“Open Doors” Series #4
"THE DOOR TO WORSHIP!"
TEXT: Lev. 8:1-36; Romans 12:1-2
INTRO: Sunday morning ... for those who go to church: they get up, get dressed, get in the car, and head off to church! That is about as much preparation for worship that the average Christian has!
People spend more time preparing for meals, preparing for any special event than we do for worship! But we have great expectations on what we want to receive from a worship service at church!
If we are not focused properly, we will miss much of what the experience is suppose to be about!
Like anything else, if you look at the wrong stuff, you miss the joy for the reason you’re there! Many people don’t enjoy church because they don’t understand the reason they are there, or what church is about.
ILLUS: LIKE THE MAN WHO DECIDED ONE DAY HE WOULD NO LONGER GIVE HIMSELF TO SPORTS ... HE WAS GIVING UP ON SPORTS! HE STATED THE FOLLOWING REASONS FOR WHY HE WOULD QUIT ATTENDING ANY SPORTS EVENTS:
1. EVERY TIME HE WENT, THEY ASKED FOR MONEY!
2. THE PEOPLE HE SAT NEXT TO DIDN'T SEEM FRIENDLY!
3. THE SEATS WERE TOO HARD AND NOT VERY COMFORTABLE!
4. HE WENT TO MANY OF THE GAMES, BUT THE COACH NEVER CALLED ON HIM ONCE!
5. THE REFEREES MADE DECISIONS THAT HE COULDN'T AGREE WITH!
6. THE GAME SOMETIMES WENT INTO OVERTIME AND HE WAS LATE GETTING HOME!
7. THE BAND PLAYED SONGS HE DIDN'T KNOW, AND IT WASN'T THE KIND OF MUSIC HE LIKED!
8. IT SEEMS THE GAMES ARE ALWAYS SCHEDULED WHEN HE WANTED TO DO OTHER THINGS!
9. HE SUSPECTED THAT HE WAS SITTING NEXT TO SOME HYPOCRITES, THEY CAME TO SEE THEIR FRIENDS AND THEY TALKED DURING THE WHOLE GAME!
10. HE WAS TAKEN TO TOO MANY GAMES BY HIS PARENTS WHEN HE WAS GROWING UP!
11. HE HATES TO WAIT IN THE TRAFFIC JAM IN THE PARKING LOT AFTER THE GAME!
* SOUND A BIT FAMILIAR FOR THOSE WHO DON'T GO TO CHURCH!? – SOURCE UNKNOWN
What preparations did you make to worship this morning before coming to church? If it is necessary to prepare for so many other things in life that we consider important why not worship?
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that adequate preparation for worship is important for the experience to be all that God wants it to be in our lives! Those who put nothing into it, usually get nothing out of it!
I. PREPARING FOR WORSHIP! Lev. 8:1-4
A. Provisions! Lev. 8:1-3
1. Before Moses could ask anyone to come to the door of the tabernacle to worship God there were certain things that needed to be done, they had to be prepared!
2. How could they worship without the proper items available!?
a. Proper garments had to be rounded up ... is your “garment of righteousness” on this morning?
b. The anointing oil had to be brought ... do you bring the Holy Spirit with you?
c. The sin offering had to be rounded up; you cannot even worship God unless you have accepted the sacrifice of His Son!
d. The basket containing bread without yeast had to be in place, the Word of God which is the “bread of life” is a part of your preparation to worship!
e. And all of them had to gather at the DOOR of the Tabernacle ... both people and priests ... corporate worship is hard to do alone!
3. These were the necessary items to prepare if worship was to take place when they all had gathered together!
4. To just fly into church with no forethought of what will happen will leave you out of tune with God when you get there!
