Friday, August 16, 2013
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psalms 24:3-4 KJV)
Pastor often says that our gathering together has no spiritual value unless God meets with us. Most will come back with Jesus’ own words:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 KJV)
As I strongly believe, a single verse needs its surrounding context. Just as the Psalms needs the first verses:
A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:1-2 KJV)
Matthew needs the previous verses, too, but there are many more in this chapter 18. It begins with a question from the disciples:
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? (Matthew 18:1 KJV)
Then verse 20 is part of a longer discourse where Jesus is explaining not only who is greatest, but how to get to heaven:
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4 KJV)
Is that not David’s clean hands and pure heart? Do we come to His worship services prepared to bow before His throne with praise and supplications? How dare we approach Him for favors without soul-searching for our very own humble attitude? Can we possibly believe that we are considered able to do so simply because we exist?
Offending a pure-hearted child has consequences that Jesus describes:
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 KJV)
Bad things will happen in this world. There is an ongoing spiritual battle for souls. Keeping our own requires an awareness of this and working to keep ourselves close to our Lord that we do not go against His will. When we do, sin has consequences.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:7 KJV)
Preparing ourselves to be able to worship our Lord humbly and in the right spirit is essential. In his explanation of the Lord’s Supper, Paul is specific about this:
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:27 KJV)
We should consider our worthiness every time we approach God’s throne, whether in praise or supplication. Consider the instructions He has provided for us and prepare ourselves to meet Him.