you hedge or change perfection?  You just ignore what God wants and do what you want.

Is that right?  NO!

God is not pleased with our doing our own thing.  He wants us to do His thing!  He wants you to live right and to live holy.  Part of my prayer normally includes the words, “In all I think, say and do, let my life be pleasing to you.”

Praise God, there is hope for sinful man.  He is not willing for any to perish.

I Will Praise the Lord

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Psalms were set to the accompaniment of stringed instruments and served as the temple hymnbook and devotional guide for the Jewish people, The tremendous amount of subject matter in the Psalms includes diverse topics, such as jubilation, war, peace, worship, judgment, messianic prophecy, praise and lament.  It is the largest, perhaps most widely used, book in the entire Bible.  It explores the full range of human experience in a very personal and practical way in its 150 songs.

Originally unnamed because of the wide variety of material, it became known as the “Book of Praises”.

The Greek word Psalmoi became an early title for this book and where we get the word Psalter and Psalm. 

Sometime take a look at the different chapters throughout the Psalms and you will find verse after verse starts with the words “I will”.  “I will praise Him, I will lift up my voice, I will sing unto the Lord, I will bless the Lord, I will, I will, I will.”   “I will” is a positive declaration of the individual who is determined to praise the Lord.  It is something you must decide.   You can choose not to praise God or to praise Him.   If you simply do not choose to praise Him, it is an act of defiance which is rebelling against the Word of God which is sin.   You can come to church week after week and sit or stand in the presence of Almighty God and either praise Him or not.  You have that right.  Praise takes many forms from a simple singing of the songs or saying amen to clapping your hands and many other forms.  God wants you to praise Him.  

As a result of praising God your heart will be lifted, your cares and burdens made lighter, and you will feel a warmth and joy that only God can give.  It is far beyond my ability to think that man, woman, boy, or girl would not want that from God when it requires so little effort.

The prophet Malachi in the book by his name probes deeply into several practices of the people of his day.  One of those was the offering of polluted offerings.  When the law was given by Moses from God, the children of Israel were under a system of rules that were complex and very regulated.  Offerings of various types were to be made for different occasions.   In the book of Leviticus we find a list of all the sacrifices they were to offer.  Those sacrifices and offerings included a peace offering, a burnt offering, a meal offering, a guilt offering, a sin offering and a daily sacrifice.  Those can be found in Leviticus 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 16, and 29.

Now, thank God, we do not have to do all that ritualistic sacrifice and offering, but God does want us to offer the sacrifice of praise, of worship.  There is a correlation between the offerings of the sacrificial system in the Old Testament and praise and worship of the New.   Let us look at the Word of God.

Malachi 1:6-9 – A son honors his father and a servant his master.  If then I am the Father, where is My honor?  And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?  Says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name.  Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’  You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled you?’  By saying ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’  And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil?  And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?  Offer it then to your governor!  Would he be pleased with you?  Would he accept you favorably?” says the LORD of hosts.

He said go invite your governor and offer him a meal that is diseased and see how he likes it…then ask yourself, why would I offer this to God almighty God?  But now entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us.  While this is being done by your hands, will He accept you favorably?” says the LORD of hosts.”

Did you hear that question?   We should ask that same question of ourselves when we offer halfhearted praise in His house.  How many times do we come into church and instead of focusing on praising and honoring God, we look around to see who is here, we talk to the one sitting next to us, we let our mind wonder to where we will eat lunch?  How would we behave if the president or some sports figure or famous person was speaking to us?  

Is God pleased with the praise that we offer?  Not just here in the church.  Even more important, what about our daily life?  We need to do a self check to make sure our praise, our life, our worship is from the depths of our heart and is truly meaningful.  Our praise is to an Almighty God.  He is worthy.  He is worthy, He is worthy.

Malachi 1:10-14 – Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,” says the LORD of hosts.  Nor will I accept an offering from your hands for from the rising of the sun, even to its going down My name shall be great among the Gentiles.  In every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts. But you profane it, in that you say ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; and its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’  You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ and you sneer at it says the LORD of hosts “ And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick.  Thus you bring an offering.  Should I accept this from your hand?” says the LORD?  “ But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male and takes a vow  But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—For I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts.   “ And My name is to be feared among the nations.

Over and over again in this passage He states several different ways “My Name shall be great”.  By the sincere offering of the sacrifices and now in our day, our praise and worship, we glorify God.  As we do, we are a witness to the unbeliever of the goodness of God.  In other words if you want to be a good witness…praise God by the way you live your life, the way that you worship Him, the way you exalt His name….You will be blessed as a result and others, including the nonbeliever will begin to take notice.   

Malachi 2:1-3 – And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.  If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the LORD of hosts.  “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.  Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart. “Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.

In this passage God is simply saying the refuse (or dung) I will not receive and in fact will smear it in your face because it is unacceptable.  He further states that our children will be cursed if we follow this pattern.    

If you are going to praise the Lord, do it in a praiseworthy manner, in song, in praise, in conversation, in word and deed.  Let your thoughts, your words, your deeds, your praise so honor God that men will see your good works and glorify God.

Colossians 3:23 – and whatever you dodo it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

Matthew 5:116 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.