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Summary: 3 of 3 of the series, "The Heart of Worship". Yes there is a prize in worship. Only it may not be what you think...

the prize of worship

John 20:10-18; James 4:8

READ AT BEGINNING OF SERVICE:

John 20:10-18 (NIV)

10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ’I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’" 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

INTRODUCTION

Today is the last message in the series on "The Heart of Worship". Before we begin this morning I’d just like to take a few moments to summarize what I spoke about in the last two messages in this series so as to provide some background for today’s message.

Remember that the heart of Worship – the essence of worship is found in the midst of people who are hungry/thirsty for more of God. True worship flows out of a deep, wrenching hunger and thirst desire to know God and not only to know Him but to dwell in His presence. It goes beyond the ritual or traditional worship into true God-inspired worship.

The first message of the series was the presence of worship. From the words of Jesus in John 4:23-24 and through the illustration of these words in Luke 7:36-50 we learned that true worship is not determined by place or posture but by the attitude of our hearts and the longing of our spirits after the heart of God.

True worship is birthed from a heart that has reverence for who God is, that is humble and repentant, and that has a penetrating love for God. True worship is not only birthed from these attitudes of our heart but also from the longing of our spirit after God’s heart – when we seek the giver not the gifts and are concerned more with ministry to God rather than ministry FROM God.

In the second message of this series I talked about the price of worship. Through the account of the Israelites at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:1-20:21 we learned that there is a big difference between worship and WORSHIP! The Israelites didn’t enter into a place of intimate worship with God because they were afraid to pay the price and sent Moses in instead. Paul wrote in Romans 12:1 that our spiritual act of worship is to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.

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