Summary: Genuine worship comes from the heart, is spontaneous, new, congregational, joyful, and affects our daily life
REVERENCE NOT RIGOR-MORTIS: A CALL TO GENUINE WORSHIP
One of the most recurring things we hear about church is that it is boring. Many folks won’t come out & openly say it, but they don’t come because it is boring. This causes a great concern to me. Why is church boring? It is not because God is boring. It is not because worship is boring. Maybe it is because we do not understand genuine worship. It may be because the modern day church doesn’t understand worship, doesn’t participate in worship, is afraid of worship. It may be that we are so concerned about being reverent that we have fallen into a state of rigor-mortis. Today, I proclaim to you that reverence is a part of genuine worship, bur rigor-mortis is not. Now, some of us do not know the difference.
Some definitions: reverence - profound adoring, awed respect. Reverent - worshipful. A synonym for revere is worship.
Rigor mortis - rigidity of muscles occurring after death.
1) GENUINE WORSHIP COMES FROM THE HEART.
- A heart changed by the grace of God. A heart that is thankful, a heart impacted by the privilege of being in the presence of God.
- Christ tells us we must worship in Spirit & in truth. If salvation is true in your life, if the Spirit abides in your heart, worship should be automatic.
- The blood shed on Calvary provided the grace necessary to save hell-deserving sinners. The application of the blood to your life makes a radical & drastic change in your heart. It replaces the stony heart of our flesh with a new heart, one that is responsive to God, one that is softened by the love & grace of God.
- Out of this heart comes worship. Not stick in the mud ceremonialism, but true & genuine worship. This heart is alive with the Spirit of God, saturated by the truth of God’s Word & sensitive to the moving of the Spirit in the life of the changed. Denying the moving of the Spirit is hindering it. Hindering it hurts the believer, lessens the impact the Spirit has on the life, weakening the Christian, leaving the Christian, by his or her own choice, not properly prepared for the battles ahead.
- Worship changes us, grows us, strengthens us. A heart open to the moving of the Spirit in its life will worship. It is not showing up for Sunday service, it is celebrating. Worship from the heart is exciting.
2) GENUINE WORSHIP IS SPONTANEOUS & NEW.
- Too often we go through the motions of what we call worship. When the Baptist church began, as many things as possible were removed from the ceremonialism of the day. The priests wore robes - removed becasue it seemed to formalized & ceremonial. Prayer books were common - removed because they were too rehearsed.
- We slip back into what was removed. Preachers are expected to wear suits. Prayers are sometimes as expectable as prayer books. Most of the time, prayers follow a similar course - thanks, forgive us, bless us, bless sick, amen. The spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions in the presence of God has gone by the wayside. Part of the reason our worship is less than, well, true worship.
- The songs we sing are a type of worship. They may be hundreds of years old, but the way we sing them should be fresh & new, with a fresh sense of joy, a fresh sense of worship, not simply singing them because we are supposed to.
- Our services are as predictable as any formalized ceremony. 2 songs in the choir, announcements, song or two, children’s church, song or two, special singing, some time for the preacher, altar call, dismiss. Most people resist any change in format, resist anything that will upset the expected.
- We must escape our boundaries of containment & reach out for a fresh & spontaneous experience with God. We are, after all, in the presence of the almighty God, creator of the universe, & provider of salvation.
3) GENUINE WORSHIP IS CONGREGATIONAL.
- We gather together on this day to worship. Individually, yes. Corporately, absolutely. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice & be glad in it. The psalmist said we should sing his praise in the congregation of the saints.
- If we have been saved by the blood of Christ, we have something to shout about, we have something to worship about. Don’t worry about disrupting the service. Your worship might just erupt the service. When the air of reservation is lifted because someone begins to worship in the Spirit, liberty happens. Life is present.
- Worship is not got up. It is released. If we have been purchased by the blood, redeemed from hell, given life eternal, we should let it show. We should let it out. Grace & all it provides should move us with such passion we cannot contain it. Especially when we get around others who are of the same family.