Summary: Message explores how our relationships with other people affects our personal and corporate interaction with God in worship.
02.19.17 Part 4
How do we advance to higher ground in our worship? Last week we talked about five ways to enhance our public worship experience. Today I want to add a sixth to that list. It is too often overlooked. It is often not even associated with the worship experience. Yet Jesus said that it is so important, you shouldn’t even proceed with worship if it is not addressed.
I’m talking about our relationships with other people and how that affects our interaction with God in worship. The text is found in Matthew 5:23-25 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”1 The picture here is of a person coming to the temple to worship God. As an act of worship he brings his offering to the altar. This is how a follower of Jesus would worship at that time. The temple was still standing. The Law was still in effect. Jesus had not yet made His sacrifice on the cross. So a follower of Jesus would bring His gift to the altar of the temple in worship to the Lord. The significance of Jesus’ teaching here cannot be grasped unless we understand that this person has come to worship God. The Message translation helps us make the personal application. Matt. 5:23-24 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, 24 abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”
So one essential for quality worship is to resolve relational issues. The quality of the vertical relationship with God depends on the quality of our horizontal relationships with one another. How can we enhance our public worship experience? Be united in heart and soul with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
First consider with me the power of obeying this command.
I. The Power of unity in our worship.
It’s described in Ps 133.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing — Life forevermore.”
Where brethren dwell together in unity, the anointing flows down from the head all over the body, all the way down to the edge of the priestly garment. It is the anointing that breaks the yoke. If we want God’s anointing on our worship, this unity is essential. We cannot harbor angst and resentment toward other people and enjoy the flow of God’s anointing. We cannot dismiss our offenses toward other people as insignificant and enjoy the anointing of God on our lives. The anointing flows where people’s hearts are in one accord.
“For there the Lord commanded the blessing.” The key to a powerful worship service is God commanding the blessing upon it. When God commands the blessing, no amount of demons can counter it. When God commands the blessing, people get delivered. When God commands the blessing, people get healed. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Cor. 3:17). What we want during our worship is God commanding the blessing upon us. Amen?
Perhaps the best example of this is in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. In obedience to the Lord 120 disciples were gathered together in prayer and worship. Acts 2:1 very specifically tells us they were in unity BEFORE the power of God fell on them. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven….” When the conditions were met, heaven moved, heaven descended upon them, the Holy Spirit came in power. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Prior to that monumental event, they were ALL in one accord. Your attitude of heart matters. My attitude of heart matters. Each individual in the congregation makes a contribution to this. They were ALL in one accord. What a beautiful state to be in as a congregation. Could it be that churches are powerless because this is sorely neglected? I wonder what might happen in our churches if everybody got their relationships right and came together the way the 120 did on the Day of Pentecost.