New Life On Purpose: Worship
Text: Jn. 4:23-24; Eph. 5:19-20; Heb. 10:25
1. Every organization, whether it is a business, civic group, or church, has to know its purpose in order to be successful.
a. A business has to know what its product is and whom it plans to sell it to.
b. A civic group has to understand who its constituency is and what its function is.
c. A church needs to understand why it exists and what it is supposed to do.
2. Today we are going to look at worship as a part of our purpose.
3. "Most people think of the church as a drama," Dr. James Kennedy said, "with the minister as the chief actor, God as the prompter, and the laity as the critic. What is actually the case is that the congregation is the chief actor, the minister is the prompter, and God is the critic."
Proposition: We were created to worship our creator in spirit and in truth.
I. We Must Worship in Truth (Jn. 4:23-24)
A. In Spirit
1. What does Jesus mean that "the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit..."
2. To worship God in spirit means to worship God...
a. With the spiritual drive and ability of one's soul, seeking the most intimate communion and fellowship with God.
b. Worship was meant to be intimate; to usher us into the very presence of God.
c. God created us from the beginning in order to have fellowship with us.
3. Notice that Jesus does not say that we are to worship the Father in "The Spirit."
a. What Jesus is referring to here is the human spirit.
b. When we worship we are to "see ourselves in the child-father relationship with all of the aspirations and emotions that a child has toward his father" (Tourville, 93).
4. We have a tendency to think of worship as singing, but singing is not necessarily worship.
a. People sing in bars and "honky-talks" but that is not worship.
b. You can sing until you are blue in the face, but if you are not connecting with God you are not worshipping.
c. Worship is to talk us to the throne of Grace.
5. Isaiah 29:13 (NLT)
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
6. Illustration: Arthur Pink wrote about how some people do not worship:
They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their mouths but not in spirit and in truth.
They are sticklers for early morning communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence.
They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ.
Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them.
They contribute regularly to the church but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers persuading themselves that business is business.
They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God for his fear is not before their eyes.
7. True worship doesn't come from a song book, slide show, or sound system; it comes from inside.
B. In Truth
1. Jesus also says we must worship Him in truth.
2. Truth is what Jesus is and what He came to reveal to the world.
3. Nearly every human being worships, but many are not worshipping according to truth (Tourville, 94).
A man was carried in a dream to a church. In his vision he saw the organist vigorously playing the organ, but no sound was heard. The choir and congregation began to sing, but their voices were not heard. Then the minister began, energetically, to pray, but no tones came from his lips.
The man turned in wonder to his angel guide. "You hear nothing," said the angel, "because there is nothing to hear. These people are not engaged in worship, but only in the form of worship. Their hearts are not touched, and this silence is the silence that is yet unbroken in the presence of God. But listen now."
And, listening, the man heard a child's voice, clear and distinct in all that silence, while the minister seemed to pray, and the people seemed to join. Only the child's voice was heard, because only the child's heart was touched. "That," said the guide, "is the only true worship in all this great church today: all the others are concerned with but the appearance of worship." Our worship of the Father must be sincere and not for show.
5. 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
6. Truth also involves effort. Are we worshipping with all we have or are we holding back anything from God?
7. Psalms 47:1-2 (NLT)
1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.
8. Psalms 63:4 (NIV)
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
9. Psalms 134:2 (NIV)
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.
II. We Must Worship in Thanksgiving (Eph. 5:19-20)
A. Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
1. Here Paul tells the Ephesians "Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.”
2. When I read this text, the thing that sticks out the most to me is the variety.
a. Our worship on earth is to reflect how we will worship in heaven.
b. While it is true that it is only a shadow, but a shadow at least resembles the real thing.
c. I don't know about you, but I don't think that heaven isn’t going to be boring.
d. Well if heaven is not going to be boring, and our worship is to reflect what worship will be like in heaven, then our worship shouldn't be boring either.
3. Notice the wonderful variety that Paul describes.
a. Psalms: This refers, of course, to the Book of Psalms in the OT. This was the song book of both Judaism and the early Church. This is like our choruses, which many of them are based on Scripture.
b. Hymns: "Hymns" refers to the early Christian compositions, some lines of which are preserved in the NT (Adams, 1074).
c. Spiritual Songs: These were unpremeditated words sung "in the Spirit" (Adams). In other words, they were spontaneous songs sung in our spiritual language.
