Implications of the Word, Pt. 5
On Being a ‘Son Worshiper’
Study Guide, August 20, 2017
Pastor Clay Olsen
Are you ready for tomorrow? This will be a total solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. For a few minutes, day turns to night, the skies darken, the air temperature drops a bit…stars may even appear during the daytime.
But as spectacular as this eclipse of the Sun is it does not compare with the creator of the Sun, the Son of God. And one day, perhaps very soon, the Son will come upon the clouds and we shall be caught up to meet Him and to be with Him forever and ever. This is the Son that all men are called to worship and serve.
It is strange, though, that throughout history there have actually been people that have worshiped the physical Sun, or at least, connected it with false gods. In Egyptian worship, Horus is the rising sun, Ra is the noon sun and then Osiris (god of the dead) is the dying or setting sun. It was like they came up with a version of their own ‘trinity Sun-god’.The Romans and Greeks had also set up their own pantheon of deities and even traded gods with other cultures. It seems that, as a political gesture of collaboration, Alexander the Great established a god called ‘Ammon-Zeus’, which was like a hybrid creator to cover the Greek and Egyptian cultures and their obsession with the Sun. And in Central and South America, the ancient cultures of the Aztecs and Mayas also relied heavily on the worship of celestial bodies. Their temples such as the famous Machu Picchu site in Peru…their temples were also associated with an Incan religious cult dedicated to the worship of the sun. And many other cultures from Africa to Europe and Asia have depicted their creator as ‘the Sun’ giving birth to the stars, and associated with false deities like Apollo, Baal, Marduk, and Phoebus. Oddly enough, even in our own times, this coming eclipse of the Sun will be observed by pagan festivities in various parts of the world.
So here’s something very important to realize about the human soul. And that is, human beings were made to worship. God created mankind with the built in design and need to worship. As Frederick Robertson put it: “It is not a thing which man can decide, whether he will be a worshiper or not, a worshiper he must be. The only question is what will he worship? Every man worships – is a born worshiper.” So no wonder mankind has been coming up with ideas about who and what to worship since the beginning of history. We were made to worship. And, actually, if you simply just go ahead and personalize that reality you come up with this fact: “I was made to worship.” In fact, Jesus summarized this very reality in the wilderness when He even reminded Satan about this design and obligation for all created beings: He said,
“For it is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Matt. 4:10 NASU
It always helps to get right to the bottom of what were supposed to do. In fact, it might even help to just adjust your own personal identity to not only being a Born Again Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ, but to also include: “I am a ‘Son Worshiper’; I worship the Son of God.”
At the Chapel here, as those surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, and who seek to honor and serve the Lord Jesus throughout our lives, we’re pretty committed to and also comfortable with being identified as ‘Worshipers of the Son of God’. But just like our memory verse for this week, we ought to always be ready and willing, like Paul said, to ‘excel still more’. And if there is one thing you and I ought to always be ready and willing to ‘step up to’ in our practice and habit it’s this: Being a ‘Son Worshiper’! It ought to become an identity that we naturally default to when we think about who we are and why we are here, or still here, on Planet Earth: “I am a ‘Son Worshiper’; I worship the Son of God.”All right then. Let’s see if we can excel still more, first, in understanding more of what that really means; to be a ‘Son Worshiper’.
