Summary: A follow-up talk on the importance of true worship in every believer's life.
Text: 1 Cor 14:1, 26, Title: God Truly Among Us Part 2, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/19/12, AM
A. Opening illustration: Tell about Greg Allen, the worship leader at SECC in Louisville, leading worship without having a voice for 16 of 36 months. “We didn’t hire him because he could sing. We hired him because his integrity, sincerity, and personality qualified him in a special way to lead people to worship God...but because he is genuinely concerned (and able) to lead people to God.”
B. Background to passage: this chapter covers a number of specific things about prophesy and tongues, but we have dealt with them as spiritual gifts in previous messages, so if you are interested in them specifically, check out the website. This also passage deals with the use of these and other principles of corporate worship. And uses these gifts and the rest of the gifts to talk about them. We also get a glimpse into the early church in Corinth, and how they gathered.
C. Main thought: So this morning I want us to think about a couple of these principles that we take for granted or that we never think about much...or that many of us think about each time we enter the worship service.
A. Worship Should Be Orderly (v. 33, 40)
1. Paul says that God is a God of order, and not of confusion. He gives this as a reason for people to make sure that whatever is done in the worship service is done so that people see God, and are not distracted. Our services as a whole are supposed to cause people to see and look to God. All the tongue-speakers and prophets should wait their turn and ensure they have an interpreter. This doesn’t mean that our services have to be completely scripted, or that we always follow the bulletin to the “t.” And it doesn’t mean that we don’t allow the Spirit to lead us, but there is nothing that says the Spirit can’t lead us in preparation. But we should think through our services with a goal in mind.
2. Illustration: “undistracting excellence,” Everett said there seemed to be expectation,
3. Worship should be thoughtful, should have a certain flow to it, and should be intentional and purposeful, SO THAT people may see and experience God. It should take us somewhere. Do you see God (or expect to see Him) in the worship service? Everything that we do in service should be done to the best of our abilities and with excellence so that people are able to worship God; BUT not with so much emphasis on excellence that we make the service and things that go on in the service a performance (applause), or that those leading worship feel pressure to perform well to the end that they are hindered from worship. But we don’t want to do what we do so well that people’s eyes are focused on the tool rather than the Master. George Whitefield and Ben Franklin. When mistakes happen, move on! Quickly get back to Him!
B. Worship Should Be Participatory (v. 26)
1. This is the in the talk about order, but it gives us an interesting insight. I want you to see the early church worship. Each person who attended the worship service had something to contribute. Since the purpose of the service is to upbuild, each person comes with something to offer to God and the church. They come to see and experience God, and one of the main ways that happens is in the expression of spiritual gifts.
2. Illustration: If the choir is not with me in the battle for souls and for truth and for spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for all people, I feel betrayed by the shimmering robes.
3. This is the second thing that I want you to cement in your brain and your heart. 2) Your role in worship at New River is biblically clear: participation. When you come to corporate worship services, you should come prepared to participate. This means that you go to bed early enough on Sunday to get a good night’s sleep, and set your alarm for early enough that you are not rushed. Iron your clothes on Sat night if necessary. It means that you come having studied your bible during the week. It means that you come having worked for Christ witnessing and serving, so that you are hungry to be fed. If we come exhausted, rushed, and spiritually lethargic to worship, don’t expect to be sensitive enough and spiritually in tune enough to see Him. This also means that to know your gift and know how to use it. It also means that you are praying during the week, and asking God, “what word, gesture, encouragement, song, comment, etc. can I bring that will help my NR family.” Just your physical presence is not usually enough. Coming and sitting is not enough. But it can be helpful, Mr. Bass and Piper’s singing buddies. It is a powerful encouragement to worship for others if you worship. When a hand slips up, tears fall down, emotions rise, or ‘amen’s spring forth, others are compelled to worship too. Just like we are not the performers, you are not the audience. Did you participate today? If you didn’t the church lost out.