Summary: What does worship do for the Lord and for us? This sermon seeks to answer that question.
The Accomplishments of Worship
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8
Introduction: On December 14, 1996, a 763 foot grain freighter, The Bright Field, was heading down the Mississippi near New Orleans, Louisiana, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. At the time, the Riverwalk Mall was crowded with some 1,000 shoppers causing injuries to 116 of them. The impact of the freighter demolished parts of the wharf, which is the site of 200 shops and restaurants as well as the adjoining Hilton Hotel. The ship had lost control at the stretch in the Mississippi that is considered the most dangerous to navigate. After investigating the accident for a year, the Coast Guard reported that the freighter had lost control because the engine had shut down. The engine had shut down because of low oil pressure. The oil pressure was low because of a clogged oil filter. And the oil filter was clogged because the ship’s crew had failed to maintain the engine properly. Furthermore, the failure was not out of character. According to the lead Coast Guard investigator, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to test the ship’s equipment and to repair long-standing engine problems. Have you ever noticed that sudden disasters frequently have a long history behind them? I think the same is true for Christians. Believers rarely leap into gross sin that damages not only us, but the lives of many others as well. Typically we embark on a slow but steady decline in our spiritual lives that ultimately has catastrophic results. Where does this begin? In my opinion, it starts with our failure to worship God in appropriate ways. When we neglect this most important discipline it sets us on a course away from God and directly into the path of compromise and sin. Worship is essential for those who desire to live a holy and healthy Christian life. Have you ever considered the benefits of worship? Permit me to take a few minutes this morning and share with you some of the results of true worship in the lives of believers.
I. True worship adjusts our attitude toward God (See Psalm 16:11). When life comes crashing down, as it often does, it is our tendency to blame God for our terrible circumstances. When this happens, we would do well to learn from the example of David in Psalm 16. As he wrote this prayer, David believed he was in danger of death at the hands of his enemies (See verses 1 & 10). Still he resisted the temptation to lash out at God and instead chose to worship Him. What did he discover when he did so? He came to understand that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy! There was an adjustment to his attitude! Instead of clinging to bitterness and anger at his life circumstance’, David acted in a manner contrary to his emotions, but in keeping with his faith and was infused with joy. This is what true worship accomplishes for us. It replaces resentment, fear or anger with joy as we take the challenges and trials we encounter in life and lay them at the Lord’s feet. Application: Now some of you may be thinking, "That isn’t what worship does for me." Here’s a thought for you: David did not restrict his worship of God to the Sabbath. The main verbs in this passage are present tense, meaning continuous, ongoing action. David was a man who sought the Lord moment by moment, day by day. Worship for him was a way of life. Because he was constantly in the presence of God, his was filled with joy. The problem for some of us is that we limit our pursuit of God to Sunday morning worship. We’ve come to believe that this weekly experience was meant to infuse us with a joy that will sustain us for the rest of the week. Illustration: This reminds me of a little boy who lived out in the country around the turn of the century. He had never seen a traveling circus, and one was coming to his town the next weekend. When he asked his father for permission to go, his dad said he could, provide that his chores were done. Saturday morning came. His work finished, the little boy asked his father for some money for the circus. His dad reached down in his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill, the most money the boy had ever seen at one time. Off the little wide-eyed fellow went. As he approached the town, he saw people lining the streets. Peering through the line at one point, he got his first glimpse of the parade. There were animals in cages and marching bands. Finally, a clown was seen bringing up the rear of the parade. The little boy was so excited that when the clown passed, he reached in his pocket and handed him the precious dollar bill. Thinking he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade, the little boy turned around and went home. Isn’t it sad that some people come to church like this little boy who went to the circus? They may come with the intent to worship God, but all they see is the parade – the parade of music, singing, prayers, and preaching. They peer through their pews at all the activity and then turn to go home at 12:00 noon; thinking they have been to God’s house, but yet they missed the main event – a personal encounter with Jesus Christ!" Eugene Peterson says, "(Sunday morning) worship does not satisfy our hunger for God—it whets our appetite..”