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1363. How to Worship God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2022 7:00 pm

1363. How to Worship God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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October 19, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a chapel series entitled “Encountering God,” with a message from Psalm 15.

The post 1363. How to Worship God appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled Encountering God, which is a study of select chapters in the book of Psalms. This morning I'd like us to look at Psalm chapter 15, and our theme this morning is actually from the entire Psalm, and that is how is it that we are to worship God? The greatest commandment is to love God. The greatest commandment is to worship Him alone. So of all things that should be a priority in our life, it is the way in which we worship God. And I think it's important to understand that God has actually created us as beings to be worshipers. Even in a fallen state, we still worship because the whole idea of worship is that it is something that you devote yourself to, something that you are passionate about, something that you live out your dreams for, something that you invest your energies in. That's the whole idea of worship. So when you put it in that context, we're all going to worship something, or we're going to worship someone. In the Hebrew language, the word for worship means to bow down, and it's the idea of surrender.

When you yield yourself, what do you surrender to, you surrender to your heart, you surrender your mind, you give up your will to God. And we are to love God with our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength, everything is to be surrendered to Him. So worship is woven into the very fabric, into the very core of our humanity. And I'm not speaking about necessarily bowing down to a singular idol, but just the nature of who we are as human beings. You take away worship, and life really has no meaning.

We know that. We all know that we're happy when we're engaged, and there's energy, and we're devoted, and we have a mission and a purpose, and we also know that when we are bored, or when we have no direction, we're miserable and unhappy people. And so we are created for worship. And if we refuse to worship God, then we will resort to worshiping something else. When we don't worship God, who is the source of all reality, then we will exchange that worship for some other reality, some other purpose, some other meaning. So in the scripture, we are called and commanded to worship God. So how then do we worship God? That's the question. And that's what Psalm 15 is all about.

So let's look at it this morning. It's only five simple verses, but let's read through it. Notice he says it's a Psalm of David, and he begins by asking the question, Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

And then he gives the answer. He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness and speak of the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contempt, but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that swearth to his own hurt and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, usury means interest, nor taketh reward against the innocent.

He that doeth these things shall never be moved. Now it's very clear that this Psalm is authored by King David. The occasion of the Psalm is unknown. However, Charles Spurgeon suggests that this Psalm was written after the Ark, that is the Ark of the Covenant, was brought to Jerusalem under David's direction. Now you may know the story and why this is very important about the movement of the Ark because when David attempted to move the Ark to Jerusalem, he failed in one key area. And that is the law directed, the Word of God says, that when the Ark was to be moved, it was to be carried by the Levitical priests. But David made literally a fatal mistake because he put the Ark on a new cart that was pulled by oxen. And when the cart came as it was moving to Jerusalem, came to a place called the threshing floor of Nachshon, the oxen stumbled and the Ark began to tip over.

And do you remember what happened? There was a man who reached out his hand to touch the Ark and keep it from falling. His name was Uzzah. And when he reached out his hand to steady the Ark, God killed him on the spot. How would you think about that?

How many would say, that's kind of harsh? Or maybe you would say, man, that really bothers me. Well, if you think it bothered you, it really bothered David. So much so that David was so shocked and disappointed by what happened, he actually stopped the movement of the Ark. And it took David time to understand that he was actually in error because he was not carrying the Ark the right way. And when David made his second attempt to move the Ark to Jerusalem, he followed the manner prescribed by God and he had the Levitical priests carry the Ark to Jerusalem.

And this is an issue of huge importance. And that is, man does not have the right to worship and approach God on his terms. In other words, we don't come up with our own creative designs and our own creative devices. We don't create our own carts, but we are to do it God's way. Or if I could say it this way, there's no such thing as alternative worship. That God has clearly regulated in his word how it is that true worship takes place. Therefore we should take careful heed to regulate our worship according to the prescriptions that are found in the Bible. We are to worship God according to the way he has revealed it in his word. And this is what Psalm 15 is saying how we worship.

So David starts the Psalm off with an attention-grabbing question. Notice what he says, Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? So he's asking a couple of important questions. The first question has to do, where is the Lord to be worshiped?

What is the location? Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? Then there's a second question, and that's the question of who. Who is the one who can worship the God? That's referring to the individual.

