Be Wise About Worship
By: John Ankerberg Show
October 4, 2015
Message, Tim LaFleur, Discipleship Pastor
Amen. Good morning. Aren’t you grateful for our choir and orchestra. Thank Abby as well. Lets give the Lord a hand. Praise the Lord.
Sometimes I think when I say lets give the Lord a hand, I am thinking to myself, lets give the Lord everything. Amen? Because He is worthy. Thank you so much for reminding us that we are not only to surrender to God, but we are surrender everything in our lives.
If you have your copy of the Word of God, turn if you would to the book of Ecclesiastes and Chapter 10, the book of Ecclesiastes and Chapter 10.
My name is Tim. I am the Disciple Making Pastor here at Brainerd and it is my great privilege to be able to share the Word of God with you over the next several weeks. I count it a privilege. I don’t have to preach. Somebody said, you have got to preach. No, I don’t got to preach, I get to preach, Amen? And so I am exciting about doing that and thankful for the opportunity. And more than anything else, here is what I want during our time together. I want God through me, and I need prayer, I need God’s help, to share a word fitly spoken. The wisdom literature says, the Word fitly spoken is as apples of gold in the setting of silver. And more than anything else, we need to hear a clear word from God. Amen? We need God to speak at this time in the life of our church. We need God’s Word. Amen? And we need to say on the front end, God, we are obedient to You.
And so, for the next several weeks, what I want to do is, I want to talk to you about God’s wisdom and seeing things from God’s viewpoint.
You know, it is an amazing thing. You can either see things from the world’s viewpoint or you can see things from God’s viewpoint. And we had better see things from God’s viewpoint because one day when it is all said and done, you and I will stand before God and give an account of our lives. The Bible says, “Just as it is appointed for a man to die once and after that judgment.” We will stand before God. We will give an account of our lives. And it is not going to make any difference what Oprah is saying or anybody else. We had better hear what God says. Amen?
And so during these days, we want to get a word from God. We want to be wise in all that we do.
Ecclesiastes 10:10. Are you there? Say “Word.” Amen. You are all there. “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength.” Notice that last phrase. “But wisdom brings success.” Do you see it?
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived except for the Lord Jesus, made this bold declaration, wisdom brings success.
Turn back over to the book of Proverbs, the next book over. Proverbs Chapter 9 and Verses 9 and 10. This is a key verse in the book of Proverbs. In fact, it may be the theme verse. And so I want to call your attention to it.
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will still be wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” Some of your translations say, teach a man of understanding and he will increase in learning. Look at Verse 10. “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
The book of Proverbs also tells us that we are to seek after wisdom and wise counsel. We are to go after it. We are to pursue it. We are to embrace it. We are to heed and hearken to wisdom. That is what Solomon tells us.
But what is wisdom? Think about it. Practically, wisdom is to apply knowledge, the knowledge that we have to real-life situations. That is what wisdom is. Godly wisdom would be doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Do you see it?
Sometimes we do the right thing but we do it at the wrong time, and that is not wisdom. Sometimes we do the right thing at the right time, but we have got the wrong motives and that is not wisdom. Wisdom, Godly wisdom is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.
Warren Wiersbe helps us. I think we will put it on the screen. “Wisdom is seeing things from God’s viewpoint. It is the idea of being skilful and successful in one’s relationship and responsibility.
Now how about you? Do you want to be skilful and successful in your relationships and your responsibilities? I don’t know about you, but I want to do. And with that being the backdrop of everything that we do, today I want to talk to you abut worship. And so the title of the message is “Be Wise in Your Worship.” And each week, we will have a different wisdom idea that we will bring to you so that we can see things from God’s viewpoint.
So basically what we are going to do today is, we are going to see worship from God’s viewpoint. Now if you have your copy of the Word of God, turn if you would to Isaiah Chapter 6 and we will consider Verses 1-8 during the course of the message.
Isaiah Chapter 6. Now, Isaiah Chapter 6 is an amazing picture of worship. In fact, in all of the Word of God, in all of scripture, there is no greater picture of worship than Isaiah Chapter 6.
