Summary: A message reminding the congregation of what the definition and purpose of true worship is; and what the benefits are to those who keep the many forms of worship in the center of their hearts and focus.
Today’s message title is, "Here I Am To Worship." I love that song! In these short lyrics, we find the true heart of worship.
‘Here I am to worship;
Here I am to bow down;
Here I am to say that
You’re my God!’
The first thing I want you to do this morning is lift both your feet off the ground. If you leave them on the ground, I am afraid I might step on some of your toes, as I am going to talk about some of the things that might be in our hearts.
Sometimes we get so busy doing things in the church, or preaching and teaching on so many subjects that we forget to come back to basics and find out what our real priority should be in the first place.
The number one reason why we should be in church this morning is to simply worship our God. Everything else we do should come after that. As important as preaching is; as important as teaching is; as important as fellowship is; none of these things are as important as worshiping our Lord and Savior.
And so today, I thought it only appropriate to help us start the New Year off right by talking about the importance of worship. I think that true worship would help carry us through the rest of the year, while making it a better year at the same time.
I am going to talk about what I consider to be the three most important parts of worship; the definition of worship, the purpose of worship, and the benefits of worship.
Someone once said, ‘Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God but it sure does whet our appetite.’ Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship; engaging in worship, however, deepens our need for God.
Let’s talk about;
1. THE DEFINITION OF WORSHIP
A man walked up to a vending machine, put in a coin, pressed the buttons labeled, ‘coffee, cream, and sugar.’ No cup appeared, but the nozzles went into action pouring the coffee, cream, and sugar. After the proper amounts had gone down the drain, the machine turned itself off.
‘Now that’s automation,’ he said. ‘This machine takes your money, asks what you want, and then it even drinks it for you.’
That is how some people want their worship. They want to go to church, make a very small deposit in the plate, mumble a few words to a couple songs, and expect everything else to be automatically taken care of. But, there is no such thing as automated worship. Worship requires something very personal; it requires a desire to have a personal relationship with the Lord; the worship of our Lord requires a devotion to Him before it can be considered worship.
In order to know how to properly worship, we must first understand what the definition of ‘worship’ is. Miriam-Webster’s dictionary defines worship as a verb with the following meanings;
···· to give all honor as to a divine being
···· to regard with the greatest of respect, honor, or devotion
The most commonly used Greek word in the New Testament that is used for ’worship’ actually means to "fall face down on the ground in total adoration of."
That is a far cry from what we consider worship today, isn’t it? There is two types of worship; a true worship and a false worship. And I am afraid that sometimes, we end up going through the motions of worship with our hearts focused on other things. That is false worship. Or, sometimes we do the things we do in church out of nothing more than habit, which is also false worship.
MATTHEW 15:7-9 describes what false worship is;
‘You pretenders! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. He said, ‘These people honor me by what they say, but their hearts are nowhere near me. Their worship doesn’t mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.’
How many Christians, or even churches, are ruled by human rules rather than the change found through Jesus Christ? How many Christians and their churches rely on their time-honored traditions rather than striving to have a true understanding of the principles Jesus taught?
I am not against all traditions, but when they become more important than the heartfelt worship of Christ, they become what the passage I just read describes. And that, too, is a false worship.
I was the pastor of a church years ago where the elders actually came out and said they did not want any change in the church for any reason.
That is what I mean when I say tradition, for tradition sake, hinders any true worship of our Lord. When we focus on anything in this world, even in church, to where it is our primary focus, we have turned our collective backs on Jesus, and that always results in false worship.