Lessons on Worship
After going to secular world in which King Solomon has all the access, he now focused his attention
on the temple. His observations and conclusions about worship were taken when people originally
worshiped in the tabernacle and then to the temple when it was completed. His findings and advice
are still very applicable to us today, so let’s see what he has written and then relate it to our lives.But before we start, let me quote to you what J. Vernon McGee has written in his commentary on
“Religion has damned the world more than any other thing. Look what the pagan religions did for
people in the past. Look at India, China. and the Moslem world. Look at the Roman Catholic world.
Look at liberal Protestantism. Multitudes have joined churches since WW II that allow then to get
away from God and to avoid a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
What a sad and tragic reality when the personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is broken.
What’s wrong with our worship today? What is Solomon’s advice?
I. What worship is:
A. To worship is to bow down; to honor; to exalt; to pay homage; to reverence (Gen. 24:52; Ex. 4:31; 12:27; 24:1; 33:10; 34:8; Mt. 2:11).
B. Bible truths about worship:
1. Only the Lord God of the Bible is to be worshipped (Ex. 20:1-6; 34:14; 2 Kings 17:36; Mt. 4:10; Acts 10:25-26).
2. Jesus Christ is to be worshipped (Mt. 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 18:26; 20:20; 28:9,17; Ph. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:6).
3. Worship must be in Spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24; Ph. 3:3).
4. Angels are not to be worshipped (Rev. 22:8-9).
5. Worship is in vain if based on the traditions of man instead of the Word of God (Mt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7).
6. No graven image (Ex. 20:4). Catholics, Buddhist, Hindus, etc are all guilty of disobeying this command.
7. We can see how the Catholics worship Mary, dead saints, and angels. They also worship God based on human tradition not according to the Bible.
Illustration: Other Gods
What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals,
those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual
prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity
constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose
worship is described as “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed, the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are legion. In the matter of life’s basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for April 17
II. How to Worship as per Solomon’s Advice: (Eccl. 5:1)
A. “Keep thy foot” has a reference on guarding our steps.
1. Guarding your steps has something to do before you worship God.
2. I would say that before you go to worship you must have spiritual preparation.
3. This preparation would include your heart, mind, soul, your spirit. Your whole being must be prepared before you go to worship, during worship and after worship.
4. Remember that when you worship, you go to meet the Holy God who deserved all our reverence and respect. We must honor God by our sincerity when we worship.
5. The worship of God is the highest ministry of the church and must come from devoted hearts and yielded wills. For God’s people to participate in public worship while harboring unconfessed sin is to ask for God’s rebuke and judgment (Isa. 1:10-20; Amos 5:1; Ps. 50:1)
6. In his time, Solomon saw the approach of the Jews to be more ritualistic than contrite, formalistic than genuine.
7. It has the appearance of correct worshipping but nothing is happening in the heart, nothing is happening between the worshipper and God.
8. The vanity of hypocritical worship is but another illustration of the vanity of all things.
9. One of the most common problem we are facing now, is that people are physically present in the church but their mind is somewhere else.
10. They may be sitting besides us as if listening to the message but they are thinking of something. They may be singing with us but still spiritually and mentally away.
11. Because of modern technology, during worship service, some are texting using their mobile phones, some are using face book, others are shopping on line and browsing the net. For me this is an abomination and should never be done in the church specially during worship service.
B. Be more ready to hear
1. When we go to worship, we should have an open and receptive heart
2. We need to listen carefully and attentively to the preaching of the Word of God.
3. By listening, we learn. Always remember that “faith cometh from hearing and hearing the word of God.
4. Being more ready to hear is being more ready to obey.
5. Obedience to the word of God is more important than sacrifices.
A. Offering of sacrifices (Eccl. 5:1b)
1. The sacrifice of fools are their empty words.
2. Words and promises that cannot be kept are evil in the sight of the Lord. The
fool thinks he is doing good but in reality, he is doing evil.
3. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we don’t offer animal sacrifices anymore.
4. The sacrifices we offer up are:
a. Our bodies (Rom. 12:1-2);
b. Unbelievers won for Christ (Rom 15:16);
c. Financial support or money (Phil 4:18);
d. Good works (Heb. 13:15-16);
e. A broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17);
f. Our prayers of faith (Ps. 141:1-2).
III. Advice about Prayer (Eccl. 5:2-3)
A. Let your words be few
1. What Solomon is telling here is about careless prayer
2. The secret for acceptable prayer is prepared heart (Ps. 141:1-2)
3. Keep your words few and mean what you say.
4. We should avoid repetitious prayer and words that impress people.
5. The author of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan, wrote: “In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.”
B. Verse 3 presents an analogy: Just as many dreams show that the person sleeping is a
hard worker, so many words show that the person praying is a fool (Prov. 29:20).
1. Again, we should avoid lengthy and eloquent prayer.
2. Spurgeon said, “It is not the length of our prayers, but the strength of our prayers, that makes the difference.”
C. Making vows to the Lord (Eccl. 5:4-7)
1. God did not require His people to make vows in order to be accepted by Him, but the opportunity was there for them to express their devotion if they felt led to do so (Num. 30; Deut. 23:21-23; Acts 18:18).
2. The Preacher warned about two sins. The first was that of making the vow withno intention of keeping it, in other words, lying to God. The second sin was making the vow but delaying to keep it, hoping you could get out of it. When the priest [“angel” = messenger] came to collect the promised sacrifice or gift, the person would say, “Please forget about my vow! It was a mistake!”
3. God hears what we say and holds us to our promises, unless they were so foolish that He could only dismiss them. If providence prevents us from fulfilling what we promised, God understands and will release us. If we made our vows only to impress others, or perhaps to “bribe” the Lord (“If God answers my prayer, I will give 500 to missions!”), then we will pay for our careless words.
Illustration: Promised to Give a million Dollars
As the wealthy oil tycoon lay on his deathbed, his pastor talked of God’s healing power. “Pastor,” he
gasped, “if God heals me, I’ll give the church a million dollars.” Miraculously, the man revived and
within a few short weeks was out of the hospital.
One day, several months later, he and the pastor chatted on the sidewalk in front of a hardware
store. “You know,” the pastor said, “when you were in the hospital dying, you promised to give the
church a million dollars if you got well. We haven’t got it yet.”
“Did I say that?” the tycoon asked. “I guess that goes to show how sick I really was!”
Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 34
We must worship the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures. There will be a lot of
disruption as you worship so must be spiritually prepared before you worship, during worship and after worship. In your worship you must be sincere and be willing to hear and obey. Would you come and worship Christ? Start now and be one of the blessed