… Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” This passage contains all the elements of true worship. What are characteristics of acceptable worship, worship that God desires and honors? Human beings are instinctively worshiping creatures. James says selfish prayers will not be answered for they care nothing about God and his will. This is necessary for us to truly accept the Word of God. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;Bring an offering, and come before Him;Worship the Lord in holy array. They are to be people with godly character. But notice that they had already confessed their sins in verse 2. It is for this reason that Israel confessed not only their sins but also their fathers’. In Genesis 18, Abraham petitioned for God’s mercy on the nation. Confession of sin is important for worship because sin hinders the reception of the Word of God. Similarly, confession is a natural part of worship to God as we are sinners in need of grace. It doesn’t change their lives at all. Then he shall bathe his body in water and put them on. God-centered prayer primarily exalts and honors God. Israel noticed that their fasting was unprofitable and they asked, “What good is it?” God rebuked them and said that the type of worship they were offering was unacceptable. They come to church with an expectation because they recognize their great need and that of their community, and therefore, God satisfies their hunger. 1 Tim 3:15), and it included corporate prayer. He was talking about praying things that are in line with his character, as revealed in the term “name.” The primary way we do this is by praying what he has said in his Word. Let all things be done for edification. And also, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” which is Psalm 31. Bible Teacher's Guide: Nehemiah--Becoming A Godly Leader, http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/guz/view.cgi?bk=15&ch=9. Application Question: How is God calling you to get rid of any sins so you can more effectively worship him? 1 Tim 6:17), once again creating a lack of dependence upon God. Many Christians give no thought to preparation for worship, small group, or even daily devotions. Worry is sin because it essentially says, “God, I don’t trust you.” Wealth is deceptive because it has a tendency to draw people into trusting it over God and pursuing it over God. It recounts God’s works and promises in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, Kings, etc. but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. Even Scripture condones married couples fasting from the practice of physical intimacy to focus on prayer. If a leader is ungodly, then he will hinder the worship and development of a congregation. Matt 7:21-23). Why does this happen? Most believers know what God’s Word says; however, it has no effect on their lives. Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;My ears You have opened;Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. No wonder many people leave these activities saying, “I didn’t get anything out of that.”. Fasting doesn’t necessarily have to be food; it can be anything that demands a tremendous amount of our time, focus, or energy. Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. Are there any national, church, familial, or individual sins you feel impressed to intercede over? When I was young, I used to show up to church with no preparation; the concept of preparing for worship never dawned on me. let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. This worship was recorded in Neh. 7. The sins of the fathers will often follow the sons for generations, prompting God’s judgment. In the context of the book of James, it means to be deceived about their salvation. When God called someone to write the hymnal of Israel—the Psalms—he called a godly leader named David. Similarly, Christ said he couldn’t do very many miracles in his hometown because they had so little faith (cf. Take a look at the requirements for an overseer in 1 Timothy 3:1-3: Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. The preacher preaches and closes in prayer, we sing a quick hymn and the service is over. 3. Within the tribe of Levi, the priests came from the lineage of Aaron who also led specific acts of worship at the temple. He was called to sell all his riches and follow Christ. In prayer we should use the Bible, because when we praying God’s words, we can be confident that we are praying in line with the Spirit and the will of God. “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. The Presence of Worship - Exodus 33 2. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. Over and over God calls for our hearts to be authentic and undivided in our worship. Let's examine this passage and see what we can learn about acceptable worship services. As mentioned in our previous article on acceptable worship, it is alleged by some that worship is a matter that God has left unregulated.. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. Scripture clearly teaches that it is good and proper to pray for and confess the sins of others. Verse 24 tells the consequences of worshiping a false god: “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” Verse 26 says, “God gave them over to degrading passions.” Verse 28 adds, “God gave them over to a depraved mind.” Our concern that others might know and experience Christ needs to help drive us t… Verse 1 talks about sacrifices and worship. In Malachi 1, God rejected the offerings of the priests because they were offering the lame and the blind, instead of offering a lamb without blemish. Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams,In ten thousand rivers of oil?Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,And speaks truth in his heart. He has established it as a necessary aspect of true worship. Contemplation of God and the human condition prepares us to draw near him for his grace and mercy (cf. Cain and Abel both brought offerings before the Lord but Cain’s was rejected (Gen 4). It happens in part because most believers don’t prepare for worship. Also, when John’s disciples asked why Christ’s disciples didn’t fast, Jesus replied that when he was taken away, they would fast (Matt 9:15). Praise the Lord! It is possible to be a hearer and not a doer and be deceived about one’s faith. ‘But in vain do they worship Me,Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’. It is clear that the Israelites were continually confessing their sins before God, and this must be true of us as we worship God as well. When the body of Christ gathers together, there should be corporate prayer. Look at some of their confession: “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. He said, “accept the word planted in you.” As in the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13), the seed was in the soil, but it was not producing any fruit. Abel's Acceptable Worship Sacrifice, by Faith. What does he mean by deceived? Whatever we do first shows our priority. Obviously, the sackcloth and dust was meant to be a picture of their hearts before God. Verse 2 talks about your mind being renewed and doing the will of God. When you look at many of the prayers of Scripture, you will find how biblical they are. