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The Supreme Act of Worship

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Title: The Supreme Act of Worship

Text:

Introductory Thoughts:
In consideration of the Lord’s Table, we are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is hard for me not to consider the offering of Isaac by his father Abraham. What is it that is so striking to me about this account that when I think of Jesus dying, I am reminded of Abraham and Isaac?

The worship of Abraham - Genesis 22

From , we note that it was chiefly a supreme act of worship from Abraham to God. Two striking realities teach me this. (1) A burnt offering is a point of emphasis in the passage (, , , , ). (2) Worship is explicitly stated by Abraham (). The burnt offering was clearly associated as an act of worship towards the Lord.

The Hebrews Summary of Abraham -

The writer in Hebrews summarizes the account in . Here, the writer seems to assume that worship and offering are tied together as one and the same. We also have a little more insight into what Abraham specifically believed. Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. This means that Abraham’s faith was more in the Giver of the promise than in the promise of the Giver, though they are inextricably linked. This is a good reminder to us that the center of our lives should not be the gifts of God as much as the God of the gifts.

What makes this worship?

What is it that makes this an act of worship? Worship is when one prostrates himself out of respect or honor. Thus, it is an act of worship because the sacrifice requires an unusual degree of faith in God and because the sacrifice is that of ultimate uniqueness (). It was a complete and personal sacrifice. It was with complete faith in God’s exclusive ability. It should be noted that this was not just a stated worship or faith; but the works of Abraham justified the genuineness of his claim to go and worship ().

What does this have to do with Jesus’ sacrifice?

The question still remains: How does this account cause us to think of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, of which we are now confronted this evening? First, we note that Jesus is the seed of Abraham in which the covenant of God is fulfilled (). It is not merely that Jesus is a greater Isaac, but that Jesus is the seed of Abraham, and God was at work to preserve the seed.
Second, we mustn’t overlook the fact that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was willful. It was not an act of divine child abuse. Jesus Christ willingly submitted himself to the will of his father.
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was uniquely complete. It was a complete offering. He, as the unique Son of God, was completely sacrificed and offered. Note:
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

The faith of Jesus

In so doing, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was with perfect faith. Jesus began to tell his disciples that he would be killed, and that he would be raised again from the dead! See . On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus makes it quite clear what is about to take place. See . Jesus faced what lay ahead with full confidence in God. It was a perfect faith that Jesus exercised throughout his life and into his death. As Abraham had faith that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, Jesus had complete faith that his Father would raise him from the dead. confirms that this occurred. Note:
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [see also ].

Jesus’ supreme act of worship

We cannot stop there though. It is not enough to say that because Jesus gave his life we should too, although this is good. We must see that what Jesus did was the supreme act of worship, by the one who was worthy to receive worship. If what Abraham did by faith was worship, we cannot think of what Jesus did as any less worship - more still, it is the supreme act of all worship of all time. reminds us that he offered up himself. This is the supreme act of worship that manifested the faith Jesus had. It is in this sacrifice where the Lord did not stop the knife from coming down upon the Son.

The application of this sacrifice to us

In the salvific sense, the significance then is that the death of Christ becomes our death. This truth is confirmed by scriptures such as and . It is a reminder of that when someone places faith in Jesus Christ, the death of Christ becomes his own death. The resurrection of Christ becomes the new life he experiences. See also , which reminds of this truth by the figure of baptism. This means that every believer has partaken in the highest act of supreme worship that has ever happened: the sacrifice of the perfect Son of God.

How does this relate to the practice of Communion?

There are several thoughts here:
First, the word communion from means fellowship, association, or participation. Second, it is an outward participation which is to be an expression of worship which should show forth a faith that already exists. Some will partake in a hollow manner, because they see it as a ritual without understanding that it should be flowing forth from faith.

But what is this faith in?

It is faith in the completed, supreme act of worship of Jesus Christ. We partake the bread, commemorating the body of the Lord Jesus Christ - believing that God was worthy of such an offering. We partake of the wine. These two elements, when partaken rightly show forth the worshipful sacrifice of Christ through our worshipful contemplation and physical partaking.
In consideration of this, we note that if we affirm that Jesus’ sacrifice was the pinnacle of worship of all time, and that we have partaken in this through salvation - then, it only stands to reason that we would not only commemorate it, but we should willingly offer our lives as sacrifices (representing our partaking of the ultimate Sacrifice) for the benefit of others - as clear evidence of worship.

Summary:

Summarizing, Abraham’s act of worship pointed to the supreme act of worship by Jesus Christ. In salvation, we become partakers of this supreme act of worship in Christ. In communion, we worshipfully look back to the pinnacle of worship of all time; and in our service, we justify the faith we profess.
So, tonight, I call you to:
Remember the ultimate worship of Jesus
Remember your participation in this worship of Jesus (you are in Christ, if you’ve believed)
Examine if your works justify the faith your are professing tonight through this time of worship
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