The Second Commandment: God’s Right to Exclusive Worship
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT: GOD’S EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO YOUR WORSHIP
Hideyoshi, a Japanese warlord who ruled over Japan in the late 1500s, commissioned a colossal statue of Buddha for a shrine in Kyoto. It took 50,000 men five years to build, but the work had scarcely been completed when the earthquake of 1596 brought the roof of the shrine crashing down and wrecked the statue. In a rage Hideyoshi shot an arrow at the fallen colossus. “I put you here at great expense,” he shouted, “and you can’t even look after your own temple.”
So you see, even idol worshippers with one eye and half-sense know that these false gods and images do not produce.
Exodus 20:4–5 (ESV)
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
· ‘Bow down’ designates adoration or homage.
· ‘Serving’ means worship
· The essence of the 2nd commandment deals with who/what you worship on planet earth, an issue that is exceptionally relevant for Christians today as the New Testament shows.
John 4:24 (ESV)
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Luke 4:5–8 (ESV)
5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ”
· Jesus whipped the devil here with the second commandment! (and you can to!)
· As a side note, understand that during the time of Jesus ministry, the Old Testament Law was in force. The New Testament or covenant did not start until Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
REVERENCE: A COMPONENT OF WORSHIP
Revelation 14:7 (ESV)
7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Hebrews 12:28 (ESV)
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
· Fear (or godly reverence) and worship are companions
· Reverence or awe is the mindset with which you approach God.
o Approaching God casually or flippantly is not a good option.
o Casual folk get very little from God.
o Even though God is our Father and even though we can build a fellowship with Him and talk to Him about anything at any time in our life, yet we have to always
remember who He is.
· You can understand reverence for God when by knowing the awesome of God in creation and how He created the stars and what some of the physical dimensions of our galaxy are so that when you come away from that teaching, you can say ‘Wow God is awesome. God is so huge.’ Your natural response to the massiveness of God is ‘Glory to God! ‘Look at Him!’
o Solar Power
§ The sun radiates more energy in one second than man has used collectively since the beginning of civilization. http://www.need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/SecInfo/SolarS.pdf
§ A typical quasar, in one second, throws out enough energy to supply the earth’s electrical needs for the next billion years. http://www.crecalde.com/Charlie/charlies_cosmos__quasar.htm
§ You could fit 1 million earth’s into the sun, if you hollowed it out. http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Sun&Display=OverviewLong
o Galactic Power
§ The distance to the nearest galaxy is nearly 2.5 million light years –that is the distance that light will travel in 2.5 million years going 186,000 miles per second (my car goes 100 miles an hour).
o HOW MUCH DISTANCE IS 2.5 MILLION LIGHT YEARS?
§ To make it to Andromeda in a Honda Civic (38 miles a gallon) we would need about 36,500 trillion gallons of gasoline! A standard Honda Civic would have to be modified to carry this amount of gasoline. The gas tank would need to have the capacity of about 730 million ocean going supertankers (with capacity of 50 million gallons each)! And, we’ll be waiting a long time to “fill up” at the gas station. It would take 2300 years to fill the tank if the pump had the flow capacity of Niagara Falls. (Average flow of Niagara Falls is 500,000 gallons/sec. This is the same as 15,768,000,000,000 gallons per year. This would take 2314 years to fill the 730 000 000 supertankers!)
o The fastest rocket we have is a Saturn 5 – it would take over 15 billion years to make it to Andromeda.
o The total universe is 8-10 billion light years long!
· Today, we are going to follow that same line of thought but instead of looking at the stars, we are going to look at the Throne of God.
· Let us look the place that you visit every time you pray and every time you worship.
THE AWE INSPIRING THE THRONE OF GOD
· Four Characteristics of the Throne – it is…
o A Huge Place
o An Awesome Place
o A Powerful Place
o A Strategic Place
· The Throne of God is the place that everybody wants to go to when they get to heaven!
o People make pilgrimages to what they consider holy places but the Throne is the most important place in the universe that you can possibly go to.
THE THRONE OF GOD: A HUGE PLACE
· IT’S A PLACE NOT JUST A CHAIR!
o Understanding the massiveness of the Throne should fill your heart with awe and help you with worship and the fulfilling of the worship principle of the second commandment.
o Take notice of how God does things or projects that God works on in the Bible. Everything God does has an element of massiveness about it. Everything God does has BIG or ABUNDANCE or TOO MUCH written all over it.
o There is something wrong with small thinking
· He is way too much God for a regular chair!
