Summary: This sermon takes a look at some of the barriers to our worship as well as some practical ways to make our worship more meaningful.
Let me ask you this question, and think about it for a few moments… “Why are you here in this worship service? Why did you get up this early on a Sunday morning, perhaps your only day off from work, and get dressed and come to church?”
Maybe you’re here out of habit. You’re family has come to this church on Sunday morning ever since you were a child and it’s just always been something you’ve done so since it’s Sunday, you’re here.
Perhaps you’re here because you feel pressured to be here. Tony Evans said that growing up he had a drug problem…he was drug to church every Sunday morning, drug to church on Sunday night and maybe that’s you. Maybe it’s your parents, or a spouse that has compelled you to come by either force, threat, or guilt. And instead of fighting it every Sunday you’ve decided to just come to church to avoid problems in your family.
Or maybe you’re here for the fellowship. You’re friends are here and so this is a chance for you to get to catch up on the week’s events, a chance to greet one another with a hug or a hand shake, a chance to have some company for a change.
Maybe you’re here because you’re hurting. It has been a rough week, and things aren’t going as you think they should at work or at home, so you’ve come hoping to hear a solution to your problem and find some sense of hope and healing.
Or maybe you’re just here to be entertained and you’re hoping we’ll sing an older song that will take you back to yesteryear, or that you’ll hear the preacher tell a funny story that you can tell over a cup of coffee tomorrow at work.
If so, I’m glad you’re here and I hope you find what you are looking for. The church should be a part of your regular weekly routine and I do applaud parents who have the courage to make sure their kids are in church on Sunday. And I hope you do find a rich fellowship here because that is one of the things we need as persons, to love and to be loved and I can tell you we have some of the best hugs this side of the Mississippi, and if you are hurting I pray that word is spoken to heal your pain. A word of hope that will inspire you…if that’s you I’m glad you’re here and I hope we can minister to you, but if you are a Christian and that’s your primary reason for being here… then you’re here for the wrong reason..
The primary reason for attending a church service should be to worship God. The psalmist said in Psalms 95:6-7 , “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” Worship is more than just singing a few songs, performing a few rituals and enduring a sermon. We come to church to experience the presence of God, to acknowledge His authority in our lives and to worship Him as our Creator.
Yet many people in church have what we call a worship problem. In a Barna research study, they found that among regular church going adults, one third have said that they have never experienced God’s presence. ½ of Church members claimed that they had not experienced God in a worship service in the past year. And sadly, the surveys found that the younger the adult, the more likely they are to state that God is a distant, impersonal reality for them.
Now how is it possible that a God who so
desperately wants to love and to be loved by His creation seems to be on vacation or in a voluntary seclusion? Is it that God doesn’t want to be noticed? I don’t think so. I think there are a number of reasons why people don’t experience God during a worship service. The first is that we don’t know what worship is. We have no clear understanding of what it means to worship God.
Depending on your church background, when you think of worship you may think of a traditional brick church on a Sunday morning, filled with people singing one of the great hymns of the faith Maybe you’ve been to a charismatic or Pentecostal church, and you envision a scene with hands raised, eyes closed, people singing praise choruses, or even something more active – hands clapping, feet moving, shouts of "Hallelujah!" and "Amen!" These are all ways to worship, but they are not worship itself.
So what is exactly is worship? Well, the English word worship means to ascribe the highest worth to. So when we worship we are saying , “God you’re number one in my life. You come before anything and anyone else.” That is what is meant when we say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength. Nothing is more important to you than God. When we worship, we take our focus of everything else and place it solely upon God and I guess the best way to put it is this, Worship is when we celebrate God. We give Him the honor the glory, and most importantly we give of ourselves. You see worship is not just a one hour thing, it’s a way of life. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” Our worship on Sunday is a reflection of the worship we do the other 167 hours in the week. So understand that worship is a way of life, and the worship service is the reflection of what we’ve done throughout the week.