I don't want anyone to think that I have abandoned my love of Ern Baxter's ministry for Hong Kong! I discovered a series of teaching tapes that I had forgotten about while sorting through some stuff in my room and it looks to me like a perfect companion to the series that I transcribed some years ago called "The Priestly Clothing" which Mark kindly published for me for a while. In this series Ern goes through each of the objects in the Tabernacle and preaches on them. It's my intention to publish each transcript over this week.
Here is his introductory message. Oh for those interested in dates there is no actual date or clue on the tape. It sounds to me like Ern was preaching to a congregation he was pastoring rather than visiting which would suggest it was after he left Mobile, Alabama and went to Calvary Chapel in San Diego in the late 80's and early 90's.
"They continued in the apostles doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer". This was the simple description of the life of the first church. And I think it is in the hearts of thousands of people this morning - according to a spate of books that have come out recently - that there is a great hunger across the world for a return to the simplicity of primitive Christianity. I think the closer we adapt our ways to the Word of God the more inclined we are to be obeying God in His desire. Paul says that one of the first things we should do when we come together, in fact he says "most important of all" - is that we should pray for all man everywhere, for rulers, and those in authority over us that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness.
"For God would have all men be saved". The salvation of all men is related to our community life in godliness. It is not by our preaching or by our tracts but what they see us doing.
So let's engage in prayer now shall we? Remembering of prime importance; "first of all". We don't pray for Grandma's rheumatism but first of all; "for all men everywhere". We can affect the course of nations this morning! By our praying;
"Father we come to You this morning in obedience to Your Word that it is a mark of the continuing church that they engage in prayer. And this morning our Father from the heart of this body goes out an intercessory cry to You for all men everywhere. For rulers and those in authority over us! We pray this morning Father for our own nation embroiled as it is in all the high powered tactics and hypocrisies of electioneering. Grant oh God that righteousness shall break in upon this scene. Because a nation that is not guided by righteousness is heading for hell. That's what Your Word says. We come to You this morning on behalf of many other nations - nations that are torn with famine and starvation. 2,000 a day dying in Somalia - little children Lord! My God be merciful! And arrest the bands of men who stand by cruelly to allow this to happen because of their own personal greed. We pray God for the turmoil in Yugoslavia, we pray for the reconstruction of the former Soviet Union states - we pray for South Africa and indeed all of Africa. We pray for Uganda this morning which is threatened by the end of this century to be wiped out with AIDS. We pray oh God for South America and for the great churches there and the great need there. We pray for South-East Asia Lord! For all men everywhere! Your world God! You so loved the world!
We pray for our own needs Father and the needs in this congregation. We pray Father for Your hand to be on each of us helping us to be in obedience to You to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We pray God for men and women here facing particular problems and challenges. Grace us oh God with insights as to how to deal with these things. We ask oh God this morning for the instruction of Your Word and that You would prepare our hearts as we come to You at the table. For You are our host and we are so pleased to be Your redeeemed guests this morning. Give us oh God new insights into Your purposes - we thank You for Your Presence this morning. For where two or three are gathered - there You are. We don't ask You to be present Lord - we believe You are present. Hallelujah!"
We pride ourselves on being free and we are not bound by liturgy. But it is an interesting thing that our freedom becomes a liturgy. And we start to do the same things over and over because that was right last time. I am going to talk to you about worship this morning and this maybe just the beginning of several. I am concerned about worship. I really am - I am deeply concerned. Worship is the totality of God's intention. The Father seeks worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth and that is our major role. When we worship we don't worship according to a preset plan. We worship (and this may be shocking to you) according to the mood of the Holy Spirit! I have seen times of worship that were hilarious. People march, jump - it was the mind of the Spirit! And I have seen times when quietness came and that was not a liturgical quietness. The minister doesn't say "We are all going to have quietness now". The quietness that comes is as dictated by the Holy Spirit as the hilarity. And the first time I encountered it was when I was invited to an evangelical church and they said; "We would like you to come if you don't mention tongues". I said; "I won't mention tongues but I need to tell you something. If you get the shoe then the tongue comes with it". But I was true to my word and I didn't mention tongues. I spoke about the Holy Spirit and the mind of the Spirit and one night when I finished and I noticed a holy hush settled on the room.
