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What is the role of ritual in our Christian experience?

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  • August 10, 2019
    9:30 AM

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When people choose worship services they choose it based on the color of the pastor's hair the music service the size of the music system and all these other superficial things and sometimes God says there is a dissonance between our worship and our service find out more on this episode of In verse. Coming to you from Silver Spring Maryland welcome to. The Bible based conversation or my principal contemporary issues and thought provoking. Now here's your host just until within the next. Day Welcome friends to in a verse where is smack in the middle of our study on mercy and justice throughout the Bible and we've been going to the Old Testament on the prophets and on the law in the Old Testament are appended to and now we're going to get into the concept of worship so let's see who's going to praise Jonathan can you pray for us and we'll get to 2nd Corinthians right afterwards it's about heads Father in heaven we thank you again for this opportunity to study the Bible and we pray that you will reveal to us a new perspective on justice and mercy help us to understand what it means and how it affects our lives in the context of worship we pray in Jesus' name amen amen amen I don't know I'm a super excited about this. Second quarter will give us the founding principle and we look at all the verses where God's talking about worship and this is kind of particular angle that he takes and repeat over and over again so this is a theme so let's go to chapter 3 verse. Verse their homes good verse a teen. Who. And you can you can read it from here it's here but we all with unveiled face beholding as in the mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory justice by the spirit of the Lord so we picked on you for prayer we picked on you for special reading and so Johnson what's going on in verse 18 give us a little insight there well this is a very famous scripture of course and it talks about the concept that as we behold God we are transformed we are changed. Their relationship with God our worship of God our connection with God It should never leave us unchanged in fact it cannot if it doesn't change your life something's not right with your connections or when you behold God when you behold His Word it will transform your life for them but Paul is bringing out here and it's a it's a process that brings us closer and closer to what we still have talked about I think it was episode one the image of God and how the ideal student what Jesus lived out for us so this process of sanctification or redemption is taking place here as we look at. The sequence of mash and hear from the other of our panelists here this this to dissipate so what's going on and how does it connect to worship in the type of transformation that John is mentioning but in terms of worship what's going on from where he left off that Genesis when when God created us and in His image and since then came into the world with fallen from that ideal image of God and what God wants to do is to restore in us his image and the way that that happens is what the principle from this verse is the way that we are transformed into the image of God is by the holding him so as we spend time looking upon him gazing upon him that actually brings about a transformation in who we are the principle works for other things that hold that if we're not looking at God but we're looking at something else then we're transformed into that image so that I guess the. The phrase because by beholding we become changed and whatever it is that we behold that is what we're changed into so ideally we want to be beholding God and be changed into his image but I could choose to behold something else and I'll be transformed into the image of that which whatever he's a very show green message for young adults today in our visual media saturated culture you know whether you're watching Elvis or Michael Jackson or Justin Bieber Justin Timberlake or B.T.S. or whatever it is the more you watch that that is what you become that is where your affections go that is where your interests and your so even the things that we do like the clothes that were wearing on this this episode even the way that he's hopeful thing is ends and the way that seekers nodding her head and the way that Sebastian is giving me that funny little little smirk that he's doing right now all these things in the camera's not going to him so all these things that we're doing we've picked up from other cues and this is very interesting this is her transformation takes place it doesn't take place but I'm stopping their fingers it doesn't take from us some hacking of some biological processes not some magical formula but it's from us watching something and then making this it's a very sobering thing because you know we we can we learn for individuality you know I want to be my own person yet cetera but what this is telling is that as much as yes you are your own person but who you are is actually a combination of what you are beholding And so the power that I have over who I am and why I become comes from the choices that I make in what beholding what I like allowed to influence and so I'm not immune to the influences around me I'm going to be my own person who matter what happens around me but the power that I have to choose what influences around me that becomes what transforms me into the person that I choose to become and that's critical because we're not just in the spiritual sense of it but in the physical components of the art. Designed to bring our attention back to Gaunt result of a break and for example attending church and we're all kneeling down and praying right going through the ritual of foot washing we're taking communion right enjoying the Lord's Supper baptism all of these things are physical components of worship that may not necessarily have any intrinsic power and of themselves but they're designed to be mediums to call us back to that and to call us back to why do we take time right we've talked about the Sabbath in a previous episode bringing in the Sabbath right worshipping together as a congregation these rituals if we're not careful right can degenerate in just the form of I checked off the list and failing to take us back to the glory that is supposed to be showing us to behold and so like you're saying my ritual becomes my T.V. show on Thursday night my ritual becomes I'm going to listen to Justin Bieber every day I'm getting dressed and ready for those watching on nothing seasons one