Authentic Worship- Isaiah- Week 1- Day 4

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:16-17

Explanation:
What was the proper response once they agreed with God about their empty ritualism? How could they respond in a way that honored God to the diagnosis he was making about their spiritual health? We can see the responses in these verses by just identifying all of the verbs given as commands. Read them as a list:

  • Wash
  • Make clean
  • Put away
  • Cease
  • Learn
  • Seek
  • Relieve
  • Judge (or Defend)
  • Plead

There were some things he was calling them to do. We could categorize them by saying that He was calling for them to repent, clean up, stop doing injustice and evil, and start doing right and defending the innocent and vulnerable.

Notice He did not tell them to stop doing their religious practices. God had commanded those things. He wanted their religious practice and their lives to match. He wanted their worship on the Sabbath and their worship throughout the week to not be misaligned. There needed to be worship that came from sincere hearts devoid of hypocrisy. The sincerity of their worship would be substantiated by their willingness to walk away from evil and to do good for those who couldn’t bring them financial, political, or social advantage. This is the essence of “pure religion” as James tells us.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James 1:27

Application:
Worship is not something that happens only on Sundays. It is not limited to singing. Most ministry should not happen in a church building. Worship is what we do as we live our lives every day. Everyone is worshipping something. People worship money, material wealth, other people, false gods, themselves, and almost anything and everything else. For the believer in Christ, we must remind ourselves that our worship on Sunday does not allow for us to live however we want the rest of the week. We must worship the Lord not only with our singing, responding to the preached Word of God, and service on Sunday, but also in the way that we live with our families, live in our neighborhoods, do business in the marketplace, and interact in our communities. No matter what we do we ought to do it as unto the Lord.

This is not to minimize the importance of what we do as a gathered body of believers in weekly corporate worship. Rather, our time together in gathered worship ought to equip us to live lives of honorable worship to the Lord the rest of the week.

The way we live ought to be aligned with the way we worship.

Response:

  • Is there an area of your life that is making authentic corporate worship impossible? Look at the commands of God in verses 16 and 17 and give yourself some homework due today.

Authentic Faith- Day 14

Devotions for Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today is our last day in the Authentic Faith series, and I think it ends on a really cool note!

1 John 5:1-4

1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Pastor Ben’s Commentary:
So, how do you know that you are saved?  How do you know that your faith is authentic?  Have you ever wondered that?  John is the author of the book that we are reading from today.  In his gospel he wrote, “These are written that you may know that Jesus is the Christ…and that by believing you may have life through His name.”  John thought it was very important that you know about Jesus, believe in Him, and have life through Him.

When we look at today’s verses we see 4 different evidences of whether we are saved:

1. Faith- “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God”  This word “believeth” has the idea of a continuing acceptance and trust in Christ.
2. Love- ” and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God,”  This speaks of loving God the Father (“him that begat”), love God the Son (Jesus Christ- “him also that is begotten of him”), and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (“children of God”).
3. Obedience- “and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
4. Victory-  “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”  World here is not talking about they physical world, nor is it talking about all the people in the world (whom God loves).  It is talking about the world system- influenced by the enemies of God to turn people from God and to themselves.  It is defined in another part of scripture as the system that uses the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes” that are “not of the father, but of the world.”  Someone that is in the faith is having victory over sin, and temptation in their life.  They aren’t being defeated by it every time.  It’s not that they are perfect, but that they aren’t always losing.  🙂

Application Questions:
1. Do these 4 evidences get you saved, or do they display your salvation?  Explain-

2. Why is it important to understand who Jesus is?

3.  What does it mean to love God?  What does that look like?  

4.  What does it mean to love “God’s children”?  Who is that talking about?  Why do you think that is important?

5.  What do you think it means when the Bible says, “His commandments are not grevious?”

6.  What do you think “victory” over the world looks like?

Authentic Faith- Day 13

Devotions for Friday, August 19, 2011

1 John 3:21-24

3 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Pastor Ben’s Commentary:
The author is telling us some important things about faith. Faith always leads to action, and the author here tells us a couple of things that faith in God produces. It produces obedience to God’s commands, and love for God’s people. Let’s apply those two ideas

Application:
1. If we have faith in God, then we will do what he says. Faith and works go hand in hand. We aren’t saved by our works, but because we are saved we will do good works. If you have faith in God, then you’ll want to know what He says and you’ll want to do what He says.

2. If we have faith in God, we’ll follow his command and example in loving other people. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus, for us. If we love God, then we’ll love what He loved. He loves others. It’s hard to show EVERYONE love, but it’s possible to show SOMEONE love.

Today, live out your faith in God by obeying Him, and showing someone love..

Authentic Faith- Day 13

Devotions for Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Pastor Ben’s Commentary:
So today I am also going to try something new….I’m not going to give any commentary. I want you guys to think through the verse and/or get the info from some tools ( which you can find links to in the sidebar in the “Bible Study Links” section).

I’ll comment to at the end of the day.