Summary: A look at what Jesus would expect in worship today.
What does Jesus expect in Worship?
January 6, 2002
This morning I would like to ask you what I feel is a very important question. As we begin the new year, I would like to ask you frankly, why are you here? Why did you get up this morning to come to this building? As we begin this New Year I like for us to take just a few moments and not only ask the question why we are hear but also answer that question. I believe the reason that we come to church is to worship.
Worship is the one thing that every church has in common. From the large mega-churches with thousands in attendance to the small family chapels with only three or four on Sunday morning, we all gathered for the same reason; to worship. Worship is what defines us as a church. We are involved in a lot of other activity including small groups, and kindness ministries and a host of other needed activities. But all those activities are meaningless without worship. Worship not only defines us as a church, but worship defines us as individuals.
Ralph Waldo Emerson hit the nail on the head when he said:
THE GODS we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something —have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart—but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.
Did you catch it, what we are worshipping we are becoming.
Someone has defined Christianity is the transformation of irreligious people into worshipers of the true God. If this definition is true then it is vital for us to understand the biblical concept of worship. Let’s begin by looking at what worship is not.
This morning I would like for us to look at two places in Scripture where Jesus taught specifically about worship. The first is found in John’s gospel chapter four. Jesus and his disciples are traveling through Samaria and they come to a city called Sychar. Jesus finds a woman at the well in the middle of the day. I’m not gonna tell the whole story here this morning you can read it for yourself when you go home this afternoon. During the course of their conversation the subject of worship came up. Let’s listen in to their conversation.
The woman is talking and she says,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
WORSHIP IS NOT ABOUT A CERTAIN PLACE.
21Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
You see friends worship can happen anywhere. This church as a living example of this principle. We began worship in the high-school auditorium. With a hard wooden seat, bad lighting, and poor acoustics. Was it a place of worship? Yes it was. Those first few months God met with us in a very special way in a high school auditorium.
Then we moved into the rented facility in Barlow. It looked more like a church, with nice cushion seats, better lighting, and good acoustics. Was it a place of worship? Yes it was. During the time we were at Barlow God also met with us in amazing ways.
Now we’re meeting in this building. If I understand right it’s a building almost a hundred years old. For 100 years, an entire century, people have been meeting in this building to worship God. Is it a place of worship? Yes it is.
In a few years we will move to 339. Into a brand-new church building. It will be designed to seat 350 people in worship, with ample parking, and a large stage. Will it be a place of worship? Yes it will.
Worship is not about a place.
WORSHIP IS ALSO NOT ABOUT A CERTAIN STYLE.
The worship styles of the Jews and Samaritans were very different. Just like today there are many styles of worship: there is contemporary, traditional, and blended. I want you to hear me this morning, worship is not about style. I have experienced worship in contemporary services. But I also have been in contemporary services that are anything but worshipful. I’ve been in traditional services that helped me to worship. But I must confess I been in some traditional services that left me bored.