Summary: This sermon explains the life change that occurs with "real worship."
Introduction: (To introduce this sermon I showed a video clip from Screenvue. The clip showed a group of believers gathered in a house church in Southeast Asia for worship. As they worship they listen to scripture reading. They mouth the words to a hymn. The importance of using discreetion is obvious. Such believers do not need to draw attention to themselves. After viewing the clip I asked the congregation if the believers worshipped. I pointed out: the believers had no building in which to worship, no musical instruments, no pews, most of them had no Bible and they sang songs without singing the words out loud. The point of this exercise was to raise questions about real worship.)
What is real worship? Some people think real worship lccurs in a certain style of building. Some people think real worship occurs by using certain instruments. Some think real worship is a certain style of music. Some think real worship is a certain emotional experience. Today, I am going to examine two verses of scripture that will challenge your concept of worship. In so doing I want to share another proposition. I want to show how you can improve your lifestyle through real worship. Look at the two verses. They are found in Romans 12 verses 1 and 2. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NASV) In order to digest this truth I want to break these verses down into three truths. Lets look at them individually.
I. look at the motivation for real worship. Obviously, real worship is not practiced by everyone. There are many people not in worship today. Many people do not believe in worship. Many people do not take the time to worship. Some people who come to worship do not worship.
Joke: In any endeavor, motivation is important. Late one night, a man had gone to a party and had too much to drink, so he decided it would be best to walk home. He found a shortcut through a poorly lit cemetery and, in the darkness, stumbled into an open grave. He tried to climb out but the walls were too slippery. Again and again he fell back into the grave. Finally, in exhaustion, he settled in a corner to wait for sunlight.
A few minutes later, another man in the same condition was cutting through the cemetery and fell victim to the same grave. He, too, tried desperately to climb and claw his way out, and he was equally unsuccessful.
As he was about to give up in hopeless resignation, he heard a voice from the darkness of his pit: The first victim said "You may as well give up. You’ll never get out of here."
The second man made it out! He was motivated!
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Paul Decker)
So, what motivates a person to worship. There are two answers found in the first phrase of verse 1.
A. The first motivation to worship is a changed heart. When Paul wrote these words he spoke to “brethren”. That is a term used in addressing fellow believers. Paul uses the connecting link, “therefore”, to connect to the previous chapters. In Romans 1-11 Paul had discussed the meaning of salvation. He had discussed the meaning of following Jesus. (Refer to Rom. 10:8-11) The teaching of these chapters is that Jesus Christ will change your heart. Jesus Christ will motivate you to a new way of thinking. Worship is unnatural for man. We have a natural bent to be selfish. We have a natural bent to be self focused. When Adam and Even sinned they wanted to be like God. Instead of worshipping God they wanted to be like God. A believer is a person whose motivation has changed. Instead of living for self he lives for Jesus. Instead of living for self he lives to serve God. The motivation to worship is a changed heart.
B. The second motivation to worship is discovered in the phrase “by the mercies of God.” Worship is a response to God’s goodness. God responds to us in goodness. He takes the initiative. What do we mean, responding to God? An example from marital and dating life will help our understanding. Let’s suppose your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend gives you a kiss. Are you going to slap them or hit them in response to their kiss? Generally not! You are going to respond by returning their kiss. Even so, God expects us to respond to his love. We were created to love God. We were created to worship God. ”