4. Notice also that Paul links the three together.
a. He doesn't say "psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs."
b. No, he says "psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs."
c. We need them all!
B. Giving Thanks For All Things
1. In verse 20, Paul gives us the reason for our singing - thanksgiving.
2. He says "and giving thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."
3. Note the words "for everything."
a. Our lives are in God's hands. He guides and directs us through all things.
b. Therefore, we can thank Him for all things—no matter what the things are.
c. Our worship should reflect our thankfulness.
4. We should thank God for:
a. What He has done in the past: saving us, sanctifying us, and filling us with His Spirit.
b. What He will do for us in the future: preserve us, protect us, and prepare a place for us.
c. Who He is: Lord, Master, Savior, and Creator.
5. Illustration: There is a beautiful custom among the Swiss mountaineers. The Alpine herdsmen employ the echoing horn, not merely as a call to their flocks, but also for a religious service. As soon as the sun has disappeared from the valleys, and his last lingering rays are glimmering and glancing upon the snowy summits of the mountains, the shepherd who dwells in the loftiest pasture takes his horn and trumpets forth, "Praise God the Lord!" All the herdsmen on the neighboring cliffs take their horns and repeat the chorus, "Praise God, the Lord!" This is continued for several minutes, while on all sides, as the shades of evening deepen, the mountain echo the name of God the Lord!
Transition: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!
III. We Must Worship Together (Heb. 10:25)
A. Assembling of Ourselves Together
1. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "And let us not neglect our meeting together..."
2. Worship is something that we must do together. It is something that we will be doing for the rest of eternity, so we might as well get used to it now.
3. Read the verse closely and it is clearly seen that the idea is often:
a. We are to assemble together often and never to forsake our coming together.
b. Genuine believers need each other—the presence, fellowship, strength, encouragement, care, and love of each other.
4. Now I am just silly enough to think that when the doors of the church are open we ought to be here.
a. The assembling of the believers is often an outward indication of the inner condition. If a man’s faith will not get him to church, it is doubtful if it will get him to heaven.
b. Some of you need to read your bulletin more closely; we have church on Sunday night too!
B. The Importance of Attendance
1. Illustration: An old question: "Can I be a Christian without joining the church or attending worship?"
Answer: "Yes, it is possible. But it is something like being:
a. A student who will not go to school;
b. A soldier who will not join the army;
c. A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote;
d. A salesman with no customers;
e. An explorer with no base camp;
f. A seaman in a ship without a crew;
g. A businessman on a deserted island;
h. An author without readers;
i. A football player without a team;
j. A politician who is a hermit;
k. A scientist who does not share his findings;
l. A bee without a hive."
2. Why should we go to church?
a. The importance of assembling is both subjective and objective. It benefits the individual with spiritual stability and growth, and it benefits objectively by its positive effect on others.
b. The church meeting is far more than a place for one to be entertained or to hear, for these can be accomplished through radio or television. The purpose for the assembling is for participation in worship and fellowship and with one another.
c. Attendance is necessary.
3. The writer of Hebrews gives us another reason when he says “…especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
a. What day? The day of the Lord's return.
b. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (NLT)
2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.
3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
c. His return is immediately upon us.
d. Therefore, we must exhort those who have fallen away, lest they miss the salvation of His coming and have to face His judgment.
e. What if Jesus came on a Sunday, and instead of you being in church, you were home watching TV or sleeping?
4. A part of worship is encouraging others, and sometimes we have to encourage them to be here.
a. As the Pastor, part of my job to encourage people to come to church.
b. However, it is not my job alone, and it is often more effective if people in the congregation encourage those who have not been to start coming.
c. Statistics show that 2% of people who came to a new church came because the pastor invited them, but 80% came because a friend or family member invited them.
Transition: Worship is something that is done together, but if you're not here we are missing something; all of the gifts and blessings that God has given you to share with us.
1. A part of our purpose as a church is to worship.
2. We are to worship:
a. In Truth
b. In Thanksgiving
3. Why should we worship? Because our great and mighty God is worthy to be praised.