Summary: Often we come into God’s presence with a very wrong idea of what worship means.
Why are you here this morning? What was it that made you get up fairly early on a day that most of you have off of work and come into Beartown Road Alliance Church to join us for worship? For some of you, it’s the fellowship. This is where your friends are and you enjoy getting together once a week and catching up on their lives. For others, it’s tradition. You grew up going to church, what else would you do on a Sunday morning? Maybe you’re here to keep the peace at home. Your spouse wants the family in church and so you come, to make sure your wife or husband is happy. There are some here who are hurting and they’ve come to find healing and peace from their struggles. When I was in youth ministry, and I’m sure it applies to some here, there’s always the group that is here because they have no choice. Someone has told you that you are going to be in church and so here you are. Usually this applies to the kids and teens.
Pastor Tony Evans, a wonderful speaker, says that when he was young, he had a drug problem. His mother drug him to church on Sunday morning, she drug him to church on Sunday night, she drug him to church on Wednesday evenings, anytime the doors were open, he was drug to church. I can relate to that. Maybe someone in here feels that way too.
Each of these reasons is used all across America by the millions of people who fill the pews of our churches each and every Sunday morning. Some of these are good reasons, some are a bit suspect, some are not very good reasons at all. But each of these excuses has one thing in common. They’re not the right reason for being here. We gather together for one reason alone and that is to worship God together. This is the most important hour of our week, Christ’s church coming together and joining in corporate worship of our God and Father, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Now, fellowship will take place. Healing and growth will take place. Those who come looking for peace will find it. But those things are secondary, what we gain and what we take away from this time is not the important thing, the primary purpose is worship.
A.W. Tozer called worship: “The Missing Jewel of the Church” Certainly there are many who fill our pews who are not engaged in worship, who are missing out on the opportunity to draw near to God and to give Him the glory that is due His Name. Ask 10 people what worship means and you would probably get ten different answers. Ask a Baptist, a Methodist, a Pentecostal, a young person, an older person, a male, a female, and each one would probably give you a different take on what it means to worship. What I hope that you will understand when you leave here this morning is that your idea, your take on worship or what the person beside you thinks about worship is entirely irrelevant, the only viewpoint that matters is God’s and the way that He command us to worship.
By definition, according to its use in Scripture, worship means to ascribe the highest worth to something. So, when we gather to worship God, we are acknowledging His place in our lives and saying that He comes first before anything else. Unfortunately, I think that for many of us, worship has become something completely different. God and His pleasure has become less important than us and our pleasure. Often we are unable to set aside everything else that is going on in our lives and while we may be worshipping in body, with our lips, our hearts are not in it and we end up frustrated and wondering why God seems distant and why our faith is not like it used to be. We enter this place and into God’s presence with the wrong agenda and the wrong attitude and worship never really takes place.
Someone has been quoted as saying “We have become a people who worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.” Does this describe us as a church body? What was foremost on your mind and heart this morning as you entered this place? Is worship really happening here?
God has been teaching me some things in this area over the last few weeks and He really used the trip to Argentina to drive some things home to me and to convict me of some of the attitudes that I have towards worship. So, I wanted to take a week off of our look at Matthew. We’ll pick it up again next week. This morning I want to address the idea of worship. And I’m going to do something that they teach you in your first preaching class never to do. They tell you never to try to explain a point by using a negative example, well, I’m not going to use A negative example, I’m going to look at four negative examples of worship, four things that worship is not, in order to give us a better understanding of what worship is. You can write to Nyack and complain about my preaching later.