Summary: It's my prayer you will love and respect God today. That you will be filled with His Holy Spirit to live a life of praise. That you will have a song in your heart today for the eternity that God has provided you through Jesus Christ. This is reverence.
Personally, I don't like the word 'reverance'. You know why? Because when I was a kid to go to an environment where I had to be "reverent" meant I was going to be bored out of my mind. The word was destroyed by my experiences in worship. I hated to be reverent. Because being reverent meant being bored and silent.
When I was a young youth minister right out of college a part of my job was to lead the singing in worship on Sunday. I thought it would be great to sing some songs the teenagers knew, that they learned at camp, retreats, seminars, and places like that. I put a little blue book together and placed them in the pews and on Sunday I would lead a couple of songs from that book as well as some from the hymnal.
Most people didn't mind but a few did. And these few had very loud voices. I don't mean loud like volume loud, I mean loud like in a lot of money and influence loud. And they didn't like the songs in the little blue book. You know why? Because they weren't reverent enough. That's what I was told. I was given a list of reverent approved songs from which I could choose to lead on Sunday because these folks weren't confident that I understood what it meant to be reverent. And according to their definition they were right, I didn't get it and I still don't.
Maybe to some the act of being reverent before God means singing songs written in the 19th century or before, dress in your best clothes, keep your hands down, and your mouth shut and while you're at it be completely bored out of your mind. I don't know about you but that definition of reverence sounds more like torture to me.
Last week we talked about obedience. I asked this question, "Do you want to know how to live with less problems and with less stress?" I should've added, "Do you want to go to heaven?" Because that is what is most important. What we're talking about today can help with this too. I don't know what kind of life you want for yourself, but, does a day filled with peace sound good? How about a week of pure joy, or a month of well-being? How about the assurance that if you died today, you would go to heaven?
Here's how you live the life you really want. Love and respect God so that all you want to do with your life is obey Him. Those who listened last week or read this on the blog are thinking they're getting ripped off because this was the message last week. What in the world does this have to do with reverence? Everything!
When a human being chooses to make decisions based on what they want to do, or on what the world says is ok to do rather than on what God wants or what God says is ok they can suffer some pretty extreme consequences. Just go to a bar late on a Friday night and you'll see this lived out in real time. Now, some of you are wondering just what in the world does your preacher know about bars on a friday night anyway? Uhm...don't ask. But here's the deal, If you want to get wasted there's nothing holding you back. The bartender and probably everyone in it would tell you it's ok to get drunk. The bartender might mention you call cab when you leave because it's not ok to drive under the influence, that after all, is against the law.
But that's not what God says or what God wants. God says, "Don't get drunk." The world says its ok to get wasted just don't drive. But how does a person who is drunk listen to wise counsel? How many wasted people with keys in hand stumbling out to their car will remember a PSA about not driving under the influence? And how about this little nugget of truth according to the crime victims unit of the United Way organization. Almost half, 45% of those who commit rape do so under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. What if these rapists had listened to God? What if they made a choice to stay sober? There would be 45% less rapes a year.
Here's what God says, "Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:18-20.
So the Bible clearly spells it out here, right? "Don't get drunk or high." This is what God wants. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to make the connection that a lot of problems in our world occur because people don't listen to God here. Maybe there's a lot of problems in your world because of abusive drinking or drug use. If you're addicted to drugs and/or alcohol I really hope that you're ready today to get help. The phone number you need to call if you want help in Nova Scotia is 1.877.742.2406. You need to know that being addicted to a substance is not God's purpose for you. He wants good things for your life. This is why He gave us His Word.