We Stand in Awe

“. . . to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 25).

In Your God is Too Small J. B. Phillips writes, “We have not only to be impressed by the ‘size’ and unlimited power of God, we have to be moved to genuine admiration, respect, if we are ever to worship Him.”

As Paul describes God’s merciful dealings with us, he is overwhelmed at the very thought of it all: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33).

Reverence. Fear. Amazement. Adoration. Gratitude. Love.

A desire to prostrate oneself. A longing to serve. All these are aspects of true worship.

As J. B. Phillips reminds us, worship is possible only when we learn to stand in profound awe of our Creator, the One who provides for us and who desires above all to be our Redeemer and Father.

With hearts attuned to the greatness and goodness of God, we will be more willing to make the necessary self-surrender Paul urges on us: “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

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Adapted from an article by JDG in the daily devotional guide Power for Today

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Back to the Basics

Examining our traditions

Often we humans tend to make elaborate the simple and to embellish the unadorned. A study of the history of Christian worship bears this out.

Rather than ritual, pomp, and ceremony, early Christian worship was simplicity itself. Often gathering in homes, first-century disciples knew nothing of vested clergy and robed choir, processionals and recessionals, pipe organs and prescribed liturgies.

Various possible reasons could be offered for the development of the “high church” tradition, but how many worshipers have thought to question whether indeed it has a basis in Scripture?

Following the divine pattern

A fresh look into the New Testament reveals the simple nature of the worship of the early church. They partook of unleavened bread and shared the fruit of the vine as they remembered what Jesus did on their behalf (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).

They prayed together earnestly, and their a cappella singing was an expression of heart-felt praise (Acts 4:23-31; 12:12; 16:25; Ephesians 5:19).

They listened as the word was taught (Acts 14:21-22, 27; 20:7), and they gave liberally as they prospered (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Philippians 4:15-19).

They were a family of brothers and sisters in Christ, gathering frequently to worship their common Lord, receive instruction and encourage one another (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-25).

Is there any reason why we cannot do the same today?

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What Restoration Means

If anything should have been well-maintained, surely it was God’s temple in Jerusalem.

But King Hezekiah’s forebears had drifted far from God, and the temple showed the dire effects of their apostasy.

Time to set things right!

Hezekiah commanded, “. . . carry the uncleanness out from the holy place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the LORD . . . . They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps . . . .

“So the priests went in to the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and every unclean thing which they found in the temple of the LORD they brought out to the court of the house of the LORD. Then the Levites received it to carry out to the Kidron Valley.”

Their efforts were two-pronged. First, they removed what should have never been put into the temple. Second, they replaced what should have never been removed.

“. . . all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness, we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:5-7, 16, 19).

And for us today?

Just as Hezekiah restored the temple to a condition that would once again honor God, so shouldn’t we also be diligent to restore the purity and simplicity Christ desires for His church (Ephesians 5:23-27; Revelation 2:1-7; 3:1-6, 14-22)?

In the New Testament God reveals how He wants His church to be organized, how His people are to worship, what they are to teach, and how they are to live.

Through the centuries, countless unauthorized changes have been made to the divine plan for the church—but could they be called improvements?

Isn’t the call to return to the original divine pattern as needed today as it was in Hezekiah’s?

Are we willing to re-examine our beliefs and practices in light of God’s Word?

The Bible labels Hezekiah’s restoration efforts “these acts of faithfulness” (2 Chronicles 32:1).

May God be able to say the same of us!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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