This weeks ASK at the Cathedral looks at Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 and the role of real religion. How do we approach God? Does it matter?
Here are the notes that were given to people….
Approaching God – (Is it possible to know God?) ch.5:1-7
“Religion is the opiate of the people” (Karl Marx).
“Imagine there’s no heaven” (John Lennon).
“In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.” (John Bunyan)
1) The sacrifice of fools v.1-3
“ ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”” (Matthew 15:8-9, NIV)
“The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.” (Proverbs 15:8, NIV)
“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong,” (Isaiah 1:15-16, NIV)
2) True worship v.4-7
John ch.4 – God is spirit and he seeks those who will worship him in spirit and in truth.
“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” (1 Corinthians 14:15, NIV)
“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV)
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7, NIV) .
” O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:1-2, NIV)
“If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.” (Deuteronomy 23:21-23, NIV) .
” Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV)
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16, NIV)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, NIV)
Next Week: The Poverty of Wealth.