ILLUS: TED MALONE, WHO HAD A RADIO SHOW GAME EARLY IN THE MORNING, TOLD OF AN IDAHO SHEPHERD WHO WROTE: "WILL YOU ON YOUR BROADCAST STRIKE THE NOTE "A" FOR ME? I AM A SHEEPHERDER WAY OUT HERE ON A RANCH, FAR AWAY FROM A PIANO. THE ONLY COMFORT I HAVE IS MY OLD VIOLIN ... HOWEVER; IT IS WAY OUT OF TUNE. WOULD YOU STRIKE AN "A" NOTE SO THAT I MIGHT GET IN TUNE? UNLESS I TUNE IT PROPERLY, IT WON'T SOUND RIGHT!" LATER HE RECEIVED A “THANK YOU” NOTE FROM THE SHEPHERD SAYING THAT NOW HE WAS IN TUNE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Presentation! Lev. 8:4
1. Once the proper preparations were made ... everybody had to present themselves to the Lord at the DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE!
a. It is foolish to prepare and then not show up, and it would have been foolish to not prepare and then show up!
b. While only some of the priests could go further into the Holy Place under the Old Covenant, everybody could meet at the DOOR!
c. Jesus Christ is the "DOOR" ... in Him we meet to worship together no matter where or what the facility, He is the DOOR!
2. Moses did as he was commanded ... he got everything prepared, and called all Israel together for worship!
3. The people came as instructed ... obedience to come together set the stage for God's fellowship!
4. Although some had more a part in this service than others, they would all receive something from God!
ILLUS: A LITTLE OLD MAN WAS SEEN EVERY SUNDAY MORNING WALKING TO CHURCH. HE WAS DEAF, SO HE COULD NOT HEAR A SOUND ... HE DIDN'T HEAR THE SERMON, HE DIDN'T HEAR THE MUSIC OR THE CHOIR, AND NONE OF THE HYMNS WERE HEARD EITHER! A SCOFFER ONE DAY ASKED HIM, "WHY DO YOU SPEND YOUR SUNDAYS IN THAT CHURCH WHEN YOU CAN'T HEAR A WORD?" HE REPLIED, "I WANT MY NEIGHBORS TO KNOW WHICH SIDE I'M ON!" HE WENT FOR MORE THAN JUST HIS OWN NEEDS! WORSHIP HAD A LARGER PICTURE FOR THIS MAN! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. It was not considered a "casual affair" to come into God's presence then ... and it shouldn't be now!
a. God has never had a "casual relationship with anybody!
b. They were all called to meet together at the door!
II. PARTICIPATION IN WORSHIP! Lev. 8:5-36
A. Position Lev. 8:5-35
1. Moses' first words about worship were "this is what the Lord has commanded to be done." Lev. 8:5
a. Worship takes preparation and participation!
b. There were a number of things to take care of in getting ready to come into the very presence of God ... notice the order in the following verses!
2. The Worship experience: they didn't arrive and just "hope" something happened!
a. Washing was the first order of business! (The idea of "cleansing" before coming into God's presence was critical ... lest they died!) Lev. 8:6
b. After their washing, a clean garment was put on! Not only must we be clean when we come to God in worship, we must be clothed upon with the garments of Christ's righteousness ... they must be put on! (Lev. 8:7-8) The breastplate is a part of this covering too ... of righteousness!
c. A covering for the head was then placed ... and on this was a gold plate that read, "holy to the Lord" ... those who saw it became immediately aware that these priests had been separated unto God, they belonged to the Lord! This covering was for the mind! What is written on your forehead right now, are your thoughts "holy to the Lord?" ... or are you drifting off somewhere else mentally? Lev. 8:9
d. Next was the anointing oil ... this had to be applied to the individual! The Holy Spirit must be applied to our lives in order for us to truly worship God! Lev. 8:10-13 ... this oil was put on everything -- the furnishings and the worshipper! God's Spirit is a part of the entire experience!
e. The sacrifice had to be a part of the process of proper worship ... here it is brought out and Aaron and his sons lay their hands on its head as if to transfer their sins to the animal that will then die for them, and their sin; so that they might remain as a "living sacrifice!" ... Christ has done this for us! Lev. 8:14
f. Blood was then placed on the horns of the altar … the horns were used to “bind” the sacrifice to the altar … only the blood Christ can attach us to the altar of God! This image was so powerful in Israel that if a man ran to “lay hands on the horns of the altar” he could not be touched -- for he had just become a "living sacrifice" by grasping the horns of the altar unto God! Lev. 8:15
g. Worship was not divorced from "sacrifice" ... both the sacrifice offered on behalf of our sins and the sacrifice that we are called upon to offer as ourselves! (Lev. 8:16-21) God is pleased with those preparations and those who participated in them. It all was a "sweet smelling aroma" to God!
h. Blood now was taken and some of it put on 3 different areas on Aaron and his sons: Lev. 8:23-24
(1. The right lobe of Aaron's ear: so that he would always hear God's Word ... and also as the place where the awl was driven through an earlobe to signify becoming a “bond slave” ... one who gave themselves to their master for life by an act of their own will!
