Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Acceptable Worship

In visible churches everywhere, worship consists of a variety of things; the major focus seems to be on the music, with worship bands and leaders being very predominant in the service. There is little expounding of God's word; it's more like story hour with slim chances of hearing powerful, authoritative preaching. I recall a sermon by a well known pastor where he referred to his childhood and the necessity of having clean underwear on. This same pastor also told a joke from the pulpit that was very inappropriate for any who name the name of Christ to utter. How sad that God's word does not cause trembling in the hearts of His own. 
I recently read a comment on a blog from a professing Christian who insists the church must 'evolve' from its old ways of doing 'church' to something more modern. He boasted that his church had a worship band that played upbeat music. He made no mention of what type of preaching took place, obviously the music was the most important 'thing' to him. 
Most of us know the horrors that take place every Sunday in churches across the globe; Paul Washer once stated that Sunday is the biggest hour of idolatry in America. With that said, I wanted to share this 'gem' from A. W. Pink on what is acceptable worship...

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." ~ Hebrews 12:28
No exhortation in this Epistle is more needed by our perverse generation than this one. How this imperative requirement "with reverence and godly fear" rebukes the cheap, flippant "worship"  of the day. O what unholy lightness and ungodly familiarity now marks the religion of Christendom: many address the great Deity as though they were His equals, and conduct themselves with far less decorum than they would show in the presence of an earthly monarch. The omission of bowing the head in silent prayer when we take our place in the congregation, the vulgar glancing around, the unfitting whispering and chattering, the readiness to smile or laugh at any remarks of the preacher's which may sound odd—are all so many instances of this glaring and growing evil. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints—and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him" 
(Psalm 89:7 - “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints.” The holiest tremble in the presence of the thrice Holy One; their familiarity is seasoned with the pro-foundest awe. Perfect love casts out the fear which hath torment, and works in lieu thereof that other fear which is akin to joy unutterable. How reverent should our worship be! Where angels veil their faces, men should surely bow in lowliest fashion. Sin is akin to presumptuous boldness, but holiness is sister to holy fear. “And to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” The nearer they are the more they adore. If mere creatures are struck with awe, the courtiers and favourites of heaven must be yet more reverent in the presence of the Great King. God's children are those who most earnestly pray “hallowed be thy name.” Irreverence is rebellion. Thoughts of the covenant of grace tend to create a deeper awe of God, they draw us closer to him, and the more his glories are seen by us in that nearer access, the more humbly we prostrate ourselves before his Majesty. - C. H. Spurgeon).
The Greek word for "reverence" in extraordinary instances, is called a "blushing," a "being ashamed," a "confusion of face" (Ezra 9:6; Dan. 9:7); yet, the essence of it, ought always to accompany us in the worship of God. "Godly fear" is a holy awe on the soul when engaged in sacred duties, and this from a consideration of the great danger there is of our sinful mistakes in the worship of God, and of His severity against such heinous offenses. God will not be mocked. A serious soul is hereby moved unto watchfulness and diligence not to provoke so great, so holy, so jealous a God—by a neglect of that reverence and godly fear which He requires in His service, and which is due unto Him on account of His glorious perfections. If the seraphim veil their faces before Him (Isaiah 6:2), how much more would we do so!
"For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). This is the reason given why we must serve God with reverence and fear. The words are taken from Deuteronomy 4:24 where they are used to deter Israel from idolatry, for that is a sin God will not tolerate. The same description of God is here applied by the Apostle unto those lacking grace to worship Him with the humility and awe which He demands. If we are graceless in our persons, and devoid of reverence in our worship—God will deal with us accordingly. As a fire consumes combustible matter cast into it, so God will destroy sinners. The title "our God" denotes a covenant relationship—yet though Christians are firmly assured of their interest in the Everlasting Covenant, God requires them to have holy apprehensions of  His majesty and terror; see 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11. 
The twin graces of love and fear—fear and love—should be jointly active in the believer, and it is in preserving a balance between them that his spiritual health largely consists. So it is here. Observe the remarkable conjunction: "our God," in covenant relationship, our Father; and yet "a consuming fire," to be trembled at! The first is to prevent despair from considering God's ineffable purity and inflexible justice; the latter is to check a presumptuous irreverence unto which a one-sided occupation with His grace and love might embolden us.
Thus, the principal exhortation "let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably" is urged by two widely different motives: because we have "received a kingdom" and because God is "a consuming fire." Carnal reason would ask, If we have received a kingdom which cannot be moved—why should we fear? But if God is such "a consuming fire"—how can we ever expect such a kingdom, since we are but as stubble? But the Spirit-taught have no difficulty in perceiving why the Apostle joined together these two things.
The Christian's interest in His favor is no warrant for casting off a solemn fear of God. Though He has laid down His enmity against him, He has not cast off His majesty and sovereignty over him. "Even those who stand highest in the love and favor of God, and have the fullest assurance thereof and of their interest in Him as their God, ought, notwithstanding, to fear Him as a sin-avenging God and a consuming fire" (Ezekiel Hopkins, 1680). Though God has taken His redeemed into intimate nearness to Himself—yet He requires that they always retain a due apprehension of the majesty of His Person, the holiness of His nature, the severity of His justice, and the ardent jealousy of His worship. If we truly dread falling under the guilt of this awful sin of irreverence, our minds will be influenced unto godly fear. The grace of fear is in no way inconsistent with, or an impediment to, a spirit of adoption, holy boldness—or godly rejoicing. See Psalm 2:11 - { 'Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.' -“Serve the Lord with fear;” let reverence and humility be mingled with your service. He is a great God, and ye are but puny creatures; bend ye, therefore, in lowly worship, and let a filial fear mingle with all your obedience to the great Father of the Ages. “Rejoice with trembling.”- There must ever be a holy fear mixed with the Christian's joy. This is a sacred compound, yielding a sweet smell, and we must see to it that we burn no other upon the altar. Fear, without joy, is torment; and joy, without holy fear, would be presumption. Mark the solemn argument for reconciliation and obedience. It is an awful thing to perish in the midst of sin, in the very way of rebellion; and yet how easily could his wrath destroy us suddenly. It needs not that his anger should be heated seven times hotter; let the fuel kindle but a little, and we are consumed. O sinner! Take heed of the terrors of the Lord; for “our God is a consuming fire.” Note the benediction with which the Psalm closes “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith my be slender as a spider's thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles: - “Lord, increase our faith.” - C. H. Spurgeon}, Matthew 28:8, Philippians 2:12. 
"Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably," (Hebrews 12:28), for without it there will be neither "reverence" nor "godly fear." Without Divine aid and unction—we cannot serve God at all, for He accounts not that worship—which is offered by graceless people. Without grace in actual operation, we cannot serve God acceptably, for it is in the exercise of faith and fear, love and awe, that the very life and soul of spiritual worship consists. O how earnestly de we need to seek an increase of Divine "grace" (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9), and keep it operative in all duties of the worship of God: that in view of His fearsome wrath—we may have a dread of displeasing Him; in view of His majesty—our hearts may be humbled; and in view of His love—we may seek to honor, please and adore Him. "The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread" (Isaiah 8:13 and cf. Matthew 10:28)

No comments: