Summary: Jesus addresses the issue of worship in his answer to why his disciples do not fast. Series on the Gospel of Mark.
WORSHIP AS IT IS MEANT TO BE Mark 2:18-22
PRESENTS FILL THE TEMPLE
A dear elderly lady was teaching the four and five year old Sunday School class at her church. During one of the lessons, they were learning about he buildign of the temple. She explained to the students that when the temple was finished, the presence of the Lord filled the temple. Instantly the eyes of each child got wide and full of excitement. Soon she discovered, however, that the source of their excitement was not joy that God had come to dwell in the temple, but rather, delight in the imagining that huge building filled with the presents of God! aren’t we often much like those children? We are easily more excited about our presents from God that being in the presence of God.
Are we here to experience the presence of God in His fullness? Or are we here on another agenda?
Jesus has already challenged the status quo of the day and now here He sets another tradition in it’s proper place.
I. THE FASTING OF WORSHIP
A. Jesus is challenge about His priority of fasting with His followers.
B. The Law of Moses – one day a year – Yom Kipper
C. That day: Day of Atonement
D. Pharisees: twice a week Luke 18:12 – Monday and Thursday
E. It was taken for granted that everyone would follow these guidelines.
To fast or not the fast to was not the issue: Matt. 17:21 1 Cor 7:5
F. What have we taken for granted as Worship?
What has become routine in our avenue of Worship?
G. In many cases we are busy at going through the motion of worship but in reality are we really fasting worship!
• Is our singing really giving praise to God from our heart!
• Is our praying touching the heart of God!
• Are we really hearing the Word of God! Matt 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matt 7:24-27 Builder on rock or sand.
H. It does not matter what we do but why we are here!
Which leads us to the:
II. THE FOCUS OF WORSHIP
A. John the Baptist was in prison – fasting was needed
B. Pharisees was observant of the law – fasting was a necessity
NOTE: Num 30:2 If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
Duet 23:21 When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.
Ecc. 5:5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
C. Jesus compares himself to the bridegroom: not appropriate to fast during a wedding celebration.
D. The Pharisees would do this is public to be noticed. Sackcloth and Ashes.
E. There many times is a problem of self-centeredness in our worship.
F. Our focus in real worship is on God. He is the audience!
Secondly, outward actions hold a dangerous potential of seducing our pride. No matter what it is we do, if it becomes a performance evaluated on what people thought rather than an offering given to the Lord, we are hypocritical. At this point, human pride is its most seductive and dangerous. How easy to pray for human ears, to view our giving as our support of the church, to preach for applause, to sing for fame and to witness for the adulation of others. The Christian life is lived Coram Deo, before the face of God.
G. Worship is a time for celebration.
Third, God is moving forward into hope and true faith pursues His heart. The sound of Christianity that should be heard in the world is Joy. Christian people should be holy and happy. Worship ought to lift us up to God. There are a hundred ways to apply this truth, and many more ways to miss it. This is not a suggestion that church should be entertainment. Far from it. But it is saying that if, after all our insistence that we are worshipping and experiencing and proclaim Jesus, we are dusty and dead, something is wrong. Christian Joy is not the manipulation of emotion, but the response of the whole person- spirit, mind, will, body and emotions- to the presence and the truth of God.
Read Isa. 58
III. THE FRESHNESS OF WORSHIP
A. Jesus was not here to replace the old.
Matt. 5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.