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In this Issue

Ministry to the Lord


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MINISTRY TO THE LORD

“Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive Glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are created.” Rev 4:11.

“But the hour cometh and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

C. S. Lewis in, “Reflections on the Psalms” explains: “It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence and mind to men.”

We have no hesitation in saying that the greatest ministry of the B-of-C in Antioch was its ministry to the Lord. In Acts 13:2 it says, while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Note it was while its members were worshipping, that the Holy Ghost manifested His presence, spoke, gave guidance, separated and commissioned these servants of His for the evangelization of the gentile world.

Ministry to the Lord has the highest priority; certainly not our ministry to one another, nor world evangelism. When we have the right focus on God, we’ll have the right focus on the Work. Worshippers make the best workers.

The uppermost activity in the heart of God for us is ministry Romans 8:28, 29. Mark 10:45. Immediately we hear a statement like that we think it refers to the great commission, the task of taking world for God. Nothing could be further from the truth. The order is the Lord first; then to each another; and lastly to the world.

The whole purpose of creation is to worship Him. There is no higher ministry than “Ministry to the Lord.” It is our highest calling because here lays the source of our strength; Isaiah 40:29-31.
But alas it’s our greatest weakness. Like true Pharisees we prefer to worship our traditions.

In this visitation we are learning to minister horizontally and that’s wonderful, but we are woefully off the mark if we think that’s all there is to koinonia. Blessed as it may be, on its own it becomes destructive as well as unsatisfying. God never intended that the horizontal should meet all our needs

The good often becomes the enemy of the best. Precious as it can be it won’t sustain us, in times of great difficulty only God can do that. It’s true because you can hide in a crowd. In fact sometimes He has to isolate us in order to have an encounter with us. He did this with Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and John the Baptist; they are all cases in point. Rev 4:11. “Thou art worthy 0 Lord, to receive Glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are created.”

Eph 1:10-12.
Rev 19:7-10.
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, don’t do it: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God:

I am concerned about some aspects of this present visitation. It is not my intention to downplay the importance of our need for ministry to each other, but rather to see it enriched. Yet from what I am experiencing, I feel that we are in danger if not already guilty of emphasizing our ministry to one another at the expense of ministering to the Lord.

In our desire to throw off the shackles of ritual and habit, are we missing the point? In their rush to accept the Holy Spirit experience many saints from Open Brethren assemblies unwittingly accepted (the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes) Pastors. They failed to realize what inevitably follows such a move is that the man in a pulpit becomes the focal point of the gathering, replacing koinonia around the table.

This was not the case at Antioch, Surely we who have paid a price for this precious freedom we now enjoy are mature enough to realize that the Christians at Antioch were not trying to bring the presence of God into their midst via a song service? Or that when we personally participated in worship services it was the only way we could invoke God’s presence into the service, if we did, then to put it bluntly we have some growing up to do.

The saints that I worshipped with didn’t sing praises to have His presence or get His attention, we knew we had that. We didn’t do it to get His attention; we did it to give Him our attention completely and fully.

Hebrews 5: 12-14.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

To believe because the Old Covenant saints never had the indwelling Spirit as we do, there is little we can learn from them about worship is wrong. While to assume that because we live under a better covenant we are automatically wiser and better people is perhaps a little conceited. It is said of Abraham that he was the friend of God. He was in a very privileged position. Abraham believed God and his faith was accounted unto him for righteousness. He believed unto righteousness before Calvary. Has there ever been another human being like Moses who has spoken face to face with God? God personally arranged this man’s funeral. Angels fought over his body.

It is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Enoch walked with God in reality and he was translated that he should not see death. Before he was translated he had this testimony that he pleased God.

These all experienced God in a real way, tasting of the power of an age yet to come. All this took place before Christ. Can it be said about us that we please God; I sincerely trust that this is our desire also. In the light of these revelations perhaps we need to take another look at revivals under the old covenant and see what we might humbly learn 1 Cor 10:11.

Can we afford to play down the importance of the Old Testament record? The church is built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone, not our opinions. If the foundations are removed what can the righteous do? We shall be the poorer over many vital issues if we don’t take into account its inspired record. We need to stay sober and keep our balance; to do that we must accept the whole counsel of God on every issue.

There are some things that God has put together, that if we put them asunder, we shall suffer for it; e.g. the man and the woman; the Spirit and the Word; the law and the prophets; the head and the body. With the promise of the Father, (the Holy Spirit) to lead us and guide into all the truth, if we are ignorant we are voluntarily so, unless you’re young in the Lord ignorance is not an excuse.

Isaiah 50:4. The tongue of the learned; Heb 5:8; we need skill as well as enthusiasm. In our desire to throw off the shackles of the past are we going to ignore the full counsel of the scriptures? We must be vigilant, and on our guard against an enemy who goes around like a roaring Lion. I don’t think any of us want to exchange one tradition for another? Landmarks. Jer 31:21. TLB

Acts 24:14 Paul’s comments “But this I confess that after the way which they call heresy (Pentecostals fundies and evangelicals) so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and the Prophets.”

We have ample examples and exhortations in the N.T. on how to worship the Lord.
1 Peter 2:5. As lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Firstly we are living stones. Secondly we are a spiritual house. Lastly we are a holy priesthood for the purpose of offering spiritual sacrifices.

Colossians 3:16.
“Remember what Christ taught you and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts.” Here we are plainly admonished to sing spiritual songs under the new covenant.

Ephesians 5:18-20.
“Be not drunk with wine; but be filled with the spirit speaking yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” RSV says “With all your heart.”
Hebrews 13:10 tells us we have an altar. Not to offer animal sacrifice, but to offer praise.

