Approaching the King

Taken from the intimation sheet: 24 August 2014

Well what I week I’ve had! Monday morning I received a call from the Queen, she asked if I could come to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for a quick coffee and catch-up. I said I was a bit busy, but could do Thursday. As much as I like London, it’s a bit of a trek for me (and I’m not a big Corgi fan), so I asked the Queen to get me at Airdrie Train station instead – I told her to dress down and we’d go to McDonald’s as I had one of my free coffee cards to cash in. She was really grateful that I made the effort to meet her, even if I could only give an hour before heading home for Cash in the Attic.

Believe me?

I admit that’s not exactly how my week panned out. I suspect you’ve already worked that one out by now – because the story is pretty ridiculous. We don’t get to choose how to approach and meet with the Queen. Most of us will never get the chance, but if we do, she tells us where and when and how. There are all sorts of procedures with regards to how to approach the Queen; there is a proper way to address her, proper clothes to wear, proper protocol to follow in her presence.

Scripture makes it clear that God – the Supreme King – cares about how we approach him. In Exodus 3 he tells Moses to take off his shoes because he stands on holy ground. In Leviticus 10 two of Aaron’s sons (Nadab and Abihu) whilst serving as priests approach God with an offering prepared differently from the way the Lord stipulated. They lit the fire in their incense bowls outside rather than waiting on God to send the fire. This violation resulted in God sending a fire which killed them both. Moses reminded Aaron of God’s words: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” The implication? Those who approach God, must approach him as Holy.

Throughout the Bible it is abundantly clear that the Lord cares about how his people approach him, and we do so recklessly at our peril.

So how should we approach the Lord?

1. Approach him through Christ Jesus

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the first and most important step. We do not approach God because we’re good enough to deserve it- we approach God trusting that Jesus died on the cross in our place bearing the weight of our sin. We approach God trusting that Jesus took our sin and gives us his righteousness. We approach God, in Christ. 

2. In Awe and Reverence

Psalm 2:11  Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.

The apostle John’s nickname was ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. He was in the select group of 12. He was in the ‘inner three’. He was the one that Jesus asked to care for his mum after his death. No one was closer to Jesus, friendlier with Jesus, than him. Yet when John met the risen Christ what was his reaction? A smile? A handshake? A hug? No, “he fell on his face as though dead” (Rev 1:17) This is the majesty of the risen Christ. Consider others who have truly met with God – read of Isaiah’s response in Isaiah 6 or Moses hiding of his face in Exodus 3.

Awe is a much overused word these days, we hear of awesome television programmes, meals or holidays. God is truly awesome. Come before him in awe and wonder, reverence and holy fear.

3. In Boldness and Confidence

Ephesians 3:12b  Through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

We approach God in humility – remembering we are finite and flawed, we approach him in awe remembering he is holy and mighty, but we also approach him in confidence, remembering the fullness of the forgiveness we have received in Christ. Indeed, he has not just forgiven our sin, he has adopted us into his family, we can say with Jesus ‘Abba Father’. And so we come before our heavenly Father with boldness.

4. In Gratitude and Joy

Psalm 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving

The Psalmist urges God’s people to come into his presence with joy and thanksgiving. How much more should we have that same desire now that we are able to look to Jesus this side of the cross; to see his incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and eternal high priestly ministry. No matter what we are facing we have an abundance of reasons to come before him with gratitude and joy.

There is no greater joy than being able to approach God the Father in the name of the Son and the power of the Spirit, my prayer is that we would do that today as he commands, for our joy and His glory.

Yours in His service