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True Worship, Part 5

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2022 4:00 am

True Worship, Part 5

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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May 18, 2022 4:00 am

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It can be also by think by the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew four, verse 10 where he says thou shalt worship the Lord thy God in whom shalt thou serve Jesus Christ as man worship to find out what you really worship then you need to think about. Well what you think about where does your mind wander to when you have a free moment when the paycheck comes how do you dream of spending it. What sort of things drive you what are you passionate about John MacArthur's going to help you examine your priorities and show you how to make God your ultimate priority as John continues his current study, titled true worship and I'll join John for today's lesson. As I tried to point out to you and to others.

Recently, as I've traveled around I really believe that in the church of Jesus Christ today. There is a very lack of centrality given to the matter of worship. The church does not focus itself on worship as such and so many many cases and toes are of a past generation, said worship is the missing Joule in the evangelical church and if that was true in his time.

It is equally or even more true in our time, and so we are calling our church and calling the people of God to a proper commitment to worship in so doing we chosen this is a basic text. But if you remember where we began our study we went all through the Scripture to try to point out how very commonly worship is spoken of in God's word, it can be all summed up by think by the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew four, verse 10 where he says thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve Jesus Christ calls for man to worship we saw in Romans chapter 1 that the basic definition of a nonbeliever of a pagan of an unregenerate person of a godless person is. He is one who refuses to worship God. We also saw in Philippians 33 that the basic definition of a Christian is one who worships God so worship is the issue we live in a world of people who will not worship God and we who know Jesus Christ are the true worshipers. It says in verse 23. It is such that the father seeks so that worship in reality is the goal of redemption. Worship is not some kind of a sidelight. It is the very purpose of God's redemptive act in Christ, God was bringing man from being nine worshipers to being true worship and then we who are redeemed are the true worshipers.

How true should be our worship.

And yet we have missed so much of the meaning of real worship and that's why we been sharing these days on the subject. Now the first point that we want to look at in the text is the importance of worship. The importance of worship and we saw that from verse 23. The father seeks true worship that makes it important that makes it the most important thing in human existence to worship God is commanded of us. We saw that it is the theme of redemptive history from eternity to eternity. The destiny of every human being is related to worship Scripture is loaded with references to worship and we are convinced of its absolute important. In fact, if you read the 66th chapter of Isaiah. In the 23rd verse that closes out that great prophecy you will find that everything resolves itself in a worshiping community. It says they're in the new heaven and the new earth.

All will worship God, and that's where history is going. It started that way when God created man to worship him and fell in the recovery process is on to gain a remnant out of human society who will for all eternity with the holy angels worship God.

We read in the 10th chapter of Hebrews. Of course, that the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us and so redeeming us has opened up a way of access whereby we may enter into the presence of God worship you. We are to come boldly and worship who is it that we worship.

Worship you see itself is not enough. As important as it is, it is not enough to just worship the object of worship must be very clearly understood. There are people across the world have been through all of human history who worship they do not, however, worship the right object. As we look at these verses we were very clearly instructed that there's only one object of worship. Repeatedly it says worship the father worship the father worship the father worship him and then it says in verse 24 God is a spirit, the one we are to worship then is defined to us and to terms, spirit and father spirit speaks of his essential nature.

He is a spirit as to his essential nature. Father speaks of his essential relationship. The shorter catechism. Some of you remember if you had catechism when you were young, says God is a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being in the Bible teaches us that God is a spirit, God is not a person in the sense of being a person like we are confined to a place or confined to a form God is without a form as we know it.

A corporeal human physical limiting form God is an eternal nine present spirit is not confined to any place or any time so that all the gods of the nations in which they represent deity as a rock or a carved image or something out of silver or gold or a tree or a river or a mountain or a star or the money or the sun is not God because God is not limited or confined to any of his created element.

God is spirit, and beloved that is the basis of all understanding of worship. What it tells us is that if God is a spirit and is everywhere at all times, then we must worship him at every place and every time understand.

We cannot allow ourselves to perceive of God as a being who dwells in a building, to whom we come for worship on Sunday and Sunday will. God is a spirit being. He is not to be confined or conform to any imagery. In fact, that was the commitment was always no graven image, no likeness of God is to be perceived as spirit now you say will John what about the the Temple and what about the holy of holies where the Shekinah glory dwelt between the wings of the cherubim, isn't that saying that God lived in the temple and God lived in the tabernacle, wasn't it called the house of God. Well, in a very unique sense God's presence was there.