So the first has to do with location, the second has to do with individuals. That's what we're going to look at this morning. The first thing we're going to talk about is where is the Lord to be worshiped? Well what does he say? He says, Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? These two questions actually speak of the two places of worship where the Old Testament Jewish people went to worship God. The first is in what we call the tabernacle, or it was the tent of meeting. The second is not mentioned in the second question, but it's referred to, and that is who shall dwell in thy holy hill? And that is that eventually the tabernacle was set aside and God was worshiped in a temple that was built on Mount Moriah, which is in the city of Jerusalem where the Dome of the Rock is located today, and that was where God was worshiped on that holy hill. Now whether it was the tabernacle or the temple, both places of worship, they worshiped God the exact same way. And that worship had been given to Moses in a detailed plan on Mount Sinai, and it was there that God taught Moses how he was to be worshiped, and by the way, the plan that God gave for the worship on earth was a reflection of the way worship takes place in heaven.

And what was that plan? Well, there were special priests. There were priests who came from the tribe of the Levites. They had specific requirements and restrictions regarding their lifestyle, regarding their dress. There were different types of sacrifices that were to be offered unto God, and there were specific ways and requirements of how those sacrifices worked. The tabernacle had to have a particular size to it. It was very clearly laid out, prescribed by God.

There were specific materials that they were supposed to use. The tabernacle had two rooms in it. One room was called the holy place, the other were the holy of holies. The priest ministered in the holy place, and so there was a lampstand, and there was a table where 12 loaves of bread were located, and there was an altar of incense before a big veil, and behind the veil was the second room called the holy of holies, and that is where the presence of God dwelt among his people. And it was through this place of worship that the Jewish people learned how God is to be worshiped. And later on, the tabernacle was replaced, as I mentioned, with a permanent structure called the temple, but essentially the way of worship was exactly the same in both locations. However, I think it's very important to be clear to us that God never intended that the temple and the tabernacle were permanent places of worship. They were simply prescribed for the Jewish people to learn, but it was never to be permanent.

Why? Well, first of all, because priests would die. Secondly, because animal sacrifices could never cleanse from sin completely. There was no access to God.

It was limited to one person once a year who could go into God's presence. So God had fully planned that the Old Testament form of worship, which was to be a lesson to learn, was actually going to become obsolete, and it would be replaced with the New Testament form of worship. And what is the New Testament form of worship? It is simply this, it is the worship of a person. It is the worship of Jesus Christ. That's New Testament worship. Jesus replaced the priesthood by becoming the permanent high priest.

Jesus replaced the sacrifices by becoming the ultimate and final sacrifice for sins. Jesus opened the way into God's presence by becoming the way to God's presence. So we read in Hebrews 10, 19, having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way.

What is the way to the Father? In the Old Testament, it was through the temple and through the tabernacle. In the New Testament, it is through the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the temple in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is through the way that he has made for us through his own flesh that is his death and his resurrection. So today, we have a complete form of worship through Jesus. Jesus is the place of worship. We worship him, and that's why we read in Ephesians 2, but now in Christ Jesus, you are sometimes far off, those of us who are Gentiles, are now made nigh.

We are brought close to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ. So today, we worship Christ. And where do we worship? We worship within his body, the church. We worship by his spirit, and we worship through his word. And so at the very heart of the people of God today should be the desire to worship the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ. That is the way in which that's the place of worship today. And that's what Jesus said. It is important that I go to the Father because he's going to send the Spirit so that the work of the Spirit and the life of believers can spread throughout all the world so that Jesus can be worshiped, not in a central location like a temple or a tabernacle, but he can be worshiped in the body of his believers all throughout this world. That's New Testament worship.

That leads me to the second question. And that is, then who can worship God? For he asked the question in verse 1, Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? And I think the nature of these questions reflects a recognition that access to worship is restricted. And that is, there are qualifying conditions to those who worship God.

So what is that qualification? Well, think about it. The tabernacle was located on a holy hill. The priests were holy, ministered in a holy place. With God's presence dwelling there in the holy of holies.

So who is it that can worship God? And the answer is those who are holy. Now, first of all, begins of course with our salvation. And in our salvation, we are made holy because the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. We are not always holy in our actions and our conduct, but the Holy Spirit has come to live inside of us. We could say we are sanctified.