through 99 correct bingeing So in the sense these things become my rituals because fundamentally human nature we are creatures of habit we are creatures of repetition and we are what we repeatedly do so in essence right if worship is something that just degenerates into a form then in essence we've lost what it was there to do in the 1st place which was to call us back to be hold the spiritual right the true glory of God His character in each of you saying that in our modern context that we may look a look upon the past rituals with disdain or like hey we're more sophisticated in that but you're saying we're just as ritualistic today as people were back then I was even more water and modern practices absolutely with maybe even more dangerous mediums media in the sense that let's transition to some one thing scene which I think will as a nice segue Sebastian Let's go to Sebastian a semester Asylum's 115 versus one through 8 and Jonathan can you read those 8 verses for us that talks specifically about idolatry So we're talking about something 11513 please. On through it not unto us all Lord not unto us but to your name give glory because of your mercy because of your truth why should the Gentiles say so where is their God But our God is in heaven he does whatever he pleases their idols are silver and gold the work of man's hands they have mouths but they do not speak eyes they have but they do not see they have yours but they do not hear noses they have but they do not smell they have hands but they do not handle feet they have but they do not walk nor do they a mutter through their throat those who make them are like them so is everyone who trusts in them OK connect what we just talked about transformation and beholding and connected with idolatry and worship and some 115 and then John is going Wow So. I mean it's precisely there in verse 8 burn 8 those who make them those who are making these idols and choose to worship idols they are like them and everyone who trusts in them is like these idols they are their mute they are blind deaf they are unable to smell you know we've been talking speaking in the context of executing justice you know in the world. God cares about his people he cares about the situations people are going through and for a Christian who is beholding to God and seeing the character of God there's no way you can see injustice and be silent but if your if your homage and you worship is to an idol that is unable to speak then your muted when you see those situations as well you muted in your Powell as it says they have hands but they do not handle and you know we have these contemporary Christian songs to talk about being the hands in the feet of Jesus but I can't be the hens in the feet of of an idol because yeah you'll have hands but you can't do anything in them so here powerless action and so was it being God actually is something that enables you to act in situations where you are called to act to hear the cries of people who I need and to do something about it and you know that that's all just I'm a guy here as well and we go to and they go ahead and mash OK well just jumping off what you just said Saeco I've noticed in my life that. I remember early on my walk with the Lord I would read about you know having compassion on people who are in need and and the mercy of God and all these things and I'm like Lord I don't really have that genuinely in my heart please change me and as I was beholding God and still am in his the process of a lifetime. I have noticed that God has been refining my my senses and my my character in a way that my heart is starting to break for those who are broken I mean and those who are in need much more than it used to I'm not saying I'm like Jesus by far not you know but I know what I've got and what you didn't have before has naturally been created in your heart as a look at God who is justice and mercy now as he was saying that has transformed me that I'm starting to desire justice and mercy for other people that I see even if even people who are not part of my me. Family and I interject before. It relates to what he said I remember growing up especially in my teen years something that I struggled with. Me and some of my contemporaries that we would watch T.V. together and all thing was we love hard horror movies and we would Is that right and if you're in the IF would have never I know right OK yeah. If no one died in the 1st 5 minutes like it was over for that movie. With my life you know. It was the blood was the goal. And I remember I was I was going through a reconversion experience I guess in my late teens I really started reading the Bible more and and I realized that I didn't have that compassion you know and I know it's just T.V. and it's make believe or whatever but seeing someone die was just like entertainment and bunk to me like Lord I don't want to be that person that doesn't care that somebody died I don't care if it's a T.V. show it's a story I read on the news to not care about the death of a human being there's something wrong with me and I started praying Lord change me you know and part of that transformation part of that change was I needed to stop watching that stuff you know I needed to stop in children I think to hold the right way and you and we've had confessions from both Jonathan and so now we go direct attention to you especially your confession so I think it's profound what she who is saying because my point was going to be from this song when it says that those who make them are like them you realize that from 2nd Caribbean star teen worship was designed to transform us right but when you get into idolatry it's about transforming God right I'm going to make him into what I want to rather to me being change from glory to glory God is being changed in his glories being reduced and reduced and reduced to mine right. So we are now focusing on changing him because this is the work of men's hands so we're looking at money and institutions and power. And entertainment all these different things are things are the work of men's hands so we're saying oh yes yes this is the thing that needs to be worship and regarded and looked at upon with all when in actuality all that is doing is just lowering and lowering and Loring the glory which is ultimately lowering myself right rather than calling me higher and higher and higher and higher which is why when when God looks at this this passage about these dumb ideas of us and hold that thought on the dumb idols will come back to dumb idols after the break so stay with us. Has been a blessing to you Do you have questions comments of feedback you'd like to leave us find us on social media by searching. On Facebook Twitter Instagram