Summary: God invites us to follow him. He does not command us to do what he has not done. He sets himself as the example for our actions.
THE GODS we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something —have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart—but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Worship is an important aspect to the life of God’s People:
We become like what we worship
James Michener, writing in his book, The Source, tells the story of a man named Urbaal, who, was a farmer living about 2200 B.C. He worshiped two gods, one a god of death, the other a goddess of fertility.
One day, the temple priests tell Urbaal to bring his young son to the temple for sacrifice—if he wants good crops. Urbaal obeys, and on the appointed day drags his wife and boy to the scene of the boy’s “religious execution” by fire to the god of death.
After the sacrifice of Urbaal’s boy, and several others, the priests announce that one of the fathers will spend next week in the temple, with a new temple prostitute. Urbaal’s wife is stunned as she notices a desire written more intensely across his face than she had seen before, and she is overwhelmed to see him eagerly lunge forward when his name is called.
The ceremony over, she walks out of the temple with her head swimming, concluding that “if he had different gods, he would have been a different man.”
Worship was intended to be Radical and Revolutionary in society
I. Implications of Worship:
A. Implication #1 – The COMMITMENT is to GOD, Not Self
1. Worship works inside – out
2. Purpose is to honor God, not get something – Health/Wealth/Heaven
Not “Let’s Make a Deal”
3. Because this is how he treats us – We love him because he first loved us
B. Implication #2 – CONFORM to the God of Heaven, Not the gods of the World
Too often Christians behave like the motorist at the traffic light that Jay Leno said he stopped behind. On this man’s car was bumper sticker that read “Honk if you love Jesus”
So, Leno lightly tapped the horn on his car.
At this, the man rolled down his window, stuck his head out and yelled back: “The light’s still red, you moron!”
1. Transformation – Romans 12.1-2
2. Become like Jesus – 2 Corinthians 3.17-18 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
3. More than rule-keeping to appease an angry God – it is a transformation process
A missionary in India was once teaching the Bible to a group of Hindu ladies. Halfway through the lesson, one of the women got up and walked out. A short time later, she came back and listened more intently than ever. At the close of the hour the leader inquired, "Why did you leave the meeting? Weren’t you interested?" "O yes," the Hindu lady replied. "I was so impressed with what you had to say about Christ that I went out to ask your driver whether you really lived the way you talked. When he said you did, I hurried back so I wouldn’t miss out on anything."
10Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
12"When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations — I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,
17learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1.10-17