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the … 3. Jesus, while he was being crucified, cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” which is Psalm 22. Acceptable worship is God-centered, as we will see throughout this prayer. We see this in the Abrahamic covenant as God promises to bless both Abraham’s physical and spiritual seed, which we are a part of. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”. Isaiah’s time with God drew him to mourn over his condition and that of his people. Prayer that is full of Scripture and in line with what Scripture says is acceptable worship. God... 2) God was pleased with both Cain's and Abel's worship. They have not truly accepted the Word planted in them. In verses 6-14, the content is primarily about honoring God and remembering his works. This person’s worship is pointless. No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. It is the same for our spiritual leaders. During this confession, the Levites led them in the longest prayer written in the entire Bible.2 In this prayer, we see characteristics that should be implemented in every prayer as we worship God. And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up, and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.Nehemiah 9:5. In this prayer they confess both the sins of their fathers and also their sins (9:26). These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Christ said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”. It showed him their need for God’s grace. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreignersNehemiah 9:1-2, We cannot but notice that the Israelites prepared for worship. 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. Big Question: What characteristics of acceptable worship can we discern from Nehemiah 9, and how can we apply these characteristics to our spiritual lives? Now the Lord said to Abram,“Go forth from your country,And from your relativesAnd from your father’s house,To the land which I will show you; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a]by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men, So he left Asaph and his relatives there before the ark of the covenant of the. Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary URGENT: Help save a baby's life! He has told you, O man, what is good;And what does the Lord require of youBut to do justice, to love kindness,And to walk humbly with your God? That’s what Christ demanded of the rich man (Matt 19:21). Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 7:24-29. When the Word of God is increasing in your life, sin, by necessity, will decrease. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. The Protocol of Worship - Psalm 100 Scriptures: Psalm 40:3; John 12:32 Abraham’s nephew, Lot, almost died because of the sins of his neighbors in Sodom. One’s name in ancient Israel was a reflection of a person’s character. Nehemiah, with the help of Ezra and the Levites, began to rebuild the people of God. Remember, tremendous power is in this kind of prayer. If the Levites were not holy, it would have drawn the people away from God instead of towards him. The context of this praying is for Israel’s forgiveness as seen by their request in verse 19. Christ said to his disciples, “When you fast, do not look somber like the hypocrites…” (Matt 6:15). Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? Man was made in the image of God, and therefore, any time we fail to practice God’s commands, we are sinning. Similarly, Jesus prayed for his persecutors, “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.” We should do the same. Mourning comes from genuine contemplation on God. Isaiah 6). And the, Inspiration Of The Holy Spirit, Purpose Of. They confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers, and then they read for one-fourth of the day. The spiritual leaders of Israel, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, were ungodly. And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.”. Similarly, we see rejected worship throughout much of Israel’s history. Levites were given commands on how to keep themselves holy in order to approach the Lord and lead in worship (Lev 10). The Power of Worship - Psalm 40, John 12 4. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. Hebrews 12:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Hebrews 12:28, NIV: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe," Hebrews 12:28, ESV: "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe," Let us hold fast the profession of ourfaith without wavering; (for he isfaithful that … They came with hearts that had been looking at God, which revealed their sinful condition. And with them were Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those who should sound aloud, and with instruments for the songs of God, and the sons of Jeduthun for the gate. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. In this text, the Levites, those chosen by God to prepare themselves uniquely for worship, were called to lead the people in praising God. In fact, we see the importance of proper worship early on in Scripture. This included getting on the Internet, studying, eating, or anything else. 2. For the believers James was ministering to, the Word of God was already present. This is a form of fasting, letting go of something else to focus on God. Listen to what James says: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Is there Scriptural support for this? Before we expand on the meaning of "spirit and truth" worship which is acceptable to God, let us talk briefly about worship that is not acceptable to God. When the church is under God’s judgment, you will typically find ungodly people in leadership. He does not slander with his tongue,Nor does evil to his neighbor,Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;read more.In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,But who honors those who fear the Lord;He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest,Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.He who does these things will never be shaken. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. In the Old Testament, God often rebuked the spiritual leaders of Israel for their corruption and leading Israel astray. Acceptable worship includes preparation. Our prayers are primarily about ourselves. Israel recounted many of God’s blessings. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips,But their heart is far away from Me. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. Look at what he said in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. However, James declared the blessing of God on the person who hears the Word and responds. If you don’t desire it, you won’t eat it. Part of worship is thanksgiving and that is exactly what we see in the longest prayer in the Bible. They are not being changed by it. And he repaired the altar of the, Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the, So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” The KJV actually translates it “that ye may give yourself to fasting and prayer.”. Standing on the stairs were the Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani—who called with loud voices to the LORD their God. 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