Summary: Part 2 in a series on attributes that make a strong church. This focuses on worship.
A STRONGER CHURCH
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
People come to the table for all kinds of reasons. They come for what they will be fed. They come for the fellowship. They come because they don’t want to hurt the hosts feelings and they feel obligated. Some come out of curiosity and others figure it’s the thing to do. Whatever reason they come I wonder if people who go to a party every fail to thank their host?
Why do you come to church? Is it to see your friends? Is it out of habit? Is it a drug problem? (Someone drug me here!) Is it to catch up on your sleep? Is it to be fed spiritually?
There are many reasons for church attendance, but there’s one that is primary for the Body of Christ.
During our recent District Conference, one of the speakers made a statement that really stuck with me. He said, “You can have as much of God as you want.”
How much of God do you want?
Worship is an expression of how much of God we want. If we want God very little then our daily life is not centered around Him very much and therefore our corporate worship experience is routine and lacking.
How high up on your list is expressing your love and gratitude for God in coming to church?
Worship involves 3 components:
a. The Hebrew and Greek words for worship are primarily two, “hawah” and “proskuneo”. These are expressions of humility. In our worship we bow our heads, we kneel down, sometimes even lay facedown before the Lord. These demonstrate outwardly an understanding of who we as children of grace.
b. Chris Jack, chaplain at London Bible College, wrote, worship is always “whatever it’s actual form, a response to God’s initiative and an expression of obedience to him.” (The Heart of Worship Files, pg. 151, Regal Books, 2003))
c. Our attitude should not be determined by the styles of music, the flow of the service, the dynamics of preaching, but as a response to a God of grace to unworthy humanity.
d. A good verse to guide our attitude for worship is Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
a. Here is where I worship through my lifestyle and my expression flows from the holy life I have cultivated and lived through every other day.
b. Psalm 40:6-8, Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
c. The action of worship is obedience to the precepts and principles of God. Our living reflects God’s character and therefore our worship gives God praise.
d. Furthermore, corporate worship in a body that doesn’t care about helping the world around them is void of any value. Jesus expressed it this way, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
e. Worship that is divorced from the appropriate lifestyle is hypocrisy. Not only does God see through it, but the world sees through it.
a. This final component of worship is integral in the understanding of what we do. Worship is ascribing worth, proclaiming value. And God is beyond our human comprehension of worth or value. God is awesome. But not everyone approaches with such understanding.
b. God is too distant. They don’t see Him working in their life because they’re not looking.
c. When God is only a spiritual vendor, someone to go to when you need something; when you’re desperate and not someone you pursue a relationship with you cannot truly worship.
d. God is awesome. That means God is to respected, feared, viewed (as He truly is) as Holy and Wholly other than we are.
e. Where attitude guides worship in how we view ourselves, awe guides worship in how we view God. Listen to this verse.
f. Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
g. Verse 7 continues, “Therefore stand in awe of God.”
Chris Jack lists 10 things I want you to write down and take with you in regards to worship: (Heart of Worship, pg. 173)