Summary: Worship does not end with the church service.
Worship Beyond Sunday
George Barna is a popular name in the Christian community. Barna has become well known because of his polling of Christians and non-Christians on religious issues. In a recent research study on worship, Barna found some disturbing facts. Among regular church going adults, one third have said that they have never experienced God’s presence. One half of all regular church members claimed that they have not experienced God in a worship service in the past year.
When I saw the results of this study, a number of things came to my mind. Firstly, I thought that the church is dropping the ball when it comes to leading people into worship if half of its members are not experiencing God in worship. Then, I got to wonder if the church was solely at fault. It wasn’t long until I came upon our Scripture for this morning. Turn with me to Hebrews 13:15-17.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His Name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that your work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
As I read this passage, one phrase stuck out. We are commanded of God to continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise. To continually praise is to do it more than just in a church service on Sunday morning for an hour. Continually is 24 hours a day for all seven days of the week. We as Christians have a duty to worship God at all times. When we get lax on this, our worship on Sunday will suffer because our worship for an hour on Sunday is a reflection of our worship during the other 167 hours of the week.
All of us know that we should be reading our Bible, privately worshipping and praying through the week. If all of us would make the commitment to do this for even an hour each week, we would see dramatic improvement in our worship times each week. Even with this improvement, we still have 23 hours left to worship to make it continual, so how do we worship with the rest of the time we have in the day? From this passage, I think we can glean four praise actions that can fill our days with worship to God. These praise actions will help us to take our worship beyond Sunday. Let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
Praise Action #1: Confess the Name of Jesus
An old deacon was leading in prayer using one of his stereotypical phrases, which was, “Oh Lord, touch the unsaved with Thy finger.”
As he intoned this phrase in this particular prayer, he stopped short.
Other members came to his side and asked if he were ill. “No,” he replied, “but something seemed to say to me, “Thou art the finger.” The man is right. We are the finger of God that is responsible for touching the unsaved, and we cannot touch them if we never proclaim the Name of Jesus.
This morning I want you to think about something you love. If you love something, it is normally evident in your conversation. You talk about the person or thing that you love even when the conversation does not really involve that thing or person. I had a friend in college that I loved to go fishing with. No matter what we talked about, the conversation would eventually turn to fishing. We both loved the activity, so when we talked, it naturally would come up because it was at the front of our thoughts.
After we are saved, we make the commitment to make God the number one love of our lives. If that is truly the case, shouldn’t He naturally pop up in just about ever conversation we have? Shouldn’t his faithfulness and kindness be passed on through our words? Won’t our words reflect our thankfulness and love towards what He has done for us? We should naturally come to the topic of God in most of our conversations.
When people think about proclaiming and confessing the Name of Jesus, they usually think of two things. First of all, they are afraid to seem pushy or overly religious, so they put off all talk about God unless they are in a church setting. They don’t want people putting them in the box labeling “religious fanatic”. Secondly, they point to the fact that God knows their hearts and how they feel towards Him, so they don’t have to use words. Although this is true, He still requires us to confess His Name.