INTRO.- Man is worshiping being. We all worship something or someone.
ILL. - Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes recently bought a new home in California. One day they were have a heated argument about family finances. (I don’t know why, however)
Tom said, "If it weren’t for my money, this house wouldn’t be here!" Katie Holmes replied, "My dear, if it weren’t for your money, I wouldn’t be here."
ILL.- Recently I was talking to an elder from IL and he asked me, “Have you seen the new movie ‘Unstoppable’ with Denzel Washington?" I told him that Elaine and I had seen it. Excellent and exciting. And I’m sure many people love Denzel Washington’s acting. Actors and actresses have almost become gods to many people. They are in the news constantly, either making good news or bad news. Nevertheless, for better or worse, people love to love celebrities.
But, as some have said, “They still put their pants on one leg at a time.” They are still human. And humans should rightfully not be worshiped. No human being should be worshiped. Nor should THINGS be worshiped.
ILL.- I asked my high school Sunday School class in one church many years ago, “What do you have that you just can’t live without?” One girl said, “My clothes.” One boy said, “My music.” Another boy said, “My truck.” And I forget what else was stated.
What do you have that you feel like you just couldn’t live without, materially speaking? Material things are just things, but sometimes we forget this.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU TREASURE MOST IN LIFE? Whatever that thing is or person is, that is where your heart is! And that is what you worship most of all!
Now obviously, we should worship the Christ most of all. It’s ok to like things and love people, but we must not worship them. WE MUST WORSHIP CHRIST. To worship is to honor, to revere, to adore, to love, etc.
And as it’s been said, “Wise men still worship Christ.” Just as the wise men of old did. Tis the season to worship Christ.
PROP.- I want us to consider several scriptures in regard to worshiping Christ.
1- In worship we give back to Christ
2- In worship we serve Christ
3- In worship we draw near to God
I. IN WORSHIP WE GIVE BACK TO CHRIST
Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
The wise men of old bowed in worship. When was the last time you bowed in worship? I know that you bow your head when you pray or when someone leads us in prayer. We were taught to bow before our God and Father. Amen. So be it.
ILL.- I have often joked with kids, telling them here is how to pray before they eat their food: Rub a, dub, dub. Thanks for the grub. Yeah God.”
Now you know I don’t pray that way before I eat and I don’t really encourage kids to pray that way. I’m just teasing them to see how they will respond. But I do want kids to learn to bow their heads any time they pray or prayer is offered.
My little three year old granddaughter, Hayden Santasiere, offered the prayer when we ate (back in April) and would pray this way: “Thank you God for the food in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.”
Daily and perhaps hourly, we need to bow our heads in prayer and give thanks for our blessings, whatever they are, large or small.
ILL.- E. M. Bounds in his book on prayer said that Stonewall Jackson (Confederate general during the American Civil War) was a man of prayer. Jackson said, “I have so fixed the habit of prayer in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post office without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”
That’s good and that’s worship! That’s worship to give thanks to for a cup of water or whatever the blessing!
ARE WE THAT THANKFUL? We are often aware of and thankful for the big things/the big blessings but what about the small blessings that come our way every day? A drink of water. A plate of food. Three square meals a day. A warm bed. A house to live in. A car to drive. A job.
ILL.- Someone said, “Not only count your blessings, but also consider their source.” Also, “Don’t count your blessings without blessing the giver!” That’s worship!
The wise men of old bowed in worshiped the Christ. We need to do as often as possible every day. Bow and pray. Bow and praise. That’s worship. Any time we thank Him we are worshiping Him!
Also, the wise men of old bowed in worship and gave Him gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. These were not cheap gifts. These were not leftovers! These gifts were first rate.
To worship the Lord is give back to Him a portion of what He’s given us. AND HE’S A VERY GOOD GIVER TO US!
The way I see it, we wouldn’t have anything if it were not for our gracious God and Savior. Consequently, many Christians believe they should give 10 percent of their income back to God. That’s a good place to be.
II Corinthians 9:6-8 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
We decide in our hearts what to give, but how can we not give after He has given us so very much?
ILL.- This year I finally started to draw my Social Security and I thought, “Yeah, it’s about time!” I waited and waited until this year when I was older. HOW MUCH OLDER? You guess!
Sunday rolled around after I got my first Social Security check and I thought, “Do I or do I not?” “Do I give ten percent of that amount back to God or do I not since I’ve worked 50 years to get it?”
No, I didn’t think that. I immediately recognized how good God had been to me. And thought, “How can I not give back to Him?” HOW CAN I NOT BOW IN WORSHIP TO HIM IN THIS WAY? In worship we give back to Christ.
II. IN WORSHIP WE SERVE CHRIST
Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
In worship, people are moved to action. While worshiping the Lord, the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of these men and they were moved to serve the Lord.
Acts 13:4-5 “The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”
They were moved to serve because the Holy Sprit worked in them and through them. But this all started as a result of worshiping the Lord. In worship, people are moved to action, to serve.
Worship movies people to action! When a person is strongly affected in life by some person, it moves people to action.
Many young boys, for example, have become ball players as a result of watching some baseball player on TV.
ILL.- Baseball pitcher, (now retired) Roger Clemens, said that he greatly admired, imitated, and respected pitcher Nolan Ryan who pitched for the Mets and the Rangers. Ryan was a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, who threw pitches that were regularly recorded above 100 miles per hour, even past the age of 40. As a young man Clemens would often sneak into the Astrodome to watch Ryan pitch. HIS ADMIRATIOIN OR WORSHIP RYAN MOVED HIM TO ACTION.
