Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the December 15, 2019, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on The Coming of Christ to the World. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “Jesus came to give us Hearts that truly worship”. The main Scriptures for the day are the John 4:3-24.
(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 John 4 and Revelation 5.
You may also like to read and reflect upon these other New Testament passages Ezekiel 37, John 14-17, Luke 19:10.
From the Creeds and Confessions
Heidelberg Catechism Q94-100.
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.
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.
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.
Belgic Confession Article 7
Article 7: The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.
We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For, since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures: nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away anything from the word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects.
Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures, nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself.
Therefore, we reject with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.
Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 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 Christianity Today’s What is True Worship?.
The Sermon will be available online on December 15, 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.