Summary: Learn the four goals of worshippers and how to reach these goals in three worship settings
Next week is Mother’s Day. I’m accepting suggestions from the husbands for what I should preach next Sunday. I’m also accepting suggestions from the wives for what I should preach on Father’s Day.
Two Sunday’s ago, we looked at the revelation for worship, that is God’s goodness and His greatness that causes us to revere, honor and value Him above all else in our lives. Last week, we looked at the attitudes of worship, which are habits of thinking that foster our reverence for God. These attitudes include (anyone remember?) the lordship of God, the humility of mankind and the servanthood of worshippers.
This morning, we will look at the activities of the worshipper. We will answer the question, "What does a person do to worship God?" Or, "What and how do we turn the definition of worship into life experience?"
The text for this morning is Romans 12:1-2.
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome in 56 or 57 AD. Paul wrote the first eleven chapters to explain the mercy of God and the last five chapters to instruct us on how we ought to live in light of God’s mercy.
Paul explained in the first eleven chapters of Romans, that because we live in disregard for God and His ways, we are sentenced to eternal separation from God. But God, in His mercy, issued a pardon through sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. Some will accept God’s pardon and receive mercy, but those who refuse God’s pardon will face His judgment and be eternally separated from God.
In 1830, George Wilson was convicted and sentenced to death for robbing the United States Mail. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but Wilson refused to accept the pardon.
The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. "A pardon is a slip of paper," Marshall wrote, "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."
A.W. Tozer, writing about God’s mercy, noted, "[God] has always dealt in mercy with mankind and will always deal in justice when His mercy is despised."
For those who have not received God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, the first thing to do is to accept the pardon by trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross to restore your relationship with God. And for those of us who have received God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, our appropriate response is a life of worship, a life that honors God.
In chapter 12 of Romans, Paul writes that the first response to God’s mercy is "to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and please to God." Worship is the first response to God’s mercy.
With the remaining time, let’s look at the four goals of worshippers that Paul urges us toward in light of God’s mercy. After we look at these four goals, we will look at the three actions that turn these goals into realities in our lives.
In order to remember the four goals of a worshipper who honors God, I’ve organized them using the acrostic, K.L.A.P., with a "K" instead of a "C." To clap or applaud God is a gesture of giving honor to God. I hope this acrostic will help us to remember how to worship and honor God with our lives. Let’s begin.
The K in KLAP stands for "keep God’s mercy in view at all times." We see this in verse 1a.
Luis Palau wrote in "Experiencing God’s Forgiveness," about a mother who approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.
"But I don’t ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."
"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.
"My Emperor," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."
"Well, then," Napoleon said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman’s son.
God’s mercy includes His goodness and His greatness. The Creator has the power and every right to carry out judgment upon mankind’s disregard for God and His ways. Yet, His choice to offer forgiveness through Jesus Christ woos us back to Himself. If God never answers another one of our prayers, He would still deserve our worship, because of His mercy through Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." That is God’s mercy. And when we keep God’s mercy in view, we are drawn to worship Him.
The L in KLAP stands for "live your life holy and pleasing to God." We see this in verse 1b.