When you think of worship, what do you think about? Do you think abut business as usual at the church? Do you think about singing in the choir? Do you think about sitting through a boring sermon? What do you think about when you come to worship? Do you feel like, well, I have done my duty?
What is real worship? What is it and what does it mean to worship God? Our English word “worship,” actually comes from an Old English word that was worth sheep, or worth ship. And basically, what it meant was that it ascribed value and worth to a thing.
For example, England was a maritime society . And every way they traveled, everywhere they traveled, they went by boat. Like, if they wanted to go to another country because they were an island, they had to go by boat. And so for something to be worth ship, it had to be valued and worth something. Why? Because they were concerned about the weight of the ship. And so to be worth ship meant that it was very precious and it was very valuable.
So when you and I worship God, we ascribe value and worth to Him. And to think about it, that we ascribe surpassing value and the highest worth to God when we worship Him, or we ought to. Why? Because He ought to be, as John Piper says, our treasure. We ought to make much of God in our lives. And when we come together to worship, what we are saying is, You are God and we are not and we ascribe value and worth to You because You are worthy.
My seminary professor, Bruce Leafblod, Dr. Leafblod used to tell us, when we truly worship, we love God with everything we have got, with our heart, mind, soul and strength. We set our mind’s attention and our hearts affection on God.
Is that what you prepared to do today when you came to worship? Did you walk through the door saying, I want to set my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God. I want to come to the place of worship today, this worship center that we have and we dedicated it to be a place of worship. Did you say when you walked through the doors or did you say when you walked on these grounds, I want to set my mind’s attention, my heart’s affection on God. I am doing this, not just to go through the motions, I am doing this because my God is worthy of all worship and honor and glory and praise. Is that why you came to worship today?
Well, the good news is, you can turn your attention toward God even now.
Look at Isaiah Chapter 6. When you get there, say “Word.” Isaiah Chapter 6. Now consider verses 1-4.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim;” and in the language of the Old Testament, that word literally means the burning ones. These are angelic beings. Notice the description: “Each one had six wings; with two he covered his face.” They couldn’t even look upon Holy God. “With two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another…” notice…”Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” That is code for the Shekinah glory of God.
So when Isaiah came to worship, he caught this amazing glimpse of the living God!
My goal today is simply this: I want to help you see what it truly means to worship so that you and I can hear from God and respond to His call.
Lets pray together. Father, we are thankful for this wonderful privilege, this wonderful opportunity to worship You. And God, we say on the front end that we want to see You in new and fresh ways, even today. Lord, teach us from Isaiah’s experience. Teach us what it means to truly worship. And God, we are thankful for those times when You break through and we see You in new and fresh ways. I pray, God, that we would prepare our hearts even now to hear from You. We want to hear a Word from You, God, a Word fitly spoken. God, help me as I share with Your people. Lord, You know my heart. I want them to hear from You. Use me, Lord. I surrender to You. And we pray it in Jesus’ name. And everybody said Amen!
Isaiah Chapter 6 is an amazing passage of scripture. I want you to notice in Verse 1. It says, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.” There are several spiritual realities I want you to see in this text. And the first one is this: Isaiah saw the Lord. Isaiah saw the Lord. And listen, if you are wondering about who he saw, and that is always a topic of conversation, read John Chapter 12 and you might get a hint of who Isaiah actually saw on the throne and it might surprise you to know who he saw. I am not going to give it away, but I have my conviction about who he saw. But regardless, the living God was seated on the throne and He was highly exalted. That is what Isaiah saw.
Now notice the phrase, “In the year that King Uzziah died.” In the year that Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. The first thing I want you to see here is crisis. This was a time of crisis in the life of Isaiah. He was tied and his nation was so tied to this earthly king Uzziah. Why? Because Uzziah ushered in through his reign a time of blessing and prosperity for Judah. And so they were tied to Uzziah and they had fixed their focus upon Uzziah and his reign and maybe they took their eyes off of the living God. And so as he worships, even in crisis, even during a difficult time, he moves his attention from an earthly king and he puts his attention on an eternal king, on a heavenly king.