So I gave the minister a nod that I was finished and here I was standing up here and he was sitting down there and I didn't know what to do. So I decided if I didn't know what to do then I wouldn't do anything. But I noticed the little children that had been agitated in the congregation and were squirming suddenly became silent. And a holy hush that you could almost hear - which is an oxymoron - went on for 10 - 15 - 30 minutes which was broken by a sob. That was as much emotion as I had seen since I had been there and then it spread across the audience followed by a move of the Spirit. And I realised that either God was in trouble or I was. Because it looked we were going to have the very thing that I promised not to talk about! However I didn't hold God to that promise. We had been proper. The ladies went in one prayer room and the men into another and I thought I would accomodate that. I said "There are obviously men and women here tonight that are feeling the Presence of God and you may want to press into God. Why don't we do what we do when we come? You ladies all go to your room and the men go to your room and wait on God?". And they did. And that meeting went on till four o clock in the morning. Many were filled with the Spirit and many spoke with tongues! So the next night one man got up and said; "I am sure glad for what happened last night - about three days ago God visited me in my bedroom and I started to do what they were doing and I didn't know what was wrong with me but last night I realised it was God!".
I merely say that to say that when we come together - don't look for what you think should happen when you think God is moving. Let's find out what God wants shall we? I want give you a teaching and I first want to read just a few Scriptures. I want to start with Exodus chapter 25:1-9;
"Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying; 'Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me. From every man who's heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them. Gold, silver and bronze. Blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, ram's skin dyed red, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastplate and let them construct a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell among you".
Nothing has changed! This here this morning is the Lord's sanctuary. Not the building, chairs, pulpit. You are a sanctuary. They built a material sanctuary back there but now God is building a sanctuary out of living stones and we are that sanctuary.
"According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all it's furnitures just so shall you construct it".
How shall you construct it? Just so. Any deviation? Just so.
Now I want you to turn to Hebrews chapter 9:9. I am not going to read extensively here. Talking about the Tabernacle; "It is a symbol of the present time". Or I like this translation; "The Tabernacle is a symbol for the time now present". Now everything I am going to talk about this morning and future Sundays - may seem to be Old Testament and out of date and not applicable, let me remind you that the inspired Word of God says it was a parable or a symbol. The New English Bible says; "All this is symbolic pointing to the present time". Hebrews is the book that informs us about the Old Testament services. Chapter 10:1; "For the law having a shadow of good things to come".
J B Phillips says; "The law possessed only a dim outline of the benefits Christ would bring and not a perfect representation of the reality".
"For those sacrifices which they offered year by year made nothing perfect or mature". The law was a shadow. It was a symbol. It was a parable. Let's turn to 1st Corinthians 10; "Moreover brethren I would not have you be ignorant how all our fathers were in the sea and in the cloud and were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea and did eat of the same spiritual meat and did all drink of the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased for they were overthrown in the wilderness". (v6); "Now these things were examples or shadows - warning us that we should not crave evil things as they also craved". Drop down to (v11); "Now all those things happened to them as examples". J B Phillips says; "These things that happened to our ancestors are illustrations in which the way God works". "In whose lives the climax of the ages has been reached".
One more. Romans 15:16. All I am trying to do in the reading this morning is to validate this one proposition. That what we are going to be talking about this morning has been divinely approved as a pattern as to how we are to behave. The difference between the Old Testament and the New was that the Old Testament was natural and physical and material and parabolic and symbolic of the New which is spiritual. There is a correspondance. Romans 15:4; "Written for our learning". 20th century version says this; "Was written for our instruction". "So that through patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the Scriptures we might hold fast to our hope". The Old Testament is pertinent to the New because the Old is a shadow or a parable or a storybook. I remember when I started school and the first book we had was a brownie book and it had very simple intellectual information but it had an abundance of illustrations. Little hobgoblins and all in the margins and much of our initial teaching was visual and it was in terms of pictures. When we are training our children they think in picture form. They think in terms of pictures. They are excited about what they can see. "What's that?". Curiousity that is never fully satisfied!
A child is intrigued by things that they can see. It isn't until they get into the upper grades that they start to learn propositions and principles and axioms and start to exercise their intellect in making the pictures into the principles in which those pictures were designed to expound. The Old Testament is God's picture book especially the Pentateuch with the Tabernacle and the life of Israel is so outlined. The Tabernacle being a parable or a type or a shadow of all these things needs then to be studied by us that we might understand the propositions and the precepts and the concepts that the more mature New Testament represents.
