Sermons

Summary: An effort to get the congregation to give more thought and understanding to what God desires in worship and to align their desires with His.

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1. Title: What God Wants Most

2. Text: John 4, et al

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, October 17, 2006, 3rd in the series “Stand In Awe”

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand that God’s desires are to be at the center of our worship; to understand some of the specifics that God desires from us in worship

-for the people to feel the necessity of worshiping God with our very best, our whole selves, and with the intention of making Him the center of it all

-for the people to put away selfish thoughts concerning worship; to assess whether or not their personal approach to worship is really worship that God wants

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to understand God’s desires better and to make those their concern ahead of their own

6. Type: topical, most definitely, but continuing a developing definition of the subject of “worship in spirit and in truth”

7. Dominant Thought: the focus of worship is God and what He wants.

8. Outline:

Intro: I understand that over this weekend, there is a guy setting a new world record for consecutive hours of listening to what has been dubbed the world’s worst song ever: Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City On Rock and Roll.” He sits in a recliner, inside a booth, with snacks at his side, tallying the number of times he has heard the song. I don’t know what the record is. I just didn’t know until now that this was the world’s worst song. Who knows, maybe it’s actually a government study to figure out a new way to interrogate terrorists! Nobody, in his right mind, wants to sit and listen to the world’s worst song for hours on end.

Just imagine it, this morning, millions and millions of people are gathering to worship God, and He’s witnessing all of it. I wonder what that’s like. I wonder what God does and doesn’t like…

I wonder what kind of music God likes best…

I wonder if He goes to the first service, or the 2nd service…

I wonder if He prefers a small gathering, where everyone knows everyone, or if He would rather go to the big church across town…

I wonder if He likes a long, drawn-out service, or one that’s short and to the point…

I wonder if He prefers hearing a song that is old and time-tested, or one that is new…

I wonder if He likes it better in a certain order, or if He likes it to be different each time…

I wonder if He wants it to be full of technology, or plain and simple…

I wonder if He prefers it to be indoors or outdoors…

I wonder, if He wants the saints to be quiet and contemplative, or if He wants us to be loud and responsive…

I wonder if what God wants is really even what we concern ourselves with sometimes. If it is, then we’ll need to have some idea what He wants. I find myself praying that first God will help us to care about the things that matter the most to Him. So, I wonder. I wonder what God wants. Do you?

There was a woman who asked this question, sort of. She wondered too, because the church across town had an open rivalry with her church. The two had split off from each other many years before. Talk about bitter church splits! They were racially divided, culturally divided, theologically divided, geographically divided. In fact, those 2 groups of people didn’t ever have much to do with each other at all. She was a Samaritan. The Samaritans worshiped on Mt. Gerizim. They were a splinter group from the other church, if you will. The other church was the Jews. They worshiped in Jerusalem, but location wasn’t the only problem. So, this woman is surprised that Jesus even speaks with her. But, once she realizes He’s some sort of a prophet, she asks Him to clear up who’s right and who isn’t. “You Jews say you have to worship in Jerusalem. We say you should worship here. Who’s right?”

You might paraphrase it, “When it comes to our worship of Him, what does God want?”

And that’s where we are today. I know that’s where we are in some ways, because for years there have been sibling rivalries among churches, tragically referred to as “the worship wars” – what kind of music is best, when should we meet, how long should our time together be, what should the order be, how big should a congregation be – and on and on and on. It has me asking, first of all, have we really been concerned with what matters to God all along, or have we allowed the focus to become what we personally want? It may seem that I keep talking about this, but the reason is simple: until we get what God wants to be our first concern, nothing about our worship, here together or on our own, is really going to matter.

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