Think again about the word ‘worship’ itself. The Hebrew word for ‘worship’, shachah, as found in
Ps 95:6-7- “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” (NASU) That word literally means ‘to bend low and bow as a way of giving honor and expressing devotion’. And then the Greek word for ‘worship’, proskyne, is found in John 4:23-24, which says this: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NASU
We should pause here a moment and inject some other facts from this statement here into just what life is actually all about on Planet Earth. One thing that we should clearly understand that God is always doing is this: God is always seeking worshipers. He is always seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Again, almost all nations have had some idea of God as being material. But God declares: “I am spirit”! Even with the present bodily ‘Incarnation’ of Jesus Christ, what the Lord is revealing is what people must know about God in order to have a relationship with God, is that he or she must re-establish a spiritual relationship with God, since that relationship was lost due to sin. It’s like the Apostle Paul explained to the religious leaders in Athens:
Acts 17:24-31- “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 by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” NASU
We could spend several studies in just this passage alone. But one of the points Paul is making is to be one of the first truths in religious thought; that God is spirit; pure and holy, and as such He seeks the offering of a person’s spirit and soul before the offerings of his body and hands. That is why it’s important for us to be able to explain to religious people around us that being a Christian is first about spiritual birth, not physical behavior. It starts with the heart, not the hands. The religions of the world base their beliefs about how to have a relationship with God upon their works, or the merits of their behavior. Or, as Ravi Zacharias puts it, the religions of the world start with the goodness or badness of their physical behaviors. But a relationship with God is not based upon the goodness or badness of your works; it is based upon the life or death of your spirit. You see, that is the essence of Jesus’ message to a world that is spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. Since the primary effect of sin upon the human being is that sin killed the human spirit, the greatest need of every human is to have their dead spirit brought back to life again. And that can only be done through receiving the Lord of life, Jesus Christ, into a person’s own life. And when he or she receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, Jesus unites His living spirit with their dead spirit, and raises their dead spirit back to life again. Look at how Paul explained this in
Eph 2:4-6- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him…” NASU
Now back to the Greek meaning of worship: It, too, emphasizes this attitude of bowing before God with devotion. So what we discover about worship is that worship begins not with an activity, but with an attitude of bowing one’s entire life before God in humble thanksgiving and submission and service. It’s training ourselves to first bow before our God in devotion and commitment before we stand up to do anything else. It’s a mental way of putting Christ first. So to be a ‘Son Worshiper’ is essentially living with an attitude of humble dependence and thanks for the daily mercies and grace of God with the intent to then seek to glorify God in whatever is that we have to do or choose to do day by day. That’s comes out of another one of those ‘bottom line’ verses the Apostle Paul gave us:
1 Cor 10:31- “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” NASU
Again, we were made to worship God and to connect whatever we have to do or choose to do to be pleasing to God. Think about that again: Since God created us essentially as worshipers, what essential habit will it be that will bring inspiration and joy to our lives? Right, the habit of worship. As Ravi Zacharias also pointed out: “He who has not learned to worship will find God and this world wearisome. If you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, but you have not really learned to worship God, chances are that you have found the Christian life disappointing.”
Think about it: How many Christians live their lives serving well and living honorably, committed in their duty to the disciplines of prayer and study and the fellowship of the body of Christ, and yet, they still have a sense of ‘weariness’ about it all. They have a strong sense of duty, but not much of a spirit of delight. They know full well what they are expected to do, but they don’t seem to be filled with the inspiration with which to do it. They are going through the motions of their faith, but not enjoying the motivation to do it all.
Perhaps we have each sensed something like that at times in our journey of faith; some ‘dryness in our soul’. We know full well that we are called to serve God and others, but, Brothers and Sisters, we are to also know full well that our power to do this very thing, to serve God and others, is fueled by our practice of personal worship of and with our God and Savior. Without learning to delight in our God, we will miss out on the very joy that Jesus is trying to fill us with in order to not only live faithfully, but to also enjoy the fruit of it as well. And we learn to delight in our God as we learn to more deeply worship our God. And how can we learn that? Well, how like our God to give us a tutor, or a worship teacher, to help us learn to go deeper and wider and higher in the experience of joy in our relationship with God as we develop our habit of worship. And of course, the worship teacher I’m talking about is the Psalmist.
For example: As the world goes out to marvel at the Sun and the solar eclipse, for many, they will see, but they won’t hear. But for ‘Son Worshipers: worshipers of the Son of God’, they will not only see this glorious event, they will also hear it, like the Psalmist taught us.
Ps 19:1-6- “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.” NASU
The world sees, but worshipers also hear. Even the eclipse of the Sun is yelling out about the glory of God to the world! The sun, moon, and stars themselves are testifying:
“O may Your glorious name be blessed And exalted above all blessing and praise! You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.” Neh 9:5-6 NASU
Many people will be asking, “So, did you see the solar eclipse?” But ‘Son Worshipers’ will be asking, “…and did you also hear it? Did you hear what it was saying? It was yelling out about the glory of God!”
God gave us a ‘Worship Teacher’ in the Psalmist. So spend time learning from these 150 prayer-songs about all the ways to worship God, who is worthy of our worship – our attention, allegiance, affection, and devotion – no matter what we are facing or going through on a day to day basis. It is this habit of worship that will take you to a new experience of the abundant life that Jesus wants to share with you, as well as fortify you with a greater power to deal with the hard things in life that happen to you. Again, the Psalmist knew all about these things. And that’s why God appointed him to be our personal worship teacher; worship leader. Back to the Psalmist’s call:
“Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” Ps 95:6-7 NASU
(Information on Ancient Deities gleaned from: reviewofreligions.org)