We’ve been talking about the Ten Commandments, on a series on the Ten Commandments called The Best Life Possible. Because the Ten Commandments are really the baseline for positive living; it’s amazing. And Sheila covered the first two commandments where God says, “You shall have no other god’s before me,” and the second commandment, “You shall not make any graven images nor bow down to false idols,” God almighty is the only God. Our only God.
Then Dr. Schuller talked about the third commandment where God says, “Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” We are to reverence the name of God.
And that brings us to commandment number four and I’ll read it for you: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day.” Now hear this: “therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath.” The Lord blessed the Sabbath. I haven’t read anywhere in here where God blessed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.. “God blessed the Sabbath and hallowed it.”
Which brings up a very interesting question: why did you come to church today? Why did you come to church today on this Sunday? To be entertained?
So if it’s not about entertainment, maybe it’s about education. Learning doctrine, learning what God wants to teach us in His word. And I will always say that is a very, very important part of what the church is about is education. Because even Jesus said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” So yes, it’s about education. But it’s about more than that. It’s about more than education because when Jesus, when He quoted that, when He says, “it is written,” He was quoting Deuteronomy 8. Now I don’t know how many of you have spent a lot of time studying Deuteronomy 8. Deuteronomy 8 is a very interesting passage of scripture because when you read it, and you read it again, and you read it again, you find one very interesting fact. Deuteronomy 8 is all about worship. It’s all about worship.
And I had started, when I worked on the message this week, the Lord had guided me to Matthew 4 where Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone” and I was immediately pointed back to Deuteronomy 8, the passage that Jesus was quoting. And I read it, put it down, read it a couple of hours later, put it down, read it the next morning, put it down, read it that evening and when I read it that evening, something very interesting happened.
The Lord is speaking, Deuteronomy 8, “Every commandment which I command you today, must be careful.. you must be careful to observe that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers.” Now mind you, the children of Israel have just been rescued from Egypt, right? They’ve crossed the Red Sea. They have wandered in the desert for forty years which means they’ve gone through heartache and trial, and many of you have gone through heartache and trial, and this ministry has gone through heartache and trial. That’s where they’re at when God gives them this word in Deuteronomy 8. And it continues, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness to humble you and to test you; to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know and your fathers did not know that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Get this: forty years in the desert, “Your garments did not wear out.” Forty years in the desert. Did you ever think about that? Their garments, the bible said, never wore out. I can wear out a pair of jeans in a year, maybe a suit in five. In forty years, their garments did not wear out, nor did your feet swell. Forty years of walking and their feet did not swell! That’s God’s blessing. “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord chastens you. Therefore,” here comes the blessing “you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to fear Him for the Lord your God is bringing you in to a good land. A land of brooks and water, of fountains and springs that flow out of the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barely, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, and a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity.” How many of you are ready for bread with out scarcity? Surplus in your life rather than lack? “A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing. Nothing. A land in which stones and iron are out of the hills you can dig copper. And when you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good which He has given to you.”
And then there’s a great big fat word right here that you better hear because I saw it loud and clear: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord for it is He, God, who gives you power to get wealth. That He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers. Then it shall be if by any means you forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify to you this day you shall surely perish.” Go read it, Deuteronomy 8. That is one powerful message from the Lord with one word at the heart of it: worship.
Now please hear what I’m trying to say. It’s so easy to lose a heart of worship. It’s easy to do. When life is comfortable, it’s easy to say do I really need God? And when times are tough it’s so easy to say, where’s God? Right? I’m guilty of that myself. God is saying to us today never, ever forget Him. Develop a heart of worship; a heart of worship because God is so easy to love. Just look at Jesus. So easy to love, you know, because Jesus loves you.
When I was a child and I had no control over my life, Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so held me together. And I was a child of divorce and things were a wreck in my home, just the image of Jesus leaving the ninety-nine in the pen and coming to look for me, held me together. The image of Jesus at the temple when they were trying to shoo the little children away and Jesus says no, ‘let the little children come to Me’ that held me together. Jesus loves me.
Its interesting how not much has changed. I’m an adult and when life gets tough and the struggles come, Jesus loves me this I know holds me together, you know? And when I don’t know where to turn, the image of Jesus leaving the ninety-nine in the pen to come look for me in my lost ness holds me together. And the image of Jesus at the temple; hearing Jesus say the words ‘unless you become as a little child you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ And then I picture myself humbling myself as a little child and He says ‘let the little children come to Me.’ That holds me together. Jesus loves you and Jesus affirms you. Jesus is the one that said ‘you are the light of the world.’ Come on! That’s something to get excited about. And because you’re the light of the world, Jesus says, ‘let your light shine.’
