Home > Faith, God, Worship > Come Let Us Worship . . .

Come Let Us Worship . . .

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God,
and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools….

Ecclesiastes 5:1
 Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

For the past year and a half I have been preaching through the monumental book of Revelation during our Sunday Morning time of Worship.  I must admit there are many parts of that book that will remain shrouded in mystery until that time when we meet Jesus at his return and are able to ask Him to clarify those things signified in His apocalyptic words.

Oh, there is certainly that promise of blessing to those who read and those who hear and heed the words of this prophecy (Rev. 1:3). Since obedience must follow understanding, we can be assured that there is much within John’s inspired revelatory words that is understandable.

The themes of the sovereignty of God, of Christ as conqueror, and the Spirit’s powerful presence are golden threads running through the crimson fabric of the Lamb’s sacrifice. The theme of worship and honor and glory and praise are woven into that fabric so those who read and hear are able to clearly understand that the highest calling of the saints of all ages is to come before our Triune God bringing uninhibited worship to Him who sits on the throne in sovereign rule and power and authority.

Revelation 4 and 5 remind me of one of those greeting cards that has a message stored on a voice recorder. As we open these two chapters and read the message of encouragement we can also hear the crescendo of voices, first of the four living creatures, then of the twenty four elders, now the harps and the voice of myriad of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels added to the voice of every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them saying:

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

What a glorious encouragement this ought to be to each of us to come before that same throne of grace in a time of corporate worship and adoration with the saints of all ages.

Why is it then that all too often we enter public worship so distracted by worldly concerns? Have you ever found the preacher’s words flying in one ear and out the other, leaving no discernible impression on your mind and heart? Do you find it difficult to concentrate in prayer because your thoughts so easily wander? There is probably not one reading this who has not experienced distraction and coldness of heart in worship and prayer.

The tragedy lies in those who attend church week after week without realizing the vanity of their own worship. They might sense that something is wrong, but instead of looking inward, they seek to blame their lethargy on everything and everyone else. The pastor isn’t interesting enough. The music doesn’t stir their soul. Worship is just not exciting! And on and on ad nauseum…. If these complaints sound familiar, maybe you need to examine your own heart instead of trying to find aesthetic or sentimental satisfaction in those things that are not the essence of worship. It has been said that a church will find true spiritual vitality if only it were gripped by the holiness and the majesty of God in worship.

This is exactly what the Preacher of Ecclesiastes is driving at. He exhorts God’s people to stand in awe of God. Worship should never be entered into with levity or distraction, but with sobriety, humility, and reverence. We ought to enter into God’s presence ready to receive profitable instruction: “Draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil” (Eccl. 5:1b).

David’s psalms are deeply concerned with proper worship: “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those who are around Him” (Ps. 89:7); “Holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever” (Ps. 93:5); “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You will I worship toward Your holy temple” (Ps. 5:7).

In his treatise on A Remedy for Wandering Thoughts in Worship, Richard Steel (1628 – 1694) describes 12 causes of distraction in our worship of God. The fourth cause he writes is “lukewarmness.” He says, “He that is intense in anything hath few thoughts to spare. Distractions are but the idlings of the heart . He that runs, looks at nothing but the goal, though he meet passengers, or pass by palaces; he is in earnest, and stops for nothing; it is he that walks at leisure who turns his eye to every trifle, and descants on every object, because he is not in haste. Even so the zealous soul, though he forgets not those things which are behind, yet reaching forth to the things that are before, presseth towards the mark; he hath business in hand which concerns eternity, and he cannot stand to whisper with every passenger, nor trifle with every object….Wherefore the apostle, Rom. xii. 11, directs us to be fervent in spirit while we are serving the Lord; not drowsy, but fervent in spirit, or boiling hot, as the word signifies. The busiest flies will not meddle with the scalding honey; though the sweetness entice them, yet the heat terrifies them. The base flies of thy distractions will not molest thy heart if it keep boiling hot in the service of God.”

As you come before the Lord in public worship, set your affections and your full attention on the person of Jesus Christ, who alone sanctifies our worship. Endeavor to rid yourself of vain and worldly thoughts and distractions. Focus on the Lord and not on the inadequacy of the preacher, or the music, or anything else. Be captivated by the holiness of God. Listen to His instruction and discover the glorious blessings of dwelling in His presence.

Martin Luther said that in this day, men approached God “…as if He were a shoe clerk’s apprentice.” If that was true in Luther’s day, how much more true is it in our own? Let’s remember whose presence we enter as we come to worship. Why not begin each Saturday evening. Pray that God would prepare your heart for worship and keep you from being distracted. When you wake each Sunday morning, read Psalm 95 and pray that God would draw you to Himself. Leave for church on time. Fellowship with others when you arrive, but refrain from worldly talk and earthly chatter. Give yourself zealously to the task set before you. Worship God in all His splendor.

Sprinkle all my past sabbaths with the cleansing blood of Jesus,

and may this day witness deep improvement in me.

Give me in rich abundance

the blessings the Lord’s Day was designed to impart;

May my heart be fast bound against worldly thoughts or cares;

Flood my mind with peace beyond understanding;

may my meditations be sweet,

my acts of worship life, liberty, joy,
my drink the streams that flow from your throne,
my food the precious Word,
my defence the shield of faith,
and may my heart be more knit to Jesus. Amen

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Pastor Mark

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