No. 6 What Is Your Place of Worship?

Israel’s place of worship was the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple in Jerusalem.
The Christian’s place of worship is heaven, into which Christ has passed, and of which the holy places of the tabernacle were faint pictures. (See Heb. 9:23, 2423It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:23‑24).) But these shadows and figures are beautiful; they are often God’s picture books for His young children, to instruct them in His truth.
Let us look, then, for one moment at Israel’s history. It was not till they were redeemed out of Egypt and brought to God at Mount Sinai, that the tabernacle, their place of worship, was set up. Has this no lesson for us, dear young Christian? Does not this at once shut out from the worship of God all except those who are brought to God? But there are three great steps in Israel’s history before their place of worship was set up. What are they? First, they are set right with God (Exodus 12), and saved from the judgment of the first born, by the blood of the Passover Lamb.
Secondly, they are delivered from Pharaoh by the passage of the Red Sea, and sing the song of redemption and salvation outside Egypt (Ex. 14, 15).
Are not these wondrous types of God’s dealings with your soul?
1st. As a needy, ungodly sinner you found the value of the blood of the Lamb slain, and were justified by His blood (Rom. 5:99Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)).
2nd. You found that your greatest enemy was an evil nature of sin within you, and which pursued you, as it were, after you were justified, till you found deliverance from sin, the world, and Satan, by the death and resurrection of Christ. Now, as having died with Christ, and Christ living in you, you sing the song of salvation (Rom. 5:12; 812Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)).
3rd. You have found that Christ died, the just for the unjust, that he might bring you to God (l Pet. 3:18). You stand now in God’s presence without fear, because in a new creation (2 Cor. 5:1717Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)), in the light as God is in the light (1 John1:7). You are not come, however, to a mount burning with fire, &c., as Mount Sinai was; but to a God of grace, of which Mount Sion is a picture. See Heb. 12:18-2418For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18‑24).
Now, dear young Christian, God dwelleth not in temples made with hands, but in heaven itself, as Stephen told the Jews. There is your place of worship.
This place of worship is in direct contrast to the Jewish tabernacle (Heb. 9 1, 2), of which it is said,
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of Divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made,
divided into two parts; the outer tabernacle was called the Holy Place, and the inner chamber the Holiest of all. Inside this inner chamber Jehovah’s presence was manifested, and a veil shut Him in. No one could approach but Aaron the High Priest, and that only once a year, with blood and a cloud of incense. Outside the tabernacle was the brazen altar, on which the daily sacrifices were offered up, in view of all the people. But these applied to the conscience could not satisfy or cleanse it. Under the law, dear young Christian, there was no approach to God, no perfect conscience (Heb. 9:6-96Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8The 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: 9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (Hebrews 9:6‑9)).
Still, what a beautiful figure of the way in which the Christian approaches God. The first step is to the altar, but that altar signifies Christ’s death, which is the step out of Judaism and all worldly religion suited to the flesh (the camp was a type of this), for He was put to death outside the gate of Jerusalem. But then we enter, by Christ into the true tabernacle (Heb. 13:10-1510We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:10‑15)). The veil is rent by His death, we enter in by Christ Himself, and our place is in the holiest by virtue of that same blood (Heb. 9:24, 10:19), with a perfect conscience cleansed from all sin. Dear young Christian, what beauties do you now see in Christ! Outside, the tabernacle looked plain with its badger’s skin covering, but inside all was gold. See Exodus 25, 26. To the sinner outside there is no beauty in Christ. He is despised and rejected of men, but, to the worshipper inside, oh, what glories do we see in His Person, the Son of God, the Creator of the worlds, yet the perfect man who has opened up for us this place in the very presence of God!
It is related of the Queen of Sheba (2 Chron. 9:1-91And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 2And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not. 3And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 4And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. 5And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: 6Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. 7Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. 8Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice. 9And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon. (2 Chronicles 9:1‑9)) that when she had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house he had built, and the meat at his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent, by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit left within her. In the light of the glory of Solomon all that she was became nothing, and immediately her tongue was loosed to praise Solomon, and to praise the God of Solomon.
Dear young Christian, the way to have the spirit of worship is to be so in communion with the Lord’s death that, nature being in the place of judgment, the life of Jesus may flow out in worship, adoration, and praise. If consciously dwelling and walking in the light of God’s presence, this will be so. And this is your place of worship.
In Heb. 10 the altar and the tabernacle are again reproduced; Christ’s death setting aside the old altar and sacrifices of Judaism, and the heavenly sanctuary setting aside the earthly one. Our title to go into the presence of God is the blood of Jesus; our way in the Lord Jesus Himself through the rent veil, that is to say, — His flesh; our center of worship, when inside, the Lord Jesus Himself, the High Priest over the house of God (ver. 19-21).
The blood, applied to us, causes the heart to be sprinkled from an evil conscience; Christ’s flesh (or the veil rent), applied to us, causes our bodies to be washed with pure water (ver. 22). The old nature is set aside for faith, and we approach God in a new nature by the power of the Spirit; and, knowing we have a Great High Priest who is soon coming out to bless us, we hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering (Heb. 10:19-2519Having 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; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19‑25)). There as brought outside the religious world or camp by the death of Christ yet brought into the holiest of all, by Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name (Heb. 13:10-1510We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:10‑15)).
Let us there anticipate the worship of heaven as pictured to us in Rev. 4, 5, and there, in company with the four living creatures and four and twenty elders, with the angels, and every living creature in heaven and earth, fall down and worship Him that sitteth on the throne, and the Lamb, and say, “Thou art worthy.” Let us own Christ as the alone center of worship, and sing together the new song, the peculiar portion of the redeemed, saying
The veil is rent — our souls draw near
Unto a throne of grace;
The merits of the Lord appear,
They fill the holy place.

His precious blood has spoken there,
Before and on the throne;
And His own wounds in heaven declare
The atoning work is done.

“’Tis finished on the cross,”
He said, In agonies and blood:
’Tis finished! — now He lives to plead
Before the face of God.

’Tis finished! — here our souls have rest,
His work can never fail;
By Him, our Sacrifice and Priest,
We pass within the veil.

Within the holiest of all,
Cleansed by his precious blood,
Before the throne we prostrate fall,
And worship Thee, O God.

Boldly the heart and voice we raise,
His blood, His name, our plea;
Assured our prayers and songs of praise
Ascend, by Christ, to Thee.