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Archive for March, 2018

True Worship must be from our Hearts
The Lord Desires We Worship from Our Hearts – Not Just Rote Observance of Tradition

Disciple Praying

Deep Prayer

“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
He answered them, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.’ But you say, ‘If any one tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father.’ So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ (Matt:15:1-9)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Note that Jesus, here, is criticized as not being a true rabbinical leader by the Pharisees for deviating from Jewish religious tradition. Jesus response to His critics telling them that following the precepts of God in faith and sincerity supersedes any human ritualistic traditions when it involves our relationship with the Divine. He pointed out to them that true worship of the Divine must be based on a heart-to-heart relationship with the Father and not just rote following of human religious tradition.

When we are baptized into Christ as children we have His Spirit in us. However, it is necessary for our parents and the Church to catechize (teach) us and guide us to  our spiritual empowerment at  Confirmation thus activating His Spirit in us so that the awareness of the the spiritual becomes a part of our life experience. It is through this awareness that your faith becomes more effective in living our lives in harmony with the Father’s will.

Without this awareness, our participation in the practices of the Church become merely routine observance of human tradition and custom, and thus deadening us to the spiritual connection His people should have with the Divine.

That is what happened to many in Israel, not only is Jesus’ time, but also in Isaiah’s time and that is why Jesus quotes Isaiah when he tells them … ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ (Matt:15:9)

In attempting to understand the citation above, let us review its context…

In the Old Testament, it was revealed to Isaiah that a time would come when the nations around Ariel (Jerusalem) would surround her and lay siege to to her and that the Lord would come at that time to defend her and bring defeat to her enemies. But although the vision of His protection and been given them trough the Word and Vision He provided, the spirits of those charged with making the vision known were as in a deep sleep, so that they were unaware of the vindication the Lord had planned for Ariel in their time of trouble.

Isaiah recorded what God told him about the situation in this way … “For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets, and covered your heads, the seers.… the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”  And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.” (Is. 29: 10-12)

In the next verse, Isaiah then records God’s explanation for the cause of their loss of spiritual awareness (inability to access the spiritual guidance provided) as follows… “And the Lord said, [this is happening] … “Because this people draw near (me) with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear (reverence, including worship) of me is [merely done as a response to] a commandment of men learned by rote …

… so [because of this] I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing.The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment [awareness] of the discerning shall be hidden.”  (Isaiah 29:13-4, Revised Standard Version)

Thus, in John’s Gospel, when the Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well and tried to divert Him from scrutinizing her morals, she told him …

Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4: 20)

In response to her use of the the term “worship” … Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)

Jesus used the occasion to attempt to clarify to her (and to us) that true worship emanates from a true relationship with God, for the word “know” indicates that we “intimately know” “in spirit” the one whom we worship. And, that the true worship that God desires is for those who worship Him to do so out of a true spiritual knowledge of Him and who He Is in His Person.

So now let us understand what the Word says about what God desires of us in order that we may truly worship Him in “Spirit” and in “Truth”.

Let us begin by considering that Jesus tells us through the WORD, that, “ I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no one can come to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). It follows then, that if we are to truly come before the Father to worship Him, we can only do that through the Spirit of Christ and The Revealed Truth of His Word.

The only way then, that we can approach the Father to Worship is through the active purity of the spirit of Jesus in us.

The “Way” is Being in The Spirit…

As scripture tells us the Spirit of “Christ in us the Hope of Glory” (Col 1:27) is the WAY to the Father. And since flesh cannot beget spirit” our spirit life must be begotten by the Holy Spirit before we can even “walk in the spirit” much less worship in the spirit”.

Just as Jesus told Nicodemus when he came to Him at night… “you came because the Holy Spirit incited your spiritual awareness of the ‘Kingdom’ but in order to make your spiritual awareness permanent your spirit must be activated by being “reborn of Water and the Spirit” (see John chapter 3).

So, the Way into the Spiritual temple where true worship begins when “by One Spirit you are baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Here we repent of our sins, accepting Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins, being purified by water at the entrance to His Tabernacle in our hearts. This purification is necessary as explained by this excerpt from Psalm 24 …

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
 And who shall stand in his holy place?
 4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
 who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
   and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord,
  and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
  who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

And then, in the Book Of Hebrews in the New Covenant we believers are told that through our faith in Jesus and His Sacrifice we are purified and sanctified to come before the throne to Worship for He has indeed prepared the Way for us to enter into Worship!

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying…and I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”(Heb. 10:14, 17)

It must also be understood thet being Truly in the Spirit requires that we must also be in the Truth, that is,  in embedded in Divine Love (agape Love), for our God is Love …

“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10: 19-25)

Our Responsibility is maintaining our fellowship in His Life… (I John 1)

Once we have entered into the awareness of His Spirit in us and have experienced true worship in His Spirit, we, as His Children are given the responsibility of maintaining our fellowship with Him by acting as channels of His Love and Fellowship to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus. By giving our selves to Love we bring Him the Glory that is His; this then, is the continuation of the True Spirit of Worship in us! Praised be His Holy Name!

In the first chapter of his first letter, the Apostle John expresses this sentiment perfectly…  (read 1 John 1 in it entirety)

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

John tells his readers that what he is sharing to them what the disciples saw heard from Jesus because he wants his readers to understand the Light of His Love and Joy that God has them in their fellowship with Christ, and that he desires that his readers understand and experience that same Joy in their lives. He further informs them, that in maintaining that fellowship of Love with one another the Blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse us from all sin so that so that we may maintain our fellowship with the Father bringing Him the Glory which is His.

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Because of this John also tells us that we do not need to hide from our sins but rather readily confess them before Christ in order to let the Blood Of Christ continue His work of cleansing throughout our lives.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.” (1 John 2 28-29)

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In trying to understand how to open our hearts to God in Worship hear how David prayed from his heart to God regarding how he opened his heart, while in dire distress, contending with the accusations of men as to his faith in God.

ascending-temple“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold the face of God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:  how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.” (Ps. 42:2-4)

In his human weakness listen to how he asked for the Spirit of God to lead Him before the altar to worship …

“Oh send out your light and your truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy;  and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” (Ps. 43:3-4)

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Thus my brethren, I share this with you that your joy may be in your fellowship with the Divine so that your True Worship may not falter and that His Blessings be continually on you and your loved ones.  Amen and Amen!
Your Brother In Christ … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2018])

Recommended Links
Sweet Yoke of Love
Responding to the Spitit’s Call
The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance
Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ
Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It
Pentecost and the Promise of the Father
The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)
The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)

Building our Spiritual Life on the Rock

 

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