No. 5 Who Is Your Center of Worship?

Is he a minister or priest, without whom (should he not come to the church) you cannot worship? Is it a human name, so that, if there were not some in the place worshiping under that name, you cannot worship God? Is it a building or church, so that you say, “I have no church to go to in that place”; or is it Christ? Is Christ your alone center of worship, so that you want nothing but Himself to attract you? Who is the minister of the Sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord hath pitched, and not man (Heb. 8:22A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. (Hebrews 8:2))? Is the Name of the Lord Jesus sufficient for you to gather to? As Scripture says,
Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20));
and are the members of His body or church, and the living stones of His temple, sufficient associates for you to worship with, not in a worldly sanctuary, but in the heavenly places in Christ?
Look through Scripture, dear believer, and see if there be any authority for one man to lead the Assembly in worship. When ministry is exercised, this is of necessity the case; but in worship never,
So in all the places of the New Testament where we have our rules for worship, such as Eph. 2:1818For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18); Heb. 9, 10; and 1 Pet. 2:4, 54To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4‑5), there is no idea of ministry entering into them. In the former passage, we worship on the basis that Christ has been exalted as man to God’s right hand, and made head of His body, the church (Eph. 1:20-2320Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:20‑23)). We who were dead in trespasses and sin have been quickened together with Him, raised up together, and made to sit together in Heavenly places in Him (2:1-7). Saved by grace, there is no difference now between Jew and Gentile. The middle wall of partition, consisting of the law and its ordinances, has been broken down by the cross. Jew and Gentile see the end of their enmity there, and in resurrection are formed into one new man, peace being made in Christ. He is in heaven the Head, and through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (vers. 8, 18). What a blessed center of worship to have! If the saints only knew their calling, how could they wish for any other basis of worship or center but Christ? He fills the body. He is the life of the Assembly. The members are linked to Him and to one another by the Holy Ghost, who draws every member to Him by a common attraction and power.
In Heb. 9, 10, we are shown in direct contrast to Judaism, that we need no one to come between us and God in such worship but Christ. Under Judaism the people were not allowed to approach God. The priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God for them (ch. 9:6). But even they could not enter the holiest. A veil shut God out from them. The High Priest could only enter once a year (ver. 7). Thus it was a system keeping God and the people apart from one another. It was a worshiping afar off (Ex. 24). What did it all mean? Why, that the way into the presence of God was not made manifest under that economy (Heb. 9:88The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (Hebrews 9:8)). The sacrifices, too, that were offered up could not give a perfect conscience (ver. 9). There was no approach to God. No perfect conscience. An imperfect High Priest was their center of worship too, who had to offer for himself as well as for the people. But now, blessed be God, the sacrifice of Christ has put away sins once for all; the blood applied to the conscience perfects us for ever (Heb. 10:12-1412But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12‑14)). Christ, by His death and resurrection and ascension, is the open way into our place of worship. The veil is rent by His death. We enter in with boldness by His blood, and find in Him our Great High Priest, our perfect, worthy, and all-sufficient center of worship, through whom we approach God without fear (Heb. 10:19-2119Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; (Hebrews 10:19‑21)).
He is the living Stone, and Foundation Stone of the building to which we come. Rejected of the Jewish builders, He is laid in Death and Resurrection a sure foundation. He ascends to heaven, the topmost Stone of the building, thus uniting heaven and earth together. We come to Him, a rejected Christ of the world, but chosen of God and precious, and are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Where is there an idea of ministry in these passages? In the one case, it is the figure of a body united to a Head. Such is the church; Christ, as Head of His body, is its all sufficient center of worship. 2nd. It is the figure of a great High Priest in the midst of a family of priests, all on a level. All approach God on a common basis. Thirdly. It is the figure of a building. Christ, the foundation and corner stone, uniting all the living stones together, as well as heaven and earth. With no veil between them and God, the true Aaron and his sons (Christ and believers) worship inside, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Oh, my dear fellow believer, I pray you consider Him, under these varied aspects. Consider what He is, as the risen and ascended man, placed in heaven by God, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; how that God hath put all things under His feet and given Him to be the Head over all things to the church which is His body (Eph. 1:18-2018The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:18‑20)). Consider Him as the man of God’s purpose, set up from everlasting or ever the world was (Prov. 8:2323I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (Proverbs 8:23)); born in due time into the world, and in whom God hath purposed, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, to gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him (Eph. 1:9, 109Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:9‑10)). In that millennial glory all in heaven shall be centered around him, and shall cry,
Worthy is the Lamb (Rev. 5).
All things on earth likewise, for He shall be King over all the earth, with Israel in the center. (See Zech. 14:9-16, 179And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. 10All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. 11And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 12And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor. 14And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. 16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:9‑17).) Oh! fellow believer, have you entered into the thought of God’s purposes that are revealed about Christ? If it is God’s purpose thus to have Christ in the center of all things in heaven and earth in the ages to come, know that already He has set Him up in heaven to be Head over all things to the church, which is His body; and that now every believer’s place is to be a member of that body, to be attracted to Him as the Head, as to a common center, and to find in that Head the source from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God (Col. 2:1919And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (Colossians 2:19)).
Consider Him, likewise, as the Son of the living God, the one over whom the gates of Hades have not prevailed, the foundation stone, and chief corner stone of God’s spiritual house; as He said (Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)),
Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Who is this wonderful person?
whom the angels worshiped when He was born in this world; of whom one said,
Yes, before the foundation of the world, set up from everlasting He was there, and, when the heavens and earth are all rolled up as a scroll, He shall be there. Well might the Apostle find a refuge in such a Person, as the Head over all things to the Church, when it had all outwardly gone to ruin, and say,
Lastly, consider Him as the Great High Priest of our profession. Read Ex. 28, and see in the High Priest, clothed in His garments of glory and beauty, a faint shadow of the Person who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb. 8:11Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Hebrews 8:1)). See Him clothed in the garments of righteousness and salvation. See Him holding His people on His strong shoulder, and bearing them on His loving heart; and see there your Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man (ver. 2).
Dear fellow believer, is this Christ your sufficient basis and center of worship?
Jesus, Saviour, we adore Thee;
Christ of God, Anointed Son!
We confess Thee Lord of Glory,
Fruits of victory Thou hast won.

Access to the Father’s mansion
Through the Christ of God we have,
By the Spirit sent from heaven,
Promise of the Father’s love.