Sabbath School Lesson for November 7-13, 2020

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Overview

The following questions come to mind and will be examined this week, as we consider the topic of worship:

  • Why is who and how we worship so important? (Sunday)
  • Why is it vital that we teach children about worship? (Monday)
  • What does it mean to worship “in spirit and in truth”? (Tuesday)
  • How do we worship the Lord “in the beauty of holiness”? (Wednesday)
  • What does modern idolatry look like? (Thursday)

Introduction

The desire to worship something seems to be in our DNA. We’re born with it to some extent. We all worship in one way or another, even if we don’t recognize we’re doing it. It’s very important that we worship not only something bigger than ourselves, but that we do it in a way that is most pleasing to the one we’ve chosen to worship.

If it’s our Creator God we worship, then we will also be careful to pass a true worship experience on to our children, because He has told us to do so. That’s why we must be conscious of our worship practices, or lack of them. We are modeling our religion and worship style to our children without even knowing it.

Memory Text:¬†“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV

Worship is a part of giving. It’s a chance for us to give back to God. Our tokens of appreciation bring Him glory, and apparently bring us closer to God. It should be done in the “beauty of holiness”. Our holiness only happens as a result of being closer to our holy God. So, we come together for the purpose of…

  • giving our offerings to the Lord, and
  • worshiping Him by our lives, made holier by being in His presence

Sunday: We All Worship Something

Worship was important at Christ’s First Coming to Bethlehem. The story of the shepherds and wise men illustrate how worshiping the King, even the Baby King, was a solemn, joyful experience.

In addition, the story in Daniel 3 of the image that people were ordered to bow down to taught us several important things about worship…

  1. It is important who AND how we worship. Bowing down to anything or anyone but God is strictly forbidden in the 2nd Commandment.
  2. Worship is a life and death matter–the first four commandments deal with worship, and are to be kept.
  3. Just like these Hebrew youth, we need to love God enough to die for Him, which includes being dead to sin (Romans 6:11).

The story of Daniel’s friends, escaping the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar, serves a very good purpose for being in Daniel’s book of prophecies. It emphasizes the central issue of worship, which is so important, especially right before the Second Coming. And, of course, worship is also addressed all through the Bible.

Physically dying for God may be necessary for some during the final days of earth’s history. Persecution will touch many of God’s people, because worship will be scrutinized. The three angels’ messages are full of pleas and warnings to worship the Creator (first angel), to leave false worship (second angel), and to avoid worshiping the beast (third angel).

Bible Verses to Consider:

Daniel 3:16-18 and Exodus 20:4-6

  • On what did the three Hebrews base their decision not to bow down to the king’s image?
  • Why were they willing to die for their decision? Exodus 20:6?

Revelation 14:7, 9

  • What is the link between our worship and the mark mentioned in v. 9?
  • Since the primary focus here seems to be our worship, why do so many focus instead on what the mark is, preferring to think of it as a literal encryption of some kind on our forehead or implanted under the skin?

Monday: And Declare Them to Their Children

God has instructed that we should pass down our religious beliefs and practices to our children. The Psalms seem to serve the purpose of assisting us in that mission.

The Book of Psalms is a book of poems of praise, meant to be recited during worship services, and were often accompanied by musical instruments of various kinds. Singing praises to God is definitely a part of the worship experience, and one that is quite helpful in teaching worshipers all the glorious attributes of the God we serve.

Psalm 78, in particular, was no doubt a favorite. It recounted many of the experiences of the Hebrews on their journey to Canaan following their years of slavery in Egypt. It showed in rich detail how God had protected them, provided for them, and guided them in the past.

God is still guiding us to the heavenly Canaan land. We have often seen His protection and guidance, and these are the kinds of stories our children need to hear, so they will also learn to trust their Redeemer and Friend.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Psalm 78:4, 7

  • What and why are children to be taught about God?

Revelation 14:12

  • What two things that identify God’s saints, and why is it important that our children are instructed in both?

Tuesday: In Spirit and in Truth

The encounter Jesus had with a Samaritan woman at a well one day reminds us how easily the topic of worship can come up in a conversation. Right after Jesus pointed out to the woman that she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband, she tried to sidestep the issue by bringing up a question about whether Jerusalem is the place to worship.

