Worship and Praise #2

(Message II of V)
by J. Spender (June 8th, 1997)
This series of messages was delivered in 1997, United States of America.

Permission to transcribe and to distribute these messages had been obtained from
the speaker who retains all rights to these messages.

You can e-mail the speaker at alan7s@yahoo.com

Good morning. On the outline … we’re going to work on one point this morning … point 5. Last week we did the first 4, and
  1. we looked at the IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT;
  2. I gave you a few things for kind of the GROUND RULES for our study;
  3. we tried to DEFINE some of the words … what they meant, and how they were used; and
  4. we looked at some scriptures at the end about THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WORDS WORSHIP AND PRAISE in the same passage.
Maybe I’ll take a few seconds and summarize what we found there at the end of the message.
We found that WORSHIP has to do with humbling ourselves before God, His greatness, and His majesty. If you want to put a bodily posture with it, one word is DOWN. It’s a falling down of heart if not of body.
PRAISE, on the other hand, is a LIFTING UP. The direction is UP … e.g. lift up your voice, stand up, speak up, and speak of God’s wonderful works.
Well, today, we want to look at some passages and scripture … we have 8. Since we’re going to do readings all the way through, I’m just going to take a moment and open in prayer and then we’re get right into number 1.
Let’s just look to the LORD.
Heavenly Father, we’re thankful once again for the opportunity to open the Bible. We think, Father, of our brothers and sisters in lands where this freedom is not available. We think of those who meet in hiding and in fear. And we thank Thee for the freedom that we have to gather together on this beautiful day and study Thy word. Help us to understand what we study. May Thy Spirit work in our hearts and make us better worshippers and people of praise. We give thanks in the Lord Jesus’ name. Amen.

I would certainly NOT want anyone to get the idea that the 8 passages we’re going to look at are the only ones, or even the most important ones. Probably you will wonder, by the end, why your favorite one was not included. That’s okay.
I’ve chosen 8 that I just want to call REPRESENTATIVE PASSAGES in the Scriptures to teach us a few lessons about WORSHIP and PRAISE.
Now, remember our GOAL is we want to be better PERSONALLY as worshippers, better people at praising God, and we want to be better AS AN ASSEMBLY at that. And we’re basing our practices in our private, in our corporate lives not on tradition, not on what we prefer, not on what feels good, not on what society does, but WHAT SCRIPTURES REVEAL TO US as God’s will and plan.

So, let’s go back to Genesis 22 and we’re going to look at the FIRST MENTION of the word WORSHIP in the Bible. And you’ll forgive me for not reading extended passages. But since there are eight different scriptures to comment on and read portions of, we would quickly run out of time. So I’m just going to take a couple of verses from each text.
GENESIS 22, as you know, is that wonderful story about Abraham being called to offer his son, his only son, Isaac, on the altar as a burnt offering to God. And the LORD calls him in verse 1. (And it’s a test … the scripture tells us that.) Abraham answers and the LORD says in verse 2…
(v.2) And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,
and get thee into the land of Moriah;
and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
(v.3) And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass,
and took two of his young men with him,
and Isaac his son,
and clave the wood for the burnt offering,
and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Now, during the journey, they had some discussions and that’s recorded for us in verse 4 and following. And Isaac really just wonders, “Where are the rest of our preparations – the lamb?” And Abraham says, “My son, God will provide in this matter.” And so they get to the place, and Abraham puts his son, Isaac, on the altar, and in verse 10, we read

(v.10) And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

And at that point we know that God called to him and told him to spare his son. A ram was provided as a substitute, which Abraham then offered. And down in verse 15 and following, God speaks out, and He pronounces a tremendous lasting blessing on Abraham because Abraham has not only SAID that God has first place in his life, but he has DEMONSTRATED it. And that’s a point we might like to keep in our minds … all of us!
Now, you notice, during the journey, when they come to the place, we read in verse 5…

(v.5) And Abraham said unto his young men,
Abide ye here with the ass;
and I and the lad will go yonder and worship,
and come again to you.

… literally, “WE will come again to you.”
“WE will go yonder and worship.” This is a passage about WORSHIP. And as you know, as Bible students, when you find a major word in the Bible occurring for the first time, it’s called the “law of first-mention”, it’s a good time to study it carefully because often when a word occurs for the first time, God is trying to teach us some important lessons about it. What would those lessons be?

