Seven Keys to the Heart of God
Pathway to the Most High – From the Tabernacle to God’s Throne
Perhaps we all need to slow down and reflect on the following…
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things;
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace (?), but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring the universe to our screens but the God of the Universe can’t bring us to our knees . . .
The tabernacle, which God instructed Moses to construct, is a powerful lesson to guide us in our pursuit of deepening our fellowship with the Lord.
Entering The Presence of God
This is a journey into the presence of God. We enter God’s presence by way of His Tabernacle, God’s tent of Meeting. As we examine this incredible structure, we will see how every point of the God’s Tabernacle points to Jesus.
The first and primary lesson we learned about the Tabernacle was where God placed it. In the center of the Camp, with smoke slowly rising from the altar and with the 12 Tribes in an ordered arrangement around it around. Looking intently we would note a long, black, unattractive tent of porpoise skins. But when we traveled through the loud, smelling and busy camp and made it to the Tabernacle we would find a much different sight. When we came inside, we would find ourselves surrounded by shining gold: looking up to the curtained roof, we see the wings of the cherubim woven in; blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen. The light of the golden candlestick would softly shine and reveal all the beauty within.
So it is with Christ Himself. The natural man, beholding Him, sees no beauty that he should desire Him. But to those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, His beauty satisfieth their souls.
The Tabernacle teaches us so much about the wonders of our Matchless God. Here are just a few of the lessons about the Lord.
The Tabernacle Is God’s Portrait of Christ “Tenting” John 1:14 Among Us
1. The Tabernacle : jesus wants to meet with me. God wants us LIVING IN His Presence .
2. The Brazen Altar : jesus paid for me. God wants us APPROACHING HIS HOLINESS (The Doctrine of Satisfaction)
3. The Laver of Brass : jesus washes me. God wants us CLEANSING OUR SINS (The Doctrine of Sanctification) The Three Entrances (McGee)
4. The Golden Lampstand : jesus leads me! God wants us WALKING IN HIS LIGHT
5. The Table of Showbread : jesus feeds me! God wants us NOURISHED BY OUR SAVIOR
6. The Altar Of Incense (30:1-10, 34-38): jesus listens to me! God wants us PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT
7. The Veil Which Was Rent : Jesus opens the way for me! God wants us ENTERING HIS PRESENCE WITH BOLDNESS
8. The Ark of the Covenant : jesus keeps his promises to me! TRUSTING HIS PROMISES
9. The Mercy Seat : jesus intercedes for me! RESTING IN HIS SACRIFICE
Now, for our lesson on entering the Presence of God, I call these –
Seven Keys To The Heart of God
• God desires to meet with us . Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. Exodus 29:42-43 “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you.43 “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. Now He meets us in Jesus 2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
• God desires to reveal himself to us . Exodus 29:46 “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God. Now HE REVEALS himself in Jesus John 14:7-9 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
• God desires to dwell with us . Exodus 25:8 “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 29:45-46 “I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.46 “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God. Now He dwells in us through Jesus Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
• God desires to speak with us . Exodus 29:42 “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you. Leviticus 1:1Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, Now He speaks to us through the word of Jesus John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 8:43 “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 47 “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
• God desires to accept us . Leviticus 1:4 ‘Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. Now he accepts us in Jesus . Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
• God desires to forgive us . Leviticus 4:20 ‘And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 26 ‘And he shall burn all its fat on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of the peace offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. 31 ‘He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 35 ‘He shall remove all its fat, as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering. Then the priest shall burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him. Now he forgives us through the sacrifice of Jesus . Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
• God desires to receive worship from us . Exodus 23:15 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); Exodus 28:38 “So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. Now he receives our worship in Jesus. Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Steps To Grow Into Worshiping Jesus All The Time
Listen to what one man (1) who spent years meditating on worship has written: Worship is something we do. Studying the theology of worship and debating the forms of worship are all good, but by themselves they are inadequate. In the final analysis we learn to worship by worshiping. Let me give a few simple steps that I hope will help in the experience of worship.
First worship must become a daily habit.
learn to practice noticing God’s presence sometime each day .
1. Ask God to enable you to follow Paul’s words,
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
2. Punctuate every moment with inward whisperings of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving.
Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. NASB
3. Schedule times of personal worship and confession and Bible study and attentiveness to Christ, your always-present Teacher.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. NASB
Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. NKJV
4. Bring this atmosphere to our public worship so that our gathered experience of worship just becomes a continuation and an intensification of what you have been trying to do all week long.
Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? NKJV
Second, try to learn how to worship God in many different settings of worship.
1. Worship God when you are alone .
2. Have home groups not just for Bible study, but also for the very experience of worship itself.
3. Gather little groups of two and three and learn to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Many things can happen in smaller gatherings that, just by sheer size, cannot happen in the larger experience. All of these little experiences of worship will empower and impact the larger Sunday gatherings .
Third, determine to prepare for the gathering of the church for worship.
1. Quiet your heart on Saturday night by going to bed early,
2. Always prepare for Sunday with personal examination and confession,
3. Warm your spirit by going over the hymns and Scripture passages that will be used on Sunday,
4. Guard your heart by gathering early before the actual worship service and filling the room with the presence of God. Here is how you can have one of the most vital ministries at Tulsa Bible Church – Try coming ten to fifteen minutes early and sit with your Bible open in a seat here in the worship center. Start by praying for the instrumentalists that they will be aided by the Lord in ministering the worship music, then the orchestra pray around each person, then for the choir to be full of the Holy Spirit, then the soloists, ensemble and others, then for our worship leaders, then for the ministry of the Word to be Spirit empowered.
