We worship as we pray

Two weeks ago we looked at worship in the throne room of God. At that time we talked about worshipping the Lord because He is worthy. Last week Meagan talked to you about worshipping the Lord because Christ was slain for us. Today, let’s look at a prayer in Scripture.
A few months ago I was listening to Max Lucado talk about his new book on prayer. He gave a short prayer based off of all the prayers in the Bible.
‘”Father, you are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”’ This prayer, Lucado says, is a template for beginners to pray their balanced prayers rather than simply offering up a list of demands.”
I notice how Lucado begins this prayer with “You are good.” He analyzed many prayers in the Bible and tried to study all of them and realized this prayer. I see that prayer begins with worship in “You are good.”
Max Lucado said that he is not good at prayer. I would have to say that I am not good at prayer either. So, I have been reading Tim Keller’s book on prayer. Tim Keller spends time in worship in our prayer life. He writes:
There are three basic kinds of prayer to God. There is “upward” prayer— praise and thanksgiving that focuses on God himself. We could call this the “prayer of awe.” Then there is “inward” prayer —self-examination and confession that bring a deeper sense of sin and, in return, a higher experience of grace and assurance of love. That is the prayer of intimacy. Finally, there is “outward” prayer— supplication and intercession that focuses on our needs and the needs of others in the world.
Following that Keller spends a chapter on upward prayer. He shares:
Years ago I was preaching on the Lord’s Prayer and commented— rather offhandedly— that since adoration comes before asking for “daily bread,” we need to spend time thanking and praising God for who he is before we go to our prayer list of needs. One woman in my congregation took this to heart and a couple of weeks later related what a difference the advice had made. “Before,” she said, “I would run right to my prayer list and the more I went through all the problems and needs, the more anxious and burdened I would get. Now I’ve started spending time thinking about how good and wise he is, and how many prayers he’s answered of mine in the past. And when I get to my own needs— now I find I can put them in his hands and I feel the burden coming off me rather than on me.” I never forgot her testimony, because she had taken a principle I barely understood myself and had appropriated it in her life.
He writes:
Eugene Peterson believes that, just as all prayer is framed by praise, in the end, all prayer should and will end in praise. He writes: All [true ] prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise. Any prayer, no matter how desperate its origin, no matter how angry and fearful the experiences it traverses, ends up in praise. It does not always get there quickly or easily— the trip can take a lifetime— but the end is always praise. . . . There are intimations of this throughout the Psalms. Not infrequently, even in the middle of a terrible lament, defying logic and without transition, praise erupts. . . . Psalm 150 does not stand alone ; four more hallelujah psalms are inserted in front of it so that it becomes the fifth of five psalms that conclude the Psalter. These five hallelujah psalms are extraordinarily robust. . . . [ This means] no matter how much we suffer, no matter our doubts, no matter how angry we get, no matter how many times we have asked in desperation “How long?,” prayer develops finally into praise. Everything finds its way to the doorstep of praise. This is not to say that other prayers are inferior to praise, only that all prayer pursued far enough, becomes praise. . . . Don’t rush it. It may take years, decades even, before certain prayers arrive at the hallelujahs, at Psalms 146– 150. Not every prayer is capped off with praise. In fact, most prayers, if the Psalter is a true guide, are not. But prayer is always reaching toward praise and will finally arrive there. So . . . our lives fill out in goodness. Earth and heaven meet in an extraordinary conjunction. Clashing cymbals announce the glory. Blessing. Amen. Hallelujah.
C. S. Lewis says that a lack of praise of God is a lack of reality, and praising him helps us enter the real world and enjoy him more fully.
So, today let’s look at an example prayer. I want to go to the Old Testament and look at one of King David’s prayers as well as one of Daniel’s prayers. I also want to look at the Lord’s prayer. We will simply skim over these and see what we can learn from him. What is my point? My point, the great idea is that we are to pray in adoration and praise with an attitude of humility.
Read with me 2 Samuel 7:18-29:
Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:
“Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human!
20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, SovereignLORD. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
22 “How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 24 You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, LORD, have become their God.
25 “And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
27 “LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.29 Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
I. We are to pray in worship, let’s look at Matthew 6:9-11:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

