It is once again time to prepare for worship. One way we can prepare our hearts for worship is by reminding ourselves who God is. Acts 17:24-25 says: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Pastor Sam Storms wrote an article and he quoted this Matt Redman song:
Let our praise be Your welcome
Let our songs be a sign
We are here for You,
we are here for You
Let Your breath come from heaven
Fill our hearts with Your life
We are here for You, we are here for You
Sam Storms says: “When we sing, “We are here for you,” in what sense do we use the word “for”?” He goes on:
“Simply put, God does not need you or me. He is altogether self-sufficient, dependent on no one. He is, in fact, the one who is responsible for the existence and preservation of all life, yours and mine. Therefore, he cannot be “served” as if he were needy or exhausted or weak or lacking something that only you and I and the people of your church can supply.
To arrive on a Sunday morning and declare to God, “We are here for you,” in the sense that you believe there is something you can give to God that he doesn’t already have, or that you can shore up a weakness, or fill a gap or overcome a deficiency, is to insult God to the very core of his being.
That is why we must be extremely careful that we are never there “for” God in the sense in which we might be there “for” an invalid or someone who is destitute of the resources to care for himself.”
Pastor Storms continues:
“God is infinite and immeasurably abundant and needs nothing from us. Rather, we are here for God in the sense that we need him as a thirsty man needs water, as a hungry traveler needs food, as a bankrupt beggar needs money, as a guilty soul needs forgiveness, as a broken heart needs healing, as a lost sinner needs salvation. That is why we are here for God. Only he can supply what we lack. Only he can give us what we need.
If we gather for God, thinking that he stands in need of us, we insult him. But if we gather for God to drink deeply and feast upon all that he is for us in Jesus, we honor him.
By the way, we should give Matt Redman credit for making this quite clear in his song. If we ask of the lyrics, “Why are you here for God?” the answer is clear:
Let Your breath come from heaven Fill our hearts with Your life
The worshiper comes not to infuse God with breath, but to receive it from him. The worshiper makes no pretense at filling up what is lacking God, but cries out that God fill his heart with divine and supernatural life.”
So, let us prepare our hearts for worship by being reminded about who God is, and being reminded of how desperately we need King Jesus. Let us ask God to stir up our affections for Him. Let us pray for Ian, and Erin who will both be singing and leading us in worship. Let us pray for Jerry as he leads us in our time of confession, and let us pray for Mark as he opens up the Word to us.
Mark will be preaching on Genesis 15. The ESV text of Genesis 15 is below:
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give[c] this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
Picture from here