for you to while there join us like this sums up my handle again in 1st Bible Mel States now back to the discussion. We're in the middle of Psalms 115 where Sebastian. Is like Dom in the center Don but also Don they can't speak. The minds so when you're taking these these dumb idols and crafting the divine in our own image we now tell stories of what we believe ought to be done and in no snare it has become perpetuated in the lives of other people whether that narrative is coming to a song through a movie right which is oh you died that was only valuable because it showed us how evil the person was in this particular movie right this relationship is only valuable. Because you know what they love each other it doesn't matter that they're both married it doesn't matter that this is a violation of a covenant that doesn't matter right and because we perpetuate that story now the very elements of what we're making this ideal into because really that's what God is the ideal of what we feel we're called to be as human beings which cry. Being that and then perpetuating that story and making sure it's being held so that what I believe a human being ought to be and how life should work and love and justice that's what's being spread abroad and that's where people are being changed I love that verse verse 8115 verse 8 those who make them are like them and so is everyone who trusts in them and I think we need to be very careful and we say a lot I think around here but I think this is I'm really thinking about this. Be careful that that we don't become so arrogant to think that these people of of antiquity they are they're idiots and they worship these these stone things that they know better but there's a sophisticated theology in idolatry of antiquity so we're basically there worshipping themselves worshiping the the creation of their own hands and in a sense we are doing the same thing when it comes not only to we talk about media and entertainment but could we be even doing that in modern religion and in worship as well where where we're looking at our own creation our own power point is our own music and our own you know edifices and our own eloquence from humanity and it becomes this downward spiral you know we're becoming more like the created rather than being an op or to spiral becoming more like the creator Well let's go to Isaiah 5858 and this is where it comes all together or God has much to say about the lack of justice and mercy in the context of worship in an office of worship so you can reverse a chapter $58.00 of Isaiah Let's go to verse 6 and 7. Is this not the fast that I have chosen to lose the bonds of wickedness to undo the heavy burdens to let the oppressed go free and that you break every yoke is it not to share your bread with the hungry and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out when you see the naked that you cover him and not hide yourself from your own flat sheet in verse 3 This is why have we fasted in verse for you indeed you fast for strife in verse 5 is that the fact there's a fast going on there is a religious service as a feast day is a spiritual context going on so Sebastian all of a sudden God is checking kind of a turn here and he's getting very angular to his people this what's going on well he's essentially calling them out on the fact that you have brought so much zeal in the forms of religion like fasting these external components in the inside of what the fast was really about that I am going without so that others may have right that's the fast that I have chosen but God is recognizing they've made his complete religion in the things that are supposed to take them back to him it's just become oh that's it's just about the fast and that there is some magical power if I just don't eat food if I decide to just you know only eat from this hour to this hour then death the magical power and how we get God to do what we want so they're doing $115.00 with the true God So it's like oh yeah we just go to religious services and he's going to bless he's going to do this this is what's going to happen he's like that's the heart of the worshippers the same as Psalms 115 looks extra now and he does replace the idol with what people call God That's exactly right and so that we name it and we use the forms that he's given and we know that God through Moses gave us these rituals got their Moses taught us this way that worship but we've replaced the object of worship with the method of worship so this is the medium but now you're you just stop there and you never actually reach the Creator. I think it doesn't go even beyond that on the one hand you can have where you have OK The the rituals and it's kind of empty because your heart is not in it and you just go through the forms and the motions but any other hand there's almost as Monk's style of spirituality that you can experience and I'm speaking from personal experience so what I mean with that is you know yeah you have your personal devotions you're serious about the Lord you you studying you know you want the truth and you're reading all the books but you never go and reach a neighbor you are serious and genuine and I'm not saying that that's wrong but at some point our theology must go from the mind to the hand God is a God of action I mean Jesus healed more than he preached he was very active in social justice or whatever you want to call it in in helping people in in bringing people restoring them and this is not just talk about physical and talk about every element of restoration so for me what the Lord has convicted me off about since we are confessing in this episode is that you know yes Jonathan you are you know you seeking the in the word you're interested in these things but you know have you noted names of your neighbors or your praying for them and have you gone beyond praying for them Have you knocked on their door and sought their best are you interested in their welfare and in leading them to Jesus through your love and friendship and care and that's something I know I see as thoughtful a long way to go I want to love my neighbors I mean is that what Jesus said but think about think about the fact that John is going to tell us in the New Testament that he who says he loves God and hates his neighbor is a liar yes. So it's the separation that I can have an intense intimate relationship with God and have 0 relationship with a human being it's not possible it's not possible to me that's completely and capsulated in the condescension of Jesus when he becomes human you can't in to interact with the divine action of the human That's right because God is now human and divine and so to neglect one is to neglect your other right both ways and it's you it's the picture of how do I know that my relationship with God is doing anything you know how do I know that you know when I prayed not just hid in the ceiling or you know all the rituals that we perform you're going to church every Sabbath you know and how do I know that this makes any difference the. I forgot the idiom the taste is in the pudding The proof is in the pudding Yeah but I don't understand the idiom but I think that's what. It is the way that really more of the hoarding goes the way that we know that our relationship with God is actually even doing anything in us yes is the is our relationship with other people and God is saying here you're doing you did these rituals you know and in Micah Iranian Micah says you know you you're going to Micah. Like a 6 or 6 or we're entering the minors own a little bit more time in the minors on. Micah 6. 