Consider the Holiness of God. Consider one of our recent sermons about the Holiness of God, and of worship.
Holiness Of Worship, Any Bleating Sounds Of Cattle Or Goats That Need To Be Removed?
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Our church had been digging deeper and deeper into worship, which led to this sermon. The beginning point was John 4:20, where Jesus was having a discussion with a woman of Samaria about the logistics of worship.
John 4:20-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
The woman, and other people of Samaria, had been conditioned to worship “at one place,” and she recognized that Jews worshiped “at some other place.” Of course, if we identify a specific place of worship, we may also specify a particular “day of worship.” And, if we specify a day of worship, we might also need to designate a specific “time of worship.” Jesus was having this discussion with a woman of Samaria, of which were known by Jews to be half-breeds. That is because Samaritans had been known to intermarry with gentiles. Then, Jesus mentioned the Jews, and made a true statement that salvation is of the Jews. Jesus knew the scripture teaching of Deuteronomy 7:6: “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” But, Jesus made another statement, which tells the truth of the choosing of God of the Jews, and that salvation would be by way of the Jews. He spoke of, “true worshipers,” which did not relate to any specific group of people, but to those who would have an eternal and intimate relationship with God the Father, through God the Son, by way of God the Holy Spirit, as is written in John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In order for someone to “know God,” they must have an intimate relationship with Him. Such an intimacy is the height of all intimacies, such as the physical and emotional intimacy that should be present in a relationship between a husband and wife. Then, Jesus described such “true worship” as worship that is to be done in “spirit and truth.” A final phrase of that 23rd verse is quite telling of the nature of God, in that He “seeks” such people to be His worshipers. A verse that relates to the seeking by “God the Father,” is one that also describes the seeking by “God the Son,” Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”Of course, until we come to saving faith in Jesus, we are all lost. Jesus continues His explanation of true worship in John 4:24.
John 4:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus describes the makeup of God as being “spirit,” and not flesh and bones. And, because God is spirit, he desires His worshipers to worship Him in spirit and truth. So, what do we take from that statement? We have seen ritual involved in so-called worship, but God is Spirit, “the Holy Spirit.” We can not “do things” and call it worship. We need to recognize the truth that God truly is “Spirit,” and approach worship of Him “from the heart.” In essence, true worship of God must be, “all of us for all of Him.” We can not hold back our love and respect for God. We can not allow distractions of the world, or even distractions that may come from our place of worship to become a detriment to our “true worship” of God.
This sermon’s focus dealt with the problems that are present in the church, that get in the way of true worship. The focus was on Jesus, when He was alarmed at the noise that He heard that was coming from the bleating of cattle and goats in the temple. He proceeded to correct the situation through a “changing of the atmosphere” in the temple to allow an unimpaired attitude of worship (John 2:13-15).
John 2:13-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
First Passover—Cleansing the Temple
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
Consider all of the distractions in the temple that prevented “worship in spirit and truth.” The noise that came from the bleating of oxen and sheep, and the voices of the money changers in the temple, would get in the way of any kind of serious worship. The presence of doves in the temple would be a visual distraction. This was the first of two times that Jesus cleansed the temple. The second time that Jesus cleansed the temple came much later in His ministry, and is shown in Matthew 21:12.
Matthew 21:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Cleansing the Temple
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
Similar conditions that John recorded appear in Matthew’s gospel. The problem has resurfaced. There is no way that true worship can take place in an environment of noise and of visual distraction.
We discussed Jacob, with his inability to sense the presence of God (Genesis 28:16).
Genesis 28:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
We discussed personal attitudes of humble worship, as are shown in the following two verses.
Psalm 95:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
Habakkuk 2:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
So, we need to ask ourselves a simple question. Is our worship of God impaired by the sounds of “Bleating Cattle or Goats?” If that is so, what do we need to do in order to “change the atmosphere” and allow for unimpaired and Holy Worship?
Please enjoy the following song of that is led by Terry MacAlmon