Leviticus 21: 6.
“Present the offerings made to the Lord by fire, the bread (food) of their God.”
Here God identifies the offerings of the priests as His food, not that God needed actual meat and grain to eat, but it pointed to His claim on the sacrifice. The satisfaction He sought is found in the tabernacle sacrifices. He wanted worship.

As often as His people expected to eat, God expected His portion of the sacrifice. If this is what He requested under the “shadow of better things to come” (and He received it every evening and every morning with bread and wine Num 28:1-10.) how much more does He desire it from us who live this side of the cross. “Evening and morning and noon shall I cry and sing aloud, and thou shall hear my voice.”

Picture if you will, the priest taking the sacrifice and slaying it. Then he divides it according to God’s command to Moses. The smoke of the sacrifice ascends a sweet smelling savor as it burned with fire thus did the Lord consume His portion. Not only did God provide the sacrifice, but the fire also by which it burned came from Him at Sinai.

Look at Elijah at Carmel. From that time on it was the priest’s task to keep the fire burning. The priest’s portion was roasted upon the altar and then consumed. Thus God is satisfied, and the priesthood is sustained both by the same sacrifice. All of the work at the altar pictured God’s work in Christ. The implied message is clear: God wants to be richly rewarded with worship. It is like food to him. He wants it lovingly prepared constantly remembered; generously and gratefully offered. Nothing but Christ satisfies the Father.
The priest inspected the lamb, not the man. And if his lamb was accepted so was the man. And so we are accepted in the beloved.

John 6:53, 63. We also must feed on Him.
“Then Jesus said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you, for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. It is the spirit that comes alive, the flesh profits nothing, the words that I speak unto you are spirit and they are life.”

Have you ever come to a table with a healthy appetite and left still feeling hungry?
Since the cross, no better food than Christ can be found for God’s servants, He is the main course, because He is the essential ingredient that makes communion with God possible. Know the value of Jesus’ flesh and blood. We often offer Him a plate filled with things he never ordered, such as a service; with a program; with songs about me; my; us to be followed by a monologue and God is starved and denied His portion because we never set a table before Him. Stale leftovers will not do for God. What the Father seeks is a body that is consumed with loving gratitude for the Son of His love who offered himself by the eternal spirit unto God for our salvation.
“Thou hast set a table before us in the presence of our enemies.” Psalm 23:

1 John 1:3.
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The distinguishing mark of lovers of God is that they fellowship the Father and the Son sitting at the table He has prepared for us.”

Three entities The Father; The Son; and the saints. “Ye” is never singular. It literally means “You all.” We are the Temple of God. It takes more than one brick to make a temple.

Real fellowship implies much more than just sharing our lives with one another. Our fellowship is also with the Father and the Son. It must include them in fact.

How can this become a reality in our lives? It has been made possible through the Fathers unspeakable gift to us, His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased, memorialized often with bread and wine by grateful saints. Gratitude is the most unfelt of all human emotions. Fellowship that does not lead us to worship the Father thus misses the mark. “The true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship him” John 4: 23. Romans 1:2 1; Psalm 106:13, 21, 44-46.

Old Testament saints understood that sacrifice was central to worship and it is wrong to assume that Christian worship is any different. Although our Lord Jesus made the one final sacrifice for our sins, never to be repeated, we are to offer what Peter calls ‘spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’ This is done when one’s whole attention is focused upon God’s unspeakable gift, around a table with two elements, bread and wine, as we are lost in wonder, love and overflowing praise. If we tarry there He will respond to us and show us the way in which we should go.

Psalm 50:23. Psalm 22:3. “Thou art Holy O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Clean hands.
Phil 3:3. We are the circumcision who worships God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus putting no confidence in the flesh. Luke 19:37-40 Jesus’ triumphant entry Acts 3:8, 9 Gate beautiful.
Acts 16:25, 26 “They sang praises at midnight unto God and the prisoners heard them. The result was an earthquake, and conversions took place.

Jonah repented and nothing happened; prayed and nothing happened; then he offered the sacrifice of thanksgiving and God had the fish take him to Ninevah.
Hebrews 13:15.Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name”.

The law displacement: When we worship and pray in the spirit things happen, (Jesus is being exalted, and we are ushered into another environment. The law of replacement in physics tells us that when you fill a container with water it displaces what was there before. Worship Him and He becomes the focus of our attention. He has given us His attention all our lives but in worship He gets ours. It sets up His throne bringing a response by a Spirit empowered word ct 13: John 6:63.

Sharpening our sword for service:

Read Psalm 149: With the high praises of God in our mouth, and a two edged sword in our hands.

Brethren do you want more than what you’re experiencing? I do.
Do you want more besides sitting around and discussing the word? I do.

Do you want more besides listening to testimonies and swapping stories? I’ll tell you what I want.

I want to pray with people that love to worship. And worship with people that love to pray.

I want to participate in corporate worship and celebration that remembers His sacrifice. The Lord’s Table helps to do that.
To assist us we need the ministry of the minstrel in our midst the true house of the Lord. We don’t need performers, we want sensitive worshipers. To this agree the words of the prophets. I will build again the Tabernacle of David.

Proverbs 27:21. As the fining pot is to silver and the furnace to gold so is a man to his praise.

When you find a people that love to praise God at all times you will have found a people you will want to become a part of. In this kind of an atmosphere we can expect God to respond in many and varied ways; by miracles; and healings; in deliverance; in guidance; involving us in His Great Enterprise. Koinonia implies partnership.

2 Cor 5:18-20 Amp. “But all things are from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Jeremiah 33: 10-13, that all may learn Psalm 132:13-18.

 

 
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Shaun Kearney
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