(2. Blood was put on the thumb of the right hand ... so that his hands would only do God's work in purity!
(3. Blood was also put on the big toe of the right foot ... so that their walk would always be right before God, that they walk "clean" before the Lord! These 3 were important in order to participate in worship ... they still are today! Lev. 8:23-24
i. Now comes the “basket of bread made without yeast” ... this was added to the sacrifice and offered up ... God's Word is very much a part of a proper worship experience ... added to the Sacrifice of God in Christ it enables us to participate in worship properly! Lev. 8:26-29
j. Now again the oil is sprinkled on Aaron and his sons along with the blood! This oil applied with the blood brought them into God's presence in a propel way! (Lev. 8:30) It is not enough to talk about the Holy Spirit; He must be allowed to cover us during worship!
3. All of this was done to come into God's presence and worship Him correctly!
4. In all of these things, they had to participate in order to enter into worship!
5. Worship was not a passive thing ... they didn't just sit there and expect to get hit by God's presence ... they prepared and participated!
6. Worship requires a participation on the part of the worshipper, this is true of all worship in this world!
ILLUS: A TWO INCH LONG DISCOLORED EYETOOTH IS REVERENCED AND WORSHIPPED BY 400 MILLION BUDDHISTS AS THE MOST SACRED OBJECT ON EARTH! THIS TOOTH IS SUPPOSE TO BE FROM THE BUDDHA'S FUNERAL PYRE FROM 543 B.C. AND WAS BROUGHT TO CEYLON 800 YEARS LATER. TODAY THE TOOTH SITS UPON A GOLDEN LOTUS IN THE GLORIOUS TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH IN KANDY, CEYLON. IT IS SURROUNDED BY RUBIES AND TONS OF FLOWERS. EACH YEAR 100,000 FAITHFUL BUDDHISTS COME FROM MANY COUNTRIES TO GAZE AT THE SACRED TOOTH ... THEY BRING GIFTS OF GOLD, SILVER, AND JEWELS TO PLACE WITHIN THE TEMPLE AS AN ACT OF WORSHIP! ARE WE AS WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN WORSHIPPING OUR GOD ... OR IS IT LIKE “PULLING TEETH” TO PARTICIPATE IN WORSHIP FOR YOU? – SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. Did you "just show up" today for worship ... or have you prepared and participated in worship?
B. Performance Lev. 8:36
1. Moses did everything God told him to do ... the whole point of all this was to address God ... not how it all looked to them!
2. When we worship ... it is for God, not each other that we obey!
a. It is not whether we were "pleased with the service" but rather was "God pleased with it!"
b. The focus is on Him, not us!
ILLUS: BILL MOYERS WAS SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON. HE WAS ASKED ONE TIME TO SAY GRACE BEFORE A MEAL IN THE FAMILY QUARTERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE. AS MOYERS BEGAN TO PRAY SOFTLY, THE PRESIDENT INTERRUPTED HIM WITH "SPEAK UP, BILL! SPEAK UP!" THE FORMER MINISTER FROM EAST TEXAS STOPPED IN MIDSENTENCE AND WITHOUT LOOKING UP REPLIED STEADILY, "I WASN'T ADDRESSING YOU, MR. PRESIDENT!" – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. It is not nearly as important how others feel about how you worshipped as it is how God felt about it, it doesn’t even matter as much how you felt about it!
4. Worship would not have happened here if there had not been: a performance by God's instructions ... not what we like or dislike!
