Summary: The purpose of worship is to experience God.
Have you heard about the little boy who attended church for the first time and was asked how it went? He replied, "The music was nice but the commercial was too long."
Or have your heard about the recent experience of a pastor who changed the order of worship so that the sermon was given before the offering was taken. This upset a four year old who asked her mother, "Why is he talking before he gets paid?"
Worship. What is worship? Is it something we do every week because it is something we do every week?
Is it about a source of stability in a sea of change? Is it merely about the past and not the present or the future?
What is worship? More importantly, what is the purpose of worship? Why are we here? Why are you here? Tradition? Have to be? Want to be? Not sure?
In August we voted by a unanimous vote to operate with a set of by-laws that is organized around the five purposes of the church - which we call magnification or worship, mission or outreach, membership or fellowship, maturity or discipleship, and ministry or service. These five areas are Biblical and they are very important to us because all five are necessary for us to have a balanced and healthy ministry.
For the next five Sundays we are going to examine each of these purposes because we need to understand why we are here at Oak and Mitchell Streets in Kendallville, Indiana. I cannot say this strongly enough: it is imperative that we begin to understand the reasons, the purposes of why we are here. If we don’t we are going to flounder in our efforts, get frustrated in our attempts, and could ultimately fail to accomplish the mission that God has for us.
In your bulletin is a chart from the book The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. We are going to refer to this chart over the next five weeks. Please notice that this week’s chart has the segment on worship circled. Included in that segment is the text for this morning’s sermon, Acts 2:46 - 47 that is also part of this series’ text: Acts 2:42 - 47.
Acts 2:46 - 47 has already been read but I want to read it again to help us understand the purpose of worship:
"They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity-all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved."
What is the purpose of worship? We will answer that question in a few minutes. But, right now I want us to notice a few critical elements of worship in the early church because they are critical for our worship of today.
1. "They worshipped together at the Temple each day."
Please note the following phrases in this verse:
A. They worshipped together. . . They worshipped God together. The God whom Peter in verses 14 - 40 told them had come to save them from their sins was the God they came to worship. They came together to worship a God in whom they had placed their confidence and trust.
They came together because there is strength in numbers. But, they did not come together just because it was what they were expected to do. They came together to celebrate and praise God for what He had done for them and in them through Christ and for who He was and still is!
Good worship, strong worship is corporate worship. We need this time during which we come together and seek God together. The people that are spoken of in this passage of scripture had jobs, they had families, they had anxieties, and they had hope. They were just like us!
Look at the chart again with me and notice the next to last column. What does it say? It says, "A force for living."
Now look with me at the column to the immediate left. What does it say? It says, "A power to live on."
Force and power - two strong terms. Every single human being on this planet needs a force, a reason, a purpose, and a passion for living. What is yours?
The top of that next to last column is titled, "The Church Provides." The church provides a force for living and worship is means to providing that force.
But, behind that force for living is a power to live on. Notice the title of this column - "Basic Human Need." And the force for living is not the church it is the God of the church.
Each of us has a need for power. We need power, we need strength to live, to hope, to believe, to love. But, the power that comes through worship comes not through the worship service itself but from the God whom we worship.