Let me give you a simple principle of interpretation. The Old Testament never interprets the New but the New Testament always interprets the Old.
So where you find people who are taking their basic doctrinal positions from the Old Testament then you will find that many times they are harbouring views that are not mature because they have not gone onto the New Covenant interpretation of what the Old Testament teaches.
Many people want to stay in the Old Testament because it is an indication of the state of their maturity.
They still want to play around in the brownie books. The brownie books are important in the beginning but they are only types and shadows. I want to give you a context for the Tabernacle. I am going to put down three geographical locations here. 1. Egypt. 2. The wilderness. 3. Canaan. Egpyt is a type of the world. The wilderness is a type of processive maturity. This is where you get all your instruction. Canaan is a type of the world. But it is also a type of your mature witness. It seems rather strange that God brings His people out of Egypt which is a type of the world. These prepositions; "OUT". "THROUGH". You are not intended to stay in the wilderness. You go through it! "INTO". It looks to me to be a contradiction here! I come out of the world only to go back into it? That is right! What did Jesus say to His disciples? "As the Father has sent Me so send I you". Where? "Into the world". "Go ye into the world". You got out to be matured in divine ways so you may go back in and witness to Canaan the mature ways of God! You are taken out of the world to be prepared to go back into the world! What is the general Christian ideal? This is charismatic country - this is pentecost country. All the miracles happened in the wilderness. They got fresh manna every morning - from the angelic bake ovens. Every morning they went out and collected a miracle. Water out of the flinty rock. There was no natural flowing water in the desert! Water sprung out of the rock! Miracles and signs and wonders galore!
Everyone says "Oh we are very mature". No - charismatic country is the place where you are blessed by the Holy Spirit not only to experience gifts but to be matured through divine instruction as to how God wants you to live so that you may go into the world and be a mature witness to the world you came out of. Where did Israel get it's maturation? At Sinai. God at Sinai gave Israel an entire constitution. There is not an aspect of life that God didn't include in the Sinatic constitution. He covered everything! He covered jurisprudence, agriculture, education, health - everything is dealt with at the Sinatic constitution. Why? Just for the Israelites? No so that the Israelites were equipped with the Sinatic constitution and could come to Canaan and live it before these others and eventually take over Canaan. I don't know how much you want to read into that "take over" but God said when you come into Canaan I want you to put the Canaanite out. Let me digress here to register one of my pet peaves. We are told by certain religious types and I am so sick of reading it - that you and I as Christians are to be relevant to the world. Young theological students are being taught that they need to be relevant. That means we must accomodate the Church to the deteriorating views of a wanton society.
We must find a way to involve homosexuality in the Church even though God calls it an abomination. We must find a way to accomodate abortion on demand even though it is a form of murder according to the Word of God. We must find ways and means to accomodate utter social abberrations because we as a Church don't want to be behind the world! Balderdash! Undiluted drivel! This is not God's intention for us!
God's intention for us is that we shall be a colony of heaven to imitate to that wanton world how men and women are designed to live!
One of the great points that E Stanley Jones makes in his book on the Kingdom (and it is a marvellous point) - he said, "Man is constitutionally not structured for sin". You are not constitutionally structured to sin. When you and I sin it is a violation of our humanity! We are made for righteousness! We are made for God! We are in His image! When we violate that image we become a distortion!
So what are we looking at in the world but a distorted society? I am to be relevant to that??! Let me make one more point here as I commute from the chair to the board! Here in Egypt Israel was delivered by the Passover Lamb. I want to you to get this point and you must have this in your mind. The Passover Lamb is the conversional lamb - the One you believe in when you start out as a Christian. But when we get over here and the Tabernacle is built with all of it's offerings and it's lambs and bulls and goats and so on - this doesn't have to do with conversion, the sacrifices in the Tabernacle has to do with believers! You will see this in a minute as I give you some more visuals. When you and I got converted we were converted by the Passover Lamb. When we become Christians we found to our disappoinment that we weren't immediately perfected. We found a lingering in our tendancy to self-gratifying behaviour. The most disappointing thing in my life is that I have not become perfect. I mean that. When you become a Christian God puts something in you that makes you want to be something. And you don't make that something. And Paul helps us with that tension. He said, "As though we had already attained". He is talking about attaining normal constant maturation. He said "NOT that I have already ... but I press on towards the upward call in Christ".
