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How to Worship God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2022 7:00 am

How to Worship God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 25, 2022 7:00 am

In order for worship to meet God’s criteria, three musts are needed: We must be born again, the Son of Man must be lifted up and we must worship in spirit and in truth. Worship is not about feelings and emotions, or simply a time when we gather on a Sunday morning. True worship comes about when our spirit-the divine nature within us-meets with the spirit of God.

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In order for worship to meet God's criteria. Three musts are needed.

We must be born again. The Son of Man must be lifted up, and we must worship in spirit and in truth and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Worship is not about feelings and emotions work simply a time when we gather on a Sunday morning true worship comes about when our spirit the divine nature within us meets with the spirit of God, let's join Dr. Boyce as he shows us the true meaning of worship from Psalm 95 and what it means to approach the living God in spirit and in truth it's time for the evangelical church to discover what it really means to worship God.

One of his strong stock play, armor, rector of all souls Church in London writes the true worship is the highest and noblest activity in which man by the grace of God is capable.

I think that's right.

Bought a great deal of what goes on in many of our churches. If not, the vast majority of our churches today is anything but worship and people who really do want to worship God or wondering how you go about it.

I noticed an amazing decline in the traditional forms of worship in the evangelical churches as I travel about and speak in our time everybody when they think of worship should think normally of hearing the word of God, praying and having the word of God talk because it's on the basis of the teaching that we respond appropriately and worship in spirit and in truth I find all of those things are being weeded out of evangelical churches. The grounds that those things don't appeal to people anymore and what we have to do instead is entertain them. I noticed for example that the Scripture readings are beginning to disappear in many churches used to bay back in the Puritan age that they read a chapter of the Old Testament. In the chapter of the New Testament every single service today. We barely read the Scripture that is going to be comment on versus get shorter and shorter if there read it all. Sometimes one or two verses password Scripture reading among us. And as far as the prayers go out prayers are almost disappearing a service usually begins with a prayer.

I don't know quite why it's always a short little thing but then in some churches. The only thing I see in addition to that, in the area of prayer is that prayer before the offering. I do know why we pray for that because it takes a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to get people to part with their money.

But that's all. And great pastoral prayers in which in times past, people would acknowledge the attributes of God and bow low before him and confessed sin and humble ourselves and then begin to thank you for always done in salvation matters. First of all, and then intercede for the needs of other people. All of that is going by the boards of the sermons themselves are getting shorter and shorter supposed to be funding your supposed to stay away from anything theological that would actually cause people to think because of course people don't want to think that if you make them think they don't want to come to church come to church. You don't have big budgets and all that sort of thing, not new.

Of course AW toaster was a pastor in Chicago years ago I went to Toronto after that actually died in Toronto he wrote in the pursuit of God. In 1948 and, on the go. That was thanks to our splendid Bible societies into other effective agencies for the dissemination of the word.

There are today many millions of people who hold right opinions, probably more than ever before in the history of the church and I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower app. Great sections of the church.

The art of worship has been lost entirely and in its place is come that strange and foreign thing called the program.

This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.

1948 today people don't even hold right opinions. I hardly have any biblical opinions of all worship is even more missing now. Psalm 95 tells us worship. In fact, it is more than that it's a call to worship his way begins and then it tells us why we should worship giving us suggestions as to how that might be done along the way, I am finally very significantly, it ends with a warning. So what could happen if you don't how you can fall away and lose your sense of actually belonging to the people of God entirely. Charles Haddon Spurgeon used a little image when he was referring to any says Islam is like the church bells. Sometimes they were not merely as they do for weddings or coronations or something like that but at other times they ring out solemn appeals morning.

In the case of death says this Psalm begins with a joyful ringing of the bells, but it ends on the solemn notes of reminding us of those who perished in the wilderness and did not enter into the promised land in order that we might be worn by their example 1st part of this first seven verses have been used by the church as a call to worship in the first century are called of any tag which means to calm from the very first word of the Psalm, and they have been appropriately used because that's what the Psalm is saying. It begins with his joyful call to worship, let us sing for joy to the Lord.

Let's shout aloud to the rock of our salvation is come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song rather are many ways to worship. Just as there are many different styles of music. But what this opening of the Psalm is saying is that many times, and perhaps most of the time are singing should express joyful worship and I worship should be expressed with great enthusiasm I mentioned before, CS Lewis's study of the Psalms. He has a section in which he comments on that. Probably as a rather reserved Englishman who nevertheless is interacting with what is quite obviously, the exuberant joy of the Hebrew Psalm quite a cultural difference there.