6638. Or 8 as the song he has shown you in his eyes so Michael stakes Michael 6 was 6 with what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the High God Shall I come before him with burnt offerings of calves a year old well the not be pleased with thousands of rams $10000.00 rivers of oil so I give my 1st born for my transgression the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul then says verse 8 yes showing your man what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly to love mercy and to walk humbly with your god you to you. All the rituals that you can perform with it's fasting bring your sacrifice in a modern context being faithful in going to church having a personal devotional eyes double guiding your thighs all you guys things. All these things for God God like I don't care about this stuff you know that's not what I'm looking for these are the things that are supposed to draws closer to God But how do you see that you are being drawn closer to God What's the evidence of of a relationship with God is in the way that you relate with your fellow humanity OK guys let me let me let me let me persist you OK So so I'm hearing what you're the 3 of you are saying I'm tracking with you OK let's let's do all of that so then I'm going to follow that where when Where is the role what is the role then of ritual you're saying God doesn't care about ritual God doesn't care about it's hard it's this and men AMUN Amen so let's do away with the ritual altogether which is what our generation is currently battling and I think the question is thinking the break down the breakdown in that in that ideology is. Just because we're confusing the roots with the fruit doesn't say that the fruits are bad OK we're wrapping here and so I'm getting your head I guess and break that down because so when you make the ritual which is the fruit yes of our religion the roots is where it becomes a problem my religion I know I'm religious because I execute such and such actions what we're trying to really come to communicate is that intense grounding in Christ in who he is and his character is the root not the ritual but from those roots it will eventually produce this fruit it's what gives church meaning it's what gives rituals meaning because true beauty and comes from the heart that transformed appreciation and gratitude for your creator so when I see that I was broken I was the one who was in need and God is the one who fasted who went without in order to give to me now because of my love for God I will do the rituals but the rituals are not the roots they're the fruits of the ritual doesn't come 1st to produce the fruit you're saying it's the fruit that we have the cause us to go through the ritual Yes the fruit is the ritual of our rooting in our relational here OK yeah I got another way OK yes because you have to start with The Roots draw the nourishment that produces the fruit of the ritual and that's what makes it valuable and tasty and enjoyable and all the benefits that fruit brings So perhaps the reason why many young adults don't like to ritual. Because it's because they have no true experience absolutely at the heart of what all this is about and often you're looking at me with pensive pensive No I'm just listening it's very good but I mean Jesus talked talked to the fairies and told him you know you're doing all these you're doing tires me off and you doing all these rituals. And it's a good thing that you're doing this but you're neglecting the wavier matters of the law which is love and mercy and justice so there is both elements are needed in the experience but if we neglect one for the other then we have an issue here but yeah I also see that with the root fruit and then. You could you could if you focus on the ritual you could miss that relationship yes God but there is no true nation to with God It's just you know the vine you know if you're connected with the vine you're going to bear fruit. We talked about in John and his writings talking about this is how you know that you love God like this and love one another that there is no way a genuine relationship with God will not result in fruit although it is possible to focus on the rituals and have all of these things in your life which is why is it is like you know you're doing all of this stuff and God's God's problem with his people was that they were doing all these things and. The evidence was that it didn't mean anything really didn't mean a thing to their relationship with God and was like I want to have a relationship with you a relationship that impacts the world around to be 100 just in. Why most young people probably have are upset with throwing out the the rituals is because they've seen people execute the rituals perfectly and have terrible character yes that's right so it's like well you can do all of this and yet you're still beating my mom you're still you know you're up here weeping at the altar during intercessory prayer but you're unkind you know and then I take away from that is that we're not looking at Jesus and that we're looking at the products of faults worship and thinking this is not what I want to be so you throw the baby out with the bathwater Yes my ultimate takeaway is we need to get back to the heart of worship get beyond the extra analogies and what God is trying to get us to do that's my prayer of. Thanks for visiting us here in verse Oh see here next week on it. You've been listening to him 1st a Bible based conversation with Kelly Williams Israel Ramos Jared Thomas Sebastian Braxton C.Q. doco and your host Justin can invest is brought to you by the hope channel television that changes nights but this and more inspiring episodes visit in various T.V. dot find us on social media has turned in this time until next time this isn't 1st.

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