Summary: Everything that takes place on Sunday morning is considered worship the sermon, the offering, the songs, communion, and our prayers.
Making an Impact:
Adoring God in Worship
INTRODUCTION: This morning we’ve decided to change our regular order of service in order to better accomplish our purposes. Since our topic is “Adoring God in Worship,” we wanted to allow time for us to worship and to hear from God’s Word. And, since everything that takes place on Sunday morning is considered worship the sermon, the offering, the songs, communion, and our prayers we decided to mix it up a bit today. I’m going to preach the sermon in three parts and I’m going to give you my outline in advance:
Part I Revering Worship
Part II Rejoicing Worship
Part III Rethinking Worship
After Part I, we’re going to spend time focusing on the awesomeness and holiness of God. After Part II, we’ll celebrate God by offering Him songs of joy and gladness. We’ll then close our corporate worship time by taking communion together.
PART I Revering Worship
The way we use words is interesting to me. Each generation seems to have its own lingo. When I was in high school we used words like, hip, cool, far-out, out-of-sight, rad, and groovy -- I’ve tried to bring this word back but whenever I use it, people just stare at me and think I’m out to lunch maybe I need to wear my Leisure Suit and start listening to 8-Tracks again!
Words express a common understanding, and phrases serve as code words, or shortcuts.
Just this week we were talking to our girls about possible sayings they could use when they’re at school together. It would be like their secret code, that no one else could understand. When I was young, my family used a “whistle” like sound it went something like this… [ demonstrate ] Whenever my sisters would make this sound I’d come running to their rescue.
The word, Awesome has been used a lot whether you’re a child of the 60’s like I am, or if you happen to be a bit younger. Awesome can refer to the weather, a sports team, a meal, a car, a CD, a conference, or is sometimes used in our house when the girls sleep late on a Saturday morning which isn’t very often.
You know what? God has taught me just recently that He alone is awesome. In fact, I’ve been convicted that I should save this word awesome to describe only Him. Sure, there are other things that I think are great, but God alone is awesome -- He is the only one I should stand in awe of.
One way this word awe can be translated is fear. To be filled with awe means that we are filled with a reverential fear before the presence of the Almighty. The word conveys a sense of holy terror. It’s what should happen when we come into the very presence of the Thrice-Holy God. To be filled with awe means that we have transcended our earthly view and have caught a glimpse of the eternal glory of the living God.
The early church had something that is often pretty foreign to us in the 20th Century -- they were in awe of God. They knew that He alone was Awesome!
Listen to how Chuck Colson describes the contrast between the first century believers and believers today. This is from his book, The Body (pages 381-383):
As individuals and as the corporate body of Christ, we need to know what our predecessors in less sophisticated times knew. We need to know the fear of the Lord -- the overwhelming, compelling awe and reverence of a holy God. We can feel that awe pulsating through the book of Acts...so filled were they with this awe that they could face a hostile world with holy abandon. Nothing else mattered, not even their lives.
If you have your Bibles I want to show you how that sense of awe pulsates through the book of Acts...
Acts 2:43: Everyone was filled with awe... This verse can also be translated this way: "Everyone kept on feeling a sense of awe."
Acts 3:10: They were filled with wonder and amazement.
Acts 5. After the Holy Spirit dealt with the lying of Ananias and Sapphira, the whole church was attentive to God. In fact, I’m sure their fear of God skyrocketed when they saw both of them fall down dead after they lied to the Holy Spirit. Acts 5:11 says, "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."
Acts 9:31: Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. The early church grew in numbers not through advertising or even their programming -- it grew because the believers lived in the fear of the Lord.