That is true, but not in a limiting sense. He was everywhere as well as he was there, but he was there uniquely and I'll show you why the temple and the tabernacle in the holy place in the holy of holies and all of those things are symbols. The whole ceremonial system is symbolic.

It was a symbol to speak of a greater reality. It was there in order that men might perceive the God in the symbol, not as the ending, but the beginning of their perception.

For example, we come to the Lord's table and we say the Lord is present with his people at his table, and we say that as we partake of the cup. It is the blood of Christ with which we commune.

As we partake of the bread.

It is the flesh of Christ with which we commune and there's a real sense in which those symbols are elements which draw us to worship what their purpose is not to be the beginning and the ending of worship, but to be the stimulation of a life of worship, so that we see beyond the symbol to the reality of the living God. Perhaps we can illustrate this clearly from acts chapter 7 Stephen is preaching a great sermon here in which he recites much of the history of the people of God, and he comes in verse 46 to a discussion of the house that was built for God and he says in verse 47, Solomon built got a house that affected Solomon built got a great temple did not mean that God was therefore confined to that temple.

As you and I might be confined to a house because verse 48 set just because there was a temple and is marvelous and wonderful as it was the most high dwelling not in temples made with hands, in fact, in verse 49 the prophet says heaven is his throne, and earth is his footstool and house could you bill to contain that kind of God where you put a place for that kind of got to sit down and rest is too vast to infinite to be contained in any house.

In fact he made everything and he fills everything that only an ignorant Jew would've perceived that God was limited to the temple and understanding Jew knew that that was only a symbol in the midst of the people as a reminder of the eternal presence of the eternal arm I present God. In fact they knew from the very beginning, didn't they, in Deuteronomy 6 when they were told that most basic truth of all their religion, the Lord our God is one God and then God said to them you say that and you speak about that when you sit down, stand up, lie down and walk in the way. In other words, no matter where you are what you do you be cognizant and aware of the internal living one holy God.

The temple was only a reminder, the sacrificial system. The ceremonial system was only a provider of the conscience to cause them to turn their heart toward the living and the true God, so that from that symbol there might come a reality of life commitment in worshiping God was never intended to be the end but only the means in the 17th chapter of acts as Paul speaks to the philosophers and Athens. In verse 24. He says God who made the world and all things in it. Seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth dwell in temples made with hands, neither is worshiped with men's hands. In other words, you can't confined them. You can't limit him. He is spirit, the God who extends through all time and all space and all of infinity and all of eternity and, therefore, is to be worshiped at all times and all places by all people. Syrians called the God of Israel, the God of the hills and it reflected their own idolatrous perspective because their gods were the gods of the valleys they had built groves for their gods in the valleys and they felt their gods were confined to those groves and so their gods were the gods of the valleys and the gods of Israel were the gods are the God of the hill, but that reflects a pagan perspective, and it may have been that even the Samaritans were a little confused about that because they had isolated their worshiped amount of purism, thinking that maybe that's where God was.

But God is a spirit and he always wanted to be worshiped in the fullness of his spiritual presence in Jeremiah chapter 7 is Jeremiah speaks to that sinful people the Lord gives him a message and it's in chapter 7 verse 21. Thus, that the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, put your burnt offerings under your sacrifices and eat flesh for I spoke not unto your fathers nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. In other words, is put that away. That wasn't what I was after that was only a symbol of the reality. This is what I command and obey my voice and I'll be your God and you shall be my people walking all the ways I've commanded you, that it may be well with you. God says it wasn't that in and of itself that was only a symbol to make you remember my presence visible reminder but in the new covenant in the maturing of the new covenant even that is set aside and we find in John four verse 21 the Lord Jesus saying something very important pieces woman. Believe me, the hour is coming when you shall neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. Worship the father in the new covenant was the end of the ceremonial symbols. It was the end of the temple symbol. It was the end of that physical identification and the new temple became the believer, in whom the living spirit of God well and that spirit of God became the provider of true worship no longer an outward symbol but an inward reality, and we have the new covenant possessing the Spirit of God and being together.

The living temple, and when, which dwells the spirit of God, find internally the prompting to true worship that they found externally as they camped about the tabernacle.

