The Fear of the Lord
In church meetings all across our land, God is proclaimed to be fervently worshiped. Yet, what kind of worship is due to the Holy God? Reverence is giving due and rightful respect to someone. What kind of reverence is due to the Creator of heaven and earth? What kind of respect does the Redeemer of man deserve? The word church means a called out assembly. Christian assemblies consist of those persons who have placed their trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Church meetings are a gathering of people who have been called out of the world and redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. Does not the God of all the universe deserve our deepest gratitude for his great love and grace toward us? Abraham is an example of a man of faith. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) By faith, Abraham trusted the Lord and was justified by Him. Abraham is our example of salvation by faith. He is also our example of worship by faith. How did this man of faith worship the Lord?
Worship and reverence go hand in hand. One cannot worship God without showing respect for who he is. Abraham was a man who demonstrated reverence for the Lord. Abraham's command was to sacrifice his only son, his long awaited promised son of he and Sarah, Isaac. God then stopped Abraham from going through with sacrificing Isaac. It was a test by which Abraham proved his respect and love for the Lord. God himself provided a ram for Abraham to offer instead. Abraham's worship gives us a beautiful picture of God the Father giving his only Son as a holy sacrifice for the sins of the world. The Bible tells us Abraham understood he was to go to worship the Lord by respectfully obeying what the Lord told him to do. Abraham demonstrated his worship of the one true God.
As a new believer I frequented a local Christian bookstore. Eager to learn about God's word I searched the store for study material. At that time I could find a number of good conservative Bible commentaries and helpful books explaining the Word of God. There was a small selection of God-honoring music and a number of interesting gospel tracts from which to choose. Over the years I noticed a change in the literature and resources being offered. Instead of offering materials which would help the believer understand and obey the Lord's Word, over half the store now houses “worship music”. [How did Abraham ever get by without 'worship music'?] Contemporary music replaced most of the commentaries. [Most will admit much of the contemporary 'Christian' music is in the soft rock category (or even farther from it).] One wall in the bookstore was completely devoted to T-shirts. Self help and church growth books replaced the helpful Bible study material. Cheap plastic play toys displaced children's Scripture memory booklets. Small trinkets and curios saturated all remaining available space. It was not difficult to see that this Christian bookstore reflected the worldly culture around it. The love of money and the worship of self replaced a basic reverence for the holy God. It was truly sad to see the self-centered culture had found its way into the Church, even through the front door. The bookstore only characterized the condition of the Christian home and of the churches. The Bible was out – worship music and church growth was in. As the church found itself saturated in the world, the world worked its way into the Christian life and in the life of the Christian assembly. May we be people who worship God in obedience to his Word and not with the current trends of the World.
Commandments of the Lord
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:30
Respectful Israelites were to worship the Lord by observing the sabbath day and by showing reverence for the Lord's tabernacle. The tabernacle with its priestly functions and sacrifices portrays a picture of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. To show disrespect regarding His tabernacle was to show disrespect for the Lord God himself for he says “I am the LORD”.
A small yet authoritative sign in the Lincoln Memorial tells the observer to be quiet and respectful because it is a hallowed place. It would not be appropriate to so show disrespect to that great American president or to the cause of the nation by being noisy and disruptive in the memorial. If it is understood that a great leader among men, even though deceased, should be given such respect, how much more reverence should we give to the living eternal God! Shall not the Lord of all the earth receive reverence from his redeemed ones? How shall we show reverence for our Lord; by not keeping his Word? Does the husband show respect for God by treating his wife in an unloving way? “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (Colossians 3:19) Can the wife give reverence to God while at the same time showing disrespect for her husband? “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18) How can a child keep God's Word if he refuses to obey his parents' word? Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1) What happens in the Christian home (or what the Christian does at home) will carry over to the Christian Meeting. If there is no deep respect of Christ in the home, none will show respect for him in the church. If selfish attitudes rule at home, they will likewise take charge in the church assembly. If the world is given hospitality in the home life, it will too be welcomed in the Christian assembly.
