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THE SCENT OF BIBLICAL WORSHIP
Intro: This passage falls in the middle of a section of Scripture devoted to the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a portable tent designed for the worship of Jehovah. Every piece of cloth, every board, every piece of furniture, every item in the Tabernacle was commissioned, developed and designed for use in the worship of Almighty God.
Everything which was part of the Tabernacle pointed to Jesus Christ in some way. The tabernacle was called “the tent of meeting. It was here that Israel met with God. It was here that sacrifices were to be offered. It was here that the worship of Jehovah God was conducted on a daily basis. It was here that atonement was made for the sins of the people.
When Israel camped in the wilderness, they were to camp around the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was in the center of the camp. This reminded them that the worship of God was to be at the center of their lives. The Tabernacle was the most important place in Jewish social and religious life.
The Tabernacle was a place devoted to God. It was designed by God to declare God. The Tabernacle is a place worth studying.
The passage we are considering today deals with the incense they burned in the Tabernacle. The incense also speaks of Jesus Christ and His worship. When the incense was burned, the smoke ascended up toward Heaven. Its scent came up before God and He was pleased. When the incense was burned, its fragrance filled the Tabernacle and everyone knew that worship was taking place.
You might remember when Mary broke the alabaster box of ointment and anointed the head of Jesus, we are told that “the house was filled with the odor of the ointment,” John 12:3. Real worship has a way of making its presence known. When real worship takes place, it leaves its scent behind.
I want to take these verses, which give the instructions related to the incense, and preach on The Scent Of Biblical Worship. These verses teach us some very vital truths about genuine biblical worship.
I want you to see The Materials In The Incense; The Mixing Of The Incense; and The Ministry Of The Incense. Let’s consider these truths together.
I. v. 34 THE MATERIALS
IN THE INCENSE
(Ill. God was very specific when He gave Moses the ingredients that were to be used in the Incense. I want to consider these ingredients, because they teach us about Jesus. These four ingredients remind us why He is worthy of our worship.)
A. Stacte Speaks Of His Proclamations Stacte is an aromatic gum that comes from a certain shrub. The word means to drop. Stacte was collected a drop at a time from the plant.
This substance speaks to us about the Words of our Lord. Like the stacte dropped from the plant, the precious Word of God dropped from the lips of our Saviour!
Jesus is the living Word, John 1:1, 14. He has also given us the written Word. Thank God for His Word! Listen to what the biblical writers said about this book:
· Psa. 30:5, “Every word of God is pure...
· Psa. 19:8, “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
· James 3:17, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
· 2 Tim. 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Thank God for His Word! In this book, God condescends to speak to fallen man. In this book God reveals Himself to man. In the Bible God gives us His Gospel, the only plan of salvation. This book is health for the soul; food for the journey; strength for the battle; light for the darkness and hope for every tomorrow.
We ought to thank Him for His Word. We ought to worship for giving us His Word.
B. Onycha Speaks Of His Person This ingredient was found in a certain species of shellfish that only lives in the Red Sea. The word onycha comes from the Hebrew root word for Lion.
This substance speaks to us about His person. It reminds us that He is a King Who is to be revered, honored, served, loved, obeyed and worshiped.
I would remind you that Jesus Christ is not long-haired, effeminate, hippy, do-gooder.
· He is “the King of Kings and He is the Lord of Lords, Rev. 19:16.
· He is “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Rev. 5:5.
· He is the One the Old Testament prophesied would come, Jer. 23:5; Gen. 49:10.
· He is One Who came to this world, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose again from the dead and ascended back to Heaven.
· He is the One Who is coming again for His church, 1 Thes. 4:17-17.
· He is the One we will face at “the Judgment Seat of Christ, 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15.
· He is the One Who is coming again in power and glory to rule and reign, Rev. 19:11-16.
· He is the One Who will rule the world during the Millennium.
· He is the One Who will occupy “the Great White Throne of judgment, Rev. 20:11-15.
· He is the One Who will be worshiped in Heaven for all eternity!
· Can I go a step farther? He is my Saviour! He is my Lord! He is my Friend! He is the delight of my soul. He is worthy of my praise and worship right now. Glory to God, we need to praise Him, love Him and worship Him right now!
C. Galbanum - Speaks Of His Pain The word galbanum means cutting this is because this resin was obtained from a certain plant by cutting that plant open so that the resin could run out and be collected.
This substance speaks of the Lord’s pain and suffering. It reminds us of His death on the cross. It reminds us that he gave His life to redeem His Bride from her sins. Let me remind you of some of the things He suffered for us.
1. Beating - Luke 22:63-64; Psa. 129:3
2. Scourging - (Ill. The horror of this punishment) Matt. 27:26
3. Spitting - Matt. 27:30
4. Mockery - Matt. 27:26-29
5. Beard Plucked From Face - Isa. 50:6
6. Stripped - Matt. 27:35 - (They gambled for His garments.)
7. Nailed To The Cross - Matt. 27:38; John 20:25
8. Crucifixion Itself - A death on the cross is the most horrible form of execution known to mankind! We derive our word “excruciating from it. Excruciating means out of the cross.
9. He Suffered Pain At The Hand Of Sovereign God - Jesus actually became sin on that cross, 2 Cor. 5:21. God judged Jesus in the place of sinners. God literally poured out His wrath into the body of His Son and Jesus suffered the undiluted, unfiltered wrath of Almighty God.
He is to be worshiped for His sufferings. He is to be worshiped for His sacrifice. He is to be worshiped for His all that He did to guarantee our salvation!
D. Frankincense - Speaks Of His Purity Frankincense is another resin taken from a tree. When this resin was burned, it gave off a pure, white smoke.
