Restoring The Altar of Third Court Worship

(Worship in spirit and in truth)

Series: Worship

Sun am 6 June 2010 – Kobus Swart

Gen. 22:3-6; (1 Kings 13:24); (Psalms 137:4); Psalm 29:1-2; Rev. 14:2; John 4:3-24;

(2 Chronicles 15:8-9); Exodus 20:24-26

On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” (Gen 22:4-5). Abraham had just been given the command to kill the manifestation of the promise. Isaac was God’s fulfilment of a promise that was spoken into barrenness. For three days Abraham and Isaac must have walked with thoughts churning on the inside. Walking together as a unit. Perhaps a process of dying?

“…and we will worship and return to you.” Two powerful principles are combined – worship and faith. This was an expression of active faith, believing in the God who promised.

There are three levels of worship. The first level of worship is once you have come out of Babylonian bondage. The sound of the Kingdom will not come while you are in “Babylonian” captivity. “How can we sing the LORD’S song in a foreign land?” (Psalms 137: 4.) It is singing about God, about His goodness, aboutHis love. That is not where it should stop.

The second level of worship (inner court) is singing to The Lord. The focus is shifting away from me to Him. Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (Psalm 29:1-2).

The third level (Abraham on the third day said, “We are going up to worship”)  means that God is now singing through us, and it will sound like the voice of many waters. Singing with God!

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well what level of worship His Father is looking for. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24).

In the Old Testament, frequently the altars of worship became defiled and idols took the place of the real God. It attracted the blessing of God when Asa removed the idols that had taken the place of true worship and he rebuilt the altar of the Lord (2 Chronicles 15:8-9). What does this mean to us in this season? What does it mean to worship God “in spirit and in truth”? God is looking for worship behind the worship. He is looking for a lifestyle that will support the corporate worship when we come together. We come tuned or prepared to the meetings; we come as worshippers. Our lifestyle must back up what we do corporately when we come to the house of God. It will bring forth a whole new sound when those who come together to worship are actually worshippers outside the scheduled meeting times. To worship in spirit and truth is talking about the fabric of your life; what the real you are made of.

If our response to Father’s demand is not like that of Abraham, our worship will lack that third dimension (court) sound. God is saying, “renew the altar of worship, remove the idols.” We should never become guilty of wanting to worship the song. It is not the style or type of song that is the issue. Yes, there is a variety.  “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” (Eph 5:19).

What is our response when we are severely tested? Murmuring and complaining? Withdrawal? Blaming God? Let worship be at the foundation of all your relational activities, your decisions, your choices.

Exodus 20:24-26 talks about making an altar of earth. God wants me and you to become the altar of worship. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom 12:1)

“Lord we want to be the answer to Your search; we want to be those who worship you in spirit and in truth!”