Joe Gregory helps us here. He says, “God had to empty an earthly throne so that Isaiah could see an eternal heavenly home.” And so many times, what we do is, we fix our gaze upon men when we ought to be fixing our gaze upon the One True God.
This was a time of crisis in the life of Isaiah. But this crisis led to a confrontation. Isaiah went into the Temple and he began to worship. Isaiah did what he had always done, even though he was in the midst of a crisis, even though his world was literally falling apart, Isaiah did what he always did. He went to the place of worship. He went into the Temple a mourner. He was mourning and grieving over the death of Uzziah. And while he was worshiping God, God did something amazing. God stepped into time and allowed Isaiah to catch a glimpse of God in all of His glory. He saw the living God. He had this amazing encounter with God and he would never be the same.
Look at the description there. And I want to point out three attributes of God. There are many that are described here, but I want to call your attention to three. Isaiah saw a God who was sovereign. Notice that. Look at what it says in Verse 1. “in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, highly exalted, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the Temple.”
That is a wonderful description of God. He sees God, the living God, the true God, the only true God as sovereign. He is majestic in all of His glory. He is dressed in a regal robe. His robe, the train of it, fills the entire Temple. We will see that in a minute. But He is sitting on a throne. And so Isaiah moves his eyes from an earthly king to a heavenly king. And what God is saying is this, I have got this! Even though it is a time of crisis, even though your world is falling apart, even though the nation is experiencing decline, God is saying, listen, I am still on My throne. Aren’t you glad He is? Amen? And when your world is falling apart, you can know, if you know about God, that He is still on the throne. He is still sovereign. He is still in charge. He is Lord. He is God. And He says, I am in control, My child. Trust in Me. And so he pictures God as sovereign.
But then he also sees God as holy. Notice what it says. “Above it stood seraphim; each had six wings; with two he covered his face.” These angelic beings couldn’t even look upon the splendor and the beauty of holiness that is our God. God is holy. They covered their feet, the scripture says. That is great humility. These angelic beings were in the presence of God 24-7 and crying to one another. I can imagine the booming voice of the one who cries out. The Bible says in Verse 4 that the posts were shaken, the threshold of the temple was shaken. Why? Because these angelic beings were crying to one another, Holy, Holy, Holy and the house was filled with smoke.
Now any time in the Hebrew language that there is repetition, and Robby has taught us this, there is repetition, He is not just Holy, folks, He is thrice holy. An evangelist I heard preach said it this way. He said, one for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Ghost. Bless God. I think it was Bill Stafford who said that.
Isn’t that amazing? God is portrayed in this text as Holy. And so the living God is not only sovereign, He is holy. There is a beauty in His holiness. These fiery ones, these angelic beings continually say, moment by moment, 24-7, they are saying Holy, Holy, Holy. I wonder, do you view God as Holy? Do you see yourselves as holy? I want to tell you, if you are born again, you have been set apart by God. You are holy and you ought to live like it, amen? You are holy and we ought to live like it.
The last thing I want you to see is, the glory of God. He is glorious. He is not only sovereign, He is not only Holy, but He is glorious. And what a description. The Bible says the train of His robe fills the Temple. The glory of God has been described as all that encompasses who God is and what He does.
Think about it. The glory of God. His glory transcends this place. It fills the temple. The train of His robe is the very glory of God. It is filling the temple. There is this shekinah glory in the temple. There is smoke everywhere. Listen, a rock band doesn’t have to make smoke in this situation. There is smoke everywhere. Why? It is the glory of God. There is a mystic feel to this. And Isaiah senses God all around him. The presence of God is so real you could cut it with a knife. He is everywhere in the Temple.
And so Isaiah has this amazing glimpse of the glory of God. He sees God in all of His splendor and all of His majestic glory, the Sovereign King sitting on a throne. But he not only sees God, as he catches a glimpse of who God is, there is an inward look and Isaiah sees himself.
