Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Worship: Who May Worship?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Worship: Who May Worship?

“11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. 22 Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, 24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. 30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. 32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. 33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people” (Exodus 30:11-33).

There is a perversion of truth that is propagating a lie that God will accept worship from anyone in any form. The ecumenicist tells us that we can worship “god” in any form or by any “name.” We can call Him Buddha or Shinto. We can worship Him in any ritual way we can imagine. There are those today who say it does not matter what music we use in worship. However, that is not what God says. Things that are holy or consecrated belong ONLY to God and are used ONLY in worship of God. Things used in worship cannot be COMMON things; things used by everyone in their everyday lives.

“23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Exodus 30:11-33 details three requirements or prerequisites before worship will be acceptable to God. Worshipping God is a both an obligation and a privilege. Worship should be the natural desire of any person who knows the Lord or who has a fraction of understanding of Who He is and what He has done to save our souls and provide an open door for fellowship with Him. Worship should naturally overflow from the believer’s life. However, if we understand that a primary attribute of God is His holiness, we must understand that our worship must be holy as well.

Today’s Christian has little or no understanding of what it means to worship God in holiness. In the OT, the word “worship” is translated from the Hebrew word shachah (shaw-khaw'). It means to bow down in reverential awe and fear. To bow down before someone was to acknowledge the superiority of that individual or to acknowledge his authority over you. To reverence someone was to show him fear, honor and respect.

For instance, God commands the wife to “reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). The word word “reverence” is translated from the Greek word phobeo (fob-eh'-o). It is the word we get our English word phobia from. To have a phobia is to have a fear of something. A wife should not need to fear her husband for harm’s sake, but for obedience’s sake. God has delegated the responsibility of teaching children how to worship Him to the wife through watching how she treats and responds to her husband. A wife and mother is a role model of worship and submission to her children.

We cannot truly worship God without having a reverential fear of God. It is the responsibility of both parents to instill a reverential fear of God into their children. Reverential fear is the beginning of knowledge. We all know that from Proverbs 1:7. However, have you ever really considered the context in which it lies?

“7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:7-9).

Reverential fear of God is a restraining force upon our sin natures. It is a good thing, not a bad thing. The person who truly believes in a holy and just God knows that God must act upon any willful disobedience to His will. The theological liberal and the new evangelical would have us to think of fearing God as some kind of spiritual aberration. It is not. It is the natural response of an accurate knowledge of Who God is.

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).

The person who believes there might be a policeman around the next bend in the road with the power and authority to arrest him or give him a ticket for speeding is restrained by the fear of being arrested or ticketed. Therefore, he drives at a speed that is much safer for him and the other motorists on the road with him. Fear is a healthy thing. It keeps us from doing foolish things. “Fools despise” the “wisdom and instruction” that keeps them from doing foolish things that inevitably will bring God’s chastisement upon them.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).

The Greek word phobeo in Ephesians 5:33 used regarding a wife reverencing her husband means to look upon him with great respect, yielding to his opinion and submissively being obedient to his will. Ephesians 5 further emphasizes this in verse 22 where God commands, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Women teach their children how to worship God by the way they treat their husbands. I believe the central reason why few children ever learn to truly worship God and fear Him is because the modern, liberated woman has failed so miserably in being the role model God has established her to be.

Every true Christian should want to worship the Lord. That should be a simple fact of our lives. Worship involves almost everything a Christian does before God. Worship involves such things as Bible study, prayer, giving, soul winning, discipleship or any type of service ministry. It is all vain, worthless and unacceptable if a person has not fulfilled the Biblical requirements for worship to take place.

Exodus 30:11-33 details three requirements before God will accept worship from any one. These three requirements are revealed to us by the giving of the “ransom half-shekel,” washing in the “laver of brass” and the anointing “oil.” The failure of a person in any of these three requirements brought serious consequences to the individual who did not take these matters seriously. The failure in giving of the “ransom half-shekel” brought the threat of “plague” (Exodus 30:12) upon the failing tribe. The failure of a priest to wash his hands and feet before ministering in the Tabernacle brought the threat of death (Exodus 30:20). The inappropriate use of the anointing “oil” brought the threat of being “cut off” from the people of Israel (Exodus 30:33).

Needless to say, God takes the matter of worship seriously. Each of these three things is a physical way to detail a spiritual reality regarding God’s requirements of holiness before worship is acceptable to God. Without the spiritual reality behind these three requirements, any attempt to worship, minister or pray is empty act of futility. It is only through the reality of worship that a person enters into a working “fellowship” with God. However, when a believer (or local church) attempts to worship God apart from these three requirements, he does so under the threat of serious consequences.

The “ransom half-shekel” tells us that only the Redeemed (saved or “born again” person) may worship. The value of the “half-shekel” is an insignificant amount of less than one dollar in our currency. It was given as a token sign of each person’s individual faith in the God Who had brought them out of Egyptian bondage and brought them into a covenant relationship. The half-shekel was a token representation that the individual had accepted God’s gift of redemption and had accepted his covenant responsibilities. The half-shekel was a physical way of testifying to their salvation. God will only accept the worship of saved people. The very notion of inviting lost people or Seekers to worship God without first being saved is a complete perversion of worship principles. There must be an accurate knowledge of God before God can be accurately worshipped.

“1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:1-9).

Secondly, the Priesthood of Israel were the representatives before God of all the children of Israel. When the Priesthood was defiled before God, all of Israel was defiled before God. Today, every believer is a priest before God. The “laver of brass” was a place of personal examination for sin and cleansing. According to Exodus 38:8, the “laver of brass” was made from the polished brass “lookingglasses of the women.”

Before a believer can worship God or serve Him in any way, he needs to examine his life for sin. He than needs to forsake any sin he discovers, confess it to God and seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing. I John 1:9 is critical truth regarding the acceptability of any believer’s Bible study, prayer, giving, soul winning, discipleship or any type of service ministry. Without God’s cleansing, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” before God (Isaiah 64:6). Without God’s cleansing, anything a believer touches or attempts for God is defiled before God. Repentance of sin, confession of sin, cleansing from sin and restoration to a synergistic union with the Spirit of God are essential before our worship is acceptable to God.

The third requirement involves the anointing “oil.” Only the Priests and the instruments in the Tabernacle were to be anointed with this holy “oil” (Exodus 30:26-30). The Priests were to be anointed after they were cleansed. This “oil” was mixed with various aromatic spices. The “oil” kept the aromatic spices on the skin.

The “oil” was typical of the empowering and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Any time Bible study, prayer, giving, soul winning, discipleship or any type of service ministry is attempted apart from being filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit, that attempt can be said to have been done “in the flesh.”

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

These are three critical issues to our worship of God. Before we try to involve ourselves in Bible study, prayer, giving, soul winning, discipleship or any type of service ministry, we need to be sure we are saved. We need to be sure we are cleansed. We need to be sure we are filled with and controlled by the Spirit of God. Without the reality of theses three things in our lives, our Bible study, prayer, giving, soul winning, discipleship or any type of service ministry is nothing more than chasing a rainbow.

“1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (I Peter 4:1-6).


Bro. Jeff Hallmark said...

Hey, Doc. thanks for the good word on worship. Very timely for our day in serving our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jerry Bouey said...

Interesting study on the three requirements. Thank you.