Summary: We live out oneness by keeping our focus on God (an apologetic for our blended style of worship).
LIVING THE UNITY WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN
Th: Living the Unity We Have Been Given
Pr: WE LIVE OUT ONENESS BY KEEPING OUR FOCUS ON GOD.
?: How? How do we focus on God?
TS: Based on our understanding of John 4.24, we will review three elements around which our worship is planned and applied.
The ____ element is…
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Honor the diversity; refuse the division
• Be aware of self-inflicted distractions
• Keep your focus on God
RMBC 21 January 07 AM
ILL Boredom (H)
There was a guest speaker that was going on and on, monotone in nature, and never making any eye contact with his audience, looking, rather, above them. As he continued to speak, the audience was giving up. One by one, people began to leave. Eventually, everybody left - except for one man.
As he winds up his message, he finally looks down and discovers that everybody is gone, except for this one man. And so he asks, "Where did everybody go?"
"They all left."
"Why didn’t you leave?"
"I’m the next speaker."
Well, there is no doubt that listening is work.
And some are harder to listen to than others.
Which reminds us that…
Worship is work.
And sometimes it is harder work than at other times.
It takes effort.
Sometimes, it just takes effort to get here on Sunday mornings, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, our mornings are more chaotic than peaceful, aren’t they?
Satan loves that, by the way.
He would have us coming into the church full of restlessness.
And he is all the more pleased if we come angry, hurt, mad, resentful, and full of unforgiveness.
For when this happens, we may gather, but our hearts are not together.
He has successfully sown the seeds of discord and discontent, and worship is not achieved.
Our theme for 2007 is “Come…Together.”
As I made mention two weeks ago, we were driven to this specific theme for two main reasons.
Our latest results from Natural Church Development showed that we still have work to do in the area of worship, so we know we need to work on that some more.
Along with that, we know that a corresponding area that we must grow in as a church family is the area of unity, which is a matter of attitude and effort.
Unity does not happen if we possess attitudes that are critical and complaining.
And unity does not happen if we are not willing to work at it.
With that in mind…
1. Our corresponding theme for this month is “Living the Unity We Have Been Given.”
We have been noting for the past weeks the truth that the church has been given unity.
Randall has been given unity.
It is not something we created.
It is, instead, a gift that we either apply or we don’t.
We either choose to preserve unity or we do not.
Two weeks ago, we described how our oneness is based on standing firm regarding the truth about Jesus.
In other words, what we believe, our doctrine, serves as a basis for our meeting together.
It unites us.
Last week, we described how our oneness is based on fulfilling our purpose, and more specifically, living it out according to the vital characteristics of faith, hope and love.
We discussed that what we believe is validated by being a church that is living by faith, known by love, and a voice of hope.
This week, we turn to the relationship of worship and oneness.
And here in John 4.24…
2. Jesus describes for us how worship is to be accomplished (John 4.24).
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
When it comes to worship, the two emphases we had the last two weeks are brought together.
Let’s admit that the subject that we are speaking about today has been brought up before, and we have spent a lot of time in our past talking about places, styles, methods and modes.
But Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter.
He tells us what God wants.
He wants spirit and truth.
So Jesus is telling us that…
3. Our worship begins with our relationship with God.
God is the “with us God.”
He does not play “hide and seek” with us.
So it is possible to have a personal relationship with Him.
In fact, He desires it.
He has made Himself known so we can respond to Him.
And that is what worship is all about.
It is spiritual.
It is the connection…it is the relationship, between Him and us.
What is important to understand here is that worship is a matter of the inside.