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Foundation for Worship 2017-10-30T00:12:22+00:00

Swept off your Feet

Beyond Worship-as-Usual

Part 2: A Foundation for Worship

Introduction to foundation for worship

No one escapes the penetrating gaze of our Heavenly Father. Peering beyond time and space, He looks for worshipers beyond their appearance of devotion and tokens of piety. Jesus did not come to help us say and do religion better. He came to connect us permanently with His passionate love. Swept off their feet by the force and depth of this love, worshipers convert scripted songs into ardent veneration. They transform repetitive liturgy into radical reverence.

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True worshipers answer two questions correctly before they offer an appropriate response. First, they discern the truth about themselves. Next, they discern the truth about Jesus. An accurate self-appraisal puts God into perspective. Divine perfection sets Him apart from our flawed mortal status. There is a big difference between God and everyone else. Worshipers recognize this difference. They see and then acknowledge the infinite contrast between our human weakness and His divine competence.

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During the first century, Paul encountered a “very religious” culture in Athens. Uninformed Athenians served various deities, including a God whom they did not know. In an attempt to educate them, Paul specified various supernatural attributes and activities associated with this God. His message, recorded by Luke the physician, includes a medical term―therapeuo. Paul said,

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served [therapeuo] by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things (Acts 17:24-25 NAS)” (Genesis 3:4-5 NKJ)

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Created to be a stellar angel, Lucifer possessed radiant attributes. The name Lucifer means daystar, star of the morning, light bearer, or shining one. In Isaiah 14:12, the NKJ renders the Hebrew word Heylel as “Lucifer”. The NAS renders it “star of the morning”, the NIV “morning star”, and the ESV “Day Star”.

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After failing to become “like the Most High”, Satan tempted Eve to enhance herself beyond human excellence. Posing as a serpent, he reinforced her selfish ambition. Satan appealed to Eve’s bent for independence by saying:

“You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 NKJ)

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Though unable to wrap our senses around God, we experience the world that He made. The universe shouts a compelling message. It proclaims the truth about God in living color and elaborate detail. Matter, energy, and life provide proof and add substance to our faith. They set God apart with unrivaled distinction. Elegant in design and overwhelming in scope, creation validates His worth and confirms His competence. God deserves worship because tangible evidence points to His creative genius and life-giving power.

Seven biblical references link creation to worship. This feat remains one of the most cited and convincing associations in the Bible. Human beings along with the heavenly host worship God for His creative activity.

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The only biblical record of the Disciples worshiping Jesus before His resurrection involves a terrifying experience at sea. After walking on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus returned to a boatful of disciples who worshiped Him saying essentially what demons said when they fell on their face before Him. The unclean spirits shouted, “You are the Son of God!” Jesus’ disciples said, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

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Angels predate Adam and Eve. They shouted for joy when God laid earth’s foundation (Job 38:4-7). Idolaters may bow before contrived deities, but they did not invent worship. Imperial egoists may crave homage, but they did not patent prostration. Most likely, angels in heaven set the precedent for worshipers on earth. Bowing before the King of Kings is more than a regal custom or religious ritual. Facedown reverence originated in heaven and it continues on earth. When worshipers on earth bow down, they behave like the heavenly host.

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After Cornelius welcomed Peter into his home, he “fell down at his feet to worship him”. Immediately Peter ordered this Roman centurion to stand saying, “I myself am also a man.” In another incident, John bowed to worship an angel after he experienced a series of extraordinary revelations while exiled on Patmos.

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Idol worship and false worship precipitated warfare and bloodshed in the Bible. These activities may ignite mortal combat at the end of this age.

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