Summary: Christendom is struggling with what is true worship, and just how we are to worship the Living God. Ezra gives some great insight into this subject.
Restoring Proper Worship
Preached at the Laurel Church of Christ
On March 2, 2003
I. “After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, “Dear God, we had a good time at church today – but I wish you had been there!”
A. The Lord’s church is facing an epidemic of catastrophic proportions if nothing is done soon with our worship.
B. It is not enough to have a good time at church services, how easy it is to forget our purpose.
C. Our purpose to worship God, which translates into strengthening the Saints.
D. Our primary purpose: Worship God
II. Our study thus far as been tuned to the restoration of God’s people
A. This is important because many people slowly move away from God without knowing any difference
1. They begin by simply drifting and while their backs are turned they have drifted a long way from shore.
2. There is no place more evident than the worship people corporately produce for God, where you will find a slow drifting from the truth.
3. I noticed this past week in the CBD catalog a book discussing why Christians should not participate in what they called “praise” worship.
4. They were using the same arguments that we use for not using instruments period.
5. Our faith begins with worship and adoration, yet it seems that true worship fleetingly flees the worshiper
B. We have learned many lessons from remnant of Israel, and we still have many great lessons to learn.
1. God prepares the way for us to return
2. It is important to assess where we are
a. Part1: Realize it is time to return to God
b. Part 2: Give back God’s possessions.
c. Part 3: Identify the remnant that belongs to God
d. Part 4: Identify the center of worship
3. Now it is time to establish proper worship
I. Step 1: Approached “the SOURCE”
A. Ezra 3:1-2 “When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.”
1. The remnant found the center of worship
2. Leaders know to search the “Source”
3. God’s word is our source to begin restoring true worship
B. Worship is not about you – it’s about God
1. Worship is not about getting you here it is about getting God here
2. A minister once introduced the speaker and said, “We are now at the most important part of our service?”
3. I respectfully disagree. God desires our worship!
4. Praise, prayer, remembrance and reflection, and you freewill offering
C. When we realize what worship is problems that have arisen just seem to melt away
1. Churches argue over the song selection
2. They argue over the bread in the plate and fruit of the vine in small cups or one cup
3. All the while forgetting, why we are here.
4. To WORSHIP
D. The Remnant wanted to worship and the leaders were very wise and understood that God had ordered specific worship
1. We had better be wise and see how God wants us to worship him
2. He wants it to come from the recesses of your heart
3. He wants five things to happen in the worship of him (Prayer, singing, giving, Lord’s supper, and the preaching of his Word)
4. That means that when God asks for something that is what he gets.
5. We had better not hand him something he did not order or he will be coming through those front doors angry because we messed up his order.
6. That means when God says he wants singing and not instruments we give him what? SINGING
7. When God asks us to partake of the Lord’s Supper every week we do what? The Lord’s supper EVERY week
8. We are not here to be worshipped, but to WORSHIP
II. Step 2: Established the altar of SACRIFICE
A. Ezra 3:3-7 “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices. Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred feasts of the LORD, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the LORD. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, though the foundation of the LORD’s temple had not yet been laid. Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.”