We are set apart because we've been cleansed by the blood and indwelt by the Spirit. So God has given us the ability and the capability to worship him. But not only do we have the presence of the Holy Spirit, but we are to be living that out by living holy lives. And that's what he's saying here in Psalm 15. And that is, he says three things about the specific characteristics of a holy people. Number one, he says they're holy in conduct.

Look at what he says in verse two, he that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness and speaketh the truth in his heart. He's talking about the way that we live. Now in most religions of the world, worship always has an external action to it. We would call it rituals. So for example, around the world, there's still animal sacrifices, there may be chants, there are memorized prayers, there's incense and candles being burned.

There are people who are ascending upstairs on their knees. I remember going to the city of Rome a number of years ago and watching people literally crawl upstairs as a form of worship to God. However, Christian true biblical worship is different.

And that is, it actually is focused primarily on your life. He that walketh uprightly, works righteousness, speaks the truth in his heart. And I think this is consistent with what Jesus said in John 4. You remember he met a woman at a well? And they got into a discussion about where is the Lord to be worshiped? Is he to be worshiped in Jerusalem or is he to be worshiped in Samaria?

Because the woman was a Samaritan and Jesus was a Jew. What did Jesus say to her? He says, woman, the hour is coming and now is when true worshipers shall worship the Father in two things.

What is it? They should worship the Father in what? Spirit in what?

In truth. And he said it again, they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. So what does it mean to worship in spirit and truth? Well, in spirit is referring to your new life, your new heart. You have been born again.

You've been cleansed. The Spirit of God lives inside of you. And with that, he's put within you new desires and new appetites. If you are born again, you actually have the desire and the appetite to worship God. That's why going to church and having a wonderful service is so fulfilling in our lives.

It's so joyful. And then secondly says we are to worship in truth. And worship is always to be centered around the mind and the heart, the inner person being fully engaged in the word of God. What is the greatest form of worship? We use the word worship very interestingly today. For example, when we go to church today, some people will say, let's worship God, which is, which is a good start.

That's a good. But the idea is sometimes that the only thing that's really worship is music. And then we listen to preaching. But actually when you look at the, when you look at the word of God, worship is always to be from the heart and it's to be centered on the truth. And actually true worship is literally the Bible.

We don't worship the Bible from that perspective, but we worship God through his word. So when we come to worship God in church, what do we do? We read the scriptures. We pray the scriptures. We sing the truth of the scriptures. We teach and preach the scriptures.

And we love and live with one another according to the scriptures. Biblical worship is always scripture centered. It should fill the services when we worship together. That's worshiping in spirit and truth. And we come in with a holy conduct. Let me just say this, the energy to worship God is not something that can be manmade or whipped up.

Now I'm not saying it doesn't take good leadership, but let me say it this way. For years, for centuries, the church has tried to worship God through all kinds of external forms, whether great cathedrals, candles, incense, altars, to create priests wearing robes that make them different from other people. And they come into that atmosphere that it is in that atmosphere that we actually are put a place of worshiping God. And if we could bring it up to 2022 in a modernized context, oftentimes that often happens of going into church buildings today where they're creating an atmosphere, whether dark and lowering the lights, you know, lights on stage with smoke and all kinds of certain kind of music that is to, if I could say it this way, from a sense side, stir you up to worship. But actually when you come back to the Bible and look at this prescribed manner in scripture, what is it always based on?

It's based on a renewed heart, a renewed spirit, and God's word. And those things, those two things together are biblical worship. And the fact is worship in a local church should always be the outflow of the life that has been worshiping God all week long through the word of God. So number one, he says our conduct should be holy. Then number two, he says our communication should be holy. Look at what he says in verse three. He that back biteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh of approach against his neighbor. Verse two, he refers to the way we walk. Verse three, he refers to the way we talk. Notice he says he that back biteth not with his tongue. The word back bite actually comes from two words. It refers to the leg and to a spy.

