Summary: We often mistake the means of worship for worship itself!
WORSHIP: The Heart of Authentic Worship
CORE VALUE: Worship is always worship!
While there are a variety of fish, a fish is always a fish. Biologically, a fish is never a tree. A fish is never an insect. It doesn’t matter if it’s caught in a lake in Africa or a bayou in Louisiana! It doesn’t matter if it weighs 1,200 pounds or 1.2 pounds! A fish is always fish. It may be a fish that has been fried and is being served with French fries, but frying it doesn’t make it a potato.
Most people can identify a fish, but what about worship?
It’s 10:30 Sunday morning. In a small white wood frame building a few people gather, drink bad coffee and catch up on the week. They gather in a pew-filled room and lift their out-of-key voices in singing a few old hymns backed by an organ. After listening to a sermon and sharing communion they leave the “worship service” for home.
A few blocks away, in a rehabbed industrial warehouse, a large crowd gathers and drinks “Starbuck lattés,” as the clock on a big screen counts down the seconds to the start of the “worship service.” Before and after the sermon, a worship team – led by a young, energetic, electric guitar-playing worship leader – performs highly produced music from an elevated stage accompanied by full lights and a colorful media presentation. It’s an impressively professional production of the latest worship songs from the most popular worship groups from around the world. They even throw in a new version of an old hymn and a choreographed dance routine. Impressive!
Which group worshiped?
Probably some in both gatherings!
We often mistake the means of worship for worship itself!
So, what is “authentic” worship? What does worship have to do with architecture and electronics and sound? Is worship confined to a musical moment on Sunday morning or Sunday evening?
I want to chat with you about worship this morning and that from an event in the life of Abraham.
NKJ Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."
15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son -- 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.