a. Jesus, who is a descendent of King David, gave us instructions in prayer and at the very beginning of those instructions He tells us to begin prayer: Our who is in Heaven. Hallowed or Holy is Your name. In prayer we understand that God is Holy and that God is in Heaven. In prayer we say Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
b. So, Jesus instructs us to begin prayer in worship. By what Jesus instructs we do not have a choice. We do not begin prayer about ourselves but about God. Before we ask for any request we give glory to God. So, in reality, our prayer is not to be about us but giving God the glory due His name.
c. Tim Keller writes: In Jesus’ instruction on prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, praise comes first. In what ways is praise primary? Praise motivates the other kinds of prayer. The more we attend to God’s perfect holiness and justice, the more readily we will see our own flaws and confess them. Seeing God’s greatness also leads to supplication. The more we sense his majesty and the more we realize our dependence on him, the more readily we will go to him for every need. We could say that awe-filled adoration of God corrects the other forms of prayer.
d. I love that last phrase: awe-filled adoration of God corrects the other forms of prayer.
e. Now we are ready to look at David prayer once again.
II. In David’s prayer, David prays in praise and adoration with an attitude of humility.
a. Let me set the context first.
b. Prior to this passage, the Ark of the Covenant was moved into Jerusalem, David was wanting to build a Temple for the Lord and then Nathan the prophet came to David telling him that God did not want him to build a temple, but for his descendant will build the temple. Prior to this passage there is an amazing passage in which God declares His covenant with David that David’s throne shall last forever. This is an amazing Messianic prophesy.
c. In this prayer we see that ten times David called Himself the Lord’s Servant and eight times David referred to the Lord as the Lord Most High.
d. Let me just outline the prayer.
e. David begins prayer with thanksgiving, which I would say is a kind of praise in verses 18-21.
f. Then David gives praise for what God has done in the past in verses 22-24.
g. Notice verse 22: How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
h. Then we have a petition for God to fulfill His promises in verses 25-29. Notice that his request is still more of an addendum. One writes: David included humility (v. 18), gratitude (v. 19), praise (v. 22), remembrance (vv. 23-24), and acknowledgment (vv. 25-29), as ingredients in this prayer. Normally Israelites stood or kneeled to pray. Perhaps David “sat” back on his heels to pray in a kneeling position because he was a king.
i. David, even in asking his request does so with worship. In verse 28 David says that the Lord’s words are true. Jesus said the same thing in John 17:17.
j. So, we see this as a model of prayer in worship and humility.
III. Allow me to site another example: turn to Daniel 9:3-5.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
a. Just notice that Daniel began this prayer with worship. Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments.
b. Following this there is great humility: we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
c. So, there we see another example of prayer in Scripture, yet there are countless examples of worship in prayer in the Scripture.
Tim Keller writes about adoring God in prayer:
Adoring God, God is transcendently and infinitely bright, blessed, and beautiful. He is self-existent— depending on nothing for his being. Instead, all things are dependent on him. He is an infinite and eternal Spirit, the only perfect One, the God of absolute glory and importance. God’s perfections are matchless and without comparison. Those perfections include his eternal and unchanging character; his presence everywhere; his perfect knowledge of all things; his perfect, unsearchable wisdom; his absolute, irresistible power and sovereignty over all that happens; his unspotted moral purity, beauty, and holiness; and his justice— his inexorable judgment that will ultimately put all things right. God is a Creator God, the maker, protector, sustainer, and ruler of all creation. He is a God of truth, a speaking God with whom we may have a personal relationship. He is the covenant God, who is faithful to his promises, who has bound himself to us that we might bind ourselves to him. He is the triune God, one and yet three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not only our King but our Friend and Spouse. Our hearts were made for him to be our only joy.
Lastly, he continues:
We must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God— drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. The Scotch catechism says : “a man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But we shall then know that these are the same thing . Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.
You know what? In David’s prayer, verses 27 is Thy Kingdom come and the thrust of verse 28 is Thy will be done.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
Let’s pray

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Why We Worship Because God Is Worthy (Rev. 4:9-11)

Attitude and attitude in worship:

I want to think about our attitude when we come to worship God. Listen to what Chuck Swindoll says about attitude:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Now, let’s start talking about worship. What is our attitude when we come to worship? Who do we think we are? Really? I remember hearing that Joni Eareckson Tada said something about when she gets to Heaven she is going to kneel on her new legs and worship God. Now, what you must know is that she has been a quadriplegic for decades. What does she want to do? She wants to worship God.

