Learning the Way - Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
All too often we enter into our worship service without understanding why we gather and what we are to be about while we are together. The author tells us to "Guard your steps" when entering the house of God for worship, warning us to be prepared for what we are about to undertake.
- How have you failed to "Guard your steps" and be prepared for worship?
Verse 2 tells us to "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God" Derek Kidner says these warnings are for “the well-meaning person who likes a good sing and turns up cheerfully enough to church; but who listens with half an ear, and never quite gets around to what he has volunteered to do for God.”
- How often have you found yourself singing along without paying attention to the words being sung?
When we sing together we are affirming the words being sung. When we sing "I Surrender All" we are saying to God that we are surrendering everything to him. When we sing "I Exalt Thee" we are saying that we have place God in his rightful place exalted above all else. When we sing "Grace Alone" we are acknowledging that we are saved by God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- How does this truth affect the way you understand corporate worship?
When we enter into worship we are not only about to sing to God but also hear from Him through the proclamation of His word. We can prepare for this aspect of worship by asking ourselves: "Am I ready to listen to the voice of God? Is my heart open to spiritual instruction? Are my ears attentive to the message I will hear from the Bible?"
- If you already do this how has it changed the way you listen to the sermon?
- If you have just been introduced to this idea how would preparing in this way change the way you listen to the sermon?
Understand that whenever we go to worship, we enter the presence of a Holy God who has gathered His holy people to hear His Holy Word. If we take this for granted by not listening to what God says, then the Bible tells us that we are guilty of great evil, for we have despised the gospel of the cross and the empty tomb.
- Discuss how you have been guilty of taking God for granted in worship.
Jesus died for all our sins, including all the sins we have committed in the very act of worship. When we know that even our worship is forgiven, then we can approach God with joyful confidence. Rather than saying, “If I worship the right way, then God will accept me,” we say, “I am already accepted through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and now it is my privilege to worship God the way he wants to be worshiped.”
- What does that mean to you?
- How does the fact that we are forgiven even for our sinful worship change your perspective of worship?