Summary: This is the first in a series of messages in conjunction with Dwayne Moore’s "Thirty Days of Praise"
“What Is Worship” - #1
* Please take you Bibles and turn with me to John 4. In just a moment we’ll read verses 7-24.
* I read a story this week of a little boy whose parents were avid sports fans. They didn’t miss a game. On the other hand, they went to church services only sporadically. In his mind the little boy was attempting to learn what was alike and what was different about the two meeting places. Finally he found the one thing that is done both at the ball field as well as in church. On the Sunday before Independence Day, they began the worship service with the “Star Spangled Banner”. The boy recognized this song from the ball games and sang his heart out. He loved the ending where they were able to sing loudly as they wanted. This morning it was GREAT!! The entire congregation roared, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” As the congregation became quiet - and - right on cue the little boy shouted, “Play ball”.
* I read another story of a little boy who didn’t really want to go to church service. He wanted to stay home and do something else. When he arrived at the church building with his parents, he noticed pictures in the lobby. Being a little boy, he didn’t realize there was a war going on and that these pictures were honoring those men and women who had lost their lives on the field of battle in defense of our nation. He asked, “Who are these people?” The head usher said, “These are pictures of people who have lost their lives in the service.” With a fearful look the boy shyly asked, “Was that the morning service or the evening service?”
* To the little boy who said, “Play ball” we should say that worship is not a game and to the other boy who was afraid of dying in the service, we should say that “worship should not be like a funeral.” Vance Havner said, “If things are quiet and undisturbed in your church, it is not necessarily a good thing. Things are generally pretty quiet around the sick and the dead -- especially in the grave yards.”
* The simple truth is that in the “worship services” of the average church, you might get the idea that someone has died. Honestly, I am glad that we got the word that someone did die, but that was not the end of the story, HE CAME BACK TO LIFE. That’s a reason to rejoice! In the days after the ascension, the church services took on the form of a party as they celebrated the life of Jesus. What is Worship?
* Today, we have begun 30 Days of Praise. We are on a journey.
* This is an informational, inspiration, and impacting journey to understand what it means to worship, to praise, to know God more, to worship with others, and to listen to God’s voice. It is my belief that if we will apply ourselves for the next 5 Sundays, our outlook, inlook, and uplook, will be changed forever.
* Today let’s begin with Jesus’ teaching on worship. Let read our text.
* The conversation we have just read is almost predictable on several levels. First, Jesus always begins with a subject that is very natural. In this case, the woman had come to draw water so Jesus began with water. However, to learn from Jesus is to recognize that He begins with the natural and moves the subject to the spiritual. From water to living water to offering eternal life. He said, “Come and drink and never thirst again.” Her response was like ours, “I want some.”
* It is at this point that we see both the spirit and truth of Jesus Himself. For He made the offer like He always does, but before He gives it, He will always probe into our personal lives to root out that which is displeasing to God. “Go call your husband and come back.” Ouch. He could have talked all day and not gone there. Probably with a mixture of embarrassment and terseness she said, “I have no husband.” After hearing Jesus response, this woman did what many of us do, she changed the subject. Her subject something which she felt comfortable discussing (as opposed to her life). It was Worship.
* They were many debates surrounding worship in those days also. The most heated debate was about the location. Samaritan felt they could worship on Mt Gerizim and the Jews thought it should be in Jerusalem. In Antiquities, Josephus suggests that this tradition of worship goes back as far as Sanballat in the days of Nehemiah. Obviously, some of those buildings there were Christian in nature. This woman thought, “I can side track this religious prophet.” Little did she realize to whom she was speaking.