Main Idea: Selfishness, pride and bitterness are all attitudes that will keep us from celebrating God’s presence in worship
Interrogative: What are the barriers that will keep us from celebrating God’s presence in worship
Intro: This past week on vacation, my wife and I carried my mom to visit some of our relatives in Indiana. On Wednesday, Penny and I went up to Chicago for the day to tour Moody Bible Institute, and to look around town.
In the evening, we drove out of Chicago to Barrington IL. to attend the mid week service at Willow Creek Community Church.
Some of you may have heard of WCCC, But for those who have not, it is currently one of the largest churches in the country. It started out back in 1970 when a young college graduate named Bill Hybels, who had been working with a youth ministry of South Park Church of Park Ridge, decided to start a church that offered the contemporary worship format to adults, and thus they became a pioneer in this kind of worship style.
They currently have four identical worship services on the weekend - two on Saturday, and two on Sunday, and two services during the week - one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. This is the only time I have ever been to a Wednesday night service that had approximately 5000 people in attendance.
As the service began with praise and worship time, I looked around at the different people in the congregation.
You could really tell that some were putting their hearts into it. They were singing with joy, lifting their hands praising God with everything they had. But, there were some in the crowd that looked like they had swallowed a bag of sour lemons!
Why were some in the crowd so expressive in their worship, while others looked like they were bored to tears?
Even in this church, where the music was upbeat and free-flowing, and the Spirit of God was so strong, there were people in that place who would have rather been somewhere else.
When I look out into this congregation, I see people who really put their heart and soul into worship. They enjoy singing praises to God, and the prayer times, and the spoken word. But, I also see others that would rather be someplace else. Why is that? I think it is because many do not understand that worship is an attitude of the heart.
Worship is not an intellectual act -- our minds are not equipped for worship: It is a spiritual act. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” That verse from the Message translation reads like this: “God is sheer being itself -- Spirit. Those who worship Him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
Roy T. Edgemon in his book: The Doctrines Baptists Believe writes this: “True worship includes the total person, both mind and emotion, in a way that calls him or her to praise God for who He is and what He has done and, in so doing, to reach new awarenesses, to learn more of God.” He also points out that worship is a primary purpose for the church, and that through worship, the church gains direction from God as the people praise God and listen to the voice of Christ. I believe that any church that comes together for worship must do so with the right heart-attitude. Churches that do not do this will never grow.
When we come together as God’s people to worship Him, we should come to celebrate His presence among us.
However, let us first understand, and avoid, the barriers that keep us from true heart-felt worship.
In this passage, we are going to examine the heart actions of two people. One, had the right heart-attitude, while the other did not. One, let nothing stop her from expressing her worship, while the other erected barriers in his heart that kept him from worshiping.
I. Background (vv 1-8)
The first barrier is...
II. We cannot worship with a selfish heart (v. 3)
1. Mary was so grateful for what Jesus had done for her family, that she gave her very best to Jesus (v. 3)
2. Judas who pretended to be concerned for the poor, was actually only concerned with what he could take (v. 6)
3. Worship is an act of selfless giving, not an act of selfish taking.
The Second barrier is...
III. We cannot worship with a proud heart (v. 3)
1. Marys act of wiping Jesus feet with her hair was a sign of submission to her master. (v. 3)
2. Do you think Judas was the kind of person that would humble himself enough to wash the masters feet?