Bowing Down Wisely

Steve Viars December 15, 2007 Psalms 95:6

 

1- Thank you for coming today to our Christmas Musical entitled All Bow Down.

- you know, the concept of bowing down is a rather prominent theme in Scripture...and I’d like us to take a few moments and think about Bowing Down Wisely

- here’s some of what we learn in God’s Word...first,...

1. Bowing down in the Bible is often connected to worship.

- we read inPsalm 95:6 - Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

- inGenesis 24:48 we read about one of Abraham’s servants who was uniquely blessed by the Lord and he later reported to Abraham– And I bowed low and worshiped the Lord...

- inExodus 34:8 – we read aboutMoses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.

- and of course that makes sense, you don’t just bow down to anyone or anything...

- you bow to someone you love, or to someone to whom you surrender or submit...

- to someone whose power is greater than yours...

- to someone who has something you need..

- where your treasure is, there your heart will be...so we bow down to the object of our worship

- we also learn in God’s Word that...

2. Sometimes people bow down to the wrong thing.

- do you remember the obscure story in the OT of “Jeremiah’s belt?”...here’s the short version...

- God told the prophet Jeremiah to go and buy a belt, and wear it in front of the people of Israel...

- and then he told him to take off the belt and bury it in the crevice of a rock outside...

- then some time later God said...go dig up the belt and put it on...

- and Jeremiah found it, and it was all rotted...in fact Scripture says – it was ruined...totally worthless...

- here’s what happened next...

Jeremiah 13:8-11 - Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. ‘This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless. ‘For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’

- see, everybody submits to something...everybody follows something...everybody bows down to something...

- and the principle is...bowing down to the wrong god is a terribly painful mistake...

- I’ve known of people who have bowed down to money...and in the end have found it to be incredibly empty...

- perhaps you’ve known of others who have bowed down to alcohol, or bowed down to peer pressure, or bowed down to climbing the corporate ladder, or bowed down to sexual sin, or bowed down to their own pride, or bowed down to uncontrolled anger...

- the options are practically endless...regrettably; sometimes people bow down to the wrong things...

- you say, what does that have to do with Christmas?...

3. Jesus’ birth was characterized by wise people bowing down.

- what was it that the wise men said after they had made their way to Bethlehem?...

- Matthew 2:2 – We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.

- there are a lot of concepts that come to our minds when we think of babies...but worshipping them would not normally come to mind...

- but these wise men...who were clearly familiar with what the OT had prophesied about the coming Messiah knew that this baby fulfilled those promises...and was therefore someone to whom they should bow...and worship.

- as you move further in the gospels...you see this...

4. Jesus’ life was characterized by needy people bowing down.

- some of the most touching scenes in the Bible are where people who were at the absolute end of their rope come to Christ and just bow down before Him...

- like this man in –Matthew 8:2 - And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

- or this father in  -Matthew 9:18 - ...a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died...”

- or this woman in Matthew 15-- Matthew 15:25 - But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

- in each one of those cases and many more...Jesus Christ was willing to help those persons in dramatic ways...because they bowed down wisely...

- in fact, to the woman in Matthew 15, He said -- Matthew 15:28 - ...“O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.”

- she made a wise choice about the Person to whom she should bow...

- perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that...

5. Jesus’ death was characterized by various people bowing down.

- this part of the story is bittersweet...

- because even while Christ was preparing to die for the sins of the world...[you understand, that is shy He is most worthy of our adoration and praise]...even while He was preparing to die for us...some chose to mock Him by...bowing...

a. The mockers

- Mark records it like this... Mark 15:19-20 - They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.

- but Jesus died for us...and for them...anyway...and isn’t it interesting that the substitutionary death of Christ ended...with a bow...

b. Jesus Himself.

John 19:30 - Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head...

- friend, these verses lead us to ask some important questions, don’t they?

- to whom are you bowing?...and would God say that the choice you’ve made is wise?...

- has there been a definite time in your life when you’ve admitted your need of as Savior and a Lord, and you’ve looked in the manger, and you’ve looked at the cross, and you’ve examined the empty tomb...and then you’ve chosen to bow down and say...this is my God...this is my Lord...this is my Savior...

- the music you’re about to hear provides many reasons Jesus Christ is worthy of this kind of adoration...my encouragement to all of us today would be...bow down wisely

- Christian friend, one more idea before we listen...

6. Jesus’ people are known today for bowing down.

- Paul was discussing these ideas with the churches in Ephesus and then he said...

- Ephesians 3:14 – For this reason I bow my knees to the Father...

- what a great way to describe what it means to follow Christ...and Paul was talking in that verse about praying...but the picture is apt for any aspect of our walk with Christ...bowing down...

- Christian friend, does that describe the way that you live...and the choices that you make?...

- let’s listen to the musical now...Psalm 95:6 - Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

- the musical has given us many reasons to respond to the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ by bowing down...

- but that is a decision that has to be made at a point in time...and I would like to ask every person here---has there been a definite time in your life when you have done that?...

- if I’m going to be honest about the theme of bowing down in Scripture...there is one more truth we need to mention...

- we believe that it is clear that Jesus is worthy of our adoration...

- He fulfills the promises and prophecies made 100’s of years before His birth...

- He proved His deity by His life...

- He was willing to die on the cross for us...

- and friend...there is no other explanation for the fact that a guarded tomb was found to be empty other than concluding that Jesus is the gift we should accept, the savior we should celebrate...and the Lord to whom we should bow...

- and in this day and age...God is patient, allowing men and women time to make up their minds...

- but the day is coming when those who choose not to bow to Him as savior, will instead bow to Him as judge...

Philippians 2:8-11 - Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video