That is number two. Jot it down. Isaiah not only saw God, but he saw himself. Notice what he says in Verse 5. “Woe is me, for I am undone!” There is this deep conviction and this deep sense that Isaiah is undone. Some synonyms for that word would be ruined. I think the ESV says lost. There is this profound sense and conviction of sin.
But then notice that there is a confession. And that is the way we ought to respond, right? When you and I are convicted of our sin, we ought to respond to God through confession where we acknowledge our sin. Look at it in Verse 5. He says, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” Why? “Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
What Isaiah is saying is, when I caught a fresh glimpse of who God is, I saw myself for what I am and I don’t like what I see. God is righteous. I am unrighteous. God is holy. I am unholy. God is clean, I am unclean.
And I will submit to you, when we truly worship, we will have an experience something like that because we see God for who He is and we see ourselves for who we are. Isaiah didn’t like what he saw.
Then comes cleansing. One of the seraphim, the scripture says, flew to me and touched my mouth and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged or forgiven.” Some translations say atoned for. That is a great word.
Do you see what happened? The seraphim takes a live coal from the altar with the tongs of the altar and he touches Isaiah’s mouth and then says this to Isaiah, listen, God has touched you. This coal symbolizing the burning, hot, holy fire of God, the consuming fire of God has touched you and you will never be the same. Now you are clean. Now your sin is purged. Now your sin is forgiven. Now your sin is atoned for.
Notice, first came conviction, then confession, then cleansing. Turn if you would to Proverbs 28:13. Lets see this thing from God’s viewpoint. Proverbs 28 and Verse 13. “Those who cover their sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall obtain mercy.” Do you see it? What does it mean to cover sin? Certainly Isaiah could not cover his sin since he came into the presence of the living God. Listen, you can’t hide from God. You can’t hide your sin from God. You can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist.
And here is what Isaiah and the writer of Proverbs means, King Solomon means this. If you cover your sin, if you try to hide it from God, if you try to pretend that it doesn’t exist, the Bible says you will not prosper. You will remain in your sin. And let me remind you, that when you remain in sin apart from the working of God in your life, you are separated from God and you will never see things from His viewpoint and you will never please Him. Why? Because you are not dealing with your sin. If you cover your sin, you will not prosper, but notice what it says. If you confess and forsake it, to confess is to acknowledge sin and to forsake is to turn away from sin. Repent of it. So it is not just a matter of confessing it before God and acknowledging it before God, it is a matter of turning away from sin. You shall obtain the mercy of God.
Now notice in here where Isaiah says in Verse 5, one more thing I want you to notice before we move on. When he says, I am undone, why? I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Is Isaiah merely talking about a speech problem? What do you think? That is the sin that he identifies with. But let me tell you what he is talking about. He knows the truth that Jesus exposed and taught in His ministry that out of the abundance of the heart, what, the mouth speaks.
You see, it wasn’t just a voice problem or a speech problem that Isaiah and the people of God had, it was a heart problem. Somebody said it this way, the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. And that is why when the angel came, the angel said after he touched his lips, he said, your iniquity is taken away. That is not just a synonym for sin, it is a specific kind of sin. It is the sin that is on the inside. And so it was an amazing declaration. When he was convicted and confessed his sin and purposed to follow after God, what God did was God brought cleansing and even sin on the inside was forgiven.
Isaiah saw the Lord. He saw himself. Notice thirdly, he heard and responded to God’s call. He responded to God’s call. Look at Verse 8. Here is an amazing verse. “then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Notice the plural. There is a trace of the trinity here, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Then I said, here is Isaiah’s response, “Here am I, send me.” That is a joyful response. When Isaiah made right with God, when took the initiative to burst into Isaiah’s presence as he worshiped and dealt with his sin, then Isaiah responded by saying, Here am I, send me. He was not forced or coerced to do the will of God. He was a glad volunteer. He was a fearless follower of God. Because of his encounter, he determined, I am going to do God’s will, no matter what the cost. And began to tell him how the people would treat him and how they wouldn’t receive his message, but he lifts his hands and says, God, count me in. I am all in. Use me. Work through my life. Accomplish Your purpose. Do you see it? When we truly worship, we will not only see God in new and fresh ways, but we will see ourselves through conviction and confession and cleansing. And then, we can clearly hear the voice of God.