May the Lord give us understanding as we keep his Word in our home and the Christian assembly.
Praise the Lord
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalms 29:2
The Lord demands worship of himself on his terms and in his way. That is the way of holiness and truth. There is no other way. Christ is the reason one can worship God. The sinner having placed his trust solely in the cross work of Christ receives forgiveness of sins and a new life. Those who have placed their faith in Christ now must begin to look and act like Christ (a Christian). No longer are we to act or sound like our old self or like the world. It may be found in Christian assemblies there is little difference between the modern pop culture and those worshipers inside the Christian meetings. Praise unto the Lord may be given individually or by the congregation. Praise unto the Lord is done by declaring with our words the wonderful things of God. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) Praise then is part of our worship unto God. Praise therefore must be done in reverence, with respect, in holiness. Is not our marvelous Lord worthy of such? Indeed he is.
In practically all Church assemblies there was once only sacred music. Sacred means holy, sanctified, or set apart. Our Bible is called the Holy Bible because it is a book different and set apart from all other books in the world. Sacred music reflects reverent praise unto a holy God and is different than all of the other music in the world. Sacred music is true to the Bible in its words. Music for God is reverent in tone, makes use of a beautiful melody, and is able to be joyfully sung or followed by the congregation (those set apart in Christ). Music for the Lord utilizes God-given harmony. It is appreciated there is God-honoring music being written in our day which has reverence for the sacred things of God. It is possible for God not to revered in so-called Christian music. Worldly practices and methods have all too often replaced sacred music. Breathy, repetitive, music with a beat has stolen its way into the Christian assemblies. The real question is what kind of music does God deserve? The wrong questions are allowing true praise to the Lord in the beauty of holiness to be left behind. Those saved from hell by the priceless blood of the Lamb should not look to the world for its answers. Christians should not ask “what do I want” “what do most want” “what will draw people in” or “what do the youth want”. We must ask, and find out, what does the holy God who is seeking our praise require? What songs and accompanying instruments reflect respect for God's Son who shed his blood on Calvary? “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” (Psalms 96:9)
May we with great reverence praise the Lord with our words and in our ways.
The Father Seeks Such to Worship Him
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
In quoting Scripture, the Lord reminds us to worship God only: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10) Of all people, pastors, evangelists, and other Bible teachers should know this. But on the contrary, is is all too often we find it is the church's leaders who are tugging the hearts of the people away from the Lord's worship. Instead of leading the people in reverent worship and teaching the Scriptures, they replace the Word with something from the World. In pulpits across the land one will find prophecy is out and psychology is in; living by faith is void and living for fame vogue; sacrificial serving is ditched and seeking of self is discovered; preaching a real hell is avoided and promoting what maters in this life is advocated. The 'new gospel' is we are no longer in the world but not of the world – now the world is in us and we are in it. The Bible is being replaced in the home and in the church. It is being replaced with whatever one wishes to have. God is not revered because his word is not respected. God is less and less being worshiped in truth. Why do those naming the name of Christ not want to identify with the holiness of Christ. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” (1 Peter 1:15) What kind of music should a holy worshiper offer to the holy God? Instead of having music which sounds like the top pop hits, offer to God sacred music. How should a person cleansed from sin dress in the Christian assembly? Instead of dressing like one is headed to the ball game or the golf course or the beach, offer to God your body with modest and humble clothing. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) The redeemed ones in the churches need to demonstrate themselves such as they are gathering together in the holy name of Christ. Men and women and boys and girls should should show themselves to be the new creature in Christ like they are entering into the Presence of Christ. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 5:4)
After hearing of complaints of certain teenagers not desiring to dress appropriately for church meetings, a comparison was noted. There was a dress code at work, a uniform was required for the marching band and even for the ball team. One person noted that if he would dress appropriately if he was invited to see the governor or the president. Dear beloved Christian reader, how much more should we demonstrate care and respect for the Christ who saved our souls?
May we be numbered among those who respectfully worship the Lord in holy reverence.
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Psalms 89:7
James Utter 11/2010