Summary: Worship is a total way of life of loving our Lord that will stand up under the scrutiny of God himself—and in spite of our circumstances. This is a four parter. (It originally started as one sermon and was split off and expanded to four.)
Disciplines are a way of life for most people. Choosing to do things on a regular basis so that desired goals are reached—those goals wouldn’t be reached without disciplining ourselves in certain tasks:
We teach our daughters and sons to brush their teeth. Why? SO that when the photographer says “cheese” it doesn’t actually LOOK like cheese is plastered to their teeth. I once went about 14 days without brushing my teeth.
Some of you want to acquire high levels of competence and pay in a trade: so, you discipline yourself to work, study, and observing and imitating the masters in that trade
Some of us use greeeeaaaat discipline and skill with our thumb and posterior. In so doing we become quite adept maneuvering through 267 channels while sitting, or alternately laying on the couch.
Runners will brave the elements, regardless of the forecast in order to finish or record their best times in the local 5K 10K or marathon (and some of us are content to watch them on TV)
But my favorite discipline is working with 6 or 7 speeeeecial guys here in the church as we say NO to Twinkies, Pop, and Sweets, and say YES to moderate portions, water, and exercise. Why? So we can pretend we are healthy and 18 again . . .
What is your favorite discipline?
Actually, I hope that our favorite discplines are those that get us closer to God. Now it is true that we could not do anything to ascend to God on our own. He reveals himself to us, HE is the one who made us, He is high and lifted up. He is Spirit. Not so, we. We are but dust . . . but blessed dust we are. Because he reveals to us himself, in makes us in His image, for his people he breathes not just the breathe of mortal life, but also invades us with the rushing wind of His Spirit, who enables us to do many things. And he has also left us with the responsibility and means to grow in love and appreciation and service of him through what many people call:
These Spiritual Disciplines, or Spiritual Habits are opportunities for US to build and form Christ likeness wthin ourselves, to change years of bad habits and living in hostility or apathy to the Lord, to remove the remnants of sinful thinking and living and replace them with the knowledge, love, and dedication to the Lord in all we do.
God is ultimately the one who forms Christ in us, but in His grace and wisdome has given us the means to do our part to “work out our salvation”, to “fan into flame” the gifts He has given us, to build a redeemed and holy community of believers that are God’s family, and above all, to develop a close, intimate, relationship with him.
Without pursuing Spiritual disciplines, we become weak and ineffectual at best, spiritually paralyzed, dead, or apostate at worst.
We have already considered some: commitment to each other in community and mutual encouragement, being built up through devotion to the scriptures—the revealed Word of God, Opening lines of communication and relationship to God in regular prayer, and learning to listen and respond to the voice of the Lord, and to see Him at work in the world—as we talked about the role of the eyes and ears of the disciplie, last week.
These habits of mutual encouragement, prayer, study of the Bible, and looking for and waiting upon the Lord in all aspects of life are but some of what true, growing and healthy disciples of Jesus engage in to grow in our love, and service for and with God.
Today we will look at worship and celebration of God.
We will discover that worship is a total way of life of loving our Lord that will stand up under the scrutiny of God himself:
If God were asked to strip all the excess away:
• our status in the community,
• our promotion at work,
• the success of our parties
• our grades at school
• the hominess of our house,
• the beauty of our garden
• the accomplishments of our children
• the padding of our bank account
• the stories of our troubles past . . . AND present
• even, even our service FOR God IN the Church
would we love him? Would it show? If God shined the spotlight on our:
• inner self
• on our relationships away from the stage of the church building and small groups
• on our daily activities when no one is lookin
• even on our inner heart—our motives when we gather for worship together,
would it find a solid love and devotion for Him, or a shadowy mist that vanishes under scrutiny?