True Worship – Part 2
And Abraham said unto his young men, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you”.
“And the fuel on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it morning by morning.”
The altar of the Old Covenant is a representation of our hearts in the New (Romans 12:1). It was the duty of the priests to keep the fire ever burning by adding wood “morning by morning”. In the morning as we set aside time to commune with our God who is “a consuming fire”. There is a necessity to touch the flame of the Eternal One that our own hearts may burn with a love for Him. It is this burning which keeps us from the temptations of the world and the impurities of our own selves.
As one man, greatly used of the Lord, stated: “an empty altar receives no fire” (1). Each morning we arise and lay ourselves before Him as a fresh offering that we might walk circumspectly and alert throughout the day. His fire ever falls upon the altar of sacrifice; as it was in the days of Elijah it shall be in this day.
May we discover the secret of His Flame. May we feel the embers of our hearts stirred by His Holy Breath until we are filled with the fire and intensity of His Spirit. He has an answer for cold hearts, for the lethargy in His house. It is nothing less than His presence burning within.
“Who maketh his angels spirits,
and His ministers a flame of fire”
His true ministers carry the flame of God burning within their hearts. They cannot be satisfied with tepid prayers, powerless sermons and the lifeless conjectures of those whose lives do not align with their words. The fire of God purifies. It warms the very soul of man and brings Him into the zeal of the Lord for His House (John 2:16-17). There is a lamentation within over the condition and the temperature of the hearts of His people. There is a seeking of the purity, power and intensity of His Spirit to see His Unity arise in His House.
It is the “fervent prayer” of a “righteous man” that avails much, that brings forth the moving of His hand in the earth. Let us keep the flame burning within; let us seek out fellowship with others who will stir the embers of our hearts that we may know, to quote a good friend, “the fellowship of the flame” (2).
His beauty will arise
out of the ashes of ourselves.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified”
What is the purpose of these people?
“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations”
This is the Day of the Lord and He Himself is appointing unto them who mourn over the state of the Zion of God in our day; beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! Let His fire fall afresh upon our hearts that He may be glorified by the lives we live and the words we speak!
“But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, to the festal gathering and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel. See that you don’t refuse him who speaks.”!
“Keep yourselves in the Love of God”
(1) Frank Bartleman
(2) CR Oliver
“I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the church, the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the public service which now passes for worship among us”
– A. W. Tozer
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus”
There is a sense of holiness which is to permeate our daily life. The mundane, the trivial and the great things all have significance in our walk before Him. As we walk closer with Him, His presence makes all things in our life important. These are things to be pondered. In our desire to please Him, and to be taught of Him, we become more attentive to the whispers of His Spirit.
“…in all things I am instructed”
There are a couple of thoughts hidden within this scripture of which we should take note: 1) There must be a doing which springs forth from the well of His Spirit in our life. 2) The thing we are doing is to be done in His Name (the nature, the attitude and the Spirit). Not only is the deed important, but also the attitude in which the deed is done.
The foundation of true heartfelt devotion is Jesus Christ. This life of devotion is never about a cause, an organization or a ministry; all things are centered upon the person of Jesus Christ alone. Whether we are at work, at home, or out in the world, the words we speak, and the deeds we do are to be carried with a pure spirit of devotion unto Him. It is in the discovery of this that our life takes on the beauty and singularity of worship.
Worship is more than singing songs or a momentary focusing on Him; it is a life in which all things are simply an offering unto Him. The power of this truth is learned as we grow in the awareness of His Presence in the flow of our daily life.
“…for I do always those things that please him”
The Son never had an “off” moment; His life was full of the sense of His Father’s eye being ever upon Him. To the true disciple, devotion becomes the living of a pure life. Devotion is the gateway into a life in which His joy becomes our joy. The life of Christ within is our hope of entering into the simplicity of living intuitively in the wonder of continual worship.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”
Obedience is the essence
“Abraham our father,
was not he declared righteous out of works,
having brought up Isaac his son upon the altar?”
James 2:21 (YLT)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”
By Faith alone was Abraham Justified
By obedience his Faith Perfected
“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
“It is one thing to believe in God;
it is quite another to believe God.”
“A theologian is a person who makes bold to speak about God because he speaks out of God and through God. To profess theology is to do holy work. It is a priestly ministration in the house of the Lord. It is itself a service of worship, a consecration of mind and heart to the honour of His name”
– Herman Bavinck
“To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father
is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer”
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him”
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God”
– William Temple
“And when they were come into the house,
they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down, and worshipped him”
Even though, in the past, I have not been a real enthusiast of the Christmas “season” (Please read: Grace for Others), I have become more aware of the spirit of the world endeavouring to discount its message and to denigrate its observance. I personally go out of my way now in my personal and business interactions with others to make mention of this season. I do this in spite of the fact that it is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, and in spite of the need to ignore the mixture with the fable of some jolly fellow who goes around giving gifts to all who have been “nice”. (In some convoluted way it portrays to a large extent the “gospel” of our day; if you are “nice”, God will give good gifts to you). The real truth of Christmas is the gift of Christ Himself; His person, His Life and His majestic wonder. This may be the one time of year that some may hear His name in a story or a carol.
The three Magi came from afar; their journey was not an easy one nor a convenient one. They followed the heavenly sign and when they found Him, they immediately “worshipped Him”! The true worship of God comes from our seeing of Him. May we be worshippers in our hearts and give freely as we have freely received. His unspeakable Gift to us is one that we can never repay; but that is the purpose and the nature of any true gift.
“Glory in the highest places to God,
and upon earth peace among men of good will”
(Wuest Translation and the literal Greek rendering)
“And when they were come into the house,
they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
and fell down, and worshipped him:
and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts;
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
The wise men knew whom they sought; earlier in Matthew they had come to Herod:
“Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews?”
They had travelled a long distance to worship the ONE who was worthy of their journey and gifts. They did not come empty-handed, nor did they come nonchalantly. They came with great purpose and were not disappointed in beholding this new-born ONE called Jesus.
It is the religious who approach him casually, who greet Him with tepid hearts and indifference. The Pharisee who had invited Jesus into his house greeted Him with a lukewarm reception while a woman of ill repute poured out her costliest possession upon Him. Jesus spoke to the Pharisee:
“He said to Simon, do you see this woman? I came into your house.
You did not give water for My feet, but she washed My feet with tears and wiped off with the hairs of her head.
You gave Me no kiss, but she from when I entered did not stop fervently kissing My feet.
You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with ointment.
For this reason, I say to you, her many sins are remitted, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, he loves little”
Those who hold His presence within are aware of His mercy and forgiveness toward us. They know themselves and carry within the brokenness of their own unworthiness. The love and worship of Him will always be in corresponding measure to the knowledge of His forgiveness to us.
“…but to whom little is forgiven,
the same loveth little”
Brokenness is the grace adorning the hearts of all who live in the richness of His Mercy.
Painting by:Philippe de Champaigne, c.1656 – Public Domain