My goodness look at what this church is doing, Hope Center of Orange County in the toughest, most economically deprived part of Orange County, Central Orange County, right where we’re at. This church is going to make a difference for Jesus Christ. We are going to help the least of these. Come on! You are the light of the world.
And third, Jesus gave His life for you. He gave His life for you and that brings us to a very, very important point about worship. My friends, this place is just a building. It’s a pretty building made out of glass and steel and concrete, fabric, stone but it’s just a building unless the presence of the Lord is in this place. It’s just a building unless the presence of the Lord is in this place.
And the next question you’ll ask is how do we know the presence of the Lord is here? I’m so glad you asked. I’m so glad you asked. We’re going to answer that and to answer that we’re going to go all the way back to when God gave us these Ten Commandments. God spoke to Aaron and said Aaron I want you to build me a tabernacle, a very simple tabernacle. And the outer part of the tabernacle will be called the Holy Place, the place of meetings where you gather. And then you’re to create a veil and behind the veil will be the Holy of Holies, the most Holy place where God would reside. And God instructed Aaron to create a veil that would separate the two. And this veil was no ordinary veil. Think of the most beautiful ornate curtain you’ve ever thought of in your life. It was to be made of blue and purple and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. It was to have an artistic design of a cherubim on it. It was to hang on acacia wood. Now acacia wood, if you don’t know, is also called a tree of thorns. Very interesting that the veil of the temple was to be held by a tree of thorns, those branches. That’s the veil. Now this was to be put up as a divider between the place of meetings, the Holy place, and the holy of holies. Behind the veil in the holy of holies, Aaron was to put the arc of the covenant, which held the Ten Commandments. And that’s where Aaron, that’s where God would reside and Aaron would go to hear from the Lord and then Aaron would go out and talk to the people. Picture a holy of holies, a place maybe this size, just this part of the platform here.
But God wasn’t done. God gave Aaron intricate, this is great, intricate instructions on what he was to wear when he entered the Holy of Holies: an ornate robe with blue and purple and gold and scarlet thread. And on the front of this robe there was to be a breast plate, an ornate breast plate, and it was to have the name spelled out of the twelve tribes of Israel. Now this is no ordinary breastplate. Ladies, think about this, the names where spelled out in emeralds and topaz and diamonds and sapphire on the twelve tribes of Israel. Think about that. Because it was called the breastplate of judgment and Aaron was to.. when he walked in there, he was carrying the judgment of the people before the Lord. It was the breastplate of judgment and God wasn’t done. Aaron had to wear a belt and on that belt were little bells because you didn’t just go into the holy of holies unannounced. You didn’t just say hi Lord I’m here. The bells were to signal that Aaron was getting close and that he was entering the holy of holies. Are you getting the picture that there was a veil between you and God? Is that very clear that there was a veil between you and God?
And then we have Jesus. We have Jesus. We have Jesus. Because the scripture says that in Matthew 27:51, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit on that cross. Then behold the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” As Jesus wore that crown of thorns, taking the place of that veil, as He gave up His spirit and fulfilled God’s mandate for His life, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Jesus brought you face to face with God Almighty. That is an amazing realization. The veil of the temple was torn. And what does God ask from us in return? One word: worship. God asks for our worship.
And that brings me to a very important point. How do we know God’s presence is here? My friends, when you enter this place or anywhere you go with a heart of worship, God is there. God’s presence will be there. Now further, because God is always with you, if you believe His son Jesus, believe that He died for you and rose again, Jesus and God are always with you. And when you create a heart of worship, that presence is magnified. And when you gather in this congregation, and you come into this temple with a heart of worship, His presence is magnified even more. You just walk in here and Jesus, saying I’m here to serve You. I’m here to worship You. Everything You’ve done in my life, I’m here to serve You and worship You. It’s amazing what will happen.
I walked in and I said Lord I’m broken and I’m sorry; this is all You’ve got to work with but You’re my God and I’m here to worship You, the heavens would open. And it’s unbelievable what would happen. If you start entering this temple before the Lord with a heart of worship, restoration is going to happen because the presence of the Lord will be so heavy in this building you will not be able to contain it. God has proven it over and over and over and over again in scripture. When you humble yourself before Him and worship only Him, God opens the floodgates of heaven. God opens the floodgates of heaven.
So what does that mean when you come in here to worship? If that means your hands go up, they go up. Who cares what the person next to you thinks? You’re not here to serve a man or a woman. You’re here to serve Jesus Christ, God almighty. So if that means your hands go up, they go up. As for me, as for Sheila, as for us as a congregation in this house, we are here to serve the Lord, period. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we’re about.
Let’s stand and pray together. Let’s stand and pray. Lord God Almighty, we thank You, Jesus, for this promise. We thank You, Jesus, for this word today and we praise Your Holy name and the name that’s above every name, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior who died on a cross for our salvation and rose again that we might have eternal life with You, we praise Your name, in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.