Worship Is Based On Revelation From God…

Well, from verse 2, I think we could see that this whole thing we call WORSHIP was based on revelation: GOD SPOKE to Abraham and said, “Abraham” and he said, “Here am I.” And GOD SAID, “LISTEN, Abraham, THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO.”
This passage wouldn’t have much meaning to us if Abraham had said, “You know, this is a nice day and I think I’ll go offer my son.” We would look at him and we would say, “This man is crazy.”
But GOD SPOKE TO ABRAHAM, and so the passage then is founded on the idea of a REVELATION FROM GOD.
Our WORSHIP is not going to be worth a lot, if WE designed it, and we do what sounds good to us. And mankind had been doing this a couple of thousand years … “Oh, I like this. And I think I’ll do this for God.”
God here reveals HIS PLAN, and Abraham is blessed, because he OBEYS.

Worship Requires A Response Of Faith To God’s Revelation…

And so we could say in verse 3, because “Abraham rose up early in the morning”, that it requires FAITH IN THE REVELATION.
What is faith? A response to the word of God. That’s what it is … a response to the word of God.

Worship Requires Separation…

Then there’s another lesson we learn about WORSHIP, and that is it requires SEPARATION.
Abraham had to leave his home and his family, and he had to be separated from his daily tasks and his servants, and he had to go on a journey. And when he got to the place, he told his servants, “You stay here with the animals. My son and I will go, and we’ll worship.” It’s a COMPLETE SEPARATION.
You know, sometimes people say, “Well, I worship God at home. I worship God lying in bed.” Well, maybe, but I think that if you look in the Bible, you’ll see that REAL WORSHIP for God is a time when we leave the comfort and distractions in life and we separate ourselves and we give our hearts and minds wholly to the LORD. That’s what Abraham did. Have to have some separation there.

Worship Requires Sacrifice…

And we also see from this passage that it involves SACRIFICE. And WORSHIP DOES INVOLVE SACRIFICE. The giving of God’s Son. Abraham … the giving of his son is a picture of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. Sacrifice is involved.
In other words, WORSHIP that costs us nothing …maybe it’s shallow.
We need to ask ourselves what sacrifices we’re willing to make for God.

Worship Brings Blessing…

And then finally, WORSHIP BRINGS BLESSING. And we know how the LORD spoke to Abraham here, and pronounces a tremendous blessing on him and his posterity because of his act of obedience.
And I want to tell you this morning, esp. moms and dads who have little kids at home, raising young families – one of the things that God will bless in your home is that your children will see you sacrificing in order to worship God. You’re not offering a son or a daughter on the altar, or even an animal, but there are things in our lives that are very precious: our schedules, our leisure, our time, our energy, our money, and so forth. And over the years, kids growing up at home, watch and see. Because it’s really true … WHO YOU REALLY WORSHIP, THAT’S WHO OR WHAT YOU WILL REALLY SACRIFICE FOR. And this can have a profound teaching and training effect on your children when they see that you understand what’s involved in WORSHIP. And you follow it faithfully, year after year after year.
So, Genesis 22 then teaches us some good lessons in the first mention of this thought of WORSHIP in the Bible.
  1. It is based on revelation.
  2. It requires a response to God’s revelation … the response of faith.
  3. It requires separation, and
  4. Sacrifice.
  5. And it brings blessing.
We’re just scratching the surface here. I encourage you to read this, meditate on this chapter Genesis 22. It is beautiful and very precious.

Turn also to a few verses in Genesis 29 for our second text. Genesis 29 … the first time we find PRAISE in the scripture and it too has some lessons for us. Genesis 29 is the story of Jacob’s growing family. And Jacob had a good number of children … more than 12.
And in the last few verses of the chapter, we read how his wife, Leah, who had no child, began by the grace of God to conceive and to bear children. And it’s interesting … because one after another she bore these children and she gave them names that describe her grief and her struggle. And you can see them starting at verse 32.

(v.32) And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said,
Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

She bore a son called Reuben, and his name had to do with the affliction that she had passed through because poor Leah had gone through a lot of affliction and trial. And she names his first boy with a name having to do with her affliction.
Then there is another son, and she speaks about how the LORD heard her even though she was hated, she names him Simeon. Lots of hatred in the family.
(v.33) And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also:
and she called his name Simeon.
She has another boy, and now she’s happy because her husband who had been distanced from her, and maybe ignoring her, is now going to be drawn to her. Here she reflects the hurt of being the wife that isn’t loved.