Please, reflect on your attitude as we look at this passage and as we talk about worship. Let’s read Revelation 4:1-11 and the application is that we humbly worship God because He is worthy. We are not worthy.

Please turn in your Bibles and let’s read Revelation 4:1-11:

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

I. I have one application. I am going to walk through this passage in order to show that God is worthy to be worshipped.
1. In order to do this I need to explain where we are at in the Bible. I think it would be wrong of me to simply start us a quarter of the way through Revelation and not give more detail about this book.
2. Actually, context is always important.
3. This is Revelation chapter 4 and John, the writer of Revelation is taken into the throne room of God. Imagine this. Have you ever seen something absolutely amazing? Have you ever seen something that compelled you to realize how awesome our God is? Have you seen something that reminds you of how little you are?
1. When I was a kid my parents took me to see Mount Rushmore and I really was not that amazed or that shocked. It was a cloudy day and it just did not strike me.
2. A few years later my parents took me to see the Grand Canyon and wow! That is all I can see. The Grand Canyon is amazing! I went there a few years later and it was the same reaction on my part. When I see the Grand Canyon, I am reminded of how little I am and how Great God is.
3. But, even before that, I was going into third grade and we went to Myrtle Beach and I saw the ocean for the first time. I love, absolutely love looking out on the ocean. The ocean reminded me of how great God is and how big the world is.
4. I remember being a child going into a planetarium at the Dayton Museum of Natural History. “Radical” was an adjective that I recently had learned. The person leading the show was showing us all the galaxies and where earth is and I said, “Radical” in a way that everyone could hear. Then the man leading the show said, “Is that the word these days?” “Radical” is a good word, but “awesome” is the best word. Seeing how big outer space is shows our awesome creator.
5. We are little, God is not just big, but amazing.
4. In this text John is trying to describe the indescribable.
5. Some studies show that children’s memories do not necessarily begin at age two or three. The problem is that before that age they do not have the words to retain, or process or explain what they have experienced. Therefore, there is no way for them to store these experiences in their memory. Think about that with this passage, and really most of Revelation. John’s vocabulary is not great enough, diverse enough to describe what he is about to see. How does that work? Neither would my vocabulary be exhaustive enough to describe this nor would yours. But what he does describe is absolutely amazing.
6. Verse 1 is the beginning of this vision. John says that there was a door and a voice like a trumpet said “Come up here so that I can show you what must happen after these things.” The first two words and last two words of verse 1 are “after this” that means what is in between is called an inclusio. Sometimes in the Bible there are inclusios which cover a few chapters. It is like a parentheses.
7. In verse 2 John is “immediately” “in the Spirit.” This could mean that he was in the Holy Spirit, or Spirit just is a spiritual state.
8. Now, this is not the first time John has written about being in the Spirit. In Chapter 1:10 John wrote that he was “In the ‘Spirit’ on the Lord’s Day…” So, something we must understand with the book of Revelation is that there are all kinds of things happening around John all at once. John likely describes things as he can, using the terminology that he can, but also he seems to repeat things, but he really is not. He is simply describing the same thing again in order to describe something else related to it. I heard this described as a cyclorama. Those are 360 degree pictures that depict an event. There is one at Gettysburg. This shows the war all around you. What John is experiencing is all around him and it is outside of time. John is describing these things in a temporal way. We are looking for chronology but there is none.
9. So, it appears what he is describing in this passage is similar to Revelation 21:9 so it is possible that John is seeing the New Jerusalem right here and then he particularizes the New Jerusalem in chapter 21.
10. So, he describes a beautiful throne room with all kinds of jewels. Then he describes 24 thrones with elders on the thrones. The elders had crowns. I like the belief that the elders are reflecting all believers. For example, in Rev. 3:11 Jesus said not to let them take your crown. In Rev. 1:6 we are called a Kingdom of Priests. In the Old Testament there were 24 priests. 24 was an important number in Judaism. 1 Chronicles 24 we have a listing of the 24 orders of priests. The beginning of Luke’s Gospel we see Zechariah’s vision and we see Abijah was one of the 24 priests.
11. Verse 5 references flashes of lightning and thunder. These are always signs of God’s presence. God is in the middle of this throne room. Remember what I said, John is trying to describe the indescribable. There is more in here but let’s skip to verses 8-11.
12. There are four living creatures that never rest. They are constantly worshipping the Lord.“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