5. Engage in spiritual worship by letting go of inner distractions so that you can really seek God with all your heart.
Fourth, willingly offer yourself to the Lord as an instrument for worship .
1. Mortify your pride by learning to let go of my agenda, of my concern, of my being blessed, of my hearing the word of God.
2. Use the language of the gathered fellowship is not “I,” but “we.”
3. Offer your submission to the ways of God, and your submission to one another in the Christian fellowship.
4. Desire for God’s presence to rise up in the group, not just within the individual. This is what it means to become of one mind, of one accord.
5. Cultivate a life of complete spiritual dependency. Dependency means we completely dependent upon God for anything significant to happen. The work is God’s and not yours.
Fifth, guard yourself from exposure to harmful habits that deadens worship .
1. Guard your soul : there is no better way to erase worship than to turn on the TV when you walk in the house after church. Sunday afternoon football, and sports in general, with the incessant beer commercials and inane chatter, is a sure-fire way to flatten out-one’s spiritual brain waves.
2. Encourage your family : or the whole family will suffer – “You want daddy to look at your Sunday school paper? In a moment, son. . . at half-time maybe.”
3. Seek God completely : Men, if you’re the kind who sits in church fretting because you’ve already missed the 1st quarter of the game and wonder when the preacher is going to end, you will rarely get anything out of the service!
4. Purge your spirit : Have you ever tried dieting your spirit? Stay away from any “Junk food” of the soul, cancer causing agents, high worldly cholesterol that hardens your spiritual arteries?
5. Avoid over exposure : Some of us are in the high skin cancer risk category. So what do we do? We stay away from exposure to those deadly UV rays. Well, all of us are prone to soul cancer that eats away at our worship so we should avoid very much exposure to TV rays. They distract, deaden and deflate the welling up of our souls in worship to God!
6. Do a self examination : If you can’t fast from TV, web surfing, video games, newspapers and magazines for a week then you are very weak and at risk spiritually.
Sixth, drown all distractions with overflowing prayers of gratefulness to GOD.
1. If there is noise or distraction, rather than fussing and fuming about it, learn to take it in and conquer it.
2. If little children are running about, bless them. Thank God that they are alive and that they have energy.
3. Become willing to relax with distractions-they may be a message from the Lord. When I am preaching, I love to have babies and little children in the congregation because sometimes they are the only ones that I can be sure are alive! Learn simply to receive whatever happens in a gathered worship experience, rather than feeling that distractions somehow deter you from worshiping God.
Seventh, practice offering actual sacrifices of worship to GOD.
1. Don’t give up : Many times you will not “feel” like worship. Perhaps you have had so many disappointing experiences in the past that you think it is hardly worth it. There is such a low sense of the power of God, Few people are adequately prepared. But you need to go anyway.
2. Confess inadequacy : You need to offer a sacrifice of worship. You need to be with the people of God and say,
“These are my people. As stiffnecked and hard-hearted and sinful as we may be, together we come to God.” Many times I do not feel like worshiping and I have to kneel down and say, “Lord, I don’t feel like worshiping, but I desire to give you this time. It belongs to you. I will waste this time for you.”
3. Enjoy God’s people : Isaac Pennington says that when people are gathered for genuine worship,
“They are like a heap of fresh and burning coals warming one another as a great strength and freshness and vigor of life flows into all.”” One log by itself cannot burn for very long, but when many logs are put together, even if they are poor logs, they can make quite a fire. Remember the coun sel of Proverbs 27:17 that “Iron sharpens iron,” and even rather dull lives can help each other if they are willing to try.
So go, even if you don’t feel like it.
Go, even if worship has been discouraging and dry before.
Go, looking for God to do a new and living work among you.
What Are The Fruits of Worship?
OBEDIENCE: Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedi ence, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change.
• Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, NKJV
REPENTENCE: Resentments cannot be held with the same tenacity when we enter his gracious light. As Jesus says, we need to leave our gift at the altar and go set the matter straight (Matt. 5:23, 24). In worship an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary, an increased compassion grows in the soul. To worship is to change.
• Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,24 “leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. NKJV
MINISTRY: Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life. Worship enables us to hear the call to service clearly so that we respond, ‘Here am I! Send me”.
• Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” NKJV
So that is what God desires. How did He make a way possible for sinners like us to Stay in His presence?
1. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 171-73.
2. A.M. Hodgkins, CHRIST IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES, p. 20-23.
3. Numbers 1:50 “but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle.
4. Thirty-one different Greek words are found in Acts for Christian verbal communication, and altogether they are used about 160 times. Of these, the words evangelize of preach the Gospel represent less than a third of all the usages of speaking words. The other terms are teach…
5. John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible , (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.
6. John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible , (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.
7. Richards, Lawrence O., The Teacher’s Commentary , (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1987.
8. Quoted from R. Kent Hughes, ACTS.
9. Hughes, R. Kent, Preaching the Word: Acts-The Church Afire , (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books) 1998, c1996.
10. Mears, What the Bible is all about, p. 36-37.
11. John Davis, Moses and the God’s of Egypt , p. 87
12. Davis, p.94ff.
13. Davis, p. 109.
14. Davis, pp. 128-130.
15. Mears, What the Bible is all about, p. 36-37.
16. A.M. Hodgkins, CHRIST IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES, p. 20-23.
17. Davis, p. 109.
18. Davis, pp. 128-130.
19. Mears, What the Bible is all about, p. 36-37.