LESSON 5: A CORRECT VIEW OF GOD
MAIN IDEA: True worship requires that we understand who God is and who we are in comparison.
So far in our study together we have developed two basic points: 1. Worship is our response to God’s revelation of who He is and what He has done. 2. Our worship provides a place of meeting, a habitation for God’s presence.
Worship is really fairly simple: God initiates and we respond. Yet as we respond, it is crucial that we understand who God is, who we are in relation to Him, how we should respond, and what we can expect. The prophet Isaiah provided us with a clear understanding of each of these points.
Isaiah was called by God to prophesy to the nation of Israel from 739–686 B.C. It was a very dark period for Israel. Although Isaiah knew from the beginning that his ministry would be one of fruitless warning and exhortation, he responded. However, Isaiah’s words burned brightly for the early church, which is evidenced by the fact that Isaiah is quoted over 65 different times in the New Testament.
Isaiah’s words provide clear understanding for believers today as well. His vision of the throne of God, in particular, clarifies who God is, who we are, how we should respond, and what we can expect. Isaiah recorded:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts; His glory fills the whole earth. The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said: “Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, and your sin is atoned for.” Isaiah 6:1-7 1
What is your immediate response to this passage? Do you identify with Isaiah’s feelings of being unclean?
Isaiah’s view is indeed the correct view of God. He alone is high and lifted up. He alone is worthy, and the whole earth is filled with His glory — even when it doesn’t look that way to us. That is who God is, no matter what circumstances we may face. Unclean — apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ — that is who we are. When we understand exactly what God accomplished for us when Jesus paid the price of our sin, worship is our only reasonable response. And as we worship, we can expect His presence.
Grace — Our Only Hope
No matter how holy or righteous we may think we are, we are not worthy of God’s presence in our own power and strength. The only hope we have is that mercy will descend from God’s throne and, by grace, touch our “unclean lips.” Only then will we be able to stand in God’s presence and present our praise.
The Father we worship is the same God Abraham worshiped. He is the One who provided the lamb of sacrifice on Mount Moriah. He is the same God who met with Jacob and the same God who revealed Himself to Moses and delivered the Israelites from slavery. He is the same God who chose Mary and Joseph and the One the apostle Paul honored, worshiped, and served.
As we have seen, Jesus is the express image of God. He is the incarnation of Truth, and thus anything that contradicts who He is (His character) or what He has said is not truth.
Love came down to us in Christ Jesus. We didn’t deserve that kind of grace. We are indeed recipients of God’s unmerited favor — grace that is everlasting. God’s grace is not dependent upon ritual or tradition, performance or precision. It is always dependent, however, upon our submission to the Truth, Jesus — the revelation of who God really is. As we believe in the revelation of God expressed through His Son, we receive the gift of His grace: life!
“God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” John 3:16-18
How do you “see” God? Think about the ways you have “seen” God in your own life:
• Your peace
How do you “see” yourself?
How many positive attributes do you “see” for yourself? This is how God sees you: forgiven, worthy, chosen, and adopted — just to name a few.
Grace determines how God “sees” His children. Without grace, we could never worship God. Entering His presence would surely condemn us to death. But, praise His holy name, His grace is sufficient! God so loved the world that He gave and He gave and He gave … and He continues to give today. The word of worship in this class was “grace.” Write a prayer to God thanking Him for His grace in your life.
Points to Ponder
• Entering God’s presence requires grace that only He can provide.
• God’s grace comes to us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
• Salvation is a matter of accepting God’s gift of grace by faith.
• True worship is expressed through spirit and truth—our spirit surrendered to God’s truth.
• True worship requires that we understand who God is and who we are in comparison.
LESSON 5 REVIEW
• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?
Resources used for this class:
• Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England, eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 678–79.
• John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), 1449.
• “Amazing Grace.” Words by John Newton. Public domain.
• “implant.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2008, Merriam-Webster Online (accessed 21 August 2008). Available from the Internet: www.merriam-webster.com.