13. Up until now we have talked about the setting and Who was at the setting and that is God. God’s presence was with them. Now, the response to the setting is worship.
14. Let’s think about worship. Remember I talked about attitude. When you come here to worship is your focus and attitude on God? Who are we worshipping? Are we sacrificing ourselves? I am not talking about money, I am talking about surrender. Are we surrendered. Don’t say, “I don’t have the right attitude so I might as well stay home.” No, we must prayerfully seek the Lord and ask that He corrects our attitude.
15. I must confess, my attitude is not perfect, some of you may have better attitudes than mine. I must ask God to work on me. We must ask God to work on us.
16. We are going to get into this now and I want it stated that I am not preparing to say what style of worship is best or what songs are best or right or wrong (and there are some songs that are not about God, but us), I want to show you that when we are with God we respond in worship. I want to focus on attitude. Look at this.
17. Look they say “Holy” how many times. Anyone, share how many times we see the adjective “Holy.” Three times. In Jewish language they could not say “holiest” so they would say something three times and that meant “most holy.” They are saying that God is most holy. He is the holiest. He Is Lord, He is God, He is most powerful or almighty.
18. He is eternal.
19. Then, whenever they gave glory, honor and thanks to God, the elders would throw themselves down. Wow!
20. That is humility. Dr. Mulholland of Asbury Theological Seminary shared:
1. We are not a bowing culture. When Dr. Mulholland enters the room the students do not bow to him, but when he taught in Korea when he came in they would bow and if a student came in late they would bow. Bowing acknowledges God as God.
2. Worship is allowing God to be God. Not just praising God and saying God you are God, but allowing God to be God.
21. I am not asking that you bow, but maybe we should. How do we know that our attitude is one of humility?
22. I do not know that answer, I am asking you. I have pride in my heart like I am sure you do and maybe in bowing or falling on the ground we are forced to remember our station before God. Is our attitude one of humility in worship.
23. It used to be common to pray on our knees, maybe we should get back to that. I had a preaching professor who talked about studying on His knees.
24. In the Old Testament Moses would fall prostrate before God in repentance.
25. We see this sort of humility all throughout the Bible.
26. Where are we?
27. Let’s pray and repent of our attitude of pride and lack of reverence before we move on. I am sure I am not alone, but if you feel you don’t have to repent then as I pray you don’t have to or you can pray, “Father God thank you that my attitude is correct…”
28. Next, these elders did not simply fall down. They offer their crowns before the throne. This is surrender. They cast their crowns. The crown represents role, authority. The Elders, who represent us, are surrendering their rule of their relationship to God, to God. Are we allowing God to be God on His terms or our terms. Casting crowns allows God to be God on His terms. John uses the present tense, they “are casting.” They are continually casting crowns. Our relationship with God is a love relationship which means we are free to say “no.” This means that we continually offer our authority and power before God and surrender and say, “You are Lord and I am not.”
1. Cast (βάλλουσιν). Read βαλοῦσιν shall cast. The casting of the crowns is an act of submission and homage. Cicero relates that when Tigranes the king of the Armenians was brought to Pompey’s camp as a captive, prostrating himself abjectly, Pompey “raised him up, and replaced on his head the diadem which he had thrown down” (Oration “Pro Sestio,” xxvii.). Tacitus gives an account of the public homage paid by the Parthian Tiridates to the statue of Nero. “A tribunal placed in the centre, supported a chair of state on which the statue of Nero rested. Tiridates approached, and having immolated the victims in due form, he lifted the diadem from his head and laid it at the feet of the statue, while every heart throbbed with intense emotion” (“Annals,” xv., 29).
29. Lastly, they worship as well.“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
30. Who is worthy to be worshipped? God.
31. Who created all things? God.
32. John is seeing who we are and who all creation is, what all creation is.
33. John is seeing that we existed in the heart of God’s love before we were created.
34. Ephesians 1:3: Paul notes that our lives are immersed in blessings. Verse 4: God chose us before the foundation of the world. “Chose” this means to speak forth. Genesis 1: God spoke forth creation. We were in the heart of God before we were created, before anything created. There was no emergency in Heaven when we were conceived, maybe in our mother’s life.
35. Psalm 139
36. By God’s hand we existed and were created.
37. We are not accidents.
38. The only response is self sacrificial worship. The only response is worship in humility.
39. The only response is to join the elders, which we may be in that group anyways and say, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.”

