by Gary T. Panell
Text: “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
“Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:23-31)
Once a huge army was coming against King Jehoshaphat and the people of Southern Israel, and this is what the king did:
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
“So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“‘Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.’ Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” (2 Chronicles 20: 18-22)
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
God created us to worship and praise Him! That is why at Calvary Chapel we almost always start with a worship service, because we know this is where our strength lies is in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John 4 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:19-24)
We read this verse at the beginning of the message:
“Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” (Acts 17:29)
You see we believe that God doesn’t have to have an ornate building to be worshiped in. We do not believe you have to wear fancy clothes. We do not believe the pastor has to have a tie or suit on to preach the word, or that those who lead in worship have to have anything fancy on. We believe we are here to worship the Lord from our hearts and that our bodies house the Holy Spirit.
When we come we come to Worship the Lord God of the Universe. We come to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We are not saying it is wrong to wear a tie or dress up to come to worship, which is up to the individual. However, we are saying that worship is not what building we are in, or how nice of facilities we have, but we want to get back to what the early church taught and that was that the reason believers came together was to worship God in truth.
Satan can’t stand this, of course, because he wants people to think about and worship, as giving praise to anyone except the God of the Universe. I remember one time when we were in Trinidad West Indies singing the Hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Three girls who were possessed of demons ran out of the building screaming. At first we stopped the service and had everyone praying, but them we realized that is exactly what Satan wanted he wanted us to stop the worship of God and concentrate on the problem that had arisen.
Once we were wiser and a disturbance happened we dealt with it outside the congregation and kept the worship of our Savior going.
The words of the hymn that Satan couldn’t stand are these written by the pen of Martin Luther:
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe:
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
“That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.”
God created us to worship, and if we are not doing that, then there is something wrong in our lives. When we come together it is to see Jesus, and Him high and lifted up. One time some Greeks came looking for Jesus, and here is how Scripture puts it:
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.'” (John 12:20-21) When we come to worship, we want to see Jesus and Him alone!
Look at Isaiah 6:1-8 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.'”
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“‘Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.'”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“‘Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?’
“Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:1-8) Sometimes 1 John 1:9 needs to be administered in our lives before we can worship and serve. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
First before a person can worship God they have to be right with God, they have to be saved. Then when you’re saved you want to follow the commands of Christ. One thing He has commanded us to do is to be baptized. (Matthew 28:19-21)
Second, we are to take the Communion regularly. It bothers me when Christians have excuses why they don’t want to take the Holy Communion. We are commanded to do this, it keeps us examining our lives before God, and reminds us exactly why we are here, and that is to praise and worship the One who died for us and rose again that we might have eternal life.
You also need the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. This is a person that most Christians would have heard about or read one of his books; his name is W. Phillip Keller. He has since gone on to be with the Lord, but when he lived at Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta Canada I went to school with his son Rod Keller. I visited in their home in Three Hills. Phillip Keller wrote many wonderful books in his life, but one of my favorites is A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (if you would like to hear a message based on Psalm 23 from the book by Phillip Keller click here for mp3 or wma ). Here is his story, in his own words, of his filling of the Holy Spirit as found in his book Wonder O’ the Wind:
“Moses had his ‘burning bush’ in the desert. Gideon had his ‘oak tree’ by the winepress. Elijah had his ‘cave in the rock’ high on a mountain. And I had my ‘high cliffs’ overlooking a crystal stream that cascaded out of the foothills.
“There I went, absolutely alone, determined that I would hear from God in a way never experienced before. For hours I paced back and forth atop the cliffs, tears coursing down my cheeks, in agony of earnestness, beseeching Christ to make Himself very real to me.
“It was a man hungry, thirsty, longing for the Lord who cried aloud from those cliff tops. ‘Oh, God,’ I pleaded from the depths of my spirit. ‘You told us, ‘Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled!’ ‘I raised my arms in anguish of supplication, ‘Come now, move into my spirit, fill my life, my entire being with Yourself, just as this stream from the glaciers flows into this valley before me!’
“Then there came the quiet, gentle response of God’s voice: ‘My Spirit is imparted in plenitude to the one prepared to obey me. Your love for me is demonstrated, not by emotion, but by your readiness to comply with My wishes; to do My will. Are you ready to give me your will?’ There was total silence. I was astonished, taken aback at the apparent simplicity of the straightforward exchange extended to me. I would give Him my will (my heart). He would give me Himself.
“In utter brokenness, compounded of joy, light relief and surging gratitude I fell to my knees on the wild sod and there bowed myself before my God. ‘Father, from this hour, with Your presence and Your power, I undertake to do whatever You ask; to go wherever You wish; to be whoever You desire.’ The words spoken audibly came in clear articulation, ‘I am totally available to Your purposes for me upon the planet.’