There are three tenses to salvation. Paul says that the Cross is to us who are saved the power of God. Then writing to the Philippians he says; "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". I thought you told me I was saved! He wrote to the Romans and he says; "Now is your salvation nearer than when you believed!". But didn't I get saved when I believed? Yes in one tense. You got saved from the guilt and the penalty of your sin. Now you are going to go on as you walk with God in the Spirit and the Word you will be saved from the power of sin. You and I are only being saved from the power of sin as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We don't understand those two words! Some of us give the impression that we don't fear or tremble at anything or anyone! But a godly Christian knows how serious this business is and works out his salvation with fear and trembling. He takes life seriously. He doesn't laugh his way through but understands he is being made mature in Christ. That is the second tense - "I am saved and I am being saved". But I am not saved yet! Now you must see that in the light of the whole - Paul says "Now our salvation is nearer than when we believed". There is one sense of our salvation that we cannot have prior to the general resurrection. I wish I could. I don't like getting old. There is nothing good about getting old. I don't know enough about death or heaven. Why do I have to die anyway?! That is the part of the curse that God has allowed to remain for both saved and unsaved and it is the last enemy to be destroyed and it won't be destroyed until the ressurection at which time you and I whether we are alive or not will take on our new bodies and we will be saved from the presence of sin.
We have been saved from the penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin and we have yet to be saved from the presence of sin.
When we are talking about the Tabernacle I don't wish to be unkind here but I have heard preachers talk about the Tabernacle as if it were the Gospel for sinners. It is not the gospel for sinners because there is no place in the gospel for sinners! All those who have anything to do with the Tabernacle have come through the Passover Lamb in Egypt and came through the instruction of the wilderness and are now meeting in mature witness.
The Tabernacle was in a compound with a fence all around it. Here was a gate and out here was a brazen altar. Brazen - that is important. In here was a brazen (don't forget that) laver. Here is a doorway with a curtain and in here is another curtain. In here is the Ark of the Covenant and it has got the cherubim up here with their wings meeting in the middle and the lid of the ark is called the "Mercy Seat" - it is the lid of the Ark and it's very important. Underneath the lid was a Aaron's rod that budded and a pot of manna and the Law of Moses. When Christ died this curtain was rent from top to bottom. To show how stubborn the Jews were, the Rebecca sewing society sewed it up but God tore it down! So for you and me there is no curtain here but there was for Israel. Out here is the golden altar of incense. This is all brass outside and gold inside. Up here is the Table with the 12 loaves of shewbread and down here is the minora or the Golden Candlestick. The one thing that Israel retained after they were put out of Egypt was the candlestick. When the nation of Israel became a nation, Britain made a gift to them of a golden minora indicating that the British recognised that Israel was a people that related to the minora. It doesn't mean anything to them because they don't understand it's meaning and Paul says there is a veil over their eyes. All of their ancient things has no meaning to them as it should have.
How shall I go about this? Let me talk for a minute about the Levites. They were a tribe that God chose to represent the whole nation. The whole nation numbered probably about 3 million people and 3 million people couldn't come and worship here even though this is called the "Tent of the Congregation". The Tent of Meeting - this is where the entire nation met with it's God through the Levite priests. When an Israelite came to bring his offering, he could only come through this gate and he came here and brings his lamb and it is slain and he can't go any further. Now the priest has to represent him so he takes the offering and offers it on the brazen altar. Now this laver had a foot and this was the basin and he washed his hands and his feet and that is symbolic. When a priest was coming into the assembly - this is a type of what is here this morning. This is us! Before a priest (or you and me) could come into assembly he visited the brazen altar and the brazen laver. =
Brass is a type of judgement. Gold is a type of God!
I am going slowly because I am talking about something that is here in this room. I said this morning I am concerned about worship and I am concerned about our preparation for worship. How many of you dealt with your sins as a Christian and took the value of the Cross at the brazen altar to deliver you from the guilt of that sin and then how many of you went to the Word and Spirit of God to deliver you from the contamination of that sin? You are not even in church yet! It sometimes amazes me that God bothers to meet us at all. We have treated so cavalierly His Word and so imposed our own wishes on God's Word as to say; "I don't know what God said". A question was asked a man recently who took a drastic step back in his life and said; "What do you think God thinks about this?". His answer was a very frightening one; "I have no idea what God thinks". It concerns me deeply this morning what God thinks about me. He has got every reason to think pretty badly about me. But when I take the blood and His forgiveness and His mercy and the Word and He sees me in this Cross - that allays my fears for I am accepted in the beloved!
