Sermons

Summary: Breaking out of the routine to experience the presence of God

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A minister had run out of time to prepare for a sudden funeral. Using the latest

technology, he went to his computer and found the funeral service he had used last,

and doing a word "search and replace", had the computer put in the name of the newly

deceased, "Edna", as a replacement for the woman in the previous funeral, Mary.

Everything went fine until they came to the Apostles’ Creed, wherein the minister

confessed that Jesus was born of the Virgin Edna.

Our worship of God can become routine… and in our routine we can forget whom we’re really worshipping…. In our rushing we can substitute the greatness of God with a god of convenience and comfort.

And the real enemy in this process isn’t technology… it’s trivialization. As it’s been said, we worship a great God in an age of trivialization.

Neighbor began talking with me yesterday …Jewish but non-devout….said, “I’ve been thinking I should do a little again… ‘A little religion is good thing.’ We can all appreciate what he thought… a little moral groundwork… a little symbolism… but ultimately “a little religion” is a dangerous thing.

We are all vulnerable to a process in which we become the center… and as this happens… the power of worship is reduced to our own needs and perceptions.

Jesus tells us to make no mistake about the significance of such an approach to God…

· "For this people’s heart has become calloused; their ears are hard of hearing, and

they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with

their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." (Matt.

13:15)

· "These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8)

Last week began series on Psalms…. Saw emphasis on being open & honest with God…. as a critical part of keeping our hearts passionate in any relationship… especially with God.

The Psalms reveal a true reverence that lies between repression and rebellious independence .

We need both authenticity and awe.

> Psalm 95:1-11

Written as a call to worship for the community… and as he addresses the hearts of his fellow worshipper… I hear a challenge to my own heart… about what’s involved with keeping my soul before God.

Vv 1-2

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

[2] Let us come before him with thanksgiving

and extol him with music and song.

“Sing for joy” = great sense of celebration

“shout aloud” = Hebrew ‘raw-nan’ – As one scholar describes, “In many cases the jubilation could equally well be expressed in shouting or song—either would suit the context. The KJV translates by "sing" half the time. In any case, Israel’s song would have been somewhat different from ours and perhaps more similar to jubilant shouting. R.L.H”

May seem strange to us… yet I think many of us have experienced this in concerts and sports events.

> This isn’t the kind of hyped up pep rally cheer… this is a call to shout for a God who makes any human focus of applause look trivial.

Why?

vv. 3-5

[3] For the Lord is the great God,

the great King above all gods.

Notice the connection between the character / nature of our worship and the character / nature of WHO we worship…. The connection between the supremacy of God and joy. We believe that because God is supremely great -- in power and wisdom and justice and goodness and truth and love -- because he is supremely great and glorious, therefore to know him and have fellowship with him is the only source of supreme JOY.

Let us shout joyfully to Him … FOR the LORD is the great God, and a great King above all gods.

To condense it to the basics: Rejoice in God because God is supreme. The supremacy of God is the ground of our joy.

So we love to say,

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

Our joy in him magnifies the glory of his supremacy over us.

‘Mentioning these gods (idols) does not acknowledge their reality. It is a statement of God’s sovereignty and superiority over every force, real and imagined. Everything in Creation—including things the pagans venerated as gods—the Lord made, and therefore He has power over it all.’

‘Even those who deny the existence of God have gods which they worship and to which they give their allegiance and loyalty. No man is without a god. I have never yet met an irreligious man although I have met many who claimed to be so. All men have gods.’

VV. 4-5…

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