(v.34) And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said,
Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons:
therefore was his name called Levi.

And so she has these 3 children.
And then she has a 4th, and this is in the last verse, and it says…

(v.35) And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said,
Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah;…

And “Judah”, we know, means PRAISE.
Now, it’s interesting that after Leah had got to express all of her sorrows and troubles in her life as she named her children, she came to the 4th one and she says, Let’s forget all those problems and I’m just going to name this one “Praise”.
And this is the one, Judah, from whose lineage the Lord Jesus came. David and our Lord were from the tribe of Judah, the tribe of PRAISE. Isn’t that beautiful? The first place in the Bible where PRAISE is mentioned.

Praise Often Comes Out Of Struggle…

Now, I would say that a lesson we learn in this passage is that PRAISE often comes out of struggle.
You know, sometimes maybe we get a little exasperated with our kids. They don’t have much of a heart, it seems, for God. They don’t have much interest in spiritual things. We try to work with them in Sunday School, or in the teen group, or at home, and they yawn and fall asleep, and say things that drive us nuts and we think, What are we going to do? You have to remember that at this point, at least, their lives have been pretty much everything-handed-to-them.
And what’s the motivation for them to PRAISE God for His tremendous goodness and forgiveness? What is it really? They’ve no hard knocks. There are not much hard times. They think they have … my daughter tells me all the time what a rough lot she has in life … but they really haven’t had any difficulties yet.
And when you go back and you read the gospels and you see the life of the Lord Jesus, and Mary out of whom was cast 7 demons, a demon-possessed woman delivered … Where is she? She is at the feet of the Lord, pouring out her heart. “I don’t care who sees me. I don’t care who likes it or doesn’t like it. I love this man. Look what He’s done for me!”
And hard as it is for us parents, we have to stand by and watch our kids go through things that are going to turn them into worshippers and praisers. That’s not going to happen now when they’re having an easy life and everything is handed to them. So we got to love them, and work with them, and thank God they are the exceptions. We need to have patience. Many times it’s through suffering that PRAISE comes.
And, Leah, fourth child, she says, “I’m going to praise the LORD.” She named the child, PRAISE.

Let’s go on to Deuteronomy 26 and look at a passage that has to do again with WORSHIP. Deuteronomy 26:1-11 … it is a beautiful text. We don’t have time to read it all here. Moses is giving instruction to the people about what would happen when they come into the Land.
When you come into the Promised Land, God says, I want you to bring an offering of first fruits. And when you bring your offering to the LORD, to the place where He puts His name, I want you to follow this little pattern that I’ve given you here of a testimony, a spoken testimony about what God has done.
Now, it’s very interesting what they were to profess, or to say, when they brought their first-fruit offering. It’s interesting because if you follow this out, it becomes a picture of what God has done for us. For them, it was a physical deliverance from a physical bondage in a literal country. For us, it’s a spiritual thing. But it’s the same.
It says in verse 4…

(v.4) And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand,
and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.

Well, that meant that when you came to the particular time that’s being described here, you came with something already prepared. A PREPARED HEART has a lot to do with WORSHIP.

A Testimony Of Redemption…

Anyway, I just want to go through these points of what a person was to say … in verse 3 he says,

(v.3b) I profess this day unto the LORD thy God,
that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us.

Now, this means “I am a witness that God has brought us into this place of blessing.” For you and me, we might say it this way, “I would testify to the fact that by the grace of God, I’m saved. I’m a Christian … BY THE GRACE OF GOD.”
Now, how did that happen? Now look at what he says here in verse 5…

(v.5b) A Syrian ready to perish was my father,
and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few,
and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:

(v.6) And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us,
and laid upon us hard bondage:

My father was a perishing man, and he went down to Egypt and became a slave, and he was badly treated and cried out. Now that describes all of us by nature … our father Adam went down into sin (Egypt is a picture of the world), and there we were, slaves of sins. Maybe some of you here could identify yourselves with this in a graphic way … you were out in the world as slaves of sin; you were in bondage, badly treated. And it says in verse 7…
(v.7) And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers,
the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression:
(v.8) And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand,
and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness,
and with signs, and with wonders:
In other words, a day of deliverance came. That’s your testimony … different for everybody in this room. You have a testimony if you’re a Christian. Went down into sin … my ancestors, long ago, right back to Adam, cried unto the LORD in bondage, and the LORD brought us out.

An Inheritance In Christ…

But it doesn’t end there. It says in verse 9…

(v.9) And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land,
even a land that floweth with milk and honey.

