Summary: A true worshiper keeps the cross in view at all times.
Last time, we looked to verse 22 and talked about how what true worship says. True worshipers “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” A true worshiper believes God meets with us, speaks to us, and works among us when we gather together for
worship. Today I want us to look to verse 22 again as we consider . . .
What True Worship Seeks (READ VERSE 22)
A true worshiper seeks to walk in the forgiveness of God.
“having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience”
A true worshiper is one who . . .
1. Appreciates the seriousness of sin.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”- James 4:8 (NKJV)
“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not liftup his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.” - Psalm 24:4-6 (NIV)
2. Appropriates the cleansing of the cross.
The writer speaks of the sacrifice of Christ in verses 19-20. Because Christ’s blood was shed for our sakes and His body was broken for our sakes, we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place - the presence of God. This speaks not only of our assurance of being in His presence one day (in eternity), but also of our entering into His presence today (which we do through worship).
“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins - and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” - 1 John 2:2 (NLT)
Abraham Lincoln was walking down a hallway in the War Department building when an army officer, not looking where he was going, collided with him. The officer was horrified when he saw whom he had run into. “A thousand pardons, Mr. President!” he said. Lincoln replied, “One is quite enough.”
Christ has died on the cross for the sins of the world and offers pardon to all who would receive it. He died once for all, and when we, by faith, accept His provision for the pardon of our sin, it is enough! Our eternal relationship with God is secure.
But while our eternal relationship is secure, our daily fellowship with God depends on our constant appreciation of the seriousness of sin and conscious appropriation of the cleansing of the cross.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:7-9 (NIV)
John mentions the believers’ fellowship with one another as a factor that enables us to walk in the light of God’s presence. As we gather for worship, we are each encouraged to enter into God’s presence, and in the light of His presence, any sin that is present in our lives is revealed. And as that sin is revealed, the true worshiper will confess and acknowledge their sin, so they might enjoy the light of God’s presence to the full, and experience a taste of heaven here and now.
Confessing our sins and claiming the cleansing of the cross will always be an integral part of drawing near to God in worship. And in doing so, the worshiper celebrates . . .
1) The faithfulness of God - “he is faithful”
“I believe that as often as I transgress, God is more ready to forgive me than I am ready to offend.” - C.H. Spurgeon
2) The justice of God - “he is . . . just”
God is justified in forgiving us our sins, not because of our promise to never sin again, or because of the eloquence of our confession, or because anything having to do with us, but of the adequacy of the cross of Christ to fully pay the penalty for our sins.
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” - 1 John 2:1 (NLT)
Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
Whenever we sin, he accuses us of not being worthy of a relationship with God. He makes that accusation to the Father and to us. He is like the prosecuting attorney in the court room of heaven. But Jesus is our defense attorney, and exhibit “A” in our defense is Christ Himself. As He displays His nail scarred hands and feet, the court is satisfied that, indeed, we are not worthy of a relationship with God, but Christ’s sacrifice has made us acceptable in God’s sight.