Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This passage has a great deal to teach us about worship.

A Study of the Book of Acts

Sermon # 34

“Words on Worship”

Acts 20:7-12

As you travel this summer on vacation and to visit friends and relatives I hope that where ever you are on Sunday that you make it a habit to attend church. Take a vacation from your job. Take a vacation from your worries. But don’t take a vacation from God. Vacations and family trip afford us a wonderful opportunity to experience difference kinds of worship styles.

You will find that most worship services can be divided into; traditional, contemporary or blended. The traditional service is usually fairly rigid, the choir has robes, the congregation sings from hymnals (and only hymnals) and there is a piano and an organ. The older folks generally like it and the young people don’t.

In contrast a contemporary worship can be more informal. The music is more upbeat, praise choruses are used rather than hymns and there may be other instruments such as a guitar and drums. The young people like it and the older people often hate it.

The blended service attempts to blend some of the best of the traditional and the contemporary. Sometimes only to make no one truly happy. That is why perhaps the most difficult job in the church is worship leader. Why is it that sometimes no one is happy? Why does this happen? It happens because some say, “I do not like choruses and I will not be happy until we only sing hymns,” while others on the other side say, “Hymns do not minister to me so I will only be happy when we sing choruses.” What needs to happen is that each of us develops a spirit of love in diversity. It may be that certain aspects of any given service do not minister to you, but you have to ask yourself is, is it ministering to someone else? We must get to the point that we realize that we are not the only one present to worship.

Let me share a story that I think will illustrate what I mean. A few years ago on one of our family vacations we attended a small church in Florida. When we drove into the parking lot of this small church we noticed that it was posted on the church sign, “traditional services.” We went into the church and sat down a few minutes before the worship service was scheduled to begin. There were a half a dozen people sitting in the pews, who turned and looked at us but no one spoke to us or shook our hands. The choir came, in all six of them, in robes. That struck me as a little peculiar. When the preacher got up to start the service, it became clear that he was the interim pastor and this was only his second Sunday. He noticed the four of us sitting in the service, and asked someone in the congregation if they had any visitor’s cards. The response was, “NO!” I wanted to crawl under something for the poor preacher. I guess they were not expecting any visitors. We later discovered that this church had split over whether to have traditional or contemporary services. Now that is sad!

The passage before has a great deal to teach us about worship. This does not mean that we have to go to absurd extremes, meeting only in private homes, on the third floor, lighting the proceedings with oil lambs and listening to inordinately long sermons. But we can see some principles of worship here.

First of all notice that worship is to be a celebration.

Notice that in the first part of verse seven it says, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,”

Notice that it says that on the first day of the week the church came together. It seems that almost automatically the Christians had moved from the Old Testament Sabbath worship to worship on the first day of the week in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ. The Christians did not worship on the old day but on the new “Lord’s Day,” as they called it. Our worship services are a celebration of the resurrection, the promise and seal of our own eternal life.

Do you remember when you were saved? Do you remember the excitement you felt? Now coming to services week after week, somehow the just the repetitive nature of it, you have lost your excitement, your joy in worship. The truth is that sometimes the worship service feels more like a funeral than it does a worship service.

I want to share with you some of what the Bible reveals about worship being a celebration. Although the Old Testament saint did not have near as much to celebrate as we New Testament saints do, listen to what the psalms say about worship as a celebration.

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