God brought us out and then he brought us in. You know God never saves anybody to leave him in the wilderness. He saves them and takes them out of Egypt, and brings them into the land of blessing. The problem is not whether we have the land of blessing or not. The problem is whether or not we’re appropriating and enjoying and exploring it and finding all the blessings in it. That’s the problem. Many Christians are not seeking to discover their inheritance. That’s why God kept saying to Moses and to Joshua and to the others, “Rise and walk through the Land. Every place your foot treads I have given you.” And the word of God is filled with blessings that God has given to the children of God today.
Anyway, there’s a 4th thing that He says…
  1. my father went down, and
  2. the Lord brought us out, and
  3. He brought us into this Land,
  4. Verse 10 …

(v.10) And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land,
which thou, O LORD, hast given me.

A Heart Of Gratitude…

You see, now I have brought something. Here’s where we get to the WORSHIP. I have brought something to God in recognition of the fact that God redeemed me from my bondage, brought me into a place of blessing, and now I have brought something to give thanks to Him. This is a thanks offering.
Remember what He did when the Lord took the bread? He GAVE THANKS. And what we did earlier this morning when we took the bread: we gave thanks. Well, here’s a great text on WORSHIP because WORSHIP is GIVING TO GOD. LEARNING TO GIVE TO GOD. And you know why it’s so difficult for some people to WORSHIP? Because they don’t have any practice in giving all week long. You want to be a better worshipper? LEARN TO GIVE. Or turn it around and say it this way … LEARN TO GIVE TO OTHERS BY GIVING TO GOD.
And this man, he comes and you can see him with his basket. And in it he’s got the fruits and little bit of his farm there, and he says, “LORD, it isn’t a lot, but I just want you to see that this is what I have enjoyed all week long. I’ve walked around my farm and I’ve taken a little of the grapes, a little of the figs, a little of the wheat and a little of all THE BEST stuff and I put it in this basket. It isn’t a lot LORD, but it’s mine and it’s for you.” In a spiritual way, we have that opportunity when we come before the LORD, don’t we?
I offer the thought … wouldn’t it be interesting when suddenly sitting at the Lord’s Supper on each person’s lap there’s a basket and in the basket there was fruit and other things in proportion to what’s in their hearts. Wouldn’t it be interesting to look around? Some people would have it flowing right off the sides and down on the floor, you know. Other people … you’d have to go up on the chair to see if there’s anything at the bottom.
How would it have been if this worshipper was on his way to Jerusalem, and he says, “You know, I’m getting close, it’s only a couple more miles. Better start looking in the gutters and the fields to see if I can find something to put in my basket. Maybe somebody’s apple he’s dropped from his lunch, or something. I just can’t go with this empty basket.”? It wouldn’t be much for WORSHIP would there?
No, he went to his farm, and he looked at all his blessings and he picked his own stuff and he put it in his basket and he came and he said, “LORD this is for you. This is the FIRST, and this is the BEST. This is for YOU.”
That’s what God wants us to do when we come before Him. It isn’t a lot, is it? It isn’t a lot but it’s mine! And one has been considering the LORD this week as the Creator, and another has been considering Him as the great High Priest. Another one has been considering Him in the garden of Gethsemane. Another one has considered some other thing about Him. And we all bring it, and the Holy Spirit brings it all together and presents it and what a fragrance … what a delight it is to the heart of the Lord Jesus.
But, you know, it’s a sad thing if we come week after week, and our basket is empty … empty.
Well, Deuteronomy 26 … we have a TESTIMONY OF REDEMPTION, we have an INHERITANCE IN CHRIST, we have a HEART OF GRATITUDE (I hope) … and these things we may bring to the LORD and say, “LORD, this is what I have for you about your Son.” And He’s the One that’s really the Author of what’s in the basket.

4. PSALM 100
Well, we have to move on. Next passage is Psalm 100. Now all the psalms have much to say about WORSHIP, and even more to say about PRAISE. And I chose this psalm as a representative psalm about PRAISE. Not that it’s the best one or uses the word a lot (it’s only a short psalm, 5 verses). But because from beginning to end it is clear that the heart of this writer, David, is overflowing in gratitude to God. Look at the words!

(v.1) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD…

(v.2) Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.

(v.4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him
and bless his name.

