Summary: A message on the elements of true worship.
God Can’t Bless Idle Worship
Introduction: Richard Roney is Chief of Chaplain Services at the VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois. He reminds pastors they aren’t the only ones who hear excuses about not attending church; as a hospital chaplain, he’s heard more than his share:
"It’s snowing outside. I never attend church in bad weather." (The chapel was on another floor in the same building!)
One lady commented, quite seriously, "I’m usually always sick on Sunday morning."
"The nurse doesn’t want me out of bed," one patient told a volunteer. But as the volunteer began to leave, the same patient asked, "If you’re going near the smoking room, could you give me a push?"
A favorite was the patient who said, "When I sing, I get nauseated.”
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 one of the most vital parts of the Christian life yet is one of the most neglected parts of the Christian life. I have heard time and time again – you don’t have to go to church to worship the Lord. That is the biggest bunch of bologna that I have ever heard! If your heart is right with the Lord, worship is as natural as breathing! We are told in the Word of God not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
But then there are those who come to church Sunday after Sunday but never really worship the Lord in their heart of hearts. These are the ones I am really concerned about. They may be physically present but mentally and spiritually they are far from God. Worship for them is just another dull exercise. They make their weekly church appearance for reasons other than seeking God such as social, or traditional, or because their spouse or parents expect them to be present.
I believe that Worship is a heart exercise. (H-e-a-r-t) Furthermore, it is an experience that goes beyond just Sunday service attendance; it is a daily experience!
I want to share with you five elements for true worship. They are found in this encounter between the sinful woman and Jesus. While the main focus of this passage is forgiveness, we can also learn something about worship. What the sinful woman did was an act of worship, which grew out of her having been forgiven. Simon – a Pharisee had invited Jesus to His house for dinner. Little did he know that he too would learn a lesson about forgiveness and worship.
Let’s look at the h-e-a-r-t of worship.
I. Worship requires HUMILITY
1. This woman recognized her sinful condition and approached Christ with humility. (v. 38) “Behind Him…”
2. Simon the Pharisee failed to recognize that He too was a sinner and reproached Christ with a critical spirit. (v. 39)
3. We truly worship when we recognize the worthiness of God and the unworthiness of man.
II. It involves EMOTION
1. This woman was clearly broken over her sins and began to weep at the feet of Jesus. (v. 38) “Weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears…”
2. Simon the Pharisee was offended by such an emotional display and by the fact that Jesus allowed this sinful woman to come near him. (v. 39)
3. We begin to worship when we allow God to touch our total being – mind and heart.
III. It is expressed through ADORATION
1. This woman went looking for Jesus, and when she found where he was, she fell at His feet in adoration! (v. 37) “When she knew that Jesus sat at the table…”
2. Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus in, but didn’t even show common courtesy to Him. (vv. 44-46)
3. We begin to worship when we do more than just invite Jesus in, but pause to adore him.
IV. It requires REPENTANCE
1. This woman showed by her actions that she had a repentant attitude. (v. 47)
2. Simon the Pharisee showed by his actions that he had a lot to learn about repentance
3. We begin to worship when we understand what it means to repent of our sins and receive forgiveness.
V. It produces THANKSGIVING
1. Because she had been forgiven much, this woman out of love displayed her thankfulness by giving (v. 37)
2. Because Simon the Pharisee had been forgiven little – not that he didn’t have much to forgive, but that he didn’t confess much – he showed no love
3. We begin to worship when we return our very best to Jesus in thanksgiving!
Closing Question: When it comes to worship, are you putting your whole H-e-a-r-t into it???