What we worship, adore, listen to, focus on, etc. we tend to want to become. And if such a person is a servant to others, it’s an even better thing.
ILL.- Ted and Beverly Skiles founded a children’s orphanage called The Home of God’s Love in Taiwan in the summer of 1975. Taiwan is an island in the Pacific ocean off the southeastern coast of China. It’s the territory of China. It’s about 8,000 miles from the U.S. Ted and Beverly have cared for hundreds children. They are from Eldon, MO, and went to Ozark Bible College in the early 1960’s. How did this mission work start? It started in worship. God gave Ted and Bev a heart and a vision for this mission work through their worship and devotion. Worship moves people to action!
ILL.- One of my Bible College professors, Wilbur Fields, who is now in a nursing home in Joplin, MO. Wilbur was at his best when he held Archaeology and the Bible seminars in many of our churches. I had him do that seminar in two different churches where I served and they were attended better than any revival meeting. Why? Because he presented the truth of scripture through the findings of archaeology and it strengthened the faith of the listeners.
Wilbur was such a blessing to many Christians and churches across our land. He isn’t much to look at it, but he’s a great man of faith and I loved his down-to-earth, well-illustrated sermons!
I heard Wilbur say one time what got him interested in becoming a preacher. Care to guess? He said he was so fascinated by the interesting stories his preacher used in his sermons that made his sermons come alive!
Wilbur’s worship in church and hearing sermons from the Word of God moved him to want to serve, to become a preacher of the Word!
Sincere worship moves people to action and service!
III. IN WORSHIP WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD
Acts 16:13-15 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Lydia, who was a business woman in her day, attended a prayer meeting with some other women. She, no doubt, was a seeker of God. She wanted to know more about God.
While attending that prayer meeting, Paul and Silas showed up. Paul spoke to those women and at least, one of them was moved. Lydia believed and she believed even more after hearing Paul speak. She was so moved toward the Lord that she was baptized, along with the members of her house. Either Lydia or Paul influenced them to be baptized as well.
What we do in life does have an affect on our family members. If we are raised in the faith, more than likely they will as well. If we are faithful to Christ there is good chance that our children will be too. But if our faith doesn’t mean much to us, it probably won’t mean anything to them either.
ILL.- Seventy-six year old Bob Stacy of Middletown, OH, is a preacher today because of his father and mother who were faithful Christians. Bob wrote: Church and Jesus were all we talked about in our home: mom, dad, and we kids. We even played church Sunday afternoons, and when I was four I began preaching for our "home" church. I’d hold my little Bible upside down, but it didn’t matter I could say, "Jesus loves us" anyway. Dad would be the elder, Mom would play the piano, we’d all sing, and I’d be the preacher.
Bob and his family never missed a church service and his dad was an elder. No doubt, their influence moved Bob to want to serve the Lord. His parents would be proud of him today! He’s 57 years in the ministry and isn’t quitting! In worship we draw near to God! And Bob is nearer to God than most preachers I know! He doesn’t waver or waffle in his walk with God.
Lydia drew near to God in worship. She drew near enough to God that she was surrendered to Him by faith and obedience.
Any time a person worships the Lord in true humility they can’t help but get closer to Him! Many people have been moved in worship to want to be baptized or start reading their Bible and do many other good things.
ILL.- I got a phone call last Monday night from a friend of mine who attended the Iberia, MO, church many years ago. His name is Terry Mossman. He was the funeral director in town. We became close friends over the years. I helped him and he helped me. I remember going with him to Des Moines, IA, one night to pick up body. WHAT A THING TO DO! He needed a passenger to help keep him awake. He knocked on my door at 4 p.m. and said, “Would you like to go with me tonight to Des Moines, IA, to pick up a body? I’ll buy you a steak dinner.” We did and he did. We got back home around 4 in the next morning.
I remember when I rolled my 1981 Plymouth Horizon and I was without a car. I sold it to a body man in the church, got money from the insurance company and ended up with a thousand dollars in my pocket after paying it off, BUT I HAD NO CAR. One day Terry knocked on my door and said, “Come on. Let’s go to Jefferson City and get you a good used car.” Terry knew his cars.
I will also never forget talking to Terry many times about the Lord and once asking him if he’d ever been baptized. He said, “No,” and I said, “Well, it would be a good thing to think about and do.”
Then one Sunday after that I preached the morning sermon and we had the invitation time and Terry came walking down the aisle. He told me he came to be baptized. I said, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God?” He said, “Yes, I believe with all my heart!” WOW!
Terry drew near to God in worship that Sunday and he’s still walking with the Lord. He and Cathy attend the 9th St. Christian Church in Eldon, MO.
IN WORSHIP HE DREW NEAR TO GOD! In honest and sincere worship we draw near to God! We begin to have an intimate relationship with God, a walk with God.
Hebrews 10:22-23 “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
We all need to worship God acceptably this time of the year and all the time. How do we do worship Him in a way that is accepted by Him? We worship Him sincerely, seriously, daily and on Sunday. And we allow worship to do a good work in our lives.
How can we not come into His presence either privately or congregationally and not be moved? TIS THE SEASON TO WORSHIP THE LORD!