Over and over again, synonyms that mean GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, PRAISE HIM, BLESS HIM … and really that’s the whole book of Psalms. The book of Psalms is the Hebrew hymnbook. It’s a book of PRAISE and THANKSGIVING to God.
What can we learn from this psalm and from other psalms of PRAISE?

Praise Results From Contemplated Blessings…
PRAISE results from contemplated blessings. CONTEMPLATED BLESSINGS. You know, one of the things I’m convinced the adversary wants to keep us from doing is to contemplate on our blessings. And the best way I’m sure that he can do this is to keep us CONTEMPLATING OUR PROBLEMS!
And sometimes we’ve got to actively say, “I’ve thought enough of my problems and my woes. I’ve given enough of my mental energy to that. Let me spend a few times thinking about my blessings.” And the Holy Spirit can begin to work and bring forth PRAISE in our hearts.
So, PRAISE results from contemplated blessings.

Praise Is Associated With The Fruit Of The Spirit … Joy…

And then another thought, PRAISE is associated with the fruit of the Spirit … JOY. You know the 9 fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5? Love … … … Joy! PRAISE is associated with that one … the joyful heart.
Where does PRAISE really come from? Well, it really comes from the inner man (or it should).
And who’s at work in the inner man? The Spirit of God.
And what is He producing? He’s producing the fruits of the Spirit.
And one of those fruits is JOY. And JOY expresses itself in PRAISE to God. So someone who is rejoicing in their blessings can express that rejoicing to God by praising God … songs, hymns, prayers, whatever.
Read the book of Psalms continually, and you read the writings of a man who was hated and hounded by his enemy, persecuted, his family ran into all kinds of problems. He’s a man who knew about affliction. He had sin in his life. He had to cry out to God for forgiveness and he wrote the book of Psalms.
You know, I’ve often thought, David’s one desire was that he could build the temple of the LORD and the LORD said, “No, David, you’re not going to. You’re a man of war. Your son will build it. But you can’t build it. You’re a man of war.” I expect David felt pretty disappointed. I expect he felt pretty downcast when he thought, “The one thing I’d love to do in my life – build a temple for God – and the answer is no!” You know, God lets David build a temple of PRAISE when he wrote the book of Psalms, didn’t He? And it’s lasted a lot longer than the temple that Solomon built. Ever think of that?
So, psalms are good for the Christian to read. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring forth in our lives PRAISE TO GOD.

Okay. No. 5. Let’s go over to the New Testament. … Matthew 2. Back to a good passage on WORSHIP. We’re kind of back and forth here because both of these subjects are before us. Matthew 2:1-10 is that well-known story of the wise men who came to worship the baby Jesus at the time of His birth. And you know, the children sing it for us every December and here they come from wherever their country was, asking in Jerusalem,

(v.2) Where is he that is born King of the Jews?
for we have seen his star in the east,
and are come to worship him.

We had a bumper sticker in our car, and you’ve probably seen it, and it says, Wise men still seek Him. And I always like that … wise men still seek Him. That’s true.
And so here they come with their gifts, and after following the star and getting some help … Bethlehem is the town … and the star leads them on, and they finally come and we pick up in verse 9 …
(v.9) When they had heard the king, they departed;
and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them,
till it came and stood over where the young child was.
(v.10) When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Now, picture, if you can in your mind, these wise men … they’ve come a long journey; they’ve narrowed down the search; they’ve come to the very house; and in this humble little house is the child that is born King.
Interesting! The child that is born King! King by birth! And He’s not in the palace, and He’s not decked with servants and gold and purple and all the rest. He’s in a little humble place.
And they open the door, and they go into the house. And verse 11 is very instructive for us … it says

(v.11) And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down, and worshipped him:
and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The Adoring Heart…

