March 6

Our church property is almost 12 acres. Now, multiply that by 3 and you have the expanded footprint of the Temple area under Herod during Jesus’ day. Wow!

The Temple was the Jewish focus of pride and identity. This was like our White House or England’s Buckingham Palace, or maybe China’s Forbidden City. It represented the people and their heritage and even their center of power. But, what they forgot was that it was where they were to meet God, would deal with sin, would worship Him.

Sounds like a lot of churches, doesn’t it? Huge cathedrals, large buildings with all the religious symbols, and nothing more than man-centered religion going on inside anymore. Very little if anything pointing to Christ.

  • Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.

That was from our Scripture reading this past Sunday. What a difference from David continually longing to dwell near God, worship Him, and be focused on Him to the Jews in Jesus’ day who looked at the Temple as a talisman, who wanted to incur God’s favor so He would exalt them and boot out the Romans, and who wanted very little to do with actually bowing their hearts to the King of kings.

Remember last year I gave the example of a person being aimed at a point in the distance. If that point is, say 20’ away and your off-center by a millimeter, and you begin to walk towards it 1 millimeter off, you will still hit the target. But, if that target is 100 yards away, 20 miles away, and so forth, that gap becomes so wide that you not only miss the target but you may not even be able to see it anymore.

This was the status for the first century Jew. They had gotten only a little off target at first but never adjusted back to the requirements of the Word. In time they were so far off that they didn’t even understand what salvation and worship were.

Fast forward to our churches today. Many are off by a small margin and work hard at staying centered. Sadly, too many more are off by large margins and don’t even know it, even justifying their unbiblical practices as being ways to reach people for Christ. For Waikoloa Baptist, we are to be aware of these types of churches out there, but our primary goal is to be concerned with ourselves. I need to keep my life centered, and each of you need to keep your life centered. As a church we need to keep centered and constantly adjust. It’s hard work, but it’s what’s necessary to please God. I will answer to God for my life and for how I led my family and how I led the church. You will answer to God for your life, and for the things He’s put under your purview as well.

Hence, it all comes back to our hearts. While selling animals for sacrifice was a necessity in Jesus’ day, it had gone from fulfilling a supportive role in their worship to a means of padding the pockets of the salesmen and religious leaders. They had become practical atheists in how they lived. And, since Luke 16:13 tells us you cannot serve both God and money, Jesus attacked the man-focused worship that had replaced God-centered worship. He attacked their heart motives. He attacked their blatant lack of fear and reverence for God.

  • “Church unity comes from corporate humility.”—Leonard Ravenhill
  1. Satan, the world, and your own flesh are all fighting hard to destroy God, His church, and they do this by replacing humble worship of the Father with prideful worship of ourselves.
  • Luke 9:23 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
    1. What areas of your life are not humble, are not sacrificial, do not take up your cross daily, and are not following Jesus? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Confess these now.
    2. Remember, we are not to give place to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27), we are not to be friends with this world and it’s anti-Christ spirit (James 4:4), and our flesh wars within us but we have the Spirit of God to overcome it (Romans 7:15, 18 & 8:4-8). As we submit to God, our church will become unified in the Spirit and more loving and worshipful than ever before.
  • “The best preparation for worship is not a rehearsal, but surrender.”—A.W. Tozer
    1. Before you come into church each Sunday, check your heart attitude about your preferences. You are not in church for your comfort, enjoyment, to get the snacks you like, the best tasting coffee, the perfect music at the perfect volume, to hear what you want to hear and to see what you want to see. You are here to encounter God almighty as a church family. Ask God each Sunday morning to prepare your heart to be God-focused and glorifying.
  1. I mentioned Sunday that I am a terrible worshipper. But, I don’t want to stay there, do you? Imagine:
    1. What our church would look like if we wholeheartedly, humbly, continually worshipped God: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. What Waikoloa would look like if we wholeheartedly, humbly, continually worshipped God: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. What your life would look like: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.”—A.W. Tozer
  1. Read the Psalms. This was the primary worship hymnbook of the Israelites. When you read them, see the emotion, the passion for God, the cries out of helplessness and weakness, the exaltation of the Lord!
  • Psalm 144:3 O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him?
    1. Reflect on your relationship with God with regards to your worship: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Psalm 51: 15-17 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
    1. Worship is not merely showing up to church Sunday and singing. Worship is a lifestyle that pours out of a repentant, humble heart. Do you regularly and daily spend time in confession of sin to God? _______________________________________________
    2. Is confession of pride a continual practice in your life? ___________________________________________________
    3. Spend time now asking God to bring to your memory sins that you have not let go of, that you have not confessed, and then confess them now.
  • Psalm 18:3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
    1. Remember worship comes from the Middle English for “worthship”. We worship by ascribing praise to our Lord, by exalting Him, but letting Him reign on the throne of our lives since He is King. We worship when we acknowledge that He, and only He is worthy of praise. Think of areas in your life where you have not given Him proper praise: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Confess these now, but also spend time in praise to Him for as many of His attributes that you can recall.
  • “Worship is basically adoration, and we adore only what delights us. There is no such thing as sad adoration or unhappy praise.”—John Piper

Book Recommendations:

  1. Worship: The Ultimate Priorityby John MacArthur
  2. Worship: The Reason We Were Created—Collected Insights from A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer
  3. The Holiness of Godby R.C. Sproul

Every so often, when I make a book recommendation, feel free to grab a copy (physical or digital) and read through it. The above reflect great insights that can be digested by Christians at all levels.March 6