III. PRACTICALITY OF WORSHIP Romans 12:1-2
A. Personal! Romans 12:1
1. Now under the New Covenant Paul introduces a fresh idea in worship ... us being the "living sacrifices!"
2. The only trouble with "living sacrifices" that you don't face with dead ones is the tendency for living ones to crawl off the altar!
3. Notice that worship is a wonderfully personal thing ... we are all called to offer “our own bodies” as a living sacrifice to God!
a. Not someone else's ... your own!
b. We are to do so as "holy and pleasing" to God!
4. It is not enough to offer our "stuff' to God ... we must offer "ourselves" too!
5. We cannot just applaud Christianity and Worship, we must apply it!
ILLUS: IN A SCHOOL, A PROJECT WAS STARTED TO GIVE FOOD TO THE NEEDY ... EACH CHILD WAS ASKED TO BRING SOMETHING. MANY OF THE STUDENTS HAD BROUGHT CANNED GOODS THEIR PARENTS HAD PURCHASED FOR THEM TO GIVE, AND AS THE FOOD WAS BEING PACKAGED FOR DELIVERY, THE MAN DOING THE PACKAGING NOTICED A BROWN PAPER BAG AMONG THE CANS AND BOXES OF MIXES. AS HE OPENED THE BAG HE FOUND INSIDE A PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH, AN APPLE, AND A COOKIE! CRAYONED IN LARGE LETTERS WAS A LITTLE GIRL'S NAME, "CHRISTY" -- ROOM 104. SHE HAD GIVEN UP HER LUNCH FOR SOME HUNGRY PERSON, NOT JUST THE CANNED STUFF HER PARENTS HAD BROUGHT ... SHE GOT PERSONALLY INVOLVED! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. Worship is far more than just what we do on a Sunday ... we are to offer up our bodies "as living sacrifices ... “THIS IS OUR SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP!”
a. Worship is not just what we sing and what we say ... it is also what we do!
b. Worship is not just what we do in a church facility ... it is what we do ALL the time!
c. Worship is a personal commitment to sacrifice ourself!
(1. When we help a friend we are worshipping God!
(2. When we give an encouraging word ... we are worshipping God!
7. Anything that we do with our bodies that is done for the Lord is “spiritual worship” ... and thus highly personal!
B. Process! Romans 12:2
1. This next verse adds another dimension ... that worship is a process too!
a. By the “renewing of our mind” we begin “to prove what God's will is!”
b. Since we don't learn everything all at once this is an ongoing process!
c. The word here "transformed" in Greek is "metamorphosis" ... the process a caterpillar goes through on its way to becoming a butterfly!
d. The renewing of our mind takes place through Word and Worship!
2. We are “no longer to be conformed to this world ... but transformed” into Christ's image!
3. This process works well when we regularly worship and study the Word of God!
4. Why do you go to church? What are you here to do? Who are you here for?
5. Is there a transformation taking place in your life making you more like Christ?
ILLUS: ONE DAY WHEN LOUIS THE 14TH OF FRANCE HAD ARRIVED FOR THE WORSHIP SERVICE ALONG WITH HIS ROYAL PARTY HE NOTICED THAT NO ONE WAS THERE EXCEPT THE PASTOR! SURPRISED TO SEE ALL THE VACANT SEATS THE KING ASKED THE PASTOR, "WHERE IS EVERYBODY? ... WHY ISN'T ANYONE ELSE PRESENT THIS MORNING TO WORSHIP?" THE PASTOR ANSWERED THE KING, "I ANNOUNCED THAT YOUR MAJESTY WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY, BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE WHO CAME TO THE SERVICE JUST TO FLATTER YOU AND WHO CAME TO WORSHIP GOD!" THEY HAD COME FOR THE WRONG KING! WHY DO YOU GO TO WORSHIP? – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. The "door" of worship was where all Israel gathered to worship … but not until proper preparations had been made ... and then the priests participated correctly
7. What is a proper worship experience to you? Have you truly entered the door of worship?
CONCLUSION: It is clear in the Old Testament that worship was preceded by proper preparations! When we come to worship, do we prepare properly for our entrance into God's presence as His people? The experience of worship is connected to the extent of our proper preparations! The preparations took place at the "door" of God's house ... only then did they enter into worship! Are you prepared!?