Isn’t it interesting? That when these wise men came into the house … here they had carried these treasures – gold (even back then it was very expensive) and frankincense (expensive then and very expensive today) and myrrh (the same) … who knows how much there was! Who knows what the cost was! Traditionally it was assumed that these were very costly gifts. … carefully carried all that journey from who-knows-where, far away from the countries in the east. And they come in and they open the door. And there’s the baby, and THEY PUT THE GIFTS DOWN, PUT THEM ASIDE, and they go and they FALL DOWN and they WORSHIP this baby.
You see the picture there? THEIR DESIRE WAS JUST TO FALL DOWN AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AS THE ONE WHO’S WORTHY. And then having done that, they offer their gifts. You know, that to me speaks so clearly … that before anything we can say, publicly or silently in our hearts to God, God wants to see what’s the condition of the heart.
What’s in the heart? Because the most eloquent word and the most gorgeous hymns and all the rest of it, if it isn’t the expression of the heart, it’s just empty. Just empty.
And these wise men, they set the gifts aside and they fall down and WORSHIP. They BOW LOW, and acknowledge Him as the One who is worthy … born King … the child who was born King. And then when they pick up their gifts and they present their gifts to the child, and they open the gifts, lo and behold, what’s in the gifts? Well, the three things that they brought turn out prophetically to be the three things that describe not themselves or their own needs….
In fact it gets so interesting, you read this passage from one end to the other … here they are before the King of the whole universe, and they never made a single petition! They never said, “I need this. Could you help me with this? My family is in need of this.” They’re there just to give. They’re COMPLETELY THERE TO GIVE.

The Source Of The Gifts…

And they open their gifts and there by prophetic work of God are THE THREE THINGS THAT DESCRIBE THE LIFE OF THE LORD JESUS PERFECTLY. Gold – His deity, imperishable; frankincense – His beautiful life; and myrrh – the oil or the fragrance of suffering. In fact the word “myrrh” means “bitterness” … the bitterness of suffering. Smyrna – place of suffering. Comes from the word “myrrh”. Suffering. And there they have it.
Worshipping the Lord, presenting back to Him, through God’s revelation to their own hearts, what His life will be and means to them. Now that’s what God would like from us.
Let me give you an illustration. Sometimes at Christmas or at birthday, my kids used to make a card for mom or for me, mostly for mom. And when they were real little, you can just imagine some of the creations we would get. You’ve probably seen them in your house. You know, the construction paper colors wouldn’t match, and the glue would be oozing out the sides, and the glitter got all over everything that’s on the card, and the spelling was awful (if there was spelling), and you couldn’t tell what the picture of it was. But it was just the dearest thing. Did it go into the trash? No! It’s still in the baby-book or in the file. Why? Oh, because this is something that my kids made from their own hearts and it’s an expression of their own little heart. You see, God isn’t waiting for us to put on some great big….
Somebody said to me yesterday … a brother came up at a tag sale and he said, “You know I love this assembly, but my wife wants to be in a big church with a big orchestra and all the rest.” And he says, “I’m sorry but we have to go.” Well, I don’t want to criticize him.
But God isn’t waiting for all these big fanfare things – we do this for ourselves! This is for us! “I like this.” “I want this when I worship.” “I like this when I go to church.” That’s not for God!
God says, You go bring me the little things made out of construction paper and glue and your own writing. That’s what I want. Your own stuff from your own heart of gratitude. That’s what means most to me.
What does that mean, brothers and sisters? That means that whoever you are here this morning, IF YOU HAVE WHAT IS PRECIOUS TO YOU OF CHRIST, you can delight the heart of God more than the biggest symphony. Or the biggest cathedral. Do you believe that? That’s true!!!
Those little creations mean more to me as mom and dad than that they had taken our money and gone out and bought a $5 card. Truly they did. And they do to God.
Well, let’s go on … here we learn the lessons of THE ADORING HEART, and THE SOURCE OF THE GIFTS.

6. ACTS 3-4
Let’s go to Acts 3. Acts 3 is the story of the lame man who got healed. Again, a whole passage one could study, but to simplify it … Peter and John are going to the Temple at the hour of prayer. (And if it’s today, the lame man would ask us for help, and we’d say, “Don’t bother us, we’re going to religious services.”) They stopped and they healed the man and he went with them to prayer. Isn’t that nice? They took him by the right hand and lifted him up … Verse 6,

(v.6) Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

I had an old teacher years ago who used to say, Two things the church today can’t say … “Silver and gold have I none” … and “Rise up and walk”.
Well, he took him by the hand, and lifted him up. His feet received strength…

(v.8) And he leaping up stood, and walked,
and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping,

Praise Results From Blessing…

Walking, and leaping, and PRAISING God … This passage is about PRAISE and we find here that PRAISE results from blessing. And I spoke earlier about the young people. I didn’t mean to be hard on the young people because I have some of my own. But not only will SUFFERING make them PRAISE God, but when they are suffering and they need to cry out to Him, and He BLESSES them, THAT will make them PRAISE God.

