Worship is designed to move us into the presence of God. To call His glory down. The tabernacle was God’s design for His people’s movement towards experiencing Him.
The curtains, the furniture, the alters, laver’s, candelabras–they all reminded the people of who God was–a Holy, Providing, Delivering God. Several of the psalms were written to aid the pilgrims heading to the temple to prepare their hearts as they ascended the hill of the Lord. As they moved into the Tabernacle and toward God they were reminded of God’s character, Who it was they were approaching.
The Gathering Near to God is the celebration, the opening ceremonies of God’s activity in our lives over the past week. We have come to proclaim that “God has delivered us!” To make that proclamation, we celebrate the character of our Deliverer by rehearsing the characteristics of God through testimony, hymns and scripture.
The next movement of worship is experiencing God. When the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies, he was entering the place where God’s manifest glory would come down and reside over the ark of the covenant. The priest was now in the presence of God.
Being in the presence of God is a life changing experience! Take Moses for example–when Moses came before God’s presence–Moses was changed. God revealed His will to Moses through the law and direction for leadership. God’s glory radiated from Moses’ face, Moses had to veil his face in order to protect the people from overwhelming power of God’s glory radiating from him.
When we worship, we experience the revelation of God through His Word. The scriptures contain the self-revelation of God. Scripture is sufficient & efficient. In other words, the Bible contains all of the information about God that we need to know to be in a right relationship with Him. They are sufficient in that no other information is needed outside of the scriptures, not tradition, not reason, not experience. God’s word and God’s word alone. They are efficient in that the truths of God’s self revelation are effective and true–they rightly show us who God is, who we are, and how God has made a way for us to stand before Him.
On Sunday this is the preacher’s job–aided by the Holy Spirit. The preacher is to read the Word of God, explain the Word of God and encourage the hearer to trust the Word of God. This is accomplished through expository preaching. The style where the preacher starts with the text and explains the text, exposing God in the verse or verses. Expository preaching grows us in our understanding of God. The alternative of this is topical preaching–where the preacher picks a topic and then looks for scriptures to prove his point. The problem with topical preaching is that the preacher picks his belief, opinion or stance and then finds scripture to prove his point–often taking scriptures out of context or manipulating them from their original meaning. The preachers job is not to entertain, not to wow the audience or display his own oratory skills. It is simply to expose God as He is found in His scriptures.
Experiencing God as He has revealed Himself through our worship should change us. We are convicted by the law, transformed by grace and sent forth to reflect the character of God as it radiates from us.
This Sunday, would you come ready for that? Please come expecting to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Please come expecting to meet God in the worship. Please come ready to be moved towards God, changed by Him and leave radiating His glory!