washing our r ighteousness,
sharing His incomparable presence
IS IT MORE LIKELY TO HEAR JOY FROM A ROCK,
THAN FROM YOU?
"...the whole multitude of disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke Thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
Jesus accepted the worship of the disciples, and they could barely contain their joy in seeing Jesus fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah. The Pharisees, and some others, criticized the excitement and the joyous worship of the disciples.
There are many critics today, who object to worship of the Lord. There are many others too sad to worship. Their hearts are entangled with things of the world, or they are saddened by events in their life that rob their joy from them. Some criticize the joy of the worshipers in Christianity. They would rather we piously sit in pews, and reverently bow our heads while a minister recites a saintly sounding, monotone prayer. But the early church praised in the prison cells, worshiped while tied to poles about to be set afire. They were unrestrained, unhindered by commands of authorities to cease mentioning the name of Jesus.
The early church had more than correct doctrines, it had more than great emphasis on the Word of God and prayer, it had more than spiritual leadership, and it had more than spiritual gifts. The revival church had WORSHIP and PRAISE. The correct doctrines, when written upon the heart, should create a worshipping congregation.
Before the triumphal entry, where the disciples and others realized Jesus was riding into Jerusalem according to prophetic fulfillment, announcing Himself to be the Messiah, the disciples had been sad and scared. They had feared the Jews killing Jesus, and they had been right, in a few days they would, but now, seeing Jesus upon that donkey, riding triumphantly, claiming to be the Messiah, brought joy, and praise from what had been a sad, scared, and joy-less heart. Soon these same disciples would be again filled with confusion, sadness, and heartache. Some others, who momentarily here had accepted Jesus to be the Messiah, hoping that meant He would miraculously remove the Roman occupation, changed from a joyous heart, to one capable and willing to shout ‘crucify Him’. The hearts of mankind can change so abruptly, flexible from joy to sadness.
Sadness in the hearts of the saints of the Lord needs a catharsis healing, cleansing out the thoughts, misconceptions, that hinder the joy of the Lord from ruling our hearts.
Some congregations pride themselves on correct doctrines, and some feel they are so right, that everyone else is wrong. Proper doctrine is important. Never underestimate correct doctrine, but it should lead to worship. If doctrines and beliefs of a congregation do not lead to, and result in, worship and praise, the doctrines are not proper, not understood correctly, or simply misconceptions.
TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS NOT DULL AND SAD
Sound doctrine does not have to be "sound asleep." There is too much of the "deep frozen" religion. There are many who know the Word, know the doctrines, know the prophecies, -- but do not worship the Lord. The scribes and Pharisees of the time of the Lord's first coming, knew the Word, but failed to worship the Messiah when He stood in their presence. Today, we find many such people also.
The true vocation of the congregations includes joyful WORSHIP.
I Peter 2:5,9
"...to offer up spiritual sacrifices... that ye should shew forth the praises of Him."
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name."
"Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders."
"Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation."
The congregation that fails to worship, has failed at its real vocation. God meant for us to learn to worship, then learn to work. Martha was distracted by much serving. Mary chose the "better", and sat at the feet of Jesus. Had Martha also sat at the feet of Jesus, I am sure the meal still would have been prepared, as both could have periodically gone to the kitchen for a time, and then returned and still had time to learn and enjoy the presence of Jesus. The church needs to learn to get its work done, but put worship ahead of the "nitty-gritty" duties of the church.
LIFE’S BUSY-NESS IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO BE SAD AND PRAISE-LESS
Samuel was busy in the temple service, and yet in I Samuel 3:7 it says:
"Samuel did not yet know the Lord." It is possible to be busy in church work, and not truly know, or enjoy the Lord Jesus.
The Greek word commonly used for "worship" is "proskuneo," which means "to kiss the hand toward." This suggests an outward action which shows an inward realization of the greatness of another. The idea of "worth-ship" is recognized in real worship. In true worship is the recognition of Who the Lord truly is.
On the isle of Patmos, John was shown the future rapture day. In his vision, he saw the saints singing:
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power."
Worship delights in the sheer glory of God. Worship revels in His Person, His Nature, and His being. Worship recognizes what He has done.
Our actions and behavior should make others rejoice and worship in the Lord. When unbelievers see:
our good works,
our attitudes in crisis,
our love in the midst of hatred,
our patience in the midst of trial,
and our honesty in the midst of dishonesty...
they will glorify God Who has given us the grace to so behave.
I Peter 2:12
"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
In this way, our behavior is an act of worship. We can glorify God, not only with our mouths, but with our lives, our attitudes, and with our actions. We should therefore be glorifying God most every moment.
I Corinthians 10:31
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Sometimes our actions profane our worship and praise. If we skip gathering together with the believers regularly, and would rather picnic, shop, or watch television most service times, the Lord is not impressed with the one time that month you decided to come to service. Perhaps the television shows were all reruns, so you come to worship and praise God, do you think He is really fooled when you praise Him?
ARE SERVING AND WORSHIPING A ‘WEARINESS’?
"What a weariness it is" (Malachi 1:13). Many feel to gather together to worship the Lord is a weariness, hard, bothersome, and too much trouble. To feel that worship is a trial, an ordeal, a burden, and torture, is a terrible insult to the Lord we claim to praise when we do come. Is it a weariness to attend? to pray? to be on time? to teach? to read your Bible? Some complain when they must do these things. God hates insincerity, so if it is such a bother, get to the altar, and tell the Lord the truth until you get restored into a relationship with Him wherein it will not be a bother anymore.
Some in Bible times would offer the Lord a blemished, dying, or sick lamb... They were to offer an unblemished lamb that was healthy and strong.. Do you offer the Lord your best? Do you say He is your "all in all" and then give your spare time, your left overs, your "what I don't need for McDonald's money"? God hates insincerity, and you had better be wise and tell Him the truth. Tell God that you have valued other things more than He, repent and get your priorities right before you leave.
The parable of the two sons, both told to do a job for the father. One said "yes," and did not do it. The other said "no" and repented and did do it. Who pleased the father?