Praise Gives Rise To Testimony…

And here was a man who was lame all his life, and suddenly he could walk, and he knew what it was to be excited. And somebody said to him, “Excuse me sir, you’re in the temple and you’re causing a disturbance with all this leaping and praising God.” You think he would have said, “Well, I will try and be quiet”? No, sir! He didn’t care who had a problem with it. He was excited. And he wants to PRAISE God.

Praise Enhances Fellowship…

Well, if you look at Acts 4:14. Peter and John are taken to trial for this. And v. 14, it says, the court there,

(v.14) And beholding the man which was healed standing with them,
they could say nothing against it.

Here’s exhibit A – the healed man STANDING WITH Peter and John. Can you see him there standing with his arms crossed, saying, “You have a problem? I’m the witness of what Jesus has done for me.” And they could say nothing.
Well, what are the lessons?
  1. PRAISE results from blessing.
  2. It gives rise to testimony, or it SHOULD give rise to testimony. Until you have experienced the goodness of God, you really don’t have a testimony! You don’t have anything to say. What could you say? “God was good to somebody else, but I don’t know anything about it?” That’s why when we’re in trouble and we’re in extremity and we cry out to the Lord, we have our own testimony. God was good to me.
  3. Not only that, PRAISE enhances fellowship. PRAISE draws saints together. Here was Peter and John and the lame man, all standing arm in arm in the court. Fellowship. It was a good beginning for a time of witness.

7. JOHN 4 & 12
Now, I’ve put two passages together for the 7th one … one (John 4) as the doctrine/teaching, and the other (John 12) as the illustration of it. And I’m just going to mention them because our time is nearly gone. John 12 is where Mary of Bethany is coming to anoint the Lord Jesus. Here’s another picture of WORSHIP.

John 4…

And the heart of it is in John 4:24, the Lord Jesus speaking to the woman at the well, says these words,

(v.24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit
in truth.

There is a wealth of study in that expression. Worshippers must WORSHIP in spirit and in truth. And he says, in verse 23, that the Father is seeking such to WORSHIP Him. God is looking for TRUE worshippers today.

So what is a TRUE WORSHIPPER? One who WORSHIPS in spirit and in truth.

Well, you know, “The Spirit of God within me working in my spirit…” – that’s the PERSONAL SUBJECTIVE SIDE, isn’t it? That’s the side where I can say, “I feel led. God has spoken to me. I’ve enjoyed this.” That’s all very precious.
But THE OBJECTIVE SIDE is the word of God … that’s the TRUTH.
And those two things have to be always in harmony. I have to make sure that what I claim is my spiritual experience is in submission to the word of God, and the church is in trouble today on this point. “The truth of the word of God … oh yea, but we don’t like doctrine. That’s just dry. Everything is my experience … what I feel, and what I like, and what I want.” That’s a problem, folks.
TRUE WORSHIP … the kind the Father is seeking is WORSHIP that NOT ONLY enjoys the Spirit of God working within the heart, BUT it’s in humble submission to the written objective standard of the word of God. And where there is error, and disobedience, and rebellion, you can call it WORSHIP all you want, but it ISN’T! IT ISN’T! It’s the flesh, and it’s evil. We need to realize that. And it’s damaging to Christians.
But what is it that’s fragrant to God? When the Spirit of God in my heart and the Spirit of God that wrote this book are in harmony and unison, God is delighted. God is delighted by that. So we enjoy the Holy Spirit. We are blessed by being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We want to WORSHIP in the Spirit. We want the Spirit of God to lead us. If we didn’t, we would never service every Sunday here. That’s totally open to the leading of the Spirit of God. We don’t have a clergyman standing up in front. We don’t have the WORSHIP meeting printed in the bulletin … you must stand up, you must sit down, you must sing this hymn. We don’t have that. We want the Spirit of God to be free to lead us. We’re always opening our bibles to ensure that what we’re claiming is the leading of the Spirit of God is in harmony with the truth. Because WORSHIP the Father is seeking is WORSHIP that is in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.

John 12…

And so, Mary, in John 12 … she takes the ointment, and she puts it on the feet of the Lord, and she’s criticized for it.
But what did the Lord say? He says, “She has kept this for my burial.”
And where did she get that idea? She got it out of the scripture. She got it out of the scripture.
And her WORSHIP was in harmony with the word of God. And the Lord Jesus said, “Let her alone” and He defended her. And He enjoyed her WORSHIP.
And you know, there were some other people that came with fragrance and spices and all the rest of it to worship. They were a little late. The body was gone. They missed it. Mary got to anoint the Lord. The rest of them were late.
So, I think the lesson here is pretty clear. You know, in John 4 we have Jesus speaking to the woman about the well of water springing up into everlasting life … you ought to go to John 7 some time and read about it … the water flows out of blessing to others.
That’s the order. First we WORSHIP, then we SERVE.

