Summary: The function of worship is to bring God appropriate pleasure.
(Overhead 1) This time of year is a time for love, romance, and passion. Millions of dollars are spent on Valentine’s Day gifts. In fact a 1998 report from Ball State University indicates, “Valentine’s Day ranks second behind Christmas in total sales of candy, flowers and cards.”
Love is important to us isn’t it? We want to love and we want to be loved and one of the ways that we show love is by buying gifts this time of year.
One of the things about love is that it makes us passionate, it gets us excited! The people or things we love, we get passionate about!
I sent an e-mail question to those of us who have e-mail and I asked you the question, What Gets You Excited?
Here is what some of you said: (Overhead 2)
•something that keeps me busy
•my family, the birth of a new baby and love
•music, sporting events that relatives are playing in, and shopping!!
•God working in my life
•Seeing the sanctuary full of worshippers
•seeing someone new participate in God’s work
•Knowing I’m doing what God wants
Others of you said:
ü Knowing that what ever happens, God is still in control.
ü Hearing how God is working in the lives of others
ü The sunshine of Spring, especially when it’s this cold out.
Let me suggest this morning that from the very start love and passion was a part of God’s plan. He wanted to create creatures that would love Him as well as one another. He wants us to enjoy the life that He has given to us. It is a part of God’s purpose for our lives and our very existence. But how do we love God?
In both the Old and New Testaments, God has commanded us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength.” In the New Testament Jesus calls it the Great Commandment and among His last words to the disciples, Jesus said that the best evidence they were following him was by loving as well as obeying Him. As John 15:10 indicates, “When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.” (NLT)
A very important way that we love God is through worship. Worship, true worship, honest worship, is pleasing, extremely pleasing to God. It makes God smile. God rejoices and gets great pleasure in our worship.
In a passage that is commonly used to talk about outreach, there is a discussion about worship. And I think that we need to look at the link between the two because there is a very important link between outreach and worship as follows: We worship what we believe in and what we believe in we are going to tell others about.
The passage, John 4:19-26, has already been read, and now I want to set it in the proper context. Namely, that Jesus has met a Samaritan woman at a well in the mid-day heat.
And a dialogue ensues between the woman and that leads Jesus to disclose to the woman that He knows about her martial status. And that is where we pickup our text for this morning.
Christ’s disclosure unsettles her. And may be because of this unsettledness she tries to change the topic and asks a question, “Why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Or maybe, in her search for God, the issue, or rather the conflict, about worship is keeping her from fully committing herself to God. Or maybe it is a little of both!
Anyway, a discussion ensues about worship. And Jesus says to her several important things about worship that we need to be reminded of today.
Basically Jesus says, “Where you worship does not matter. It’s who you worship and how you worship that does matter.” Let’s first look at the whom.
Now a second question that I asked earlier this week in my e-mail was Growing up, what was your picture of God? Here is what you said: (overhead 3)
•was up in the sky somewhere
•could do anything and sees everything
•a sense of love, kindness, someone to embrace you, and he would always be there to protect me
•always thought of God as a man high up on a cloud, listening to my prayers
•A little blond boy in blue and white-stripped pj’s kneeling by a bed praying.
•An old man in the sky who sees everything I do
Others of you said:
ü A judge on a throne. Was never informed of His love.
ü God was like a very loving father