Jesus replied with a profound statement about the nature of true worship. He said we must worship God “in spirit and in truth”. He was saying that worship must come from within, from the heart (“in spirit”). But truth, or a correct understanding of God, is also needed. Doctrines do matter.

Worshiping only “in spirit” can lead to a shallow, religious experience. Which could easily result in saying one thing and doing quite the opposite of what God has prescribed for us.

On the other hand, when doctrinal truths become the dominant factor in our worship, we can quickly become stuck in a formalistic, lifeless religious existence, that may even be seen as harsh and dispassionate by those around us.

Therefore, we must make sure our worship contains both correct doctrinal information, but is carried out and practiced from the heart.

Bible Verses to Consider:

John 4:23, 24

  • What did Jesus mean by worshiping Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  • What happens when our worship is imbalanced one way or the other?
  • How do we know if we aren’t worshiping Him “in spirit and in truth”?

Wednesday: The Beauty of Holiness

Today, we seldom think of churches in an ugly way. The structure of the facility, no matter what denomination, is almost always something we see as beautiful. Even the services are normally uplifting and beautiful in most churches today.

But, this wasn’t so in Old Testament times. Many of the worship practices of pagan religions were horribly cruel and sadistic. Child sacrifices were common and other licentious acts were carried out in name of their gods.

Israel, even with its animal sacrifices, stood out among the tribes and nations as a welcome alternative to the evil customs of most religions of the time. The tabernacle services provided a dramatic illustration of the plan of salvation, and was meant to draw people away from those primitive, satanic worship services that dominated the religious landscape back then.

David’s joyful, heartfelt response to the ark being placed in the tabernacle helps us understand how important those services were. In 1 Chronicles 16:29, David encourages us to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”. This holiness from being in God’s presence is offered to all who come before Him (Psalm 100:1, 2).

Bible Verses to Consider:

1 Chronicles 16:2:4-6, 23

  • What place should music have in our worship services?

1 Chronicles 16:29

  • What place do our offerings have in worshiping God?

1 Chronicles 16:8

  • Why is prayer also an important part of the worship service?

Thursday: Idolatry in Education

The pagan tribes in Canaan were very religious. They would go to great lengths to pay homage to their false gods, even sacrificing their children to them. Although their devotion was misplaced, they were very committed in carrying out the idolatrous practices that were engrained in their society.

Probably the most dangerous aspect of idolatry today is that it isn’t recognized as a form of worship. Modern idolatry, such as materialism, secularism, and intellectualism, can become overriding forces in our lives, pushing out our need for the true God.

Since we are looking specifically at education, our need to know the answers must never take the place of our need to trust God with the answers. Many people have too high a regard for the brilliant minds that dominate education today. The word of philosophers and scientists are often substituted for the clear word of God. Maintaining a healthy balance in our educational pursuits would surely go a long way in preserving our religious integrity and upholding the rightful place of the Creator God we claim to worship.

Even those who are giving worship its rightful place in their lives must be cautious about traditions that take the place of God’s clear directives. The first four of the Ten Commandments should be our reference point for how to properly worship and love God.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Mark 7:7-9

  • When do traditions become harmful to our religious experience?
  • How can we avoid placing too high a regard on traditions?

Friday: Conclusion

There are three things we must realize in order to understand our part in worshiping God:

  1. that we all have a fundamental need to worship something or someone
  2. that our choices in worship are affected by the evil that exists here on earth and by the good that comes to us from heavenly places
  3. that worship is a life and death matter (our eternal destinies are involved)

Two extremes in worship should be avoided:

  1. believing that there is only one way to worship God (ignoring the fact that culture, personalities, and circumstances–such as during a pandemic– play a part in what our worship looks like)
  2. believing that God has not set any parameters or guidelines and that all forms of worship are acceptable to God

These are just some of the ideas we must convey to the generations that follow us. We must educate young people, even those new in Christ’s family, by our reverent actions and our words. Glorifying God means to worship Him in the very best way we know how. By understanding and adopting regular, true worship practices we have the best chance to be blessed and to bless others, including God (Psalm 103:1).

Next Week: Education and Redemption

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