8. REVELATION 4-5 & 19
Anyway, we have to finish – Revelation 4 for the last passage. Revelation 4 & 5. And I do want to combine with this, but we won’t turn to it, but I just want to mention Revelation 19. Revelation really have both … you have WORSHIP and PRAISE. You have WORSHIP in chapters 4 & 5, and you have PRAISE in chapter 19. And I’d just like to suggest, without really doing reading here, two thoughts for us to ponder, because I think they would help us in this subject.

Worship First, Then Praise…

The first thing is that if you notice the order, we have a revelation of WORSHIP taking place in heaven BEFORE the great tribulation breaks out. That comes first. And then you have the great tribulation where God deals with sin, and where God avenges His servants, and at the end, when it’s all over, then you get the Hallelujahs. The hallelujah chorus and the PRAISE because what? … God has at last come in and has avenged His servants and they have joy – the blessing now of being avenged and free from all that tyranny of the harlot and sin of the world system. And now they sing PRAISE.
Very interesting that WORSHIP begins at the beginning of the book and PRAISE comes in at the end. Really, that’s our experience isn’t it? We have a recognition of the greatness and the wonder of God, and we bow before Him. Then we experience His blessings. And we have something to PRAISE God about.
I like the thought … some people say to me, “Well, you know we should have more PRAISE on Sunday morning.” Well, I think it wouldn’t hurt if there’s more PRAISE. I’m in favor of PRAISE. … But I like the thought that God gives us an hour to WORSHIP and six-and-a-half days to PRAISE. Don’t try to jam it all on Sunday morning. PRAISE Him all week long! 6 days … and if you do, you’ll be ready for WORSHIP next Sunday.

Worship Is Not What I Can Get From It, BUT…

The other thing I want to bring out here is if you read chapter 4 very carefully, you will find that there is NOTHING about salvation in chapter 4 or redemption. In fact, the WORSHIP has to do with Him being Creator. And I think we need to be very cautious of the idea that the only WORSHIP that’s acceptable at the Lord’s Supper has to do with the cross. I have a problem with that, because the idea is this: the only time I can WORSHIP is when I can personally get something out of it. I have a problem with that.
I think there’s a lot that the Lord Jesus needs to be worshipped for … wholly apart from whether I get anything. What about His Person for who He is? Wholly apart from my sin and my salvation. What about Him being the Creator? You know, some day we’re going to live through Revelation 4, you and me, we’re going to be there, and I hope you’re going to enjoy it. I know I am. In Revelation 4, all that falling down and that worshipping of the LORD … all has to do with Him being Creator. Then you get into chapter 5 and worship is given to Him as the Redeemer. So, let’s not look down on anybody at the Lord’s Supper who brings up other things. There’s an awful lot.
Jesus DIDN’T SAY, “Do this. Remember Me in My death.” You DON’T find that in the bible … you NEVER find that in the bible.
He said, “This do in remembrance of ME.” Me! It’s not a thing. It’s a Person that we’re here to remember. You remember ME!
So anything you can say about Him … His glory, His person, His attribute, His character, His nature, … anything that’s precious to you, God would like to hear that.
And we do come to the point in the meeting where we remember His work on the cross. And that’s very precious and I wouldn’t take away from it. I’m just saying let’s not exclude the other precious thoughts of Him as the Creator and all the other wonderful attributes about Him, that He is love, His goodness, His omnipotence, … all those wonderful things.

Well, thank you for following along, and at a heavy pace and a hard subject. Next time we won’t have to go so fast, but I pray God would bless these few thoughts to our hearts and make us better worshippers and praisers.

Let’s pray.
Father, we’re thankful this morning for the revelation given to us in Thy precious word. And we pray that we may be those who would seek in its pages the things that would delight the heart of God. So that when we lift our voices in PRAISE, and then Lord as we come on Sundays, on the Lord’s Day, to BOW reverently before Thee, it would be from TRUE hearts, intelligent, desiring not so much what we get out of it, but what does God think? Is it fragrant and precious to Him? We thank Thee, Father, for teaching us and pray that Thou wilt continue to do so. We ask it thankfully in the Lord Jesus’ name. Amen.

|Part III |

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