Course and imagine CS Lewis dancing as Jews would in worship and singing out loudly and shouting at all those things, but has an appreciation for it says it's really a remarkable thing these Jews who write these Psalms and sing the Psalms, think that there is any merit coming to them because they sing joyfully special grace in their case that's just the way they respond to the wonder of their God is opposing side. Many of us would have a want to learn their if we really would think about who God is more or less burden ourselves for the kind of cultural shackles that keep us from expressing the joy of our salvation. Psalm 95 suggests some of the forms of worship we can enjoy one of them is singing mentions it right off singing expresses human thought emotionally it's not to say that that's the only way would worship something to worship with tears of truth breaks through to your heart. Sometimes recognition of sin which you are rightly remorseful of other times steers simply in wonder at the great grace of our God, but all that aside, singing really is an important way the Christians express their worship of God. I have sometimes said that humanity is really the only religion in the world which singing occupies this place. Some religions of the world you have chanting sort of religious exercise its intended to put you into a certain mood to make you susceptible to certain things but that's not the same thing Christians sing because that's an emotional and proper way of responding to who God is no God is great and so we sing great desire God versus also mentioned shouting.

Most of us have trouble with that but she belonged to the Salvation Army or certain charismatic groups.

Probably there are some cultural differences here.

I sometimes say when I'm preaching the light congregation and I'm beginning to get through gets quieter and quieter when I'm preaching to a black congregation. I get through gets louder and louder. It's a cultural difference that doesn't make any difference at all, let me talk about shouting well in all. Maybe most of us are going to shout a whole lot when her to hear an amen once in a while. Thank you sir.

We recognize all kinds of cultural differences here can start but it does mention shouting, doesn't it come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let's shout aloud. The rock of our salvation. And how about music all kinds of music from of the Psalms mention these kinds of music explicitly instruments the last Psalm in the solar Psalm 150 list trumpets, harps, liars, tambourine strings, flutes and symbols are supposedly ancient side guitars, electronic keyboards and organs would mention that to the way of saying that in our worship of God. It's appropriate to use whatever musical means are available.

I think it's true, we have a whole orchestra that it's appropriate to use a whole orchestra, for the whole orchestra all the time but that would be an appropriate thing to do. So we got singing and we got shouting and we got music, instrumental music, as well as the singing. How about words. Let's not forget, words, words aren't mention explicitly in this first stanza because of course the first stanza is itself words the words operated worship in two ways. First word of God which we hear and we hear it, understand it, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we on our part lift up our words and send them back to God acknowledging what he has told us you have both of those here in the song.

The last phrase in verse seven speaks of hearing God's voice that has to do with the revelation of the right response to that is obedience. It's what follows in the first stanza speaks of Thanksgiving in one way we do that is by vocalizing so Thanksgiving is one way we worship God, let me say to that while were talking about words. One proper use of our words is to tell others about our God and what is Don that's a kind of worship. Every thought of witnessing is a kind of worship way of acknowledging the character of our God, before others and calling those who don't yet know him to come to know when to find them in Jesus Christ. William Carey, the great pioneer missionary to India got there in 1792 and when he arrived, he found that his predecessor in a place called trunk of our man's name was Christian Schwartz had inscribed the first words of Psalm 95 above the door of the little chapel he had built. Oh, let us worship and fall down and kneel before the Lord our maker.

It was an appropriate invitation.

The loans Schwartz was trying to win to Jesus Christ. Now we seen a few of the ways in which we can worship God. Next question we want to ask appropriate one is why we should do it. Why should we worship God. All the Psalm gives two important reasons.

First of all, versus 3 to 5 because God is such a great God you control appreciation to all sorts of people you can praise those people who are particularly worthy of praise worship. Worship belongs to God only, and we can't really worship them until we have a proper understanding of who we is Don stockroom I quoted earlier says in one place. Not until we grasp of the Lord is are we inwardly moved worship him. Not only we have to know who is in order to be moved to do it after know who he is to do it properly so that's what these verses are talking about and they say the first reason why we should worship God is because he is the creator of all things and that means that he has created us. This is the starting place significant. Of course, that this is what the apostle Paul mentions in the first chapter of Romans where is talking about the wrath of God being displayed against the ungodliness of men and women saying the problem is that although God has revealed himself as the creator and indeed the all-powerful creator in nature. Men and women won't do that they will not fall down before him and worship him, but they ought to say they're guilty for having failed to do it. Talk to people about the gospel one point at which we pick and begin is with that God the creator what's owed to him as creator worship is that we should worship him. First of all because he's made all things. But secondly, we should worship him because he's our own dear shepherd, if we really artist people say that's what it talks about in verse seven is our God, not just the great God of verse three King above all gods made the earth and the heavens are 70 is our God and we are the people of his pastor of the flock under his care. I suppose there's hardly a Christian I believe that without thinking of the words of Jesus Christ to apply that to himself. He said I'm the good Shepherd. Then he went on in that great chapter of John's Gospel, John tend to explain some of the things that he does is a great Shepherd.

