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Summary: Worship in spirit and in truth is always directed to God above everything else. I want for my audience to understand how worship tends to get misdirected, and why that is such a grievous error; to know what worship directed toward God truly is

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Welcome to the stadium! This is now the 3rd week we’re taking a closer look at worship, and we’re doing that in the context of something that most all of us already think about – a stadium – how, just like a big football game, there are a lot of parallels between what you see in that picture and what we are doing here on Sunday mornings. There are observers, cheerleaders, coaches, and players on the field.

And we’ve been talking about it in terms of where you are in that picture. Remember, the goal here is begin to see ourselves on the field, as the players and participants, rather than fans in the stands. God is the audience we perform for here. So, remember, when it comes to worship, we’re here for exaltation, celebration, participation, perspiration, anticipation, resuscitation, and assimilation – NOT observation – or else we’ll have agitation, vegetation, stagnation, and finally expiration! I’m sorry, I have greater expectations than that!

So, this morning, I want to talk about making sure we’re playing for the right team.

One of the NT words for worship is a word that basically means “to bow.” All of us have learned, from some early point in life, what that’s about. We can see people all over the world doing it. It’s an expression of submission. It’s a way to show respect. Muslim men do it several times a day during prayers. We can even train killer whales to do it. I guess whether or not someone can bow or does bow isn’t all that matters. There’s more to worship than a bow. There’s the direction we bow. That’s really what Romans 1:25 is about…

Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Last week, we saw in John 4, where Jesus gave us 2 essentials for worship – that it must be in spirit and truth. I want to worship in spirit and in truth, don’t you? Jesus said that’s a must – an essential. So, we have to grasp what that means. This morning, I want us to consider how to make sure we are worshiping in truth – in other words, that we’re not just in the game here, but that we’re on the right team – that we’re not just bowing, but that we’re bowing in the right direction.

(video rolls as I speak:)

October 25, 1964, Minnesota Vikings vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Marshall recovers a fumble and runs the entire 66 yards…into the wrong end zone. Thinking that he had scored a touchdown for the Vikings, Marshall tossed the ball away in celebration. It landed out of bounds, resulting in a safety and 2 points for the other team.

August, 30, 2012, Kent State vs. Towson, the first week of the college football season. Andre Parker of Kent State picks up a muffed punt return and runs it for a 58-yard return…in the wrong direction! The funnier part of this story is that he had a teammate block for him and there were 2 players from Towson who tackled him – and that the rules don’t permit returning a muffed punt return!

The reason for this message is simple: It’s possible that, as we attempt to purposefully worship God, we can actually end up bowing in the wrong direction. I want to offer some helps this morning to assure that we’re always bowing in the right direction.

Worship in Spirit and Truth…

I. Is Always Directed Toward God

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

What are some of the created things that people sometimes worship instead of God? What shouldn’t I be worshiping?

Some wrong alternatives:

Not idols

Now, that’s easy, isn’t it? At least, in our culture it’s easy. There are many religions in the world today, caught up in the worship of idols. Every day, millions are bowing down and praying and making sacrifices to images of gold and stone and wood.

We don’t have idols. We don’t have images or things that we would actually place ahead of God, or devote our time or resources or adoration to. Right? (pictures of some of our “idols”)

Boy, I’m glad we don’t because that would just be the height of foolishness, wouldn’t it?

I love some of the OT looks at just how foolish idolatry would be.

Isaiah 44:19

No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"

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