The Universal Worship
Isaiah 66:23
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another…

From one sabbath to another, shall an flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.

I. IN MEETING TOGETHER FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP WE FOLLOW THE NATURAL IMPULSE OF OUR OWN HEARTS, AS WELL AS OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS OF OUR GOD. To look up and pray is one of the most original and essential impulses of humanity, one of the commonest characteristics of the race. Prayer is properly associated with the whole circle of our relations with God. As spirits we are God's children, and God's erring, wilful children; we must find expression for our conscious need of spiritual blessings. Our bodies are the Divine creation, the care of Divine Providence, and out of the sense of the relation of our bodily life to God we are impelled to pray for temporal blessings. We are set in close associations one with another, as families; and as those having similar preferences and convictions; out of such relations come our united family and sanctuary worship. There are even larger associations into which we enter as fellow-citizens, fellow-countrymen, fellow-men. Our welfare in all these relationships directly depends on him who is Lord of natural laws, Lord of storms, Lord of pestilences, Lord of harvests, Lord of sunshine, Lord of the wrath of men, and Lord of their wealth. So far as we feel this aright we shall be impelled to say to every fellow-creature, made in the image of God, and made for God even as we are, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." We have not to seek for reasons that may prove persuasions to worship. What men have to seek for is excuse for their neglect of the universal worship. It is not sufficiently recognized that God deals with us collectively here on earth. We have no reason for assuming that there are separate churches in heaven; or organized families; or towns with local interests; or nations with national interests and national characteristics. These are all earthly conditions; and in these conditions is laid the basis for collective prayer, for public and united worship. The man that refuses to unite in public worship is breaking away from the claims of his common humanity; refusing to recognize the conditions under which God has placed him; and withholding the sympathy which his fellow-creatures have a right to demand from him. Further, it may be shown that in meeting for public or universal worship, we do but follow the indications that have been given us of the Divine will. In Jewish history great importance attached to large national gatherings for acts of worship. From the time of the great meeting between the Mounts Ebal and Gerizim down to the times of Messiah, there were three great religious meetings of the people every year, besides occasional special gatherings. The Jewish service included praise and prayer, in which the whole people might unite. The best men, such as David, turned from the joys of private devotion to the yet higher joys of God's house and worship. Our Lord set the example of private prayer, but the evangelists are careful to remind us that "he went, as he was wont, into the synagogue on the sabbath day." And the apostles urge the early Christians "not to forsake the assembling of themselves together."

II. IN NEGLECTING PUBLIC WORSHIP WE HAVE TO DELUDE OURSELVES BY MAKING VERY UNWORTHY EXCUSES. TO put our reasons out into the light, to get them fairly expressed, is to make us feel ashamed of them. Some incline to say, "Your worship is not intended for us; it is meant only for those whom you call specially Christians, and we do not call ourselves by that name." Our worshipping arrangements have certainly been made on this principle; but the worship of God is for men, all men, everywhere. Whether men agree with our ideas or not, let them come and worship the God that made them, clothes them, feeds them, cares for them, loves them, and would save them from their sins. Perhaps most of those who stay away from worship do so in sheer heedlessness; they yield to the indifference which settles down on men who are simply living to self and sin. The real evil is that sinful man is indisposed to worship; the only shrine be cares for is the shrine of ease and self-indulgence. We must try to make God more real to men, and so get the persuasion of his love as the constraint, urging men to offer to him their "gold, frankincense, and myrrh." We must try to make the services of our sanctuaries more suitable for the expression of the universal dependence and the universal praise. Christian worship should be the best possible medium for lifting up the hearts of men, as men, unto God; the best utterance of the universal sense of the Divine Creator-hood. It should be man's acknowledgment of God, our God, the one God, the holy God, the redeeming God. It is "he that hath made us, and not we ourselves." It is he that "redeemeth our life from destruction." It is even he "that sent his Son into the world, that we might live through him." "Let us kneels" let us all kneel together, "before the Lord our Maker." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

WEB: It shall happen, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me," says Yahweh.

The Stability of the Christian Church
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