Greatest of all is that he the great Shepherd gives his life for the sheep dies of our planes that we might be saved.

Also, as the great Shepherd calls his own by name, so they come to him as he does today through the preaching of the gospel.

We hear the voice of Jesus Christ and the preaching of the gospel and when people respond they respond back to the preacher but to him then as the great Shepherd he cares for us. He protects us he leads us and keeps us from harm and eventually brings us home to his father's house forever. There's a new idea in the stanza that is verses six and seven referred stanza. According to the organization of it by the new international version of this new idea is reference call attention to that. Because it's important to remember references a way of balancing off the kind of exuberance we were talking about at the beginning.

Many of us fail in that area were hardly joyful at all in the console and says you'll come and be joyful in your praise to God. But don't just make noise say boys itself is of worship.

And so it begins introduces idea reference here. There are three Hebrew verbs here and each one of them involves the thought of humbling ourselves before God.

Bowing and kneeling. Obviously as body language and expresses the humbling of the heart, but also the word worship itself. Often when we talk about worship we play upon the meaning of the English word, which is to ascribe worth to God, which is entirely true. And it's also an idea present in the Hebrew Psalm 96, eight invites us to ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name that's worship the Hebrew word for worship itself literally means to prostrate oneself. So I witnessed one verse of the song three times over. That's what were encouraged to do these verbs actually follow one another in direct sequence in the Hebrew so the text literally reads, let us prostrate ourselves.

Let us bow down. Let us kneel see how that works together with the opening. The opening begins with come as well and says come let's sing and shout and make music here it says, to prostrate ourselves humble ourselves and bow down to or not opposed go together. See and reverence is an important part of what we do now suddenly in the midst of this exuberant call to worship.

We find a warning to begin the last phrase in verse seven goes through the end of the solvent, such as sudden change in tone that some commentators liberal commentators often think this way. Just suppose that's a separate Psalm entirely and somehow erroneously got packed on. We've dealt with that kind of problem and thinking before I pointed out all that it really shows is that the ancient Hebrews wrote these things and compose them didn't think like liberal scholars, and I'll leave it to you to decide which had the better way of thinking. At any rate, we have these ideas together and often it is extremely effective because you see here at the end of a song which calls upon us to worship God separately were brought up short in the Psalmist says look here's a warning. Make sure you really do worship your heart your soul your mind and not merely externally with words. Jesus said the same thing about one point, he quoted from Psalm 2913 and he said of the people of his day. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in the name I want to. These verses teach us well. One thing they teaches us worship begins with listening rather than speaking see how verse seven works. It says today.

Here is voice some other way of saying that worship has to be based on the preaching of the word of God. Worship is a response to what we hear God say we ask where do we hear God say anything and the answer is in the Scriptures is where God speaks so in a worship service. You always have to have the exposition of the Scriptures because that is the thing to which we respond the actual order is this. First, we must hear God's word.

Secondly, we must obey God's word which means here it with our hearts and then thirdly, we praise God joyfully for what we have heard now obedience is the starting point, of course, that's what these last verses are talking about. They go back to an incident from Israel's history that would have been known to everybody in the ancient world assigned this him when the Jewish people had come out of Egypt and were led into the wilderness, they came to a place called Rafferty where there was no water was a serious matter.

Large company of people that would be serious or even an individual, but here they had more than a million people and all their flocks and herds of those no water. And so they began to complain about it. They complained to Moses is about a stone Moses would not help provide the water. Of course, but would have given vent to their frustration and Moses went to God and ask God what he should do and God told him that he should take the same staff that he had used strike that will, in turn, that mile in the blood and use it to strike a great rock that was called a rocker for Abbott when he did that a stream of water burst forth, which was sufficient to provide water for this vast host of people that must've been a great great river came forth out of that rock now and name was given to the place actually a double name was called Massa because massive means testing of the people had tested God by their unbelief.

And secondly, it was called America by which means correlating because they quarreled with Moses about the lack of water.

Years later a similar thing happened the K that's where Moses got into trouble because the medication God told him to speak to the rock company didn't he hit it with a stick.

He was angry and he got into trouble and was unable to enter the promised land. As a result the same names were carried over to the second place as well. He said all over the campus so they called America and that Massa those two words occur together. Also in the 33rd chapter of Deuteronomy the very end of Moses is giving a challenge to the people. Now this is what God brings forward in this Psalm is an illustration of the disobedience of the people, and he points out that it was as a result of this attitude that characterize the entire years of wondering that they were unable generation to enter the promised land in the unfolding of the story and impose first books of the Bible. The critical point was when they refuse the testimony of Joshua and Caleb after they had investigated the land that it was possible to go in and take the other spies said well dollar are great giants here and you can't take it because of the giants and they believe the 10 rather than the two I was the critical point, but the attitude was his attitude that had been seen way back at the beginning and so that's what the song refers to here and this is the warning if you want to worship God. Make sure you do not harden your heart against God's word or quarrel with him or test him as the ancients did other words, do exactly what I said a moment ago hear the word of God.

