Summary: Attempting to re-focus our congregation on some basic truths and get a 'FreshStart" in their own spiritual lives, this was one message offered to 'reboot' us in our spiritual walk.
An Essential Truth
• As we have spent this month focused on the thought “Fresh Start”, I pray that each of us has experienced a “FRESH START” in our walk with God. Every now and then we need a ‘reboot.’ In this computer age, we know what it is for the computer to work through so many operations, process so many bits of data, and run so many programs, that it hangs up. Then NOTHING works right. You call a technician and what does he say? Let’s reboot. A reboot means that the power is taken from the processor, the RAM (Random Access Memory) is erased, and computer restarts with just the basics required for processing.
• RAM is that part of the memory which contains the most recent information which has been used by the computer. That information is held in the RAM to allow the computer to run the needed programs, to run more smoothly, and to run more quickly. Interestingly, RAM memory continues to get larger and larger with each passing generation of computers – and the need for reboot become more and more necessary.
• Compared to our minds and life, consider how much information is fed into our minds to help us function, more smoothly, and more quickly. The problem is that much of the information we feed into our minds are counter-productive to our walk with Christ. Think about the information from the newspaper, TV, conversation, books, and the like – now, ask how much of that information aids, assists, or enhances your walk with Christ? Your answer will depend on your honesty.
• We are going to take a look at a story which is somewhat familiar, somewhat surprising, and somewhat sad. It is always sad to me, when I read of or see someone who ‘believes’ they are part of the spiritual elite only to discover that the one who is thought to be spiritually empty is full.
• (READ TEXT) Wow. Jesus went to dinner in the house of a “Religious Leader” and concluded the evening by saving a soul and teaching a religious person about his faulty way of thinking. How would you have felt if you had been this Pharisee? We could develop this story by looking at the “Problems of the Pharisee, The Love of the Lord, and the Salvation of the Sinner” and it would make an engaging message.
• But for us tonight, let’s focus on this woman. The scripture calls her a ‘sinner’ (in Bible terms probably means she was a prostitute). She comes in with an attitude & action which teach us.
• There is a growing conviction in me and I sense a growing desire from many in our church family that now is the time for us to step out of our box, out of our comfort zone, and even out of some of our strongly held positions to become a part of God’s Kingdom work of rescuing the lost. This is our call, our command, and even our obligation before the Lord.
• While all we do in His work should begin in prayer (Pray First), one of the most need expressions of faith that Christ-followers need to have is worship (passionate, authentic, & heart-felt). Every time I approach this subject I am reminded of the many times we see movie producers portray worship. We see people on their knees or faces with their heads bowed low. Why? This is the attitude of worship. Gene Mims in Kingdom Principles for Church Growth said, “The purpose of worship is to come before the Lord in obedience to praise Him, to hear from Him, to confess to Him, and to commit our lives to Him. Every worship service is to be an encounter with the Lord, transcending our feelings, desires, and even our abilities to perform.” Worship is an attitude & experience of the heart. When our heart is right before & with Jehovah God, worship is as natural as breathing which results in a ‘can’t wait’ attitude to gather.
• We know that true, authentic, & spiritual worship is born in the hearts because of the word which Isaiah wrote and Matthew & Mark repeated, “They honor me (worship me, draw near me) with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, in vain do they worship me…”
• Tonight let’s learn from this woman (a sinner like us) the H.E.A.R.T. of worship. (By the way, I read about this acrostic from a Military Chaplain…I thank Him for his inspiration to my heart.) Each of these attributes are essential to experiencing true worship.
1. H – Humility – To worship humility is required. A human being will never worship someone or something that they do not believe to be ‘superior’ – this is human nature. This woman knew who she was & recognized who He was so she approach Him from behind. Perhaps she was afraid that if He looked into her eyes, that He would see to her soul & know the sinful life she had been living. Compare that to Jesus’ host, Simon the Pharisee. He was so critical of this woman & the fact that she would ‘dare’ to come to Jesus that he missed his own sinfulness. She came in an act of worship of who Jesus was, Simon came in defiance of wanting to show Jesus who “HE” was compared to this ‘sinner.’ She saw herself in light of Jesus, Simon saw himself in light of the woman – and he never experienced worship. He was a man of some means, influence, and status, so why did he need to humble himself? After all, he had it together – unlike this woman. Keep in mind Isaiah’s experience in Isaiah 6 or Peter, James, & John on the Mount of Transfiguration – seeing yourself in light of God is a humbling experience. This is the first step to worship.