Let me give you a couple of walking points and then I am done. First walking point is this. Oftentimes God speaks through adversity. How many of you can testify to that? God speaks through adversity. Isaiah was going through a very difficult time. Uzziah, the one he depended on, died. And so, in essence, what God is saying is, take your eyes off of a man and fix your eyes on Me. And listen, that is word we need to hear at this church during this time. Take your eyes off of man and fix your gaze upon the One who sits on His throne, high and lifted up. Amen?
Thank God for the ministry of Pastor Robby. He served us well for seven years. But I want to tell you, this church does not rise and fall upon any man. This church rises and falls upon its relationship with the Living True God and we need to fix our gaze on Him. Amen?
Take your eyes off man. Take your eyes off an earthly king and fix your gaze upon the heavenly King because He is worthy of all honor and glory and power and praise. Praise His name forever.
The second walking point is this: When you truly encounter God, you will never be the same. And I want you to listen to me very, very carefully. We have gotten so routine and ritualistic. I can go to 300 Baptist churches in Hamilton County Association. I can tell you before I walk in the building what is going to happen at every church. Now I am not saying it is right or wrong. I am just telling you that that kind of thing brings about ritual and routine and that kills your relationship with God. It shouldn’t be business as usual at the church. And many times, we are at fault because our worship leaders plan such a wonderful worship experience for us, meant to help us to connect with God, but you know what we do? We just come in and go through the motions. And I want to ask you a couple of questions. Did you pray for me this week, knowing that I would be bringing the message? Did you ask God to prepare your hearts before you walked in this place? Did you have sort of as a mind-set, I am going to church, not to see my friends, but I am going to the House of God in order to worship. Was that your mind-set?
Listen, when you truly worship, number one, you are going to deal with your sin. And you might not even be aware of it, all of us have blind spots. Some of us are very aware of our sin and the sinful conditions around us. But some of us who are pursuing God and really seeking after Him, we might because of a blind spot, not even be aware of sin in our lives. And so when we come to worship and our hearts are right, God has freedom to really speak to our hearts as we are open to Him and we are hearing from Him and we are responding to Him, the Spirit of God begins to do a work of conviction and we see that something is not right and we ought to get it right, amen?
The second thing that ought to happen is when we get it right, we ought to have a desire to do God’s will. We ought to have this insatiable desire, not to just do what we have always done, but to serve God. You see, Isaiah became a fearless follower. He became a glad volunteer. He didn’t have to be forced or coerced into following after God’s will. He said, here am I, send me! It wasn’t coercing him or conscripting him to do the work that God had for him to do, he was overjoyed in it. He wanted to use his gifts and abilities and he wanted to allow God to work through him so that he could accomplish God’s purpose. Do you see it?
I want to ask you a question and I want you to listen very carefully. Is God dealing with you about sin in your life? Before you leave this place, you need to make it right. Make these steps an altar. Confess your sin before Him. Those who confess and forsake it, shall obtain the mercy of God. I can’t forgive you. A man can’t forgive you. But God can not only forgive but He can restore and make you whole.
But then a second question, a follow-up question would be this: Could it be that God is calling you? Maybe you have been involved in the church for a season and you have sensed that God is working in my life and He wants me to do something really really special where I can utilize my gifts and abilities and talents to really serve Him.
God is probably speaking to lots of people like that. Let me remind you, God never calls the equipped, He equips the called. That ought to bring somebody joy today. God never calls the equipped, He equips the called. And let me say that the same God that calls you, will equip and empower you and give you all the strength you need to serve Him.
Now is the time during this transition, to find your place of service. The one that God has spoken to you about and led you to and get involved. There is no place for anybody to be on the sideline during these days. Now is the time to suit up, get in the game and begin to serve God. Amen!