So God is to be worshiped as it living spirit anywhere and everywhere at all times and all places by all people. And so when we say that the basic feature of Christian living is a worshiping life. That's exactly what we mean worship is the bottom line we are those who worship God, says Paul, and rejoice in Christ and have no confidence in the flesh. We are the true worship. Now if we are worship God is spirit, and I will dwell on this just in one other aspect we are worship God is spirit, then we must define his nature to begin with we so I worship God, and I think God is well at CI.

I think he sort of a nice guy up there and he just is like this without somebody else might say will know I think he's a I think he sort of the a benign philosopher someone else might say will know I think he's a this sort of gotten you could all invent whatever form you wanted. So it's important for us to worship the God who is spirit in terms of how he is revealed in Scripture. And I think we can sum it up in one word in one word and I think that is the word which most sums up the nature of God. He is holy. He is holy and God, to be worship must be worshiped as holy. That is his unique otherness that is it. That is his own likeness to the human creature. He is holy, flawless, without error without sin, without mistake fully righteous, utterly holy and beloved, let me just suggest you that that's the basic comprehension necessary for true worship God is holy and there's a lot of I think well meaning effort today and a lot of suppose worship going on, which does not really regard God is holy and thus fall short. A lot of nice songs being sung in nice feelings being felt in nice thoughts being thought and and nice emotions being expressed but not in terms of God as holy and so it may be little more than an emotional exercise that makes you feel good.

God must be regarded as holy. Now that can best.

I think be summed up in the words of Psalm 96, one of the great Psalms that calls us to worship and it is in many ways a very parallel the first Chronicles chapter 16, but it says that we are to sing out of the Lord.

We are to bless his name. We are to show forth the salvation we are to declare his glory among the nations as wonders among the people. He is great greatly to be praised. He is to be feared. Above all, God's honor and majesty are before them strength and beauty are his sanctuary and then verse seven. Given the Lord glory and strength, giving glory, bring an offering, come into his courts. It's all worship when you come to this very key statement in verse nine and here we qualify the attitude or perspective of worship or worship the Lord in the beauty of what holiness and that is tacked on fear before him. You can never perceive holiness apart from fear, because if you perceive God is utterly holy. The consequences you will see yourself as utterly unholy and there will be a sense of fear because a holy God has a right to a holy reaction against an unholy creation so that the true spirit of worship is an overwhelming sense of fun holiness in the presence of a holy God. Now I want to reinforce this in your thinking by taking you back through some familiar ground, but I cannot teach this series and leave this out. So look at Isaiah chapter 6 the concept of worshiping God with holiness and fear is what we are after. It's not just Old Testament Hebrews 1228 says worship God acceptably with reverence and godly fear for our God is a consuming fire.

So it's New Testament as well.

But in Isaiah 6. Isaiah goes to worship the Lord and he goes into the temple. King Uzziah has died after a 52 years on the throne.

It's about 740 BC just a few years before the northern kingdoms going into captivity as a judgment for their sin.

He sees the demise of his people. He senses the problem in his nation and he rushes into the presence of God to worship and he has a vision of God in verse one in which God is majestically lifted up surrounded by seraphim who are the guardians of the holiness of God to have their wings are used for service and four of them are used for worship, giving us an insight into the priority of worship. Even they worship God. They cried back and forth. And this is what they say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory and there we find again that most magnificent definition of God's otherness God's uniqueness is holy. He is holy, and as Isaiah is worshiping God. He perceives holiness and that is the right perspective that God has a holiness that causes them to react against sin and what is Isaiah's response, verse five, then said I woo is me. I am disintegrating. I am falling apart. I am going to pieces, and the word will mean skirts curse me. He is overwhelmed with the sinful diseases of a man with a dirty mouth and I dwell in the midst of a people with dirty mouths. All he can see is his sin and he has the best mouth of all of them but he cannot see any goodness in himself in comparison with God.

And the reason it's a start is the end of verse five because he has seen the king the Lord of hosts that you may not have a vision like this, nor may I but nonetheless the lesson is true that when we enter into the presence of God.

