Summary: Second message in a series on church health stressing the importance and attributes of worship
Part 2 of 5
The ability to worship is one of the distinguishing marks of humans compared to animals. A dog doesn’t sit in his backyard and lift his paws to the Lord and bark out his praises. Yes, he barks sometimes, but I guarantee he is not contemplating the wonders of eternity. He’s probably thinking about food, or a stranger passing by, or maybe even his own tail.
In contrast, God has placed eternity in the human heart. That simply means that God has put in us the sense, the awareness, that there is more to this world than we can see, feel, taste, or even imagine.
Unlike animals, we humans have a drive to bow down to something, to pay homage to something, to offer reverence and respect for God. But we have something else animals don’t have-PRIDE! And so God asks us to do what we were uniquely created to do but what our sinful nature rebels against. In fact, many aspects of worship go against our natural tendencies. Worship is a spiritual act with spiritual consequences. And if we’re operating on the world’s principles, then worship probably doesn’t make much sense to us.
When we look at the first century church we see three thing that they did, and three things that we MUST DO in worship.
1. We Must Worship Lavishly & Extravagantly A God Who Needs Nothing
God may not need our worship, but He sure does desire it. He wants a tender intimate relationship with us, and praise is one way we express our affection.
Psalm 63:3, “Because your loving kindness is better than life my lips shall praise you.”
That means that we need to verbally communicate our affection. God knows that worship costs us something-time, concentration, and sometimes, real effort. But that’s also when our gift of affection or affirmation can mean the most to us and to HIM!
Mary & the perfume John 12:1-3
Mary wanted to give Jesus something that was valuable and precious to her. So with complete abandon she poured a year’s wages over his feet. But she didn’t care about that. She was saying with these actions, “Lord, I want to show you in a tangible way my commitment to you.”
2. We Must Worship the Lord Even When We Don’t Feel Like It
We worship God because He deserves our praise-not because we feel like it. You should worship Him because He is always worthy of your praise whether things are going badly or well. This doesn’t mean that you worship and thank Him for the bad things. It means you give thanks in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Ultimately we give thanks for the fact that God is still on the throne-no matter how bad things get. The Bible says “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philip 4:4). And when we praise God in spite of difficult circumstances, that’s when non-Christians will listen to what we have to say.
Anybody can sing when things are going well. But when the bottom drops out, when hardship hits and you keep singing, that’s something unique to the Christian-and it startles the world.
Paul & Silas singing @ midnight
3. We Must Worship With Our Whole Life
Worship is not only what we do when we lift our hands or our voice. It’s the way we live. We worship the Lord, or don’t, through our lives. We worship or not through the way we do our jobs. We worship or not through the way we give.
True worship is the living of our life in a way that is pleasing to God. Our singing and our prayer are only the outward manifestations of a life lived for the glory of God.
Hebrews 13:15-16 provides a good overview of what worship should be. “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.” (NIV)
Our whole life should be an act of worship. Like the early believers we need to hold this world and this life loosely. Consider Acts 5:41-42, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (NIV)
Rev 12:10 “loved not their lives even unto death.”
Life of Stephen
The bottom line is this, if we are going to GET W.E.L.L. it starts with the way we worship. God help us to be true worshippers.
We must worship lavishly & extravagantly a God who needs nothing, we must worship even when we don’t feel like it, and we must worship with our whole life.