Worshiping the Lord (2019, Quarter 4, Lesson 10)

by Greg and Shirley Rumsey November 30, 2019

Worshiping the Lord (2019, Quarter 4, Lesson 10)

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Sabbath (November 30): Worshiping the Lord

Worship is a central aspect of our religious experience, and, it might be argued, also defines the core of our existence. After all, it was the issue of worship that led Lucifer away from God in heaven (see Isaiah 14:12-14), and then plunged this universe into the agony of sin. Similarly, Revelation reveals that the question of true or false worship will determine people’s destinies at the end of time when the mark of the beast is enforced (see Revelation 14:9-10). In this week’s lesson we will look at the worship historically, and seek to apply the lessons we learn to our experience.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Genesis 4:3-5. What gift did Cain bring to the altar? (He brought fruit of the ground.) Was this what God had required? (No. God had required that a firstborn from the flocks be brought.)

  • Read Genesis 4:2. In addition to the blatant disregard for God’s command, why might Cain have chosen to bring an offering of fruit? (His life centered around growing fruit, and this particular offering represented the most excellent gift that he thought he could bring.) What lesson should we take from Cain’s bad decision? (The lesson states on Sunday, “Excellence must always be a goal in worship.” While we certainly should bring our best to the Lord, this cannot be the only guideline that determines how we worship God. Cain brought an “excellent” gift of fruit, but it was completely contrary to the divine commands regarding worship. We must always remember that obedience is even more important than mere excellence when it comes to worshipping God.)

  • Read the following statement. What does it reveal about the result within the human character of true and false worship? (True worship brings us “upward toward the divine,” while false worship leads us “downward toward the satanic.”) What does this suggest about the importance of pursuing true worship of the true God? (It’s very important!)

Nearly every false religion has been based on the same principle—that man can depend upon his own efforts for salvation. It is claimed by some that the human race can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As Cain thought to secure divine favor by an offering that lacked the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. The history of Cain shows that humanity does not tend upward toward the divine, but downward toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope. See Acts 4:12{EP 38.5}

Sunday (December 1): Singing the Songs of the Lord

Music has always played an important role in the worship of God’s people. In today’s lesson we look at a few Biblical principles about the proper role of music in worship.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Zephaniah 3:17. What does this verse reveal about the origin of music? Who was the first musician? (God was the first musician, and He is the Creator of music.) What does this verse reveal about God’s purpose for music? For what reason does He sing? (Music in heaven is an expression of joy and praise for what God does, including His work of salvation.) Did the singers and musicians in Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day have reason to praise God for His work of salvation toward them? (Yes! God had returned them to Jerusalem, and guided in the rebuilding of the city and temple.) Do we have just as much reason to praise God today? (Of course!)

  • Read Psalm 47:1,6,7. What do these verses further imply about the purpose, and perhaps even the type, of music that is sung to the Lord? (Music sung to God should be joyful and be done with enthusiasm. At the same time, it should be done in a way that appeals to our reason and intellect, not just our emotions. The ideal worship music will allow for our personal expression of thanks to God, while also providing an opportunity for instruction in Bible truth and affirmation of our faith.)

  • Read Colossians 3:16. What role should the Word of God play in our songs of worship? (It should be central to our songs of worship. Likewise, music used in worship should enhance and augment our understanding and appreciation of, and response to, Bible truths. Biblically, music used for worship must be more than just an emotional experience, or even an opportunity for personal expression. It must be focused on the Word of God.)

Monday (December 2): Purification

As the lesson states, “[T]he temple and its services were a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. And that end, of course, was to lead the people into a saving relationship with their covenant God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to know His cleansing power in their lives.” The sanctuary and its services served as a type of God’s great plan of salvation centering in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Properly understanding how these services worked enables us to also understand more completely the full work of restoration and redemption that God has promised to work in our lives, if we let Him.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Leviticus 4:20,26,30,35. What do these verses reveal would be accomplished through the death of the sacrificial animals? (The guilty, yet repentant, sinner would be forgiven.)

  • Read Leviticus 16:29,30. At what point were the people to understand that they were not only forgiven, but also cleansed, from their confessed sins? (On the Day of Atonement they were “clean from all [their] sins before the Lord.”)

  • Read 1 John 1:9. What two things does God promise to do for us, through Christ, when we confess our sins? (Forgive us of our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) Why is it so important to pray for, and experience, both forgiveness and cleansing in our lives? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read the following statement from the book The Great Controversy and discuss what this means for us today. What does it imply about what true worship of God will look like in our lives? (Answers will vary.)

The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, “whither the forerunner is for us entered.” Hebrews 6:20. There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father’s throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God. {GC 489.1}

Tuesday (December 3): Two Large Thanksgiving Choirs

In today’s lesson we look at two striking stories in the Bible about the good and bad use of music in worship. The examples and warnings found in these stories provide important lessons for us today.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-3,14-17. What crisis confronted God’s people? How did they respond, and what did God do for them? (They were being attacked by their enemies, and King Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer. God responded by giving them an assurance of His victory on their behalf.)

  • Read 2 Chronicles 20:20. What advice and promise did the king give to the people? (That God would establish and prosper them if they believed in God and in His prophets.)

