Summary: I want you to see with me some of the ways we worship God.
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. I want to call your attention to something about the church bulletin you received as you came in this morning. On the front, centered just below the red masthead are these words, “Morning Worship Service, September 20, 1998.”
Now if people, say from Asia or Africa, who know nothing at all about Christ or the church were to ask the average Christian, “What is a worship service?” what kind of answers do you suppose they would receive?
Someone might answer, “Well, it’s kind of a boring hour that just seems to drag on & on every Sunday. In it we sing 100-year-old hymns we’ve sung so much that we don’t even think about the words anymore. But I go anyway because I’m afraid that if I don’t go I may not get enough brownie points with God to make it into heaven.” Do you suppose anybody would answer like that?
Someone else may say, “Well, in the church I go to they spend a lot of time singing songs & choruses that I don’t relate to much at all. I don’t know them, & I don’t like the way they sing them. They’re just too new & lively for me. O, I know a lot of people seem to enjoy them, & I put up with them because that’s what our church does. But I don’t like it at all!”
Someone else with an entirely different background may say, “Why are you so worked up over the music? I think that the real worship service is when people are healed of diseases. People come who are sick & they leave healed. That’s when real worship takes place.”
Frankly, folks, there are some people who would say, “I think real worship is when you prove your faith by handling poisonous snakes.” Have you seen pictures of church services like that?
ILL. That reminds me of a story about a guy who inadvertently ended up visiting a snake handling church. They met in an old one-room church building in the backwoods of Arkansas. He didn’t realize what he was into until the minister started pulling rattlesnakes out of a burlap bag & passing them up one side of the aisle & down the other. The man had never seen anything like this before, & he certainly wasn’t interested in somebody handing him a snake at all!
Frantically, he began turning one way & then another, looking for a way out. But the only exit he could see was up past where the preacher was passing out the snakes. Turning to the guy next to him he asked, “Where Is the back door? I’ve got to get out of here!” The man answered, “We ain’t got one.” So he asked, “Alright then, where would you like one?”
B. Now folks, I’m not all that concerned this morning about worship styles as I am about what is really worship. Let me read to you Vine’s Expository Dictionary’s definition of “worship.” It says, “Worship is the direct acknowledgement to God of His nature, attributes, ways, & claims, whether by the ongoing of the heart in praise & thanksgiving, or by the deeds done through acknowledging God.”
Let me simplify that a bit. “Worship is acknowledging God for who & what He is, & praising Him by both our lips & our lives.”