Summary: #2 of 7 on Worship. This sermon focuses on idolatry among modern Christians.
In Spirit and In Truth
A Series on Worship
#2: Whom do we worship?
We are studying worship in these weeks. Last time we looked at some of the words that are used in the New Testament to speak of what worship is. We saw that worship is to be reverent, that it is more spiritual now than physical, how worship involves fear and that worship includes service. One of the most interesting things that we saw is that there is really only one time in which one of these words is used to describe what Christians do when they come together. I found that very interesting. We saw that in the New Testament worship is something that you live out, something that you do every day, not something that you do once a week on Sunday morning. I commented that when I said we were going to do a series of lessons talking about worship, I imagine that the idea that comes to your mind is what we do in here. That’s part of it, but that’s not all of it.
I want to continue studying worship, looking at "Whom do we worship?"
The First Commandment of the Ten Commandments--
"And God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."
No other gods. Prepositions can be tricky from one language to another. "Before me" means "besides me" or "apart from me." I will be the only one. There will be no others.
"For it is written: ’Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’" (Matthew 4:10)
You’ll serve God only.
I hope that it’s not a surprise to you that we worship God. We do it for several reasons. We worship God because of
1) Who He is
Look at I Timothy 6:15-16
I Timothy 6:15 God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
In this passage, Paul praises God just for who He is. We worship God because He is God, He is Creator and we are the creature.
2) What He has done
An example is I Peter 1:3
1 Pet. 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
We praise God for creating us, for sending His son, for saving us.
3) What He is doing
The most praise in the Bible is for what God is doing, not what He’s done in the past. That surprised me a bit. Read the Psalms and look at psalm after psalm that talks about that. One of my favorites is Psalm 103. Let’s just read a few verses:
Psalm 103:2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Praising God is the right thing to do. I Peter 2 says that that is what we are here for. We are here on earth to praise God. I think that God created man to be in a relationship with him and receive praise from him.
In the Old Testament, God’s people wrestled with idolatry, the worship of other “gods.” It’s a constant thing throughout the Old Testament. The people wanted to worship the gods of the people around them. It wasn’t so much that they rejected worshipping God. They wanted to worship God and worship other gods. Exodus 32 is a good example. The people of Israel had gone to Mount Sinai, they had seen the thunder and lightning, they had heard the very voice of God. Less than 40 days later they turned to a false god. Look at Exodus 32:4-5--
Exodus 32:4 He (Aaron) took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.”
Weird, right? They had their golden calf and wanted to use it to have a festival to the Lord. They didn’t want to reject God; they wanted to combine gods. That was a problem throughout the history of Israel. They wanted to worship God yet cling to their idols.