  • Read 2 Chronicles 20:21,22. Why did King Jehoshaphat place the choir in front of his army? (He believed that God was going to fight and win this battle for Judah, and he wanted to praise God for the victory already promised.) What two things were the singers to focus on in their music? (God’s holiness and His mercy.) What does this imply about how our worship music should be conducted today? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Daniel 3:1-7. In what ways does the role of music in this story contrast with how it was used by King Jehoshaphat? (Music was used to lead people into idolatry and rebellion against God.) What lessons and warnings should we take from this for us today? (Answers will vary.)

Wednesday (December 4): Sacrifices as Part of Worship

The sacrifices offered in the wilderness sanctuary and, later, in the temples at Jerusalem, formed an important and central role in the worship experience. Without these sacrifices, the music and praise and rejoicing that were also part of the worship would have lost their significance and meaning. What role does sacrifice play in our worship as Christians today? After Christ’s death on the cross, should we focus only on the music and praise and rejoicing, or is there still an important aspect of sacrifice that must form the central part of our worship experience?

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Romans 12:1. What are we as Christians counseled to do in our worship to God? (Offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice.”) How well do you think the attitude of self-sacrifice fits with the popular concept of “worship” found in much of Christianity today? (It’s certainly not the focus of many worship services.) What do you think it means that our “living sacrifice” should be “holy” and “acceptable” to God? (Answers will vary. This is a worship experience that brings us more closely into harmony with God’s character and His holy law.)

  • Read Matthew 3:17, then John 5:30 and 6:38. Why do you think God was “well pleased” in Jesus Christ? Did it have any thing to do with Christ’s self-sacrificing attitude of surrender and obedience each day of His life? (It most certainly did!)

  • Read Romans 12:2. How will worshipping God as a “living sacrifice” change us? (We will become less like the world, and more like God. Our mind and “spiritual taste buds” will appreciate the things of God, and detest the things of this world.)

  • Read the following passage and discuss what it should mean for us today:

In the time of ancient Israel the priests critically examined every offering that was brought as a sacrifice. If any defect was discovered, the animal was refused; for the Lord had commanded that the offering should be “without blemish.” We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God, and should we not seek to make the offering as perfect as possible? God has given us every instruction necessary for our physical, mental, and moral well-being; and it is the duty of every one of us to bring our habits of life into conformity with the divine standard in every particular. Will the Lord be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” If you do love Him with all your heart you will desire to give Him the best service of your life, and you will seek to bring every power of your being into harmony with the laws that will promote your ability to do His will. {5T 541.4}

Thursday (December 5): Priests and Levites as Part of Worship

As Hebrews 9:1-11 so beautifully explains, God designed that Israel’s priests were to be types of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest in heaven. In today’s lesson, we will see that they were also to be types of the Holy Spirit and His work in directing our worship of God today.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Leviticus 10:8-11. After Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu died by offering “common fire” before the Lord, what did God say about the role and purpose of the priesthood? (The priests were to teach the people the difference between holy things and common things, and they were to also teach the people the law of God.)

  • Read Hebrews 5:1,2. In addition to offering sacrifices, what else did God want Israel’s priests to be doing for the people? (Showing “compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.”) What do you think this means? (Answers will vary. They were to explain the gospel and point people in faith to the coming Messiah, Who would ultimately take their sins away.)

  • Read John 15:26. Of Whom does the Holy Spirit, or the Comforter, testify? (He testifies about Jesus Christ.) What does this mean? (Just as the priests were to point the people in faith to the coming Messiah, the Holy Spirit points us in faith to Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished, and what He is accomplishing even now, for us.)

  • Read Hebrews 10:15,16. What does God want to do for us today? (He wants to write His law on our minds and hearts.) Why is the Holy Ghost a “witness” of this? (It is through the Holy Spirit that God writes His law on our minds and hearts [see Ezekiel 36:25-27].) What does this imply about the role of the Holy Spirit in our worship of God today? (When the Holy Spirit is genuinely at work, the result will be worship of God that brings people into harmony with His law and active faith in Christ. This is what God wanted to happen for ancient Israel through the leading and influence of the priests and Levites.)

Friday (December 6): Worship and the Final Crisis

In today’s lesson we will look at the importance of true worship in our lives today, so that we can stand firm for God and continue worshipping Him during Earth’s last great conflict.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 13:15 and 14:9,10. What will be the central issue that determines the fate of all people at the end of time? (True or false worship of God.)

  • Read Revelation 14:7. What principle, or attitude, of life is revealed in this verse that will lead us to genuine worship of God? (Fearing God and giving glory to Him in all that we do.)

  • Read 2 Peter 3:18 and Ephesians 4:15. What do these verses reveal about the process of transformation and sanctification that must take place in our lives? Why can we not presume that we will be able to make a one-time decision for Christ “at the end” if we have not been living in self-sacrificial worship each day of our lives? (Answers will vary. Just like a plant is trained toward a certain shape as it grows day by day, we take a certain shape spiritually day by day. Our decision for Christ tomorrow is greatly influenced by our decision for Him today.)

 

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Greg and Shirley Rumsey
Greg and Shirley Rumsey

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