Our Purpose: Worship
Text: Jn. 4:24; Eph. 5:19-20; Heb. 10:25
1. Read Jn. 4:19-24
2. "Most people think of the church as a drama," Dr. James Kennedy said, "with the minister as the chief actor, God as the prompter, and the laity as the critic. What is actually the case is that the congregation is the chief actor, the minister is the prompter, and God is the critic."
3. Last Sunday we began to look at the purpose of the church. We said the purpose of the church is:
4. Today we are going to look at worship as a part of our purpose.
Proposition: As the Body of Christ we are to worship God because He, and He alone, is worthy of praise.
I. We Must Worship in Truth (Jn. 4:23-24)
A. In Spirit
1. What does Jesus mean that "the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit..."
2. To worship God in spirit means to worship God...
a. With the spiritual drive and ability of one’s soul, seeking the most intimate communion and fellowship with God.
b. Worship was meant to be intimate; to usher us into the very presence of God.
c. God created us from the beginning in order to have fellowship with us.
3. Notice that Jesus does not say that we are to worship the Father in "The Spirit."
a. What Jesus is referring to here is the human spirit.
b. When we worship we are to "see ourselves in the child-father relationship with all of the aspirations and emotions that a child has toward his father" (Tourville, 93).
4. We have a tendency to think of worship as singing, but singing is not necessarily worship.
a. People sing in bars and "honky-talks" but that is not worship.
b. You can sing until you are blue in the face, but if you are not connecting with God you are not worshipping.
c. Worship is to talk us to the throne of Grace.
5. Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the LORD said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me.
6. True worship doesn’t come from a song book, slide show, or sound system; it comes from inside.
B. In Truth
1. Jesus also says we must worship Him in truth.
2. Truth is what Jesus is and what He came to reveal to the world.
3. Nearly every human being worships, but many are not worshipping according to truth (Tourville, 94).
A man was carried in a dream to a church. In his vision he saw the organist vigorously playing the organ, but no sound was heard. The choir and congregation began to sing, but their voices were not heard. Then the minister began, energetically, to pray, but no tones came from his lips.
The man turned in wonder to his angel guide. "You hear nothing," said the angel, "because there is nothing to hear. These people are not engaged in worship, but only in the form of worship. Their hearts are not touched, and this silence is the silence that is yet unbroken in the presence of God. But listen now."
And, listening, the man heard a child’s voice, clear and distinct in all that silence, while the minister seemed to pray, and the people seemed to join. Only the child’s voice was heard, because only the child’s heart was touched. "That," said the guide, "is the only true worship in all this great church today: all the others are concerned with but the appearance of worship."
5. Our worship of the Father must be sincere and not for show.
6. 1 Sam. 16:7 For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
II. We Must Worship in Thanksgiving (Eph. 5:19-20)
A. Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
1. Here Paul tells the Ephesians "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
2. When I read this text, the thing that sticks out the most to me is the variety.
a. Our worship on earth is to reflect how we will worship in heaven.
b. While it is true that it is only a shadow, but a shadow at least resembles the real thing.
c. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that heaven is going to be boring.
d. Well if heaven is not going to be boring, and our worship is to reflect what worship will be like in heaven, then our worship shouldn’t be boring either.
3. Notice the wonderful variety that Paul describes.
a. Psalms: This refers, of course, to the Book of Psalms in the OT. This was the song book of both Judaism and the early Church. This is like our choruses, which many of them are based on Scripture.
b. Hymns: "Hymns" refers to the early Christian compositions, some lines of which are preserved in the NT (Adams, 1074).
c. Spiritual Songs: These were unpremeditated words sung "in the Spirit" (Adams). In other words, they were spontaneous songs sung in our spiritual language.
4. Notice also that Paul links the three together.
a. He doesn’t say "psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs."
b. No, he says "psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs."
c. We need them all!
B. Giving Thanks For All Things
1. In verse 20, Paul gives us the reason for our singing - thanksgiving.
2. He says "Giving thanks always for all things..."
3. Note the words "always" and "for all things."
a. Our lives are in God’s hands. He guides and directs us through all things.
b. Therefore, we can thank Him for all things—no matter what the things are.
c. Our worship should reflect our thankfulness.
4. We should thank God for:
a. What He has done in the past: saving us, sanctifying us, and filling us with His Spirit.
b. What He will do for us in the future: preserve us, protect us, and prepare a place for us.
c. Who He is: Lord, Master, Savior, and Creator.
5. Illustration: There is a beautiful custom among the Swiss mountaineers. The Alpine herdsmen employ the echoing horn, not merely as a call to their flocks, but also for a religious service. As soon as the sun has disappeared from the valleys, and his last lingering rays are glimmering and glancing upon the snowy summits of the mountains, the shepherd who dwells in the loftiest pasture takes his horn and trumpets forth, "Praise God the Lord!" All the herdsmen on the neighboring cliffs take their horns and repeat the chorus, "Praise God, the Lord!" This is continued for several minutes, while on all sides, as the shades of evening deepen, the mountain echo the name of God the Lord!
Transition: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!
III. We Must Worship Together (Heb. 10:25)
A. Assembling of Ourselves Together
1. The writer of Hebrews tells us "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..."
2. Worship is something that we must do together. It is something that we will be doing for the rest of eternity, so we might as well get used to it now.
3. Read the verse closely and it is clearly seen that the idea is often:
a. We are to assemble together often and never to forsake our coming together.
b. Genuine believers need each other—the presence, fellowship, strength, encouragement, care, and love of each other.
4. Now I am just silly enough to think that when the doors of the church are open we ought to be here.
a. The assembling of the believers is often an outward indication of the inner condition. If a man’s faith will not get him to church, it is doubtful if it will get him to heaven.
b. Some of you need to read your bulletin more closely; we have church on Sunday night and Wednesday night too!
B. The Importance of Attendance
1. An old question: "Can I be a Christian without joining the church or attending worship?"
Answer: "Yes, it is possible. But it is something like being:
a. A student who will not go to school;
b. A soldier who will not join the army;
c. A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote;
d. A salesman with no customers;
e. An explorer with no base camp;
f. A seaman in a ship without a crew;
g. A businessman on a deserted island;
h. An author without readers;
i. A football player without a team;
j. A politician who is a hermit;
k. A scientist who does not share his findings;
l. A bee without a hive."
2. Why should we go to church?
a. The importance of assembling is both subjective and objective. It benefits the individual with spiritual stability and growth, and it benefits objectively by its positive effect on others.
b. The church meeting is far more than a place for one to be entertained or to hear, for these can be accomplished through radio or television. The purpose for the assembling is for participation in worship and fellowship and with one another.
c. Attendance is necessary.
3. The writer of Hebrews gives us another reason when he says "and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
a. What day? The day of the Lord’s return.
b. His return is immediately upon us. Therefore, we must exhort those who have fallen away, lest they miss the salvation of His coming and have to face His judgment.
c. What if Jesus came on a Sunday, and instead of you being in church, you were home watching TV or sleeping?
Transition: Worship is something that is done together, but if you’re not here we are missing something; all of the gifts and blessings that God has given you to share with us.
1. A part of our purpose as a church is to worship.
2. We are to worship:
a. In Truth
b. In Thanksgiving
3. Why should we worship? Because our great and mighty God is worthy to be praised.