When I was a child my dad would rebuke me and say, “You need an attitude adjustment.” I wonder where our attitudes are at when we come to worship, or, why limit it to worshipping with the body of believers? Why allow our attitude to be a mess throughout the week. Maybe we simply must ask the Lord to work on our attitude.

Fijian Government Silences Singing at Conference
In Fiji, singing hymns can get you in trouble. About one million Methodists live in the south Pacific island country, and each summer 20,000 to 50,000 of them gather for a conference. Before the conference begins, they have a massive choral contest. About 10,000 people participate. They sing hymns. That’s it. Hymns. But in July 2009, the government shut them down. “No choral contest this year,” the government said. There is a lot of turmoil in Fiji, and the government feared that the big crowd might get out of hand. According to news reports, “Church officials said the government fears the conference and singing contest will lead to further political instability.” Nothing like singing Methodists to make a government nervous!
They are on to something there, though. Christians worshiping the Lord really are dangerous—although perhaps not as those officials feared. Worshiping God in Christ upsets world systems. It is revolutionary, subversive. It brings another kingdom into view.
Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: Kim Cain, “Fiji Bans Massive Methodist Hymn-Sing,” Religion News Service (7-31-09)

Let’s pray.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

The Wise Men Worship Jesus

Christmas is now over and so is New Year’s.

We have been talking about prophesies fulfilled by Jesus, listen to what Tim Keller shared:
during his 2007 talk at the Gospel Coalition National Conference:
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

What do you most like and not like about Christmas? People were asked that question in 2013 and this is what they said:
Stats on What We Like/Dislike about Christmas
A 2013 Pew Research poll asked people what they like or dislike the most about the Christmas holiday season. Here’s a list of what people most look forward to at Christmas time:
1. 68 percent said spending time with family and friends
2. 11 percent mentioned religious services or religious reflection
3. 11 percent look forward to the Christmas “spirit” of joy and good will
4. 5 percent said music, decorations, and shopping
5. 4 percent look forward to the end of the Christmas season
Here’s what the poll said we most dislike about the Christmas season:
1. 33 percent—the commercialism and materialism
2. 22 percent—the money and expense
3. 10 percent—the shopping and crowds
4. 5 percent—the hectic pace and bad moods of people
5. 2 percent—the pressure to go to church
Note: For the purpose of this illustration, some of the categories in the original survey have been renamed and combined into one category.
Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, “Celebrating Christmas, Then and Now,” (12-18-13)

Regardless of what you most like and most dislike, there was a lot of worship during the first Christmas and the days afterwards. Jesus was born and then in Luke 2:13-14 and verse 20 there was worship. The angels worship and the shepherds worshipped.
Listen to what one scholar wrote:
What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called mighty! Yet even as a baby, Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus’ birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men.
Warren W. Wiersbe in His Name is Wonderful. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 18.

I planned that I would start a sermon series on worship next week. However, I started studying for this sermon and I thought, this is really the beginning of the series on worship. Next week we will get into the more nitty gritty. Today, we look at how the magi worshipped Jesus.

The great idea and application today is that Jesus, the light of the world is worshipped by the magi and so must we worship Jesus.

Turn in your Bibles and read with me Matthew 2:1-12:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christc was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

