God Deserves our Worship – Part 1

Ezra 3:1-13

Benjamin Keach’s Catechism, 1677

Q. 1. Who is the first and best of beings?

A. God is the first and best of beings.

Q. 2. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

If Question 1 is a good question and Answer 1 is correct, then the answer to Question 2 is a no-brainer. If God is in fact the first and best of beings, then obviously our primary task and purpose is to glorify him in all that we do. Living our lives always consciously aware of the fact that we are in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and are to glorify God is the essence of what it means to be a Christian. It addresses the how of life more than the what of life. Remember what Paul told the church at Corinth:

1 Cor. 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or you drink or whatever you do, do all [things] for the glory of God. LEB

One of those things that we do is worship God. We worship God because he is the first and best of beings and so deserves our worship. We worship God because he has delivered us from slavery to sin and commands us to worship him exclusively. We worship God because we love him and want to please him. Because of who God is and what he has done, he deserves our worship. So if worship is the what, the next question is how? How is it that we should properly worship this God who deserves all the glory we can give to him? What is required in order that we may truly glorify God and worship him as he deserves to be worshiped? Let us learn from our brothers and sisters from an earlier time and how they worshiped the God who had delivered them from captivity.

1. corporately v.1, 11, 13

gathered together – assembled

God at work again; text implies no announcement made to call people together, did it “of their own accord”

recognized value and importance of coming together as a congregation, assembly to worship

were ahead of their time in following the instruction found in Heb. 10:25

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting [encouraging] one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

the actions and excitement and passion of fellow-worshipers served two functions: glorifying God and building up of the saints

all praised – great shout, heard afar off

God rejoices in the praise of an individual; also rejoices in the corporate praise of the body

coming together to worship exemplifies truth that God has “redeemed for himself a people, to make for himself a name” 2 Sam. 7:23 – not many people but a people

as he redeemed them from bondage in Egypt, exile in Babylon, so he has redeemed them from slavery to sin to be his people (singular), a body of individuals called together for worship

should not come as a surprise that worship ought to be corporate – God looked at Adam and said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him” Gen. 2:18

2. centrally v.1

were in the cities, …to Jerusalem

visually, spatially they would get the idea that worship was to be central

in the same way, worship must be central to life

just as outlying towns surrounded Jerusalem like spokes around a hub, so life’s activities must be connected to the worship of God

old New England towns – church at the center of town, worship of God at the center of life

their purpose in being in the land – to rebuild the church

used as God’s tools to raise up the structure

empty, unused sanctuary is useless; for their efforts to have value, temple must be used as God intended – for the growth of his people in grace and godliness

their job not done when the last stone was put in place, the last nail hammered home

needed to continue actively in worship, bringing their children, encouraging friends and neighbors to come

annual pilgrimage feasts demonstrated repeatedly that all of their life revolved around God and his priorities, not their own, served to remind them of centrality of God and his worship in their lives

when worship and obedience to God’s commands no longer held center stage for God’s people, society began to unravel – seen repeatedly in Israel’s history as well as our own

3. in unity v.1, 9

people v.1

gathered as one man

describes not only the physical gathering

indicates they had a common purpose in being there, being together

rebuilding the temple and reinstituting worship

did not deem it necessary to wait for a building in order to worship

priests v.9

arose as one

supervising work on the temple – encouraging the workmen toward a single goal

same principle applies as 1 Cor. 14:7-8

“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?. If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?”

practical application – uncertainty or mixed signals cause confusion, halt progress

the only way real progress on the temple would happen – unity of leadership

spiritual application – mixed signals, a confused sound doesn’t constitute proper worship

must be unity of focus and action, worshiping God with one heart and voice to please him

God expects worship to be orderly – “let all things be done decently and in order” 1 Cor. 14:40

not just the externals of worship that must be orderly

unity within individual – heart and voice going in the same direction

unity with neighbor – it is the body worshiping, not the individual

likewise requires unity of leadership

unity between leader and leader – antiphonal singing doesn’t work otherwise!

music, prayer, preaching, teaching leading toward common goal

unity between leadership and congregation

everyone singing together, praying together, “processing” God’s Word together

another sort of unity – that of station

only one class of people in front of the altar, at the foot of the cross

sinners unable to help themselves

standing in need of redemption and reconciliation

the Lord’s Table reminds us of

God’s provision for our need

that the Lamb of God was the perfect sacrifice

that the Lion of Judah will return to gather his people to himself and renew all things

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