Worthy to be Worshipped How He Wants to be Worshipped

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God has the right to determine the way that we worship him, therefore, we must worship Him according to His word.



I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to attend the Worship Conference in Indianapolis last month. It would have been really good if Luke and I had been able to share what we learned right after the event because of the enthusiasm coming right out of the conference, but Covid-19 kept us from that. But as a positive, we now have an entire sermon to share whats on our hearts. Really, Luke and I went to the conference for different reasons: Luke was more focused on the practical side of things, “How do I run a music ministry?” whereas I was concerned more with the philosophy of music in the church. There were so many different message and directions I could have taken this message, but I wanted to just focus on one thought that I learned during the Conference. If you are interested in hearing more, Luke and I are doing a series on Sound Tradition repackaging what we learned during the conference.
Having said that today, I will not be dealing with what you music should be like at home. The main focus for tonights message will deal with how we worship God whether in church or private worship. I will also not be going into specifics on what is right and what is wrong in worship. That is for a more casual teaching time. Tonight, I want to lay out a foundational principle for our worship: God has the right to decide “how” we worship Him. Biblical worship according to Taigen Joos includes worshipping the right object, with the right heart and in the right way. The principles in this message are thoughts that I have had for awhile, but I am drawing from Taigen Joos main session during the Worship Conference. Pastor Joos pastors Heritage Baptist Church in Dover, NH.

I. The Central Principle-

God has the Right to Decide how He Wants to be Worshipped

In the OT levitical law, we clearly have passage dictating how God wanted to be worshipped. Honestly, the entire law is a worship manual telling mankind “How” to worship God. God didn’t leave it up to us to decide and do what seemed reasonable to us. God gave us guidelines. Obviously, there was room for creative expression in worship as David created new Psalms, but the methods of worship were dictated by God for the Jews. Consider the following passage in Leviticus where God commands Moses what clothes to wear, how to approach God, what kind of an offering to give God and where to worship God. It doesn’t look like to me that these things don’t matter to God.
Lev 8:1-3 “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
Lev 8:13 “And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Lev 8:21 “And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Sometimes we think, praise services or singing are the only aspects of worship and even then we tend to slip into more of a performance mode of worship. The singing of the congregation is a group offering, sacrifice of praise to God. The preaching is God speaking to us to show us how to worship Him in our daily lives. The offering is an act of worship where we give back to God to further His work on the earth in gratitude for what He has done for us. The special music is an individual sacrifice of praise to encourage others to do the same. All of our worship service is designed to be worship for our God and He is worthy of our Worship. So when it comes to our worship does God speak at all about “How” we should worship Him? Tonight I am dealing with one principle: that God has the right to tell us not to worship Him in the way that the world worships their gods.
Deut 12:29-32 “When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
God clearly commanded the Jews not to use the methods or ways of the Gentiles to worship Him. Don’t ask, “Well, how is everyone else in the world doing it?” God says, “Thou shalt not do so...” sounds a lot like the 10 commandments doesn’t it. To see how serious God took this principle lets look at an example from Nadab and Abihu.
Leviticus 10:1-3 “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.”
Nadab and Abihu were priests trained in the worship of the Lord. They were the sons of Aaron. They set about to worship God in their normal temple offerings but they made one change: they offered strange fire. Strange here means illicit, unauthorized, of a stranger. This was fire, probably the incense offering, using substances that were not approved by God for worship. The use of strange also ties back into the concept of that which is used by the stranger, a term used for Gentiles in the OT. God had previously commanded them not to do this in:
Exodus 30:9 “Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.”
God took this issue so seriously that he burnt them up with fire. This is obviously an OT passage and deals with the Jews and some have argued that we are not under the law but under grace so this doesn’t matter. To answer that objection, we need to understand the believers relationship to the OT. In case you might be tempted to think the God of the OT was just so much dangerous, but the God of the NT is kind, compassionate and forgiving consider… God is all of the above and His mercy towards us are only on the merits of Jesus Christ.
Heb 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”

II. The Believer’s Relationship to the OT

Let's be honest. Certain parts of the Old Testament can seem just plain weird, "recurringly odd and unaccommodating," as Mark Coleridge puts it. And no part of the Old Testament seems more foreign than those sections that detail God's laws for Israel. Whether we read that the Israelites were not to wear clothing with mixed fabrics, or eat shrimp, or make a bald spot on their heads on behalf of the dead, we struggle to see what this has to do with us. I simply haven't ever been tempted to "boil a baby goat in it's mother's milk" (Exod. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 14:21)! Have you?
~George Guthrie
Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Teaches that we are not under the law but under grace. Some teach that the believer is not under the ceremonial law or the national law, but is under the moral law. This distinction is helpful but it doesn’t quite work with what Paul is teaching here. As a believer, we are not under the law as an entire system; however, we are under the law of Christ. Gal 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Love for God and Love for others will produce certain actions in the life of the believer. So does this mean that we can ignore the OT completely.
Some use the fact that we are not under the law to excuse sin, but Paul concludes in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” So does this mean we can ignore everything in the OT?
Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Tells us what the purpose of the OT is in our lives. The way most believer’s live, they might as well not even have an OT in their bible. So many are willing to throw it out because we are under grace now. But God clearly concludes that the purpose of the OT is for us to learn principles or lessons to apply to our lives. How do we determine a principle? We ask ourselves what does this passage teach me about God and His expectations for my life? Since these principles are based in the character of God, they do not change from Dispensation to dispensation. The application of them to our lives may change form, but the principle itself does not. Let’s take the passages we looked at above as an example:
We are not expected to offer sacrifices to God any more
Most of the lost world in America doesn’t literally offer sacrifice to idols
So what does this passage teach me about God? He is Holy, separate from the gods of this world
What does this passage teach me about how I should live? God wants me to worship Him differently than the heathen worship their gods.
Since most American’s don’t bow down to actual idols, what idols do they worship? (sex, their own way, materialism, entertainment, ect.)
There should be a distinction between how I worship my God and how the lost pursue these other God’s.
So how does this relate to the believer today?

III. Application for the Believer Today

So let’s start by asking ourselves, is this principle in the NT?
Hebrews 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”
In this passage, the author whom I believe is Luke, states that we are to serve God in an acceptable way. Well, how does he define acceptable? with reverence and godly fear. Our worship for God must be with respect and a healthy amount of fear for God. Heb 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.” gives us the motivation. God is not to be trifled with. The worship of God isn’t something we can take lightly.
1Corinthians 11:27 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
The Lords Supper which is a part of our worship is so serious that Paul said some had died because they ate unworthily.
2 Cor 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”


We sing “Worthy of Worship” quite often at the church here, but do we really see how worthy God actually is. Worship is not about you as the worshiper. It is about God the worshiped one because He is worthy. So if Worship is about God and not your taste, preferences and feelings; then shouldn’t He have a right to decide how He should be worshiped?
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