Summary: Worship is not merely a response to God, but it is also the pursuit of God. God pursues us, and yet for some odd reason, He seems to be just beyond our grasp when we seek Him. The pressing into His Presence is the choice of our will to worship Him.
Encountering God - Part 2 – Pressing Into His Presence
Last week, I laid a foundation for what I believe to be the biblical nature of worship, starting with the fact that God has created mankind to worship Him. That worship arises from a relationship with Him.
The bible says in the book of John that God desires worshippers…worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
This means to worship with our hearts and not just our lips, with our spirits and not religion.
Worship is not equal to music, singing, ritual or sermons.
Worship happens because of relationship.
We learned last week that worship is ultimately a response of our heart to God’s heart.
God’s heart is full of love and concern for each one of us.
He loved each of us enough to send His Only Son to die on a cross to pay the price of sin (of self will) that each of us owe = death, the penalty of sin is death..
Jesus died in our place, took the penalty we deserved on the cross, and was resurrected to demonstrate the acceptance of his sacrifice.
In the embracing of His Son through belief and trust, and committing our lives to Jesus, our hearts begin this journey of responding back to God in this wonderful experience we call worship.
What is the most important thing a Christian can do?
You might come back with the response that evangelism (telling people about Jesus) is the most important thing we do as Christians.
Worship is the most important thing we can do…and we will do it for eternity.
Folks, evangelism is about worship – because we are bringing people into a relationship with God so that they can worship Him.
So they can do what God made them for!
That is the PURPOSE of evangelism…leading people to become worshippers of God!
Everything in our lives flows from what and how we worship.
Living the Christian life is about worship. All you and I do should be a response to God, an act of worship (Romans 12:1-2).
Life itself is an OUTFLOW of worship.
What you experience here and now, on Sunday morning and in your prayer time each day before the face of God should drive your life and drive your passion.
The way we live, love, work and walk are a result of the way we worship.
They reflect the level of relationship with God that we have.
Likewise, when we gather on Sunday for “corp. worship” – the way we worship reflects the quality of the relationship we have with the One we worship.
Let me say that there is one thing that I have observed in my ministry.
Churches have been in conflict for decades whether or not to have choruses or hymns, fast songs or slow, drums and guitars or organs, seeker oriented services or evangelistic altar calls.
Because they have got embroiled in these things, they have missed the point, because these things were irrelevant! We were asking the WRONG QUESTION.
It isn’t the tools we use. It is the goal we pursue.
If the church tries to please people instead of touch the heart of God, they will have missed the purpose of why we gather in the first place!
The goal of worship is supposed to be to encounter God, not to have our senses pleased, our preferences met, or our biases confirmed.
If we do everything cool and cutting edge and yet miss God it is all a waste!
We are guilty of pursuing the wrong things!
We have all been caught up in the pursuit of what we thought we wanted instead of what God wants (which is our hearts inclined in thirsty, hungry pursuit of a personal and intimate encounter with Him.).
Which is our highest value…God or our format ?
The congregation that pursues God Himself as its ultimate objective will be rewarded with His Presence.
That is my desire, the desire of your leaders and I hope it is or will become your desire as well.
There is an important truth that we must learn early on in our study concerning worship.
That is, we worship what we love most.
This powerful truth says that we will give our worship to that object or person that we love supremely in our lives.
We may say we love God, but our supreme affection may in fact be our car, our home, our career or even ourselves! And because of that, God will not be the object of our worship.
Biblically speaking, we will have set up an “idol” – that is something in place of God as our god.
If God isn’t at the top of your heart, you can make a change in what you value…which will change what your heart pursues.