Friday, May 03, 2013

Virtue, Character, Purity, and Worship

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

Jesus (Matthew 15:18)

It may be that no other words of Jesus are as crucial to our worship at this time in history as these words.

If we want to offer to God acceptable worship, we must offer what is both holy and clean, not what is common, and never what is unclean. Now that Jesus has come and achieved his glorious cross-work, these distinctions no longer have to do with kinds of animals or our bodily reproductive cycles. All of those old creation distinctions were merely shadows of the substance that has now come.

In the new age brought by Jesus, the distinctions still apply, but now in a way not possible before they are taken up into our very being. We become living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit works out into everything we do. In other words, if we are to give to God acceptable worship, our character must be shaped to image Jesus Christ. Yet in a kind of feedback loop, our worship shapes our character. The shape of our heart is the issue, and thus everything we do matters.We will either work out of our hearts the worship of the holy triune Lord, or we will work out systems of defiling idolatry.

Do we have the virtue to act in ways which are fitting to the holiness of our God? Do we love what is good and have the skill to discern it? Join us this Lord's Day as we continue to be shaped by the Holy Spirit's discussion of the cleanness laws in Leviticus.

Songs
Holy, Holy, Holy (#3)
Doxology
Take My Life, and Let It Be (#560)
Am I a Soldier of the Cross? (#585)
How Glorious Zion's Courts Appear (#631)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Leviticus 20:10-27; Psalm 93
New Testament: Luke 12:35-48

Sermon
Worship, Wisdom, and Work Series: Holy vs. Unclean Worship Today - Matthew 15:18

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