Summary: A sermon examining why we worship.
Two young newlyweds were preparing to enjoy their first baked ham dinner in their new apartment. The new wife got the meat out, setting it on the cutting board. She then took a knife and chopped off both ends of the ham with a knife and tossed the two small ends in the garbage can.
"Wait a minute," said the bewildered husband. "Why did you do that? Why did you just cut off the ends of the ham and throw them away?" "I don’t know. My mother always did," answered the wife. "Maybe it helps bring out the flavor."
Unsatisfied with this answer, the husband called his mother-in-law. "Can you tell me why you cut the two ends off a ham before you cook it?" "Well," said the mother, "I’m not really sure why. That’s just the way my mother did her ham, and it was always delicious."
As soon as he hung up he called his wife’s grandmother. "Grandma, we have an important question for you. Can you tell us why you cut the ends off a ham before you cook it?" "Oh, my yes, dear," answered Grandma in her quiet, thin voice. "I cut the ends of the ham off so it would fit in my pan."
For the past few weeks we have been asking the question “why?” We want to be on guard that we do not just go through motions or act because of bad information. We want to know why we do certain things as a church. Today we wrap this series up by talking about worship. Why worship?
We know that worship can be a divisive issue. Actually, worship in and of itself is not divisive; our preferences are what is divisive. However, this morning I want us to go deeper and really search why we worship.
To begin this search we must first ask…
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
Most of the time worship is seen as something that happens on a Sunday morning, at a set time, with a group of other people. And while it is true that we gather here on Sunday mornings for a worship service, we have to ask if that is all worship is? Is worship simply a five-part exercise: singing, praying, giving, communion, and preaching? Is that it?
I have reached the conclusion that worship is more than an event. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is a life given in obedience to God.
Most of us have had popcorn. Maybe it’s because I’m not a great cook, but one thing I can always be sure of is that when I make popcorn in the microwave some kernels don’t pop. I’ve always wondered why that is. These kernels receive the same heat in the same bag at the same time, but some kernels just don’t pop.
Some Christians read the same Bible passages, but some Christians don’t pop. They hear the same spiritual songs, but some Christians don’t pop. They hear the same sermons, but some Christian’s don’t pop. They are issued the same challenge to witness, but some Christians don’t pop. They know the same teaching to tithe, but some Christians don’t pop. They hear the same call to serve, but some Christians don’t pop.
I think the reason why Christians don’t pop is because there has been a misconception concerning worship. Worship is not simply an event that we go to. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is a life given in obedience to God.
This is based on Romans 12:1. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
According to Paul, our spiritual act of worship is offering our bodies as living sacrifices. He doesn’t mention a closing song or a prayer time; Paul says that we live our lives as a worship service to God. Worship doesn’t start when you the first song is sung. Worship doesn’t even start when you walk in this building. Worship never ends! Your entire life is a worship service.
So now that we know what worship is, did you notice why we worship? Paul tells us why in that verse. Let’s read it again. Romans 12:1. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
We worship because of…
In Romans chapter 11 Paul has just concluded describing to the church in Rome how God has worked His plan to bring the nations back to Him. It was through Jesus’ sacrifice that God is able to show mercy to us. That’s why at the start of chapter 12 Paul says, “Therefore…” Because God has shown us mercy, we will worship Him.