Summary: Looking at our purpose in life, which includes worshiping God. This is part 2 of 3 in a discussion about worship.
First Baptist Church
Worship - 2
February 23, 2020
Last week I started my message talking about some of the different reasons we’re come to this building. We come for different reasons. Some are hoping to experience Jesus, some are here for a weekend pick-me-up. Some are here because it’s where the car automatically goes on Sunday mornings.
Some of you are here because you were told you had to be here. You came against your will and maybe even better judgement. Some are here for reasons that don’t really make any sense . . . yet. And there are other reasons as well.
We say on Sunday mornings I’m going to church. It’s what we do when we come to church that brings meaning. We worship! That’s the focus of what we do on Sunday mornings at the church. If we don’t understand the point of worship and even get a clue about how to worship, then when we come here, we’re just opening ourselves to a time of frustration, instead of a time of joy, praise and celebration.
When we come into this building, we have options. We can come here - - and many of us have been down this road - - we can be bitter and angry at the world, including God, for the rough times in our lives. We can come filled with hope and give thanks and praise to God for all of the amazing ways He has blessed us. Still others are here with a lot of ambivalence. You can take it or leave it.
As we look at worship, know that I believe in the promises from God. He’s promised He will never abandon nor never bail out on us. In Hebrews 13, we read
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - 13:5
As Moses was giving his final message to the people of Israel, God told him –
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel,
8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. - Deuteronomy 31:6-8
That’s God’s promise to us. I believe it’s an individual and a corporate promise. The same is true about what Jeremiah told us --
11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11
With promises like these, promises which lead us to better understand God’s plans for you and I, His plans to prosper us, to give us hope and a future, not to harm us - - - His promise to always be with us - - should lead us into worship because we’re thankful, despite our difficult times. Because we know God is for us and if God is for us, frankly that is our greatest asset.
So, what is worship?
Worship is not about us. It is not about what I want or what makes me happy. Worship is about my coming into this building, so I can respond to God’s character and presence in my life. I come here and thank God for who He is.
I look at the characteristics of God . . . one’s that I mentioned last week. God is filled with LOVE, GRACE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, MERCY, COMPASSION and many more of what we might call character traits.
I come here and I thank God and recognize God’s grace in forgiving my sins, for sending Christ to love me and die for me, to say thank you to God for His compassion and never ending love, His promise never to abandon me, I come wanting to thank Him for His acts of mercy, for His creativity, for His power, for so many different ways I have been blessed because of who God is.
The really the difficult part of worship is when life isn’t going the way we believe it should be going. We have an expectation that life will move smoothly. We know there will be bad days, BUT we don’t expect major illnesses, disabilities, surgeries, death, grief, loss of jobs, family relationships issues, friend issues and more to hamper our happiness - - and our ability to worship.
Yet, we come into this place at times filled with that uncertainty, with stress, the ambiguity that comes when life is not hitting on all cylinders. And admittedly, and I’ve been there too - - we struggle with worship. We struggle with saying ‘thank you to God!’ We’re thinking “THANK YOU! Thanks for what?” So, there are times, and it’s so important to admit it, to even claim it, when we’re not feeling it, when we’re depressed, but we’re here. And that’s a good thing.