Topic: Worship. Categories: Experience God> Know God>
Bible Scriptures: 1 Kings 6:12-13, 2 Chronicles 5:11-14, Exodus 40:34-35, Exodus 24:16-17, John 1:14, John 2:19-22, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5-6, Revelation 21:3-4.
Listen to the full sermon.
It is such a privilege to come together as one in unity of Spirit and worship the Living God. Each one of us on an individual journey and with all our stuff, worshipping in unity of Spirit and truth, testifying of who God is and what He has done.
This is the wonder of worship.
Let us journey to a time where God is speaking to King Solomon, who is building a temple according to the pattern given by God to his father David.
1 Kings 6:12-13 “Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”
The word temple can mean – house, those of same family, shelter or dwelling. What a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God. God’s family gathered together in one place. This is a place of shelter, dwelling together with the Lord God Almighty.
life of worship
God said to the people of Israel, ‘if you walk in my statutes’. This means walking in His ways, in His presence, believing in Him. Doing life with Him.
Just like in the beginning of creation when God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening with the first man and woman. This was before they ran from God’s presence, having chosen to be one with good and evil.
Remember it was humanity that chose to hide from God, not God from humanity. Humanity is continually trying to hide their shame. Yet God is continually pursuing in love, revealing Himself and making Himself known.
God continues in saying to Solomon, ‘execute my judgments’ which in effect is make My justice known. Be one with Me and My justice, not the injustice of humanity, but My justice where all are equal. Let My justice rule, be your custom, your identity, your life.
And ‘keep all my commandments’ is essentially to look after My word and be good custodians of it. Guard and protect it. Action them.
God is saying choose to be one with Me and everything of Me. This includes My ways, My Word, My authority, My Kingdom. Live in this reality of being one with Me.
God reassures Solomon of the promise and words He spoke to Solomon’s father David. That He will arise in power in His word and action, if they simply choose Him.
The promise is that God will ‘dwell’ amongst them. Dwell means to reside permanently, abide, continue, have habitation with, lay at rest, settle down, to be among and in the midst of. This is God’s promise to all who choose Him.
God Himself will breach the gap between His perfection, purity and goodness and humanity’s imperfection, impurities and oneness with evil and good. Humanity created the gap; yet God continually pursues in love and when received He makes the two one. A glimpse of this is seen in the wonder of worship.
His glory in worship
Let us read what happened when God’s people came together as one in worship, with praise and thanksgiving for the Living God.
2 Chronicles 5:11-14 And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets —
indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
When God’s people came together as one, out of the revelation that God ‘is good and His mercy endures forever’, the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. The priest’s could no longer minister because of the cloud. How glorious was this moment.
the tabernacle of meeting
The same occurred at the completion of the tabernacle of meeting. This was back in the days of Moses, during the children of Israel’s deliverance from the tyranny of the world super power of that time.
Exodus 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The cloud was a physical representation of God’s presence. In the history of the Israel people, God had previously Himself revealed to them in the same way, however their response was very different.
Exodus 24:16-17 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
God revealed Himself in a way the people could understand. As at that time no human eyes could see God without death because of the sense of dread the people had of God. They knew their own heart was full of rebellion, deception and shame and the realisation that God knew, was too much for them. They did not want intimacy with the Living God; therefore they saw Him as a consuming fire.
Moses however desired intimacy with the Living God and gave his total allegiance to Him.
Out of intimacy with God, the presence of God is realised.
God called to Moses from the cloud. Moses walked into the cloud, into God’s presence and spoke to God intimately, personally, relationally.
God speaks personally and it is our role to know His voice and listen to Him.
the revelation of worship
The priests were pronounced clean, the singer and musicians were of one accord. They received divine revelation that God is good and His mercy endures forever.
Solomon knew God and His promise to his father David. God promised David and said, ‘I will dwell among the people.’ To reside permanently, abide, continue, have habitation with, lay at rest, settle down, be among and in the midst of.
Accordingly the people watched as the presence of God filled the temple and consumed the sacrifice. Once the sacrifice was consumed the people could let go of their rebellion, deception and shame.
God did not need the sacrifice to forgive. It is the people’s self or flesh that needed the sacrifice to remove the blockages from receiving God’s forgiveness that is always available.
The glory of God enveloped the temple. The promise that God will dwell amongst the people, who are the temple, became a greater reality than this Old Testament experience. There was still a gap in the mind of the people between them and God.
Yet God Himself will breach the gap between heaven and earth for all eternity when He came from eternity to become flesh and blood, walk the earth as a man.
In Jesus, the Son of God became a man, to be the perfect sacrifice for us, so we can believe and receive deliverance from death, evil and our selfish desires or flesh.
Jesus became one of us. A human, yet not of human seed, but born of the seed of the Spirit. He dwelt amongst us revealing God’s glory.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
grace and truth
Through Jesus the human body has become the temple or dwelling place of the Living God. How radical this thought must of been to those who believed that the temple in Jerusalem was God’s earthly dwelling place.
John 2:19-22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
the new temple of worship
In Christ Jesus we are the living temple or dwelling place of God on earth. The new thing is always greater than the old with God. The Apostle Paul writes to the outcaste.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Formerly outcasts, relegated to an outer court in the temple, the Gentiles are now themselves a part of the temple. Christ Jesus is the chief cornerstone in whom we are fitted together. As a result all in Christ Jesus are raised up equal. All tribes and individuals are equal-equal. The Apostle Peter writes to the believing Jews.
1 Peter 2:5-6 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
The truth is glorious revelation of God and His great love and power. We who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and King are the habitation of God. He has paid the cost for us to be the new humanity in whom God’s glory is expressed. All creation lives in this hope.
the future hope
Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Download the pdf version of this sermon.