I. Notice, in verse 2 the wise men are traveling to worship Jesus. I notice right here that worship involved sacrifice.
1. So, here is this baby, about two years old being worshipped.
2. The wise men are traveling from the East to Jerusalem. The E.S.V. Study Bible makes a note.The wise men likely traveled with a large number of attendants and guards for the long journey, which would have taken several weeks. For example, if they had come from Babylon by the main trade route of about 800 miles (1,288 km), averaging 20 miles (32 km) per day, the trip would have taken about 40 days.
3. We can read the next several verses about their travels and even in verse 12 they traveled out of their way to worship Jesus.
4. An application for us all: Do we desire to worship God and will we sacrifice in order to worship God?
5. We, actually, may not desire to worship God, but does that mean we should not? They traveled to worship?
6. We have talked about the prophesies fulfilled in Jesus and we see in verse 6 a quote from Micah 5:2 regarding Bethlehem and these wise men or magi likely knew the Old Testament writings which helped them know where to go in order to worship.
7. How important is it for us to worship?
II. In verse 8 Herod says that he wished to worship Jesus. I notice that in this case Herod lied.
1. Herod did not wish to worship Jesus. He wished to kill Jesus. In fact, in verses 16-18 we see what is called the slaughter of the innocense in which, rather than worship Jesus, Herod kills all the children under age two in hopes that Jesus will be killed. Wow!
2. By the way, verse 18 is another prophesy fulfilled, this time from Jeremiah 31:15. In verse 15 there is a prophesy fulfilled from Hosea 11:1.
3. Do we ever lie to ourselves or others about worship?
4. No, I don’t think any of us lie like Herod did. We likely, don’t even mean to lie. We may not realize that our motives our impure. But they are.
1. Why are we here?
2. Am I here to worship Christ or because of a job?
3. Are you here to worship Christ or to fulfill a duty, maybe to feel good.
4. Are we here to see friends or to worship?
1. Seeing friends is not bad. Fellowship is important as well but worship must be a priority as well.
2. I knew of someone who said that he came to church for business connections. The church is not Kiwanis.
3. I knew of someone that said we come for our children.
5. Are you here to worship Christ or because you have nothing better to do?
6. Of course it is equally as bad to say, “My heart is not in it so I will skip worship.” No, pray that God gets your heart right. Get up early and pray so that you are eager to worship Christ. Change something so that you can eagerly worship Christ. Don’t sin by skipping out on worshipping Christ Jesus.
7. These three words used for worship are verbs that means action. What is the action? Humility.
III. In verse 11, in humility, the wise men worship Jesus.
1. The bowed down.
2. The N.E.T. Bible has a note that reads: “they fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
3. Are we here to worshipping God in reverence?
4. Listen, I also have no problem with hand raising in worship but know what that means. What does that mean? It means surrender. We are surrender to Jesus and we raise our hands surrendering and exalting Jesus.
5. These wise men, or magi were wealthy, very wealthy and very wise and they surrendered and bowed down to a toddler.
6. My toddler wants me to surrender to her, but Jesus was and is worthy.
7. Whether we bow down or not, are we surrendering?
8. Are we metaphorically bowing down when we sing songs to God? What about when we pray to God?

Close:
So:
1. The wise men, or magi, sacrificed to worship Jesus. Sacrifice to worship Jesus this week.
2. Herod lied about worship, pray for pure motives.
3. The wise men, or magi, bowed down in humble surrender to worship Jesus. I pray we do the same.

Christians that were in Russia anytime during the 1950s to about 1990 were familiar with the voice of Nick Leonovich. For decades before the Iron Curtain came down, Nick had been faithfully broadcasting the gospel in Russian to his people. When the doors began to open, and Nick would travel through Russia and meet those Russian believers finally, a lot of them would stop him and they’d say, “Hey, I know your voice! You led me to Christ.” Wow!
Well, I’ve got to tell you, Nick wasn’t always working for the Lord. That took a miracle. Nick was living as a teenager in Passaic, New Jersey, and his older brother, Alex, was pioneering Christian broadcasts in Russian for a company and ministry in Ecuador. And when he would ask Nick about his relationship with Christ, Nick kind of waved him off and said, “Hey, that’s my business.” It was an August day in 1945 when older brother Alex was driving to the radio station in Ecuador, and he heard the breaking news. He threw out his planned message and he spoke spontaneously from what he had just heard on the news. Nick happened to be listening on shortwave in New Jersey. He would never be the same.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I was to have A Word With You today about “Unconditional Surrender.”
The news that day? The unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces. Japan had expressed earlier interest in a surrender with specific conditions. But that day in 1945, they surrendered without condition. Alex Leonovich spoke on the subject Unconditional Surrender to Jesus Christ. Nick heard it in New Jersey, and he went to his knees. He said, “Lord, I’ve been a Christian but on my terms. Now I want to surrender to You with no terms. I unconditionally surrender.” Well, I’ll tell you, the lid came off his life from that day on.

Surrender to Jesus and worship.

Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with Him
Our sins separate us from God
Sins cannot be removed by good works
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever

pray