Sermon: Four Essentials of Worship - Exodus 35

I want us to notice four essentials of worship in this text, four things which God says are necessary if we are going to worship Him as He calls us to.

Scriptures: Exodus 35

Introduction

As we approach our text this morning, we find the Israelites in the middle of building the tabernacle. The tabernacle was the dwelling place of God with them before the temple was built by Solomon. It was the place where sacrifices were made, it was the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and it was a place of worship, a place which was constructed according to the purposes and instructions of God.

In these latter chapters of the book of Exodus, we find God giving the Israelites specific and often copious instructions about the construction of the tabernacle. Up to this point God has been meeting with Moses in the tent of meeting, but now the Israelites are about the process of building something more suitable for their worship.

It is instructive to note here that from God’s point of view, worshiping Him is to comes first; attending to the things of God is to be a priority for those in covenant relationship with Him. Before the construction of permanent homes for the Israelites; before they plant their vineyards or dig their wells, before they construct their barns or their stables, long before they even take position of the land, before anything else takes place, God wants them to focus on worship. In this context He instructs them to build Him a tabernacle. It is, in essence, the same thing Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount when He taught us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all the necessary things of life would be added to us.

This order is often reversed by modern day Christians. Many today seek their own needs first and only look to the needs of the Kingdom of God after they feel they have satisfied their own needs and wants. They put themselves first and the things of God are secondary. But in God’s economy, we are to seek first His kingdom. It was that way in Exodus and for those who are right with Him, it is still that way today.

While there are many things in our text which deserve investigation, this morning we will focus on four of them specifically. They are things which are easily seen in the text. As we seek to interpret and understand scripture remember that the plain thing is always the main thing and these four things are very plain to see. I want us to notice four essentials of worship in this text, four things which God says are necessary if we are going to worship Him as He calls us to.

First of all, in verses 1-3 notice that God speaks specifically about the use of our time.

I. We worship God with our time

Are you giving of your time to further the kingdom of God? Sure, you may be wrapped up with family, with business, or with community activities, and all of those are good, but a pleasant pagan could be doing all of that. What part of your time are you specifically giving up each week to further the kingdom of God? And don’t say, “I come to church,” that’s basic for all Christians and that primarily benefits you. How are you using your time to expand His kingdom, and can you say that you give of your time in a sacrificial way?

II. We worship God with our talents

How are you using your talents to further God’s kingdom? Of all the gifts and abilities God has given you, are you using any of them regularly to make His glory known? Are you involved in using your talents in such a way that others are being blessed and are growing deeper in their faith?

III. Worship involves our treasure

Are you giving of your treasures on a regular basis to support the ongoing work of the kingdom of God? Each year, as a church, we put together a ministry plan, some call it a budget, but it is really a ministry plan, which speaks to the ministries we hope to impact in the coming year. When people tithe, that’s giving a basic ten percent of their income to God, that helps us fund that ministry plan. When people are not faithful to give to God, then a certain amount of that ministry simply does not get done. Part of that money goes to support the ministry of the church, part goes to support church plants in our state, in our country and part of it goes to support missions efforts around the globe. It takes tangible resources for our missionaries to live in foreign lands. To whom much is given, much is required. What are you giving back to God each week, and what does that say about your relationship with Him?

IV. Worship involves a willing heart

Where is your heart this morning? You don’t have to answer, your answers to the first three questions has answered for you.
Dr. Calvin Wittman is pastor of Applewood Baptist Church, Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He serves as a trustee at Criswell College, and regularly contributes to Open Windows, a monthly LifeWay devotional publication.