The idea of the leg is somebody who goes about on foot seeking tidbits of gossip information that they can pass on to other people. The idea of the word spy is people like this are considered spies or conspirators who handled information with the intent to tear other people down. In either case, it's actually speaking about people behind their backs. It's very interesting that the New Testament word for devil is slanderer. You and I can be little devils by the words we speak. We can't worship like a saint if we talk like a devil. Then he says, nor doeth evil to his neighbor. That is, we should never do anything or saying anything to intentionally hurt or harm our neighbor or another fellow human being. Goodness and kindness is the way that we should always treat one another. That should not be abnormal.

That should be normal. And then notice he says, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. The word reproach here means an insult or discrediting somebody.

James says it this way that Christians have a unique ability or capability of praising God out of one side of their mouth and cursing men out of the other side of their mouth. So he's talking about the words that come out of our mouth because those words that are coming out of our mouth is a form of worship. And so you and I should constantly be careful about not only our conduct but about our communication. We were pretty strict at our home growing up, my kids growing up, about what we allowed them to talk about and what we allowed them not to talk about. We did not permit gossip. We don't sit around and talk about everybody else and their business.

We don't come home Sunday after church and have roast the preacher. We just don't do that. We did not allow that. We did not allow unkind words. We didn't allow our kids to yell at each other.

You can't call each other names. We were very careful about the conversations that other people said to us and if we felt like somehow they were going to discredit somebody we would always say, have you talked to that person? Because what you say with your mouth actually counts and it counts in worship. And then notice number three, he says not only is there holy conduct and holy conversation but he says there should be holy commitments. He says in whose eyes a vile person is condemned. The word vile means here means to be polluted, dirty, or morally depraved.

In other words, we are to be reactionary against vile sins by despising it. We were coming back last night from out of town and we got into Greenville and when we got in we were able to turn our cell phones on. I turned my cell phone on to find out what the score was in the Super Bowl. And I think there was like two minutes left and Cincinnati was winning and LA was behind but they had the ball. Of course they went on the score and win the Super Bowl. But anyway, it was during the Super Bowl commercial time, you know what I'm saying? And one of the Super Bowl commercials, I'm just holding the phone in my hand and all of a sudden it's blurted out on my phone something that was pretty vile. And immediately there was a reaction among the students like, whoa! You know?

I went, ha ha ha. Well actually, that's the right reaction. That is the right reaction. It says, in whose eyes a vile person is condemned. In other words, it's something that we should always react against. Notice he says, but he that honoreth them, he honors them that fear the Lord. He that squares to his own hurt and change not. What does that mean? It means that if you make a promise, you keep it. The idea is that your word is your bond. He keeps his commitments even if it hurts him or it caused him.

Bob Jones Sr. said the greatest ability is dependability. And then notice he says in verses 4 and 5, he that puts not out his money to usury nor taketh reward against the innocent. David here is describing how we use our money. The idea is that when you come to the temple, you brought with you a tithe and the issue here is not if you bring a tithe, the issue here is how did you get your money? In this case, he's saying a godly man does not make money by taking advantage of other people. To put out money for usury means to charge interest. Now according to the law, a Jew could not charge interest to another Jew. He could charge interest to a Gentile, but not to another Jew. And what he's saying with this is we worship God by using our money.

So think about it. Our conversation, the way that we live our life, how we make our commitments and we stick with them, how we use our money, all of that is simply referring to the life that we live. And who is it that worships God?

Those who worship him with a right spirit and they worship him centered around God's truth. And it concludes by saying he that doeth these things shall never be moved. What does it mean to be moved? It's the idea of being on shaky ground. What he is saying is this person who lives this way is able to worship God and will always stand firmly close to the Lord. So as we conclude, five things I want to finish with, just really simple. Number one, worship is a big deal.

It's a big deal. Number two, we're not allowed to worship God our way. We don't get to make the prescription. We don't come up with our own alternative worship. Number three, worship should never be casual.

It should always be careful because we are entering into the presence of God. That's called reverence. Number four, the way we live on a daily basis affects the way we worship. The way you live daily affects your worship. And then finally, a holy God requires us to live holy lives when we come to worship him. May the Lord help us to worship God. Father, thank you for your word and thank you for what you've given us and your truth. Help us to live this out, especially as we think about this week of a Bible conference. May you use it in a great way. In Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from Dr. Steve Pettit from the study series, Encountering God. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue this study of Psalms here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-20 23:48:02 / 2022-11-20 23:58:29 / 10

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