Monday, July 29, 2013

Reverence in the Sanctuary

[This post is written in the context of exhorting Sabbath worshipers to Reverence in the Sanctuary.]

Welcome to God's house! We have sung His praises, and we acknowledge being before the Holy of Holies. In this service we do not invoke, or call down, God's presence to come near. No, this is a papist teaching. This church sanctuary has been dedicated to God, and it is we who enter His presence.

Psalms 100:1-5
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.
For the LORD [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations."

We are all familiar with houses dedicated to positions of honor and power. The White House in Washington, D.C. is an example. [Other countries have similar houses of honor and power, and you should substitute this example with a building appropriate to your location.]

The president of the United States lives in the White House. Imagine that you have been invited to an audience into the oval office. Think about what your deportment would be. How would you act coming into this house of power? Would the secret service agents have to chase our children away from restricted areas? Would our little ones be running through the halls or up and down the stairs? Would the honor guard have to ask us to be quiet in the back of the oval office, where we are not paying attention to the proceedings? Would our young people be doodling or reading other materials?

No, I think not. We would respect the position of power and honor of the occasion.

But how about us today? How about here in this, God's House? God has told us in Exodus 25:8 "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." Think of it, the creator of heaven and earth. The ruler of the universe. The originator of all time and space. This is the God that wants to commune with us, His people.

When we realize we are in God's presence, then we will act in a way that shows it. We are not calling for a stiff formalism just to impress others. We are talking about living in the reality of coming into the presence of a living, personal, all-powerful God. We come before a real being. We come into the throne room of a living, omnipotent God. Listen to this description, if we could see with open eye what is going on around us:

Revelation 5:11-14
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."

We worship not only an omnipotent Creator, but an all merciful redeemer! The God of the universe condescended to live as a man and die for us. And we are gathered in the presence of this God!

Daniel 7:9-10
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."

The scene here portrayed is the investigative judgement, which is now taking place. Jesus pleads for our cases just a little longer, and His coming is soon.

Let us glorify God in reverence. May our actions tell others around us and our visitors today that we believe God is real, and that His presence is with us today. We serve a living God, an all powerful God. A God who has invited us into His presence. May we show by our actions that God is here.