Summary: Big Idea: God don't want no worthless worship, so let's make our worship worth His while. Points: Worship is worthless to God when it isn't reverent, repentant, or real.
INTRODUCTION: Comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who died in 2004 at the age of 82, made a living making fun of himself and the difficulty of getting what we all desire: a little respect, please. Some of his best lines:
• "I tell ya I get no respect from anyone. I bought a cemetery plot. The guy said, "There goes the neighborhood!"
• "My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.”
• “I come from a stupid family. During the Civil War my great uncle fought for the West.”
• "I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio."
• "My father used to carry around a picture of the kid that came with his wallet.”
• "My wife made me join a bridge club. I jump off next Tuesday."
• “I told my psychiatrist everybody hates me. He said I was being ridiculous—everybody hasn’t met me yet.”
>> No respect is funny when it’s a clown like Dangerfield soliciting our laughter with silly jokes. No respect, however, is no laughing matter when it’s God who is upset with His people for not showing respect toward Him in worship. [READ Malachi 1:6-14]
I’ll give you the big idea right upfront:
BIG IDEA: God don’t want no worthless worship! (I apologize to the English teachers in the house.)
>> But when does worship become worthless?
I. WORSHIP IS WORTHLESS WHEN IT ISN'T REVERENT (6-8)
A. “Reverent” doesn’t mean “somber, quiet, funereal, lacking joy,” etc.
1. Psalm 100: “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth!” (Bet that's pretty loud!)
2. It means showing proper honor & respect to the Lord.
B. When the Israelites came up to Jerusalem to worship, they were to bring animals from their flocks, wheat and fruit from their fields, and whatever other gifts of gratitude they wanted to give to God.
1. They had to bring sacrifices every time they entered the sanctuary.
2. The sacrifices differed depending on the occasion
a. Some were for forgiveness and acceptance,
b. Others for dedication and celebration.
3. No one in Israel was ever “saved” by bringing the sacrifices; the sacrifices were a means to their maintaining a harmonious relationship with the Lord.
C. God did not require a great deal of the people in the way of offerings—tokens, really, of their herds and their crops, and handful of grain, or an animal or two for the family. But what they brought had to pass two important tests, and in many cases only they and God would know if they passed them. What they brought had to be the first and the best—the first of their flock, and the best animal they had. There were two very important reasons for this.
1. First, the sacrifice was a gift that was to be offered to God. The kind of gift someone gives indicates what they think of the recipient of the gift, right? To bring God an inferior gift would say that one did not think much of Him. It’s good not to insult God.
2. Second, some of the animals brought were for sin offerings, some for dedication and thanksgiving. In either case the animal had to be perfect. When the animal represented God’s provision for the sins of the worshipper, it had to be without blemish itself.
3. This principle came to fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross: he was the sinless Lamb of God who gave his life for the sins of the world.
a. If Christ had been defiled, a sinner, his death would have been no better than our own.
b. The only one who could redeem us from sin was the only one who was sinless.
4. God has no pleasure in or respect for worshippers who offer to Him something that is corrupt or ruined, and therefore worthless.
D. ILLUSTRATION: Around Thanksgiving a few years ago, radio commentator Paul Harvey shared a true story of a woman and her frozen Thanksgiving turkey. The Butterball Turkey Company set up a telephone hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for 23 years. That's right—23 years. The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat if the freezer had been kept below freezing for the entire 23 years. But the Butterball representative warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would probably have deteriorated to such a degree that she could not recommend eating it. The caller replied, "That's what I thought. We'll give the turkey to our church."
>> Are we making meaningful offerings to God with our time, talent, & treasure? Or is God just getting our leftovers? Your leftovers? (BI) God don’t want that.