“It was a compact of tremendous import. It was the pivot point in my walk with God. I had crossed the ‘great divide’ into a new region of personal, intimate contact with Christ.
“There was no ecstatic sensation. Rather, there enveloped the whole of my being, body, mind, emotions, will and spirit an acute awareness of God’s gracious, wondrous Presence. He was with me, in me, to empower, to direct, to abide throughout the rest of life.
“In calm repose and supreme peace I went home. Phyllis, in her cheerful, happy way met me at the door. I had been gone all day. ‘Darling!’ she [erupted with], surprised and taken aback, ‘You are utterly radiant! What has happened?’
“It was weeks before I felt free to tell her even a small part of all that took place that day. For it had been a sacred interlude shared by a common man alone with God’s Spirit. But from that hour the entire tenor and direction of my life began to change dramatically.” (Wonder O’ the Wind, chapter: The Pivot Point pages 231-232, by W. Phillip Keller)
Pastor Tony last week spoke on prayer, and one of the things he pointed out was that we don’t just start asking for our shopping list of items in prayer, but we start with praise and worship of our heavenly Father. It says, “hallowed or holy is your name.” It scares me today hearing people use God’s name flippantly. Every other word almost is oh my and then the word G-O-D. I believe scripture makes this abundantly clear that we are not to take God’s name in vain. We are to worship Him as we come together in the beauty of Holiness!
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
“Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
“But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)
Once when a pasturing a church in southern Oregon, we had a speaker come from Poland. He was teaching us about praise, and he played a tape where the congregation was being recorded singing that course Alleluia, Alleluia and as they were singing voices came in higher than any human voices could sing. I believe it was the angles joining into the worship of God.
Think about what Holy Spirit is teaching us in these Psalms which are songs sung by Israel. Psalm 149 and 150:
“Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment-
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the Lord!”
I believe that this, “to execute on them the written judgment” means to win the lost to Christ. There was an article written by an atheist that should make us consider what is really important in our lives. This article is quoted from K. P. Yohannan’s book Revolution in World Missions on page 95.
“C.T. Studd, the famous British athlete and founder of Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, was one who gave up all his achievements in this life for Christ’s sake. He was challenged to his commitment by an article written by an atheist. That article in part said:
“If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, then religion would mean to me everything.
“I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labor in its cause alone.
“I would take thought for the morrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering.
“Earthly consequences would never stay my hand, or seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone, and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable.
“I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be:
“WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?”
Let All Things Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
We are in a spiritual warfare, and we are told to:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11-13)
When we come to worship so often our own ego gets in the way, we might worry about what others think of us. I know of one pastor who was kicked out of the church because he allowed people to raise their hands in worship.
Look at what God hates and that is pride as we come to Him. Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
There are many ways to worship the Lord mentioned in Scripture: Lifting hands is very Scriptural by the way.
“Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” (Psalm 63:4)
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord.” (Psalm 134:2)
“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting…” (1 Timothy 2:8)
We praise the Lord with instruments:
“Praise the Lord with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.” (Psalm 33:2-3)
“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God…” (Psalm 147:7)
We have already looked as Psalm 150 which talks about sing praise with instruments. David had singers that sang praises and led the worship.
Don’t think that these are all the verses, then some people say, well it doesn’t talk about instruments in the New Testament church. Just because it doesn’t mention it in the New Testament, many things are covered in the Old Testament that are still for today unless we are told they aren’t also, if they are used in heaven, then it is good enough for the church age!
And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
“Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.” (Revelation 15:2)
Closing: Gerhard Tersteegen puts it this way:
God reveals His presence: Let us now adore Him, And with awe appear before Him.
Him alone, God we own; He’s our Lord and Savior, Praise His name forever.
God Himself is with us: Whom the angelic legions serve with awe in heavenly regions.
When Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday the children were praising and worshipping Jesus as the Messiah the Son of David, when the false religious leaders heard the children singing, they told Jesus to have the children stop singing praises to Him, but Jesus said: “I they didn’t praise Him the rocks would cry out. Earlier the worship team sang this song, and with these words I will close:
“O My Redeemer
I will praise You, O my Redeemer, I will praise You, O my Redeemer
For You are worthy, You are worthy, You are worthy to be praised
“If I don’t praise Your name, even the rocks will cry out
If I don’t praise Your name, even the mountains will shout
Even the rocks will cry out” (Michael Doran/ Richard Smokovich copy right 1999 Mike Doran Music)
Let us praise and worship Him and Him alone!
by Gary T. Panell
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