· ALL THE ANGELS CAN FIT AROUND THE THRONE
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,
12 Saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (NKJV)
o There are many angels around the throne….
o 10,000 x 10,000 is at least 100 million angels. – and thousands of thousands!!!!
o They are innumerable
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (NKJV)
o Side note:
13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? NKJV
o The scriptures teach us that when the devil fell, he took with him 1/3 of the angels.
o Take heart in this – there are much more with you then there are against you.
o There is an innumerable company of angels but only a limited number of devils. God can make more – the devil can’t!
· Consider how much physical space it would take to cater to 100 million beings. If you understand that the United States has a population of 270 million people, you can get an idea of how massive the Throne is.
o However, that is not all that can fit around the Throne!
· ALL THE SAVED OF THE LORD CAN FIT AROUND THE THRONE!
9 After these things I looked, and behold, A GREAT MULTITUDE WHICH NO ONE COULD NUMBER, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
11 ALL THE ANGELS STOOD AROUND THE THRONE and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
o How many saved people are there?
o An innumerable company which means that there are a lot of people that are going to be there.
o That is why we know that those who say that “there will be only a few saved” are wrong.
o That is why we know that those groups that say, “If you don’t belong to our group, your not saved” are wrong. There is not an innumerable company of them!
o All the angels AND all of the saved can fit around the Throne at the same time.
· ALL LIVING CREATED BEINGS CAN FIT AROUND THE THRONE.
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders AND THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
· NO ONE IS LEFT OUT!
o There isn’t a cheap seat in the place!
o There are no nose bleed seats
o There are no bleacher seats – all have a perfect and full view of God!
o Your natural house may not be big enough here on earth to do all that you want to do – but the Throne is big enough to hold you.
o In short, every saved man, every created angel, every living creature can fit around the Throne of God.
o No one is left out
o There are no ‘shifts’ to see God.
o Everyone has a place there.
o Even if the best you have done in earthly life is to live a nominal Christian existence, there is till room for you around the Throne.
· ALL THE UNGODLY CAN FIT AROUND THE THRONE!
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
o These are the saved ministering to Him – notice it says the books were opened – sounds like Rev 20! – a reference to the Great White Throne Judgment.
· THRONE’S AND FOOTSTOOLS
47 But Solomon built Him a house.
48 However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
49 ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?’
o Here is a comparison picture between earth and heaven.
o Heaven is the throne. Earth in comparison to heavens throne is a footstool. Which is bigger?
o Now, you get an idea of the massiveness of the throne.
· QUESTION: When you understand the massiveness of the Throne of God, what effect does that have on your heart? Does it fill you with awe? Does your heart say WOW, what a magnificent God?
· Well if those verses do not get the job done, try this one.
26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.
o There never has been a fireworks show that can compare with the goings on of the Throne
o There has never been a laser light show that equals the light and energy that emanates from the Throne.
o Men have tried with various words to describe the awesome-ness of God. (I tried to find some of their descriptions – none of them satisfied me).
· ILLUSTRATION: Why Thomas Aquinas Stopped Writing
Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian, created one of the greatest intellectual achievements of Western civilization in his Summa Theologica. It’s a massive work: thirty-eight treatises, three thousand articles, ten thousand objections. Thomas tried to gather into one coherent whole all of truth. What a great undertaking: anthropology, science, ethics, psychology, political theory and theology, all under God.
On December 6, 1273, Thomas abruptly stopped his work. While celebrating Mass in the chapel of St. Thomas, he caught a glimpse of eternity, and suddenly he knew that all his efforts to describe God fell so far short that he decided never to write again.
When his secretary, Reginald, tried to encourage him to do more writing, he said, “Reginald, I can do no more. Such things have been revealed to me that all I have written seems as so much straw.”
Firm in his resolve, he wrote not another word and died a year later.
· When you get a glimpse of God in His massiveness, when you get a glimpse of eternity, trust me, you will no problem with the second commandment. You will have no problem with bowing to Him and to Him alone.
21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. NKJV
o If you overcome, you get a ringside seat!