God doesn't see me in me - if I am up to date with Him. He sees me in Christ! Before you ever come through those doors you deal with those sins preferably outside even at home. We are priests with gifts. When it comes to our equality with God there is no High Priest - no other mediator but Christ. One mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus! There is no superior saints here this morning! And when we all function out of our gifts we have got a marvellous flowing body! I am convinced that we have suffered the ebb and flow of our worship flow in assembly through the years not in terms of who is leading worship or in terms of who is in the audience but in terms of what kind of preparation was made before we even came. I started this morning by saying; "This is not the PTA - this is a meeting of the church of God! The ecclesia of God where He sets the rules!". Can you imagine what would have happened to a priest if he had raced past the brazen altar and past the laver and blundered his way into the presence of God? I will tell you what would have happened to him! Fire would have come out before God and devoured him!
Oh - you say - that is too harsh. Well let me give you a real life situation. On the day the Tabernacle was dedicated, the ministry was given to Aaron and his four sons. Two of their sons for whatever reason imbibed too much liquour or wine and violated the command of God and went into the Presence of God in an imebriated state with fire that didn't come off the brazen altar - because the brazen altar was kindled with supernatural fire from heaven and that fire had to be perpetuated night and day fuel was put on to keep it going. Nadab and Abihu took strange, unauthorised fire and went into the golden altar to offer praise and fire came out from God and they were consumed! God got on the phone to Moses right away and said; "Moses I had to do this but tell your brother he is not to mourn and is to stand with Me in My judgement". The goodness and the severity of God. Can any of you think of a chorus about the severity of God? But that doesn't bless me! No it doesn't bless me in terms of your context of thinking. But you have the wrong context. Why did God tell Moses that Aaron was not to mourn over his two boys?
Can you imagine that old gentleman in all his regalia looking at the charred remains and a marvellous Scripture says that they were buried in their tunics. They were smitten with fire but somehow their white tunics were not marked. Isn't that a marvellous thing? When God judges you for sin, He won't burn your tunic but He will sure burn you. Can you imagine standing there and not showing emotion? The reason; "Mine anointing oil is upon him". Aaron is there as my High Priest and even though it is his two sons being judged, he must stand with Me in My judgement. We are talking principle here! I have seen more churches split and break up over human relational loyalty - so-called. Those kind of things don't count in assembly! You stand by the righteous judgements of God! What was the end point for the priest? The whole intention is that he gets to here - his last stop - to worship God. God lives in here. His localised home. He said to Aaron when you come to Me once a year I will speak to you from between the cherubim above, upon the Mercy Seat on the Ark. He locates Himself! The whole purpose in coming here is to deal with your sin first in terms of guilt. To cleanse yourself in terms of contamination and now you come in here to worship God. The only way you can worship God is to make this bee-line all the way through.
These articles are helpers once you get in. The candleabra is supernatural light. There were no windows in the Tabernacle. There was no natural light. It was all supernatural. A PHd won't do you any good. A seminary degree won't help you. Don't you believe in education? Yes. But it has got nothing to do with worship. Worship has to do with the preparation and attitude of the heart. It has to do with you being sure that your sins are confessed. "For if we confess our sins". He is talking to Christians here not sinners. "He is loving and lenient and He will forgive our sins because He is in a good mood". No? "Faithful and just!". Those are not emotional words but courtroom words. They are legal or forensic terms. "Just". There is no elasticity in justice. What does it mean? It means if I confess my sins to God He is faithful and just - He is divinely and infinately related to the work of Christ and has no alternative but to forgive my sins because I come through the blood of Jesus. God cannot ignore that blood! God the Father and Christ the Son have a covenant between them that if the Son died and shed His blood for us then the Father would accept that as our legal acceptance. When I confess my sins to the Father, then He is faithful and just to the Son because the Son's blood takes care of it!
It has nothing to do with being in a good mooid because God is always in an infinately correct mood. That kind of talk is humanist. When I confess my sins I depend on God the Father being true to God the Son to bear my sins in His body and shed His blood so that God will forgive me. For His sake! Not my sake! Ern Baxter only has entrance to God the Father through Jesus Christ and I always come in that Name. Ern Baxter's name doesn't move anything in heaven! No one is impressed with that name in heaven! But when you say "Jesus" the angels all stand to attention. Why? Because when we come in Jesus Name, we come in the only name that God the Father recognises. That's why Paul says "I am accepted in the beloved" because I am in Christ! God sees me in Christ! "Nearer I cannot be". But I am nobody. God knows you are nobody! That won't cut any ice with God! Of course we are nobody! We are a sinner, a rebel like anyone else! You and I are accepted in God because of Jesus Christ and Him only! If our heart isn't prepared to come to worship and we don't take the value of the Cross then we are not understanding what God wants from us for our maturation.
