Summary: We also looked last time at the five ways that God reveals Himself to us in worship. Tonight we will look again to our text in Isaiah and look at the fundamental responses biblical worship has to God’s revealing of Himself. Once we have done that, we will
Worship – Part 2
In Part 1 of our study of biblical worship, we saw what worship is and what it isn’t, and we looked at Isaiah 6:1-11a, as a model for us to pattern our worship after. Keep in mind that a model is only a general pattern to follow, not a template for exact duplication. With a pattern to follow, we keep ourselves from giving the Holy Spirit reason to stand back from our worship. Instead, we open ourselves to the free flow of the Spirit, allowing Him to lead and guide and bring us to that place where God is revealed, where God is encountered, where God is experienced.
We also looked last time at the five ways that God reveals Himself to us in worship. Tonight we will look again to our text in Isaiah and look at the fundamental responses biblical worship has to God’s revealing of Himself. Once we have done that, we will put the two together and we will have our worship model.
The first response to God’s revelation is adoration and praise. God is the ultimate being in the Universe and, as such, He is worthy of praise and worship just for who He is. We are not to focus on ourselves in any way – not our needs, not our inadequacies, not our unworthiness in comparison, not anything; just Him.
In both, the word “holy” is stated three times. Anytime something is repeated in the Bible, it is significant, and it is to be given special consideration, as when Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” In our texts for this evening, we see “holy” stated not twice, but three times. These are the only places in all of Scripture when something is said and repeated three times. “Holy, holy, holy…” Think about two people who are totally infatuated with each other. Aren’t they giddily happy just being together, no matter where they are? This takes us beyond that in our level of worship for the pure holiness of God. The radiance of his glory is overwhelming; it suffuses our surroundings, our minds, our entire beings. Look at the abject humility of the seraphim, who themselves are holy and without sin: they cover their eyes because they are not worthy to look upon His holiness. How, then, should we respond when we encounter Holy God?
We are to praise and exalt and glorify and honor and adore and love and bow before Him in open and unrestrained worship.
This then leads us to the next part of biblical worship – contrition and confession. Contrition is an old word that we rarely if ever hear today. It encompasses a great deal. It means repentance, remorse, regret, sorrow, apology, penitence. It is an attitude of the heart that demonstrates realistic regard for and understanding of our true condition when we do encounter Holy God. Look at the prophet Isaiah’s response when he encounters God in this way.
Isaiah is able to see himself in a way that he never has before. It is what one author called his “moment of truth.” He suddenly understands that his sin and sinfulness and that of his people condemn him to death and separation from Holy God. Isaiah’s response? The same as ours should be – confession.
Here is where most of worship falters in America today. When was the last time you heard in a worship service an admission of the sinfulness of those in attendance and a petition for the healing and cleansing of God’s forgiveness? Too seldom do we – and I include myself in this – too seldom do we come out and admit openly and out loud that we are sinners, that we sin, that we have unconfessed sin, that we are now confessing that sin before God, and that we are seeking His forgiveness, cleansing, healing, and restoration. This I purpose to change, and I ask you all to keep me accountable to this. I have the responsibility in my role in the body and within this fellowship to lead our people to this place in our worship. It needs to be in my prayers, not just my daily prayers for myself, but I need to begin including it regularly in my prayers for you and for us as a group. So shall it be.
Now, what is the result of this lack, do you think? What happens to sin that is unconfessed? It accumulates. The results of our sin and the repercussions of that sin accumulate and grow. It is the sow and reap principle that the Bible speaks of so clearly and so regularly. Almost the entirety of the book of Proverbs demonstrates a “sow this, reap that” economy.