Intimacy in Worship

 

The heartbeat of God's Word is worship. The driving message of God's Word is worship. The only thing God seeks is worship. The purpose of salvation is worshiping the God of Heaven. 

*       The Scriptures open in Genesis with God walking and talking with His Worshippers.

*       The next book Exodus contains elaborate plans for a tent whose sole purpose was to bring worshippers to God.

*       The longest book at the heart of God's Word is a manual on ways to Worship the God of the Universe.

*       The rest of the Old Testament is a series of prophets lamenting the neglect and abandonment of worship by God's people who were to be a kingdom of Worshippers (priests).

*       The Gospels open with the God of Heaven on earth seeking creatures who would be willing to be Worshippers.

*       The Book of Acts records what happens when average people from every walk of life, every strata of society and every depth of sin are bound together with a common passion of being life long Worshippers.

*       The Epistles are a manual on how to grow as worshippers.

*       And God's Word closes with all of God's Worshippers at last Home with their Creator and Worshiping HIM! 

Is your heart the heart of a worshipper? 

What possibly has happened to us? Someone once said, "The immense tragedy of the contemporary church is that most people worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship".  

A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), a pastor for 44 years across the USA was a prophet to the modern church. This is what he preached: 

We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, "Be still, and know that I am God,” mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century. 

Tonight we should ponder William Temple's definition of worship :  

“[Worship is] to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open up the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”  

So to quicken, feed, purge, open and devote our hearts to God, we should begin where we will end, around the Throne of God. Let's go there by way of Hebrews 12:22-24 – please take a moment to read this passage in your Bible.

The Scriptures tell us that in the Church “you have come” (right now!) to these seven sublime realities:

*       To the City of God, our final destination

*       To myriads of angels, our faithful servants

*       To fellow-believers, our fellow pilgrims

*       To God, our focus of worship

*       To the Church Triumphant, our faithful examples

*       To Jesus, our beautiful Savior

*       To forgiveness, our greatest possession!

If this does not create a wellspring of thanksgiving in our hearts and make us want to march to Zion, what will? 

The key to the New Testament church was awareness that God was with them, leading them. We must emphasize that they were not imagining this. God was truly present. And the realization that he was physically in their midst had a massive impact on their exercise of faith. Great saints since have also experienced God's presence. In John Bunyan’s church in Bedford, England, there is a poem framed in the wall of the anteroom from which the preacher exits to walk to the pulpit. It reads: 

Enter this door As if the floor Within were gold, And every wall Of jewels, all Of wealth untold, As if a choir, In robes of fire Were singing here; Nor shout, nor rush, But hush, For God is near. And so he is! This is what we need. 

The word worship is full of meaning, expressing the idea of falling down, prostrating oneself, and kissing the feet or the hem of the garment of the one honored.

This type of worship that focuses on God and God alone is true spiritual worship. Worship that is energized by the Spirit of God.  

How do we know we are operating in the power of the Holy Spirit? Here is a test. When Spirit reigns , believers relate to the Word - teaching;

*       Where the Spirit reigns, believers relate to each other - koinonia;

*       Where the Spirit reigns, believers relate to God -worship;

*       Where the Spirit reigns, believers relate to the world - evangelism; 

That worship is a presentation of our gifts to God.  We read that these wise men “presented unto Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  The significance of these gifts is beautiful.  Gold speaks of Deity, as a study of the Tabernacle makes plain.  Frankincense gives forth its perfume only as it is brought into contact with fire.  Myrrh speaks of suffering, and is associated with the death and burial of our Lord.  Thus these wise men, by the gifts they presented to Him, expressed first, their faith in His essential and eternal Deity; second, their appreciation of the fragrance of His sinless life which should ascend, as a sweet perfume, to His Father; and third, their estimation of the virtue and value of His vicarious sufferings, by which the redemption of humanity should be accomplished.   

The Tabernacle teaches us so much about the wonders of our Matchless God. Here are just a few of the lessons about the Lord.

Steps To Grow Into Worshiping Jesus All The Time 

Listen to what one man who spent years meditating on worship has written: Worship is something we do.  Studying the theology of worship and debating the forms of worship are all good, but by themselves they are inadequate.  In the final analysis we learn to worship by worshiping.  Let me give a few simple steps that I hope will help in the experience of worship. 

Cultivate worship. First worship must become a daily habit. Learn to practice noticing God's presence sometime each day.   

1. Ask God to enable you to follow Paul's words,

"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). 

2. Punctuate every moment with inward whisperings of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. 

Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. NASB

3. Schedule times of personal worship and confession and Bible study and attentiveness to Christ, your always present Teacher. 

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. NASB     

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