Monday, May 10, 2010
Today’s Topic: Pure Worship
Today’s Text: Hear the word of the LORD… “The multitude of your sacrifices- what are they to me?” says the LORD…When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:10-17)
It was exciting to see. It was humbling to experience. Really humbling. It produced a level of thanks and praise in my heart I hadn’t experienced for a while. All the glory goes to God. I am amazed that I am included the Savior’s plan.
Several months ago we made a decision at church to remove all the pews and put in chairs so we could increase our seating capacity. We went from being able to seat 250 in pews to around 280 in chairs, with some space for overflow. Yesterday we needed the overflow. Extra chairs were set up in the back. But there was a spirit of enthusiasm there that was far more significant than the number of people. Every part of the service engaged the congregation. Every song of worship drew our attention to the throne of God. The Word of God went forth with power and conviction and the Holy Spirit used it to change hearts. It was so very meaningful to me.
Now set that experience up against what happens in far too many churches today. It’s not a new phenomenon. It’s thousands of years old. Isaiah wrote about it. Jesus spoke of it to the Samaritan woman at the well. It continues today in the sanctuaries of churches and in the hearts of people. It has many names – Formality, Tradition and Hypocrisy are the three that come to mind the quickest. But they all have one and only one cause – pride. It is pride that motivates us to enter into a worship service with the intention of trying to please God and earn His favor. It is pride that puts importance on tradition rather than truth. It is pride that elevates form over function. It is pride that puts on a weekly show that is contrary to the true condition of one’s heart. And God hates pride.
I have just one simple connecting point today in the form of a question: Why do you go to church to worship?
Read carefully what Isaiah wrote, and let the Holy Spirit move you to consider this…worship is a lifestyle of surrender and sacrifice. The Apostle Paul said, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
I am thrilled that I worship in a church with people who live out their worship every day. I pray that more will continue to come and find the truth.