Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the March 17, 2019, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on What God wants us to Believe, Do, and Become. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “The Sound of Worship”. The main Scriptures for the day are Psalm 95:1-7.
(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)
From the Scriptures
Please read through Chapter 11 of Believe this week, this is an edited selection of Scriptures from the NIV that seeks to show how certain beliefs, ways of living and character qualities are elaborated upon throughout all of Scripture.
You may also like to read and reflect upon Psalm 95, Exodus 15:1-21, Daniel 6:1-27, Acts 16:16-35, 1Tim 4:8-9.
From the Creeds and Confessions
Heidelberg Catechism Q94-102
Q94 What does God require in the first commandment?
That, as much as I love my soul’s salvation, I avoid and flee all idolatry, sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, invocation of saints or other creatures; and that I rightly acknowledge the only true God, trust in him alone, submit to him with all humility and patience, expect all good from him only, and love, fear, and honor him with my whole heart; so that I leave and forsake all creatures rather than do even the least thing against his will.
Q95 What is idolatry?
It is, instead of the one true God who has revealed himself in his Word, or besides him, to devise or have something else on which to place our trust.
Q96 What does God require in the second commandment?
That we in no wise make any image of God, nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word.
Q97 May we, then, not make any image at all?
God neither can nor may be visibly represented in any way. As for creatures, though they may be visibly represented, yet God forbids us to make or have any likeness of them in order to worship them or serve God by them.
Q98 But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books for the laity?
No; for we must not be wiser than God, who will not have his people taught by dumb images, but by the living preaching of his Word.
Q99 What is required in the third commandment?
That we must not by cursing or perjury, nor by unnecessary swearing, profane or abuse the Name of God, nor by our silence or connivance become partakers of these horrible sins in others; and briefly, that we use the holy Name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence, to the end that he may be rightly confessed and worshipped by us, and be glorified in all our words and works.
Q100 Is, then, the profaning of God’s Name by swearing and cursing so heinous a sin that his wrath is kindled even against those who do not, as much as in them lies, help to prevent and to forbid such cursing and swearing?
Certainly; for no sin is greater or more provoking to God than the profaning of his Name; wherefore, also, he has commanded this sin to be punished with death.
Q101 But may we not swear by the Name of God in a godly manner?
Yes; when the magistrate demands it of his subjects, or when otherwise necessity requires us thus to confirm fidelity and truth, for the glory of God and the welfare of our neighbor; for such swearing is grounded in God’s Word, and therefore was rightly used by the saints in the Old and the New Testament.
Q102 May we also swear by saints or any other creatures?
No; for a lawful oath is a calling upon God, as the only Searcher of hearts, to bear witness to the truth, and to punish me if I swear falsely; which honor is due to no creature.
Westminster Confession Article 21
Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.
Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.
Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue.
Prayer is to be made for things lawful; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter: but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: beside religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.
Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshiped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.
As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.
This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Read and reflect upon Ligonier’s devotional, focusing on the last part of Psalm 95: The Rest to Come
Read and reflect upon Ray Steadman’s devotional: Why give thanks?
The Sermon will be available online on March 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.