If we truly see God. We see him as holy, holy, holy, and so we are then faced with a sense of our offer on holiness. If you have never worship God with a broken and a contrite spirit, then you really never worship God because that is the right response to entering the presence of a holy God. Holiness inspires fear. He was afraid why was he afraid because he knew that a holy God had every right to react against an unholy center. He knew that God had every right to judge God every right to try to take his life on the spot and I guess my heart is concerned that there's a lot of flippancy in entering into the presence of God in our society today that God has become so casual in our thinking God is become so so human, so buddy buddy that we don't understand the whole perspective of God's offer holiness that he is a consuming fire that he has a holy indignant's against sin and if we flippantly rush into his presence with lives unattended to buy repentance and confession and cleansing by the spirit, then we are vulnerable to that holy reaction. It is only by his grace we breathe another breath is not for he has every reason to take our life. For the wages of sin is death, and so Isaiah has the only reaction that a true worshiper could ever have in true worship. And that is humble, broken contrition, he sees himself as a sinner and in the midst of his repentance the midst of his confession. The angel comes with the coal purges him and God says you're the one I'll send in my place and there is a marvelous communion. There is a marvelous camaraderie. There is a marvelous union twin God and the true worshiper through confession of sin of the purging of his lips and so that's really the spirit of true worship. You see the holiness of God are overwhelmed with your own on holiness and true worship.

That's John MacArthur's focus and it's the title of his study here on grace to you. John is a pastor, author and East Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and he's the teacher.

Every day on this broadcast well Jon, I know that when people hear the title of our series true worship their thoughts naturally turned to music because in most of our minds. There's a strong connection between music and worship, especially in church and so with that, I'd like to get your thoughts on a question that came in from our Q&A line soon comes from a listener named Matthew and will play his question the John you respond I am calling from Waukesha and I was wondering what that music in church today and it really worshiping God. I know that our heart towards God and that's the knowledge of the word worship so why music in the church today well since a good question. Matthew, you might even ask the question why is there the kind of music there is in the church today because not all music is designed to really express worship much of it is just an emotional bath.

Why is there music because when you go back into the Old Testament God designed music God even plan for Israel to have the instruments and to play musical instruments you have at all for the Psalms. You have even notes indicating certain instruments to be played was acquired in Israel. There was that there was a musician in Israel who led the choir. There were other musicians in the worship of Israel and why is this and I think the reason for this and the reason you have the book of Psalms is because singing your theology helps you to learn it and remember it helps you as well to express it.

You may not have thought deeply about certain doctrine or certain theology, but you could sing a great hymn that articulates theology accurately and you would be literally teaching your own heart and soul.

The truth of that doctrine in the refined poetry and the beauty of the accompanying music as you sing in my judgment music does two things. One, it allows the believer to worship in spirit that is that the lift you just into the dimension of music which puts the expression into a form of beauty that God has clearly designed as an elevation of human conversation. The beauty of music.

But secondly, music and worship also gives you the opportunity not only to worship in spirit.

But in truth, if the music is faithful to the word of God. If it is biblical. So when you're talking about music. The music should be. First of all, an expression, an explosion of affection and beauty that allows you to express your love to the Lord and then in terms of those words which declare accurately who he is and what he is done and all that he has revealed in his word, so it takes again as I said, it takes the truth and elevates it to a level of human communication that adds to it. Beauty and even memory because when we sing great hymn as they become memorized. I know there's rarely a moment in my life. If I'm not in a conversation that I don't have a him running through my head so this is a common grace for the whole world to have music and it's enriched far beyond that in the church because becomes a vehicle for us to lift up our praise to the Lord and also to discern and define and memorize sound doctrine.

Thanks, John and our friend. If you have a question about particular Bible passage or a doctrinal issue or trends in the church pick up a copy of the MacArthur study Bible.

It has 25,000 footnotes that can help you know God's word like never before. And right now it's available 25% off the normal price so order your copy today. Call 855 grace or go to GT Y.org besides the 25,000 footnotes. The MacArthur study Bible comes with dozens of maps and charts and detailed introductions to all 66 books of Scripture to order your MacArthur study Bible. Contact us today and remember the prices for nearly everything we sell have been cut 25% for a limited time and shipping is still free to shop right now. Go to GT Y.org or you can place your order by phone weekdays between 730 and 4 o'clock Pacific time. The number 855 grace will friend today is the kickoff for our teaching conference call truth matters, and although the event is completely sold out.

You can participate from wherever you are via live stream. We hope you'll do just that.

Find all the details@gty.org truth matters runs today, tomorrow and Friday so watches many of the teaching sessions in Q&A sessions.

As you can go to GT Y.org for the links, and L4.

John MacArthur and the staff.

I'm Phil Johnson be here tomorrow when John looks at how understanding God's holiness should affect your worship.

It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you


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