"For if we sin we have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ the righteous". What does that mean? Well the word "Advocate" is the same word as in John 16 - paraklete. A legal representative. The minute I sin as a Christian, my advocate moves to the Father and says "Father our boy Ern Baxter has sinned down there and I am here to plead the value of My sacrifice on his behalf". The Father says "Son I recognise the value of Your sacrifice and I maintain My relationship with Ern Baxter". The old hymn said; "Forgive him oh forgive they cry, nor let that ransomed sinner die ... Father Abba Father cry". We say that is great! The minute we sin then Jesus goes to the Father and sorts it! That's great! You have two parakletes - Jesus in Heaven representing you to the Father and the Holy Spirit in you representing the Father to you. When you have sinned as a Christian you have a conscience and know how miserable it makes you. Let's talk about the reality of it. We have sinned and somehow we forget we have an advocate because we are miserable and ashamed and can't find the Holy Ghost anywhere. Don't want to talk to anyone.
The closest any Christian gets to hell is to have an unconfessed sin rambling around in your situation? Who's making you miserable? It's your enemy the Holy Spirit! Under certain circumstances He becomes an enemy! So when you and I engage in the flesh then the Holy Spirit is against us. So you go to bed but aspirins are good for headaches and not good for conviction. You are lying there unhappy and there comes a knock. "Who is it?". "It's the Holy Spirit". "What do you want?". "I want to talk to you". "I think you know". "Come back in the morning". "No I want to come now". "I don't want to talk about it". And you have to go through that whole renching experience where you say oh God I am so sorry. So if you are going to take some kind of carnal refuge in "if we sin we have an advocate" then you don't understand the totality of truth. We cannot continue in sin because we have an advocate inside that will not permit it.
The Presence of God and the gathering of God's people is the centre of our lives.
For us the veil has gone - Jesus took it away in His death. The Table is symbolic of the anointed Word. The candlestick is symbolic of the supernatural light in the assembly. I have seen situations where we have come so close to it where people are so instructed that when they come into assembly -we were in the midst of a visitation and the young people were so on fire for God that right after work they would get together and you could hear them coming up the road. It was like a murmer. They functioned that way. They would come breaking into the assembly place. They commandered the front seats and sometimes I would come and sit down there and never move. A beautiful order - everyone was prophesying according to their measure, no one was being frivolous. I know what can happen! You can't manufacture worship or reality. There is no natural light. The candelabra provides light. The place where we have to end up is here! Each of these deserves it's own treatment but we are talking about worship and how we come to God.
I want to talk for a minute about Dietrich Bonheffer - a young man in Germnay. He was a brilliant young Lutheran. And you wonder would have happened to him had he lived beyond his 39 brilliant years. He came to America and they vyed for him. Hitler was at work and Bonheffer felt he should go back and stand with his fellows Christians in Germany. On his way back to Germany he stopped in Switzerland at a Lutheran conference and his heart got heavy at the frivolity as to how they were treating things. He asked if he would be permitted to speak and here's what he said;
"Let me express to both groups the great concern which has been bearing down on me with growing heavinness throughout the whole conference. Has it not become terrifying clear again and again that we are no longer obedient to the Bible? We are more fond of our own thoughts than the thoughts of the Bible. We no longer read the Bible seriously! We no longer read it against ourselves but for ourselves! If the whole of our conference here is to have any great significance then it may be perhaps to show us that we must read the Bible in a quite different way until we find ourselves again!".
It was almost prophetic. Bonhoffer went back to Germany and joined the underground church. Eventually he was caught and was put into prisonand his letters from prison need to be read by everyone. The man never lost an ounce of confidence in God. Everyday he led the inmates in breaking of bread. And one day the police appeared and he knew what that meant and just hours before the Americans liberated that prison out of sheer venom they hung him by the neck. A man like that needs to be heard. He said; "We no longer read the Bible against ourselves but for ourselves". Every time I read the Bible it correct me".