Obey the word of God.

Thirdly, praise God. I was one more thing before we closely looked at that song but I want to point out that it occurs again. The last portion in the New Testament occurs in the book of Hebrews.

Beginning in the third chapter of verse seven and it occupies the rest of that chapter and the fourth chapter verse 13.

These two chapters of Hebrews quotes on 95 no less than four times beginning with an extensive citation of this last answer and is Psalm 95, beginning with verse seven through 11 find it in the third chapter of Hebrews other words, Psalm 95, seven through 11 is introduced in Hebrews is a passage to be expounded at some of the way I write my sermons when they appear. Finally, in book form. I put the text at the beginning of the sermon and then the sermon follows. That's exactly what you have in Hebrews now Hebrews makes several very important points based upon the song here. They are number one.

It applies these verses to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. When their Old Testament context. I don't refer to that they had to do with entering the promised land under normal circumstances, we wouldn't have any warrant for taking those verses and somehow applying them to Jesus and salvation, and believing on him and all that we might want to do it by way of an illustration, we want to say it's like this make an analogy, but here the book of Hebrews. The author says that's really what they're about way proves that is this.

He says the Psalms on 95 was written. Years later when the events that are being described in the people disobeyed and dinner enter the land. This is after they already gotten into the land yet here the psalmist is putting forward the words again as a warning size and obviously the meaning of the text goes beyond what you had there in the original setting is as real meaning has to do Jesus Christ. Hebrews 48 through 10.

The remains than a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God's rest also rest from his own work very Kintner comments on that and said that the handling of this in Hebrews keeps us from confining the Psalms thrust Israel but the day at which it speaks is this moment you is none other than ourselves and the promise rest is not Cana but salvation.

That's the way Hebrews handles it.

Second point this morning is given here but used again in Hebrews is for those who have heard the gospel and who seemed to have responded to it. All book of Hebrews is like that threatened to do so would heard the gospel and begin the sort of embraced elements of Christianity, but had not quite or were unwilling or perhaps we were uncertain whether they actually gone on to the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ.

So it's warning them pull back, but don't want to launder that fullness of faith in him. Hebrews 312 and 13 see to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. Like these people dead in the wilderness, but encourage one another daily, as long as it's called the day so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness sale personal that gets when you come to the end is talking about us going about the world out there doesn't have any knowledge of God doesn't care about is talking about people who sit in the pews of the church and who go through the motions and think that worshiping God it just be sure you really are said he is a lot I know whether I am or not, the answer is whether you hear the word of God and obey it can come to church just sing a hymn can't come to church just recited create gunk on the church and sorta give a nodding acquaintance to what you hear the preacher say come to church. You are here to hear the voice of God in Scripture and obey it and respond in praise to what you come to understand the author says people like that song gives warning, as it reminds us of Jesus story about that 10 women, five of whom were wise, and five were foolish. They were all invited to the banquet. They all responded that all confess the master is Lord and they were all waiting for his return, but five are lost only half of them were saved. So it's a way of saying that your calling and election sure sure that you really are Christian sure that you really are worshiping God that you really do know him because issues of the issues of life and death. Third point last one is important to believe in Jesus Christ. Now while it is today.

That's the word Islam uses the Psalms as today if you hear his voice in Hebrews quotes.

This repeats today.

No less than five times.

Once each in Hebrews 3, seven, 13 and 15 and twice in chapter 4 verse seven point is that today is today is the day of the gospel invitation when Jesus Christ is proclaimed as Savior. You and I have an opportunity to turn from sin and come to faith in him. This day is not going to last forever, so this is the time to turn from sin, Jesus Christ done you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. See the one who was rescued you from your sin. If you haven't done that a Gavin come to him psalmist saying Hebrews assignment. Don't put it off. Others have put it off perished challenges to commit yourself to Jesus Christ today.

Father, we thank you for Psalm and the privilege that we have had to study it here in this hour, we thank you for all. It tells us about worship and also the way it impresses upon us need to do that, rightly, also to do it genuinely so that by our worship, we actually are responding to your word and showing our faith in Jesus Christ.

We pray that you would work in the hearts of each one here teaching us what we need to know and above all in the lives of those who perhaps the been going through the motions of religion but whom it is not yet real. By your grace, bring them to a genuine faith right now, today, the still of opportunity we pray in Jesus name, amen.

Thank you for listening to this message of the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888.

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