Summary: The American church has lost its bearing on true worship. It is time for the church to recall the and return to our God-given purpose for the church to worship
On December 14, 1996, the 763-foot grain ship, The Bright Field, was heading down the Mississippi near New Orleans, Louisiana, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. At the time, the Riverwalk Mall was crowded with some 1,000 shoppers causing injuries to 116 of them. The impact of the freighter demolished parts of the wharf, which is the site of 200 shops and restaurants as well as the adjoining Hilton Hotel.
The ship lost control in the stretch in the Mississippi that is considered the most difficult to navigate. After a year-long investigation, the Coast Guard concluded the freighter lost control because the engine failed. The engine failed because of low oil pressure. The oil pressure was low because of a clogged oil filter. And the oil filter was clogged because the ship’s crew did not maintain the engine properly.
Our time of worship is the filter to the engine that drives the Church and ultimately our lives. Worship has an important purpose. When we fail to maintain the significance of that purpose, we begin a breakdown of our purpose as a church, our mission as believers, and our role as worshippers. Many times, major disasters can be traced back to details that were overlooked or viewed as unimportant. Such as a small oil filter on a ship more than twice the length of a football field.
This morning, you arrived to very little by the means of comforts and preferences. Maybe some of these comforts were what drew you to be a part of our church. That’s ok, but that’s not why we are here. I chose to strip down our worship today and, in some weeks, to come so that we as a church may press-in to why we are really here. We must keep the main thing the main thing! So this morning, I am briefly going to share with you “
"The Purpose of Worship” and then we will close with some songs.
I. True Worship Amplifies Our Adoration to Jesus as Lord
When we worship, we are proclaiming vocally and physically our love and adoration to God as Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the first and primary purpose of worship. Last week, I shared with you William Temple’s definition of worship, and it is worth repeating again today.
William Temple defined worship as “…the submission of all our nature to God; the quickening of conscience by His holiness; nourishment of mind by His truth; purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart by His love; and submission of the will to His purpose. All these gathered up in adoration is the greatest expression of which we are capable of.”
Worship is never about our preferences, our feelings, our current situations, our happiness. In fact, worship becomes more meaningful during times of weakness, sickness, and tribulation. We adore Jesus because of his amazing, incredible, marvelous, astounding character. Even in our sinful state, he poured out his grace upon us. He did so, because of his love for us, not because we deserved or earned it.
• The quickening of conscience by HIS holiness (not mine)
• The nourishment of mind by His truth (not mine)
• The purifying of imagination by His beauty (not mine)
• Opening of the heart by His love (not mine)
• The submission of the to His purpose (not mine)
The Bible is full of examples of people who worship and adore God simply because of who he is and his character. Our first and most important purpose in worship has nothing to do with us. The very nature of God, His power, His might, and his majesty is cause for us to worship Him. I love how David expressed this in Psalm 8:
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is the man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord,