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Summary: Jesus is worthy of our worship.

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What’s a Praise Chorus?

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. When he returned home his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer, “it was good. But they did something different. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are praise choruses?”

“They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” the farmer answered.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

“It’s like this,” the farmed replied, “if I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, oh, Martha, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white coes, the black and white cows, the cows, the cows, the cows are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the corn, corn, corn.’”

The farmer added, “And then if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus.”

What’s a Hymn?

On the exact same Sunday, a young man from the city church visited the farmer’s small country church. When he returned home his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “it was good. But they did something different. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are hymns?”

“They’re sort of like regular songs, only different” the young man answered.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

“It’s like this,” the young man replied, “if I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you,

Oh, Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry

Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth

Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by

To the righteous, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain?

There in their heads is no shadow of sense

Hearkenest they not in God’s sun or His rain

Unless from the sweet, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea, those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight

Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed

Then goaded by minions of darkness and night

They all my precious, delicious corn did chew.

So look to that bright shining day by and by

Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn

Where no vicious animals make my soul cry

And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.’”

Finally the young man added, “Then if I were to sing verses one, three, and four, and change keys on the last verse, that would be a hymn.”

__________

Today’s passage gives us an account of one of Jesus’ visits to the temple.

The temple was a place of WORSHIP.

Worship = an active response to the character, words, and actions of God, whereby the MIND is transformed (e.g. belief, repentance), the HEART is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and ACTIONS are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service).

1. Jesus is ANGRY when our worship falls short.

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market?’” (vv. 13-16).

The temple looked for like a Walmart than a place of worship. It was not so much the physical force as the moral power Jesus employed that emptied the temple courts.

a. Jesus is angry when we KEEP OTHERS from worship.

The merchants and money changers were probably in the Court of the Gentiles (“the temple courts,” v. 14). Gentile worship was being disrupted.

b. Jesus is angry when we are DISTRACTED from worship.

Sometimes we distract ourselves between our minds are not set on the Lord.

Illustration: Today (Super Bowl Sunday) many Christian football fans are probably distracted by thoughts about the big game.

c. Jesus is angry when we offer a CONVENIENT form of worship.

The sale of animals and the changing of money were services offered to make the temple experience more convenient. Visitors from afar needed animals for their sacrifices, and they also needed their money changed into the local currency in order to pay the temple tax. It was very convenient to be able to get both of these jobs done inside the temple walls. But, according to Jesus, the merchants and money changers should have offered their services outside the temple. Sometimes what is most convenient is not honoring to the Lord.

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