The Heart Of True Third Court Worship

Sun am 25 March 2018 – Kobus Swart

Hebrews 9:2-4; (John 19:30); (Heb. 7:27); (Psalm 100); Romans 12:1-AMP; 1 Peter 2:5-AMP; Hebrews 10:5-AMP; Hebrews 10:8-9-MSG; (Ps. 42:7); John 4:23-26-MSG; (Amos 9:11); (Acts 15:16); Genesis 22:1-14

Consider the tabernacle of Moses – the significance, the symbolism and the types and shadows. In it, you will find your own spiritual journey and growth. You can see the outer court, the Holy Place or the second court, and the third court – the Holy of Holies. Teachings from this refer to the first, second and third “days”. The outer court is not even mentioned in Hebrews chapter 9 because Jesus came as the once for all sacrifice. Some people still keep the outer court alive and with that keep sin consciousness alive in believers’ minds. We have seen, especially in the last few decades, how the Church progressed and migrated through the various seasons (or “days”). What I want to focus on is that as you read Hebrews 9, you find the altar of incense is no longer in the holy place, but in the Holy of Holies (vs. 2-4).  The altar of incense signifies worship, intercession and prayer – that takes you into the Holy of Holies.

What I want to focus on is worship in the third court.  Worship in the outer court is normally singing aboutGod. There is no personal relationship with Him. He was distant and not known in a personal way. Second court worship, or worship in the ‘second day’, people used to sing to God.  There are cries of love, songs of war and conquest.  There is always praise and joy in worship. Come with joyful singing and praise into His courts (Psalm 100).

Then there is a deeper level of worship. In the third court, the worship is changing. It is no longer singing about God and no longer singing to God. There is nothing wrong with singing to God and joy and praises will always be there, especially as we enter His courts. But in the third court, it is more about God singing through us when we feel that deep resonance in worship.

We can go through a lot of charismatic rituals – which is not necessarily sinful or wrong – but there is something more, something deeper. This is the cry of my heart, and I think it is the cry of every sincere worshipper to break into a new dimension of worship.

Paul says, present your bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1 AMP). Now that is going a bit further than just your normal praise songs. See also 1 Peter 2:5 (AMP). This is worship from the Holy of Holies. The author of the book of Hebrews takes it a little bit further. Therefore, when Christ enters into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but [instead] You have prepared a body for Me [to offer]” (Heb. 10:5 AMP).  “Do not come with the old rituals of worship and praise” is what he is saying here.  Something has shifted. When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan (Heb. 10:8 MSG). That is what he meant. When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan (Heb. 10:9 MSG)

I pray this morning that wherever it is needed in each one of us to make a shift from the old way into a new way, let it be! I long for that new intimate worship, something beyond what we have experienced corporately. Something has to happen when we really enter into worship.  I trust that the Holy Spirit will take this deep into your own heart and life.

The only acceptable sacrifice to the Father is Christ.  There is no other way that you can please the Father but through Christ. It is not so much a matter of doing but being.  Let that sink in: it is what I am; it is a matter of being. The Lord must help us to get beyond the mental assent of good principles.  The question is: have you become that yet?  That will bring a new sound to our worship.  It will bring a whole new frequency of worship in the house of God.  It has nothing to do with a specific style of music or worship because there are different styles.  What will it sound like when we come to that place where each one of us has that intimate sense of being? What will be the sound of worship?  It will be like the harmonious sound of many waters – multiple sounds of worship to the throne!

We cannot repeat previous patterns without His presence.  Just to grab the formula of past revivals and try to implement it in the present will not necessarily work.  It has to be fresh and God-ordained.  Joyful praise can come from your own spirit, and there is nothing wrong with it.  True worship, however, is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit inside of me. I have a feeling that God is going to surprise us, because many of us have come through the various Pentecostal and Charismatic seasons, specifically referring to the Holy Spirit. There are more of you feeling that you had your experiences, you had your baptisms in the Spirit, wonderful experiences – thank God for all of that!  But how many of you feel there is more, and you want it?  You must come to God to get more.  Keep that in mind!  Do you know what true worship is?  Deep calling unto deep! (Ps. 42:7)  It is not a soulish experience.  I want something deeper.  God is Spirit and true worship means the Holy Spirit in us reaches to God, who is Spirit.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.  We know that: true worship means in spirit and in truth.  Now hear what the Message translation says:  The time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you are called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.  It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That is the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration (John 4:23-24 MSG). (Listen to Julie True singing “Let my life be worship to You…”)

Here is the truth, the heart of the word for this morning: It is who you are and the way you live that counts before God.Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. Those are the people the Father is out looking for, those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in their worship.

Worship is not supposed to just take place on a Sunday morning; we know that.  As we come together corporately, you can have all kinds of outward things, but God looks into your heart.  Are you yourself?  Have you engaged your spirit in worship?  I am looking forward to a meeting in this house when there will be a meeting when the doors of this building will not be closed for months, because people will come and go, and be touched by God in worship in the spirit and in truth, and they will be transformed!

God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story” (John 4:24-25 MSG). See, there is the old language, speaking from the old covenant. Jesus responded and said: “I am.”  “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further” (John 4:26 MSG).  This is also talking about the feast of tabernacles, busy unfolding into the final indwelling of God in His church.

Some of our strongest concepts of worship are rooted in the past.  Unfortunately, our experiences cannot be transferred genetically from one generation to the next, nor can it be transferred historically. You cannot transfer an experience. Every experience has to be uniquely individual and first-hand. May God give us a first-hand, fresh experience of third court worship!

It takes a personal encounter with God to produce worship of the degree we are talking about – third-day worship.  Too often it is the doctrine that is transferred and not the experience.  The Church of Christ worldwide is in search of a fresh, new encounter.

Genesis chapter 22 is a very powerful chapter.  There is something about Abraham: whenever God spoke to him and called his name, what was his first response?  “Here I am”. Are we that sensitive to the Spirit of God?  When He calls your name, can you say, “Here I am?” Then God tested Abraham to the uttermost, and asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac!  On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.  Now hear this utterance of a worshipper!  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” (Genesis 22:1-5). An unbeliever cannot be a worshipper! A true worshipper is also a true believer and will obey the demands of God – painful as it may be.  God told him to go and sacrifice and he said, “We will worship and return.”  Abraham was not acting.  As the father and son walked together as a unit, Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  That is a practical question.   Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.”  He took the knife in his hand and if God had not stopped him, he would have cut his son’s throat. That is what I call obedience coming from a heart of worship!  He was about to kill his son, and there was a voice from heaven – God speaking – “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God …” (Genesis 22:11-12).  I want to hear those words one day!  “Now I know.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.  Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh Jireh– The Lord is our provision.

On the “third day” God may require a “sacrifice”, but continue to be a worshipper as we have heard in that beautiful song.  “May my life be worship unto You.  May my life be worship unto You.  All I say and all I am, may my life be praise to You.”