Summary: Churches fight over worship. Members leave over worship. But what is true worship, worship that is acceptable to God?
A. Church talk about it
B. Churches fight about it
C. Churches sometimes even split over it.
II. When it comes to the issue of worship
A. I have heard people say, “I go to that church because of their incredible worship.”
B. I have heard people say, “I stopped going there because they changed the worship.”
C. I have even heard people say, “I would never go there because of their worship.”
III. Drive down the road looking at church signs and often you will see something to the effect
A. Traditional worship at “a certain time” and
B. Contemporary worship at “a certain time.”
IV. When people refer to worship, what exactly are they talking about?
A. Many people say that worship is that part of the service before the sermon, typically the time of music, prayers, offering and the like.
B. We theological types say things like “Worship includes everything that a church does on Sunday morning.”
C. Still other people say, “I don’t need church to worship God at all. I can worship God any place and any time” but then most people that say that don’t worship any place or any time.
V. So what is worship?
VI. Paul put it this way in Romans chapter 12, verses 1 and 2 - “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed b y the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
VII. True worship is not about receiving from God.
VIII. True worship, worship that counts is about giving ourselves fully to God.
IX. True worship is what we read about in John chapter 12, verses 1 to 11.
True Worship is Planned (vs. 3)
1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at th table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
I. If you were to take your Harmony of the Gospels, you would find that gospel writers Mark and Matthew also include this story.
A. In their story however, they add that this dinner took place in the home of Simon the Leper.
B. It is possible that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were the host, but perhaps the home of Simon was larger or more centrally located or whatever.
C. Or since we know that the Pharisee’s were also plotting to kill Lazarus, maybe having the dinner at someone else’s home seemed safer to them.
D. Whatever the case, this dinner was probably not hosted at the home of the sisters and Lazarus.
II. Now I would ask you to look at verse 3, “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet or Jesus....”
A. Where did Mary get this perfume?
1. I doubt that she said to herself, “I wonder what Simon might have to honor Jesus with.”
2. I doubt that she went into the bedroom, looked around for the perfume and said, “I know. This would be a great way to worship Jesus.”
B. No; I know I am assuming here, but
1. I assume that Mary must have brought this bottle of perfume from her home to Simon’s home.
2. I am assuming that Mary must have “Planned” to honor Christ by anointing him with the perfume.
III. True worship, which is honoring of Christ is planned.
A. In writing to the Corinthians concerning a special offering Paul said, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” (1 Cor. 16:2)
B. He also said to the Corinthians concerning offerings in his second letter, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2nd Cor. 9:7)
C. What I see here, relative to offerings to God is that “worship” should be planned.
IV. Now I know that sometimes worship is also spontaneous.
A. When Moses realized he was in the presence of God, he took off his sandals and worshiped.
B. I don’t think Isaiah in chapter six expected to see the Lord, but when he did, he worshiped.