This substance speaks to us of the purity of the Lord Jesus. It reminds us that He is the sinless Son of God. He was born without the taint of human sin. He never committed a single sin. In fact, it was not possible for Him to sin. (Ill. Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 3:5.)
Jesus was and is the pure, sinless Son of God. He came into this world to give His life a ransom for the guilty. He did that when He died on the cross. He is to be worshiped for His sinless nature!
I. The Materials In The Incense
II. v. 34-36 THE MIXING
OF THE INCENSE
(Ill. These verses tell us about the ingredients in the incense. They also tell us about how the incense was to be mixed together. The ingredients teach us why the Lord deserves to be worshiped. The instructions about mixing it together teach how we are to approach Him in worship.)
A. The Personal Aspect Of Worship The instructions given here speak to the personal nature of our worship. When we come before the Lord in worship, there are two ways we must approach Him.
1. Holy verse 35 says the incense is to be “pure and holy. When the Bible says that it was to be tempered together, it means that it was mixed with salt. Salt in the Bible is a picture of purity.
This speaks of the condition of our hearts when we come before Him. If we are not in a right relationship with Him, we cannot approach Him in worship. Sin in our lives will close His ears to our prayers, Psa. 66:18. And, it will close the door of worship, Isa. 59:2. If we would worship the Lord, we must come before Him with a holy heart!
2. Humble Verse 36 says that they were to take some of the incense and “beat it very small. It was to be reduced to a powder. This speaks of humility! If we would approach the Lord, we must first be holy, then we must come to Him humbly. There must be no pride or pretense in our hearts. We cannot approach Him boasting in ourselves and our abilities, Ill. 1 Pet. 5:5-6. We must come to Him with a true sense of our weakness and His power. We must come before Him remembering that apart from Him, we are nothing, would have nothing, and would amount to nothing. We must be broken before Him in worship!
B. The Perpetual Aspect of Worship Verse 36 commanded that some of the incense was to be placed before the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Above the Ark, over the Mercy Seat, was where God met with His people. The incense before the Ark was a symbol that their worship was to be continual and perpetual. The incense was always to be there ready to be offered in worship before the Lord. In other words, worship was to be the defining characteristic of the people of God.
The same is true today. The people of God are to be marked by perpetual worship. That is, we are to worship at every opportunity for public, corporate worship, Heb. 10:25. We are to worship Him privately, John 4:23-24. We are to be a people of worship.
Something is wrong with a person who possesses no desire to worship the Lord. Something is wrong when there is no desire for prayer, for Bible reading, for singing to Him and for praising Him. He is worthy of our perpetual worship. Every day of our lives should be spent in the worship of the Lord who redeemed us by His grace, Ill. ***Psa. 113:1-9***.
C. The Proportional Aspect Of Worship Verse 34 says that the ingredients for the incense were to be mixed in equal amounts. The speaks to us about the fact that our worship should be balanced and proportional.
This simply means that we are not to go off in a tangent in our worship. Some people emphasize the life of Christ while they make little of His death. Others focus on His death to the exclusion of His life. Each aspect of our Lord’s life and ministry is equally important.
His life means nothing if He didn’t die. His death means nothing if He wasn’t sinless. His sinless nature means nothing if He didn’t suffer for our sins. His Word means nothing if He didn’t fulfill every aspect of it. Every part of His life and ministry is vitally important and He is to be worshiped in the fullness of His ministry and glory!
I. The Materials In The Incense
II. The Mixing Of The Incense
III. v. 37-38 THE MINISTRY
OF THE INCENSE
(Ill. Once the incense was prepared, it was to be employed in the worship of the Lord. This reminds that worship is to be given to God alone. No person, no possession and no pastime deserves our worship. The ministry of worship is clearly defined in these verses.)
A. It’s Ministry Is Definite Verse 37 says that it was to be “holy for the Lord. This incense was to be used for no other purpose than for the worship of the Almighty. It belonged to Him and to Him alone. This reminds us that worship alone belongs to God.
We live in an age when God receives very little genuine, biblical worship. The fact is, most people worship themselves in these days. Very few people in our community are bowing down to idols and false gods. Many, however, bow to money, pleasure, sports, and other things that fills their time, takes their money and occupies their minds. The things people live for are the things they worship. In essence, they are their gods.
True worship belongs to God alone! He is to be loved, served and exalted. He is to be honored with every moment of our lives; with every dollar of our resources; and with every ounce of our energy. He demands it, but more than that, He deserves it! Let’s give Him the worship He deserves!
B. It’s Ministry Is Deadly God says, in verse 38, that any other use of this incense would bring His judgment upon the guilty person. This reminds me of what happened to Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. They came before the Lord and brought “incense and strange fire. They went against the Lords command concerning His worship and God killed them outright, Lev. 10:1-2. This serves to teach us that false worship always leads to destruction.
If you want to invite the judgment of God into your life, just give your worship to other gods. Just offer the holy incense of worship to things other than Him and His wrath will come into your life. A lot of God’s children are giving their attention and affection to things other than the Lord. It is an unlawful use of worship, and it will not go unpunished.
May the Lord help us to search our hearts and see where we are offering “strange fire and incense before the Lord. May He help us to understand that He will not be tempted in this matter. He is a jealous God and He will not allow His worship to be given to another!
Conc: I don’t know about you, but I want my worship to be right. I want to learn how to give Him the glory, reverence, and honor that He is due. There was a day when I was lost in sin and headed to Hell. God Almighty saved me by His grace, washed away my sins in the blood of Hid Son and gave me a new life. He deserves all of my worship. I want Him to have it!
Has the Lord spoken to you about your worship? Are you giving Him worship for Who He is and what He has done in your life? Is your worship holy and humble? Is it balanced? Are you worshiping Him alone, or does your time, your money and your love go to other things? If your worship needs work, this altar is open. Come to Him and get the help you need right now!