Summary: Discover the revealed motivations for the worship of God
This morning, we begin a new message series on the subject of worship. Sometime ago, I sat into our worship team meeting and was asked to teach on worship. We noticed that I had taught on preparing for worship, but never on the topics of why we worship, how we worship and the results of worship.
So today and for the next two Sundays, we will look at the revelation for worship, our response in worship and the result of worship. Gordon Dahl said, "Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship."
H.G. Wells said, "Until a man has found God, he begins at no beginning and works to no end!"
Let me begin by defining what worship is. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated into the English word, worship, means "to bow down" or "to prostrate oneself." In the New Testament, the Greek word translated into the English word, worship, means "to kiss the hand toward" or "to prostrate oneself in reverence."
This morning, we will look at what motivates us to bow down and show great reverence toward God. In other words, we will look at what we know about God or what has been revealed about God that weakens our knees and at the same time strengthens our hearts to sing praises to God.
Our text for this morning is Psalm 135. Let me read that for us.
Anyone who has read the Bible will see a great deal of content that arouses our worship of God. In the back cover of our bulletin, we read that worship is God revealing Himself, and we, His creation, responding to what He has revealed of Himself.
God uses three sources to reveal Himself; God uses His creation, His Word, the Bible, and His Son, Jesus Christ. This morning, we will allow the Bible to reveal two characteristics about God that arouses our worship for Him.
First, the Bible reveals that God is good. We see this in verses 3, 4, 8-14.
The psalm writer has recalled to his own heart the undeserved love, protection and care of God for him and his people, the Israelites. God initiated a relationship with Jacob and God continued His relationship with Jacob’s descendant, the Israelites. When the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, God rescued them and gave them the land of Canaan.
To say that God is good refers to His moral qualities and relational qualities as being admirable and praiseworthy. Let me highlight two aspects of God’s goodness. They are God’s choice and God’s care.
A person’s choices reflect a person’s heart. Anyone can choose to be loving, caring and faithful when life is good or when he or she is being treated well. But when your life is filled with hardships or when great injustice is done to you, your choices in response to the hardship and injustice will reveal your heart.
Consider God’s choice in response to us. The Bible tells us that all of us have sinned, that is, we are not living as God intended for us to live. And as God’s creation, we shame our Creator. Yet God is merciful to us. He does not give up on us.
Let’s say you were the most upright and loving parent imaginable, but your child runs away from home. And when you finally hear news of your child, he is arrested for breaking into a person’s home and for killing the homeowner in a struggle to rob him. Your child has shamed you by not living as you intended.
What will you do? You have choices to make. Would you disown Him? Would you wish you never gave birth to him? Would you visit him in prison? Would you love him still?
God, who is perfect in moral and relational qualities, created us to be like Himself in character, but we have ignored Him and lived lives that shame Him. The gap between God’s perfection and our imperfection is millions of times greater than the gap between the most perfect parent and the most prodigal child.
Yet, the Bible tells us that God chose not to disown us. God chose to show us His kindness by coming in Jesus Christ. More than that, God chose to pay the penalty for our sins. 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’s God’s goodness revealed in His choice. We have nothing to do with this. We cannot earn a right relationship with God because of our sin, so God earned it for us. Is He worthy of your worship? Yes, His choice to pay the penalty of our sins earns our total allegiance.
God’s goodness is also revealed in His care. Before we can see God’s goodness in His care for us, we need to understand that His care for us is long-term. He cares about our having a right relationship with Him for eternity. He cares about developing our character to be like His.