Summary: If we are to be true worshippers, we need to be bold in seeking to bring the order and priorities that come from a living relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, and rolling them out onto the canvas of our lives. It may be messy and difficult, but we
Sunday Holy Communion at Emmanuel Didsbury
The Life of a Disciple
(the discipleship wheel by Richard Foster)
The Compassionate Life
Aim of the Sermon: True worship rolls out into every area of our lives.
Illustration: The small practice drawing needs to be translated onto the canvas. Our Sunday service helps us put things in order, but that needs to be translated onto the canvas of our lives.
In art classes, we would be taught to plan out the painting or drawing we were about to do. We would draw our ideas in an area a bit larger than a large postage stamp. In this small space we would map out what would be where in our painting, what would take centre-stage, what the focuspoints would be, ordering things in rough. Then it would come to translating this to our big sheet of A1. Now, I could do the postage stamp planning, but when it came to putting it all on the large scale, putting it on the canvas or whatever, I really hesitated. The big picture was easy to mess up. Things were more complicated, had to be more detailed and were generally harder to sort out on the big canvas. I was much happier doing the postage stamp-sized planning and ordering than the real painting. I remember once when David Hockney came to our art lesson, to see if anything had changed since he’d been at the school. While he was there, I definitely wasn’t starting anything big. I was afraid of what he’d think.
What is going on with Amos 5:21-24?
It would be great if you could turn in your bibles to our OT reading (p.783… Amos 5:21-24). Amos has been saying that despite God’s choosing his people, they are going to be judged by Him in a big way. And here we have God rejecting their worship.
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs…”
What is going on here? God has chosen these people, so why does he threaten judgment? God has laid down these ceremonies and regulations so why does he reject them?
They were holding the feasts, doing the sacrificing, singing the songs. And yet he rejects them.
We’re meeting together, remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, singing the songs. Are we in danger of having our worship rejected by God?
A relationship with God was never about sacrifices,
but was based on obedience.
The people in Amos’ day were rejected along with their worship because “a relationship with God was never about sacrifices, but was based on obedience”, and this was where they fell down. They met together, they did the ceremonies, sang the songs, but there was a need for justice and righteousness to roll on and out like a river, a never failing stream. Their worship wasn’t true worship because it wasn’t linked to active obedience. It wasn’t flowing out in abundance, like living water; it was stagnant.
And this issue was still a live issue in Jesus’ day. In Matt 7:21-24; where Jesus claims the position of God in judging humankind, he says this: